In one of his first official acts, Sri Lanka’s newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena, announced that his country’s importation of the world’s most used herbicide, glyphosate, was to be banned immediately and that the release of stocks already in the country was to be halted as well.

As noted by the Sustainable Pulse web site, Sirisena is a farmer and former Sri Lankan health minister. When announcing his decision, he said the chemical herbicide was responsible for a growing number of chronic kidney disease patients in the country, adding that the decision would
further protect the country’s farming community.

In Sri Lanka, chronic kidney disease now affects some 15 percent of the working-age population in the country’s northern regions. That amounts to a total of around 400,000 patients. Some 20,000 people die annually of the illness, Sustainable Pulse reported.

The website added that the Sri Lankan ban follows a pair of scientific studies led by Dr. Channa Sudath Jayasumana that found that drinking water from abandoned wells contained concentrations of glyphosate and metals that were much higher. In addition, the studies indicated that spraying glyphosate increased the risk of deadly kidney disease by as much as five-fold.

“Outraged” over the truth

In addition, Sirisena’s ban comes on the heels of a recent World Health Organization announcement that glyphosate is a likely human carcinogen.

As reported by GM Watch:

The assessment by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate, which is used in herbicides with estimated annual sales of USD 6 Billion, will be of special concern to Monsanto, the company that brought glyphosate to market under the trade name Roundup in the 1970s.

As further noted by PBS, use of glyphosate has soared over the last 20 years and has received approval for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency despite lingering questions about its safety. In addition, rampant use of the chemical has been criticized because of the rise in super weeds, which are weeds that are becoming resistant to glyphosate applications.

Naturally, biotech giant Monsanto – original developer and manufacturer of glyphosate – has launched a broadside against the IARC in press release. The company says it was “outraged” by the IARC’s conclusions.

“We are outraged with this assessment,” said Dr. Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer. “This conclusion is inconsistent with the decades of ongoing comprehensive safety reviews by the leading regulatory authorities around the world that have concluded that all labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health. This result was reached by selective ‘cherry picking’ of data and is a clear example of agenda-driven bias.”

Glyphosate’s history of use and abuse

This is not true. We have documented repeatedly that glyphosate has been identified as causing toxicity in a variety of circumstances surrounding its use.

As we also reported, Sri Lanka banned the sale of glyphosate herbicides in March 2014, but that decision was eventually overturned a few months later following a review.

The latest decision by Sri Lanka’s new president, however, will have a huge significance following the latest WHO report on glyphosate.

With Sirisena’s decision, Sri Lanka has become the second country after El Salvador in 2013 to ban the sale and use of glyphosate herbicides. El Salvador’s decision was also based on a higher-than-average occurrence of kidney disease associated with the chemical’s use.

Bermuda, meanwhile, has placed a temporary ban on the importation of glyphosate-containing chemicals and is reviewing the issue.

Monsanto is demanding a retraction of the IARC’s findings, which is typical; the company’s operatives tend to bully scientists and academics who dare to report findings that the biotech giant’s products are killing people.

Does Sri Lanka’s leader know something President Obama doesn’t? It appears pretty obvious that he does.


A series of opinion articles have been published recently in Newsweek contradictorily condemning and praising the Obama administration’s efforts to reassure the State of Israel that United States imperialism is on their side all the way in suppressing and eliminating the Palestinian people.

The authors go as far as to caution Obama against drawing any comparison between the plight of African Americans and the Palestinian struggle for national liberation. Such an editorial slant reveals that the shapers of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East are concerned about growing support for Palestine in the U.S., especially among African Americans and their allies.

Israeli foreign policy is a by-product of the overall imperialist designs of Washington and Wall Street in the region. Not only is it necessary to maintain the settler-colonial state in Palestine as bulwark of the Pentagon and NATO military strategy but it is also important to continue the domination of Egypt and other states in North Africa and the Middle East.

Successive U.S. administrations have waged wars against the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Libya. Consequently, any notion of a lessening of support for Israel flies in the face of the continued multi-billion dollar subsidy to Tel Aviv annually along with the transferal of arms and other military technology which is tested on the Palestinian people in Gaza and the other occupied territories.

Efforts are underway to make the recent national elections in Israel as a representation of the uncertainty of the domination by the conservative forces centered-around Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu over the political future of the regime. Nonetheless, the uneasiness of the administration of President Barack Obama about Democratic and U.S. policy in general towards Israel is partly to blame for the appearance of differences of approach to the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to a Newsweek magazine article written by Marc Shulman under the title “Tel Aviv Diary”, “The one person who seems unwilling to accept the results of the election here appears to be the current occupant of the White House and other members of his administration. President Barack Obama has been exceptionally harsh in his criticism, which is starting to create a backlash among Israelis.”  (May 24)

The question is backlash against what? Obama has continued the same imperialist agenda throughout the region and is providing firm support to the current war against Yemen waged by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alliance.

Public opinion in the U.S. is increasingly in favor of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and statehood. Demonstrations during the summer of 2014 against the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) massive bombing and ground incursion into Gaza were the largest protests against these repeated genocidal acts in history.

African Americans and U.S. Foreign Policy

Both the African American and Palestinian peoples suffer from national oppression and efforts aimed at genocidal removal by the racist governmental structures operating in both states.

During 2014 when the U.S. witnessed the largest Palestine solidarity demonstrations ever in response to the bombing and ground invasion of Gaza, African American youth played a prominent role in these actions. Both Palestinians and African Americans spoke out clearly of their common struggle from Gaza and the West Bank to Ferguson and Baltimore.

In Detroit the demonstrations during “Operation Protective Edge” where the IDF pounded Gaza as well as escalated repressive measures against the Palestinians living in the West Bank, signs appeared demanding water for both the people of Gaza and Detroit. Weekly protests at the Detroit Water Sewerage Department (DWSD) known as “Freedom Fridays” during the summer of 2014 often joined rallies and marches taking place outside the Federal Court House in solidarity with Palestine. At this same time the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings were still being litigated at the federal court. This was the most significant municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Expressing concern about the more vocal opinion in support of Palestine among African Americans and its potential impact on electoral politics in the U.S. with a national election looming during 2016, the same author Marc Shulman wrote in the June 3 issue of News week that “Of course, if Obama wants to have any chance of swaying Israeli opinion, he needs to decouple his view of the ‘plight’ of the Palestinians from that of African-Americans in the United States. It is true that both groups have been, and are, discriminated against, and certainly both groups have suffered. However, the historic analogy between the two is very weak. African-Americans were taken as captives from their homes and kept as slaves until a civil war freed them. Many African-Americans endured a century or more of discrimination, even after the Civil War ended.”

Weren’t the Palestinians driven from their homes by the Israeli state with the full backing of the U.S. and the imperialist nations? Both Africans in the U.S. and the Palestinians have been subjected to national oppression involving mass killings and forced removal from urban and rural areas.

In a failed attempt to draw such a distinction between the history and conditions of Africans and Palestinians, the same author says “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a traditional nationalistic conflict, with two peoples claiming the same land. This conflict would have ended long ago if Palestinians had agreed to any of the previously offered compromise solutions.”

Such an argument is reminiscent of the racist newspaper editorials which blame Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and others for their own deaths. Not to mention those reports which describe African Americans involved in militant demonstrations against police terrorism and judicial impunity as “thugs” for engaging in the destruction of property and self-defense tactics against law-enforcement agencies.

These victims of settler-colonialism and institutional racism are somehow expected to acquiesce to oppression in favor to the continuation and worsening of their social plight.

There is a firm political basis for the analogy between Apartheid, Jim Crow and Zionism in its present and historic forms. Israel has inflicted racist treatment on the Palestinians but also those from Africa who have migrated to the country.

In recent years attacks against African immigrants from Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia have gotten international media attention. Netanyahu recently met with an African IDF soldier who was attacked by police for racist reasons. Yet what Netanyahu and his cohorts do not mention is that his political coalition has deliberately exploited racist attitudes and social policies towards  Palestinians and Africans in order to maintain control over a settler state that is losing support even within the U.S., and of course throughout the broader international community.

Both the U.S. and Israel are facing growing opposition internally and globally. These racist and national oppressive states can only rely on military might and the economic dominance of the imperialism to provide any semblance of a secured future.

Greater solidarity between Palestine and African Americans will be an important factor in the burgeoning struggle against imperialism. Whether the White House, Congress and Wall Street recognizes or accepts this shifting situation it is evitable and will change the course of history in support of the oppressed and working people of the world.

The rebel opposition in Syria has in recent months made a series of gains against the Syrian army, most notably in Idlib, Palmyra, and Ramadi in Iraq.  However, given that from the very beginning the opposition had taken “a clear sectarian direction” and has been dominated by “ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra… in addition to other extreme jihadi groups”, itself consisting of “no moderate middle”, and the fact that “in reality there is no dividing wall between them [extremists] and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies”, it is no wonder why all of the recent gains have been made by hard-line Islamists.(1)  The radicalization of the opposition was the result of a covert US/CIA-led program in collusion with regional allies to expand the dissent base in Syria and strengthen Islamist rebels against the Syrian government.(2)

These recent Islamist advances are the result of an increase in support from the US-led coalition to their proxies inside Syria.  Recently both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who operate out of US-led command centers in Turkey and Jordan, signed a pact in early March to coordinate support to al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in order to further attack the Syrian government.  Huffington Post quotes Usama Abu Zeid, a legal advisor to the Free Syrian Army, as confirming that this new coordination had facilitated recent rebel advances.(3)  The pact subsequently lead to the al-Qaeda takeover of Idlib in late March, where the two countries have since set up a joint command center to further coordinate and command their extremist proxies from the captured province.  Syrian government sources thus accurately blame Turkish intervention as the key factor in the fall of Idlib.  The city’s fall however is only the 2nd provincial capital that has been captured by the opposition during the entire 4-year war, the other being Raqqa, which is now the de facto capital of the fake Islamic State “Caliphate.”(4)

In addition to Turkish and Saudi support to al-Qaeda extremists, so too has the US increased its support to Islamists.

In early May Charles Lister of the Brookings Institute Doha Center confirmed that “US-led operations rooms in southern Turkey and Jordan” have specifically “encouraged a closer cooperation with Islamists commanding frontline operations”, and while doing so have “dramatically increased [their] level of assistance and provisions of intelligence” to this Islamist-led opposition, all of which has led to the al-Qaeda victory in Idlib.(5)  So not only has the entire support to the opposition from the beginning been coordinated and commanded by the US, so too has the US spearheaded recent support to al-Qaeda along with its Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari allies.

These Western-backed advances were facilitated by the delivery of “gamechanging” new advanced weaponry to the extremists, including TOW anti-tank missiles.  The Guardian reports that the results of this “were shocking.  The regional capital of Idlib fell within days.  Several weeks later, the nearby town of Jisr al-Shughour also fell to an amalgam of jihadist.”(6)  All of this being “the outcome of the first heavy weapons to reach the hands of the Syrian opposition in years of civil war from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Turkey,” which was “blessed by Washington after long hesitation.”(7)

The US recently encourages support to Islamists while it’s Saudi and Turkish allies openly support al-Qaeda linked militants, all of whom have been provided with new shipments of advanced weaponry and support which has been instrumental in their recent advances.

Qatar has made recent efforts to convince al-Nusra’s leader to detach itself from al-Qaeda and portray Nusra as though it is not planning to attack the West in an attempt to justify this increased aid.  However it is important to note that “if Nusra is dissolved and it abandons al Qaeda, the ideology of the new entity is not expected to change,” while it’s leaders would remain “close to al Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahri [sic].” In a recent interviewwith the Qatari channel Al Jazeera, al-Nusra’s leader al-Golani was given a platform to say that Nusra does not plan to attack the West, yet he still reaffirmed full allegiance to al-Qaeda’s leader al-Zawahiri against the wishes of Qatar.(8)  Despite the failure of re-branding al-Qaeda’s Syria faction the group still received a substantial increase in aid and support from its backers in the Gulf, Turkey, and the United States.

Given this, both the US and Turkey have in addition recently agreed “in principle” to establish a no-fly zone to further aid the forces on the ground they are supporting.(9)  This is illegal, against international law, and would be de-facto support to terrorist organizations in the form of US aerial attacks against the Syrian state.  It would be devastating to the region as well, only benefiting supporters of reactionary Islamic rule and Western imperial hegemony.

However, the al-Qaeda linked factions unfortunately are not the only groups that owe their recent battlefield successes to their Western patrons, so too does the Islamic State.

When the Islamic State recently took Ramadi in Iraq, they travelled a full 553km across open desert to the city from their de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria.

Despite the fact that destroying the militants along this route would have been like shooting fish in a barrel, the US “anti-ISIS” coalition did not expend a single airstrike against them, even though the US “had significant intelligence about the pending Islamic State offensive in Ramadi.  For the US military, it was an open secret at the time.”  The US intelligence community “had good warning that the Islamic State intended a new and bolder offensive in Ramadi because it was able to identify the convoys of heavy artillery, vehicle bombs and reinforcements,” which were coming from Raqqa, “through overhead imagery and eavesdropping on chatter from local Islamic State commanders.”  Furthermore, “It surprised no one,” US intelligence officials said. (10)

Speaking on these developments, former British MI6 agent Alastair Crooke comments that “the speculation about a coming fractured Iraq has gained big momentum from ISIS’s virtually unopposed walk-in to Ramadi. The images of long columns of ISIS Toyota Land Cruisers, black pennants waving in the wind, making their way from Syria all the way — along empty desert main roads — to Ramadi with not an American aircraft in evidence, certainly needs some explaining. There cannot be an easier target imagined than an identified column of vehicles, driving an arterial road, in the middle of a desert.”(11)

As ISIS arrived in Ramadi, the US-coalition launched a paltry 7 airstrikes against them, a number so low as to be entirely insignificant.  To alleviate concerns that the US openly allowed ISIS to take Ramadi, the US military blamed a great and powerful “sandstorm” for their lack of airstrikes.  However, just days later they retracted these false statements.  ABC reports that “Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today that last weekend’s sandstorm had not affected the coalition’s ability to launch airstrikes in Ramadi, though “weather was a factor on the ground early on.””(12)  Further dispelling these excuses, the day after Ramadi’s fall rows of Islamic State militants were pictured celebrated openly in the streets below crystal clear skies.

Source: MailOnline, May 19, 2015

If the US-coalition had been serious about stopping ISIS they could have easily destroyed whole factions of the group at this time.  Instead, desperate for another excuse to explain their inaction, they changed their reasons and blamed concern for civilian deaths for the lack of strikes.  However this excuse is so patently absurd as to be laughable, and therefore can be completely disregarded; one need only look at the grave human death tolls inflicted during the invasion of Iraq, the US support for Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza last summer, the US-facilitated devastation of eastern Ukraine, the global drone campaign, the US’ own “anti-ISIS” airstrikes, and the current crazed US-backed Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen to see that Western officials lose exactly zero sleep over the civilian blood that is on their hands.(13)

The actions of the US leads to the conclusion that it either wanted or didn’t care if ISIS took Ramadi and thus allowed it to happen, and very likely even facilitated its accomplishment.

Speaking the day after the city’s fall, Wahda Al-Jumaili, an advisor to Iraq’s parliamentary speaker, stated “Whether this was the result of treason, neglect, or conspiracy, or a regional or international plot… Even the international coalition has played a bad role.  People saw the international coalition dropping weapons for ISIS.  They dropped heavy weaponry to the forces of terrorism in Ramadi.  This is an act of treason by the international coalition forces.”(14)

This comes after countless other Iraqi officials have been accusing the US-coalition for months of dropping aid packages to ISIS militants.  Video evidence has confirmed that one of these shipments has demonstrably occurred, whereas Iraqi officials have provided photographic evidence of British planes they had shot down after learning they were going to deliver aid to ISIS.(15)

Coupled with this is the fact that ISIS’ long time benefactor, Saudi Arabia, has recently increased its aid to the Islamic State.

Recently the New York Times reported that the newly crowned Saudi King Salman, who the authors note has “a history of working with Islamists,” has recently “sanctioned allying with Islamists to serve the kingdom’s agenda”, “discarded his predecessor’s rejection of political Islamists”, and shifted policy towards “increasing support for rebels in Syria.”(16)  What the Times did say is that it is primarily Saudi Arabia and other major US Arab allies who “fund ISIS,” in Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey’s own words, so it is no wonder which ‘Islamists’ Saudi Arabia has increased support for.(17)

The official narrative is that the Saudi state is no longer funding ISIS, and instead it is only private donors not connected to the government who continue the funding, all the while the state conveniently is unable to stop them, try as they might.  This, of course, coming from arguably the most authoritarian and despotic regime on the planet which doesn’t even balk at imprisoning its own daughters, but surely it’s perfectly plausible that this anachronistic monarchy which controls its population through the bludgeon and fear is simply baffled with inability at locating the guilty perpetrators.

Given General Dempsey’s testimony that it was the Saudi state who funded ISIS, there is no credible evidence that any of this support from them has stopped, save vacuous statements by the US and Saudi governments who of course would predictably say as much.  If any change has occurred, it is that the Saudi government has taken steps to distance its involvement in the eyes of the world while it continues to covertly go about business as usual, using wealthy donors, who were presumably providing the funds that would then be transferred by the Saudi state all along, as their proxies.  In other words, it is a PR concern, not one of policy direction.  Indeed, according to Britain’s leading international security scholar Nafeez Ahmed, “informed sources in the region have told me that fundraising for ISIS is still being done openly across the Gulf monarchies at state-run mosques… Yet the US and UK have refused to exert any meaningful diplomatic or financial pressure whatsoever on these countries to change course.”(18)

Turning back to Syria, the US is as well aiding ISIS in the same way that it did for its takeover of Ramadi.

In recent ISIS offensives in Syria the US as well took no aerial action despite the fact that doing so would have been easy and effective.  A spokesman for the rebel group the Shamiah front recently criticized the US-coalition for not bombing IS convoys as they moved outward from Raqqa, saying that “There were convoys of 15 to 20 vehicles each.  Only two coalition raids in the past three days would have been enough to stop the attack.”  Similarly, Salim Idriss, once the US’ leading rebel commander, said that the US-led coalition repeatedly had allowed Islamic State convoys to pass unhindered, pointing most recently to May 31st when he said a 60-vehicle convoy moved from Raqqa to Aleppo unperturbed.(19)

This US support for ISIS and al-Qaeda might seem strange if one follows the official narratives, however the picture becomes much clearer when you look at what is being discussed behind closed doors within the US establishment.

A declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document authored in August of 2012 reveals that the West accelerated support to the opposition in Syria knowing full well they were supporting extremists and that this would pave the way for an ‘Islamic State’ to emerge, seeing this as the desired outcome and a key geopolitical asset for their interests in the region.  “They were not only as they claimed supporting moderate groups, who were losing members to the more extremist groups, but that they were directly supporting the extremist groups. And they were predicting that this support would result in an Islamic State organization, an ISIS or ISIL… They were encouraging it, regarding it as a positive development, because it was anti-Assad, Assad being supported by Russia, but also interestingly China… and Iran…” said former Pentagon officer and legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who is accompanied by many other knowledgeable ex-US-intelligence officials who draw similar conclusions from the leaked report.(20)

Further, the report presciently predicts in 2012 the fall of both Mosul and Ramadi given that the West continues to “support the opposition” of which “the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces”, stating that “this creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters.”

Given that in 2012 US Department of Defense intelligence knew that the opposition was “sectarian”, dominated by extremist groups, and that continued support to such an opposition would lead to the fall of Mosul and Ramadi, and the fact that with this knowledge the US actually increased their aid to the rebels rather than curtailing it, means that the US must have intended, either directly or indirectly, these predictable outcomes of their actions.(21)

The US predicted the rise of ISIS, supported extremist elements with the help of its allies knowing full well that a Salafist principality would emerge which would then lead to Mosul and Ramadi’s fall, and further desired the establishment of such a principality as a geopolitical asset and thus continued to support these efforts, all the while conducting an ineffective “anti-ISIS” coalition against the same extremists, which should be viewed as a PR move aimed at maintaining plausible deniability and to obscure the actual role the US has played in the facilitation of ISIS, evidenced further by ISIS’ continual growth.

The strategy is divide and rule, dominance through ‘controlled chaos’, aiming to be both the arbiters of the sides “fighting” and those supporting the extremists, and thus insuring that destabilization and US hegemony result… by any means necessary.

The recent al-Qaeda and ISIS advances are a direct outcome of this strategy, the result of the US and her allies increasing aid and the delivery of advanced weaponry to their extremist proxies in the region, all the while death, mayhem, and terror ensues upon the innocent civilian populations.

The Resistance Strikes Back

Adding further to the incredulity of the US-led “anti-ISIS” campaign, recently a meeting headed by the United States was held between 20 countries to discuss their anti-ISIS strategy, however the most effective forces that have been engaged in fighting and deterring ISIS, Russia, Iran, and Syria, were absent from the meeting.  This meeting perfectly represents the follies of the US strategy against ISIS and why it will fail, “The US campaign against Isis is weakened not so much by lack [of] ‘boots on the ground,’ but by seeking to hold at arm’s-length those who are actually fighting Isis while embracing those such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey who are not,” as explained by Patrick Cockburn, the leading Western journalist in the region.

While this US-led coalition expresses optimistically spurious notions of a “winning strategy”, the truth is that ISIS hasn’t been deterred since this strategy has come into effect.  It should be said as well that “the ‘moderate’ rebels the US and UK support themselves openly welcomed the arrival of such extremists. Indeed, the Free Syria Army backed by the West was allied with ISIS, until ISIS attacked them at the end of 2013,” former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter terrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge notes.(22)

Judging by actions rather than by words, the US-led coalition is not at all serious about defeating ISIS.

Amidst media obfuscation of those responsible for the recent al-Qaeda and ISIS victories in Syria and Iraq, there has as well been a concerted propaganda effort to weaken the moral of the Syrian army and the resistance axis of Syria-Hezbollah-Iran-Russia in the form of a torrent of Western media publications, interviews, articles, and research papers all professing that Assad is losing the war.  The tone of these Western protestations is nothing short of euphoric, yet those on the ground suffering from the brutality of al-Nusra and ISIS’ gains are not as jubilant, nor are they under the illusion that successes by foreign-backed extremist Wahhabis constitutes the makings of a “revolution.”  Yet despite the Wests wishful thinking and adherence to the narrative of “moderate rebels” fighting against extremists, which itself is an impressive display of willful ignorance that disciplined intellectuals must work hard to cultivate, their insistence on attacking Syrian society with terrorist proxies has not been as successful as they had hoped, and has sparked a substantial backlash from Iran.

The Qalamoun border region between Syria and Lebanon is a strategically important area and the battle for it “is likely to make major changes to the landscape of control in Syria.”  Control over Qalamoun threatens to cut off important rebel supply lines that runs from the Damascus suburbs to the mountain region, and to hinder the smuggling of arms and resources from Lebanon into Syria and vice versa, given the areas proximity to the Lebanese border.

In the beginning of May Hezbollah had achieved important victories over the Nusra Front-led Army of Conquest, the joint Saudi-Turkish coalition of extremist, and the ISIS militants that have been vying for control of the region.  By the end of the same month Hezbollah and the Syrian army had taken full control over Qalamoun.  Foreign Policy describes the victory as such: “Hezbollah fighters point out recently captured al-Nusra Front training sites and military positions, and describe how they’ve been able to clear the area of the jihadis. They pick their way over the remnants of the al Qaeda affiliate’s makeshift camp, where clothes, tins of foods, and shell casings are strewn across the ground.”  One commander had stated that they had cleared “about 40 positions belonging to the terrorists,” and had “liberated 120 square miles.”  While another fighter described that “80 percent of the recaptured area had been under al-Nusra Front’s control” prior to the offensive.

With the capture of Qalamoun the Syrian army and Hezbollah have secured the most important roads leading to Syria’s capital of Damascus from Lebanon, leaving al-Nusra with only one last supply route into the Rif Dimashq Governorate, located at the Al-Zabadani-Nehleh border crossing.  The victory is important for the Syrian government because “the mountain range is key in connecting Damascus to Homs and the rest of the Syrian coast,” while for Hezbollah it allows for “securing the supply routes in and out of Syria and preventing armed groups from infiltrating Lebanon.”  As a result, “Hezbollah not only sees the Qalamoun battle as a priority for its survival, but also sees itself as the first line of defence against a threat facing the entire country.”  According to one resident from the Bekaa village bordering the eastern mountain range, “If Hezbollah wasn’t in Qalamoun right now, we would cease to exist,” adding further that “Maybe the people of Beirut aren’t aware of this, but we certainly are.”(23)

Coupled with this important strategic victory and the prospect of Western-backed rebels gaining even more ground after their own successes, leaders from Hezbollah and Iran have been increasingly vocal about their support for Syria.  According to the Institute for the Study of War “These incidents will likely drive Iran to increase its direct economic and indirect military support to the Assad regime in order to bolster its ability to sustain the ­fight. In a speech delivered on May 23, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stated that Hezbollah will ­fight “wherever necessary” throughout Syria; other Hezbollah senior officials released their own statements confirming that Hezbollah will continue to back the Syrian regime for “however long it takes” despite recent setbacks. These messages of defi­ance suggest that Hezbollah will likely increase its support to the regime.”

Shortly afterwards, the normally publicly silent leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Major General Qasem Soleimani, asserted that plans being made by Damascus and Tehran would “surprise” the world.  “The world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are preparing for the coming days,” Iran’s official IRNA state news agency quoted the general as saying.  Following this news, Israeli intelligence sources speculate that “Tehran is believed to be preparing to dispatch a substantial Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) special operations unit to Syria to tackle the separate rebel and ISIS advances closing in on the Assad regime.”(24)

While reports of IRGC forces intervening in Syria have not yet surfaced, on June 3rd AFP reports that thousands of Iranian and Iraqi fighters have been deployed to Syria to bolster Damascus’ defenses, citing Syrian security sources as stating that “Around 7,000 Iranian and Iraqi fighters have arrived in Syria over the past few weeks and their first priority is the defence of the capital. The larger contingent is Iraqi.”

Syria is believed to have appealed to Tehran and Russia to step up support following recent developments.  “The goal is to reach 10,000 men to support the Syrian army and pro-government militias, firstly in Damascus, and then to retake Jisr al-Shughur because it is key to the Mediterranean coast and the Hama region,” the source said.  The Daily Star quotes a Lebanese political source as stating that “Iran has sent 15,000 fighters to Syria to reverse recent battlefield setbacks for Syrian government troops and wants to achieve results by the end of the month.”  According to retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel W. Patrick Lang’s estimate “this is just the beginning of a large scale Iranian intervention in the Syrian civil war.  The entry into the Syria war of a large number of Iranian Quds force led troops would be a game changer.   Whether the fighters are Iranian, Iraqi or from the dark side of the moon their presence might well make a decisive change in the balance of combat power in Syria.”(25)

Following this reports have begun to surface announcing that Hezbollah is making major gains on Arsal’s outskirts and that the Syrian army has regained ground against Islamic State in Hasaka city.

It seems that the recent support to al-Qaeda by the US, the open intervention of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in support of jihadi extremists, the new Saudi king Salman’s increased aid to Islamists, and the recently ramped-up aid and introduction of advanced weaponry to all of these groups has finally hit a nerve with Iran and Russia, and has sparked a backlash.  All of which has further corroborated who, in fact, is actually serious about defeating the scourge of Islamist radicals that have recently plagued the Middle Eastern region, and in contrast who only talks as if they do, as well as those who openly support such inhumane developments for selfish geopolitical aims and hegemony.


1.) Judicial Watch; Patrick Cockburn, “Preface” & “The Rise of ISIS”, The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution (Brooklyn, NY, 2015). Pg. xx, 3. Print.

2.) The New York Times reports that the CIA is engaged in a clandestine operation to arm Syrian rebels, specifically choosing which rebels receive the lethal aid. Eric Schmitt,New York Times, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition.” June 21, 2015.; The Times subsequently reports that the US-coordinated shipments are “largely going to hard-line Islamists”, Davide E. Sanger, New York Times, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria.” October 14, 2012.; A 2012 DIA report notes that “The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” and that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition.” Given this information, the US increased aid in the following years. Judicial Watch; A leading Syrian opposition leader, Dr. Haytham Manna, writing in The Guardian states “the pumping of arms to Syria, supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the phenomenon of the Free Syrian Army, and the entry of more than 200 jihadi foreigners into Syria in the past six months have all led to a decline in the mobilisation of large segments of the population… and in the activists’ peaceful civil movement. The political discourse has become sectarian; there has been a Salafisation of religiously conservative sectors”, Haytham Manna, The Guardian, “Syria’s opposition has been led astray by violence.” June 22, 2012.

3.) Desmond Butler, Huffington Post, “Turkey Officials Confirm Pact With Saudi Arabia to Help Rebels Fighting Syria’s Assad.” May 72015.

4.) Reuters, Hareetz, “Turkey helped Islamists take over Idlib, Syrian source accuses.” March 30, 2015.

5.) Charles Lister, Foreign Policy, “Why Assad is Losing.” May 5, 2015.

6.) Martin Chulov, The Guardian, “Amid the ruins of Syria, is Bashar al-Assad now finally facing the end?” May 23, 2015.

7.) Debkafile, DEBKA Weekly Vol. 14, Issue 663, May 15, 2015.

8.) “Leaders of Syria’s Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al Qaeda… sources said.  Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding…  Intelligence officials from Gulf states including Qatar have met the leader of Nusra, Abu Mohamad al-Golani, several times in the past few months to encourage him to abandon al Qaeda and to discuss what support they could provide, the sources said.  They promised funding once it happens…  The Nusra Front is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and has been sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council. But for Qatar at least, rebranding Nusra would remove legal obstacles to supporting it.” Mariam Karouny, Reuters, “Syria’s Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity.” March 4, 2015.

9.) Associated Press in Ankara, Turkey, The Guardian, “Turkey and US ‘agree in principle’ to provide air support for Syrian rebels.” May 25, 2015.

10.) Eli Lake, Bloomberg, “U.S. Saw Islamic State Coming, Let It Take Ramadi.” May 28, 2015.

11.) Alastair Crooke, Huffington Post, “If Syria and Iraq Become Fractured, So Too Will Tripoli and North Lebanon.” June 1, 2015.

12.) US blames lack of airstrikes on a sandstorm. Erich Shmitt, Helene Cooper, The New York Times, “ISIS Fighters Seized Advantage in Iraq Attack by Striking During Sandstorm.” May 18, 2015.; US retracts statement about sandstorm after evidence emerges disproving these claims. Luis Martinez, ABC News, “Misunderstanding May Have Led Iraqi Troops to Leave Ramadi.” May 21, 2015.

13.) Accounting Obama’s global drone campaign, the Guardian notes that out of 41 men targeted in Yemen and Pakistan, a total of 1,147 were killed, at least 149 of them being children, the reported data being only a fraction of those killed overall, the total civilian death toll likely being much worse. Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, “41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground.” November 24, 2014.; A US-led airstrikes in northern Syria targets a town without any ISIS present, kills a total of 52 civilians in the process. Maya Gebeily, Agence France Presse, “US-led airstrikes ‘kill 52 civilians in northern Syria.’ May 2, 2015.; A series of Saudi airstrikes in May, conducted with the support of the US, struck a hospital and medical camp in southwestern Yemen killing at least 58 civilians and injuring another 67. The hospital was not being used by rebels and none of the dead was a rebel fighter.  Despite this and much more, US support for the assault continued. Hakim Almasmari, Melissa Gray, CNN, “Yemeni civilians killed in Saudi Airstrikes, officials say.” May 1, 2015.; US and Saudi naval blockade of Yemen blocks desperately needed aid, relegating 80% of the population under a humanitarian disaster. Julian Borger, The Guardian, “Saudi-led naval blockade leaves 20m Yemenis facing humanitarian disaster.” June 5, 2015.

14.) Quote of Wahda Al-Jumaili, advisor to Iraq’s parliamentary speaker, The Middle East Media Research Institute, “Wahda Al-Jumaili, Advisor to Iraqi Parliament Speaker: Int’l Coalition Dropped Weapons, Which Enabled ISIS Takeover of Ramadi.” May 19, 2015.

15.) Steven Chovanec, Underground Reports, “Iraq Sidelines US in Tikrit Offensive Amidst Accusations US is Arming ISIL.” March 12, 2015.

16.) Ben Hubbard, The New York Times, “King Salman Upends Status Quo in Region and the Royal Family.” May 10, 2015.

17.) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, C-SPAN. September 16, 2014.; Josh Rogin, The Daily Beast, “America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS.” June 14, 2014.

18.) Nafeez Ahmed, Middle East Eye, “Why the War on ISIS Will Fail.” December 16, 2014.

19.) Roy Gutman, Mousab Alhamadee, McClatchy, “Rebels call for U.S. airstrikes as Islamic State advances near Aleppo.” June 1, 2015.

20.)  Judicial Watch; Nafeez Ahmed, Medium “Ex-intel officials: Pentagon report proves US complicity in ISIS.” June 2, 2015.

21.) Judicial Watch; It is a tenant of law that the doer of an act must be taken to have intended its natural and foreseeable consequences. Given that the fall of Mosul and Ramadi were natural and foreseeable consequences and that the US-led coalition still continued the policies that were known to lead to these outcomes, the US and her allies must therefore be taken to have intended these outcomes, either directly or indirectly. Steven Chovanec, MintPress News, “New FOIA Doc Reveals How US Supported The Rise Of ISIS.” May 26, 2015.; International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996), “Dissenting Opinion of Judge Weeramantry,” Chapter III, “Humanitarian Law,” section 10, “Specific rules of the humanitarian laws,” (a) “The prohibition against causing unnecessary suffering”.

22.) US-led coalition meets to discuss their “winning strategy” against ISIS, without inviting Russia, Iran, and Syria. BBC, “Iraq coalition winning against IS, says US.” June 2, 2015.; Patrick Cockburn, The Independent, “Isis in Kobani: Turkey’s act of abandonment may mark an ‘irrevocable breach’ with Kurds across the region.” October 7, 2014.; Nafeez Ahmed, Ceasefire, “Story of a War Foretold: Why we’re fighting ISIS.” September 25, 2014.

23.) Alessandria Masi, International Business Times, “Hezbollah, Syrian Army Make Strategic Gains Against Al Qaeda-Led Rebels In Battle Of Qalamoun.” May 11, 2015. Daily Star, “Hezbollah, Syrian army seize control of new Qalamoun hill.” May 15, 2015.; Nour Samaha, Al Jazeera, “Nasrallah declares victory in Syria’s Qalamoun.” May 16, 2015.; Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News, “The Syrian Army and Hezbollah Triumph Over Al-Qaeda in the Qalamoun Mountains.” May 29, 2015.; Nour Samaha, Foreign Policy, “Hezbollah Is ‘Stronger Than Ever’.” June 1, 2015.; Nour Samaha, Al Jazeera, “Why Qalamoun matters for Hezbollah.” May 11, 2015.

24.) Jack Moore, Newsweek, “Iranian military mastermind Soleimani vows to ‘surprise’ world in Syria.” June 3, 2015., “Iranian Rev Guards ready to intervene in Syria to save Assad. Soleimani: Expect major events in Syria.” June 3, 2015.

25.) Agence France Presse, “Iraq, Iran fighters deployed to defend Damascus: security source.” June 3, 2015. Daily Star, “Iran sends 15,000 fighters to Syria.” June 4, 2015.; Patrick Lang, Sic Semper Tyrannis, “Is Soleimani’s “Surprise” underway?” June 4, 2015.

Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst and writer based in Chicago, IL.  He is a student of International Studies and Sociology at Roosevelt University and conducts independent, open-source research into geopolitics and social issues.  His writings can be found at, find him on Twitter @stevechovanec.

Image: “History shows the very opposite of progress,” writes Nader, “when it comes to these democratic sovereignty-shredding and job-exporting corporate-driven trade treaties — unless progress is referring to fulfilling the deepest wishes of runaway global corporations.” (Photo: CWA/flickr/cc)

“We have an opportunity to set the most progressive trade agreement in our nation’s history,” it states on, the website of the president’s “Organizing for Action” campaign.

One must seriously question what President Obama and his corporate allies believe to be the definition of “progressive” when it comes to this grandiose statement. History shows the very opposite of progress when it comes to these democratic sovereignty-shredding and job-exporting corporate-driven trade treaties — unless progress is referring to fulfilling the deepest wishes of runaway global corporations.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) set our country’s progress back through large job-draining trade deficits, downward pressure on wages, extending Big Pharma’s patent monopolies to raise consumers’ medicine prices, floods of unsafe imported food, and undermining or freezing consumer and environmental rules.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is formally described as a trade and foreign investment agreement between 12 nations — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The White House is now pressuring Congress to Fast Track through the TPP. Fast Track authority, a Congressional procedure to limit time for debate and prohibit amendments to proposed legislation, has already passed in the Senate, although only after an unexpectedly rough ride.

Here are 10 reasons why the TPP is explicitly not a “progressive” trade agreement:

1. Over 2000 progressive groups recently sent a letter to members of Congress opposing fast track. “Fast Track is an abrogation of not only Congress’ constitutional authority, but of its responsibility to the American people. We oppose this bill, and urge you to do so as well,” the letter reads. See it in full here. On the other hand, supporters of the TPP and its autocratic, secret transnational governance, include Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Ag, oil/gas and mining firms, and the Chamber of Commerce–in short the plutocracy does not tolerate voices and participation by the people adversely affected.

2. Only six out of the 30 total chapters in the TPP have anything to do with trade. So what makes up the bulk of this agreement, which was shaped by 500 U.S. corporate advisors? Jim Hightower writes: “The other two dozen chapters amount to a devilish ‘partnership’ for corporate protectionism. They create sweeping new ‘rights’ and escape hatches to protect multinational corporations from accountability to our governments… and to us.”

3. After six years of secret negotiations, Fast Track legislation would allow President Obama to sign and enter into the TPP before Congress approves its terms. It then requires a vote 90 days after submission of this Fast Track legislation on the TPP itself and changes in existing U.S. laws to comply with its terms. No amendments would be allowed and debate would be limited to a total of only 20 hours in each chamber of Congress. By limiting debate and preventing any amendments to the agreement, Fast Track prevents challenges to any issues about how America conducts business with the countries included in the TPP. Some of the countries in the TPP — Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam, for example — have terrible human and labor rights records. Those conditions attract big companies looking for serf labor and their accommodating governments.

4. Millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost due to NAFTA and WTO being railroaded through Congress. The TPP would only expand these offshoring incentives. These types of deals ultimately increase the income inequality gap by displacing well-paid middle-class workers, negating any benefit to lower prices of goods. According toa report for the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the TPP would result in wage cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans.

5. The American people have yet to see the full text of the TPP — it has been negotiated in secret and shown to members of Congress under demeaningly strict secrecy. We only know about some of its terms because of leaks. But Wall Street and industry operatives, who seek to benefit enormously from the TPP, do have access to the text. Why so selectively secretive? Supporters of the deal outright told Senator Elizabeth Warren, “[trade talks] have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.”

6. The TPP allows corporations to directly sue our country if federal, state or local laws, government actions or court rulings are claimed to violate new rights and privileges the TPP would grant to foreign firms. Firms from TPP nations operating here could attack U.S. regulations over cancer-causing chemicals or environmental concerns before tribunals comprised of corporate lawyers that rotate by day and night between acting as “judges” and representing corporations attacking governments. These decisions then cannot be challenged in U.S. courts — and U.S. taxpayers will get stuck with the bill. So much for our precious sovereignty!

7. The proponents of the TPP claim that it will raise labor and environmental standards. However, the labor and environmental standards included in the TPP are equivalent (or less stringent) to modest ones agreed upon by House Democrats and President Bush in May 2007 in trade agreements with Peru, Panama and Colombia. These provisions have not been effective — Peru has since undermined these laws, and the Obama Administration has done nothing to enforce them. Nothing in the TPP suggests the unenforceable rhetoric– cited by President Obama — will be any different now.

8. TPP will further weaken America’s regulatory watchdogs — we can’t use our own government to over-rule TPP tribunal decisions that over-rule our health, safety and economic protections as non-tariff trade barriers. Senator Elizabeth Warren told POLITICO: “This deal would give protections to international corporations that are not available to United States environmental and labor groups. Multinational corporations are increasingly realizing this is an opportunity to gut U.S. regulations they don’t like.” Keeping the United States from being first in health and safety protections is un-American.

9. Prescription drug costs will increase. The TPP includes terms that would limit access to generic drugs and curtail government power to limit the price of drugs. See Public Citizen’s report ”The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) threatens access to affordable medicines.”

10. The TPP could potentially undermine reforms of Wall Street and threaten U.S. financial stability by providing the institutions that caused the 2008-2009 financial crisis a path to circumvent U.S. regulations, such as limiting capital controls and prohibiting any taxes on Wall Street speculation. See the letter sent by Senators Warren, Markey and Baldwin last year to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

For further comprehensive analysis of the TPP, see Global Trade Watch.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and “Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us” (a novel).

Here is from the June 3rd article at the pro-trade-deals Americas Society & Council of the Americas, “Summary: The Trans-Pacific Partnership – What’s at Stake for the Western Hemisphere?” in which the Democratic congressman, Gregory Meeks, a Co-Chair of the Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Caucus, states the core of the Administration’s case on its proposed trade-deals. The article reports:

According to Congressman Meeks, ‘TPP is a force for positive change across the board for all countries, whether or not they belong to TPP,’ although this transformation will require rigorous action. Countries in Central and South America understand that economic reforms and harmonized trade rules are only one side of the coin. On the reverse side, they are committed to addressing socio-political demands, inequality issues, violence, and the informal sector in the economy.

He’s referring there to the uniform standardization that these deals would impose upon all participating countries regarding regulations of food-safety, product-safety, drug-safety, environmental standards, workers’ rights, protections against the defrauding of investors, etc. He is saying that this international uniformity will bring “positive change across the board for all countries.”

What it will actually do is to raise the standards in some countries and lower the standards in others, in order to achieve uniformity across international borders.

So: let us assume, for the purpose of argument, that, for the most part, the net average result will indeed be to raise standards. This is what he is implying (even though it’s false). But there is a deeper problem than whether environmental and other standards within various nations are set higher; and it is that they are, in effect, to be set in stone by these agreements.

Just as it is vastly more difficult to update a provision in the U.S. Constitution by means of of its Amendment-process than it is to enact a new mere law that updates an old mere law; so, too, it is vastly more difficult to change an international treaty-provision than it is to change a mere single nation’s regulatory standards and laws.

Whereas to change a law or regulation requires only intra-national, or inside-the-nation, process, changing a treaty-provision requires a vastly more difficult international process, which demands the unanimous consent of all member-nations of the given treaty or international agreement.

These ’trade’ deals are set up, far more fundamentally, to transfer the power over the decisions concerning such matters, away from democratically accountable national governments, to, instead, panels of ‘arbitrators’ consisting of three lawyers, each one of whom is appointed by international corporations — i.e, by the very same parties whose interest is to lower workers’ wages and rights, to lower environmental standards, to lower protections against defrauding stockholders, to lower protections against global warming, to lower protections against toxics in foods, etc.

The system in these ’trade’ deals does not allow nations to sue international corporations, but it does allow international corporations to sue any signatory nation that, a given suing international corporation alleges, has violated the treaty’s international standard — in other words, that has applied or instituted a standard higher than the international treaty allows.

If subsequent scientific research indicates that a given global-warming matter requires a higher standard than was formerly thought, or that a given product-safety or food-safety standard was actually dangerously low and must be raised, then, that’s just too bad, because there won’t be any realistic way in which the given standard, in any participating country, will be able to be raised. The international corporations that have lobbied so successfully for Obama’s ‘trade’ deals to get them as far as they already have, will easily be able to block at least one of the participating countries from going along with a treaty-change to enable increasing the then-established set-in-stone international standard.

So: what’s really at issue here is a transfer from national democratic sovereignty to, instead, international-corporate sovereignty, in which international corporations will have locked-in an international dictatorial control over a large portion of what it is that national governments do, and necessarily must do, in order to serve the public good.

The whole thing is a corrupt con-job.

What is at stake here is nothing less than whether the future of the world will be national democratic governments, or instead an international fascist government. Regardless of whether the old ideal of an international democratic world-federalist government (the old idea of a world government) was a good one, the bringing-about of an international corporate dictatorship is a monstrosity: the very opposite of an international democracy.

Barack Obama wants to bring the world into international fascist control more than has ever yet existed on this planet. If he succeeds, he will thus be the most harmful political leader in world history. His deals must be stopped. They are horrendous.

What Is the “Real Risk” from Terrorism in America?

June 9th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

As We Show In This Updated list, You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By Brain-Eating Parasites, Toddlers, Lightning, Falling Out of Bed, Alcoholism, Food Poisoning, Choking On Your Meal, a Financial Crash, Obesity, Medical Errors or “Autoerotic Asphyxiation” than by Terrorists

Preface: Bad government policy has increased the level of terrorism. And corruption in our security agencies has allowed attacks to succeed which should have been stopped. 

Even so, the levels of terrorism are still much lower than many assume.  Government officials and counter-terror experts may hype the terror threat to promote their agendas. But – as shown below – your risk of being killed in a terror attack is actually much lower than being killed by virtually any other cause.

Daniel Benjamin – the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the United States Department of State from 2009 to 2012 – noted in January (at 10:22):

The total number of deaths from terrorism in recent years has been extremely small in the West. And the threat itself has been considerably reduced. Given all the headlines people don’t have that perception; but if you look at the statistics that is the case.

Time Magazine noted in 2013 that the chance of dying in a terrorist attack in the United States from 2007 to 2011, according to Richard Barrett – coordinator of the United Nations al Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team – was 1 in 20 million.

Let’s look at specific numbers …

The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011.* That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.

In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:

Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism deaths means:

– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

– You are 4,311 times more likely to die from diabetes than from a terrorist attack

– You are 3,157 times more likely to die from flu or pneumonia than from a terrorist attack

– You are 2,091 times more likely to die from blood poisoning than from a terrorist attack

– You are 1,064 times more likely to die as your lungs swell up after your food or beverage goes down the wrong pipe

(Keep in mind when reading this entire piece that we are consistently and substantially understating the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States against deaths from terrorism worldwide.)

Wikipedia notes that obesity is a a contributing factor in 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year. That makes obesity 5,882 to 23,528 times more likely to kill you than a terrorist.

The annual number of deaths in the U.S. due to avoidable medical errors is as high as 100,000. Indeed, one of the world’s leading medical journals – Lancet – reported in 2011:

A November, 2010, document from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that, when in hospital, one in seven beneficiaries of Medicare (the government-sponsored health-care programme for those aged 65 years and older) have complications from medical errors, which contribute to about 180 000 deaths of patients per year.

That’s just Medicare beneficiaries, not the entire American public. Scientific American noted in 2009:

Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation.

And a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety says the numbers may be up to 440,000 each year.  But let’s use the lower – 100,000 – figure. That still means that you are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism.

The CDC says that some 80,000 deaths each year are attributable to excessive alcohol use. So you’re 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism.

Approximately 38,329 Americans die each year from drug overdoses. That’s 2,255 times more than from terrorists.

Wikipedia notes that there were 32,367 automobile accidents in 2011, which means that you are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack. As CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria wrote last year:

“Since 9/11, foreign-inspired terrorism has claimed about two dozen lives in the United States. (Meanwhile, more than 100,000 have been killed in gun homicides and more than 400,000 in motor-vehicle accidents.) “

President Obama agreed.

According to a 2011 CDC report, poisoning from prescription drugs is even more likely to kill you than a car crash. Indeed, the CDC stated in 2011 that – in the majority of states – your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.

The financial crisis has also caused quite a few early deaths. The Guardian reported in 2008:

High-income countries such as the UK and US could see a 6.4% surge in deaths from heart disease, while low-income countries could experience a 26% rise in mortality rates.

Since there were 596,339 deaths from heart disease in the U.S. in 2011 (see CDC table above), that means that there are approximately 38, 165 additional deaths a year from the financial crisis … and Americans are 2,245 times more likely to die from a financial crisis that a terrorist attack.

Financial crises cause deaths in other ways, as well. For example, the poverty rate has skyrocketed in the U.S. since the 2008 crash. For example, the poverty rate in 2010 was the highest in 17 years, and more Americans numerically were in poverty as of 2011 than for more than 50 years. Poverty causes increased deaths from hunger, inability to pay for heat and shelter, and other causes. (And – as mentioned below – suicides have skyrocketed recently; many connect the increase in suicides to the downturn in the economy.)

The number of deaths by suicide has also surpassed car crashes. Around 35,000 Americans kill themselves each year (and more American soldiers die by suicide than combat; the number of veterans committing suicide is astronomical and under-reported). So you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.

The CDC notes that there were 7,638 deaths from HIV and 45 from syphilis, so you’re 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism. (That doesn’t include death by autoerotic asphyxiation … discussed below.)

The National Safety Council reports that more than 6,000 Americans die a year from falls … most of them involve people falling off their roof or ladder trying to clean their gutters, put up Christmas lights and the like. That means that you’re 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack.

The same number – 6,000 – die annually from texting or talking on the cellphone while driving. So you’re 353 times more likely to meet your maker while lol’ing than by terrorism.

The agency in charge of workplace safety – the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – reports that 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 within the U.S. homeland. In other words, you are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than terrorism.

Approximately 4,000 Americans drown each year … 235 times more than from terror attacks.

The CDC notes that 3,177 people died of “nutritional deficiencies” in 2011, which means you are 187 times more likely to starve to death in American than be killed by terrorism.

About 2,200 Americans die each year from acute alcohol poisoning (i.e. extreme binge drinking) … 129 times more than from terror attacks.

Some 2,000 Americans die each year from heat or cold. That’s 118 times more than from terrorism.

Approximately 1,000 Americans die each year from autoerotic asphyxiation. So you’re 59 times more likely to kill yourself doing weird, kinky things than at the hands of a terrorist.

There were an average of 928 Americans killed by police officers in the United States each year in “justifiable homicides”. That means that you were more than 55 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist. That number does not include unjustifiable homicides.

Some 411 Americans are electrocuted each year … 24 times more than die from terrorism.

Nearly 400 Americans die each year due to drug allergies from penicillin. More than 200 deaths occur each year due to food allergies. Nearly 100 Americans die due to insect allergies. And 10 deaths each year are due to severe reactions to latex. See this. There are many other types of allergies, but that totals 710 deaths each year from just those four types of allergies alone … making it 42 times more likely that you’ll die from an allergic reaction than from a terror attack.

Some 450 Americans die each year when they fall out of bed, 26 times more than are killed by terrorists.

Scientific American notes:

You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which the CDC estimates has infected about 22.5 percent of Americans older than 12 years old

Toxoplasmosis is a brain-parasite. The CDC reports that more than 375 Americans die annually due to toxoplasmosis. In addition, 3 Americans died in 2011 after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba. So you’re about 22 times more likely to die from a brain-eating zombie parasite than a terrorist.

Around 34 Americans a year are killed by dog bites … around twice as many as by terrorists.

The 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center notes that Americans are just as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by terrorists.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that Americans are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism. And see this.

The Jewish Daily Forward noted in May that – even including the people killed in the Boston bombing – you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. And see these statistics from CNN.

Reason notes:

[The risk of being killed by terrorism] compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010.

Scientific American reported in 2011:

John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University, and Mark Stewart, a civil engineer and authority on risk assessment at University of Newcastle in Australia … contended, “a great deal of money appears to have been misspent and would have been far more productive—saved far more lives—if it had been expended in other ways.”

Mueller and Stewart noted that, in general, government regulators around the world view fatality risks—say, from nuclear power, industrial toxins or commercial aviation—above one person per million per year as “acceptable.” Between 1970 and 2007 Mueller and Stewart asserted in a separate paper published last year in Foreign Affairs that a total of 3,292 Americans (not counting those in war zones) were killed by terrorists resulting in an annual risk of one in 3.5 million. Americans were more likely to die in an accident involving a bathtub (one in 950,000), a home appliance (one in 1.5 million), a deer (one in two million) or on a commercial airliner (one in 2.9 million). [Let’s throw a couple more fun facts into the mix … The risk of choking to death on food is 1 in 4,404, and the risk of dying by falling out of furniture (including couches, chairs and beds) is 1 in 4,238. So you’re almost a thousand times more likely to die from one of these rare causes of death than terrorism.]

The global mortality rate of death by terrorism is even lower. Worldwide, terrorism killed 13,971 people between 1975 and 2003, an annual rate of one in 12.5 million. Since 9/11 acts of terrorism carried out by Muslim militants outside of war zones have killed about 300 people per year worldwide. This tally includes attacks not only by al Qaeda but also by “imitators, enthusiasts, look-alikes and wannabes,” according to Mueller and Stewart.

Defenders of U.S. counterterrorism efforts might argue that they have kept casualties low by thwarting attacks. But investigations by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies suggest that 9/11 may have been an outlier—an aberration—rather than a harbinger of future attacks. Muslim terrorists are for the most part “short on know-how, prone to make mistakes, poor at planning” and small in number, Mueller and Stewart stated. Although still potentially dangerous, terrorists hardly represent an “existential” threat on a par with those posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

In fact, Mueller and Stewart suggested in Homeland Security Affairs, U.S. counterterrorism procedures may indirectly imperil more lives than they preserve: “Increased delays and added costs at U.S. airports due to new security procedures provide incentive for many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination rather than flying, and, since driving is far riskier than air travel, the extra automobile traffic generated has been estimated to result in 500 or more extra road fatalities per year.”

The funds that the U.S. spends on counterterrorism should perhaps be diverted to other more significant perils, such as industrial accidents (one in 53,000), violent crime (one in 22,000), automobile accidents (one in 8,000) and cancer (one in 540). “Overall,” Mueller and Stewart wrote, “vastly more lives could have been saved if counterterrorism funds had instead been spent on combating hazards that present unacceptable risks.” In an e-mail to me, Mueller elaborated:

“The key question, never asked of course, is what would the likelihood be if the added security measures had not been put in place? And, if the chances without the security measures might have been, say, one in 2.5 million per year, were the trillions of dollars in investment (including overseas policing which may have played a major role) worth that gain in security—to move from being unbelievably safe to being unbelievably unbelievably safe? Given that al Qaeda and al Qaeda types have managed to kill some 200 to 400 people throughout the entire world each year outside of war zones since 9/11—including in areas that are far less secure than the U.S.—there is no reason to anticipate that the measures have deterred, foiled or protected against massive casualties in the United States. If the domestic (we leave out overseas) enhanced security measures put into place after 9/11 have saved 100 lives per year in the United States, they would have done so at a cost of $1 billion per saved life. That same money, if invested in a measure that saves lives at a cost of $1 million each—like passive restraints for buses and trucks—would have saved 1,000 times more lives.”

Mueller and Stewart’s analysis is conservative, because it excludes the most lethal and expensive U.S. responses to 9/11. Al Qaeda’s attacks also provoked the U.S. into invading and occupying two countries, at an estimated cost of several trillion dollars. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 Americans so far—more than twice as many as were killed on September 11, 2001—as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.


In 2007 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that people are more likely to be killed by lightning than terrorism. “You can’t sit there and worry about everything,” Bloomberg exclaimed. “Get a life.”

Indeed, the Senior Research Scientist for the Space Science Institute (Alan W. Harris) estimates that the odds of being killed by a terrorist attack is about the same as being hit by an asteroid (and see this).

Terrorism pushes our emotional buttons. And politicians and the media tend to blow the risk of terrorism out of proportion. But as the figures above show, terrorism is a very unlikely cause of death.

Indeed, our spending on anti-terrorism measures is way out of whack … especially because most of the money has been wasted. And see this article, and this 3-minute video by professor Mueller:

Indeed, mission creep in the name of countering terrorism actually makes us more vulnerable to actual terrorist attacks. And corrupt government policy is arguably more dangerous than terrorism.

Indeed, the terrorism deaths Americans have suffered were  unnecessary … and were largely due to corruption in our security agencies. And see this.

* Note: Subsequent official reports – published in 2012 and 2013 – show that even fewer Americans were killed by terrorists than in the previous year.

Oh, the misdirected fury of it all. The self-appointed elect, those states at the G7, have decided to have a chat about matters deemed critical for them.  A few interlopers are also present – Nigeria, Tunisia and Liberia, for instance.  Like any club whose rules vary between snooty and arbitrary, there were exclusions.  On this occasion, basic arithmetic dictated that it would be a G7 summit, as opposed to a G8 one – Russia was excluded, largely because, it would seem, the member states needed something to talk about.

The agenda shaped up very quickly. The G7 chat fest did take some time out to consider the environmental side of matters, suggesting that fossil fuels were being given the heave ho.  “We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term, including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050.”[1]

But the members had two states in their sights.  One was the superstar absentee, target of European and US morality and historical ennui: Russia.  As the G7 communique outlined, “We stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase [the] cost on Russia should its actions so require.”  The other was Greece, target of economic opprobrium and whipping boy of Europe’s disastrous financial policies.

It was Moscow who got the biggest serve.  “Does [Vladimir Putin],” US President Barack Obama observed, “continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet empire?  Or does he recognise that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?”

As with so much in the realm of power politics, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. The relationship between Ukraine and Russia has been terse, vicious and rubbed by history.  That tends to be patched over by the sovereignty argument, while ignoring EU and NATO complicity in undermining Kiev.  The communique itself makes it clear where Ukraine should orient itself.  “We commend and support the steps the Ukrainian government is taking to implement comprehensive structural reforms and urge the Ukrainian leadership to decisively continue the necessary fundamental transformation in line with IMF and EU commitments.”[2]

Independence is simply the prop for the big EU-US-Russia show.  The idea that Russian “aggression” is somehow monolithic, innate and clearly demarcated is as naïve as it is dangerous.  But the various parties have come to the conclusion that the peace plan outlined at Minsk in February is the one to aim for.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, also gave the impression that the sanctions regime against Russia might be ratcheted up, though Germany has remained pensive about it.  Much business has been lost in the endeavour.  The Chancellor attempted putting a brave face on it all.  The G7 front was “ready, should the situation [in Ukraine] escalate – which we don’t want – to strengthen sanctions if the situation makes that necessary but we believe we should do everything to move forward the political process of Minsk.”

Much of this seems disproportionate and more than just thinly veiled hypocrisy. Russia’s suspension from the G8 for its backing of eastern Ukrainian separatists, and the Crimean annexation, suggest a clear context for targeting a country for violating the sovereignty of others.  But when one considers the other members of the same family of summitry, including France, Britain and the UK, the list of violators of sovereignty is extensive.

Proxy wars are being fought across the Middle East, ostensibly to back some form of regime against another form of threat.  French, UK and US money floats into bank accounts of various militant forces who have marshalled themselves against the Islamic State.  Labels such as “moderate” are used in recognising which group will get funding in the fight, either against the Assad regime itself, or the even less savoury groups connected with ISIS.  Sovereignty has little to do with any of this.

Then there is that rather nasty aspect of warrantless surveillance, a sordid little understanding that seems to have been struck between intelligence services at the cost of parliamentary integrity.  This did not seem to bother Merkel, who had herself been the subject of NSA surveillance and phone hacking.  Let bygones be bygones.  As she declared at Schloss Elmau, Germany and the US were “inseparable allies”.[3]

The gathering also did some finger wagging at Athens.  Last week, the Tsipras government poured cold water on proposals for a cash-for-reforms deal advanced by the International Monetary Fund and European lenders. The summit provided the stage for the European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to vent his spleen.  “Alexis Tsipras promised by Thursday evening he would present a second proposal. Then he said he would present it on Friday. And then he said he would call on Saturday.  But I have never received that proposal, so I hope I will receive it soon.”[4]

There were other gems fashioned.  Terrorism, which is the background always depicted these days as a grandly dangerous foreground, featured.  “In light of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters phenomenon, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism will have to remain the priority for the whole international community.”  Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari came with his own “wish list” hoping for a firm stance against Boko Haram.

Since states are thinking about fiendish ways to take away the citizenships of those it suspects (suspicion is everything) of being involved, or planning, terrorist acts, it has fallen to such powers as Britain and Canada to lead the way.  Forms of regulation are encouraged in the name of combating “radicalisation”, noting the reach of the Internet and the scope of social media sites.  Fear substitutes necessary evidence.  Illusion takes the place of policy. Perfect yet predictable outcomes of such summits.

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



Even though peace talks are slated to begin on June 14 in Geneva, Switzerland between the major parties involved in the current phase of the conflict over the control of Yemen the fighting rages on inside this underdeveloped Middle Eastern state.

Prior to the announcement of the U.N.-sponsored talks, the discussions were taking place between the Obama administration’s State Department and the Ansurallah movement (Houthis) in Oman. The Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) led alliance backed by the U.S. has been conducting aerial bombardments and supporting militias to attack the Ansurallah and forces within the military still loyal to former President Abdullah Ali Saleh.

However, even prior to the commencement of the negotiations, the Saudi-backed political forces of fugitive President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi have set parameters for the talks based upon the restoration of his government to power in Sanaa. Hadi fled to the south of Yemen and later to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he claims to be the legitimate head-of-state for the country.

The U.S. appears to recognize Hadi as the de facto regime in Yemen despite the taking of large amounts of territory by the Ansurallah. The White House withdrew 100 Special Forces from Yemen earlier this year and recalled its diplomatic personnel. Hundreds of Yemeni Americans have been stranded in the embattled state where Washington has ignored the plight of those who hold U.S. passports.

An Associated Press (AP) report noted that “Yemen’s internationally recognized prime minister said Monday (June 8) that upcoming United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Geneva are aimed at ‘restoring power’ to his government and pressuring Shiite rebels to withdraw from the capital and other cities. Speaking to reporters from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Khaled Bahah said he hopes the June 14 meeting will lead to more intensive negotiations on a road map for Yemen’s future, including an eventual referendum on a draft constitution and fresh elections.” (June 8)

A spokesman for the Ansurallah forces immediately dismissed the assertion by the Hadi faction.

Their position is that the discussions should focus on the implementation of a UN resolution passed earlier in the year calling for the withdrawal of armed forces from various regions of the capital and throughout the country.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam stressed in a statement that the Hadi regime is illegitimate and consequently they are in no position to force preconditions for UN supervised talks. Abdel-Salam characterized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi a “tool of Riyadh.”

The Houthis spokesman went on to say that the Saudi-backed regime of Hadi “can’t talk the language of logic, instead they can talk the language of aggression.”

Ansurallah movement forces question whether the Saudi-backed Hadi regime even wants the Geneva talks to take place, saying the U.S.-allied interests would not be able unify its own fractious elements irrespective of a national mandate for peace.

Ground Attacks Intensify Along Saudi Border

Cross border attacks into Saudi Arabia by forces in Yemen from the Ansurallah movement and the Saleh loyalists resulted in dozens of casualties. In response to the constant bombing since March 26, the Ansurallah and loyalist forces are taking the war into eastern Saudi Arabia.

A missile launched from Yemen on June 8 was reported to have fatally struck two Saudi soldiers. These deaths were acknowledged by the Riyadh-led coalition. (Al-Arabiya, June 8)

Just a few days before at least four Saudi troops were also killed in a similar attack.

These attacks in the Asir region occurred at (0540 GMT), the coalition said in a media release carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. Details say that a National Guard soldier and another from the Border Guard force were killed. An additional two border guards were killed in a missile strike carried out in the same area in late May. (Al-Arabiya, June 8)

It is estimated that 37 people in Saudi Arabia, many of whom were members of the armed forces along with noncombatants, have been killed in border clashes and cross-territorial shelling since March 26 when the Saudi-led coalition began its massive bombing campaign in Yemen.

An additional four soldiers were slain along with dozens of Yemenis on June 5 when units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh launched an offensive operation in the Saudi border districts of Jazan and Najran. Scud missiles were fired into Saudi territory but were repelled says official sources in Riyadh.

On a regional level, the war is being portrayed as a conflict between Saudi Arabia and the GCC-backed coalition supported by the U.S. on one side and the Islamic Republic of Iran and its allies on the other. Any proposed settlement will have to take into consideration these factors.

In addition, inside Yemen itself, there is the re-emergence of a secessionist movement in the South which evokes the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen which was in existence from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. The demands for greater autonomy and possible independence must also be taken into consideration in projecting the future of the country.

Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (IS) are also active in Yemen. U.S. drone attacks for years have claimed to target the AQAP resulting in many deaths including some who held U.S. passports.

Fighting Continues in the South

There are intense battles still raging in the southern port city of Aden where the Ansurallah (Houthis) are regaining territory they had lost in recent clashes with militias backed by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which are given air cover by the Pentagon coordinated aircraft.

Reuters reported on June 3 that “Saudi-led air strikes killed a group of around 20 Houthi fighters outside the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on Wednesday (June 3) and also shook the capital Sanaa in the north, militiamen opposed to the Houthis said. The militia sources said the Houthis were killed when the air raid hit their military convoy as it was transporting an artillery piece toward the northwest suburbs of Aden. The death toll could not be independently verified.”

Due to the ongoing airstrikes from the Saudi-GCC alliance people living in Aden are consistently reporting on the deteriorating conditions as the U.S.-backed forces have implemented a blockade preventing food and fuel from reaching many areas of the city. The district of Crater, where fierce battles have taken place for weeks, residents said that four people died of dengue fever on June 2.

Regular supplies of electricity, water and trash removal have been severely hampered since the intensified fighting began on March 26. The foreign policy of Washington is creating more deaths and destruction in Yemen and throughout the region.

In Iraq, Syria and Libya, the impact of Pentagon wars of regime-change is continuing to prompt dislocation and human misery on a mass scale. Efforts to re-shape the Middle East and North Africa are being resisted in Yemen and in other states. The bombing of Yemen for over two months has still not resulted in the defeat of the Ansurallah and its allies.

Until the people of the region unite against imperialist interventions the humanitarian crisis cannot be abated. The resources and waterways of the region belong to the people and not the multi-national corporations and the international financial institutions.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the U.S. government’s plunge into Cold War II would bring back the one-sided propaganda themes that dominated Cold War I, but it’s still unsettling to see how quickly the major U.S. news media has returned to the old ways, especially the New York Times, which has emerged as Official Washington’s propaganda vehicle of choice.

What has been most striking in the behavior of the Times and most other U.S. mainstream media outlets is their utter lack of self-awareness, for instance, accusing Russia of engaging in propaganda and alliance-building that are a pale shadow of what the U.S. government routinely does. Yet, the Times and the rest of the MSM act as if these actions are unique to Moscow.

A case in point is Monday’s front-page story in the Times entitled “Russia Wields Aid and Ideology Against West to Fight Sanctions,” which warns: “Moscow has brought to bear different kinds of weapons, according to American and European officials: money, ideology and disinformation.”

The article by Peter Baker and Steven Erlanger portrays the U.S. government as largely defenseless in the face of this unprincipled Russian onslaught:

“Even as the Obama administration and its European allies try to counter Russia’s military intervention across its border, they have found themselves struggling at home against what they see as a concerted drive by Moscow to leverage its economic power, finance European political parties and movements, and spread alternative accounts of the conflict.”

Like many of the Times’ recent articles, this one relies on one-sided accusations from U.S. and European officials and is short on both hard evidence of actual Russian payments – and a response from the Russian government to the charges. At the end of the long story, the writers do include one comment from Brookings Institution scholar, Fiona Hill, a former U.S. national intelligence officer on Russia, noting the shortage of proof.

“The question is how much hard evidence does anyone have?” she asked. But that’s about all a Times’ reader will get if he or she is looking for some balanced reporting.

Missing the Obvious

Still, the more remarkable aspect of the article is how it ignores the much more substantial evidence of the U.S. government and its allies themselves financing propaganda operations and supporting “non-governmental organizations” that promote the favored U.S. policies in countries around the world.

Plus, there’s the failure to recognize that many of Official Washington’s own accounts of global problems have been riddled with propaganda and outright disinformation.

For instance, much of the State Department’s account of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin attack in Syria turned out to be false or misleading. United Nations inspectors discovered only one rocket carrying sarin – not the barrage that U.S. officials had originally alleged – and the rocket had a much shorter range than the U.S. government (and the New York Times) claimed. [See’s “NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis.”]

Then, after the Feb. 22, 2014 U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine, the U.S. government and the Times became veritable founts of propaganda and disinformation. Beyond refusing to acknowledge the key role played by neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias in the coup and subsequent violence, the State Department disseminated information to the Times that later was acknowledged to be false.

In April 2014, the Times published a lead story based on photographs of purported Russian soldiers in Ukraine but had to retract it two days later because it turned out that the State Department had misrepresented where a key photo was  taken, destroying the premise of the article. [See’s “NYT Retracts Ukraine Photo Scoop.”]

And sometimes the propaganda came directly from senior U.S. government officials. For instance, on April 29, 2014, Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy, issued a “Dipnote” that leveled accusations that the Russian network RT was painting “a dangerous and false picture of Ukraine’s legitimate government,” i.e., the post-coup regime that took power after elected President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office. In this context, Stengel denounced RT as “a distortion machine, not a news organization.”

Though he offered no specific dates and times for the offending RT programs, Stengel did complain about

“the unquestioning repetition of the ludicrous assertion … that the United States has invested $5 billion in regime change in Ukraine. These are not facts, and they are not opinions. They are false claims, and when propaganda poses as news it creates real dangers and gives a green light to violence.”

However, RT’s “ludicrous assertion” about the U.S. investing $5 billion was a clear reference to a public speech by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, in which she told them that “we have invested more than $5 billion” in what was needed for Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.” [See’s “Who’s the Propagandist: US or RT?”]

One could go on and on about the U.S. government making false or misleading claims about these and other international crises. But it should be clear that Official Washington doesn’t have clean hands when it comes to propaganda mud-slinging, though you wouldn’t know that from the Times’ article on Monday.

Funding Cut-outs

And, beyond the U.S. government’s direct dissemination of disinformation, the U.S. government also has spread around hundreds of millions of dollars to finance “journalism” organizations, political activists and “non-governmental organizations” that promote U.S. policy goals inside targeted countries. Before the Feb. 22, 2014 coup in Ukraine, there were scores of such operations in the country financed by the National Endowment for Democracy. NED’s budget from Congress exceeds $100 million a year.

But NED, which has been run by neocon Carl Gershman since its founding in 1983, is only part of the picture. You have many other propaganda fronts operating under the umbrella of the U.S. State Department and its U.S. Agency for International Development. Last May 1, USAID issued a fact sheet summarizing its work financing friendly journalists around the world, including “journalism education, media business development, capacity building for supportive institutions, and strengthening legal-regulatory environments for free media.”

USAID estimated its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually, including aiding “independent media organizations and bloggers in over a dozen countries,” In Ukraine before the coup, USAID offered training in “mobile phone and website security.”

USAID, working with billionaire George Soros’s Open Society, also funds the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP also collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins.

Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what appeared to be the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.

Despite his dubious record of accuracy, Higgins has gained mainstream acclaim, in part, because his “findings” always match up with the propaganda theme that the U.S. government and its Western allies are peddling. Though most genuinely independent bloggers are ignored by the mainstream media, Higgins has found his work touted.

In other words, whatever Russia is doing to promote its side of the story in Europe and elsewhere is more than matched by the U.S. government through its direct and indirect agents of influence. Indeed, during the original Cold War, the CIA and the old U.S. Information Agency refined the art of “information warfare,” including pioneering some of its current features like having ostensibly “independent” entities and cut-outs present the propaganda to a cynical public that rejects much of what it hears from government but may trust “citizen journalists” and “bloggers.”

To top off this modern propaganda structure, we now have the paper-of-record New York Times coming along to suggest that anyone who isn’t disseminating U.S. propaganda must be in Moscow’s pocket. The implication is that now that we have Cold War II, we can expect to have McCarthyism II as well.

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

G7 Leaders Escalate War Threats against Russia

June 9th, 2015 by Thomas Gaist

During their second day of discussions in the resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the German Alps on Monday, the leaders of the major imperialist powers affirmed their commitment to a policy of escalating strategic and military pressure against Russia.

“We need to keep pushing Russia,” Obama said. “Russian forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The G7 is making it clear that if necessary we stand ready to impose additional significant sanctions against Russia,” Obama declared.

An official communiqué released by the G7 powers—the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and Canada—reaffirmed Obama’s anti-Russia comments. It warned that the assembled powers would devise “further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia.”

The hypocrisy and recklessness of Obama and his G7 counterparts is breathtaking. They are denouncing Russian “aggression” in Ukraine, which they plunged into civil war by backing a fascist-led putsch last year that toppled a pro-Russian government. Now, US and NATO armed forces are conducting air, sea and ground exercises all along Russia’s borders. In Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea, the US and its allies are rehearsing the opening stages of an all-out war with Russia.

Last week, US defense officials testifying before the US House of Representatives indicated that the Pentagon is considering launching pre-emptive strikes against Russian targets, including with nuclear weapons (see: US officials consider nuclear strikes against Russia). These statements are no doubt now being carefully studied by the Russian military.

NATO’s recently-formed Rapid Response Force, which has been assembled to serve as the spearhead of a NATO ground war against Russian forces, is set to conduct military exercises in Poland starting today. The so-called “Baltops” exercises are to involve thousands of US-NATO troops and will take place simultaneously in Sweden, Germany and the Baltic Sea.

A quarter century after the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the “Cold War,” Washington is preparing new forward-deployments of its nuclear arsenal to Europe. In an interview with the BBC given the preceding day, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond made clear that plans for new US nuclear deployments to Europe are far advanced.

Hammond told the BBC Sunday that Britain may soon withdraw from the INF treaty, clearing the way for Britain to serve as a staging area for an American nuclear build-up against Russia, just as it did prior to 1991, when US nuclear weapons were stationed at the Royal Air Force’s Greenham Common base.

“There have been some worrying signs of stepping up levels of activity both by Russian forces and by Russian-controlled separatist forces,” Hammond said. “We have got to send a clear signal to Russia that we will not allow them to transgress our red lines.”

The US and European ruling elites’ strategy of endlessly bullying Russia by threatening it with war and nuclear strikes poses immense dangers to the world’s population. Even assuming that the ruling elites of the NATO powers are not immediately seeking to provoke outright war with Russia, the constant drumbeat of NATO threats and military exercises immensely heightens the danger of war breaking out accidentally.

With thousands of jet fighters, warships, and armored units on heightened alert throughout the region, the world is only a few miscalculations away from a clash between NATO and Russian forces that could rapidly escalate into war.

The immense dangers posed to the world’s population arising from the US and NATO war drive against Russia are being hidden from masses of workers in the United States and worldwide. No one in the official media is asking how many people would die if the military maneuvers being practiced by Russian and NATO forces in their exercises turned into the real thing. Instead, much of the media coverage of the G7 summit focused on controversy over whether Obama was drinking alcohol-free beer yesterday.

The relentless military escalation at this G7 summit testifies to the breakdown and historic bankruptcy of capitalism. Without the unification and mobilization of the international working class in revolutionary struggle against imperialism and war, it is not only likely, but inevitable, that NATO war threats will at some point unleash all-out war.

Russian leaders have already warned that they are on alert for signs of an imminent first strike by NATO and are holding Russian nuclear forces ready to respond to such an attack, should it come (see: Russian President Putin says Ukraine crisis threatens nuclear war).

The second main priority of the assembled leaders was to coordinate the imposition of austerity measures that have already set in motion the collapse of large parts of the European economy.

Even as Obama denounced Putin for “wrecking his country’s economy,” the social cuts, mass layoffs and other “economic restructuring” measures dictated by the Western banks and financial institutions are pushing millions into poverty and ravaging key social infrastructure across Southern and Eastern Europe.

In its official communique, the G7 powers demanded that the Ukrainian government continue to implement austerity policies that, as in Greece, are pushing broad layers of the population into poverty. The Kiev regime must “decisively continue the necessary fundamental transformation in line with IMF and EU commitments,” the joint G7 communique demanded Monday.

In remarks after Monday’s G7 session, German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatened Greece, insisting that it “does not have much time left” to reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union and European Central Bank (the “troika”). Such a deal would transfer a new loan of some €7 billion to Athens in exchange for new social cuts to the Greek economy, which has already been eviscerated by years of brutal austerity.

The precise makeup of the social cuts, which are to be directed largely against the salaries and pensions of government workers, were a major topic of discussion at the G7 talks, Merkel said. The German chancellor will reportedly meet for informal discussions with Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras during EU meetings with heads of state from Latin America scheduled for later in the week.

Despite criticizing the European Commission’s proposals for the Greek economy as “borderline insulting,” Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis nonetheless affirmed his determination to “come to an agreement” with the troika (the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank) and the big banks.

“It is time to stop pointing fingers at one another and it is time that we do our job,” he said.

In Michel Chossudovsky’s thesis as presented in The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity, the United States has become the Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984, a totalitarian state that brainwashes its citizens into believing that a state of constant warfare must be raged against mythical enemies, that human rights must be suppressed for the sake of national security; and acts of horrific violence are portrayed as attempts at peace-making.

The rulers of the US state are global industrialists, bankers, and businessmen who seek to gain control of the world’s natural resources, including the vast natural gas, oil, and uranium reserves at the basin of the Caspian Sea, for power and profit. It’s a thesis that many in the main-stream media might dismiss as a conspiracy theory, save for the fact that it is supported by the chain of events that have unfolded since the close of World War II.

originalIn 1945, as Mr. Chossudovsky points out, the United States emerged as the sole victor state that had been unscathed by genocide and territorial devastation. France, the U.K. Belgium, and the Netherlands opted to surrender their sovereign powers to U.S. hegemony for the sake of reconstruction and financial stability. The American military, industrial, and political leaders chose to seize the post-war state of affairs to create a New World Order that would remain under their economic control. This objective became crystallized in the “Truman Doctrine,” which held that the U.S. must maintain global dominance by military means. Such dominance, the doctrine professed, was for the good of humanity.

The American people became hoodwinked into supporting a war without borders, a war not only against nations but also against nouns such as “terrorism,” by a carefully orchestrated media campaign in which the two enemies of the United States – - “rogue states” and “Islamic terrorists” – - became presented as violators of human rights.

The purpose of these endless wars, according to Chossudovsky, is not conquest but the destruction of sovereign states so that the United States will emerge triumphant as the world’s sole political and economic power. The author believes that this purpose was evident in the Vietnam Nam which resulted not in a military victory but rather the constitution of a new impoverished frontier for cheap labor. Mr. Chussudovsky, like Karl Marx, maintains that economics constitutes the sole explanation for prevailing systems of thought, morality, and political action.

Such action as undertaken by the U.S., Chossudovsky argues, is criminal since it has resulted in the murder of millions of innocent civilians, along with the creation of death squads, civil conflict, and terror groups, including al Qaeda. Such criminality, he maintains, is presented to the public as beneficent for humanity. Prof. Chossudovsky quotes former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who, when asked if the embargo against Iran justified the deaths of half a million children, said: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – - we think the price is worth it.”

Michel Chossudovsky is not biased in his condemnation of U.S. political leaders who have engaged in wholesale acts of death and destruction. He takes Barack Obama to the woodshed as well as Bush père and Bush fils. He is intolerant of both progressive liberals and neoconservatives, all the while keenly aware that the real movers and shakers are not the elected officials but international bankers, global industrialists, and, of course, defense contractors. The driving force behind the wars without end is greed.

The book contains insights into the U.S. creation of ISIS to create a strategy of tension in the Middle East and the U.S. support of a Neo-Nazi regime in the Ukraine. It also contains telling information about the ways and means the American propaganda machine manufactures consent and dissent for the economic elite so that the dumbed-down American populace will continue to believe that they live in a democracy.

At the conclusion of his analysis, Chossudovsky expresses optimism that an antiwar movement will be mounted to end America’s long war against humanity. This movement must target the mainstream media in order to uncover the lies and fabrications that sustain the global war agenda. It must also initiate a campaign of networking and outreach to churches, schools, universities, and political action groups. The dynamics of dialectical material, he believes, remain in place. The thesis of global capitalism eventually will give way to the antithesis of new-found nationalism. In this lies the hope.

Mr. Chossudovsky’s book is challenging and informative. For those who seek the truth, it is required reading.

Paul L. Williams, Ph.D., is the author of Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between the Vatican, the CIA, and the Mafia.


Washington’s Death Squads

June 9th, 2015 by Bill Van Auken

In a lengthy article published Sunday, the New York Times provided a glimpse into the criminal and grisly methods employed by Seal Team 6, a secret unit within the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

The unit was made famous by the phony accounts of its assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, cover stories that were blown last month by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, who exposed the operation as the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed and decrepit individual who had been fingered by Pakistani intelligence.

What the Times account makes clear—whatever the newspaper’s intentions and its undoubted vetting of its material with the Pentagon and the White House—is that in the pursuit of its global interests, the United States government has become ever more dependent upon the murderous operations of secret death squads.

The newspaper quotes a Pentagon spokesman as saying that the number of missions carried out by Seal Team 6 and other special operations units has risen to the “tens of thousands” since 2001. The victims killed by Seal Team 6, whose very existence the US military refuses to acknowledge, number in the thousands, the vast majority of them unidentified individuals with no link to any plot or threat against the US itself.

The report says the secretive unit has grown to 1,800 personnel and boasts a “ballooning” budget and an ever-expanding remit. It details Seal Team 6’s exploits in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2008, when it carried out continuous night raids, killing, on average, 15 individuals each night and frequently as many as 25, while in most cases finding no one identified as a target.

Neither those hunted nor the many more who were killed posed any threat to the American people. They were targeted because they were identified as potential impediments to US policy, specifically to Washington’s attempt to prop up the corrupt and unpopular regime under Hamid Karzai that the US installed in Kabul.

The Times provides a sanitized account of one of these raids, carried out on December 27, 2009, as part of the Obama administration’s Afghan “surge,” in which the American military death squad murdered eight schoolboys—ages 11 to 17—along with a 12-year-old shepherd boy and an Afghan farmer.

At the time, a local school principal recounted the massacre:

“First, the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them. Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students. Then they killed them. Abdul Khaliq [the farmer] heard shooting and came outside. When they saw him, they shot him as well.”

Describing this period, a Seal Team 6 former officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated, “These killing fests had become routine.”

The Times reports that in Afghanistan, the Team 6 operatives “engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that was not their own.” It adds, “At times, Seals cut off fingers or patches of scalp from dead militants for DNA analysis.”

What is described here are not the actions of rogue soldiers or a band of lawless mercenaries, but rather a unit that is touted as the most elite within the US armed forces. Its methods and its crimes are the methods and crimes of the US government, the Obama administration and America’s capitalist ruling establishment.

The unit is given what amounts to blanket immunity for its crimes, with investigations of its activities almost invariably going no further than JSOC, itself a secretive command dedicated to “counter-insurgency” methods that routinely translate into war crimes.

Civilian officials at the Pentagon give these operations a wide berth, and, as Harold Koh, the State Department official who drafted pseudo-legal rationales for the Obama administration’s drone assassination program, told the Times, “This is an area where Congress notoriously doesn’t want to know too much.”

The Obama administration’s reliance upon these operations has become so pervasive that former US senator from Nebraska Robert Kerrey told the Times, “They have become sort of a 1-800 number anytime somebody wants something done.” Kerrey knows whereof he speaks, having participated as a Navy Seal in war crimes in Vietnam as part of the infamous Operation Phoenix program of torture, massacres and mass assassinations that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of men, women and children—the program on which much of today’s operations is modeled.

To the extent that the Times piece expresses any reservations concerning the operations of Team 6 and similar units, it is in regard to their efficacy. The newspaper complains that the wall of secrecy that surrounds this death squad operation makes it difficult “to fully assess its record and the consequences of its actions.”

Left unexplored is the far more significant question of what the ever-growing reliance on death squads, “kill lists” and assassinations says about the nature of the American government itself. The use of such methods is not new, and Vietnam was by no means exceptional.

In El Salvador, Washington trained and equipped death squads that carried out horrific violence against that country’s civilian population, accounting for a large share of the 75,000 people killed in the attempt to crush resistance to the US-backed dictatorship. This bloodbath is now touted within the Pentagon as a counterinsurgency success story.

But now these methods have become institutionalized as never before. They are the preferred method of the White House and Washington’s massive military and intelligence apparatus for the elimination of perceived enemies anywhere on the planet.

War crimes abroad go hand-in-hand with a frontal assault on democratic rights within the United States itself. Unprecedented levels of social inequality and a ruling capitalist oligarchy that is determined to reverse its economic decline at the expense of the working class are wholly incompatible with democratic forms of rule.

This already finds expression in the militarization of the police in the US and the routine use of violence and deadly force against the most oppressed layers of the population. How long will it be before units like Seal Team 6 are given “kill lists” of enemies of the state to be hunted down not in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq or Yemen, but rather at workplaces and homes within the United States itself?

After years of asserting that hydraulic fracturing has never tainted drinking water, the Obama administration issued a long-awaited study of the controversial oil and gas production technique that confirmed “specific instances” when fracking “led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells.”

The conclusion was central to a nearly 1,000-page draft assessment issued Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency to address public concerns about the possible effects of fracking on drinking water.

In the past, top Obama administration officials such as former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz maintained that there was no evidence fracking had fouled drinking water, despite findings to the contrary by EPA’s own scientists in several highly publicized cases. The acknowledgment of instances of fracking-related contamination marks a notable reversal for the administration.

“Today EPA confirmed what communities living with fracking have known for years: fracking pollutes drinking water,” said Earthworks policy director Lauren Pagel. “Now the Obama administration, Congress and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water, and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe.”

Still, the EPA determined that the number of contamination cases “was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.”

“We did not find evidence that these mechanisms [of possible contamination] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” the study said.

Oil and gas companies have also consistently contended that fracking has never contaminated drinking water. In the face of the EPA study results, industry groups such as Energy in Depth seized upon the conclusion that contamination did not appear to be widespread to argue that fears over fracking were unfounded.

“With this new report, it couldn’t be clearer that shale development is occurring in conjunction with environmental protection—and the claims by anti-fracking activists have been thoroughly debunked,” wrote Katie Brown on Energy In Depth’s website.

But EPA officials said the study is not meant to provide a comprehensive tally of water contamination incidents. There is no national database of the number of wells fracked or contamination incidents at oil and gas sites. For 40 years, Congress and successive administrations have exempted the oil and gas sector from a host of federal pollution rules that would require detailed reporting of its activities.

As a result, the report stitches together a piecemeal picture of fracking-related incidents. It relies on several case studies involving a handful of major incidents, such as a well blowout in Killdeer, N.D., that state regulators investigated. It also uses state data for possible contamination events, such as spills of fracking fluid at well pads, which EPA acknowledges provides a limited scope of the problem.

“The spills occurred between January 2006 and April 2012 in 11 states and included 151 cases in which fracturing fluids or chemicals spilled on or near a well pad,” the study said. “Due to the methods used for the EPA’s characterization of spills, these cases were likely a subset of all fracturing fluid and chemical spills during the study’s time period.”

The study notes that the small number of contamination incidents included in the report might not be due only to their rarity but “to other limiting factors,” including the lack of pre- and post-fracking data about drinking water resources; the dearth of long-term studies; and “the inaccessibility of some information on hydraulic fracturing activities and potential impacts,” most likely held by companies.

“This is a study of how we can best protect our water resources,” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s science adviser and deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Research and Development, which conducted the study. As far as fracking goes, Burke said during a press conference, “it’s not a question of safe or unsafe.”

Launched five years ago at the behest of Congress, the water study was supposed to provide critical information about the method’s safety “so that the American people can be confident that their drinking water is pure and uncontaminated,” said a top EPA official at a 2011 hearing.

But the report was delayed repeatedly, largely because the EPA failed to nail down a key component: the prospective, or baseline, sampling of water before, during and after fracking. Such data would have allowed EPA researchers to gauge whether fracking affects water quality over time, and to provide best industry practices that protect drinking water. EPA had planned to conduct such research, but its efforts were stymied by oil and gas companies’ unwillingness to allow EPA scientists to monitor their activities, and by an Obama White House unwilling to expend political capital to push the industry, an InsideClimate News report from March showed.

As a result, the study does not offer new empirical data gathered by the EPA about fracking’s effects, said several scientists who research oil and gas development’s impact on water. Rather, the EPA report provides an overview of existing literature and of cases of fracking-related water pollution investigated by state regulators.

“It’s comprehensive in its treatment of the literature, but it’s not very comprehensive in bringing new research or data from the field,” said Robert Jackson, professor of environment and energy at Stanford University. “That’s my biggest disappointment: They didn’t do prospective studies, they didn’t do well monitoring, they didn’t do much field research. I don’t feel like we have a lot of new information here.”

Despite its conclusion that fracking has not led to systemic water contamination, the report nonetheless catalogues risks to drinking water at every step of the process: from acquiring water to use in stimulating the well and mixing the fracking chemicals with the water to constructing wells, injecting the fracking fluid into the well, and handling of fracking waste water that flows back up the well.

Further, the study confirmed problems that independent researchers have identified over the last five years in peer-reviewed scientific literature. The EPA cited the high number of chemical spills on well pads in places such as Colorado, where fracking fluid could leach into the water table. It confirmed the migration of methane into some people’s drinking water in Pennsylvania. Moreover, it noted that oil and gas companies, especially in the West, frack in underground sources of drinking water––or USDWs––formations where pockets of water and hydrocarbons weave through each other.

Industry has denied such types of fracking. But Jackson and his Stanford colleague Dominic DiGiulio presented research at a conference last year that said oil and gas companies are fracking at much shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through the underground water sites.

The draft report now goes to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board for review and it will be open for public comment after June 5.

Islamic State (IS) closes in on Libya’s Oil Crescent

June 9th, 2015 by Global Research News

by Middle East Eye

Members of the Islamic State (IS) have their sights set on gaining full control of an area known as Libya’s oil crescent, according to residents in the Libyan town which has become IS’s latest conquest.

At a meeting with leaders from Harawa, IS militants said they were not interested in the town itself but needed it under their control as part of a planned takeover of the country’s central oil facilities, a senior resident of the town told Middle East Eye. Wary of the strong resistance Harawa had put up against its expansion in the region, IS negotiated an agreement with the tribal elders before entering the town and raising the flag above public buildings on Friday.

“In the negotiations IS said that before Ramadan they would enter the oil crescent,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Although locals had previously warned Libya’s rival governing institutions that the militant group was targeting the area for its oil, this was the first time IS had spoken of their plans, he said.

IS already has full control over the desert town of Nufaliya, just 50 kilometres from Libya’s largest oil export terminal of Es-Sidra, and controls much of Muammar Qaddafi’s former hometown of Sirte. Now having taken Harawa – strategically positioned between Sirte and Sidra in the centre of Libya’s coastal highway – it has secured a route to the oil crescent.



The desert region to the south of the oil ports has also been strategically cleared in a series of attacks by IS militants on security personnel and oil fields, where employees have been killed and kidnapped, and vehicles and equipment seized. Such assaults, over a six-month period, forced workers in nearby oil facilities to flee and has left the area vulnerable, according to one former oil worker, Mohamed.

“I expect they will try and take Sidra and Ras Lanuf and the oil fields on the west side of the oil crescent,” he predicted. “There are few people left to protect the oil fields apart from local security from isolated towns.”

The oil ports of Sidra and Ras Lanuf are not under the control of either of Libya’s feuding governments. For almost two years they have been controlled by self-appointed federalist leader Ibrahim Jadhran. Then heading the country’s oil protection forces, he gained control of facilities by leading workers in an industrial action that kept four ports closed and cost Libya millions of dollars in lost oil revenue.

These strikes – initially about pay and conditions – became part of a larger federalist movement demanding greater autonomy and a larger portion of the country’s oil wealth for eastern Libya.

Despite attempts by successive Libyan premiers to dislodge him, Jadhran has maintained a powerful presence in the region, including full control over the Sidra and Ras Lanuf oil ports and influence over a third export terminal further east at Zueitina.

When the Tripoli government launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid to take the Sidra facility, Jadhran joined forces with the Libyan Army, operating under the internationally-recognised parliament in the east, to repel the assault. After Tripoli forces withdrew in March, so too did the Libyan Army. Nothing further has been heard of this partnership – one of the many shifting allegiances in the Libyan civil war, where the proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” continues to resonate.

“Jadhran is a mystery even to us. We have not yet understood what he really is, apart from an oil thief,” said Misrata Military Council head Ibrahim Beitemal. “We have attempted to open dialogue with him but he does not like to collaborate because he doesn’t agree with the east or the west.”

He also claimed one of Jadhran’s brothers had joined IS in Libya, something that local people say is common knowledge in the area.

Whether Jadhran has any direct involvement with the militant group remains unclear, although Beitemal claimed that intelligence suggested he had tried to broker a deal with IS. “We have been told that Jadhran proposed some reinforcements to ISIS but on the condition that he kept control of the oil ports and fields, but this was rejected,” he said.

IS continues to destabilise the region targeting forces under the Tripoli government, at checkpoints along the coastal road and on the outskirts of Misrata. In the early hours of Sunday morning, three soldiers were shot dead at a checkpoint on the road between Misrata and Sirte.

Since taking over Harawa, IS has established five regular checkpoints on the coastal highway in a public display of the extent of its control.

Harawa is thought to be the first Libyan town that IS had been forced to negotiate with before raising its flag above public buildings. Local resident Haithem said that despite its willingness to fight IS, the town had received no military support and, after the fall of Sirte had been left with no choice but to negotiate a truce.

Heavily-armed militants entered the town after negotiations were completed, handing back three prisoners from Harawa that were seized during previous clashes, as a “goodwill gesture” intended to encourage the tribal elders to hand over local fighters who killed IS members in two rounds of clashes. Preaching at the town’s main mosque, IS instructed people not to raise the Libyan flag of independence and said that members of the police and army should resign and sign recantations.

Any security and protection would now be provided by the militants themselves, Haithem said.

War planes, reportedly from the Tripoli government, circled above the town after IS fighters entered Harawa but were repelled by anti-aircraft fire from the ground.

Although the black flag now flies above the local council building, Haithem described the situation as an “uneasy truce” explaining that neither side fully trusted the other.

Copyright Middle East Eye 2015

As human-caused climate disruption progresses, sea level rise is happening far faster than previously expected. (Photo: Iceberg via Shutterstock)

Recently, two friends and I attempted to climb Washington State’s beautiful, glacier-clad Mount Baker. Roped up while climbing up a glacier, roughly 1,500 feet below the summit, our route reached an impasse.

Given that it was technically early in the climbing season, and that we were on the standard route, we were dismayed to find a snow bridge spanning a 10-foot wide crevasse about to collapse. Finding no other way around the gaping void, we agreed to turn back and return another day.

After breaking down our camp and hiking out, we stopped off for a bite to eat in the nearby small town of Glacier, Washington. Our waitress told us of a friend of hers who worked in the Forest Service there, who told her that the area had, in the past year, “received the least amount of precipitation [that] it had for over 100 years.”

While planning our next trip to Mount Baker, one of my climbing partners spoke with a local guide who informed him that, despite the fact that it was only mid-May, “climbing conditions are already equivalent to what they usually are in mid- to late July … crevasses are opening up, and snow bridges are already melting out like it’s late season.”

Mountaineering in the throes of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), like the rest of life, is becoming increasingly challenging – as well as more dangerous.

The signs are all around us, every day now. All we need to do is open our eyes to the changes occurring in our regions. We need to look closely, and think about what is happening to the planet.

Now, zoom out with me for the bigger picture in this month’s Climate Disruption Dispatch, and brace yourself for some difficult news.

Changes in the Arctic Ocean have now become so profound that the region is entering what Norwegianscientists are calling ”a new era.” They warn of “far-reaching implications” due to the switch from a permanent cover of thick ice to a new state in which thinner ice vanishes in the summer.

Meanwhile, sea level rise is now happening much faster than anyone had expected, according to a recently published study from climate scientists in Australia. The study showed that sea level rise has been accelerating over the last two decades.

NASA recently released a study that reveals that the planet’s polar regions are in the midst of a stunning transformation, and showed that the massive 10,000-year-old Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica will soon completely collapse – perhaps as soon as 2020.

And these trends are on track to speed up, as March saw the global monthly average for atmospheric carbon dioxide hit 400.83 parts per million. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it was the first time the average surpassed 400 parts per million for an entire month since such measurements began in the late 1950s.


Starting on the earth and land front, the changes are coming fast and furiously.

study released by researchers in Sweden and China revealed how ACD can seriously alter the prospects of survival for pretty much every living thing on the planet, and in particular birds. The researchers showed how in the last ice age there was a severe decline in the vast majority of the species studied, which is precisely what we are seeing currently. Massive numbers of species of birds are currently in dramatic decline.

A recent stark example of this is happening in Ohio, where birds are being devastated from the impacts of ACD, according to the Audubon Society’s top scientist, who expects things to get far worse.

In California, the ongoing megadrought is already responsible for having killed 12.5 million trees in that state’s national forests,according to scientists with the US Forest Service. The scientists expect the die-off to continue. “It is almost certain that millions more trees will die over the course of the upcoming summer as the drought situation continues and becomes ever more long term,” said biologist Jeffrey Moore, acting regional aerial survey program manager for the US Forest Service.

Recent research out of California also shows that forests there have actually become climate polluters, rather than carbon dioxide reducers, again due to ACD impacts. The study shows that greenhouse gases are billowing out of the state’s forests faster than they are being sucked back in, with ACD-amplified wildfires mostly to blame.

Across most of the drought-stricken western United States, wild animals are literallydying for water to drink, as they are now being forced to seek water and food in areas far outside their normal range, leading to large increases in deaths.

Another recent study shows that as ACD progresses, expanses of majestic forests across the planet will become short and scrubby, due to changes of fluid flow to the inner workings of vegetation.

Meanwhile, rising carbon dioxide levels and other ACD impacts are having a massive impact on Native peoples’ ability to provide for their own health care, as medicinal plants are on the wane. This issue extends beyond the United States: Of the 7.3 billion people alive on earth right now, approximately 5 billion of them don’t go to a pharmacy to get their prescriptions filled.

On that note, a troubling recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that a warming climate is already driving down wheat yields in the United States, and likely elsewhere around the globe. Hence, feeding the 7.3 billion humans (and counting) is only going to become increasingly challenging.

More broadly, a recent report from doctors and scientists in Australia warned that ACD will lead to more disease, death and violent conflicts as countries fight more for food and water resources.


As usual, some of the most glaringly obvious impacts of ACD are making themselves known on the waterfront, both in the form of too little or too much water.

With the former, Nevada’s Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, has now dropped to its lowest water level in recorded history.

Up in the Pacific Northwest – not the region one tends to think about when considering droughts – a recent study found that more mountains there were snow-free earlier in the year than ever, since the region had a largely snow-free winter with many of the snowpacks at record lows. Water managers there had hoped late season snows or heavy spring rains would fill reservoirs, but they didn’t come. Instead, of the 98 sites monitored in Washington, 66 were snow-free by early May, and “76 percent of Oregon’s long-term snow monitoring sites were at the lowest snowpack levels on record” in April. In a typical year at that time, most sites would be near their peak snowpack.

Things are bad enough in the region that by mid-May Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency, as mountain snowpack in that state reached only 16 percent of average and water levels in rivers and streams dried to a trickle not seen since the 1950s. Inslee warned that “residents should also be prepared for an early and active fire season that could reach higher elevations in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, where many spots are already completely clear of snow.”

Looking further north, this past winter was also the least snowy on record for Anchorage, Alaska, according to the National Weather Service.

Moving across the Pacific to Taiwan, not a country one usually thinks about being impacted by drought, that nation is currently experiencing one of its most severe droughts in decades. Residents living on the country’s heavily populated western coast must ration their water use.

Up in the Arctic, our canary in the coal mine for ACD impacts, circumstances are growing increasingly dire. There was less ice in the Arctic this winter than during any other winter in the satellite era, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An international team of scientists recently confirmed a longstanding fear: The vast amounts of carbon currently preserved in the frozen soils and tundra of the Arctic will, thanks to melting of the permafrost, eventually all get back into the atmosphere. This is evidence of a positive feedback loop: Warming temperatures melt the permafrost, releasing stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which further warms temperatures, which melts more permafrost, and on and on.

As though performing an Arctic version of the post-apocalyptic action movie Mad Max, the thawing of the northern polar ice cap has several Western powers and Russia rushing to stake and safeguard their claims of newly opening shipping routes and offshore drilling sites. In other words, the latest iteration of the Cold War is heating up, rapidly.

Down in the Antarctic, this dispatch finds some equally disturbing developments.

The Larsen C ice shelf, which is dramatically larger than Larsen A and B and about two and a half times the size of Wales, is now looking as though it could collapse. A recently published study reported that mechanisms exist that “could pose an imminent risk” to the ice shelf.

In an example of yet another runaway feedback loop, a recent report shows that accelerating sea level rise is occurring, as the planet’s ice sheets melt at ever-increasing speeds.

On that note, Caribbean political leaders, whose 14 island countries are being hammered by increasing ocean acidification, rising sea levels and increasingly intense hurricane seasons, are pinning their hopes on the upcoming Paris Climate Summit later this year for their very survival.


California’s ongoing drought is turning the entire state into a tinderbox, where several years of hyper-dry conditions have led experts to warn that the drought and current conditions are “a recipe for disaster.” California is already spending more money on fighting wildfires than the other 10 western states combined, and the state’s tally of fires so far this year is 967, which is 38 percent higher than the average for this date since 2005. The number of acres burned is already nearly double what it was this time last year, and 81 percent above the average since 2005.

Throughout the rest of the western United States, the upcoming wildfire season is looking grim as well. As drought continues to worsen across the West and upper Midwestern United States, the Forest Service expects to spend up to $1.6 billion on fighting wildfires in 2015, during a fire season that is expected to be far worse than “normal.”

A recently released study by researchers from the National Park Service, the University of California, Berkeley, and other institutions has confirmed what we already know: When drought-parched forested land goes up in flames, the fire contributes to ACD, causing yet another runaway feedback loop.


A recent paper published in Nature Climate Change has revealed that 75 percent of the world’s abnormally hot days and 18 percent of its extreme snow and rain events are directly attributable to ACD.

Two reports recently published by scientists at UCLA showed that by 2050, portions of Los Angeles County are forecast to experience triple or even quadruple the number of days of extreme heat (days over 95 degrees) that they currently do.

On that note, another recently published study showed that Americans’ exposure to heat extremes will likely rise sixfold by 2050, due to a combination of rising temperatures and rapid population growth across the South and West.

The ongoing drought in California has also made that state’s air quality far worse, according to a recent American Lung Association report.

Across the Atlantic, scientists have warned that record-breaking hot years in England have officially become at least 13 times more likely due to ACD.

Another recent report shows that, due to ACD, hurricanes, globally, are now expected to come in bunches and be far stronger than in the past.

Denial and Reality

There seems to never be a dull moment in the ACD-denial camp in the United States. The US House committee that is tasked with authorizing NASA spending has taken aim recently at a key Obama administration priority with a party line vote slashing spending on “earth science”: the missions that study ACD. The opponents aim to shift funding away from environmental and earth science research that can help policy makers assess how to regulate pollution and plan for the effects of ACD.

In Alaska, hawkish anti-environmental Sen. Lisa Murkowski is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to drop her state from that agency’s ACD rule that regulates power plant emissions – and it appears as though she might get her way.

Down in Florida, although rising sea levels bring a greater threat to that state’s coastline with each passing day, there remains no statewide plan on how to mitigate this particular ACD impact.

The United States isn’t the only country with a strong fossil-fuel-funded ACD denial movement. In Australia, the former head of Australia’s respected Climate Commission, which was disbanded by conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2013, recently challenged the government to explain why it is funding a “research institute” that supports ACD denial.

I’m unsure whether this next item fits into the category of “denial” or “reality”: Back in the US, President Obama, who has green-lit offshore drilling in both the Arctic and off the Atlantic coast, has argued that ACD poses an “immediate risk” to the US, and has pushed for urgent action as a national security imperative.

Fully on the reality front, the chief of the World Bank recently stated that ACD is a “fundamental threat” to development, acknowledging how far the dangers have progressed.

The US Department of Defense, not known for being concerned about the environment, is now taking large steps toward adapting to and preparing for ACD.

Also not known for being overly worried about ACD, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, recently announced his country’s intentions to switch entirely over to solar power by 2040-2050: “We have embarked on a program to develop solar energy. Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?”

Yes minister, it does, albeit a little late in the game.

Also on the reality front, the UN and Vatican have teamed up against ACD deniers, warning the world about the impacts of ACD while coming down firmly against the “skeptics.” Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan came out and said, “We must challenge climate-change skeptics who deny the facts.” And Pope Francis has instructed Catholic Church leaders to join with politicians, scientists and economists to draft a statement that declares not only that ACD is a “scientific reality,” but also that there is a moral and religious responsibility to do something about it.

All of this is good, but we cannot rest easy. We do not have a moment to waste: A recently published analysis in the prestigious journal Science shows that one in six of the world’s species now faces extinction due to ACD.

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Next came brave Syria, which has resisted at terrible cost; but the propaganda war runs thick.

Few in the west seem to be able to penetrate it.

What was at first said to be a nationalist and secular ‘revolution’ – an uprising against a ‘dictator’ who was killing his own people – is now led by ‘moderate rebels’ or ‘moderate Islamists’.

The extremist Islamists, who repeatedly publicise their own atrocities, are said to be a different species, against whom Washington finally decided to fight. Much of this might sound ridiculous to the average educated Arab or Latin American, but it retains some appeal in the west.

War Propaganda and Dirty Lies supports Dirty Wars 

Repeated dirty lies feed the dirty war on Syria but, after a while, we can recognize some patterns:

Ban Ki-moon’s decision not to include Israel on the list of violators of children’s rights twists the knife in the heart of every Palestinian parent, making it very clear that in the eyes of the United Nations, Palestinian children’s lives don’t count.

When a military with the most sophisticated and accurate weaponry on the planet can kill more than 500 children in cold blood with complete impunity, as Israel’s absence from the list shows, it reveals more than just the complete disregard for Palestinian lives that has become so commonplace in the halls of power. It also makes it abundantly clear that the UN, the single most important international organisation charged with protecting the lives of the most vulnerable, is failing spectacularly.

Children are the lifeblood of the future. How can any world citizen look at the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Palestinian child death toll from the 2014 Israeli aggression, and this decision, and not be appalled?

At best it reflects the paucity of  responsible leadership evident in the UN under Ban Ki-moon’s secretaryship, which has seen public faith in the international organisation reach an an all-time low.

At worst it underlines the gross politicisation of an organisation purporting to uphold the rights of ALL humans – and failing.

The only way Ban Ki-moon’s decision – if not his entire leadership in relation to the Palestinian issue – can be called a success is if the intention is to ‘grow’ a generation of increasingly angry cynics with no respect for the abject hypocrisy emanating from Geneva and New York.

Hemaya expresses its utmost disappointment in the attitude to Palestinian children that the decision represents, and calls on human rights bodies and concerned citizens everywhere to roundly reject it by supporting and valuing those Palestinian children who survived, and who continue to suffer under illegal occupation, repression and siege.

Copyright Hemaya Center for Human Rights 2015

“Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps have become more crowded since March of 2011, but in large numbers starting in mid-December 2012, when Yarmouk Palestinian  refugee camp was heavily bombed. Between 70,000 and 90,000 Syrian-Palestinians have entered Lebanon and are staying mainly in Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps. Most were forced out of Syria because of persistent and accelerating civil-sectarian war, while others have left because of the lack of resources.

This young American had the privilege of speaking with Wisam, who has been living as a refugee in Lebanon since 2012. Wisam was born in 1986 in Damascus, Syria. Unlike many Syrian-Palestinians, who are often born in refugee camps, he was born in a hospital in Damascus. He is the middle-child of five, with three brothers and one sister.  His father worked a bureaucratic position in the Syrian government, and his mother stayed at home with the children at their two flats in Almshtel, near Seyeda Zeinab, south of Damascus.

In Syria, Wisam did not face any discrimination for being Palestinian.

He remembers being treated as an equal by Syrians and by governmental agencies.

Like almost all Palestinians however, he did attend UNRWA schools and reminisced, with seeming nostalgia, about what he considers was a good education, reciting the general public view that UNRWA schools were often better Syrian state schools.

In Syria, Wisam received no financial assistance for college, but tuition was amazingly affordable costing only $30 a year and between $50 and $100 a year for books. Wisam graduated from Damascus University in 2009 and earned his degree in English. Two months after graduating, he obtained a job at a hotel in Damascus, working as a receptionist.

With tensions building in Syria, Wisam considered leaving in March 2012, after receiving “Dafter Khedmet el Alam”—summoning him to join the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA). This prompted him to apply for a declaration to enter Lebanon.  He explained to me: “Syrians are able to enter Lebanon without tourist visas, but Syrian-Palestinians do need ID documents.” Within a month, on April 19th 2012, he left Syria for Lebanon.

Getting through the Syrian-Lebanese border was not difficult at the time that he crossed, but Wisam waited before the Masnaa entrance to Lebanon for two hours while the border officials questioned people. At first, he didn’t tell his parents what he was doing, because he knew they would disapprove since they wanted him to join the military. When they found out, they refused to speak to him for a month before coming to terms with his choice, deciding “that’s Allah”. Forty days after Wisam left, his family left Almshtel to stay with his grandmother, due to the eruption of fighting in their neighborhood between the Syrian Army and the Free Syrian Army.

“Compared to Syria, life in Lebanon is disgusting.  Life is different in every way: with housing, schools, visas and work—especially work, since Palestinians are not permitted to work, and the majority relies on UNRWA’s meager assistance.

Upon arriving to Lebanon, Wisam stayed in the north, as Baddawi Camp near Tripoli. After two and a half years, he moved to Shatilla hoping to get a job. At first, he was able to work at Shatilla Camp’s IRC (International Rescue Committee) as a social worker. As with many NGO’s in this region of conflict, the program he worked for was cancelled due to lack of funding. Wisam expressed liking his work very much. He worked with kids and had them participate in educational and fun activities. The program really helped the children, because they could socialize with peers and enjoy themselves instead of focusing on being separated from their families and their terrible current living situation.

Living in Baddawi camp for two and a half years, where he stayed among friends and their families, Wissam discovered many people staying in Baddawi camp have also fled Syria in the past four years, making it easier to connect to one another. For everyone living in Lebanon’s camps, friends and family are the most important part of enduring the hardship.  Love, compassion, and unity are what sustains these communities as well as the desire to one day travel abroad and live with dignity. Besides friends, Wisam preferred Baddawi camp because it is less crowded and less chaotic than Shatila, quieter, cleaner, has better food and healthcare services and programs for children. He even thinks people overall, are nicer up north. He added, laughing, even the nargile (water pipes) are better.

Shatilla, Wisam says, is repulsive, because of the narrow streets filled with trash and puddles, higher rent for small apartments, and no fresh water, but instead salt water for showering. “But friends make it easier to endure,” and that seems to be true for anyone living in poverty. When first leaving Baddawi and venturing to Shatilla, Wisam thought it was horrible but gradually, after several months, he has adjusted to the “bad situation.”

Wisam is one of hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Syria. Many of his friends have also left Syria, having travelled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Germany, and Malaysia. Some are able to work—especially in Europe—but the majority of his friends remain in refugee camps in this region.

I asked how his friends were able to get to Europe, as that is nearly impossible for most Palestinians. His response was “death boats” where people sneak onto boats and into the country they’re traveling to. It’s an uncertain adventure for those who try, but those who arrive safely approach a more optimistic life.

Regarding the turmoil in his birth country, I was curious about Wisam’s views on his president, Bashar al Assad. Wisam stated before he left Syria, he supported Assad, but now he doesn’t. Wisam believes that every group in Syria fighting for power is wrong, resulting in nothing but unimaginable civilian deaths. As for Palestinian politics, he hates all parties because they “play with people like toys” and never achieve anything. He provided an example about the well-known Yarmouk camp in Syria, explaining that no party serves the people; at least one person dies a day and children don’t have food or water.

When I asked Wisam about the future, he sighed and said it was unsure and obscure. Wisam is pessimistic about ever going to Palestine because he doesn’t think it’s realistic. Instead he dreams of immigrating to Europe, specifically Germany, because it’s an industrial nation and he wants to find a job.

During the first two years after leaving Syria, Wassim wanted to go back, but because he would have to serve in the military, Europe is the better alternative. “Of course I made the right choice by leaving Syria,” he responded when I asked him, adding that he did not want to come to Lebanon, but it was his only option. Wisam hopes to find a job and leave Shatilla Camp, and just knowing he will eventually get out of Lebanon, sustains him.

Louisa Lamb has her B.A. in Psychology and is an independent researcher and journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized. She can be reached c/o [email protected]

“Everything Secret Degenerates”

Everyone knows Lord Acton’s famous quote:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But few have heard this equally profound quote from Lord Acton:

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

Likewise, US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said:

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

But government secrecy is at an all-time high.  Government is more hostile to the press than ever before.

The government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

Government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge.   A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a “totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people. And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are being prevented from reading their own briefs.


A neocon “advocacy” group [was] immunized from the law, because the U.S. government waltzed into court, met privately with the judge, and whispered in secret that he had better dismiss all claims against that group lest he harm national security …

American citizens are also being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including being held in secret, with the government refusing to tell a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held.   And see thisthis and this.

The Department of Defense has also made it a secret – even from Congress – as to the identity of the main enemies of the United States.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And – unless we rise up from our slumber and say “Hell, No!” – it’s about to get a lot worse.

Sounds a tad familiar.

Postscript: The flip side of extreme secrecy by our government is mass surveillance on all citizens.   After all, power freaks want to hide what  they’re doing, while at the same time knowing what everyone else is doing.


China has told Israel it will not allow migrant builders to work on settlements in the occupied West Bank, a senior Israeli government official said on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged during his reelection campaign to step up settlement construction, and cabinet ministers in his new government have called for more building in the occupied Palestinian territories. In addition, Israel is willing to bring in thousands of foreign workers to accelerate the pace of the construction across the country and in the West Bank, The Economic Times reported.

Last year, the Israeli government decided to increase the number of foreign builders to 8,000 and later to 15,000 to boost construction and reduce property prices which have soared in the last few years, Haaretz said.

Israeli settlement seen behind the apartheid wall

“We are negotiating with China for an agreement on the arrival of thousands of additional workers,” the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

“Beijing is demanding that we ensure there are no workers in this region,” he added, without elaborating.

There has been no immediate comment from Beijing, but China’s position could undermine lengthy negotiations between the two countries aimed at striking a labour agreement.

Under the deal the Israeli government would be responsible for bringing foreigners into the country to work in the construction sector, Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday.

“The agreement would replace the current arrangement, in which private companies contract directly with Chinese firms that supply the labour, an arrangement that has resulted in allegations of serious violations of labour laws,” the paper said.

The Israeli official denied that China’s decision had anything to do with growing calls for an economic and cultural boycott of the Jewish state.

The international community regards all Israeli construction on Palestinian land seized during the 1967 Six-Day War as illegal.

Israel has bilateral agreements with Bulgaria, Moldavia and Romania for the employment of builders, and with Thailand and Sri Lanka for migrant farmhands.

The Canadian media has highlighted Prime Minister Harper’s one on one meeting with Ukraine’s president Poroshenko in Kiev (June 5, 2015). The official story which has been fed to Canadians is that Ottawa is providing “non-lethal aid” as well support to the country’s civilian police force:

 “We supply a range of non-lethal military equipment,” Harper said…  While disappointed about this, Poroshenko praised Canada for supporting Ukraine since “the first hours” of his presidency and said the military aid it had provided to his country, such as medical kits and mobile hospitals, “addressed an acute problem. (National Post, June 6, 2015, emphasis added)

Harper also announced that Canada would be sending 10 police officers to Ukraine to help reform the country’s security sector in a partnership with the United States.

Harper announced the $5 million project during a visit in which he watched training exercises by police cadets. …  (CP News 24, June 6, 2015, emphasis added)

This story contradicts earlier reports and government statements.

The gist of Harper’s flash visit to Kiev prior to the G7 Summit was to reaffirm Canada’s  commitment to the dispatch of “military instructors” in support of Ukraine’s National Guard, which is controlled by the two Neo-Nazi parties, Svoboda and Right Sector.

In April, Washington confirmed that it would send in a US contingent of instructors “of  290 specialists which will be working with the National Guard. Britain has dispatched 75 military personnel responsible for training “in command procedures and tactical intelligence”. (Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2015).

Ironically, the Harper government quite candidly acknowledged that there were Neo-Nazi elements within the National Guard, and that provisions were being envisaged to prevent Canadian military instructors from training Neo-Nazis: 

The Canadian government is confident that troops from Petawawa won’t end up instructing Neo Nazis and far right extremists when they begin their training mission in Ukraine this summer, but a former diplomat is warning it will be difficult to weed out such extremists as their militia units are now being integrated into Ukraine’s regular forces.

Some members of Ukraine’s most effective fighting units [Azov batallion] have openly acknowledged they are Nazi sympathizers or have expressed anti-Semitic or extreme right wing views. (Ottawa Citizen, April 18, 2015, emphasis added)

The solution proposed by Canada’s Defence Minister Kenney is contradictory to say the least: Ottawa will support the National Guard as a means to avoiding the training of Neo-Nazis. Canada’s military instructors will be dispatched and allocated to the National Guard:

“We’re not going to be in the business of training ad hoc militias… We will only be training units of the Ukrainian National Guard and army recognized by the government of Ukraine.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

What is Ukraine’s National Guard

The National Guard which is now supported by Canada has been responsible for countless atrocities in the Donbass region.

The wear Nazi insignia on their uniforms.

Below is the Nazi emblem of the National Guard  [Національна гвардія України] which is defined as Reserves of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. They operate under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The National Guard is part of the so-called “Internal Troops of Ukraine.” The emblem is a stylized swastika (see below).



The main battalion of the National Guard under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs involved in the Donbass region is The Azov Battalion (Батальйон Азов).

This battalion is supported by the Western military alliance including Canada.

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 supported by the US and NATO.


These militia bearing the Nazi SS emblem supported by the US and Canada are casually referred to as “Freedom fighters”.

Scroll down for Selected Images of the Azov Battalion “Freedom Fighters”

Imagine what would happen if  Canada’s RCMP or the US National Guard were to display swastika-like symbols.

Media Disinformation

Unknown to both Americans and Canadians, the West is channeling financial support, weapons and training to a Neo-Nazi entity. Both Washington and Ottawa have sent in military instructors.

Nobody knows about it because the use of the words “Neo-Nazi” and “Fascist” in relation to Ukraine is a taboo. The have been excluded from the lexicon of investigative reporting. In media reports they have been replaced by “Ultra-conservative”, “Extreme Right” and “Nationalist”.

Ukraine’s National Guard –which is supported by Canada– glorifies Adolph Hitler  and Stepan Bandera, Ukraine’s World War II Nazi leader and collaborator of the Third Reich.

People holding UPA (horizontal red and black) and Svoboda (3 yellow fingers on blue) flags march through Kyiv to the honor of the Nazi ally, Bandera. 


It is worth noting that Ukrainian Jews were the target of the Third Reich’s Einsatzgruppen (Task Groups or Deployment Groups) which were supported by Ukrainian Nazi collaborators led by Stepan Bandera . These “task forces” were paramilitary death squads deployed in occupied territories.

Talking about Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, who are part of the coalition government, is a taboo. It is not newsworthy. Yet, the Neo-Nazis play a central role in the country’s security apparatus.

Surely Canadians should be made aware of the fact that their government is sending military instructors to train Neo-Nazi recruits.

In contrast to the scanty news which is fed to Canadians, the Ukrainian media’s coverage of Harper’s visit to Kiev has nonetheless acknowledged Canada’s support for the country’s National Guard:

Canada will allocate $5 million to train new police officers and military instructors for the National Guard of Ukraine, Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk said.

Besides, Canadian military instructors will arrive to Ukraine to train the National Guard, the premier said. (Interfax-Ukraine, June 6, 2015)


Earlier this month the State Supreme Court of West Virginia dealt a huge blow to the biotech company Monsanto, ordering it to pay $93 million to the small town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning local citizens with Agent Orange chemicals. 

Approved last year, the details were only recently worked out a few weeks ago as to how the funds would be dispersed.

As mandated in the settlement:

  • $9 million will be spent to clean dioxin contaminated dust from 4500 homes.
  • $21 million will be spent to test to see if people have been poisoned with dioxin.
  • Citizens will be monitored for such poisoning for 30 years, not just a few months.
  • An additional $63 million is to be allotted if additional tests for dioxin contamination testing is necessary.
  • Anyone who lived in the Nitro area between Jan. 1, 1948, and Sept. 3, 2010 will be tested for dioxin. Although they must show proof they lived in the area, they will be eligible for testing even if they no longer live in Nitro.
  • Former or present employees of Monsanto are not eligible for any of these benefits.
  • An office will be set up to organize testing for Nitro citizens. The registration of participants is to be overlooked by Charleston attorney Thomas Flaherty, who was appointed by the court.
  • Residents have a right to file individual suits against Monsanto if medical tests show they suffered physical harm due to dioxin exposure.

Such goes to show that little towns CAN deal big blows to giant corporations.


As reported by Natural Society, Monsanto was producing the toxic herbicide Agent Orange in Nitro, and dioxin is a chemical byproduct of the substance. Known to cause serious health conditions, residents were not too pleased when they received word they were in close proximity with the toxin.

The factory which produced Agent Orange was opened in the West Virginian town in 1948 and remained operational until 2004 – even after it was found to be fatal to millions when used in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

Said Arnold Schecter and Jon Constable, “There is no doubt that during and after the war, many Vietnamese absorbed this very toxic material [dioxin]. It is our belief from toxicological research and epidemiological studies from many countries that this dioxin probably resulted in significant health effects in Vietnam.

The politics of dioxin has been bitterly debated since the Vietnam War, but … we know that there is a health issue there and hopefully people will get their houses cleaned and the risk will come to an end and those exposed in the past will have the benefit of keeping an eye on their health.”

Attorney Stuart Calwell told The Charleston Gazette that “It’s been a real long haul.” Caldwell represented Nitro area residents in a class action suit that prompted the biotech giant, Monsanto, to make the settlement.

In order to receive the benefits outlined in the settlement, residents of Nitro still need to fill out a register. And due to the serious importance of this landmark case, residents in the area are urged to participate as fully as possible to set a precedent for other class action suits that farmers and consumers of GMO foods around the world might ignite against Monsanto in the future.

If enough people join together to raise awareness and support for efforts against Monsanto, inevitably the corporate giant will pay for its deeds.

Share your thoughts below.

Tim Martin, a HVAC engineer and camera-shy freelance writer with a degree in philosophy, in his article in the Eureka Times Standard, asks:

“What does drone warfare say about the direction our country is headed in? I believe it’s a broader symptom of how quickly we resort to violence. Someone is a threat? Shoot ’em. Someone looks like they might be a threat? Shoot them, too. It’s no different than how the police in our country deal with black men — use extreme force”.

Lightly edited extracts:

“Why does our government want to drive a wedge between America and the rest of the world by using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen? It isn’t accomplishing anything.

“A study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law notes the number of Islamic terrorists killed as a percentage of total casualties in drone strikes stands at a paltry 2 percent. The study also casts doubts on Washington’s claims that these attacks produced few civilian casualties. An investigation by the human-rights group Reprieve indicates that drone bombings on al-Qaida members in Pakistan resulted in the death of 874 innocent men, women and children. In Yemen 17 men were targeted and 273 people (seven of them children) were killed in the process. The use of drone warfare is a disaster-in-the-making. When you kill people who are not the enemy, you simply create more enemies . . .

yemen wall poster why kill family
Read more on the Middle East Eye 

“Maybe it’s time for us to wake up, slap ourselves upside the soul, and ask how we can ever hope to achieve a durable peace by sitting at computers and “unintentionally” killing people thousands of miles away with Hellfire missiles.

“Drones have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re “precise” and “a sound weapon of choice.” In reality, they are only as accurate as the intelligence that feeds them. Drones kill, maim and traumatize innocent people. They are counter-productive and (like Guantanamo) one of the best recruiting tools ISIS and al-Qaida ever had.

“Proponents of drone warfare insist that it’s a better option than boots on the ground. They argue that drone strikes beat carpet bombing. But do we usually carpet bomb countries we consider our allies and haven’t declared war upon?

“Would you support the use of drones on a terrorist cell here at home? What if they accidentally wiped out a dozen school children? I doubt that any of us would stand by while our government killed innocent Americans with a remote-controlled weapon that rains death from the sky”.

drone protest nevada base
NBC news:

Tim Martin covers the activities of Reprieve and other actors noted on this site and adds that Members of Veterans for Peace (VFP), Code Pink and other anti-war groups recently went to Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, home to the Predator and Reaper drones, to protest against America’s use of drones. They temporarily closed the base and 38 protestors were arrested, including retired Humboldt State University biology professor Richard Gilchrist. “I never thought I’d spend my later days in demonstrations and getting arrested . . . but I can’t ignore what we are doing around the world.”

Martin concludes:

“But Americans can no longer pretend that our policy of drone strike vigilantism is going unnoticed by the international community. Drones are considered a coward’s weapon. For every bit of “collateral damage” they inflict, they create more deep-seated hatred against the U.S. For every al-Qaida “target” a drone attack eliminates, it spawns more terrorists who are intent on exacting retribution against us – for years to come”.

Tim Martin resides in Fortuna and writes a column for the Times-Standard. Email him at [email protected].

About 800 tera becquerel of Cesium- 137 is going to reach West Coast of North America by 2016, equivalent to 5 percent of the total Cs-137 amount discharged to the Pacific Ocean after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a Japan researcher was quoted by Kyodo recently.

Michio Aoyama, a professor from Japan’s Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity said about 3,500 tera bq of Cs-137 have been released to the sea and 1.2 to 1.5 tera bq of Cs-137 released to the air, then fell to the sea from the crippled nuclear plant.

Part of the radioactive substances have been observed to move eastward at a speed of 7 kilometers and 3 kilometers one day before March and August 2012 respectively, Aoyama said.

However, Cs-137 levels detected at U.S. beaches were 1 to 2 bq per cubic meter, much lower than the safety limit for cesium levels in drinking water by the World Health Organization.

“Even if all the 800 tera bq Cs-137 have arrived, the radiation levels will stay at relatively low level that aren’t expected to harm human health,” said Aoyama.

[GR editor: This statement contradicts a number of studies. It needs to be qualified in relation to the broader issue of radiation levels on the California coastline, including the impacts on marine life. Prof. Aoyama presents the official version. His assessment tends to underestimate the impacts of radiation]

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of America has announced early April that they detected Cs-134 for the first time in a seawater sample from the shoreline of North America. Cs-134, with a half-life of only two years, is an unequivocal marker of Fukushima ocean contamination, said researchers.

A former senior scientist from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been speaking out against GMOs, but his voice is especially noteworthy among the many scientists who talk about genetically modified organisms. Why? Because he studied the impacts of altered crops on the environment. Read on to find out what this expert has to say about a genetically modified world and the ‘pesticide treadmill’ that biotech has us all running on.

Dr. Ramon Seidler’s credentials are nothing to sneeze at. He was a professor of microbiology at Oregon State University for 16 years before he worked at the EPA. He holds many honors, too, including being listed by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England as one of the 2,000 outstanding World Scientists of the 20th Century.

During Seidler’s tenure at the EPA, he (along with other scientists) conducted GMO experiments that were contained in indoor environments. The experiments were meant to mimic what happens outside, just as if a farmer had planted a GM crop in Idaho, Michigan, or California. The gene transfer capabilities and survival rates of genetically modified seed were observed. He also observed transgenic DNA and Bt toxin products in agricultural ecosystems.

What he and his scientific peers found was that GE bacteria survived for years in soil, even after it was removed from the plants.

The former professor states that GE crops provide no significant increase in crop yields, but do pose several other major concerns: namely cross-pollination of non-GM species, and negative impacts to the environment. He calls these ‘side effects’ of broken biotech promises.

He also points out that one-third of the world already has the choice to ‘opt-out’ of GMOs because their food is labeled, and though Americans overwhelmingly want GM foods to be labeled, they are not.

As other scientists have pointed out, Seidler mentions the fact that very little true research has been conducted by independent scientists at any American universities. Biotech has restricted these studies by requesting that professors sign an agreement prior to the research being completed which forces them to send all results to the biotech companies before being published – ostensibly – to be vetted and discounted should it paint their GM seed in any negative light.

Ramon Seidler, Ph. D. // Photo credit:

The former scientist says this is nothing short of censorship, and individuals who have conducted years of research are unable to publish their findings in any reputable journals because biotech would simply veto the results.

Seidler also details how the biotechnology industry has parroted the claim that “pesticide use has declined’ since they introduced GMOs, but he states this is absolutely untrue. He commented:

Initially, insecticide use declined due to the effectiveness of Bt toxin in controlling pest insects. However, as time went on glyphosate use increased some 13-fold to control weeds and other non-genetically engineered synthetic chemicals were introduced to control insects as the Bt toxin became ineffective.

Glyphosate has been extensively applied to hundreds of millions of acres of genetically engineered crops, and the residues are in our air, water, and human bodies.

Now virtually all of genetically engineered seeds are coated with insecticides and fungicides and these chemicals have increased some 10-fold in the last 10 years.

When seed coated pesticides are added to those pesticides that are injected into the soil at seed planting, pesticide use climbed back to where it was approximately 10-12 years ago.”

Once Again, Israel Bombs Gaza

June 8th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Overnight Saturday, a Gaza-based Salafist group claimed responsibility for firing a rocket at Ashkelon in southern Israel.

The group issued a statement saying it fired a Kaytyusha 130 rocket. It admitted firing two others last week.

Saturday’s rocket landed in an open area. No casualties or damage was reported – or from last week’s rocket firings.

Israel responded as expected – launching lawless aggression against Palestinian targets. So far, no casualties are known, just damage and destruction to sites struck.

Hamas had nothing to do with either rocket attack, or Islamic Jihad.

Israel irresponsibly blamed it anyway – its way of justifying the unjustifiable, bombing in response to harmless incidents.

[GR Editor. It is worth noting that Israel is known to covertly support several Al Qaeda affiliated organizations, which raises the issue, does Israel also support the jihadist groups involved in the rocket attacks]

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said “(e)ven if the shooters…were jihadist groups rebelling against Hamas by firing at us, we view Hamas as being responsible for everything that occurs in the territory of Gaza.”

At the start of his weekly Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu lied saying:

“Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire from Gaza into our territory.

“I didn’t hear anybody in the international community condemn the fire, and the United Nations didn’t open its mouth.” False! See below.

“I’m interested if the silence will continue even when we exercise with our full strength to our right to defend ourselves.”

“The hypocrisy that has spread across the world won’t tie our hands from defending Israeli citizens.”

Bombing Gazans has nothing to do with protecting Israeli security. It has everything to do with waging endless war on defenseless Palestinians for the crime of not being Jewish.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the rocket attack. He responded in his usual weak-kneed way urging “all parties to avoid further escalation…”

After both incidents causing no casualties or damage, Israel responded by terror-bombing Gaza – a clear act of aggression ignored by the world community.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings closed. Three others aren’t operating.

On Sunday, Israel began military exercises near Gaza’s border – in the western Negev near Sderot.

Allegedly to maintain military preparedness, it may be part of Israeli preparations for more war.

Since last summer’s Israeli aggression on Gaza ended, Hamas avoided provocations potentially able to reignite conflict.

On Sunday, the right wing Jerusalem Post headlined “Hamas is not behind the latest Gazan rocket fire. (It) stands the most to lose from a new escalation.”

It’s going all-out to prevent attacks and intends arresting responsible parties. Israel knows this, yet still irresponsibly holds Hamas responsible.

Radical Salafists calling themselves the Omar Hadid Brigades admitting responsibility didn’t deter two Israeli terror-bombing incidents. Expect more to follow.

On Sunday, Haaretz editors called keeping Gazans “locked in…immoral and strategically unwise.”

Blockades are acts of war. Lawlessly preventing Gazans from leading normal lives endangers the entire population.

As the occupying power, Israel is fully responsible for the safety and welfare of all Gazans.

“Israel must open all the checkpoints and” and allow free movement through them, said Haaretz editors.

In late May, they headlined ”Let the people of Gaza go,” saying Israeli anti-Hamas hostility can’t be allowed to make the entire population suffer.

Gaza resident Mayasem Abu-Mer said “(w)e feel like cattle in a pen. But even cattle are allowed sometimes to go out into an open space. In Gaza we’re forbidden to do so and we don’t even know why.”

Students with scholarships to study abroad can’t leave. Ill Gazans needing medical treatment unavailable in the Strip can’t get it elsewhere.

Small numbers only are given permission for any reason to leave. Most are denied – including dying patients.

“There’s certainly no reason for students who have families abroad and residents with urgent medical problems not to receive humane, efficient treatment,” said Haaretz editors.

“We cannot allow the explosive security situation and the hostility toward Hamas to exacerbate the conditions in the Gaza Strip and increase the local pressure. This is not only a Palestinian interest but an Israeli one.”

As long as Israel’s lawless occupation continues, justice for Palestinians will be denied.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The 63rd annual Bilderberg policy summit starts on June 11 at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol in Austria – 3 days after the G7, and 26km from Schloss Elmau. The Austrian police have confirmed that the same security operation is covering both events.

The Bilderberg conference is an annual meeting of around 140 politicians, EU policymakers, industry leaders & European royalty.

Participants at the 2014 conference in Copenhagen included:- the head of the IMF, the head of Nato, the head of MI6, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the Swedish and Spanish foreign ministers, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chairmen of the Greek and Canadian national banks, the Chairman & CEO of Shell, the Executive Chairman of Google, the Chairman of Deutsche Bank, the Chairman of HSBC, the Chairman & Chief Executive of BP and the CEO of Airbus.


UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne meets with Sir John Kerr, Deputy Chairman of Scottish Power, at Bilderberg 2014


The Bilderberg Group is governed by a Steering Committee, chaired by Henri de Castries, Chairman & CEO of AXA. Also on the Steering Committee are: James A. Johnson, a director of Goldman Sachs; Klaus Kleinfeld, a director of Morgan Stanley; Peter Thiel, a director of Facebook; Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman & CEO of Lazard; and Robert Zoellick, Chairman of Goldman Sachs’ Board of International Advisors.

The conference agenda is set to include the situation in Ukraine and Syria, and the TTIP trade agreement: senior lobbyists for TTIP from the business and financial sector will be attending.

Thousands of farmers throughout India are reverting back to traditional farming methods as the consequences of Western agriculture have begun to negatively impact the region’s food and water supply, and the health of its people.

More than 40 years after the “Green Revolution,” a period in which India’s agricultural yields skyrocketed following the introduction of commercial farming techniques, growers are returning to traditional, organic methods that date back to centuries ago.

In a last-ditch attempt to save the country’s weakened resources, and the health of its people, India has emerged as a global leader in organic farming, as they’ve welcomed 600,000 certified producers.

The benefits of the “Green Revolution” lasted less than a decade before threatening India’s food and water supply

In the 1970s and 1980s, the “Green Revolution” introduced farmers in the state of Punjab to synthetic fertilizers, high-yield seeds and irrigation, which transformed the country into an economic powerhouse, allowing them to produce enough wheat and rice to feed a once-starving population.

Through the use of commercial agriculture, which included the use of synthetic fertilizers such as urea and phosphate, Punjab produced nearly two-thirds of the country’s wheat and rice in the 1980s and 1990s, lining the pockets of farmers as gross incomes rose nearly 10 percent in just one year, according to Al Jazeera.

While offering a sense of hope to a country that was once in turmoil, it soon became clear that the West’s version of farming was not sustainable. Because the seeds were high-yield, they required a lot of water, more water than was naturally available through rainfall, causing farmers to begin drilling in fields, searching for water for irrigation.

The state’s water supply became threatened due to the constant drilling, as well as contamination caused by the large amounts of chemicals that were increasingly being poured into the soil.

State of Punjab, where commercial agriculture was first introduced, now has the country’s highest cancer rates

As the damage to the state’s water supply continued to threaten the region’s soil and waterways, a public health crisis was declared in Punjab in the 1990s, just 20 years after growers were essentially forced into commercial agriculture techniques that were backed by U.S. advisers who were supported by giant seed companies like Monsanto.

Research began to emerge linking the widely used chemicals to severe health issues such as “premature aging, skeletal issues and threats to children’s health,” reports Al Jazeera. Punjab now has the highest rate of rate of cancer, according to J.S. Thakur, a researcher at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh.

“This is an issue of health, of environment, of future generations”

Unhealthy and unsustainable, commercial agriculture has begun to be replaced by many Punjab growers who say they don’t need chemicals anymore. Tired of the “vicious cycle of chemical-based farming,” some farmers in Punjab are using crop-rotating methods, which balance the soil by planting crops that leave nitrogen for future crops to consume.

Organic farming can initially be much more difficult, because farmers do not receive government subsidies for chemical fertilizers, but once their fields have grown naturally fruitful, their earnings are higher, as they can sell organic produce for much more.

Some organic farmers in Punjab have increased their income from $391 per acre to at least $469 per acre, in addition to saving money on pesticides. Today, thanks to the awakening of many farmers, Punjab now has approximately 1,500 hectares of certified organic land.

In an effort to reverse environmental damage caused by commercial farming, India’s government is beginning to encourage natural farming by lending its support for the Ministry of Agriculture’s organic farming plan, which is aimed at improving soil health.

Others are more skeptical about the government’s reported new attitude towards organic farming. “There is no subsidy, no shift,” said Devinder Sharma, an agricultural researcher, who says there aren’t any examples of the government subsidizing organic farming.

“No one is thinking on how to subsidize organic farming and move away from chemicals. There’s just no political will.”

Yemen Becomes Front Line in US Drone War

June 8th, 2015 by Patrick Galey

Ebad al-Shabwani was driving his vehicle late one evening last month along the road between Safir and the ancient ruins of Mahram Bilqis in the remote Wadi Abeeda area of Yemen’s central Marib district. His family claims he was, at 16 years old, the youngest in a ride he was sharing with friends. 

Precisely what happened next is unclear. What is known is that, out of the darkness, a United States armed drone appeared in the vicinity. It had most likely taken off hours earlier from the US Expeditionary Naval Base at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, across the Gulf of Aden, and had located its target. The drone fired on the vehicle with between one and three Hellfire missiles, scoring a direct hit. Shabwani and as many as three others were killed.

The incident was part of a recent uptick in covert US operations inside Yemen, and one of six US drone strikes in the country within the space of 11 days. According to data gathered by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been as many as 14 drone strikes in Yemen in 2014 alone, out of a minimum of 62 total since 2002. At least 302 people have been killed in these operations (upper estimates put the death toll at more than 500).

A Yemeni boy walks past a mural depicting a US drone that reads, ” Why did you kill my family?” (AFP) – See more at:

New front line

On Saturday, a US drone struck two cars on a highway between the towns of Sawmaa and and Al-Bayda in Yemen’s south east, killing at least nine and as many as 21 people. Yemeni officials said that the strike had killed nine suspected al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants while admitting that the attack had “inadvertently killed and wounded some civilians”. Survivor Salem Naser al-Khashem told local media that the strike had killed three labourers and that least one drone fired repeatedly on the site of the original hit.

On Sunday, as many as five people were killed in a suspected drone strike on a remote mountainous region of Abyan province. Government and defence ministry officials declared the strike had hit AQAP training facilities, taking out two of the group’s local commanders.

What is remarkable about drone strikes in Yemen is not their reported regularity in 2014, but that they are still happening at all. In five years under Barack Obama’s leadership the United States has carried out more than 390 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing more than 2,400 people. At least 273 of them were reportedly civilians. The New York Times, in a story about Washington’s secret “kill list” of targets of drone strikes, reported that Obama “signs off on every strike in Yemen and Somalia and also on the more complex and risky strikes in Pakistan.”

At the height of Obama’s drone programme in Pakistan, in 2010, the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) drones were carrying out strikes at a rate of more than two a week in the country’s lawless tribal belt.

But US drone operations in Pakistan have seen a steep decline in the past 18 months. The last drone strike there was on Christmas Day 2013 and the current hiatus in targeted killings in Pakistan is by far the longest under Obama. Officials party to negotiations between the Taliban (TTP) and the Pakistani government put this current lull down to a tacit agreement in Washington and Islamabad that all strikes – save those aimed at high-value targets – be shelved while peace talks continue. 2013 was the first year that there was not a single confirmed civilian casualty from drone strikes in Pakistan. Even so, the US has launched drone strikes which have killed off TTP-Islamabad talks on at least four occasions since the start of 2013, and is reportedly tracking an American citizen in Pakistan it expects to target with Hellfires should the opportunity present itself.

The contrast with Yemen is marked. The 14 possible drone strikes in the first quarter of 2014, if confirmed, would represent the highest concentration of drone activity in Yemen since May 2012, when as many as 53 strikes took place during the second quarter of the year. Overwhelmingly, local and international media – often citing security or military sources – report that the victims are suspected members of AQAP (as has happened this weekend) and by implication fair game for assassination by drone.

Radicalised Yemenis

Multiple outlets reported Ebad al-Shabwani belonged to AQAP but his family insists he was an ordinary civilian. It is the kind of contention that the US’s targeting assassination programme can produce and indicative of rising controversy over America’s use of unmanned killing machines throughout Yemen.

On the afternoon of December 12 2013, news began to filter through that something had gone terribly wrong in Yemen’s south eastern al-Bayda province. At least 10 and as many as 17 people had been killed and more than 30 injured when a US drone fired four times on a procession of cars as it travelled through the town of Radaa. As usual, Yemeni officials quickly briefed local journalists that the dead belonged to AQAP. But as they did in the strike that killed Shabwani and in the strike on April 19, reports continued to emerge of civilian casualties.

It took several weeks for the full extent of the damage caused by the Radaa strike to surface, but it was subsequently reported to have been carried out by JSOC - the elite command network answerable to the Department of Defence  - and not the CIA, and there is now significant doubt that any militant had been present among the wedding convoy. Unusually, the strike was tacitly acknowledged by US officials who reportedly ordered an internal investigation into how American intelligence gathering could fail to such an extent that two Yemeni families get wiped out without inflicting any apparent damage on AQAP (although such an error would be far from unprecedented in recent history). The New York Times reported earlier this month that the Yemeni government had banned JSOC’s use of drones in the wake of the wedding strike. Events this weekend question the enduring nature of such an arrangement.

Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni writer and youth activist who last year visited Washington to deliver testimony to the Senate after five people were killed in his village by a US drone, said the Radaa strike resembled previous US operations that saw people killed based on “signature” intelligence.

“Again and again, it is clear that what’s ‘suspicious behaviour’ according to US is a normal behaviour in Yemen,” Muslimi told Middle East Eye. “In other words, a convoy full of men, armed – as it was a wedding and they celebrate weddings by shooting to the air – all between the ages of 15 and 65, and in a group, were the wedding convoy. To the drone operator, who knows nothing about Yemen, this was a target. On the ground they were civilians celebrating a wedding.”

Human Rights Watch, in an investigation this year into the Radaa strike, went so far as suggest “the attack may have violated the laws of war” and called for a full and transparent investigation into the strike. Buried in the HRW report was the potentially explosive admission by Yemen’s president, Abdurabbur Mansur Hadi that UK, NATO and US officials shared an operations room in Yemen to help identify “in advance” people who are “going to be targeted” by drone strikes. NATO denied the report flat out, and the UK continued its long standing policy “not to comment on intelligence matters.” The CIA declined a request to comment on America’s drone use in Yemen for this story.

Segav Kechichian, Amnesty International’s Yemen researcher who has just returned from a field investigation in the country, said that the US’s targeted killing programme in Yemen contravened international law since Washington is not officially at war with AQAP.

“From the perspective of international law, is Yemen a battlefield? Well that depends on how you define the ‘war on terror’, where everywhere is supposed to be a battlefield,” Kechichian told Middle East Eye.

“But is there a war on Yemeni territory? From the perspective of traditional armies fighting each other and [from the perspective of]  international law, there is no war with AQAP.”

The Radaa strike failed in more ways than one. Four days after the wedding convoy was targeted – and, crucially, before the full extent of its horror was known – AQAP fighters staged a daring raid on Yemen’s Ministry of Defence complex in Sanaa, ramming an explosives-laden vehicle into the perimeter wall to gain entry and killing 52 people. But the fighters made a grave miscalculation, entering a hospital compound on site and shooting dead several patients and medical workers.

The Radaa strike hit at the worst possible time from America’s point of view. Whereas AQAP issued a full apology for its attack, US silence in the wake of civilian deaths it inflicted enraged many Yemenis.

‘Not too late to apologise’

“The problem in this war is that the very worst group does the very best thing,” he said. “When AQAP makes mistakes – according to its definitions – it pays compensation and apologises.”

Following the Radaa strike and the defence ministry attack “as usual, the rage was against the US and the Yemeni central government,” Muslimi added. “It is never late to apologise and compensate if US wants to win this war.”

Although the families of the dead in Radaa were promised compensation of 34 million Yemeni rials, – or $159,000 – and 101 Kalashnikov rifles, a local source told Middle East Eye these had still not been received.

Kechichian questioned the potential upside of the US continuing to target mid-ranking to virtually anonymous AQAP members in Yemen when faced with the very real downside of growing local opprobrium.

“Most Yemenis haven’t seen harm from AQAP but they have seen these strikes and they do understand that their government has exaggerated this [threat of AQAP] to a large extent due to receive support from the US,” he said. “these drone strikes might kill one or two AQAP members – even assuming they don’t produce civilian casualties – but for every person they kill they’re creating a recruitment pool of 10 new members.”

AQAP last month released a video celebrating a jailbreak it conducted in the Yemeni capital in February, which freed 29 suspected fighters. It featured a rare appearance from AQAP Emir Nasser al-Wuhayshi and showed dozens of militants engage in very public displays of unity.

“The bold defiance on display is a sharp rebuke to reports that AQAP has been decimated by drone strikes,” Yemeni journalist Saeed al-Batati wrote of the video.

The full extent of damage caused by US drone strikes in Yemen may never be known – a US district judge this month ruled that the government in Washington is not even obliged to disclose its legal argument justifying the droning to death of an American citizen in Yemen. In spite of calls for greater disclosure, including a bipartisan Bill that would force Obama to reveal casualty statistics, the US remains uncommunicative on its use of drones.

For Yemenis, there is the body count. Then there is the reported psychological damage living under constant threat of instant death from above can have on civilian populations, with Rolling Stone magazine reporting just last week that “Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma and anxiety are becoming rampant in the different corners of the country where drones are active.”

In Muslimi’s view one thing is certain about these strikes: They are counterproductive for the US and its bid to, in its words, “disrupt, dismantle and destroy” al-Qaeda in Yemen.

“Yemen is a very lawful country. Our thousands of years-old tribal laws say that when someone kills someone, the relative goes to get revenge for him from whoever killed him,” he said. “Many people have joined al-Qaeda to seek revenge for their relatives. There is a new generation of brothers within AQAP. It consists of brothers – mostly – of those who were killed by US drones.”

 Patrick Galey is a journalist specialising in Middle Eastern affairs. He spent five years reporting from Lebanon and Egypt for a variety of publications, including The Telegraph and Foreign Policy. He currently investigates the impact of the global war on terror – including drone strikes and the deprivation of citizenship – for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London.

Image: Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, talks during a press conference at fishermen’s port in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, June 1, 2015. (Photo: AP Photo/Dawod Abu Elkas)

On Monday last, Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited the Gaza Strip and “expressed harsh criticism”, as German media outlets put it, after witnessing the destruction of Israel’s last attack in summer 2014. “Life in Gaza is unbearable”, Steinmeier said, adding that the status quo is unsustainable. After hearing such news, one might think that this politician is a bold truth teller and critic of the occupation, a remarkable role for a German Secretary of State. But a closer look shows that Steinmeier has behaved with just as much hypocrisy as many other European politicians who support Israel without reservation. In fact, he may be an even greater enabler of apartheid than any of his peers.

The German foreign minister entered Gaza with the permission the Israeli government. His trip to Gaza was planned during his Israel visit, whose main purpose was to meet the new right-wing government. That Netanyahu’s coalition is the most extreme and openly pro-settler government in Israel’s history was completely ignored by Steinmeier. Netanyahu decided who Steinmeier was allowed to meet inside Gaza and whom he wasn’t. That meant zero meetings with anyone affiliated with the government of Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas. This practice is nothing new. Since Operation Protective Edge, in which more than 2.000 Palestinians have been killed, Western statesmen from Norway, Ireland and Spain, have visited the Gaza Strip on the Israeli condition that they would meet no one from Hamas. None protested the onerous, decidedly anti-diplomatic conditions imposed on them by Gaza’s occupier.

According to Steinmeier, Hamas is the main party to blame for the whole disaster consuming Gaza. For that reason, he demanded heightened security for Israel while demanding that Hamas stop firing rockets. Steinmeier conveyed the impression that both actors, Israel and occupied Gaza, are of equal strength and as responsible for the situation, while ignoring the hundreds of Israeli ceasefire violations over the past 9 months. As the massacre in Gaza unfolded, Steinmeier was one of those who publicly worried about people at Tel Aviv beach. During a meeting of foreign ministers at the end of July 2014, Steinmeier issued support for the Israeli aggression and pined about the empty beaches in Israel. In response, Turkey’s Ahmet Davutoglu became outraged and pointed out that in Gaza, the beaches were not empty but the streets were full of dead children.

It is relevant to note that many people were killed in Gaza by German weapons gifted to Israel at a deep discount as part of the overall package of German reparations for the Holocaust.

While in Gaza, Steinmeier even neglected to mention the Kilani family whose members were exterminated in an airstrike on a civilian home during Israel’s assault last summer.  Ibrahim Kilani and his family happened to be citizens of Germany. An engineer by trade, Ibrahim Kilani lived in Siegen for many years before he decided to return to Gaza. In fact, Kilani’s first wife and his other children still live in Germany. Until today, not a single representative of the German government has taken responsibly or issued a single statement of regret about this entire family of Germans wasted by a guided Israeli missile. “It seems that my family was outlawed”, is what Ramsis, Ibrahim’s son, told me.

German weapons kill Palestinians again and again, and the discounted weapons keep flowing into Israeli hands. Palestinians with German citizenship can be murdered in Gaza without any recourse. They are like ghosts who never existed. To even broach this topic in respectable German society is impossible and opens critics up to accusations of anti-Semitism and “Holocaust minimizing.” Calling the Gaza Strip what it is — the world’s biggest ghetto — is considered a “Holocaust comparison.” . The same goes for those who talk about the apartheid. Intellectuals like Ilan Pappe or Noam Chomsky, who use this term regularly, would never be able to publish a piece in most of Germany’s daily or weekly newspapers.

It is true, as Steinmeier said, that the status quo must end. But in the reactionary political atmosphere that produced figures like him, the German government might be the last entity to support this goal.

“Washington is not looking for peace or war. They’re looking for domination. If they can achieve domination peacefully – that’s fine. If they can’t, they’ll use war. It’s that simple.”

— William Blum, Interview with Russia Today

“The U.S. is frantically surrounding China with military weapons, advanced aircraft, naval fleets and a multitude of military bases from Japan, South Korea and the Philippines through several nearby smaller Pacific islands to its new and enlarged base in Australia…. The U.S. naval fleet, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines patrol China’s nearby waters. Warplanes, surveillance planes, drones and spying satellites cover the skies, creating a symbolic darkness at noon.”

— Jack A. Smith, “Hegemony Games: USA vs. PRC”, CounterPunch

The vast build up of military assets in the Asia-Pacific signals a fundamental change in U.S. policy towards China. Washington no longer believes that China can be integrated into the existing US-led system. Recent actions taken by China– particularly the announcement that it planned to launch an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that would compete head-to-head with the World Bank and IMF— have set off alarms in the Capital where behind-the-scenes powerbrokers and think tank pundits agree that a more “robust” policy is needed to slow China’s ascendency. The current confrontation in the South China Sea–where the US has demanded that China immediately cease all land reclamation activities–indicates that the new policy has already been activated increasing the prospects of a conflagration between the two nuclear-armed adversaries.

There’s no need to go over the details of China’s land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands since reasonable people can agree that Washington has no real interest in a few piles of sand heaped up on reefs 10,000 miles from the United States. The man-made islands pose no threat to US national security or to freedom of navigation. The Obama administration is merely using the Spratlys as a pretext to provoke, intimidate and harass Beijing. The Spratly’s provide a justification for escalation, for building an anti-China coalition among US allies in the region, for demonizing China in the media, for taking steps to disrupt China’s ambitious Silk Roads economic strategy, and for encircling China to the West with US warships that threaten China’s access to critical shipping lanes and vital energy supplies. This is the ultimate objective; to bring China to its knees and to force it to comply with Washington’s diktats. This is what Washington really wants.

In a recent speech at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that “there is no military solution to the South China Sea disputes.” Just moments later, and without a trace of irony, Carter rattled off a long list of military assets the Pentagon plans to deploy to the Asia-Pacific to shore up US offensive capability. The list includes

“the latest Virginia-class [nuclear] submarines, the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, the newest stealth destroyer, the Zumwalt, and brand-new carrier-based E-2D Hawkeye early-warning-and-control aircraft.”

The Pentagon is also going to add “new unmanned systems for the air and sea, a new long-range bomber, (an) electromagnetic railgun, lasers, and new systems for space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones.”

For someone who doesn’t believe in a military solution, Carter is certainly adding a lot of lethal hardware to his arsenal. The question is: Why? Is Washington preparing for war?

Probably not. The United States does not want a war with China. What Washington wants is to be the dominant player in this century’s most promising and prosperous market, Asia. But China’s meteoric growth has put Washington’s plan at risk, which is why Obama is wheeling out the heavy artillery. The anti-China coalition, the China-excluding trade agreements (TPP) and the unprecedented military build up are all aimed at preserving Washington’s dominant role without actually starting a war. The administration thinks that the show of force alone will precipitate a change in behavior. They think China will back down rather than face the awesome military power of the American empire. But will it? Here’s another clip from Carter’s speech at Shangri La:

The United States will continue to protect freedom of navigation and overflight – principles that have ensured security and prosperity in this region for decades. There should be no mistake: the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all around the world.

America, alongside its allies and partners in the regional architecture, will not be deterred from exercising these rights – the rights of all nations. After all, turning an underwater rock into an airfield simply does not afford the rights of sovereignty or permit restrictions on international air or maritime transit.

Who is Carter kidding? China poses no threat to freedom of navigation or overflight. The real threat is China’s participation in the $100 billion BRICS Development Bank which is set to finance some of the “largest projects of the modern history (including) the construction of new Eurasian infrastructure from Moscow to Vladivostok, in South China and India.” The so called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) “represent 56% of world economic output, and account for 85% of world population. They control about 70% of the world’s foreign exchange reserves. They grow annually by an average of 4% —5%.” (Sputnik News) In other words, US-backed institutions are going to lose their exalted role as “underwriter for the global economy” because the world’s biggest infrastructure projects are going to be funded by China and its allies. Naturally, this doesn’t sit well with Washington where policy bigwigs are worried that US influence will gradually erode as global power inevitably shifts eastward.

US hegemony is also threatened by China’s Sino-centric economic policy which author Robert Berke sums up in an article on Oil titled “New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever”. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

China is building the world’s greatest economic development and construction project ever undertaken: The New Silk Road. The project aims at no less than a revolutionary change in the economic map of the world…The ambitious vision is to resurrect the ancient Silk Road as a modern transit, trade, and economic corridor that runs from Shanghai to Berlin. The ‘Road’ will traverse China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Germany, extending more than 8,000 miles, creating an economic zone that extends over one third the circumference of the earth.

The plan envisions building high-speed railroads, roads and highways, energy transmission and distributions networks, and fiber optic networks. Cities and ports along the route will be targeted for economic development.

An equally essential part of the plan is a sea-based “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR) component, as ambitious as its land-based project, linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. When completed, like the ancient Silk Road, it will connect three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. The chain of infrastructure projects will create the world’s largest economic corridor, covering a population of 4.4 billion and an economic output of $21 trillion…

For the world at large, its decisions about the Road are nothing less than momentous. The massive project holds the potential for a new renaissance in commerce, industry, discovery, thought, invention, and culture that could well rival the original Silk Road. It is also becoming clearer by the day that geopolitical conflicts over the project could lead to a new cold war between East and West for dominance in Eurasia. The outcome is far from certain. (“New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever”, Robert Berke, Oil Price)

China is perfectly situated to take advantage of Asia’s explosive growth. They’ve paid their dues, built up their infrastructure and industrial capability, and now they’re in the catbird seat fully prepared to benefit from the fact that “Half of humanity will live in Asia by 2050″ and that “more than half of the global middle class and its accompanying consumption will come from that region.” US corporations will be welcome to compete in these new markets, but they won’t do nearly as well as businesses located in China. (This is why the Pentagon has been asked to intervene by powerful members of the corporate establishment.)

Washington’s gambit in the Spratly’s is an attempt to reverse the tide, derail China’s current trajectory and insert the US as the regional kingpin who writes the rules and picks the winners. As Sec-Def Carter said in an earlier speech at the McCain Institute in Arizona, “There are already more than 525 million middle class consumers in Asia, and there will be 3.2 billion in the region by 2030.” US corporations want the lion’s-share of those customers so they can peddle their widgets, goose their stock prices and pump up their quarterly profits. Carter’s job is to help them achieve that objective.

Another threat to US global rule is the aforementioned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The danger of the AIIB is not simply that it will fund many of the infrastructure projects that will be needed to integrate Europe, Asia and Africa into one giant free trade zone, but that the bank will replace key US-backed financial institutions (The IMF and World Bank) which have helped maintain Washington’s iron-grip on the global system. As that grip progressively loosens, there will be less need for cross-border transactions to be carried out in US dollars which, in turn, will threaten the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency. As author Bart Gruzalski notes in his excellent article at Counterpunch, “China and Russia are creating alternatives that threaten the dollar’s status as the sole dominant international currency. By instituting trade alternatives to the dollar, they challenge the value of the dollar and so threaten the US economy.” (“An Economic Reason for the US vs. China Conflict”, Bart Gruzalski, CounterPunch)

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers offered a particularly bleak assessment of the AIIB flap in an editorial that appeared in April in the Washington Post. He said:

This past month may be remembered as the moment the United States lost its role as the underwriter of the global economic system. True, there have been any number of periods of frustration for the United States before and multiple times when U.S. behavior was hardly multilateralist, such as the 1971 Nixon shock ending the convertibility of the dollar into gold. But I can think of no event since Bretton Woods comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution and the failure of the United States to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain, to stay out. (Washington Post)

Summers goes on to acknowledge the threat that political dysfunction (on Capitol Hill) poses to “the dollar’s primary role in the international system”. It’s clear that Summers grasps the gravity of what has unfolded and the challenge the AIIB poses to US hegemony. Readers should note that Summers ominous warnings were delivered just months before Washington dramatically revamped its China policy which suggests that the announcement of the AIIB was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Shortly after, the Obama administration made “crucial changes” to the existing policy. Containment and integration were replaced with the current policy of intimidation, incitement and confrontation. Beijing was elevated to Public Enemy Number 1, America’s primary strategic rival.

What happens next, should be fairly obvious to anyone who has followed US meddling in recent years. The US is now at war with China, which means that it will use all of its resources and capabilities, except it’s military assets, to defeat the enemy. The United States will not militarily engage an enemy that can fight back or inflict pain on the US. That’s the cardinal rule of US military policy. While that precludes a nuclear conflagration, it does not exclude a hyperbolic propaganda campaign demonizing China and its leaders in the media (Sadly, the comparisons to Hitler and the Kaiser have already started), asymmetrical attacks on Chinese markets and currency, excruciating economic sanctions, US-NGO funding for Chinese dissidents, foreign agents and fifth columnists, intrusions into China’s territorial waters and airspace, strategic denial of critical energy supplies, (80 percent of China’s oil supplies are delivered via the Malacca Strait to the South China Sea) and, finally, covert support for “moderate” jihadis who are committed to toppling the Chinese government and replacing it with an Islamic Caliphate. All of these means and proxies will be employed to defeat Beijing, to derail its ambitious Silk Roads strategy, to curtail its explosive growth, and to sabotage its plan to be the preeminent power in Asia.

Washington has thrown down the gauntlet in the South China Sea. If Beijing wants to preserve its independence and surpass the US as the world’s biggest economy, it’s going to have to meet the challenge, prepare for a long struggle, and beat Uncle Sam at his own game.

It won’t be easy, but it can be done.

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

U.S. Government Is Using Secrecy As a Weapon

June 8th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

“Everything Secret Degenerates”

Everyone knows Lord Acton’s famous quote:

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But few have heard this equally profound quote from Lord Acton:

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

Likewise, US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said:

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

But government secrecy is at an all-time high.  Government is more hostile to the press than ever before.

The government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

Government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge.   A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a “totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people. And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are being prevented from reading their own briefs.


A neocon “advocacy” group [was] immunized from the law, because the U.S. government waltzed into court, met privately with the judge, and whispered in secret that he had better dismiss all claims against that group lest he harm national security …

American citizens are also being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including being held in secret, with the government refusing to tell a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held.   And see this, this and this.

The Department of Defense has also made it a secret – even from Congress – as to the identity of the main enemies of the United States.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And – unless we rise up from our slumber and say “Hell, No!” – it’s about to get a lot worse.

Sounds a tad familiar.

Postscript: The flip side of extreme secrecy by our government is mass surveillance on all citizens.   After all, power freaks want to hide what  they’re doing, while at the same time knowing what everyone else is doing.

Investigative reporter Trevor Aaronson- executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism – has spent years researching and writing about FBI terrorism “stings” on mentally retarded and destitute Muslims orchestrated by informants convicted of rape and child molestation, who make some $100,000 per sting.

Aaronson notes:

The FBI is responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than any other organization. More than al Qaeda, more than al Shabaab, more than the Islamic State,more than all of them combined.


I’ve spent years pouring through the case files of terrorism prosecutions in the United States, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the FBI is much better at creating terrorists than it is at catching terrorists.

Aaronson points out that the FBI hasn’t denied his reports:

We used the court file to find out whether the defendants had any connections to international terrorist groups, whether an informant was used, and whether the informant played the role of an agent provocateur by providing the means and opportunity. And we submitted that to the FBI and we asked them to respond to our database. If they believed there were any errors, we asked them to tell us what they were and we’d go back and check and they never challenged any of our findings. Later, I used that data in a magazine article and later in my book, and on appearances on places like CBS and NPR, they were offered that opportunity again to say, “Trevor Aaronson’s findings are wrong.” And they’ve never come forward and said, “These are the problems with those findings.” So the data has since been used by groups like Human Rights Watchon its recent report on these types of sting operations. And so far, the FBI has never really responded to these charges that it’s really not catching terrorists so much as it’s catching mentally ill people that it can dress up as terrorists in these types of sting operations.

And see this.

Clinton and Bush’s top counter-terrorism czar – Richard Clarke – said:

A lot of the cases after 9/11 were manufactured or enormously exaggerated and were announced with great trumpets by the attorney general and the FBI director so that we felt that they were doing something when, in fact, what they were doing was not helpful, not relevant, not needed.

We noted in 2011:


Nepal: Earth Tremors Fading, Monsoon Looming

June 8th, 2015 by B. Nimri Aziz

Kathmandu is gradually repopulating with residents like Anil who left soon after April’s earthquake. He explains that he returned to the capital from Chitwan (in south Nepal, bordering India). “I went for 20 days with father (also a taxi driver) and my stepmother; we have no house in the village, so we slept here”, he says, gently pounding the steering wheel of his taxi. Small boned and lean like many poor youths, Anil nevertheless sports a silver earring, head shaved on both sides with his silky black forelock flopping forward. Just 18, Anil is a licensed taxi driver, having learned to drive at 15, taught by his father.

Today Anil’s family lives in this vehicle and another his father operates (probably as tattered as this one, and also leased). They enter their former lodging only to cook, wash and change clothes, then back to the cars to sleep. Their rented rooms are unsafe to stay in. “Destroyed; like that”, says Anil, pointing to a crumpled one-story brick structure we pass on the roadside. (His family is not yet able to think about a permanent alternative.)

Following the first tumultuous shaking of their land, many Nepalese had set out for the worst hit areas to find (and perhaps conduct funerary rites for) loved ones and to inspect ancestral fields and homes. Fearing more convulsions in Kathmandu Valley, Anil along with an estimated million plus residents (representing a large part of the valley’s population) sought safety in distant native villages across Nepal and in India.

Nepal’s capital– empty of traffic and commerce, absent its Indian vendors and factory workers, its tourists and cleaners and drivers– turned eerily stagnant for a month. Hearty permanent residents eschewed their workplaces and cafes to remain at home with families during anxious days and nights. It was hard for even the most self-assured citizens to not fear another calamitous eruption.

And it happened. The May 12th quake dislodged any sense of calm that had begun to ease fears after the earlier cataclysm. Although less severe, the second upheaval erased confidence in scientific assessments; it further destabilized and imperiled structures already cracked and it exposed dangers hidden within every dwelling—home, hospital or office. That May 12th eruption extended the first’s destructive path, collapsing more schools, setting off deadly avalanches in Langtang Valley and damaging monasteries and houses in hitherto untouched parts of Solu-Khumbu further east.

By the end of May, relief efforts which had slowed after the second upheaval gradually resume; house and school inspections become more urgent and determined; pressure increases to clear impassable mountain roads; and demolitions, although sluggish and seemingly random, continue. All this while the government announces yet again that more assistance is on its way, although we see no sign that it’s capable of handling the resources it has in hand. At the same time Nepal’s United Nations relief coordinator appeals for additional international contributions.

There was no all-clear siren and no message from any source that we are safe. There’s no report from recovery teams that all bodies have been retrieved, no cessation of tremors (however slight they’ve become), no assurance from seismologists or earthquake apps or weather reports that we are out of danger. Although rumors attributed to astrologers continue to circulate that forthcoming Tuesdays and Saturdays are ominous, we pass Tuesday and another Saturday without incident.

With a government announcement that schools should reopen by the first of June (whether or not structures are repaired) principals mobilize their staff and parents ready their children. Schooling would recommence, if only for a few hours a day, with each school deciding how to adjust to new conditions—physical and psychological– and deal with whatever traumas their pupils bring with them. Doubtless, the discussions I hear at Amrit School are repeated in all staff meetings. Teachers share stories of difficulties in their neighborhoods, yet they recognize how even without training they bear the additional burden of counseling their wards. Then, with several classrooms marked by engineers as unusable, they agree on a new routine to start. (They are luckier than others where tent classrooms are being erected beside the rubble of collapsed schools. It will take years for over a thousand damaged government schools to be rebuilt.)

Food supplies, blankets, tarpaulins, and essential household utensils are being mobilized for many thousands awaiting help. Although there are complaints about unfair ‘selective distribution’, teams of workers—private ad hoc volunteer groups and employees of service agencies—are laboring to ensure aid reaches the helpless and the deprived. For the coming months, several hospitals in Kathmandu Valley and beyond, with their added load of patients and damaged facilities, will, like schools, operate out of specially equipped tents.

A sense of urgency has emerged with the approach of a new menace: the monsoon rains. “We have only a week or ten days to move supplies from airport storerooms and transport them into the hills. It’s not just the threat of water damaging our provisions; we urgently need to get trucks loaded, on the road and to their destinations”, explains N. Tendup Sherpa of the Himalayan Health and Environmental Services Solukhumbu. HHESS ( is one of many domestic NGOs forced to redirect its energies, in this case to support World Food Program‘s efforts to get aid to outlying villages. “Once the rains arrive, these roads are treacherous; today, with hillsides unsettled by the earthquake, travelling conditions are more precarious.”

And so we have arrived at Asia’s time-honored monsoon rains: the nourishing, cleansing, drenching, unstoppable monsoon that takes shape at the highest points of these Himalayan ranges and moves south across the entire subcontinent. Everyone knows Nepal’s rains are due. There’s no doubt about their appearance, intensity and duration. Farmers need them for newly planted crops; urban dwellers normally welcome their relief from the hot dust and heat that has enveloped the city and polluted the air. These showers help nourish potted plants, ubiquitous in any courtyard and rooftop. Rainwater unclogs the grey, sluggish and stinkingBagmatiRiverand Dhobi Khola meandering through the capital. The monsoon washes away the detritus of months of accumulated human waste and undecipherable rubbish and animal corpses that fill the waterways around Kathmandu and other valley towns. Rains fill dangerously low government reservoirs as well as rooftop tanks and other vessels set by individual families. Shortages and rationing endured for months will ease.

These rains brings wonderful sunsets too, and more flowers, although even during dry months, flowers—roses, sunflowers, mimosa, bougainvillea and many more blooms– seem to manage.

How much will the rains exacerbate the tribulations and suffering of these people this year? No one knows, but the fear is palpable. Without identifying new points of weakness, effective preparations are impossible.

Still in the traumatic grip of the earthquakes, uncertain about the stability of any dwelling, people move cautiously. The shock of the earthquake will not dissipate. An incompetent government of squabbling self-interested parties just worsens an already unstable condition.

Before beginning her journalistic work in the Arab lands, anthropologist Barbara Nimri Aziz spent several decades conducting research in the Himalayan areas. Her books include “Tibetan Frontier Families”, “Soundings in Tibetan Civilization”, (both reprinted in 2011) and “Heir to a Silent Song: Two Rebel Women of Nepal” (2001) all available through Vajra Books, Kathmandu (  Her latest book is “Swimming up The Tigris: Real Life Encounters with Iraq”, U. Press Florida, 2007.

On Friday, June 5, former BP executive David Rainey was found not guilty of one count of lying to federal investigators about the true extent of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The acquittal of Rainey, the only executive charged with a crime over the spill, means not a single BP executive will be held to account for the worst environmental disaster in American history, which left 11 oil rig workers dead and devastated the Gulf’s ecosystem.

From the beginning, BP executives systematically underreported the true extent of the spill and were aided and abetted by the Obama administration. The company initially claimed, without any evidence, that only 1,000 barrels per day were flowing from the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig.

When this figure came under sustained criticism, BP and the Obama administration later settled on the somewhat higher figure of 5,000 barrels per day, based on a faulty government study. The actual estimated figure turned out to be an order of magnitude higher, at approximately 62,000 barrels per day, for a total of 4.9 million barrels. The resulting oil slick spanned 2,500 square miles and could be seen from space.

Through the entire duration of the spill, which lasted three months, the government routinely blocked attempts by journalists and independent investigators to determine and document the real extent of the spill. The administration supported BP’s refusal to allow independent estimates of the size of the spill or even to release footage of the leak, and backed the deployment of local law enforcement and the Coast Guard along the Gulf Coast to harass the media.

The case against David Rainey, then BP’s vice president for exploration in the Gulf and a top member of the company’s disaster response team, stemmed from his lying to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment in May of 2010, which was investigating the spill at the time. It also arose from false statements he made during a subcommittee briefing and in a written letter to Ed Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts), the chair of the committee. He was later charged with two counts of making false statements to Congress and one count of making a false statement to a federal agent.

Given the fact that Rainey was accused of telling the government the same lie, that only 5,000 barrels of oil were flowing from the well, that the administration itself was pushing at the time, federal prosecutors’ case against Rainey was always shaky. “Not a strong showing for the government,” Rainey’s attorney Brian Heberlig told NPR following the verdict. “But that’s because they had nothing to work with.”

The trial proceedings were obviously politically motivated. The obstruction of Congress charges were dropped in 2013 by federal judge Kurt Engelhardt using an absurd technicality. The judge ruled that the investigation was carried out not by a “committee” but a “subcommittee” and therefore the law was not applicable. Congressman Markey responded in a statement that Engelhardt’s “narrow and off-the-wall” reasoning was “deeply troubling.”

The charges were later reinstated by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, but Engelhardt threw them out again on June 1 at the beginning of the trial phase, less than an hour after seating the jurors for the trial. This time, Engelhardt justified his ruling by quashing the defense’s subpoena for three former congressmen and six congressional staffers, and then declaring that because of this Rainey would be unable to receive a fair trial. When the jury read their verdict acquitting Rainey of the remaining, secondary charge, Engelhardt declared his agreement with the ruling in open court, a step that the Times-Picayune called “unorthodox.”

Such open bias is nothing new in Engelhardt’s courtroom. In 2013, Engelhardt threw out the convictions of five New Orleans police officers stemming from the murder and subsequent cover-up of two people in the infamous Danizger Bridge incident shortly after Hurricane Katrina, on the basis of anonymous comments posted to the Times-Picayune s web site by a federal prosecutor who was not involved in the case. The year prior, in the sentencing phase of the trial, Engelhardt delivered a rambling two hour rant praising the police department and attacking the federal prosecutors in the case, accusing them of inserting an “air of mendacity at this trial.”

The whitewash of BP, however, is not the result simply of a particularly reactionary judge. The verdict continues a lengthy run of favorable treatment for the multibillion-dollar energy conglomerate in court cases stemming from the 2010 oil spill. In January, BP’s fines under the Clean Water Act were potentially cut by billions of dollars when a federal judge in the same district as Engelhardt ruled that only 3.17 million barrels were released during the 2010 spill, far lower than the 4.19 million sought by prosecutors. If BP was fined the maximum amount for this figure, it would only be liable for $13.7 billion, a drop in the bucket for one of the world’s largest corporations. Even this sum could fall even lower, to $9.5 billion. In 2012, BP reached a settlement in the criminal case for $4.5 billion in fines, less than its profits for a single quarter.

From the beginning, a concerted effort was made to bring forward only a handful of scapegoats to face criminal charges in order to shield the company as a whole from any responsibility. However, even the cases against these few individuals are unraveling. Last year, the obstruction conviction of low-ranking BP engineer Kurt Mix was thrown out over juror misconduct. In March the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out 11 counts of Seaman’s Manslaughter in the case of “well site leaders” Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine on the technicality that they were not “ship” officers.

Meanwhile, the federal government has been eager to run interference for the company. BP’s ban on bidding for new leases in federal waters was lifted last year just in time for it to participate in a new round of bidding to the fanfare of government and business officials. Meanwhile, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement decided last month to allow drilling in the reservoir from the Deepwater Horizon spill for the first time. LLOG Exploration, a relatively small oil firm based in the New Orleans area, will drill a new well a mere three miles from the former site of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The Gulf ecosystem continues to feel the effects of the spill. On May 20 the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a study linking the 2010 spill to the longest-running dolphin die-off ever recorded. The researchers claim that severe respiratory ailments in the dolphins were likely caused by ingesting the oil as they surfaced to breathe. “These dolphins had some of the most severe lung lesions I’ve ever seen in wild dolphins,” lead veterinary pathologist Kathleen Colegrove told the media. As usual, BP disputed the findings, without providing any contrary evidence.

Torture is a horrific topic and most minds will turn away from it because it can’t be comprehended that humans can be motivated, or computer programs can be run to do this to other sentient beings.  Just when we believed we were becoming more civilized as a culture, the technology for torture has advanced more than a hundred fold in recent decades.

This summary will get into ‘the minds of the dishonorable monsters’ of the psychology of torture. Those like Dick Cheney who helped authorize it under certain administrations and regimes of the U.S. government which have been proven to be criminal under U.S. law, treaties, and the International Criminal Court. There are many people involved in the conspiracy and cover-up including General Hayden.

The full report discloses the spectrum of techniques of interrogation and torture used by the U.S. and its allies. The United States government will officially deny the claims of this “no-touch torture report” but in time it will stand firm.

The technologies used are still classified as state secrets and will not be discussed in this summary. The torture methods have been leaked through thousands of American citizens who have survived the no-touch torture programs. The research and testimony has been accumulated since 2002 and merely used as examples but the names of the victims are withheld.

This report will not use skewed, misleading language such as “enhanced interrogation” to describe the torture techniques.

Why torture? The CIA claims it works. The assumption is that it works to gain actionable intelligence. Torture is often used for revenge, punishment, interrogation, and behavior modification.  In other terms torture is used to remove the continuity of thought to confuse the target to reveal information, erase brain patterns such as values and beliefs, or to break down the human spirit to make them submit and obey their handlers.

The downside of torture is that the countries that do it lose “moral soft power” in world politics. Without due process, over 25% of those reported in the Senate Torture Report were declared innocent. Blowback is always a repercussion of torture. Torture often takes a long time to affect the target from months to years.  Torture has shown to be unreliable except for getting false confessions and bad information but the U.S. and its allies are improving on their tactics and techniques.

The purpose of this report is to draw the parallels between physical torture techniques and no-touch torture methods used in secret by governments who possess the technologies that still go on today. This is a brief summary of offensive psychological and information warfare methods using traditional methods and modern cybernetic techniques while exploring hyper-game theory to walk the target to the desired path: leak intelligence, commit assassinations, or change beliefs.

Numerated Torture Methods for Interrogation and Behavior Modification

(A comparison between physical and no-touch torture tactics)

1.       Induction of Depressive/Manic states

The idea is to shake up the emotional states of the target because different information can be accessed at each state.  Making the target feel despair and helplessness is the objective. This cycle of hope building and then breaking is done in many ways.  The techniques between the physical methods and the no-touch technological methods are similar. Speech is very important during this process of emotional manipulation. Such examples are, “We have imprisoned you without due processes or hope of it. You are indefinitely detained.” Hope building examples include, “Sorry. We have mistaken you for someone else. You will be compensated for false imprisonment and torture.”   The main difference between the cybernetic technology and physical is that emotional state clusters can be entrained into the target mind which speeds up the process. The communication is done differently but perceived as human speech. In the no-touch torture methods it is helpful if the target is labeled with mental illness that is being created for discrediting purposes so as not to draw human rights groups’ attention.

2.       Memory Erasure

The military and CIA have been researching memory erasing drugs for half a century.  The focus of this summary report is on interrogation. Memory erasure is an important technique during interrogation. It is used in combination with sleep deprivation.  There are many drugs that have been developed for physical memory erasure. One such interrogation method requires acquiring information from the target while on these drugs and recording the subject. After a sleeping cycle, the interrogator claims that the target has confessed. Of course the target remembers nothing of their conversation. The interrogator will play samples of the subject’s conversation back to them making the subject believe that the interrogator knows more than they do.  Similar techniques are used in the wireless, no-touch torture and interrogation programs. The cybernetic methods of memory erasure have additional purposes.  The memory erasure can be used on the cybernetic target to make the target believe people have broken in and moved their belongings. While physical black bag jobs do occur, it is a way to make the target more paranoid.

3.       Electricity and Shocks

Pain and fear of death are common tactics during interrogation. Shocking by electricity is a traditional method of torture and exposed in the CIA’s secret prisons.  Shocking the testicles and nipples are the most common due to their sensitivity. Interestingly, the thousand of interviews of no-touch torture involves “stings” and “shocks” to various parts of their bodies over long durations.

4.       Fear and Terror

There are many techniques to induce extreme fear in the target.  In physical renditions dogs, power drills, guns, insects, mutilation, blow torches, water boarding, suffocation, mock burials, and mock executions are just a few the United States government have used.  Remember that many targets of torture die from the physical effects. It is torture to death.

Let us compare the no-touch torture methods used to inflict the same terror and mental anguish.  In several of these techniques the target needs to hear their handler’s voice.  This report does not describe the technologies used to broadcast voices to the target at a distance. While the subject can be broadcast mental images to their mind using hypnosis and other suggestions as well as visual entrainments, the more invasive controls of the brain manipulation technologies can be used to entrained the brain’s autonomic nervous systems such as not breathing causing the target to not be able to sleep from fear of suffocation equivalent to water boarding. The neural linguistic programming can add fears such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer threats.

Even motor cortex mapping can cause twitches in any part of the body. One example used a swift neck movement with a voice transmission, “We are trying to break your neck.” Directed energy effects such as Active Denial System can make the target feel that they are on fire indefinitely without the target dying from burns. Maximum pain and torture weapons have been evolving. Every drug effect can be artificially induced into the target mind including those of poisons.

5.       Imprisonment and Isolation

Isolation is commonly used as punishment in prisons. Many whistleblowers like Bradley Manning suffer this condition. In soft interrogation it is used to get the target to talk to their interrogator since humans have the need for companionship. In no-touch torture the target is driven from their friends and family using different techniques in order to isolate them so that the electronic mind control has more effect on their psyche.

Like in Guantanamo, the target becomes isolated losing their job and medical care. Part of the method involves slander in their community. They end up on the most part in poverty and paranoid about doctors and other people from false correlations that are purposefully induced into their lives. Isolation is also a form of sensory deprivation which will be discussed later. Days and weeks lose their meaning.

6.       Sexually Disturbing Tailored Pornography

The Summary of the Senate Torture Report disclosed the disgusting revelations that in the secret torture prisons the targets were forced to perform homosexual acts on each other against their will and religion in order not to be beaten or killed. This is a common break down tactic of belief systems and the human will. In no-touch torture the techniques are more psychologically specialized for each target. Most common examples include homosexual targets that are forced with voices that are derogatory to their lifestyle and similar mental images. Almost all targets are forced to view child pornography in their minds. And vice versa is true, that heterosexual targets are forced to view homosexual sexual acts like in the secret U.S. torture prisons.

7.       Mutilation

Also mentioned in the declassified report on torture was mutilation of the human. Cutting the naked target’s penis and scrotum, pulling nails or teeth is common.  In no-touch torture mutilation is done by trickery.  Let us look at a couple examples. There have been several targets who believed that the microwave hearing effect and other voice induction methods were done by microchips implanted in their teeth or ears. They had all their teeth pulled because they believed it was a technology called bone conductance. Others have poked out their ear drums in the belief they had micro implants in their ears. There are many more examples of trickery used to make the targets mutilate themselves

8.       Personal and Spiritual Defamation

In physical torture the CIA and other groups use propaganda and defamation of character for those they oppose. For detainees they try to disenfranchise the target from their religion. They will defecate on their Bible or Koran for example. They might say, “Why is your God not saving you?”  In no touch torture and behavior modification they might try to make an atheist believe in god. It is just a mechanism to alter belief systems for control and experimentation. Perhaps the target may wish to confess their secrets to a “voice of god weapon”. Information warfare covers the gamut of electronic communication as well. The government training exercise uses language like “befriend”, “infiltrate”, “mask/mimic”, “ruse”, “set-up”, “disrupt”, “create cognitive stress”, “use deception”, “ruin business relationships”, and “post negative information on appropriate forums” – in a malicious effort to target bloggers, activists, journalists, social event organizers and anyone else deemed to be a ‘emerging leader’ or voice in the public sphere.

9.       Psychological Intimidation

This is a topic for a target at the beginning of the trials and programs. Physical break-ins are common even if the target has an alarm system. The NSA has used stalking of foreign officials in the past for economic gain. The FBI does black bag jobs to invade a home without a warrant. The point is to let the target know they are being watched and to increase their paranoia. The NSA easily hacks all computer systems and causes harm to the victim’s intellectual property and their relationships from that endpoint. In the no touch torture false correlations between pain and a neighbor coming home can be induced.

10.     Rape

Rape is a common practice in torture. It causes much psychological trauma. In the United States methods of rape in their military and CIA secret prisons it is often relabeled. It is commonly done by prods but “rectal rehydration” is the more common misnomer. Often they call it forced feeding through the rectum but it is meant to induce psychological scaring and trauma. Several have died from the technique due to rectal bleeding.  In no-touch torture the psychological trauma of simulated rape takes on different forms. Using technique often called EEG-heterodyning the targets will receive molestation effects of their genitals. In men this can be the anus and genitals. Similarly women can be wirelessly raped by the analogous function of perception.

11.     Dietary Manipulation, Forced Weakness and Sickness

The idea behind dietary manipulation is to weaken the target. This is easily done in a physical setting but in no-touch the hunger trigger needs to be suppressed. Sometimes a false correlation between eating food and sickness is induced to make the target believe they are being poisoned. However, poisoning is common in physical renditions too.

12.     Repetition

Verbal breakdown is most important during interrogations and torture. Obviously speaking the language of the target is necessary. This is why there are interrogators in all languages. Repetition is an important neural linguistic programming interrogation tactic to influence the target mind.  During the breakdown process, threats to kill and to torture the target’s family or friends are common. Repetitious questioning and breakdown phrases are automated in both the physical and no-touch versions of torture. An interesting technology that is used for no-touch torture is called chatter botsChatter bots, an artificial intelligence program, automate much of the repetition so that the interrogators don’t drive themselves crazy during the neural linguistic torture and programming phases. Let us not forget the Chinese Water Torture, a single drop of water on the forehead of the detainee for months. Repetition is a form of torture.

13.     Sensitization of Pain Impulses

While the reverse can be obtained, optimizing perceived pain and misery is the objective in torture. Each trauma adds to the overall misery throughout life.  Optimization of pain has been studied by the military and intelligence agencies.  In the past the CIA has used drugs such as LSD to enhance fear and terror in the subject.  Other methods such as hypnosis can increase perceived pain and the power of suggestion such as telling the subject his pinky finger is going to be cut off before it is done. In no-touch torture the same psychological manipulations are exerted. Subliminal and overt suggested are often told to the subject before the directed energy or EEG heterodyning pain inductions in order to maximize their effectiveness.

14.     Sensory Overload and Deprivation

Again, this technique of overloading or depriving the human of sensory stimulus is ubiquitous in torture around the world not just in U.S. secret prisons. Torture subjects in the United States have reported the use of repetitive bad music and noise campaigns. An unusual torture technique used in the U.S. secret prisons was of a use of a plastic suit filled with ice while they beat the target.  Ultra bright lights for days on end in the prison and hot/cold temperature changes in the environment are frequent. In no-touch torture, the target’s brain is forced to release dopamine which causes pupil dilatation. This acts as a sensory overload. For example the non-lethal microwave weapons research done by a professor in University of Nevada has shown this capability. Body metabolism can be altered with these weapons causing cold and hot flashes.  Targets of no-touch torture often hear endless tinnitus.

15.     Sexual Humiliation and Lack of Privacy

Often used in common prisons is a lack of privacy. It is both necessity for security and a form of sexual humiliation. Also in prison many people are raped. No-touch torture offers the same sexual humiliation and lack of privacy by using through wall radar, cameras, and EEG visual cloning to let the target know they are being watched. Degrading comments are often used on the no-touch torture subjects while they are naked or in the bathroom.

16.     Maximum Sensory Pain Techniques

Basic torture involves brutalization, i.e. physical strikes, kicks in the groin, pepper spray or tear gas, etc. Anything that involves maximum pain is the objective. Amazingly, these same basic tortures can be done wirelessly into the human mind. All forms of sickness have been reported without any real illness behind the suffering.  All suffering can be entrained into the minds of no-touch torture subjects.

17.     Sleep Deprivation

This is the number one torture method along with the popularity in the press of water boarding.  This is done in every country that uses torture. The United States is number one in torture since they are currently the world’s only superpower.  A repetitive sleep deprivation cycle is generally done 180 hrs/7.5 days at a time in the physical renditions, or in no-touch torture five days awake and two days of sleep.  Sleep deprivation accomplishes the objective of memory loss during interrogation and induces hallucinations which help with the interrogation process. In behavior modification and programming it is necessary too.

18.     Stress Positions

Keeping detainees handcuffed above their head and to walls so that they must stand for days is a common ploy in torture. These types of poses are called stress positions. They can be mimicked in no-touch torture. An example of one such trick requires the target to believe they can deflect radar energy using pots or pans and that it is directional. The target is being given an ample amount of pain until their hands and arms are spread apart holding the pans trying to block the signals. They must maintain that position in order to get any relief from the torture signals. However the stress position itself is physical torture. Often accompanying this technique are voices saying to the target, “You are doing it to yourself.”
We will finish off this summary of U.S. and its allies’ torture, interrogation, and behavior modification experimentation with ideas of why they are done to the general public and falsely accused detainees.  Anyone can be put into these programs. Justice and rule of law does not exist at the highest levels of government. Treaties are worthless because the #1 agreement in the rules of war, a ban against torture, is not obeyed. This creates a more brutal and barbaric society lead by example.

No-touch torture uses the same interrogation tactics as physical interrogations but with some new twists. Techniques such as “Jeff and Mutt” a.k.a. “Good Cop Bad Cop” are used. The bad cop tortures the target and the good cop tries to gain their trust. In mind control, trust games are commonly employed to manipulate the beliefs of the target.  Creating hatred of groups through false correlations and deception is a common CIA method of trickery.

In the CIA programs, the target is put through these phases as written in the documentation, “Disorient and confuse the target. Use them for our purposes, and then dispose of them in any way possible.” We can only surmise by our sample set of a thousand people what “dispose” means: prison, suicide, or perhaps a mental hospital.  Coercing and torturing people to suicide is very common. Both tactics in physical or no-touch torture involves plausible deniability.

The no-touch interrogations are better than physical rendition techniques for exposing support networks. Traditional NSA tracking of email and phones calls are useful but if the targets are taken into a secret prison they can’t contact their networks. In no-touch torture, the target will contact everyone who might help them. Then those relationships can be destroyed to isolate the target. All these techniques rely on the target having a fear of death and pain.

Deception is very important during interrogation. In physical interrogations the targets are often drugged. This creates the confusion necessary to pull off certain trickery. In terrorist interrogations, for example, the CIA uses fake newspapers to make the target believe whatever event they were suspected of plotting had already happened, obviously looking for a confession.  Sometimes the government in charge of the torture is looking for a political gain through a false confession. None-the-less false flag operations are commonly used in both forms of torture and interrogation.  The trick is to make the target believe another foreign country is doing it to them. In no-touch torture the trick is to make them believe someone related to them is behind their suffering.

Voice transformation and morphing is an interesting technology also used in both physical and wireless interrogations. It is a form of deception used against a target to trick them into believing that they are speaking to real people that they know. It has been used in war to trick generals.  Obviously spoofing email and other identities on internet forums can be used in this manner too.

Finally, the topic of human experimentation for improving weapons, torture, interrogation, and social disruption methods will be breached.  Most of the techniques mentioned above work most effectively if the target has no SERE training (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) or psychological understanding of the methods to influence the human mind. Unfortunately, every sample point in the world’s society needs to be studied to improve the weapons systems. This is why many random people are put into the torture and mind control experiments. There are some devious uses of a secret army of remote controlled assassins in every country in the world. The samples must include different education, language, culture, and economic factors.  Obviously, silencing dissidents, oppositions of political parties, and whistleblowers are included in the lists of applications. The most disturbing of the trends in torture is testing and improving it. No-touch torture is much more complex than physical torture. Testing design flaws and weaknesses of the signal intelligence is one reason why it is necessary to test on innocent targets. Often the subject will be taunted by the statement, “Try to stop us.” This statement forces the torture subject to try to figure out shielding and jamming techniques to stop the wireless torture and helps the weapons designers to improve on the system.

However, the psychological and perceived physical pain is only half the story with no-touch torture. It also involves a set of scripts, mind games if you will, to walk the target to murder and/or suicide. This is called “Hyper Game Theory”.  It is used in war games to determine how to control your enemies and targets.  Game Theory can be used on governments, individuals, or for determining propaganda to alter cultures. The experiments on the public provide a means to test the efficacy of these scripts and determine under what circumstances to use them.

One last comment on why “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex” as President Eisenhower warned. During these torture programs run by the United States and its allies, accurate “truth” data points need to be used to judge the efficiency of the interrogation methods. This is why there is a dispute between the CIA and Senate Intelligence Committee reports about the usefulness of torture. Subterfuge by the CIA hacking into the senate oversight committee’s computers is a big deal; a rogue agency has been formed. Data fusion centers, Homeland Security Data Fusion Centers, NSA, and FBI collect data on Americans. This data in turn is used during torture and interrogation of Americans in no-touch torture.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, Saturday to reaffirm Ottawa’s support for Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist, pro-western regime and the US-led drive against Russia.

From Kiev, Harper flew to Germany for the G-7 summit, at which he promised to advocate for the Ukrainian regime—i.e. to join Washington in pressing for no let-up in the economic sanctions, aggressive NATO military deployments, and war threats against Russia.

At a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Harper declared: “While Ukraine may not have a seat at the (G-7) table, I can assure you, Mr. President, the situation will be very high on Canada’s agenda.”

Earlier in a written statement, Harper again sought to paint Russia as the “aggressor.” Amid renewed fighting in east Ukraine, where much of the population has rebelled against Kiev with Russia’s support, Harper declared:

“Canada strongly condemns Russia’s aggressive actions in Eastern Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea, and will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of the ongoing violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

This turns reality on its head. It is the western powers, led by the US and Germany, that have been pushing to detach Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence and transform it into a source of cheap labour and natural resources for western imperialism and a staging area for provocations against Russia. In response to the Russian ruling elite’s predictable attempts to counter this existential threat, it is the western powers that have deployed troops on Russia’s borders and battleships in the Black Sea, violating NATO’s earlier pledge that it would not permanently station forces in Eastern Europe.

Canada has long been playing a critical role in the drive to harness Ukraine to the West and to strategically isolate Russia and topple Putin—a campaign that threatens to provoke all-out war between nuclear-armed states.

Harper’s visit to Kiev was the third he has made since the US-orchestrated, fascist-led coup of February 2014 that overthrew Ukraine’s elected president, Victor Yanukovych.

Canada has joined in the NATO deployments on Russia’s borders, sending troops and war planes to the Baltic states and Eastern Europe and warships to the Black Sea. In August, 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel will deploy to the western Ukraine to provide training, alongside US and British forces, to Ukrainian army and National Guard units.

Canada has repeatedly seconded US calls for their European allies to take a more belligerent stance against Russia. At last November’s G-20 meeting, Harper provocatively snubbed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, telling him “to get out of Ukraine” to accolades from Canadian media.

In Kiev this Saturday, Harper announced plans to provide funding and equipment for a new civil police force. Ottawa will also send a contingent of police officers to Ukraine to train the force and to advise what the media called “other security institutions.” This likely refers to the Kiev regime’s National Guard, which comprises many fighters from ultra-nationalist and outright fascist volunteer militia.

Harper was accompanied on his trip by representatives of the right-wing Ukrainian Canadian Congress and its affiliates, including the Canadian representatives of Army SOS, which is supplying military equipment and weaponry to the Ukrainian army and aligned militias.

While the Harper government claims that it is not providing lethal military equipment to the Kiev regime—in line with current US, EU and NATO policy—Army SOS is doing so, with Ottawa’s encouragement. Through its networks of Canadian volunteers, Army SOS has supplied the Ukrainian Army and its militia allies with uniforms, medical equipment, surveillance technology including drones, and lethal weapons such as parts for sniper rifles.

The participation of Army SOS representatives in the delegation Harper led to Kiev this past weekend underscores the support it enjoys at the highest levels of the state. Earlier this year, an Army SOS event in Toronto, which raised over C$50,000, was addressed by two Conservative MPs.

On the eve of the Harper’s departure for Kiev, Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires in Canada, Marko Shevchenko, hailed Canada’s role, claiming that Ukraine’s “relations … with Canada are deeper and much more significant than with any other country in the world.”

This comment underscores the close ties between Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist government, Harper’s Conservatives, and the Canadian ruling class more generally.

Shevchenko hailed the military aid being provided by Ottawa. “The Canadian government, led by Stephen Harper, is,” he said, “the world leader in providing such non-lethal assistance to Ukraine.”

In comments which say a great deal about Canada’s constant involvement in imperialist wars in recent years, Sevchenko said Ukraine stood to benefit greatly from Canadian military assistance. “The Canadian Armed Forces has big experience in contemporary war,” he said. “Ukrainian forces didn’t have such experience until last year.”

The wars Shevchenko referred to include: Canada’s leading role in NATO’s bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999; its 10-year deployment of troops in the Afghan war; its prominent role in NATO’s 2011 “regime change” war in Libya; and its on-going deployment of aircraft and special forces personnel to Iraq and Syria, in a war aimed ostensibly at combating ISIS, but which aims to shore up US hegemony over the world’s most important oil-exporting region.

As during these previous interventions, the Harper government’s embrace of the far-right Kiev regime and aggressive stance against Russia enjoy overwhelming support within Canada’s political and corporate elite.

Jack Harris, the defence spokesman for the official opposition, the trade union-supported New Democratic Party (NDP), made clear his party’s support for Harper’s actions to support the Kiev regime and NATO’s provocative deployments on Russia’s borders, declaring, “we do not have a problem with that at all.”

Paul Dewar, the NDP’s foreign affairs spokesman, weighed in with a call for additional sanctions on Russia over the case of imprisoned Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko. He added, “I want to reassure, from our side of the House, the people of Ukraine that we are there to help the people of Ukraine.”

James Bezan, the parliamentary secretary to national defence minister Jason Kenney, made a telling reference to the integration of the activities of SOS Ukraine with those of the Canadian state. Bezan said,

“We also have people over there who have done great work, such as Lenna Koszarny, who is a Canadian living in Ukraine. …. She is working with our ambassador, Roman Waschuk … to make sure … that our great military equipment is getting into the right hands and is being well-used.”

Koszarny is a coordinator of Army SOS as well as a leading member of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

The House of Commons debate also shed light on Ottawa’s direct involvement in imposing brutal austerity measures on Ukrainian workers. After praising Porroshenko’s commitment to “significant,” “market-based,” “structural and economic reforms” to tie Ukraine’s economy to the West, International Trade Minster Ed Fast boasted that Canada is “playing a role in those reforms.”

The economic advisory council that President Poroshenko has established, continued Fast, “is actually headed by a Canadian, Mr. Basil Kalymon of the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Albert Koenders and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed international problems, including the crisis in Ukraine and the prosecution of suspects for their alleged involvement in the fatal downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MAS MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17 2014. A team of international investigators concluded a meeting to discuss the status of the investigation. The stonewalling of independent media by all of the involved parties continues.

Koenders and Lavrov met in the Russian capital Moscow on June 5, where they discussed efforts to prosecute suspects in the downing of the Malaysian Boeing 777-200. The tragic air-crash caused the death of all 298 passengers and crew on board the plane and ignited an international diplomatic row over several aspects of the crash, the civil war in Ukraine and international involvement in the civil war that, ultimately, may be the root cause for the crash.

Both Koenders and Lavrov addressed the press on Friday, stating that they also had discussed sanctions against Russian citizens. Commenting on the discussions between the two foreign ministers, Koenders said:

“They were not easy discussions because there are many areas where we don’t agree. … But they were discussions that needed to happen.”

The investigation is led by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB). The decision to have the DSB lead the investigation was, reportedly, based on the fact that about two-thirds of the 298 deceased were Dutch citizens and because the government in Ukraine is itself a belligerent party to the civil war.

The meeting between Koenders and Lavrov came as the team of international air-crash investigators were to meet at the Gilze Rijen Air Firce Base in the Netherlands. On June 7, the DSB published a statement about the meeting, saying:

Dutch Safety Board_DSB_The Netherlands“This afternoon, the team of international aviation investigators who investigate the cause of the crash of flight MH17 concluded an investigation meeting at Gilze Rijen air force base.During the team’s first meeting (at the end of February) the members shared the findings of the investigation to date. The second meeting focused on the progress of the investigation as a whole and on the preliminary results of the forensic investigation. The participants also received further details on the work being carried out to reconstruct the aircraft. The meeting is part of the procedure for international aviation investigations laid down by the ICAO Convention. During the meeting, good progress has been made. …”

The investigators represent the countries involved in the MH17 investigation headed by the Dutch Safety Board: Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.

The investigators reportedly expressed their commitment to help identifying the perpetrators who caused the downing of the Malaysian airliner and the tragic death on the 298 people on board.

In September 2014 the DSB issued a preliminary report, concluding that high-velocity projectiles had impacted the airliner from the outside of the hull.

It is widely assumed that the plane has been brought down by a surface to air missile, but radar data released by the Russian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense also suggest the presence of what is believed to have been a Su-25 military jet close to the airliner. (See video released by the Russian MoD).

The government in Kiev and especially the governments of the USA and the UK are blaming what they describe as “pro-Russian rebels” for the tragedy. The government of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Moscow, for their part, stress that military forces in the DPR neither have Buk-M1 SAM missile systems which are believed to have been involved, nor an air force.

Following his meeting with Lavrov in Moscow, Koenders said that the Russian Foreign Minister expressed his support for an existing UN Security Council Resolution which commits the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Dutch Safety Board, for its part, also reiterated its commitment to prosecute those responsible while stressing that the case is unprecedented and that it will be legally and politically challenging to put foreign suspects on trial.

Investigation marred by Omissions, Distortions and Lack of Transparency.

Source: screenshot images from

Source: screenshot images from

So far, the investigation has been marred by omissions and distortions and a lack of transparency. The flight route ofMAS MH17 deviated significantly from a more southerly route used in the days up to July 17, 2014, when the flight crew was assigned a route that would have the airliner fly directly over a known combat area and at a flight level below the one that had been requested by the air crew.

So far, no answers about who exactly designated the more northerly flight route and why have been forthcoming. nsnbc international contacted the Ukrainian Transportation Ministry, the Ministry of the Interior and the Defense Ministry without receiving as much as a reply. Phone calls were re-directed to end up with unanswered phones. Promises that ministries would call back were not kept.

nsnbc international contacted the Dutch Safety Board, requesting a certified Comma Separated Variable file from the plane’s flight data recorder for analysis by independent specialists on behalf of the independent newspaper. The request was denied.

The question whether the DSB could be considered as impartial since the Netherlands is a NATO member State was considered “inappropriate” and further inquiries were being stonewalled by the DSB.

The question pertaining the DSB’s lead role and the Netherlands’s NATO membership was based on a declassified U.S. American document dated March 13, 1962.

The document is commonly known as the “Northwoods Memorandum” in which the US Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested bringing down an airliner to create a pretext for an invasion of Cuba. (Complete copy of the declassified document – PDF) . The document was declassified and released as part of the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board’s investigation.

So far, it was impossible for nsnbc international to acquire certified audio copies of conversations between Ukrainian Air Traffic Controllers and the flight crew on board the Boeing 777-200 from Ukrainian authorities or from the Dutch Safety Board.

In its preliminary report the DSB released a “transcript” of the communication, claiming it to be correct and truthful. The “transcript” however, does not allow independent media to analyze the data, to make inquiries into whether the data have been tempered with, or even if the voices match with those of the flight crew.

The international flying public is presumably expected to “believe” the DSB and other authorities rather than independent media and verifiable, testable data.

In fairness, an inquiry at the Russian Foreign Ministry and a request to receive certified copies and CSV files of the radar data that were released by the Russian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense remained unanswered too.


The position of nsnbc international, as independent newspaper, is that the “unprecedented incident” requires“unprecedented transparency”.

The main reasons for this unprecedented transparency are; the geopolitical implications; concerns for the safety of the global flying public; and not least, respect for the 298 on board the airliner who perished and for the bereft families and loved ones.

Earlier this month the CEO of the Russian arms manufacturer and producer of the Buk-M1 missile system announced that the company is ready to stage a full-scale experiment under international supervision to proof that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was downed by a missile launched from a Buk-M1 system.

Should such a full-scale experiement be carried out, nsnbc international would appreciate an invitation and unimpeded access to certified data. Without transparency towards independent media there is no transparency – Period.

Editor’s note: nsnbc international continues its independent investigation into the downing of MAS MH17 and will continue to do so, by journalism, by freedom of information requests, and by encouraging whistle-blowers to come forward. Our greatest obstacle is lack of funding. Please do get a free subscription at the bottom of this page and please donate a monthly amount equivalent to the price of one print newspaper per month to support independent investigative journalism. So far, less than 0.5% of our subscribers ever donate – that simply does not cut it if you say that you “appreciate independent media”. – Christof Lehmann, editor-in-chief, nsnbc international.


Voting Discrimination in America

June 8th, 2015 by William John Cox

The Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case about the allocation of voting districts will have consequences far beyond the millions of U.S. taxpayers its ruling may deprive of representation. A decision that only counts voters, rather than all persons, will undermine the very foundation of the Republic.

The American Revolution was fought over “taxation without representation,” and those who wrote the Constitution carefully apportioned taxation and representation among the states “according to their respective Numbers . . . of free Persons . . . and . . . three-fifths of all other Persons.” The authors clearly equated We, the People with all Persons—even those who could not vote.

The Constitution goes on to provide that apportionment shall be based on an ‘Enumeration” (census) conducted every ten years. Along with slaves, free women were counted in the census; however, neither were allowed to vote. Initially, only a small percentage of all persons—white men who owned sufficient property—elected representatives, but Jacksonian democracy extended the franchise to all white men.

The Fourteenth Amendment changed the definition of persons when the slaves were freed: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.” The Fifteenth Amendment prohibited voting discrimination against former slaves, but women were yet to be mentioned.

In 1903, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution provided equal protection to all persons, including “an alien, who has entered the country, and has become subject in all respects to its jurisdiction, and a part of its population, although alleged to be illegally here.” Taxpaying illegal immigrants cannot vote, but they are counted for representation.

The Nineteenth Amendment precluded states from discriminating against women in voting, and the Twenty-sixth Amendment extended voting protection to all persons “who are eighteen years of age or older.” These amendments targeted discrimination; however, the underlying right of all persons to vote has never been included in the Constitution. This startling fact was acknowledged by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, when it appointed George W. Bush as president in 2000 stating, “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States . . . .”

The political nature of Bush was proved by the Court’s statement that it was a one-time decision which could not be relied on as law in the future. Members of the majority had ties to the conservative Federalist Society, the goal of which is “to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.” Current Justice Antonin Scalia was a founder of the Society, and Justices Alito and Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts are members.

These conservative justices purport to be originalists in deciding what the actual words of the Constitution meant to those who originally ratified it; however, their decisions prove otherwise. Bush was pure politics, as was Citizens United v. FEC, which granted constitutional personhood to corporations. If political ideology, rather than original intent, motivates a decision that only counts voters, political power will shift from larger, multi-cultural, and diverse districts to smaller, whiter, wealthier, and conservative districts, and millions of persons will once again be taxed without representation.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, another conservative organization that shares financial supporters with the Federalist Society, is responsible for most state photo ID laws that target vulnerable voting populations. In 2014, a Federal District Court held that the Texas voter ID law had been adopted “with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose” and that it placed “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.” The Federalist majority of the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision and blocked 600,000 registered voters in Texas from voting. Persons purged from registration lists because of voter ID and other suppression tactics will no longer count—should the Court decide that representational apportionment can be narrowly based on those who vote, instead of all persons.

A majority of Americans no longer have faith in their government. The job approval rate of Congress is a dismal 16 percent, while only one quarter of the people agree with the Supreme Court’s ideology, and more than half believe it has a political agenda. Although the struggle to overcome voting discrimination took 200 years, less than half of all eligible persons bother to vote. But, just because people choose not to vote doesn’t mean they surrender their constitutional right to be represented.

The justices have repeatedly shown they are without shame in making unconscionable political decisions that are not in the best interests of the people. Let us hope there is sufficient collective wisdom remaining for them to correctly decide the true meaning of “person”—the most important word in the Constitution.

William John Cox is a retired public interest lawyer who drafted the United States Voters’ Rights Amendment ( His memoir, The Holocaust Case: Defeat of Denial will be published in July.

In a recent national movement, U.S. state and federal politicians are attempting to stop an international pro-Palestinian divestment campaign from gaining momentum. The campaign, called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), hopes to inflict an economic cost on Israel for its continued occupation and the associated harm to Palestinians. Rather than defending what is ostensibly a peaceful country, the effort to “boycott the boycotters” once again draws attention to the moral bankruptcy of many of Israel’s leaders and their allies in the United States, and does nothing to bring peace to the two populations.

In a first step, South Carolina recently became the first state in the U.S. to enact legislation with the goal of fighting the BDS campaign. Under the legislation, all public entities in the state are prohibited from doing business with anyone who supports a boycott of any of the state’s trading partners. [1] A total of nineteen other states now hope to follow in South Carolina’s footsteps and enact similar legislation.

As supporters of BDS point out, however, the actions of U.S. politicians to counter the movement merely exposes their anxiety about its potential. As the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad H. Mansour, has said, “No matter what [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu says by trying to divert discussion to attack this group, that cannot cover the fact that his government is involved in illegal activities in the occupied territories, especially in settlements. It cannot be defended, including by legislators in the United States of America.” [1]

Indeed, it is increasingly difficult to defend a country that is continually implicated in serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law [2], and whose presence within the Palestinian territories is officially recognized by the majority of the international community—including the International Court of Justice [3]—as a military occupation.

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, acknowledges that BDS and similar campaigns thrive most easily in the current environment of hostility and stagnation in the peace process. “Negotiations,” he says, “have always been the most effective tool to defeat all of these efforts….If there are no negotiations now, and most of the world does not believe that there will be any time soon, how can we still, first of all, fight against boycotts and sanctions and delegitimization, and how can we preserve the two-state solution as a realistic option?” [4]

Leaders of the BDS campaign compare it to the divestment campaign used in the case of South Africa during the era of apartheid. Many believe that the effort contributed to the ultimate breakdown of that system, and has the same potential in the case of Israel’s occupation.

Interestingly, in a 1999 study, Ivo Welch and C. Paul Wazzan showed that divestment in South Africa had no substantial impact on banks’ and corporations’ valuations, but still had the important effect of raising awareness. “The sanctions,” they said, “may have been effective in raising the public moral standards or public awareness of South African repression, but it appears that financial markets managed to avoid the brunt of the sanctions.” [5] Nelson Mandela, however, has said that divestment was a crucial factor in ending apartheid. [6] Divestment’s true value lies in its ability to reflect, and also generate, public opposition to systematic injustices. In this sense, divestment in South Africa was successful and may now prove useful in the case of Israel.

While divestment itself, and the BDS campaign, may not be the ultimate answer in effecting an about-face in Israel-Palestinian relations, its increasing prominence can serve as part of a broader strategy forcing a reexamination of the issues at play. Sooner rather than later, relations between the two sides are going to come to a head and require a concrete resolution, and actions such as BDS make an eventual peaceful compromise more likely than a replay of large-scale conflict as was witnessed last year.

Bryce White is an independent geopolitical analyst and student of political science residing in San Diego, and writes at


[1] Gladstone, Rick. “Israel’s Allies in U.S. Challenge Boycott.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 05 June 2015. Web. 07 June 2015.Gladstone, Rick. “Israel’s Allies in U.S. Challenge Boycott.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 05 June 2015. Web. 07 June 2015.
[2] “World Report 2013: Israel/Palestine.” Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, n.d. Web. 07 June 2015.
[3] “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” International Court of Justice. International Court of Justice, n.d. Web. 07 June 2015.
[4] “US Envoy Shapiro: Difficult to Fight Boycott of Israel While Peace Process Frozen.” The Jerusalem Post. Jpost Inc., 4 June 2015. Web. 07 June 2015.
[5] Hendey, Eric. “Does Divestment Work?” Harvard University Institute of Politics. The President and Fellows of Harvard College, n.d. Web. 07 June 2015.
[6] Simmons, Adele. “Outside Opinion: Skeptics Were Wrong; South Africa Divestment Worked.” Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune, 15 Dec. 2013. Web.07 June 2015.

Image: Adolf Hitler in vanquished Paris, June 23 1940

Nothing must be done between England and Germany which would in any way violate the prestige of Great Britain. Adolf Hitler[1]

When Hitler realized that his original idea, the creation of a powerful Reich of all Germans allied to Britain, could not be realized, he tried to build and secure
this Reich with his own military resources. In this way he created for himself a world of enemies. 
Joachim von Ribbentrop[2]

…On June 22, 1940, France surrendered. The French naval fleet was disarmed. However, no documents were signed ordering French warships to be transferred or handed over to the Germans. France promised only to suspend her war against Germany. Nevertheless, was Hitler perhaps planning to seize France’s ships in some underhanded way? No, he definitely was not. Germany’s demands in victory were quite modest and did not even remotely resemble the outright mugging inflicted by the Allies at Versailles.

And why was that?

That was because Adolf Hitler was never planning to go to war against Britain and France.

And even now, after defeating the French, he was not really interested in looting as much as convincing those countries to join his cause, which eventually should have led to the long-awaited peace with Great Britain. Hitler had not planned any further war with the West. On the contrary, the Führer was prepared to sign a peace treaty with London. And the English would find the terms of that future peace deal to be quite acceptable. Hitler had no desire to strip the British bare or to deprive them of their position as the rulers of the world. The Führer wanted to lay the foundation for an eternal German alliance with Britain. “So certain was he that the British would agree to this that even after the fall of France he made no plans for continuing the war against Britain,[3] writes William Shirer, an American journalist who worked inside the Third Reich.

The idea that the German leader wanted to conquer Britain after his seizure of France is nothing but the product of the overexcited imagination of Western historians. Neither Hitler nor any of the highest commanders of the German armed forces were preparing to fight the British. On June 20, 1940, Admiral Raeder asked his Führer, “And now how about the British?” But he got no answer. Ten days later, the chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, General Jodl, submitted a memorandum to Hitler, which declared that the war against England must be waged politically.[4] Incidentally, Alfred Jodl, who was later hanged at Nuremberg, was responsible for strategic planning for the German army.

However, the idea of a peaceful end to the war against their protégé Adolf Hitler had no place in the British plans. In the summer of 1940, the tenets of the British policy were unchanged: billions of pounds had not been spent so that Nazi Germany could become an equal partner to the gentlemen in London. After all, the war with Russia/USSR had not yet been launched.

“Making peace” with the Führer meant that Britain would lose her position of global hegemony in the most offensive and stupid way possible: by creating a geopolitical rival with their own hands and then sharing world dominion with him. The British wanted nothing to do with that sort of peace. They would fight, and fight hard. There is no place for sentimentality when faced with the prospect of losing control over the world. Britain’s determination was manifest in the resolute words of her prime minister, “if necessary for years, if necessary alone.”[5]

Operation Catapult was drafted by the British in an unprecedentedly short period of time and launched only 11 days after the surrender of France. The irony of that situation lay in the fact that this time the British were attacking an ally, not an enemy. An ugly scene played out on the decks of the French warships docked in the English ports of Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Devonport.

Naturally the French sailors did not expect to be ambushed by their comrades-in-arms. “The action was sudden and necessarily a surprise,” Churchill would later write.[6] All the French ships: two battleships, four cruisers, eight destroyers, 12 submarines, and about 200 minesweepers and submarine chasers – were captured by the British early on the morning of July 3, 1940. The attack was so unexpected that only the crew of the submarine Surcouf managed to put up any sort of armed fight. The French crews were forcibly put ashore and interned “not without violent incidents.[7] Acting like pirates, the Brits seized vessels that were then added to the English Navy …

But the real tragedy did not unfold in British ports, but rather where the French fleet was moored in Oran, Mers-el-Kébir, and Dakar. On that same morning of July 3,[8] a British squadron commanded by Admiral James Somerville approached Oran. French Admiral Marcel Gensoul, the commander of the French fleet, was given a final ultimatum by the British. He could:

  • continue to fight against Germany and Italy as part of the British fleet
  • move the ships to British ports while returning the French crews to France, and the ships would remain in British hands until the end of the war
  • move the ships to the French West Indies or flood them within 6 hours.[9]

If Gensoul found none of these options acceptable, he could “disarm” right where his ships were moored, but only if he did so “effectively.” This meant that the French were being asked to wreck their own ships under British supervision. As the commander of a formation of the newest and most powerful ships in the French navy, and sitting in a home port, how would you have responded to such proposals, coming from yesterday’s “comrades-in-arms” no less?

Admiral Gensoul rejected the British ultimatum. This was reported to Churchill, and at 18:25 (on the eve of the expiration of the ultimatum) the commander of the British squadron was given the final order from his prime minister: “French ships must comply with our terms or sink themselves or be sunk by you before dark.[10]

On the right – Admiral James Somerville (1882–1949)

However, with surprise as his goal, British Admiral Somerville suddenly opened fire, without waiting for the ultimatum to expire! At 18:00, he radioed that he was already engaged in battle.The French sailors never expected the British ships to actually begin shooting at them, but that was what was happening! It was neither a fight nor a real naval battle. The French sailors, who were completely unprepared to repel the attack, were executed. “… The ships in Oran were not able to fight. They were anchored, with no room to maneuver or scatter. The position of our ships meant that the British vessels could fire the first shots, which as we know is crucial at such distance at sea. The French ships were not destroyed in a fair fight.”[11]

The battleship Bretagne, which was moored in Oran, took a direct hit in her magazine, exploded, and sank into the depths of the sea within minutes. The battleship Provence was severely damaged and beached herself; the battleship Dunkerque had little room to maneuver and ran aground. Although damaged by British torpedo bombers, the battle cruiser Strasbourg still managed to break through the English squadron, along with five destroyers and several submarines, to reach her native shores under fire.

The British Admiralty could feel at ease: all the newest French battleships were now out of commission. The last of these, the Richelieu, moored in Dakar, was attacked by British torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and badly damaged. Altogether about 1,300 Frenchmen were killed during Operation Catapult.[12] In response to this betrayal, the French government severed diplomatic relations with England, without declaring war.

But could the Germans have captured the French fleet? There was no chance. It was not until Nov. 26, 1942, two years after Operation Catapult, that German troops first tried to do this as they entered Toulon.[13] The French fleet stationed there was scuttled at the order of the Vichy government. Three battleships, 8 cruisers, 17 destroyers, 16 torpedo-boats, 16 submarines, 7 sloops, 3 patrol boats, and 60 transports, trawlers, and tugboats sank into the sea.[14] As you can see, the French never flinched. Why? Because they were never German puppets and were never prepared to surrender their fleet – not to the Germans and not to the British. Although on the eve of the traitorous British Operation Catapult, France had given Churchill a promise that under no circumstances would her warships fall into German hands …

To be continued 


The French squadron under fire from the English fleet, Mers-el-Kébir, July 3, 1940.

Major French Naval base Toulon, photo taken in 1944. Submerged hulls of VSS Tartu, Cassard, L’Indomptable, Vautour, Aigle, Condorcet are seen.


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


[1] F. H. Hinsley. Hitler’s Strategy. Pg. 81.

[2] Joachim Ribbentrop. The Ribbentrop Memoirs. Pg. 141.

[3] William Shirer. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Pg. 747.

[4] MacGregor KnoxMussolini Unleashed, 1939-1941: Politics and Strategy in Fascist Italy’s Last War. Pg. 183.

[5] Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Their Finest Hour. Pg. 197.

[6] Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Their Finest Hour. Pg. 207.

[7] Charles de Gaulle. Mémoires de guerre. Pg. 110.

[8] The British had to hit the French fleet simultaneously in all ports, in order not to lose the element of surprise inherent in their vow to destroy the ships.

[9] David Thomas. Battles and Honours of the Royal Navy. Pg. 278.

[10] Brooke C. Stoddard. World in the Balance: The Perilous Months of June-October 1940. Pg. 74.

[11] Charles de Gaulle. Mémoires de guerre. Pg. 321.

[12] John Grehan. Churchill’s Secret Invasion : Britain’s First Large Scale Combined Operations Offensive 1942. Pg. 7.

[13] Shortly before this, the British and Americans had landed in Algiers, i.e., a French colony in Africa. Fiercely resisting the Anglo-Saxons at first, the French Admiral François Darlan later began cooperating with them. Thus Germany was forced to occupy the remainder of “free” France, in order to prevent a potential invasion by the British and Americans.

[14] Charles de Gaulle. Mémoires de guerre. Pg. 59.


Episode 16. Who signed death sentense to France in 1940?

Episode 15. Poland Betrayed

Episode 14. How Adolf Hitler turned to be a “defiant aggressor”

Episode 13. Why London presented Hitler with Vienna and Prague

Episode 12. Why did Britain and the United States have no desire to prevent WWII?

Episode 11. A Soviet Quarter Century (1930-1955)

Episode 10. Who Organised the Famine in the USSR in 1932-1933?

Episode 9. How the British “Liberated” Greece

Episode 8. The Great Odd War

Episode 7. Britain and France Planned to Assault Soviet Union in 1940

Episode 6. Leon Trotsky, Father of German Nazism

Episode 5. Who paid for World War II?

Episode 4. Who ignited First World War?

Episode 3. Assassination in Sarajevo

Episode 2. The US Federal Reserve

Episode 1. Bank of England

Please read Part I prior to this article: NATO’s Black Sea Bloc: Spreading the “New Cold War” into New Theaters By Andrew Korybko, June 05, 2015

The central dynamic underpinning of the Black Sea Bloc is one of irredentist expansionism and strategic branching, which by its very nature mandates that the group is constantly attempting to export its influence past its understood boundaries. In the case of Moldova and Macedonia, the majority of the population do not want Romanian and Bulgarian interference in their domestic affairs, despite Chisinau’s political elite and fifth column Romanians being all for it and Macedonian Color Revolutionary figurehead Zaev allying with existentially dangerous forces. As it pertains to Georgia, however, Tbilisi wants to rapidly integrate itself into the emerging military group through Washington’s naval assistance, but it’s not envisioned as being anything other than a peripheral appendage of the Black Sea Bloc (albeit one of strategic importance and long-term collaborative interest). Additionally, Georgia is not under any Romanian or Bulgarian pressure, nor do those states have any historical memories that they can weaponize in pressuring it, so it will always remain as a convenient exception to the bloc’s integrated dealings outside of naval cooperation.

Serbia’s Indirect Vulnerability:

Serbia remains another exception as well, but for very different reasons. As it currently stands, neither Bucharest nor Sofia have negative relations with Belgrade, and it doesn’t appear probable that a realistic scenario for such could present themselves anytime soon. This is an intriguing observation because Serbia is the only country to border both official Black Sea Bloc members, yet it’s not under direct threat by either of them. Still, it doesn’t mean that indirect aggression isn’t present, since if Bulgaria and its allies’ plans in destabilizing Macedonia succeed and Balkan Stream is no longer able to traverse its territory (either due to a regime change or dangerously unstable domestic situation), then Serbia would unquestionably become a part of the unipolar world, erasing any trace of its formerly semi-independent and multipolar-curious foreign policy. Looked at from this perspective, then Serbia has a paramount interest in seeing Bulgaria’s designs over Macedonia irreparably fail, while still maintaining positive surface interactions with the Black Sea Bloc state in order to preserve its strategic depth and to forestall any aggravation of bilateral relations that could be used as a pretext for asymmetrical aggression by Romania (the bloc’s core and strongest member).

Greater Claims Equal Greater Problems:

Bulgaria-SanStefano_-(1878)-byTodorBozhinovWhile Georgia and Serbia share the commonality of Romania and Bulgaria not having any realistic designs over their territory or identity, the same can’t be said at all for Moldova and Macedonia. Romanians are largely of the disposition that Moldova should be a part of their country and that there’s no such thing as the Moldovan language or ethnicity, just as many Bulgarians hold the same views of identity denial about Macedonians. Romania actually went as far asorganizing the 2009 Twitter Revolution in Moldova in a gambit to shoo in a forced ‘unification’, and Director of the Bulgarian National History Museum Bozhidar Dimitrov suggested last month that a perversion of the Crimean scenario could be used to annex Macedonia.

These disturbing actions of identity denial and intended geopolitical removal prove that both the Romanian and Bulgarian leaderships harbor the most negative of political intentions towards their Moldovan and Macedonian state neighbors (in the sense of their governments, not necessarily their people), and it’s not likely that such anti-state antipathy will ever dissipate. Instead, it’s more probable that both Black Sea Bloc aggressors will continue conspiring against their targets and double down in their offensive moves against them, which will adversely affect Russia’s interests in both of these states. Bulgaria will presumably maintain its close connection with Color Revolutionary Zaev, while Romania could conceivably use its influence to organize and rig a unification referendum (excluding the wishes of the non-Moldovan ethnicities such as the Gagauz and others, or possibly outright violating their suffrage) and provoking emboldened Chisinau to request Bucharest’s assistance (and possibly that of NATO, if Moldova is recognized by the group as then constituting an ‘integral’ part of the allied Romanian state) in forcing Transnistria into the unlawful ‘union’. Suffice to say, the Russian peacekeepers there would immediately be thrown into the conflict, with dangerously unascertainable consequences for NATO-Russian relations after the Rubicon (or Dniestr, in this case) is crossed.

Breaking The Bloc

The Black Sea Bloc is plagued by three major vulnerabilities that could develop to significantly impede its functioning:

A Hungarian Reawakening In Romania:

Hungarians form a sizeable and increasingly vocal minority located in Transylvania, and there’s a risk that they may become even more assertive of various rights and privileges as time goes on. In fact, there have already been pro-autonomy marches demanding a degree of political separateness from Bucharest, and the Hungarian Parliament proudly flies the flag of Szekely Land, the majority Hungarian-populated part of Romania. Other signs of interethnic tension have arisen as well, which while nothing totally inflammatory at this point, could create a situation that boils over sometime in the future.

hun193944This possibility becomes more of a reality as the Hungarian government becomes ostracized and painted as a threat by its formal European ‘partners’ over its growing sovereign stance onforeign and domestic affairs. Just as Greece and Turkey, both NATO members, almost came to blows over Cyprus, a similar scenario could possibly play out between Hungary and Romania over Szekely Land if either side engages in spiraling provocations. In the event that the Jobbik Party comes to power in Budapest in 2018 or acquires a commanding influence over policy at or before then (perhaps capitalizing off of a Western Color-Revolution-gone-wrong against Orban), then Budapest would likely become much more assertive over the issue, thus raising the prospects for its potential actualization even more.

Moldovan Paralysis:

A more immediate obstruction to the Black Sea Bloc’s plans could be a deepening of the political paralysis in Moldova. The current government has a slim coalition majority over the pragmatic, Russian-friendly opposition, but this could potentially be reversed if burgeoning protests lead to early elections (and without any restrictions on Russian-friendly parties like last time). Another factor that could freeze the radical process of Euro-Atlantic servitude that the ruling parties are pursuing would be some type of revolt or large-scale resistance in Gagauzia, a small region in Moldova outside Transnistria where the people are looking towards Russia for their future. It doesn’t matter by what means, but if the unstable pro-Western Moldovan coalition can become paralyzed and its state leadership even possibly reversed with early elections, then the likelihood of a Romanian absorption and intensified Shadow NATO membership becomes diminished, although frighteningly, the embattled government might look to distract attention and/or deepen Western support for its rule through anti-Transnistrian provocations.

Bulgarian State Failure:

The anti-Macedonian state is the poorest country in the EU and has a level of corruption that’s three times higher than the EU average. Bulgarian news outlet Standart reported that there are more Bulgarians working outside the country than within it, and Novinite, another of the country’s national news media firms, assessed that remittances totaled 6.2 billion euros in the past decade, now representing the main source of foreign capital in the country. So many Bulgarians have fled the country for work that Risk Monitor, a Bulgarian research group, reports that 26% of schoolchildrenhave at least one of their parents living abroad, and these children typically perform worse in their studies and have higher incidences of drinking and smoking than their peers. For these and many more reasons, Bulgaria appears slated to one day become the ‘Tajikistan of Europe’, or put differently, a country disproportionately dependent on migrants and their remittances to the degree that such a relationship becomes one of its defining economic and social characteristics (like Moldova).

Bulgarian migrants arriving at Sofia bus station to leave for other countries

Bulgarian migrants arriving at Sofia bus station to leave for other countries

Bulgaria’s entire stability is thus vulnerable to any sudden changes in foreign currency exchange rates and the strength of the Euro. If a situation occurs where Bulgarian migrants flock back to their home country (either out of a major recession in their host market or perhaps unbearable discrimination against them there), then the disastrous combination of poverty, joblessness, and inefficient state services could compel individuals to take part in organized crime, further destabilizing the state. Bulgarian politics isn’t exactly known for its stability either, and domestic pressures could quickly travel upwards through the system and result in government turbulence. Such a scenario would be facilitated if existing tensions between Bulgarians and ethnic Turks boil over during this period of edgy uncertainty.

Should Bulgaria’s domestic stability continue to unravel, as it shows signs of doing in the near future, then the failing state that it becomes would be incapable of pushing its de-facto identity irredentism over Macedonia and would no longer pose the same threat that it once did. On the flip side, however, economic refugees from failing Bulgaria might be attracted to Macedonia owing to the same cultural closeness that they once evoked to justify aggressive attitudes against it, except in this case, any uncontrollable migration to their economically prosperous and growing neighborcould one day lead to the same irredentist risks that Albanians created for Serbia when they moved en mass to Kosovo for similar economic reasons. While this scenario may appear distant, it shouldn’t be absolutely discounted.

Concluding Thoughts

The Black Sea Bloc is the physically weakest yet most strategically dangerous of NATO’s regional fighting formations. It derives its strength not from the caliber of its armed forces (which are embarrassingly shabby), but from the manner in which it can inflict damage on Russia’s peripheral interests Transnistria and Macedonia. Destabilization in both areas is difficult for Russia to respond to, and in the case of Macedonia, it has no direct means to do so. As regards Transnistria, it’s very likely that a strategic entanglement might be unavoidable if certain contingencies don’t prevent its occurrence first, because at the end of the day, the US and its NATO allies hold all the cards in deciding whether or not to initiate hostilities there and lure Russia into the planned trap. They already decided to destabilize Macedonia, which just deflected a failed Color Revolution attempt and dismantled a violent terrorist cell, but there’s no guarantee that a second round of external revolution or terror isn’t being plotted which could eventually sideline the Balkan Stream project. Because of these strategic uncertainties and the constraints that Russia has in responding to them and defending its grand strategic interests in the region, the Black Sea Bloc has unexpectedly sprung to the front of Russia’s concerns, although the threats it’s unleashing are by no means insurmountable.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Australia: How Greed and Capital Triumph

June 7th, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

“We might as well declare it a national holiday… I tell you what, any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today [to celebrate the America’s Cup win] is a bum.” Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, September 1983

The Alan Bond principle is an important one to wrestle with it. While it has its variants in other societies where plunder is the norm and kleptocracy lauded, it assumes other features. It is a principle of total illusion.  Financial success is mistaken for durability and resilience. In the enterprising 1980s, when Australia was, for want of a better term, modernising, business tycoon Alan Bond became its symbol.

The Bond principle is inventive crookedness.  He was, according to The Australian obituary, “the quintessential Aussie entrepreneur.  Brash and confident, a supersalesman and champion borrower, he was a daring and determined a risk taker.” He was that “salesman who made life fun.”  This is the wolf of Wall Street rationale: humble beginnings of drab and dourness leading to monstrous gains, glory and corruption.  But take note: he made life fun.

Importantly, the editor is keen to import the new world narrative into Bond’s arrival at Fremantle, Western Australia when a nipper of 11 years old.  Bond himself was one of a specific breed of migrant – a £10 Pom, those British citizens the Australian government encouraged to populate Australia in the aftermath of the Second World War.  He found the port, even at that age, a moonscape of sheds and concrete wharves. Change was needed.

Praises for the Bond brand in light of his death on Fridaycame from across the quarters that long ago made a pact between the greed incentive and the work incentive.  Australia’s labour movement effectively became an annex of the Bond principle during the Hawke years, driven by aspiration and material in outlook.  Blue collar workers were encouraged to be white collar accumulators.

It was Labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke who affirmed to Australians that traditional progressivism was running out of steam, an anachronism that needed to be excised.  Centralist managerialism teamed up with corporate might.  The corporate boss was your friend, even role model.

Bond’s perceived successes and obvious failings said much about the Australian materialist landscape.  Crude capital, quick gains, minimal lasting investments, and personal gratification.  True, he did create a private university, Australia’s first, after his name. He did become the country’s largest brewer at one point.  He built property complexes.  But his silver tongue tied the bankers and wooed the markets. In 1988, his financial empire totalled $12 billion in debts.  By 1991, it had imploded.

It was subsequently bankrupted for $622 million, the second largest in personal bankruptcy history.  The debt culture that we would see resurface globally in 2008 was already being given a dress rehearsal in the Australia of the 1980s. And just to remind us all that Gordon Gecko’s blood was running in his veins, Bond would reappear on the rich lists with a personal fortune valued at $265 million.

Losses eventually turn around.  The system, we are told, works, especially if it involves trusts, shelf companies, tax havens and jurisdictions from Switzerland to Rarotonga.  And such bankers of the quality of Jurg Bollag.[1]

Bond’s behaviour was, to a large extent, overlooked in favour of other attributes.  This proved similar to that bushranger of Victorian and Australian folklore, Ned Kelly, long incubated in the womb of mythology.  Bond proved to be the bandit of the boardroom, losing and stealing billions instead of horses, and killing bank balances instead of police. Yes, he did spend time in prison for appropriating $1.2 billion to feed that sick patient that had become the Bond Corporation.  But he was, according to finance analyst Tim Treadgold, the “likeable rogue”, part of the syndicate that broke the 132-year-old US hold on the America’s Cup in 1983.

This was another illusion at play: that success in sport and giving it to the Americans was somehow noteworthy of everything else.  Preambles evaluating his legacy would commence with that 1983 victory, as if it was the only thing that really mattered to Australia in that decade was a US-dominated yacht race.  “Alan Bond,” begins Neil McMahon, “gave Australia one its greatest ever sporting achievements in 1983, and then the fall came” (The Drum, Jun 5).  Eden was victory at sea, but its participants would take the apple of profit and be eventually cast out.

The biggest culprit in cultivating this illusion was Bond’s greatest apologist, Hawke.  The America’s Cup achievement became one of substance rather than tinsel.  It unified the country – indeed, Hawke’s election theme, that platitudinous “Bringing Australia Together” dovetailed with a success that was individual to a financed syndicate.

A solitary sporting triumph became a nation’s supreme achievement, in Hawke’s words, “one of the great moments in Australian history” no less. “I just want to say to Bondy, to (Warren) Jones, to (John) Bertrand, the crew and of course not forgetting that marvellous Australian Ben Lexcen, that there’s not many occasions when an Australian prime minister knows that he can speak for every Australian.”[2]

The Bond saga suggests that Australia’s potential of falling victim to a banana republic complex, one that former treasurer and prime minister Paul Keating warned against, is very much alive.  It is one of baubles, future eating and financial babble.  And it is not one that had disappeared. On the contrary, the Bond principle remains very much in action. It is the principle of tolerated lawlessness that takes rather than returns, appropriates, rather than develops. But for all of that, he was such likeable rogue.

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




Reports have come out that the UN was considering adding Israel to the list of “grave violations against children in armed conflict.” As detailed below, Israeli army and Israel’s state policies are systematically violent against Palestinian children.

A recent Independent article noted that [Special Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict Leila]

“Zerrougui’s draft report cited IDF attacks on schools and hospitals during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip…”

Even though the UN has historically not taken strong action against any of Israel’s war crimes over the decades, let alone those specifically against Palestinian children, Israel has reportedly exerted pressure to be de-listed from the draft list, with seeming success.

The Independent wrote,

“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, however, is said to be leaning towards not including Israel in the list, amid what several diplomatic sources anonymously said was intense lobbying from Israel.”

Apparently, Israel thinks such call for its joining the list is “a heinous and hypocritical attempt to besmirch the image of Israel and it is doomed to fail,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon reportedly said.

In fact, the UN should have listed Israel from at least 2009 when, as the UN website notes“the Security Council decided to also list armed forces and groups who kill and maim children, commit sexual violence against children, and attack schools and hospitals.”

Does Israel violate the six areas detailed?

Five out of six, most definitely:

- Killing or maiming of children; [See below]

- Sexual violence against children; [The Israeli army routinely threatens and enacts sexual abuse of Palestinian children]

- Attacks against schools or hospitals; [The Israeli army routinely fires ammunition and tear gas at Palestinian schools; it has repeatedly bombed schools and hospitals in Gaza]

- Abduction of children; [See below]

- Denial of humanitarian access for children. [Israel's blockade on Gaza strangles the medical sector; Israel routinely denies exit to Palestinians ( including children) for medical care outside of Gaza; the illegal wall Israel has constructed throughout much of the West Bank prevents Palestinians (including children) from accessing medical care.] [see also: Al Mezan Releases Factsheet on Gazan Children’s Access to Medical Care]

- Recruitment or use of children by armed forces and groups; [This is the one point which strictly speaking doesn’t apply. However, the Israeli army has used Palestinian children as human shields]

Members of the Israeli army themselves have admitted various crimes. A Breaking the Silence report“Children and Youth – Soldiers’ Testimonies 2005-2011” noted: “This booklet reveals how physical violence is often exerted against children, whether in response to accusations of stone-throwing or, more often, arbitrarily.” Further testimonies following the the July/August 2014 war on Gaza highlight the brutality meted out on Palestinians (including children).

Killing or maiming of children

Having between November 2008 and March 2013 lived a cumulative three years in the Gaza Strip, including during two Israeli waged massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, I present three (of too many) cases of Israel targeting children, of which I have personal knowledge. On January 4, 2009, Shahed Abu Halima lay cradled in her mother’s arms, the family terrorized like Palestinians all over Gaza by incessant Israeli bombing. Their area, al-Atatra, west of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, was particularly hard-hit, and had been invaded by Israeli tanks.

Of the two shells that hit baby Shahed’s home, at least one was white phosphorous, raining clumps of the chemical weapon down on the family. The flames which enveloped Shahed’s body were not extinguishable, nor could her mother Sabah see through the smoke and flames to reach the infant. Shahed’s dog-eaten, charred corpse was only found days later when Palestinian medics were finally allowed to enter the area. [see:Next Time It Will Hurt More]

Farah Abu Halima, 3, severely burned by Israeli-fired White Phosphorus, January 4, 2009 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

Also on January 4, 2009, Shireen Abu Helou continued nursing her dying baby, Farah (“joy” in Arabic), in a futile effort to bring the infant comfort while her family took cover from Israeli fire behind a bulldozed dirt mound in the Zeitoun district just south of Gaza City (infamous for the herding of entire families from the Samouni clan into one building and repeatedly bombing it; infamous for the point blank shootings of individuals, including 4-year-old Ahmed shot dead after crying about his father’s execution). One-year-old Farah did not survive the Israeli sniper’s bullet to her abdomen, her intestines falling out as she bled to death over the course of a few hours. [see: They Killed Me Three Times] On November 21, 2012, a 14-year-old boy asked his father for 10 shekels, to go to the small store up the road to buy food for his siblings who hadn’t eaten anything but bread for the past five days of Israeli bombing. The bombing had not quite stopped, but Nader Abu Mghaseeb believed he was safe, a ceasefire due to be enforced in just under two hours. He was incorrect. Minutes after the precision drone strike hit Nader, his father rushed out to find the dying, tangled mass of flesh that had been his son. In Deir al-Balah’s al-Aqsa hospital, I saw the teen’s mangled corpse brought in.

His stunned father stood outside trying to comprehend that Israeli-fired, precision drone technology had obliterated his clearly unarmed 14-year-old son. [see: Killing before the Calm: “Israeli” Attacks on Palestinian Civilians Escalated before Cease-fire] Two years and many Palestinian child martyrs and maimings later, during the July/August 2014 Israeli massacre of Gaza, four small boys ran for their lives across an empty Gaza beach as the Israeli navy chased them with shelling, eventually hitting their prey. The shelling of the Bakr boys, aged nine to 11, was recorded by a number of Palestinian and foreign journalists camped out at the nearby Deira hotel, many of whom broke down at witnessing this savagery.

Of the July/August Israeli massacre of Gaza, Defense for Children International-Palestine’s (DCI-Palestine) April 16, 2015 report noted: “DCIP independently verified the deaths of 547 Palestinian children among the killed in Gaza, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Nearly 68 percent of the children killed by Israeli forces were 12 years old or younger. Those who survived these attacks will continue to pay the price for many years. More than 1,000 children suffered injuries that rendered them permanently disabled, according to OCHA.”

The assault on Palestinian children is, of course, not merely limited to its times of bombing Gaza. Almost daily in Gaza’s border regions and on the sea, children are machine-gunned and shelled by the genocidal bully of the region, under the pretext of “security.” Having witnessed this on countless occasions, myself under fire with the brave farmers, I can say one hundred percent affirmatively that they posed no security threat to the well-armed Israeli army (nor navy). In the rest of occupied Palestine, whether during the criminal routine Israeli army invasions and lock-downs of West Bank and Jerusalem areas, or during demonstrations against the illegal Wall stealing yet more Palestinian land, or merely randomly,

Palestinian children are targeted by Israeli live ammunition, tear gas canisters, and hands-on brutality, not only by the so-called “most morale army” but also the unspoken of proxy soldiers: those vile, racist, illegal Jewish colonists who (claiming God’s approval) abuse Palestinians of all ages, without consequences. Early in the morning of July 2, 2014, Mohammed Abu Khdeir went missing while going to mosque for morning prayers in occupied Jerusalem. His slight body was found a few hours later charred and beaten. Before his Jewish colonist tormentors poured gas down his throat and lit him alive, they beat he the 16 year old with a blunt object to his head. The autopsy report “showed soot in the victim’s lungs and respiratory tract, indicating he was alive and breathing while he was being burnt.”

The systematic brutality of Israel’s colonists and Israeli soldiers against Palestinians is met with virtually no reprimand by Israel. On their “Settler violence: Lack of accountability,” rights group B’Tselem noted in 2011 (updated January 2013):

“When Israelis harm Palestinians, the authorities implement an undeclared policy of forgiveness, compromise, and leniency in punishment. Israeli security forces have done little to prevent settler violence or to arrest offenders. Many acts of violence have never been investigated; in other cases, investigations have been drawn out and resulted in no action being taken against anyone.”

In November 2013, Palestinian rights group Al Haq issued a new report (“Institutionalised Impunity: Israel’s Failure to Combat Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”) and noted: “According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage increased by over 144 percent in 2011, compared to 2009. In 2013, the report of the United Nations International Fact-Finding Mission on Settlements highlighted the failure of the Israeli authorities to enforce the law by investigating such incidents and taking measures against their perpetrators. The Fact-Finding Mission came to the “clear conclusion that there is institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people when it comes to addressing violence. Acts of settler violence are intended, organised, and publicly represented to influence the political decisions of Israeli State authorities.” Throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, Jewish colonists routinely run over Palestinian children. Two examples include an October 2014 hit and run near Ramallah of two 5 year old Palestinian girls, one of whom—Inas Shawkat Khalil—died from her injuries.

Reham Nabaheen, 4, killed by Israeli shrapnel to her head, November 21, 2012 (Photo by Eva Bartlett)

Child abduction and imprisonment

According to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association’s April 2015 update, 182 Palestinian children are imprisoned by Israel, including 26 under the age of 16. They note that“8,000 Palestinian children have been arrested since 2000.” DCI-Palestine notes: “Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Interrogations tend to be coercive, including a variety of verbal abuse, threats and physical violence that ultimately result in a confession.”

They further note that most Israeli-imprisoned Palestinian children are nabbed in the middle of the night, something youths from Resistance villages like Bil’in are well-familiar with. Bil’in, known for its popular demonstrations against the illegal, land-grabbing Wall, has lost many a martyr, including children to Israel’s brutal attempts at stifling dissent (On that note: to all the media that leapt on the false, “Bashar is killing unarmed protesters band-wagon,” Israel is actually doing so). That the UN is even considering not including Israel on the list speaks further volumes to the uselessness of this institution, a body that serves only to put the odd band-aid on the seeping Palestinian wound and to endorse criminal bombings of sovereign nations. In any case, Israel need not worry that anyone is trying to “besmirch” its reputation.

It has proven quite adept at doing that all on its own. Every blown-off Palestinian child’s head, every Palestinian child behind Israeli bars, every Mohammed Abu Khdair tortured and killed by Jewish colonists, and every colonists’ intentional running over of Palestinian children “besmirches” what is left of the racist, genocidal state’s reputation, with or without UN recognition.

Fighter jets of the US-led coalition against ISIL once again struck the Iraqi forces’ positions in the province of Anbar, in Western Iraq, on Saturday.

The US-led coalition warplanes hit the bases of Iraqi army’s Hezbollah battalions in Fallujah in Anbar province, killing 6 soldiers and injuring 8 others.

In early May, the anti-ISIL coalition forces struck the position of Iraq’s popular forces near Baghdad, killing a number of volunteer forces.

The US-led coalition warplanes hit an arms production workshop of the popular forces near the Iraqi capital, destroying the workshop and its ammunition completely.

Two members of Iraq’s popular forces were killed in the attack.

The US has repeatedly struck the popular forces’ positions in different parts of Iraq.

On March 29, the US fighter jets struck the positions of Iraq’s popular forces during their fierce clashes with ISIL terrorists near Tikrit, injuring a number of fighters.

The US and coalition forces conducted eight airstrikes near Tikrit, but they hit the popular forces’ positions instead of ISIL.

In February, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

“The US planes have dropped weapons for the ISIL terrorists in the areas under ISIL control and even in those areas that have been recently liberated from the ISIL control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places,” Coordinator of Iraqi popular forces Jafar al-Jaberi told FNA.

He noted that eyewitnesses in Al-Havijeh of Kirkuk province had witnessed the US airplanes dropping several suspicious parcels for ISIL terrorists in the province.

“Two coalition planes were also seen above the town of Al-Khas in Diyala and they carried the Takfiri terrorists to the region that has recently been liberated from the ISIL control,” Al-Jaberi said.

Meantime, Head of Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zameli also disclosed that the anti-ISIL coalition’s planes have dropped weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL in Salahuddin, Al-Anbar and Diyala provinces.

In January, al-Zameli underlined that  the coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.

“There are proofs and evidence for the US-led coalition’s military aid to ISIL terrorists through air(dropped cargoes),” he told FNA at the time.

Obama Sidelines Kerry on Ukraine Policy

June 7th, 2015 by Eric Zuesse

On May 21st, I headlined “Secretary of State John Kerry v. His Subordinate Victoria Nuland, Regarding Ukraine,” and quoted John Kerry’s May 12th warning to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to cease his repeated threats to invade Crimea and re-invade Donbass, two former regions of Ukraine, which had refused to accept the legitimacy of the new regime that was imposed on Ukraine in violent clashes during February 2014. (These were regions that had voted overwhelmingly for the Ukrainian President who had just been overthrown.

They didn’t like him being violently tossed out and replaced by his enemies.) Kerry said then that, regarding Poroshenko,

“we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.” 

Also quoted there was Kerry’s subordinate, Victoria Nuland, three days later, saying the exact opposite, that we “reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.” I noted, then that, “The only person with the power to fire Nuland is actually U.S. President Barack Obama.” However, Obama instead has sided with Nuland on this.

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, bannered, on June 5th, “Poroshenko: Ukraine Will ‘Do Everything’ To Retake Crimea’,” and reported that,

“President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to seek Crimea’s return to Ukrainian rule. … Speaking at a news conference on June 5, … Poroshenko said that ‘every day and every moment, we will do everything to return Crimea to Ukraine.’”

Poroshenko was also quoted there as saying, ”It is important not to give Russia a chance to break the world’s pro-Ukrainian coalition,” which indirectly insulted Kerry for his having criticized Poroshenko’s warnings that he intended to invade Crimea and Donbass.

Right now, the Minsk II ceasefire has broken down and there are accusations on both sides that the other is to blame. What cannot be denied is that at least three times, on April 30th, then on May 11th, and then on June 5th, Poroshenko has repeatedly promised to invade Crimea, which wasn’t even mentioned in the Minsk II agreement; and that he was also promising to re-invade Donbass, something that is explicitly prohibited in this agreement. Furthermore, America’s President, Barack Obama, did not fire Kerry’s subordinate, Nuland, for her contradicting her boss on this important matter.

How will that be taken in European capitals? Kerry was reaffirming the position of Merkel and Hollande, the key shapers of the Minsk II agreement; and Nuland was nullifying them. Obama now has sided with Nuland on this; it’s a slap in the face to the EU: Poroshenko can continue ignoring Kerry and can blatantly ignore the Minsk II agreement; and Obama tacitly sides with Poroshenko and Nuland, against Kerry.

The personalities here are important: On 4 February 2014, in the very same phone-conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, in which Nuland had instructed Pyatt to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to lead Ukraine after the coup (which then occured 18 days later), she also famously said “F—k  the EU!” Obama is now seconding that statement of hers.

In effect, Obama is telling the EU that they can get anything they want signed, but that he would still move forward with his own policy, regardless of whether or not they like it.

Kerry, for his part, now faces the decision as to whether to quit — which would force the EU’s hand regarding whether to continue with U.S. policy there — or else for Kerry to stay in office and be disrespected in all capitals for his staying on after having been so blatantly contradicted by his subordinate on a key issue of U.S. foreign policy. If he stays on while Nuland also does, then, in effect, Kerry is being cut out of policymaking on Europe and Asia (Nuland’s territory), altogether, and the EU needs to communicate directly with Obama on everything, or else to communicate with Nuland as if she and not Kerry were the actual U.S. Secretary of State. But if Kerry instead quits, then the pressure would be placed on EU officials: whether to continue with the U.S., or to reject U.S. anti-Russia policy, and to move forward by leaving NATO, and all that that entails?

If they then decide to stay with the U.S., after that “F—k the EU!” and then this; then, the European countries are clearly just U.S. colonies. This would be far more embarrassing to those leaders than John Kerry would be embarrassed by his simply resigning from the U.S. State Department. It might even turn the tide and force the Ukrainian Government to follow through with all of its commitments under the Minsk II accords.

It would be the most effective thing for Kerry to do at this stage. But, it would lose him his position as a (now merely nominal) member of Obama’s Cabinet.

The way this turns out will show a lot, about John Kerry. The nations of Europe already know everything they need to know about Barack Obama. If Kerry quits, he’ll have respect around the world. If he stays, he’ll be just another Colin Powell.

The ball is in Kerry’s court, and everyone will see how he plays it — and what type of man he is (and isn’t).


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

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June 4, 2015 will for many mark the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

What it should actually mark is the anniversary of one of the more spectacular UK black information operations — almost on a par with the mythical Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The original story of Chinese troops on the night of 3 and 4 June, 1989 machine-gunning hundreds of innocent student protesters in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square has since been thoroughly discredited by the many witnesses there at the time — among them a Spanish TVE television crew, a Reuters correspondent and protesters themselves, who say that nothing happened other than a military unit entering and asking several hundred of those remaining to leave the Square late that night.

Yet none of this has stopped the massacre from being revived constantly, and believed. All that has happened is that the location has been changed – from the Square itself to the streets leading to the Square.

The original story began with a long article in English, published six days later in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, by an alleged protester whose whereabouts have never been ascertained. Anonymously planted stories are a favourite technique of UK black information authorities, but this did not stop it from being front-paged by the New York Times on June 12, together with photos of blazing troop-carrying buses and followed up by Tankman – the photo of a lone student allegedly trying to stop a row of army tanks from entering the Square. The myth of an unprovoked massacre has since taken root.

True, no one denies that large numbers of citizens and students were killed near the Square by soldiers seemingly out of control. But why?

Let’s go back to those photos of the burning buses. The popular view is that they were torched by angry protesters after the shooting began. In fact they were torched before. The evidence? Reports of charred corpses being strung up beneath overpasses (one photographed by Reuters remains unpublished), and photos of badly burned soldiers seeking shelter in nearby houses. Soldiers in that kind of situation tend to go out with guns blazing – just ask the good citizens of Fallujah, Iraq.

Fortunately we also have the hourly reports from the US Embassy in the Beijing, available on the Internet, to tell us what actually happened. They note that originally the Beijing authorities had wanted to send in unarmed troops to clear the Square of remaining students as the protests were beginning to wind down. Blocked by the crowds, armed troops were bused in and this time they were blocked by crowds with petrol bombs, with ugly results. Even so, some units tried to restrain the out-of-control solders. And an embassy report of students killing a soldier trying to enter the Square could explain some of the carnage on its periphery.

As for Tankman, we now know from the cameraman himself that his widely-publicised photo was taken from his hotel window the day AFTER the riots, and the tanks were going away from, not into, the Square.

A detailed report by the authoritative Columbia Journalist Review, ‘The Tiananmen Massacre Myth and the Price of a Passive Press’ has since noted the media preference for blood and gore stories. But none of this seems to have dented the credibility of the Tiananmen massacre story.

True, some of the blame also lies with Beijing. Its campaigns to hunt down student protest leaders and to blame everything on anti-regime plots have not created a good impression. But it may have its reasons. Out of frustration as their long protest began to dissipate, some of the student leaders had called for action by the angry crowds still around the Square. And how did some in those crowds have access to petrol bombs – a weapon not used by Chinese rioters and allegedly responsible for over 400 vehicles being destroyed?

The regime had tolerated the protesters by allowing them to occupy its central square for six weeks. Its party general secretary had tried in vain to negotiate with them. And it later regretted how its lack of crowd control equipment meant it had had to rely on untrained soldiers. But then again, none of this would have happened if the regime itself had not been at fault in the past.

The words of well-known Taiwan-born writer Hou Dejian, who had been on the hunger strike on the Square to show solidarity with the students, says it all: “Some people said that 200 died in the Square and others claimed that as many as 2,000 died. There were also stories of tanks running over students who were trying to leave. I have to say that I did not see any of that. I myself was in the Square until 6:30 in the morning.

“I kept thinking — are we going to use lies to attack an enemy who lies?”

Gregory Clark is a former Australian diplomat, Chinese-speaking correspondent and university president resident in Japan. He can be found at The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of IBTimes UK

Following reports about the weapons smuggling operations from Ankara to the takfiri groups (ISIS) fighting in Syria, the Turkish daily Jumhuriyyat reported on Friday that the government of Ankara helped armed takfiri mercenaries to cross the border into Syria.

“The Turkish intelligence hired two trucks used in January 2014 to transfer scores of fighters from “Atma” refugees camp facing the border town of Bukulmez in Turkey to the Syrian city of Tal-Abyad, carrying weapons and ammunition,” the newspaper stated.

It also published photos of two trucks carrying weapons and ammunition that were stopped by the Turkish security forces after the smuggling operation.

According to the Jumhuriyyat, the two drivers were arrested for a while, but they stressed during investigations that their trucks had been hired by the Turkish intelligence.

“The drivers were told that passengers were Syrian refugees,” it said.

Last week, the daily posted on its website photos of mortars hidden under medications inside trucks that were formally hired for a humanitarian organization.

The trucks were stopped by the Turkish gendarmerie near the Syrian borders in Jan. 2014.

Syria was hit by a violent unrest since mid-March 2011, where the western media reports accuse countries, mainly the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of orchestrating the civil conflict in the country and providing terrorist groups with money, weapons and trained mercenaries.

The constitutional lawyer who torpedoed Stephen Harper’s pick for the Supreme Court says he will contest the government’s anti-terror legislation in court, if it passes.

Rocco Galati, who successfully challenged Harper’s choice of Justice Marc Nadon for the top bench last year, spoke out against Bill C-51 — the Anti-Terrorism Act — at a rally in Toronto on Saturday.

His speech contained some incendiary allusions to Nazi Germany and an accusation that the federal government has tapped his phone since 1999.

Appearing next to NDP MP Andrew Cash, Galati said C-51 creates “a modern-day Gestapo,” referencing the brutal, secret Nazi police force.

“No exaggeration, that’s what it creates,” he said. “It chills, censors, and criminalizes free speech, free association, and constitutional rights of assembly.”

Galati added that “German and Italian versions” of C-51 were passed in the 1930s.

The lawyer received big applause when he urged Canadians not to vote for any MP or political party supporting the controversial Tory bill. The Liberals voted in favour of its passing, but have vowed to amend the legislation if they win the next election to provide better oversight of national security agencies.

New Democrat and Green MPs voted against the bill.

“This is quite clearly a fascist and dictatorial piece of legislation and appeasement of it is unacceptable,” he said.

Galati vowed that his group, the Constitutional Rights Centre, will fight the bill in court.

Several hundred protesters gathered at Queen’s Park Saturday to call on the Senate to stop the bill, the Toronto Sun reports. Though some Liberal senators have said they will vote against C-51, it is expected to easily clear the upper chamber.

The bill has been denounced by the federal privacy commissioner, the Canadian Bar Association, First Nations groups, environmental organizations, and civil libertarians. Tories, however, have countered that the measures in the bill are needed to keep Canadians safe.

C-51 gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service enhanced power to actively thwart terror plots, broadens no-fly list powers, and increases the exchange of federal security information. It also creates a new criminal offence of the act of encouraging someone to carry out an attack.

The bill also makes it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond to restrict the movements of suspects and extend the amount of time they can be kept in preventative detention.

C-51 passed third reading in the House of Commons

Netanyahu Is King in a World of Perpetual Fear

June 7th, 2015 by Jonathan Cook

Barack Obama used an Israeli TV interview last week to gently rebuke Israel’s prime minister. He warned Benjamin Netanyahu that security obsessions made him able only to “see the worst possibilities”.

Mr Netanyahu’s intransigence had destroyed Israel’s “credibility” in regard to a two-state solution, Mr Obama added, indicating that he would not seek to revive peace talks.

Driving home the point, senior White House officials met for the first time with Breaking the Silence, a group of dissident soldiers vilified by the Netanyahu government.

The organisation recently published soldiers’ testimonies that they received orders during Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer to shoot Palestinians, whether they were armed or not. Such testimony could one day assist war crimes investigators at the International Criminal Court.

Meanwhile, Israel went into diplomatic meltdown over an exhibition of testimonies that Breaking the Silence is staging in Zurich. It lambasted Switzerland for funding a “slanderous” event. At the same time, Mr Netanyahu hurriedly held a press conference to defend Israel as one of “the world’s greatest democracies”, and barred government ministers from referring to the Obama interview.

The Israeli prime minister has proved himself a master of mining the rich seam of fear that dominates Israeli political discourse. It is the source of his power, as he illustrated during the election campaign when he warned voters the country’s Arab citizens were “coming out in droves”.

A poll of schoolchildren last week showed how deeply entrenched such chauvinist sentiments have become. It found that only a quarter of Jewish youngsters believe it is more important for Israel to be democratic than Jewish. Barely more – 28 per cent – condemn the settlers’ “price-tag” attacks, random violence aimed at the Palestinian population to exact a price for any action taken against the settlement enterprise.

One statistic helps explain the findings. Two-thirds of Jewish teenagers report never having had contact with a member of the country’s Palestinian minority, one in five of the population.

That is not accidental. Successive governments have carefully structured life in Israel to avert any danger of Israelis developing relationships across the ethnic divide in their formative years.

Education is almost completely segregated, as is residency. The few spaces where the Jewish and Arab populations can meet come later, usually in asymmetrical roles at work. By then, ideas about Arabs are pretty fixed through schooling, army service and the wider political climate.

There is no popular demand for binational education apart from a half dozen private schools, one of which was firebombed last year by right-wingers who term the mixing of Jews and Arabs “assimilation”.

Even Israel’s most liberal Jewish parents turn their back on mixed education beyond junior school, teachers tell me. They fear exposing their offspring to the psychological stress of developing friendships with Arabs just as they ready themselves to serve in an army that treats Palestinians as less than human.

Most Jewish children learn no Arabic, experience no Arab culture and are exposed to Arabs chiefly through images of war and violence. Despite living in the Middle East, they are encouraged to look westward, not east.

A majority of Jewish children are taught in religious schools that consciously eschew modern education in favour of a Biblical tribalism. Worse, the education ministry is now firmly in the hands of settler leader Naftali Bennett.

The dehumanisation of Arabs only accelerates for Israelis during the military draft. The mechanics of prolonged occupation play a part, as do the growing influence of settlers in the officer corps and the extremist rabbis who indoctrinate soldiers in “Jewish awareness”.

So dominant have the rabbis become that Gadi Eisenkott, the military chief of staff, called last week for their role to be curbed.

In Israeli cultural life, Palestinians appear only as an enemy. Two shows offering a rare insight into life under occupation face closure by the government. Critics, including Mr Bennett, of one play – about Palestinian political prisoners – object precisely because it humanises its subjects.

In the political arena, the ever-present bogeyman is the Palestinian, Arab or Iranian.

The Knesset’s Arab MPs, even moderates, are barely tolerated, while the occupation is pushed into the political shadows. Last week the parliament refused a debate to mark the 48th anniversary of the 1967 war.

Regional political disputes centre on how Israel should achieve military supremacy. Should Israel attack Iran alone or lobby the US to do it instead? How can Israel best destroy Hizbollah and its tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel’s heartland? All but a tiny left is agreed that a Palestinian state would be an existential danger.

In this world of perpetual fear, Arabs and Iranians are viewed only as distant and dangerous objects, not people. And in the world of worst possibilities, Mr Netanyahu is king.

But Israel’s enemies are changing. Where once it fought Arab states, now its tanks and attack helicopters struggle against the guerrilla tactics of Hamas and Hizbollah.

That same heavy artillery will provide even less protection against Israel’s next opponents: civil disobedience, an anti-apartheid struggle, international boycotts and war crimes investigations. Then Mr Netanyahu may truly have reason to be afraid.


Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair has been appointed as the head of a European body fighting anti-Semitism, it has been revealed.

Tony Blair, who resigned from his position as the Middle East peace envoy after eight years has now assumed a chairman role of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation just one week later.

The announcement came in an article written by Blair and the president of the council and of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, in which they outline

 plans for his new role and said he will fight against the abuse of religions which has become a “mask behind which those bent on death and destruction often hide”.

He ensured he will campaign for the implementation of recommendations made in a report by the council which sketched out legislative proposals to grant powers to judiciaries to help take legal action against hate speech redefine incitement to violence and make Holocaust denial illegal.

The pair wrote mentioned “economic decline fuels instability and we know these concerns are being felt across the world”. They also quoted data from the Kantor Institute at Tel Aviv University which recorded 766 violent anti-Semitic attacks in 2014, describing it as the worst year in the past decade.

They write: “As has been said before, but is worth repeating, prejudice and racism often starts with the softest targets, be it Jews or others, but it never ends there. Anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, but one infecting the whole of society and needs to be tackled for the sake of us all.”

Tony Blair has been criticized for his role as the Middle East peace envoy and many have said he failed to achieve anything while in this position. The Palestinian Authority’s former chief negotiator Nabil Shaath said Blair had “achieved so very little because of his gross efforts to please the Israelis”.

Blair and Kantor wrote: “It is our firm belief that it is not religion or faith per se that causes or foments conflict. It is the abuse of religion, which then becomes a mask behind which those bent on death and destruction all too often hide. The real issues are far more complex and demand greater tolerance, understanding and legislative powers to achieve a solution.”

The council, now chaired by Tony Blair strives to promote education and tackle extremism. Their legislative proposals include “giving greater power to judiciaries to prosecute hate speech, lowering the barriers to what constitutes incitement to violence, making Holocaust denial illegal, entrenching state funding for religious institutions into law, creating clearer definitions of what is racist and antisemitic, and securing educational programs about tolerance in national legislation.”


GR Editor’s Note: This incisive article with foresight by author Frank Morales originally published by GR in 2003 describes a process which is now culminating in the militarization of law enforcement in the US and the repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act.

*    *    *

To further prepare for new “law enforcement” missions for the military within America, overseen by the Northern Command, the Center for Law and Military Operations, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, recently published the legal rationale for these developments.

Entitled, Domestic Operational Law Handbook for Judge Advocates, the document reflects the growing momentum towards the repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act. Virtually unreported in any media, and published prior to 911, the document states that although “the Founding Fathers’ hesitancy to raise a standing army and their desire to render the military subordinate to civilian authority” is “rooted in the Constitution,”

“exceptions to the restrictions on employment of federal armed forces to assist state and local civil authorities are also grounded in the Constitution, which provides the basis for federal legislation allowing military assistance for civil disturbances.”

(See Domestic Operational Law Handbook for Judge Advocates, )

The JAG handbook attempts to solidify, from a legal standpoint, Pentagon penetration of America and it’s “operations other than war,” essentially providing the U.S. corporate elite with lawful justification for its class war against the American people, specifically those that resist the “new world law and order” agenda.

Militarization of law enforcement (right)

The handbook notes that “the Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan, named GARDEN PLOT, provides guidance and direction for planning, coordination, and executing military operations during domestic civil disturbances.”

Operation Garden Plot, originating in 1968 and continually updated, is according to the JAG handbook, tasked with the mission of conducting “civil disturbance operations throughout the United States,” providing “wide latitude to a commander to use federal forces to assist civil law enforcement in restoring law and order.”

And it’s exactly this type of “wide latitude” that we’ve witnessed at recent protests [2003] in NYC and Oakland.

United States Army Field Manual 19-15, entitled Civil Disturbances, issued in 1985, is designed to equip soldiers with the “tactics, techniques and procedures” necessary to suppress dissent. The manual states that “crowd control formations may be employed to disperse, contain, or block a crowd. When employed to disperse a crowd, they are particularly effective in urban areas because they enable the control force to split a crowd into smaller segments.”

(See )

Sound familiar?

If you were at the February 15 [2003] NYC Peace Rally it certainly does. The manual goes on to state that “if the crowd refuses to move, the control force may have to employ other techniques, such as riot control agents or apprehensions…”

The Army’ “civil disturbance” manual, correlated to present day realities, also makes the point that “civil disturbances include acts of terrorism,” which “may be organized by disaffected groups,” who hope to “embarrass the government,” and who may in fact “demonstrate as a cover for terrorism.”

The sophistry involved in turning a peace rally into a pro-al Qaeda rally is precisely the logic that is operative within Pentagon driven civil disturbance planning situated within the broader context of so-called “homeland defense.” In fact, rather than protest being the occasion of “terrorism,” the “war on terrorism” is the cover for the war on dissent. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center spokesman Mike Van Winkle had to say recently to the Oakland Tribune (5/18/03):

“You can make an easy kind of link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest…You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.”

(See )

US/Saudi Genocide in Yemen

June 7th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Yemen is Obama’s war. It was planned and orchestrated long before naked aggression began.

It’s conducted by Saudi-led proxies and Israel.

An entire country is being raped and destroyed – thousands of its people murdered, mainly civilians, thousands more maimed for life.

On June 5, London’s Guardian headlined “Saudi-led naval blockade leaves 20m Yemenis facing humanitarian disaster” – 80% of the population. Lack of sanitation alone risks spreading life-threatening diseases to epidemic levels.

Millions of Yemenis are “in urgent need of” virtually everything necessary to sustain life and welfare – including food, clean water, medical supplies and fuel oil needed for electricity.

“Cooking gas is almost impossible to find,” said the Guardian. Queues in Sanaa to refill gas cylinders with what little is available last over a week.

Cars are abandoned for lack of petrol. Millions of severely food insecure Yemenis go for days without eating.

Terror-bombing and blockade caused humanitarian crisis conditions nationwide. Hospitals in 18 of Yemen’s 22 governorates either closed or aren’t able to provide proper treatment.

Over 150 health centers providing food for almost half a million at-risk children shut down – as well as 158 outpatient clinics for children under age five.

An epic humanitarian disaster is unfolding in plain sight – because of US orchestrated, Saudi-led naked aggression as well as naval and air blockade preventing all but a small, woefully inadequate, amount of aid from arriving.

Human suffering is extreme. Millions of Yemenis are at risk of perishing. Blockade isn’t about preventing weapons arriving for Houthi fighters.

It’s willfully inflicting extreme pain and suffering on millions of Yemenis in a futile attempt to force Houthi surrender.

Yemen depends on imports for 90% of its food alone. A small fraction of what’s needed is arriving. According to Oxfam’s Nuha Abdul Jabber:

“Hospitals are shutting down…people are dying of simple diseases. It is becoming almost impossible to survive.”

Cholera and other infectious diseases are spreading. A dengue fever outbreak was reported in Aden.

“There are less and less of the basic necessities. People are queueing all day long,” said Jabber.

“The blockade means it’s impossible to bring anything into the country. There are lots of ships, with basic things like flour, that are not allowed to approach. The situation is deteriorating” gravely.

“We have heard a lot about international commitments to help Yemen with big sums, but we haven’t seen anything here.”

Now is the time for the world community “to understand the severity of the situation” and act promptly to supply desperately needed aid.

Saudis murder Yemenis daily. Almost diabolically they pledged $274 in emergency aid. They delivered nothing to OCHA. They want the right to decide which aid workers enter Yemen.

It’s blocking a major humanitarian effort needed. Al Hudaydah is a west coast Yemeni port – the only major one still operating.

According to the Guardian, only “a trickle of humanitarian food supplies is arriving on a handful of aid ships allowed through the naval blockade each week, but many more ships are being turned away or made to wait many days to be searched for weapons.”

The Iranian vessel carrying 2,500 tons of aid was diverted to Djibouti for inspection before being allowed to continue to Yemen.

It arrived on May 22. Iranian Red Crescent Society head Nasser Charkhsaz said it remains in Djibouti awaiting “needed coordination” to proceed to Yemen. Riyadh continues blocking its departure.

Western leaders able to intervene responsibly do nothing to help desperate people. Occasional disingenuous high-minded rhetoric conceals their total support for US/Saudi aggression and mass murder.

Britain’s Foreign Office spokesman indicated support for what demands denunciation, saying:

“We are not participating directly in military operations, but are providing support to the Saudi Arabian armed forces through pre-existing arrangements. A small number of UK personnel are coordinating planning support with Saudi and coalition partners.”

Britain is culpable for supporting mass murder by terror-bombing and blockade. Save the Children’s Priya Jacob said “(t)he humanitarian crisis in Yemen is a protracted and rapidly deteriorating situation that leaves four out of five Yemeni people in need of aid.”

“The ongoing naval and air blockade means very little aid is getting through, exacerbating the needs of the Yemeni people.”

Doctors Without Borders accused Riyadh of “indiscriminate airstrikes” against residential communities, medical facilities and critical infrastructure.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

A group of US volunteers is headed to the Philippines on a contract to fight groups allied with the Islamic State. One counterinsurgency specialist wonders if their enthusiasm will make up for the lack of logistics, weapons and training.

Those in the group have day jobs and regular lives but feel the need to help people endangered by militants who have pledged loyalty to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), a group in southern Florida told RT’s Maria Finoshina.

They are led by Suleiman Yousef, a professional martial artist and firearms instructor who said he once trained with the mercenary outfit Blackwater. Yousef is no stranger to fighting Islamic militants. A tattoo on his neck proclaims, “Cut here.”

“They’re hurting kids, they’re hurting innocent people,” he says. “And they’re saying it’s in the name of Islam. It doesn’t work that way.”

Suleiman Yousef with RT’s Maria Finoshina 

Yousef and his teammates did not wish to reveal who hired them, but said they were paid “overhead.”Asked about their destination, he explains that the Philippines may not be in the headlines but that people there still had a problem with IS-affiliated fighters.

“There’s always a bigger and badder person. Right now we’re going to be that bigger and badder person,”he says. “We need to do what we can with what we know, and do it for the greater good.”

Though the Florida group has access to customized infantry weapons, US Marine Corps veteran-turned-military-scholar Jake Diliberto told RT it was a bad idea for people to go off to fight the IS on their own. Americans who seek to fight terrorists overseas would be better off enlisting in the military, he said, or joining mercenary and contractor outfits the likes of Blackwater.

“Those that choose to go independently actually have a tendency to create more havoc and more problems in the conflict zone than an organized military or defensive contracting company,” said Diliberto, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Volunteers are driven partly by empathy for the victims shown on the TV screens and partly by fear and anxiety that the violence taking place overseas could come home to America, Diliberto explained.“There is a need by some sort of more zealous, defensive Americans to protect their homeland against this kind of perceived threat,” he said.

“For the most part, ISIS isn’t interested in attacking the US,” Diliberto added. “They are interested in Raqqa, they are interested in northern Iraq. They are not interested in coming to New York City or Topeka, Kansas.”



The censorship Berlin Wall on vaccine injuries is starting to crumble… in the UK, at least, where mainstream media outlets there are suddenly covering the thousands of young girls and boys who are routinely damaged by toxic vaccines.

The pharma-controlled, vaccine-worshipping U.S. mainstream media, of course, hilariously pretends vaccines cause no damage to anyone. That’s part of the reason why no one believes the mainstream media anymore, which explains why mainstream media readership is plummeting while New Media readership is exploding. (Our new search engine for the New Media has already received over 4,500 new site submits from webmasters.)

Junk science media outlets like the Washington Post — now entirely controlled by Monsanto – attack vaccine skeptics as anti-science people for pointing out that children are being maimed and sometimes killed by vaccines. See Hundreds of children brain damaged by the swine flu vaccine to receive $90 million in financial compensation from UK government.

It makes me wonder: Will the junk science mainstream media in the United States now ridiculously condemn the UK mainstream media as “anti-science” for reporting on the thousands of children being neurologically damaged by vaccines? Does the lamestream media in the USA even remember what journalism is in the first place?

Major media outlets across the UK now practicing actual journalism on the vaccine issue

Check out what’s happening in the UK press now all of a sudden. No doubt the vaccine industry is pushing hard to censor all these stories, so you might want to check them quickly while they still exist online: (h/t to Health Impact News for pointing these out)

EXPRESS.CO.UK: Tens of thousands of teen girls suffer serious illnesses after HPV cervical cancer jab

  • “TENS of thousands of teenage girls have fallen seriously ill and even been left wheelchair-bound after taking the routine cervical cancer vaccination.”
  • “…the number is estimated to be only ten per cent of the true number of teens struck down with severe side effects after taking the vaccine.”
  • “In more than a quarter of the cases, the effects have apparently been so severe that they were considered ‘life-threatening’ and required immediate medical treatment.”

The Independent: Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

  • “Emily is one of the thousands of teenage girls who have endured debilitating illnesses following the routine immunisation. She is yet to recover and has no idea when her health will return to normal.”
  •  ”In the 10 years to April this year the agency received almost 22,000 ‘spontaneous suspected’ adverse drug reaction (ADR) reports in 13 routine immunisation categories including flu, MMR, tetanus, diphtheria and polio, according to a Freedom of Information response released earlier this month.”
  • PoTS and fibromyalgia are among the diseases he believes have developed after HPV vaccination, and that clinicians should be aware of the possible association between HPV vaccination and the development of these ‘difficult to diagnose’ painful syndromes.”

  • “Side effects including chest and abdominal pains, exhaustion, breathing difficulties, fibromyalgia and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.”
  •  ”Some have been left wheelchair-bound by apparent effects of vaccine.”
  • “Worried mothers have told how their previously healthy daughters have suffered fits, extreme tiredness and even been left wheelchair-bound after being vaccinated in their early teens. In some cases, the girls started to feel ill on the day they were vaccinated. Others became sick several weeks later.”

Even France is now covering the vaccine debate with a sense of logic

Check out this story: Mainstream media vigorously debates vaccine safety — in France. It explains:

In the US, Canada and the rest of the English-speaking world, questioning vaccine safety is a taboo subject, one the mainstream press fears to touch, let alone to debate. Not so in France…

“Should we have doubts about vaccines?” asked a popular radio program last month, marking European Immunization Week. The program, which ran on France Inter, a major public channel that is part of Radio France, introduced the subject by acknowledging the “doubts and concerns about the usefulness of vaccines” that have led the French to have “less and less confidence in vaccines.” France Inter then held a no-holds-barred debate between a controversial proponent of increased vaccine use…

[Another] example comes from Le Figaro, France’s second largest daily. After the French press last month reported that two infants died and hundreds had been injured after receiving rotavirus vaccines, Figaro examined the various issues at play, including conflict of interest — government regulators have had pharmaceutical industry ties — and the wisdom of having these vaccines recommended by public health authorities.

Vaccine violence against children totally ignored by the pharma-controlled U.S. media

All this vaccine violence being committed against children worldwide is purely imaginary, according to the U.S. mainstream media.

Anyone even citing such statistics is automatically labeled “anti-science” by pathetic vaccine pushers who profit from the continued medical mutilation of innocent children.

I’ve even heard the idea of vaccine damage being labeled a “conspiracy theory” by the pro-pharma media — the same media that conducted a total nationwide news blackout on the public admission of a CDC whistleblower scientist who admitted that he took part in a CDC cover-up to hide links between vaccines and autism.

That’s how loony the corporate-controlled media has become: They label you a “conspiracy theorist” if you practice good science and good medicine by observing biological reactions to a routine medical intervention. Meanwhile, what they report as “facts” are actually fairytale delusions… such as the idea that vaccines harm no one and can be safely given to children in essentially unlimited quantities.

The real anti-science kooks, it turns out, are the blindly obedient vaccine pushers! (They also happen to be extremely angry egomaniacs who reek of vile hatred for humanity… and of children specifically.)

UK media has realized journalistic integrity requires the practicing of actual journalism

While tens of thousands of injured young children is no laughing matter, it is rather hilarious that the U.S. mainstream media’s obedience to the total quackery of “vaccine safety” is causing its own rapid loss of credibility, readership and revenues. That’s why the value of old media publishers is rapidly collapsing while, at the same time, alternative media websites are exploding in popularity.

THANK YOU, lamestream media, for creating the journalism vacuum now being filled by independent media outlets like Natural News — websites that never would have grown at all if the media had been doing its job in the first place.

And what do we want to see with vaccines here in the New Media? We’re not opposed to the theory of immunization, and we most certainly aren’t opposed to good science (I’m the science lab director of the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, conducting PhD-level atomic spectrometry analysis and original research on heavy metals in foods). We merely want to see all toxic chemicals and heavy metals removed from vaccinesand for government to respect parents’ rights in deciding what medical interventions are best for their own children. It doesn’t sound like much of a demand, really. It’s just a demand for protecting children and respecting fundamental civil rights.

I never thought I’d see the day that demanding we stop poisoning children with mercury in flu shots is called “anti-science.” But here we are, and that just tells you how insane the monopoly-run, criminal-minded vaccine industry has become these days. No wonder the public craves truthful reporting on this subject!

BOTTOM LINE: Any media outlet that tells you vaccines are safe is knowingly committing journalistic malpractice and lying to your face. They are paid by Big Pharma to tell such lies, and they knowingly put children in harm’s way for their own selfish profits. Even the ethically challenged vaccine pushers they roll out to push vaccines — people like Paul Offit — totally abandon ethics by failing to disclose their own financial ties to the vaccine industry when they’re interviewed on TV.

Don’t get your news on the USA from mainstream media within the USA

Here’s an important takeaway point on all this: Never read the U.S. mainstream media for any purpose other than tabloid entertainment. Most mainstream outlets are totally clueless, compromised and corrupted. Although there are intelligent reporters who work inside the U.S. media, they are handcuffed by censorship and editorial directives that prevent them from reporting the truth on GMOs, vaccines and other important topics. (I know this because many of them have come to me asking for work and explaining the kind of Orwellian censorship under which they operate. You would not believe the number of formerly mainstream media reporters who now work for Natural News… and the number is growing by the week right now as we keep expanding…)

If you want news about the USA from a mainstream source, start reading the Daily Mail (UK). Or check out Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera, RT, Sputnik News or The Intercept. You’ll never get accurate news about the U.S. vaccine industry from the U.S. sellout media. They are just propaganda tools of the drug makers, and they’re more than willing to see children harmed and even killed as long as they get their precious ad revenue from Big Pharma.


On June 22, 1941, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union – perhaps the largest ever invasion force by one country against another involving up to four million combat and support troops.

His ambition to conquer the Soviet Union, acquire Lebensraum, its resources and enslave its people failed. So did Napoleon 130 years earlier against Tsarist Russia.

Does Washington plan repeating their mistakes?

Anti-Russian hostility and saber rattling should scare everyone. US-NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorstep are provocative.

They repeat with disturbing regularity. BALTOPS is the latest.

On June 5, NATO said “(s)cores of ships and aircraft from 17 countries are taking part in Baltic Sea naval drills as part of exercise BALTOPS which started on Friday, 5 June 2015 and runs until 20 June.”

“Allied participation demonstrates NATO’s resolve to defend the Baltic region, and will hone the ability of Allies and partners to work together.”

“Fourteen NATO Allies are joined this year by NATO partners Finland, Georgia and Sweden. Overall, 5,600 troops will be involved.”

NATO Commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces  Admiral James Foggo said “(t)his exercise represents an important opportunity for our forces, as allies and partners, to enhance our ability to work together and strengthen capabilities required to maintain regional security.”

Washington orchestrates NATO war games – anti-Russian/Chinese/Iranian exercises at a time no threat from these country exists, when America, its rogue NATO allies and Israel alone threaten world peace.

A previous article asked if US-dominated NATO planned war on Russia – the madness of potential nuclear confrontation if launched.

Mounting evidence should give everyone pause for concern. Provocative US-dominated military exercises near Russia’s borders suggest preparation for war.

So does irresponsible Russia bashing – a regular drumbeat of Big Lies. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf is paid to lie.

“Russia bears direct responsibility for what’s happening in Ukraine,” she says – despite no evidence suggesting it, plenty pointing fingers at Washington and its rogue allies.

Harf repeatedly blames “Russian separatists” for daily Kiev war crimes – naked aggression waged with full US support.

Russia is the continent’s preeminent peacemaker. America and its Kiev proxy want war.

On May 28, NATO deputy secretary general (its de facto boss) former US Defense Department official Alexander Vershbow repeated the same Big Lies about Russia he’s blustered numerous times before, including claiming:

– “Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea:”

– Russia undermines regional peace:

– Russia “br(ought) war to Eastern Ukraine:”

– Russia supports Donbass militia fighters “with weapons – including sophisticated heavy weapons – with soldiers and with training:”

– “Russian aggression” destabilizes Ukraine: FALSE! The whole world knows no Russian aggression exists.

– Russia “use(s) force – or the threat of force – to achieve its strategic objectives:”

These allegations are false.

Vershbow said “(w)e are putting NATO into a position of strength…to protect our allies (and) engag(e) with Russia” – code language for confrontation stopping short of declaring war.

Ahead of his visit to Italy, Vladimir Putin addressed irresponsible Western “Russian aggression” accusations saying:

“I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO.”

“I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid.”

Russia’s military policy isn’t “global, offensive or aggressive,” he stressed. (V)irtually no bases abroad” are maintained.

Moscow wants demilitarization while Washington’s agenda is polar opposite.

“I invite you to publish a world map…and mark all the US military bases on it,” he said. “You will see the difference between Russia and America.”

Military spending of NATO countries is tenfold Russia’s budget. Washington is installing so-called “anti-missile systems, bases and radars in European territory (and at) sea” – ignoring Russia’s warning about undermining international security.

America under George Bush withdrew from the ABM treaty, not Russia. It limited anti-ballistic missile arsenals. Putin called it “the cornerstone of the entire international security system.”

“Everything we do is just a response to the threats emerging against us,” he explained.

“Besides, what we do is limited in scope and scale, but is, however, sufficient to ensure Russia’s security.”

In late May, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the threat of Washington installing so-called missile defense systems in Ukraine, saying:

“(W)e can only perceive it negatively…because it will be a threat to the Russian Federation. In case there are missile defense systems stationed in Ukraine, Russia will have to take retaliatory measures to ensure its own safety.”

Ukraine remains a dangerous global flashpoint. At an extraordinary FridaySecurity Council meeting, Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin explained repeated Kiev violations of Minsk ceasefire terms.

“OSCE monitors should not simply note ceasefire violations, but clearly write down the purpose of these attacks, and who suffers from them –  civilians or military units carrying out artillery fire against settlements,” he said.

Ahead of the June 7 and 8 G-7 summit in Germany, Obama spoke with Poroshenko. He reaffirmed strong US support “for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

He blamed Russia and Donbass freedom fighters for Kiev high crimes. So did US UN envoy Samantha Power atFriday’s Security Council session – bashing Russia irresponsibly like she always does, systematically ignoring hard truths.

Washington wants Putin ousted. They want regime change in Russia. They want pro-Western stooge governance replacing its sovereign independence.

They risk heading things recklessly toward WW III.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

How a Hollywood Spy Film Brainwashes Us

June 6th, 2015 by Jonathan Cook

Why are so few of us truly fearful of the impending meltdown of capitalism, stoked by global corporations’ rape and pillage? And why are so many of us passive in the face of impending environmental catastrophe?

The answers, surprisingly, are to be found in a recent spoof spy blockbuster, Kingsman – The Secret Service. American Sniper may have enraged leftists for its overt jingoism and implicit war-cheerleading, but movies like Kingsman, which exercise their spell largely below the radar of political activism, are far more important in shoring up a climate of political submissiveness and naivety.

If Joseph Goebbels were alive today, this is the kind of movie he would be making – lappped up by audiences and winning general critical plaudits. Even critics who have panned it, as several did in the UK’s elite media, faulted it for its crudity; none seemed aware of its insidious faux class politics and faux environmentalism.

No suprise either that the film is made by Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox. Kingsman is the Sun or New York Post on celluloid. Its qualities – stylishness, humour and action – are there to distract us, to prevent us from noticing that we are being “brainwashed under freedom”. The drip-drip of films and TV shows like Kingsman is what keeps us worshipping at the alter of an ideology designed first to imprison us and then to destroy us.

Those critics who dislike the movie have highlighted its ending, which encapsulates the vulgar style of this brash piece of entertainment.

Our young working-class hero, Eggsy, groomed by a group of elite spies masquerading as Savile Row “gentleman” tailors, saves the world from an evil master-mind, Valentine, played by Samuel L Jackson with a lisp. Valentine too believes he is saving the planet: from inexorable climate change. He intends to cull most of the population, especially those from the lower orders.

The film ends with a beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed Swedish princess – imprisoned by Valentine for refusing to help him – promising Eggsy that, if he kills her captor, he can have anal sex with her. The film literally ends with a view of her bare bottom. The “joke”, I guess, if one wants to be lulled into believing this is meant to be clever, is that in this working-class James Bond film sex isn’t just alluded to and isn’t prettified, it’s the real, raw deal.

But the reward of taboo sex actually tells us much more about the movie’s general political message. The whole film is based around outrageous stereotypes of class: a largely ignorant working class operating on violent Darwninian principles; and a sophisticated, self-sacrificing and clever aristocracy that secretly maintains order and security. The middle classes – the politicians, professors, diplomats – are mainly selfish oafs siding with Valentine to save their own skins.

The subtext of its ugly class politics, however, are obscured by a working-class hero myth that serves presumably to enthrall rather than alienate its target audience.

Eggsy is given the chance to break free from his working-class ghetto to join the honorable gentlemen spies. Only one of the group stands in his way. The snobbish leader, Arthur, played by Michael Caine as an Old Etonian, hates Eggsy, supposedly for his vulgarity. In fact, Arthur, we discover, has been concealing his true character. As Eggsy tricks him into killing himself, Arthur’s Alfie-style working class accent returns – his ability to hide his background fades as he dies.

Finally freed from the confines of the working class and able to reinvent himself as a dapper gent, Eggsy saves the world. His reward, in language more fitting to the film, is to “stick it” to a real princess. This across-the-class-divide sex revenge fantasy is ugly enough. But its function is to suggest – like some western version of the supposed Islamic martyr’s reward of 72 virgins – that those who aspire to join the honorable 1% will find their own sexual reward even before they ascend to heaven.

If the film’s class politics are bad, its faux environmental message is even worse.

Bad-guy Valentine is an environmentalist of sorts. He describes the state of climate degradation in fairly accurate and chilling terms, certainly for a Hollywood movie. Humans have become like a virus feeding off the planet, and, if they cannot end their self-destructive urges, then either they or the planet will die.

The problem is the film isn’t interested at all in that “if”. There are no alternatives offered – like restructuring society, or introducing new forms of sustainable energy. It’s either us or the planet. And Valentine decides to side with the planet. In true fascist style, he believes he must cull most of the population, saving those who can finance his dastardly scheme. He will begin life on Earth again with a much smaller population of humans.

Eggsy saves the world by leaving behind the working class, by reinventing himself as the part of the go-getting 1% ( a young Murdoch?) and by killing Valentine and – implicitly – the fanatical ideology of environmentalism that drives him.

As Eggsy finishes off Valentine and heads off for his reward with the princess, the film suggests all is right with the world again. The natural order has been restored. Climate change fades away as if Valentine’s concerns about mankind’s future died with him.

The film’s two messages – that the elites are there for the reason that they are best-placed to manage the world, and that enviromentalists are the real threat to our safety – are so crudely laid out that it is hard to miss them. And yet reading the reviews, miss them is precisely what the reviewers and, it seems, most audiences are doing.

There is a reason for that. What Kingsman shows overtly, the rest of our media implies more gently and artfully every day. We are now so deep in the cult crafted by corporate capitalism that it can show us the bars of our prison, laugh in our face and still know that we will pay to enjoy the ride.


In Remembrance of Jairo Martinez and Roman Ruiz Fighters and Victims of ‘War through Peace Negotiations’


On May 21, 2015, the Colombian Air Force (FAC) bombed the base camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killing 26 guerrillas.  Three days later the FAC bombed other FARC bases killing 14 more guerrillas.  This was part of an official offensive, launched by President Juan Manuel Santos, the US’s most loyal client in Latin America.  Among the victims were FARC Commanders Jairo Martinez, a participant in the ongoing peace negotiations in Havana and Roman Ruiz.

Colombia works closely with the US, through Bernard Aronson, a very intrusive neo-conservative ‘overseer’, who is Washington’s coordinator in the Colombian counter-insurgency war.  The US maintains seven military bases and has stationed over one thousand US ‘advisers’ in the field and within the Colombian Defense Ministry.  The military offensive was launched by the Santos regime precisely when it was officially engaged in two and a half year-long ‘peace negotiations’, during which three of five items on the ‘peace agenda’ had been agreed to and the FARC had ordered a unilateral cease fire.  Two months earlier, President Santos treacherously set-up the FARC to lower their defenses by appearing to ‘reciprocate’ when he ordered “the suspension of air force bombing of FARC field camps”.  In other words, the Santos government and US adviser Aronson used the ‘cover of peace negotiations’ and the FARC’s unilateral ‘cease fire’ to launch a major military offensive.  The FARC ended its cease fire and resumed combat in ten regional ‘departments’, as the regime intensified its offensive by bombing villages in FARC-controlled regions.  While Santos and Aronson escalated their military offensive in Colombia, the FARC negotiators in Havana continued their “peace” negotiations….

President Santos and Aronson have used the cover of “peace negotiations” as a propaganda ploy to launch a full scale military offensive.  Concessions and agreements served to lower the FARC’s guard, identify its officials and secure intelligence on FARC base camps.  US adviser Aronson’s role is to ensure that the Colombian government destroys the popular armed resistance, and forces the FARC to accept a ‘peace accord’ that does not change the status of US bases, lucrative contracts with international mining companies and promotes ‘free trade’.  The Santos regime announced that the ‘peace negotiations’ would continue in Havana . . . even as it intensifies the war in Colombia, killing FARC members and supporters.  Aronson and Santos pursue a ‘peace of the cemetery’.

The Colombia and Washington regimes are conducting a two-pronged ‘peace negotiations and brutal  war policy’ against the FARC as part of a general world-wide politico-military campaign against mass popular movements that oppose neo-liberal economic policies, US-initiated wars and military bases and onerous ‘free trade’ agreements.

In each region the US has developed a very ‘special relation’ with key governments that serve as ‘strategic allies’. These include Israel in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf and southwest Asia, Japan in the Far East and Colombia in Latin America.

For the past two decades Colombia has served as the key US operational base for US naval and air surveillance in the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean countries and the launching pad for destabilization campaigns and intervention against the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Honduras.  Washington’s use of ‘peace negotiations’ as a prelude to a military offensive in Colombia is the prototype of US strategic policy in several other contentious regions of the world.

In the essay, we will  identify the countries where the US is engaged in ‘peace negotiations’ as a prelude to military aggression and political subversion and we will describe in detail the strategy and implementation of this policy in the most ‘advanced case’ of Colombia. We will focus on how erstwhile leftist governments, eager to improve relations with the US, contribute to furthering Washington’s strategic goals of subversion and ‘regime change’.

Finally, we will evaluate the possible outcomes of this strategy both in terms of advancing US imperial interests and in developing effective anti-imperialist politics.

Peace Negotiations: the New Face of Empire-building

Throughout the world, Washington is engaged in some sort of direct or indirect ‘peace negotiations’ even as it expands and intensifies its military operations.

US and Iran:  Unilateral Disarmament and Military Encirclement

The mass media and official Washington spokespersons would have us believe that the US and Iran are within reach of a ‘peace accord’, contingent on Teheran surrendering its nuclear capability (repeatedly proven to be non-military in nature) and the US lifting its ‘economic sanctions’. The media’s ‘narrow focus approach’ to the Persian Gulf conveniently ignores contradictory regional developments.

First, the US has embarked on devastating wars against key Iranian regional allies: The US funds and supplies arms to terrorists who have invaded and bombed Syria and Yemen.  Washington is expanding military bases surrounding Iran while increasing its naval presence in the Persian Gulf.  President Obama has expanded military agreements with the Gulf monarchies. Congress is increasing the flow of offensive arms to Israel as it openly threatens to attack Iran.  In reality, while engaged in ‘peace negotiations’ with Teheran, Washington is waging war with Iran’s allies and threatens its security.

Equally important, the US has vetoed numerous attempts to finally rid the Middle East of nuclear arms.  This veto safeguards the far-right, militarist Israeli regime’s enormous offensive nuclear stockpile, while outlawing any possibility of an Iranian deterrent.

The so-called ‘peace negotiations’ allows the US to engage in pervasive and frequent espionage of Iranian military installations (so-called ‘inspections’ by theUS controlledInternational Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) with no reciprocal inspection of US or Israeli military bases or that of any of its Gulf client states.  Furthermore, and crucial to a sudden military assault, Washington assumes in its ongoing ‘peace negotiations’, the unilateral ‘right’ to suspend the talks at a moment’s notice under any pretext and launch a military attack.

In sum, the US ‘negotiates peace’ with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, while it supplies Saudi Arabia with bombs and intelligence in its war against Yemen and finances armed Jihadi terrorists seizing half of Syria and large contiguous parts of Iraq.

The Iranian officials, ensconced in Switzerland while negotiating with the US, have played down the military threat to their country resulting from the massive re-entry of US armed forces in Iraq and the installation of the new puppet Haider Abidi regime.

How will the US conclude a ‘peace settlement’ with Iran while it engages in wars against Iran’s neighbors and allies and when Iranian negotiations are framed in military terms?

Are the ‘peace negotiations’ merely a ploy designed to destroy Iran’s regional allies, isolate and weaken its military defenses and set it up for attack ‘down the road’?  How does this fit into Obama’s global strategy?

US-China Diplomatic Negotiations: Military Encirclement and Encroachment

Over the past decade, President Obama and top State and Treasury Department officials have met with Chinese leaders, promising greater economic co-operation and exchanging diplomatic niceties.

Parallel to these conciliatory gestures, Washington has escalated its military encirclement of China by enlarging its military presence in Australia, Japan, and the Philippines and increasing its aggressive patrols of adjoining airspace and vital maritime routes.

The State Department has been inciting border-states, including Vietnam, Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, to contest Chinese maritime borders and its transformation of off-shore atolls into military bases.

The White House has proposed the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, which specifically excludes China.  It has signed off on nuclear weapons agreements with India, hoping to secure an Indo-American military pact on China’s southwestern flank.

Obama’s so-called ‘pivot to Asia’ is best understood as a rapid escalation of military threats and exclusionary trade pacts designed to provoke, isolate, weaken and degrade China and push back its rise to economic supremacy in Asia.

So far the US strategy has failed.  Washington’s diplomatic gestures have lacked the necessary economic substance and incentives to its ‘allies’; its much-ballyhooed trade agreements have floundered in the face of far superior and inclusive Chinese initiatives, including its  new $100 billion-dollar  Infrastructure Investment Bank and its more than $40 billion dollar economic agreements with the government of India.

In the face of its economic failures the Pentagon has opted for flagrant military encroachments on Chinese airspace.  Specifically, US warplanes are directed to overfly China’s ongoing construction of military installations on atolls in the South China Sea.  The Chinese Foreign Office and Defense Ministry have vigorously protested these violations of its sovereignty. The Obama regime has brashly rejected China’s diplomatic protests and affirmed Washington’s ‘right’ to encroach on Chinese territorial waters.

After a quarter of a century of failing to dominate China via economic penetration by US multi-nationals and through the liberalization of its financial system, Washington has discarded its ‘softer’ diplomatic approach and adopted a ‘proto-war’ stand.    This policy uses economic boycotts, military encirclement and encroachment on Chinese maritime, aerial and land sovereignty in the hope of provoking a military response and then evoking a second ‘Pearl Harbor’ as a pretext for a full scale war engulfing its Asian allies (and Australia) in a major war in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s market successes have replaced the US as the dominant economic power in Asia, Latin America and Africa.  In the face of this ‘usurpation’ the US has dropped the velvet glove of diplomacy in favor of the iron fist of military provocation and escalation.  The US military budget is five times greater than China’s, whereas China’s investments and financing of economic projects throughout Asia, Latin America and the BRIC countries are ten times greater than those of the US.

China’s ‘economic pivot’ will clearly enhance Beijing’s global position over the medium and long-run, if the US’s reckless and short-term military superiority and territorial aggression does not lead to a devastating world war!

In the meantime, China is developing its military capacity to confront the ‘US pivot to war’.  China’s leaders have devised a new defensive strategy, boosting its naval capacity and shifting from strictly territorial defense to both defense and offense on land, air and sea.  Off shore defense is combined with open sea protection to enhance China’s capability for a strategic deterrent and counter-attack.  China’s annual military spending had increased on average ten percent per annum in anticipation of the Pentagon shifting 60% of its fleet to the Pacific over the next five years.

US-Cuba Diplomatic Negotiations:  The ‘Trojan Horse’ Approach

For over fifty years the US has mounted a concerted terrorist-sabotage campaign, economic embargo and diplomatic war against its Caribbean neighbor, Cuba.  In the face of near total diplomatic isolation in the United Nations (185 to 3 against the US-imposed blockade), universal opposition to belligerent US policy toward Cuba at the Summit of the Americas and in the Organization of American States and surprisingly favorable public opinion toward Cuba among the domestic US citizenry, Washington decided to open negotiations to establish diplomatic and commercial relations with Havana.

On the surface, the apparent shift from military confrontation and economic sanctions to diplomatic negotiations would register as a move toward peaceful co-existence between opposing social systems.  However, a closer reading of Washington’s tactical concessions and strategic goals argues for a mere ‘change of methods’ for reversing advances of the socialist revolution rather than a diplomatic accommodation.

Under the cover of a diplomatic agreement, the US will directly or indirectly channel millions of dollars into Cuba’s private sector, strengthening its weight in the economy, and forming partnerships with Cuban public and private sector counter-parts.  The US Embassy’s economic policy will be directed toward expanding the business sectors open to US capital.  In other words, Washington will pursue a strategy of incremental privatization to create economic and political allies.

Secondly, the US embassy will greatly expand its role as financial backer, recruiter and protector of counter-revolutionary, self-styled Cuban ‘dissidents’ in its ‘civil society.

Thirdly, the vast influx of US-controlled telecommunications, cultural programs and exchanges, and commercial sales will have the effect of de-radicalizing the Cuban public (from socialism and egalitarianism to gross consumerism) and reducing Cuba’s fraternal ties to Latin America.  Anti-imperialist solidarity with popular Latin American movements and governments will diminish as the Cubans adopt the ‘Miami mentality’.

Fourthly, Cuba’s economic and political ties with Venezuela will remain but the US efforts to subvert or ‘moderate’ the Bolivarian government may face less opposition from Havana.

Fifth, Washington will foster cheap mass tourism in order to promote a one-sided dependent economy, which over time will replace socialist consciousness with a ‘comprador consciousness’ – a decadent mentality, which encourages the emergence of a class of intermediaries or ‘brokers’ engaged in  economic exchanges between the ‘sender’(the US) and ‘receiver’(Cuba) country.  Cuban ‘intermediaries’ between the imperial US and dependent Cuba could become strategic political actors in Havana.

In other words, the concessions Washington have secured via diplomatic politics will form the ‘Trojan Horse’ to facilitate a ‘subversion from within approach’ designed to subvert the social economy and to secure Cuban co-operation in de-radicalizing Latin America.

Fidel Castro has rightly expressed his distrust of the new US approach.  Castro’s pointed criticisms of Washington’s highly militarized interventions in the Middle East, the Ukraine and the South China Sea is designed to influence Cuban policymakers, who are overzealous in conceding political concessions to the US.

Libya, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen:  Negotiations as Prelude to Wars

Negotiations between Libyan President Gadhafi and Washington led to a dismantling of the country’s advanced military defense programs.   Once essentially defenseless from NATO attack, the US and its European and Gulf allies embarked on a full-scale bombing campaign for ‘regime change’ in support of tribal and sectarian warlords destroying the country’s infrastructure, ending the life of its leader and tens of thousands of Libyans and driving hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers from sub-Sahara Africa into exile as refugees.

Negotiations between the democratically-elected leader of the Ukraine and the US-NATO based opposition led to political concessions that were quickly exploited by US funded foreign NGOs and domestic neo-Nazis. Street mobs took over  government buildings in Kiev leading to a putsch and ‘regime change’, as well as detonating a brutal ethnic war against eastern Russian speaking Ukrainians, opposed to NATO and favoring continued traditional ties with Russia.  Despite ‘negotiations’ between the NATO-backed regime and Donbass federalists leading to a European-brokered cease fire, the government in Kiev continues to bomb the self-governing regions.

The US, EU, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (the “Quartet”) back armed Islamist mercenaries and jihadist terrorists seeking to overthrow the Bashar Assad government in Damascus and rebel Houthi government coalition in Yemen.  Under the guise of seeking a ‘negotiated political solution’, the ‘Quartet’ has consistently pursued a military solution.

Negotiations and diplomacy have become chosen tactical ploys in Washington’s repertory for pursing war.

Wars are preceded by or accompany diplomacy and negotiations which act to weaken the target adversary, as was the case in Libya, the Ukraine and Colombia.

Diplomatic overtures to China are accompanied by a ‘military pivot’, aggressive military encirclement, and provocative acts such as the recent arrest of visiting Chinese scholars and repeated violations of Chinese airspace.

The diplomatic overtures to Cuba are accompanied by demands for greater “access” to proselytize and subvert Cuban officials, and its people.

US negotiators demand the unilateral demilitarization and pervasive oversight of Iran’s strategic military defenses even as the US expands its proxy wars against Teheran’s allies in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.   Meanwhile Washington rejects the comprehensive ending of economic sanctions against the Iranians.

Negotiations, under the Obama regime, are simply tactics to intensify and expand the strategy of war.  The “peace negotiations” between the US-backed Santos regime and the FARC follows the global script outlined above.

Through phony ‘partial agreements’, which are never seriously intended to be implemented, the US-backed Colombian military and their paramilitary allies continue to ravage the countryside.  Displaced peasants and farmers attempting to return and reclaim farmland continue to be assassinated.  Human rights lawyers and workers are still murdered.

The Santos regime escalates its military offensive against the FARC, taking full advantage of the “unilateral ceasefire” declared by FARC leaders in Havana.

The true intentions of the Santos regime toward the FARC were revealed in the aftermath of the assassination of 40 guerrilla combatants:  The regime demonized the FARC, justifying the offensive by criminalizing the insurgents, linking them to drug and human traffickers.

The gap between what the regime negotiators say in Havana and what the military commanders do in the Colombian countryside has never been greater.  The disconnect between the peace talks in Havana and the military offensive in Colombia is the best indicator of what can be expected if an agreement is signed.

Santos and the US adviser Aronson envision a highly militarized state advised by thousands of US agents and mercenaries.  The disarmament of the FARC will be followed by the persecution of former guerrilla combatants and the expansion of mining contracts in former guerrilla controlled territory.  The military command will increase its sponsorship of cross border paramilitary attacks on Venezuela.  The Santos regime will find a pretext to continue the incarceration of the majority of political prisoners.  There will be no agrarian reform or repossession of illegally seized land.  There will be no reversal of the US-Colombian free trade agreement.  The hundreds of thousands of displaced peasants will remain without land or justice.

Very little of what is agreed in Havana will be implemented.  FARC leaders will be confined to playing the electoral game, providing that they are not assassinated by ‘sicarios on motorcycles’.  Guerrilla militants without land, employment or security may join the drug traffickers – in a re-play of the so-called “Peace Accords” in El Salvador.

Under these circumstances why does the FARC’s current leadership proceed toward a suicidal agreement and its own extinction?  In past conversations with leading Cuban foreign policy officials, including former Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, I was told that the Cuban government was deeply hostile to FARC and was eager to end hostilities in order to improve Cuban relations with the US.  Likewise members of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry told me that they co-operated with the Colombian government in arresting and deporting FARC officials and sympathizers in order “to secure their borders from Colombian military and paramilitary incursions”.

In other words, there are valid grounds for viewing the FARC negotiators as operating under intense pressure from its supposed allies to continue ‘talks’ and reach a ‘peace agreement’, even if the results will be neither peace or justice!


The US strategy of “war through peace negotiations” is an ongoing process.  So far the US military build-up against China has failed to intimidate China.  Beijing has responded by launching its own strategic military response and by financing a huge number of Asian economic projects which, in the long-run, will isolate the US and undermine its offensive capacity.

The ‘war through negotiation’ strategy succeeded in destroying a nationalist adversary in Libya, while also devastating a profitable oil and gas producer, creating a ‘failed state’ on the Mediterranean and unleashing jihadist groups throughout North Africa.  The NATO-Obama campaign for ‘regime change’ in Libya led to the mass exodus of millions of sub-Saharan workers formerly employed in Libya with untold thousands drowning in the Mediterranean in their desperate flight.

The US ‘war and negotiations policy’ toward Iran remains inconclusive: Washington has encircled Iran with proxy wars against Yemen and Syria but Iran continues to gain influence in Iraq.  The US has spent $40 billion on arms and training on an Iraqi army whose soldiers refuse to fight and die for US interests, allowing the neo-Baathist- ‘ISIS’ coalition of Sunni insurgents to seize one-third of the country.  The more serious and motivated militia defending Baghdad is composed of the Shia volunteers, influenced by Teheran.  The horrific break-up of what was once sovereign secular republic continues.

Washington’s dual strategy of negotiating with the Rohani regime while encircling the country is intended to degrade Teheran’s defense capability while minimizing any relief from the economic sanctions.  Whether this one-sided process will lead to a ‘final agreement’ remains to be seen.  In the final analysis, the US relations with Iran are subject to the power and influence of the Zionist power configuration in the US, acting on behalf of Israel, over and against the European Union’s interest to develop trade with the 80 million strong Iranian market.

The US “subversion via negotiations” approach to Cuba has moved forward slowly.  The Cuban security apparatus, military, and, especially, important contingents of Fidelista officials, militants and intellectuals serve as an important counter-weight to the zealous liberal “modernizers” who envision “market solutions”.  Washington does not expect a rapid transition to capitalism.  It is banking on a ‘war of positions’, securing joint ventures with state officials; a massive infusion of consumerist propaganda to counter socialist values; funding private capitalists as potential strategic political allies; encouraging  Cuban foreign policy officials to cut off support for leftist movements and governments.  Cuba’s leaders, at all costs, must not return to an economically dependent relation with the US – which is the strategic goal of the US.  Washington is seeking through diplomacy to secure what 50 years of warfare failed to achieve:  a regime change and a reversal of the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

The US strategy of war through negotiations has mixed results.  Where it confronts a burgeoning world power, such as China, it has failed.  With a weak, disarmed state like Libya, it succeeded beyond its wildest dreams (or nightmares).  With “middle level powers” like Cuba and Iran, it has secured political concessions but has not yet eroded the security and defense capabilities of the governments.  In the case of Colombia, Washington is deeply embedded in the regime and has openly embraced a naked military solution.

The FARC’s ‘inner leadership’ cannot continue with the unilateral ‘cease fire’ unless it wishes for suicide; the ‘outside leadership’ appears committed to negotiations even as the war escalates.  The results are uncertain, but what is obvious is that the Aronson – Santos regime have no tolerance for a ‘peace with social justice’.  Their goal for the long struggling Colombian people is the ‘peace of the cemetery’, as the historic FARC leader Manual Marulanda declared in the aftermath of the broken peace negotiations of 1999-2002.

Indígenas sufren un genocidio cultural en Canadá

June 6th, 2015 by Jorge Zegarra

En Canadá, siete generaciones de niños indígenas fueron privadas de su identidad por el sistema de internados que fue parte de una política de asimilación cultural.

La Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación de Canadá concluyó en su reporte final que se cometió un genocidio cultural en los internados indígenas durante más de 100 años. La comisión estima que esta política de asimilación tuvo consecuencias nefastas para las comunidades indígenas de este país.

El reporte de la comisión contiene 94 recomendaciones para el establecimiento de relaciones más respetuosas entre los pueblos indígenas y el resto de la sociedad canadiense. Esta comisión recogió más de 6750 testimonios de víctimas y responsables de los internados indígenas.

Al menos 150.000 niños autóctonos fueron separados de sus hogares para ser enviados a 139 internados. Estos establecimientos administrados en gran parte por comunidades religiosas se abrieron en Canadá a finales del siglo XIX. El último fue cerrado en 1996.

La Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación solicita al Gobierno de Canadá, entre otras cosas, que adopte la Declaración de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas.

Jorge Zegarra, Montreal.

This article was first published in 2012

Back in 1992 the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff held a “Strategy Essay Competition.”

The winner was a National War College student paper entitled, “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012.” Authored by Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. the paper is a well documented, “darkly imagined excursion into the future.”

The ostensibly fictional work is written from the perspective of an imprisoned senior military officer about to be executed for opposing the military takeover of America, a coup accomplished through “legal” means. The essay makes the point that the coup was “the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992,” including “the massive diversion of military forces to civilian uses,” particularly law enforcement.

Dunlap cites what he considered a dangerous precedent, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act, an act that sanctioned US military engagement with law enforcement in domestic “support operations,” including “civil disturbance” operations. The act codified the lawful status and use of military “assets” in domestic police work.

Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms

Since that time the American people have been subject to a series of deeper and deeper encroachments upon our basic freedoms, increasingly extensive deployment of military operations on the home front, perpetrated by a corporate driven military mission creep that now claims the right and duty to arrest and detain us on the word of a Pentagon or White House operative. President Obama’s signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge, essentially aims to put the last nail in the coffin of our Constitution, our teetering Republic and our most basic democratic traditions.

The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration (“you can trust me”) would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course (of course) shortly before Congress voted on the final bill, which the President signed on the 31st of December 2011, a day that will go down in infamy.

“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.” According to Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” she said. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.” Think again. (Guardian, 12/14/11)

Under the legislation, suspects can be held without trial  ”until the end of hostilities.” They will have the right to appear once a year before a committee that will decide if the detention will continue. A spokesperson for Human Rights Watch implied that the signing of such a bill by a President would have once been unthinkable, noting that “the paradigm of the war on terror has advanced so far in people’s minds that this has to appear more normal than it actually is.” Further, “it wasn’t asked for by any of the agencies on the frontlines in the fight against terrorism in the United States. It breaks with over 200 years of tradition in America against using the military in domestic affairs.”

In fact, the heads of several “security agencies,” including the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general objected to the legislation. Even some within the Pentagon itself said they were against the bill. No matter, and no matter the intention inherent in lip service opposition, the corporate elite who drive the disastrous and inhumane polices of this country see it otherwise, and they, not the generals or anyone else, call the shots!

And they’ve been at this for some time. A persistent and on-gong counter-insurgency directed against the American people, the detention provisions embedded in the NDAA are about more than “social control.” It amounts to a direct attack on the person, an “unreasonable search and seizure” in the cause of maintaining the shaky capitalist ship of state; suppressing popular resistance, dissent and protest, movements of peace and justice, recast as “civil disorder,” “civil disturbance” and “domestic terror.”

Current U.S. military preparations for suppressing “civil disturbance” and “domestic terrorism” including the training of National Guard troops, local police and the authorization of massive surveillance, are part of a long history of American “internal security” measures dating back to the first American Revolution. Generally, these measures have sought to thwart the aims of social justice movements, embodying the concept, promulgated by elite sectors intent on maintaining their grip on the levers of state; that within the civilian body politic lurks an enemy that one day the military might have to fight; or at least be ordered to fight. (See: Army Surveillance in America, 1775-1980, Joan M. Jensen, Yale University Press, 1991)

Thus, in reaction to a period of social upsurge flush with movements of liberation, justice and peace, and the mounting of powerful campaigns which threatened the status quo and elite control, the US military’s stand alone apparatus for conducting “civil disturbance suppression” operations, including detention, was born, immediately on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968.

The Garden Plot Operation

US Military Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, code-named Operation Garden Plot, follows, as was mentioned, in the footsteps of a long tradition of US military involvement in the suppression of dissent. Intriguingly, the Garden Plot operation is cited in documents related to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. (See: Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, William Pepper, Carroll and Graf, 1995)

Currently, the Garden Plot operation is centered at the Pentagon’s Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). “Stood up” in 2002, (though In the works prior to 9/11), NORTHCOM, America’s “domestic military command,” is tasked with various “counter-terror,” “homeland defense” and “homeland security” activities, including “civil disturbance suppression” operations, and “assisting law enforcement” within Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Under NORTHCOM, Operation Garden Plot functions, with the US Army as “executive agent,” as “ConPlan 2502.” In two parts, the “con plan” is officially listed as: United States Northern Command, Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 3501 (formerly 2501), Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), dated 11 April 2006; and the United States Northern Command, Concept Plan 3502 (formerly 2502), Defense Support of Civil Authorities for Civil Disturbance Operations (CDO), 23 January 2007.

As noted above, the latest development in the Pentagon’s evolving mission of suppressing, at the behest of it’s corporate “civilian” overseers, a detention provision, is buried within the massive National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 signed by President Obama in the fog (grog) of this past New Years Eve.

NDAA 2012

Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012 seemingly allows (the language is evasive) for the detention (without trial or charges) of American citizens redefined by the “executive” elite as “enemy combatants” in the so-called “war on terror, ” a “war” which has become in the eyes of many, a war against the Constitution and civil liberties, a war against the disenchanted, fed-up and dissenting American public, spearheaded by a militarized police state allied to imperial military courts and “tribunals,” buttressed and rationalized with mind-bending mil-speak of “enemy combatants,” “unlawful combatants,” “enemy belligerents,” “homeland battlefield” “domestic extremists” “domestic terrorists” and the like.

And yet, behind all the sophistry, lies and manipulation, the brutal truth is obvious: The corporate elite that directs things has seen fit to unleash it’s military on it’s own people in a desperate attempt to suppress the democratic (read: protest) rights of it’s citizenry, us! Why? Simple: the paranoia of the thief, the well founded fear that knows that forced deprivation and scarcities, violence at home and abroad, rooted in greed, has run it’s course in America. And they are right! And so, it makes ominous sense that we are confronted with the horrific machinations of forced detention for those who resist a “new world order” come home in a “homeland” which opportunistically collapses all distinction between dissent and terrorism, police and military, right and wrong, obfuscating the truth of who the real terrorists are!

When Congress passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it included provisions that authorized U.S. armed forces to detain persons who are captured in the conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”

Section 1021 entitled “AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE” allows for the President (whoever that may be) “to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force … to detain covered persons …pending disposition under the law of war.”

“A covered person,” according to the edict’s malleable lingo, is “any person … who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks …” or, who “was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban,” or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

Accordingly, “the disposition of a person under the law of war” will include “detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities …” Now, by stating that “nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force,” and that “nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States,” it would appear that the law exempts American citizens from the threat of detention. Correct?

Detention is a Booming Industry

Don’t be too confident. Detention is a booming industry. In 2006 the Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International reported that Halliburton off-spring, “global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellogg, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency.” The $385 million dollars over 5 year contract “is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” building “temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.” Could the 2012 NDAA / Section 1021 be such a “new program?”

There has been some confusion over what Section 1021 actually means, and that in and of itself is cause for concern. Congressional spokespeople have stated that the provisions of NDAA 2012 / Sec 1021 do not provide any “new authority” to detain U.S. citizens or others who may be captured in the United States. Obama waffled likewise in the lead up to his signing the provision. Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, ho-hummed and said that, “we are simply codifying existing law.” But that was an evasion, since existing law, like it or not, regarding the detention of U.S. persons in the “war on terror” is indeterminate in important respects. And “indeterminate” is not good enough!

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service fleshes out the law of detention as set forth in Section 1021, identifying what is known to be true as well as what is unsettled and unresolved. It is perfectly clear, for example, that a U.S. citizen who fights alongside “enemy forces” against the United States on a foreign battlefield could be lawfully detained. This was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

On the other hand, the CRS report explains, “the President’s legal authority to militarily detain terrorist suspects apprehended in the United States has not been definitively settled.” Nor has Congress helped to settle it. “This bill does not endorse either side’s interpretation,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, “but leaves it to the courts to decide.”

So, if a detention of a U.S. person does occur, the CRS said, “it will be up to a court to determine Congress’s intent when it enacted the AUMF [the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force], or alternatively, to decide whether the law as it was subsequently developed by the courts and executive branch sufficiently established that authority for such detention already exists.”

Up to now, “lower courts that have addressed questions the Supreme Court left unanswered have not achieved a consensus on the extent to which Congress has authorized the detention without trial of U.S. persons as ‘enemy combatants,’ and Congress has not so far clarified its intent.”

Well, it is certainly reassuring that a New York court has sought to clarify it’s intent on the matter. On May 16, 2012 a newly appointed federal district judge, Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York, issued a ruling, hailed by many, which preliminarily enjoins (prohibits) enforcement of the indefinite detention provisions (Sec 1021) of the NDAA 2012.

The “temporary restraining order” came as a result of a lawsuit brought by seven dissident plaintiffs — including Chris Hedges, Dan Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jonsdottir — alleging that the NDAA violated both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. “The government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest said in her ruling. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”

Where it will go from here is anybodies guess. Judge Forrest’s ruling was not permanent. A day after the ruling, the Wall Street Journal, for it’s part, offered it’s sour grapes, pontificating that the ruling “will be overturned on appeal,” while “its reasoning needs to be deconstructed so it doesn’t do more harm in the meantime.” A week later, on the 25th, federal prosecutors from Obama’s Department of Justice, calling Judge Forrest’s ruling “extraordinary,” suggested that she lift the injunction, claiming further that her ruling only effects those plaintiffs named and not other potential or future targets of the draconian legislation.

Well, a few days ago on June 6th the upright Judge Forrest responded with an 8 page, “memorandum and opinion” in which she sought to “eliminate any doubt as to the May 16 order’s scope.” (New York Times, “Detention Provision is Blocked” 6/7/12). And as to whom and for whom her original order was intended: “The May 16th order enjoined enforcement of Section 1021(b)(2) against anyone until further action by this, or a higher, court – or by Congress.” That’s clear enough!

So, as it stands now now, although Judge Forrest’s decision may temporarily protect Americans from provision 1021, it remains to be seen what the higher courts do should Obama’s people appeal. And unfortunately, Judge Forrest’s ruling, as praiseworthy as it is, does nothing to spare both foreign reporters and civilians from a life of imprisonment, let alone the more than 6 billion citizens of foreign nations who can still be handcuffed and hauled away to a US military prison without ever being brought to trial.

So, bottom line, given the indeterminate nature of a law that would snatch us up off the streets, throw away the key, and grant us little or no access to a trial let alone legal counsel of choice not vetted by the Pentagon, we should have no illusions that we are well along the slippery indeterminate slope to a full blown militarized police state; the complete identification, coordination and consolidation of the police and military function in America in the interests of an elite who regard us as the enemy, maybe even their property! Maybe even as targets for assassination!

Naked violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution

We should recall, that the current attempt by the executive to designate American citizens for detention without trial; a naked violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure and the guarantee of a trial, was preceded by the administration’s “resolve” to assassinate at will Americans abroad, place them on a “kill list,” and eliminate them. According to the New York Times “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” (5/29/12) the President and his advisors have made it clear that they have the authority “to order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel rationalized such a move in “a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.” (New York Times, “Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen,” 10/8/11) Accordingly, after a dubious period of “internal deliberations,” Mr. Obama gave his approval, and the cleric Anwar al-Awlak was assassinated in September 2011, along with an associate Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but happened to be traveling with Mr. al-Awlak. Apparently, campaign rhetoric and public demeanor to the contrary, when asked what surprised him most about Mr. Obama, Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, answered immediately: “He’s a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States.”

The Posse Comitatus Act

How did we get here? We need to recognize that the “massive diversion of military resources” into domestic law enforcement for the purposes of suppressing dissent and worse has a long history, a history that has witnessed the steady evisceration of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, the sole federal statute that criminalizes military incursions into the domain of domestic law enforcement. The Act is the backbone of our democratic republican tradition of separating the military and police function in this country and represents the ultimate bulwark against military dictatorship in the interests of the rich. That is the reason it is and continues to be attacked, ridiculed and ignored by elements in both the corporate and military spheres. For example, “Current Obstacles to Fully Preparing Title 10 Forces for Homeland Defense and Civil Support” by Commander James S. Campbell, United States Navy, May 2008 and, “The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Law Enforcement Title” by COL (Ret) John R. Brinkerhoff, December 2004, both seek to delegitimize and undercut the status and importance of the Act, a law so critical to the maintenance of our freedoms, and yet, a law about which most Americans remain unaware.

The 1878 Act, 18 USC § 1385 – USE OF ARMY AND AIR FORCE AS POSSE COMITATUS, more popularly known as The Posse Comitatus Act, reads as follows:

“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, wilfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a Posse Comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

As noted, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement law would seemingly violate the spirit if not the letter of this Act. Nonetheless, like a slowly boiling pot relentlessly eating away at our freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression, the utilization of military assets, under cover of law enforcement to suppress our democratic rights has proceeded steadily by design, virtually un-noticed.

Historical milestones: eating away at our freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression

A very limited listing of some historical milestones:

* In 1968, as mentioned above, concurrent with the creation of the Federal Commission on Civil Disorder, better known as the Kerner Commission, the Pentagon hatched it’s very own “civil disorder” operation. “US Military Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2,” code named “Garden Plot,” coordinates, until this day, all aspects of “civil disturbance suppression” in America, including the use of so-called “non-lethal weapons” during conveniently designated domestic “operations other than war” (OOTW), and “military operations in urban terrain” (MOUT), a “war” which pits “non-combatant” citizens and protesters (overwhelmingly non-violent) against militarized police on the streets of America.

* Only a few months after the round up and detention of 7,000 anti-war protesters in Washington DC, imprisoned in RFK stadium, an early Garden Plot operation, the 1971 Non-Detention Act was passed, specifically to repeal portions of the 1950 “anti-communist” “Emergency Detention Act” which had allowed for detention of suspected subversives without the normal Constitutional checks required for imprisonment. The Non-Detention Act required specific Congressional authorization for such detention. It reads that, “no citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” In recent years, the statute has been used to challenge military detainment of U.S. citizens accused of terrorist activity, as in the case of Jose Padilla.

A Congressional Research Service report on the history of the Non-Detention Act noted that, “legislative debate, committee reports, and the political context of 1971 indicate that when Congress enacted Section 4001(a) it intended the statutory language to restrict all detentions by the executive branch, not merely those by the Attorney General.” Further, “lawmakers, both supporters and opponents of Section 4001(a), recognized that it would restrict the President and military authorities.”

As for the Padilla case, the Supreme Court of the United States originally took the 2004 case of Rumsfeld v. Padilla to decide the question of whether Congress’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorized the President to detain a U.S. citizen, which would run afoul of the Non Detention Act. But it did not give an answer, instead ruling that the case had been “improperly filed.” And so the issue, as to whether and under what circumstances the military can pick you up, detain and imprison you, without charging you, from the point of view the Supreme Court, remains “unsettled.”

* Also in 1971, the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) was created. Headed up by Louis Giuffrida, formerly of Army Combat Command, the first director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CSTI introduced the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) concept, offering courses on “civil disorder management” for select “militarized” police and National Guard units armed and trained for domestic operations in the urban centers of America. During this period the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) facilitated federal funding and other military largess to the burgeoning militarized sectors of the domestic police forces along with training of selected National Guard units. Still in operation, CSTI is currently headed up by William J. Hatch Colonel, USA (RET), while funding for militarizing local police departments these days is facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, funding which has increased drastically since 9/11.

* In 1975 the Trilateral Commission, a Western European, Japanese, US corporate think-tank convened by David Rockefeller, issued a report entitled, “The Crisis of Democracy.” (NYU Press, 1975) Authored by none other than Samuel  Huntington. (“Clash of Civilizations”). Huntington’s book is a blueprint for the on-going counter-revolution in America, emphasizing the elite requirement of suppressing democratic “insurgency,” the “distemper” of the 60s, a “distemper” that according to Huntington, stemmed from an “excess of democracy.” The only and final solution therefore is to “moderate” and “shrink democracy,” concluding that, “there are potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy.”

* In 1983, the US Army published Field Manual 3-19-15, Civil Disturbance Operations (since updated in 2005). The manual addresses civil disturbance operations in both continental United States (CONUS) and outside continental United States (OCONUS). It states that, “today, United States (US) forces are deployed on peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and humanitarian assistance operations worldwide. During these operations, US forces are often faced with unruly and violent crowds intent on disrupting peace and the ability of US forces to maintain peace. Worldwide instability coupled with increasing US military participation in peacekeeping and related operations requires that US forces have access to the most current doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

“In addition to covering civil unrest doctrine for CONUS operations, FM 3-19.15 addresses domestic unrest and the military role in providing assistance to civil authorities requesting it for civil disturbance operations …The principles of civil disturbance operations, planning and training for such operations, and the TTP [“tactics, techniques and procedures”] employed to control civil disturbances and neutralize special threats are discussed in this manual. It also addresses special planning and preparation that are needed to quell riots in confinement facilities are also discussed. In the past, commanders were limited to the type of force they could apply to quell a riot. Riot batons, riot control agents, or lethal force were often used. Today, there is a wide array of nonlethal weapons (NLW) available to the commander that extends his use of force along the force continuum. This manual addresses the use of nonlethal (NL) and lethal forces when quelling a riot.” And as noted, the training is meant to be operative in both foreign and domestic contexts, the war abroad, the war at home.

* In 1986, the Pentagon issues Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, or DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials. US military involvement in domestic law enforcement is subsumed and rationalized under “doctrines” entitled Operations Other Than War (OOTW) and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), along with divisions known as Military Support to Law Enforcement Agencies (MSLEA) and Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA)

* In 1992 President Clinton’s Justice Department consolidated a partnership with the Pentagon in the area of “technology transfer.” The so-called “technology transfer agreements” allowed for the military to weaponize domestic police forces, further enhancing the growth of para-military “special forces” like “special units” in local police departments across the country, including “civil disturbance” units and training. The Clinton administration extended the police/military connection by mandating that the Department of Defense and its associated private industries form a partnership with the Department of Justice to “engage the crime war with the same resolve they fought the Cold War.” The program, entitled, “Technology Transfer From Defense: Concealed Weapons Detection,” (“Technology Transfer from Defense: Concealed Weapons Detection,” National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August, 1995), calls for the transfer of military technology to domestic police organizations to better fight “crime.” Previously, direct “transfers” of this sort were made only to friendly foreign governments. The Clinton directive enhanced and formalized direct militarization of domestic police forces.

Currently, Title XIV of an earlier NDAA in 2007 entitled, “Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions,” authorizes “the Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to federal, State, and local first responders.” In other words, the law facilitates the “transfer” of the newest in so-called “crowd control” and surveillance technology to local militarized (politicized) police units.

* In 1993, the US Army and Marine Corps publish Domestic Support Operations Field Manual 100-19.

* In 1994, the Department of Defense issued Directive 3025.12, Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances (MACDIS) that details the rationale and means (“tactics, techniques and procedures”) for suppressing dissent. It states that, “the President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances. Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government and the Department of Defense for civil disturbances are important, do to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population.”

* In 1995, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an key elite “policymaker” headquartered in New York City, set up an “Independent Task Force on Nonlethal Weapons (NLW)” in order “to assess the current status of non-lethal weapons development and availability within the Department of Defense, in light of their potential to support U.S. military operations and foreign policy,” not to mention the suppression of dissent at home. The 16 member Task Force, which published its’ findings in 1999, was chaired by IBM executive Richard L. Garwin, CFR “Senior Fellow for Science and Technology.” Other members of the Task Force included CFR “military fellow” David Jones, United States Navy, Commander, Edward N. Luttwak, member, “National Security Study Group administered by the Department of Defense,” Edward C. Meyer, USA (Ret.), Chair of Mitretek Systems, formerly Chief of Staff, US Army, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Janet and Christopher Morris, President/Vice President, M2 Technologies, Inc, members US Global Strategy Council.

The Director of the CFR task force on non-lethal “technologies” was W. Montaque Winfield, former Executive Officer to the Commander of the “Stabilization Force” stationed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Also a 1998-9 CFR “military fellow,” Brigadier General Winfield, some of you might recall, was the deputy director for operations (DDO) in the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, who according to the 9/11 Commission, left his post that very morning to attend a “pre-scheduled meeting” and allowed a colleague who had only recently qualified to take over his position, to stand in for him. He didn’t return to his post until after the terrorist attacks had ended.

The CFR had issued an earlier report on the subject of “non-lethal” weapons in 1995, and stated in the 1999 report that they had regrettably “found that the DoD has made only limited progress developing and deploying nonlethal weapons since 1995.” The CFR, offering a bit of a tongue lashing to it’s hired generals, considered the “shortfall” the result of a “continued lack of appreciation for NLW among civilian and military policymakers.” Taking a firm line, the CFR report recommends that, “senior civilian and military leaders should make NLW development a priority.” After all, “nonlethal weapons could give policymakers a more potent weapon than economic sanctions.” In fact, “used alone”, the report notes, “NLW could penalize civilian economies without high civilian casualties.” Looking for something between “diplomatic table thumping and outright annihilation,” the armchair corporate warriors at the CRR continued to pound away at the need for accelerated “non-lethal” R and D.

* Subsequently, on July 9, 1996, the Department of Defense complied, issuing Directive 3000.3, Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons. The Directive established Department of Defense policies and responsibilities for the development and employment of so-called “non-lethal weapons,” designating the Commandant of the Marine Corps as Executive Agent for the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program. On July 1, 1997, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate was established to support the Executive Agent for Non-Lethal Weapons in the day-to-day management of the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program putting the “best and the brightest” at work in designing soft-kill means (including neuro-weapons) of “crowd dispersal” and “social control” set within a strategy of so-called “low-intensity warfare” and “counter-insurgency.”

Recently, this past May 17, 2012 the DoD issued Instruction 3200.19. Entitled “Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) Human Effects Characterization,” the “instruction” “establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for a human effects characterization process in support of the development of NLW, non lethal technology and NLW systems.” It also establishes a “Human Effects Review Board,” which “scientifically” evaluates and quantifies levels of pain, calculating the most desirable “effects” in regard to the use of non-lethal force against non-combatants and protesters. In this regard, they receive a lot of assistance from their friends and associates in academia.

In 1997 Penn State University established the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies. The Institute is “dedicated to providing a base of multidisciplinary knowledge and technology that supports development and responsible application of non-lethal options for both military and civilian law enforcement. “ The Institute is administered by Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), under the direction and support of the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

Its Human Effects Advisory Panel sponsored a conference in September 2000, whose purpose was “to assess crowd behavior and the potential for crowd control … a leading core capability sought by the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Program.” Their 2001 report was entitled, “Crowd Behavior, Crowd Control, and the Use of Non-Lethal Weapons.”

Meanwhile, the University of New Hampshire’s Non-Lethal Technology Innovation Center (NTIC) was created by a grant from the DoD’s Joint Non-lethal Weapons Directorate about the same time “to effect the next generation of NL capabilities by identifying and promoting the development of innovative concepts, materials and technologies within the academic community.” Its “Society of Force Effectiveness, Analysis and Techniques” (FEAT) was “established to engage primary source scientists to share results and analyses from studies of applied force, whether physical, psychological, or emotional. The Society’s scope of interests includes the impact of non-lethal or less lethal force intervention on sustained attention; performance degradation due to fatigue or intentional distraction; compliance; vigilance; and stress resilience.” The Society, given its specific intent on affecting “motivational behavior,” is keen on identifying “disciplines that support the development of tools of behavioral modification through force (e.g., kinetic and electromagnetic energies, psychological operations).”

* In August of 2001, the Pentagon issued Field Manual 3-19.40, Internment and Resettlement Operations. Explicating the role of military police engaged in law enforcement, including at the point of domestic detention activities set within the context of “emergency” support, the extensive manual covers detention policies and methodologies and the use of non-lethal weapons. Chapter 10, Sections 49-66 detail the nature of “emergency services” within the “continental United States,” explaining that “MP (military police) units assisting ES (emergency service) operations in CONUS involve DoD-sponsored military programs that support the people and the government at all levels within the US and its territories.” Classified as “domestic support,” the manual states that, “federal armed forces can be employed when …” in the face of a declared “emergency,” “state and local authorities do not take appropriate action.”

In that instance, FEMA would serve as “the single POC within the government.” With a nod to the Posse Comitatus Act the document goes on to state that, “the MP support to ES in CONUS varies significantly from other I/R (internment/resettlement) operations. The basic difference is that local and state governments and the federal government and its agencies have a greater impact and role in supporting and meeting the needs in an affected community.” “If tasked to set up and operate an I/R facility, the MP commander retains control of military forces under his command,” and can operate “in conjunction with local, state and federal law enforcement officials.”

* September 11 provided the elite Project for a New American Century and their associates with the “new Pearl Harbor” they sought, as set forth in Rebuilding America’s Defenses (pg.51), a major consequence of which was the September 18, 2001 passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force or AUMF.

The Pentagon can invade, occupy and destroy at will, pre-emptively (with little or no reason), anyone, anywhere in the world

This singular, presumably legal rationale for much of what we now endure, the AUMF substantiates the notion that the Pentagon can invade, occupy and destroy at will, pre-emptively (with little or no reason), anyone, anywhere in the world, any time it chooses. In addition, apparently as we now see, the AUMF gives the Pentagon and it’s covetous corporate directors justification for the military takeover of America itself and the detention of its people. Thus, the AUMF is cited by the peddlers of Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012.

The modern “military tribunal” structure, which is a major piece of the detention/repression apparatus, came into formal existence as a consequence of the 2002 Department of Defense Military Commission Order No.1, issued on March 21, 2002 by former president (war criminal) George W. Bush.

The entire military commission/tribunal structure is a work in progress, or more precisely, a dynamic and strategic power play on the part of the rulers set in motion following 9/11; a “might makes right” gambit undertaken by the militarist directors in the smoke of 9/11. Like the so-called Patriot Act, it was forced down the throats of a submissive, clueless public, sufficiently softened by means of prime time terror, fear and panic. Taking two steps forward and one step back, the militarists act first and then rationalize (or more precisely have their employees in the Congress) baptize the move after the fact. Where do presidents like Dubya, and now Obama get the authority to issue such blanket, unilateral decrees, totalitarian “executive orders,” such as Obama’s “National Defense Preparedness Order” of this year, which would force us to work for the Pentagon? The answer: No where! They have no authority! Particularly to set up parallel systems of jurisprudence as a means of by-passing Constitutional protections. In historical fact, this approach has a parallel in earlier maneuvers of another former “executive,” Adolph Hitler. (see Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, Ingo Muller, Harvard, 1991)

Concurrent with the round-up of over a thousand people following the September 11 attack, many of whom are still being held, many in solitary confinement, with no charges being filed, President Bush signed in November 2001 an order, establishing military “tribunals” for those non-citizens, accused, anywhere, of “terrorist related crimes.” And now, with the NDAA, citizens might soon face the same fate. Just imagine some smug and starchy government lawyer arguing that “the right to equal protection,” a fundamental principle of both U.S. and international law, demands that Americans be detained too!

At the time (2001), the National Legal Aid & Defender Association stated that the Bush promulgated “military order” violated the constitutional separation of powers:

“It has not been authorized by the Congress and is outside the President’s constitutional powers … the order strips away a variety of checks and balances on governmental power and the reliability and integrity of criminal judgments… undermines the rule of law worldwide, and invites reciprocal treatment of US nationals by hostile nations utilizing secret trials, a single entity as prosecutor, judge and jury, no judicial review and summary executions.”

More recently, in October 2009, the U.S. Congress passed and Obama dutifully signed the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (2009 MCA), which remains in effect today, legalizing further, if you will, the naked power grab by the executive in behalf of the elite. Since then the “Office of Military Commissions” has been set up as a public relations/propaganda front for the dictatorship. It promises to “provide fair and transparent trials of those persons subject to trial by Military Commissions while protecting national security interests.” Kind of like Fox’s “fair and balanced” news reporting.

Finally, we should recall that the NDAA of past years, aside from providing the funding of vast sums for illegal and immoral wars, torture and assassination, has been the site of various embedded measures designed to further limit our democratic rights of free expression and assembly, which is the foundation of effective and meaningful dissent. One such measure dates back to 2007, to the then so-called John Warner NDAA, named after militarism’s best friend and sponsor of the iconic AUMF.

Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122), was signed by George Bush on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony. It allowed the President to declare a “public emergency” and subsequently station troops anywhere in America, seizing control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.” Well, fortunately, a massive protest ensued and the sections of the law that allowed for such were eventually repealed in the midst of which Senator Pat Leahy commented that, “we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law.” Preparing to order the military onto the streets of America, the presumption is that some form of martial law would be in evidence. Note that the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is “martial law.”

The concept of martial rule, as distinct from martial law, is not written, and therefore is an eminently more workable arrangement for “law enforcement forces.” That’s because, as US Army Field Manual 19-15 points out, “martial rule is based on public necessity. Public necessity in this sense means public safety.” According to the manual (cited above), updated in 2005, U.S. state authorities “may take such action within their own jurisdictions.” And yet, “whether or not martial rule has been proclaimed, commanders must weigh each proposed action against the threat to public order and safety. If the need for martial rule arises, the military commander at the scene must so inform the Army Chief of Staff and await instructions. If martial rule is imposed, the civilian population must be informed of the restrictions and rules of conduct that the military can enforce.”

Now, respecting the power of free speech, the manual suggests that, “during a civil disturbance, it may be advisable to prevent people from assembling. Civil law can make it unlawful for people to meet to plan an act of violence, rioting, or civil disturbance. Prohibitions on assembly may forbid gatherings at any place and time.” And don’t forget, “making hostile or inflammatory speeches advocating the overthrow of the lawful government and threats against public officials, if it endangered public safety, could violate such law.”

Further, during civil disturbance operations, “authorities must be prepared to detain large numbers of people,” forcing them into existing, though expanded “detention facilities.” Cautioning that, “if there are more detainees than civil detention facilities can handle, civil authorities may ask the control forces to set up and operate temporary facilities.” Pending the approval of the Army Chief of Staff, the military can detain and jail citizens en masse. “The temporary facilities are set up on the nearest military installation or on suitable property under federal control.” These “temporary facilities” are “supervised and controlled by MP officers and NCOs trained and experienced in Army correctional operations. Guards and support personnel under direct supervision and control of MP officers and NCOs need not be trained or experienced in Army correctional operations. But they must be specifically instructed and closely supervised in the proper use of force.”

According to the Army, the detention facilities are situated near to the “disturbance area,” but far enough away “not to be endangered by riotous acts.” Given the large numbers of potential detainees, the logistics (holding, searching, processing areas) of such an undertaking, new construction of such facilities “may be needed to provide the segregation for ensuring effective control and administration.” It must be designed and “organized for a smooth flow of traffic,” while a medical “treatment area” would be utilized as a “separate holding area for injured detainees.” After a “detainee is logged in and searched,” “a file is initiated,” and a “case number” identifies the prisoner. In addition, “facility personnel also may use hospital ID tags. Using indelible ink, they write the case number and attach the tag to the detainees wrist. Different colors may be used to identify different offender classifications ”

Finally, if and when it should occur, “release procedures must be coordinated with civil authorities and appropriate legal counsel.” If the “detainee” should produce a writ of habeas corpus issued by a state court, thereby demanding ones day in court, the Army will “respectfully reply that the prisoner is being held by authority of the United States.”

In conclusion:

There is no question that the militarized police state, in all its myriad permutations has arrived. In fact, the militarizing of American cities and society as a whole proceeds apace in lock step (Cities Under Seige: The New Military Urbanism, Stephen Graham, 2010) with the racist, anti-immigrant “defense” of the borders, a veritable cash cow for military contractors, booming. The cities, the borders, so how bout the skies? Well, as this is being written, the latest 2013 NDAA discussions include a Senate Armed Services Committee call to allow drones to operate “freely and routinely” in America!

Meanwhile, the GAO has just issued a report to Congress entitled “DOD Should Reevaluate Requirements for the Selective Service System” which calls for an evaluation of Pentagon “manpower needs for the Selective Service System in light of current national security plans.” Such an evaluation would, the report notes, “better position Congress to make an informed decision about the necessity of the Selective Service System or any other alternatives that might substitute for it.”

Yes indeed, the water is boiling. Not to mix metaphors, but it’s time to jump out of the frying pan and hopefully not into the fire, which I take to mean that we must confront and deconstruct, in a non-violent way, the increasing potential for far more violence and suppression of our basic freedoms. The handing over of our resources, lives, fortune and reputation to a clique of thieves and murderers dressed up as presidents, congress people and corporate military executives and underlings is to foster our continued enslavement to the perpetrators of injustice and genocide, here and broad, inequality and greed, here and abroad, and signals the political suicide for our republic. We have got to act to stop the police state and reassert the values of community, justice and equality in the councils of governance. And to do so we must dis-empower the militarists.

One thing we can do right now is to initiate organizing campaigns in neighborhoods and communities across the country aimed at the passing of Posse Comitatus-like legislation on the local and state level, encouraging dialogue on the de-militarization of our communities, and raising the human right to be free of the violation inherent in all forms of militarism. By removing all aspects of militarism from domestic policing, lock, stock and barrel, we can expand the terrain of dissent and begin to reclaim our country back from the economic vultures and parasites and their violent mercenaries who are killing this country and the world. But first we must criminalize, like the Posse Comitatus Act does, all military involvement in law enforcement.

Communities must organize to de-militarize their police

Communities must organize to de-militarize their police. By analyzing police budgets, cutting the “special ops” training and funding and weapons transfers that fuel the militarization of law enforcement, we will most certainly decrease the level of police violence directed against the citizenry, and bridge issues and communities concerned with the epidemic of racist “police brutality” and the burgeoning of militarized police forces, veritable occupation armies in communities of color across America.

Along with criminalizing the militarization of local police we must work to criminalize racial profiling on the part of the police, a practice (indoctrinated in soldiers) that provides naked justification for “stop and frisk” harassment and the murdering of young black men.

Make killer cops liable for these murders, stripped of the “sovereign immunity” that is their 007 license to kill. Ditto for “stand your ground” or more-arms-for-the-white-right laws, which along with the high rates of gun ownership in certain demographic regions of the country, create the ominous potential for “deputized” armed posses, who along with state sponsored “defense forces” on a mission to presumably protect the “homeland” promise only more violence and repression. Disarm and expose them, expose the fraud of a hyped-up “law enforcement” establishment willing to break any laws to please the master, the financiers, the power brokers who manipulate them for gain, who are really only pawns in their game.

It is irrational and a violation of the civil and human rights of the citizenry to perpetuate the arming of militarized police trained to suppress constitutionally insured rights to free speech and assembly. They are supposed to defend the Constitution, not “detain” those who do! They are supposed to defend the civil rights of the people, not “partner” with the CIA and FBI and spy on activists and Muslim communities, entrapping their youth, victims of the racist charade called “the war on terror.” (Associated Press, “Post-9/11, NYPD targets ethnic communities, partners with CIA,” 8/24/11)

They are supposed to defend the right to protest, not brutalize those who do, peacefully, as in the most recent police crack-down on the Occupy movement. (New York Times, “When the Police Go Military” 12/3/11). They are supposed to be sensitive to the civil and human rights of all the people, respect the cultural diversity of their environment, “serve and protect,” not to be trained in “quick shoot reflex” by outfits such as the Firearms Training Systems which trains both the NYPD and the US marines!

Police departments are public institutions subject to the will of local governments, to the will of the public, the people. But only if we act! Where and under what circumstances the police receive their training, are granted “immunity” and what armaments they possess, (paid for by public funds) and what sort of institutional relationships with US military and intelligence agencies (which public documents would make evident) are they engaged in …

These are the kinds of questions and avenues of approach common throughout history in the struggle of citizens against police/military dictatorships. And despite the recent May 17, 2012 issuance of the “DoD Civil Liberties Program,” which defines civil liberties as “fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution of the United States,” except when “operational requirements” of “an authorized law enforcement, intelligence collection, or counterintelligence activity” dictate otherwise; despite the tightening noose, in the end we must rely on the law, on “the rule of law,” specifically, on the ability (necessity) of reasonable people of good will acquiring sufficient power to draft new and enforceable laws, laws which promote justice, healing, growth, life and peace. And to make them stick!

We claim and hope to be a society of laws, by the people, for all the people. But we are not. Never have been. Nonetheless, we are capable of evolving, of igniting a revolution of values in this country and becoming the land we all aspire to “with justice and freedom for all.” But in order to get there, we will have to overcome the coup of 2012.

Frank Morales / Memorial Day / 2012

WWIII Scenario