Georgia’s fugitive ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili and hawkish US Senator John McCain have been approved as members of the newly-formed International Advisory Group that will help Ukraine’s president in “conducting reforms.”
Saakashvili has been appointed as head of the new advisory group, says the statement on Ukraine’s presidential website.
The list of members included in the advisory group mostly includes current and former European politicians. Among them are the German member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, Sweden’s former Prime and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda, and Lithuania’s former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.
Back in February Saakashvili was appointed as a non-staff adviser to Poroshenko. The ex-Georgian president, who was in power from 2004 to 2013, faces numerous charges at home, including embezzlement of over $5 million, corruption and brutality against protesters during demonstrations in 2007. Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched proceedings to indict Saakashvili and place him on the international most wanted list, but Kiev refused to hand over the fugitive president, despite an existing extradition agreement between Ukraine and Georgia.
Saakashvili is known for his strong anti-Russian stance, which garnered heavy US support. In August 2008 during his term in office Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia, killing dozens of civilians and Russian peacekeepers stationed in the republic. Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinval prompted Russia to conduct a military operation to fend off the offensive. Despite Saakashvili’s claims that the conflict was “Russian aggression,” the 2010 EU Independent Fact Finding Mission Report ruled that Tbilisi was responsible for the attack.
Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)
Meanwhile Senator John McCain, for years spearheading the anti-Russian and particularly anti-Putin crusade, said that while he “would love to do anything” to help Ukraine, he has not yet cleared his new appointment under the US Senate rules.
“I was asked to do it both by Ukraine and Saakashvili and I said I would be inclined to do it but I said I needed to look at all the nuances of it, whether it’s legal under our ethics and all that kind of stuff,” McCain told BuzzFeed.
At the onset of the Ukraine’s Maidan protests against former president Viktor Yanukovich, McCain appeared in Kiev to support the uprising that months later culminated in a coup.
“We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States,” the US Senator told a crowd of some 200,000 anti-government protesters in the central square of Ukraine’s capital.
Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)
Following the new Kiev authorities’ attempt to suppress dissent in the east of the country and Crimea’s ascension into the Russian Federation, McCain became the main engine of lobbying for lethal arms supplies to Ukrainian forces to “defend themselves” and Europe from “Russian aggression.”
“The Ukrainian people don’t want US or Western troops to fight for them; they are simply asking for the right tools to defend themselves and their country,” he said late last month at a hearing on US security policy in Europe. “Russia’s invasion and dismemberment of Ukraine should remind everyone of the true nature of Putin’s ambitions and the fragility of peace in Europe.”
McCain’s statements following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement make it clear that peace in Ukraine is not something the hawkish politician supports. Despite the general agreement that Minsk Accords is the only way forward for a political resolution to the crisis, McCain rejected the agreement as “solidifying the gains of Russian aggression.”
In addition, the Senator is a strong supporter of the NATO buildup on Russian borders. McCain insisted recently that the Baltic allies should help secure eastern borders of the alliance as they cannot “continue with business as usual”claiming that Russia poses a “geopolitical challenge… to our entire vision of Europe.”
McCain has also been hinting at starting a new nuclear arms race with Russia. “Negotiating further strategic nuclear reductions with Russia would be a dangerously naive non-starter with the US Senate. It simply defies common sense to negotiate nuclear reductions with Vladimir Putin,” he said last month following US administration’s call for further strategic nuclear reductions.
In September 2001, the Bush administration launched its “global war on terror,” to which its supporters later tried to attach names like “the long war” or “World War IV.” Their emphasis: that we were now engaged in nothing less than a multi-generational struggle without end. (World War III had theoretically been the Cold War.) In fact, only the “war on terror” would stick and, in 2009, even that would be tossed overboard when the Obama administration opted for a global war with no name at all. Nonetheless, the idea that we were now in an eternal “wartime” became part of the post-9/11 atmosphere. At the same time, George W. Bush famously called on Americans to act as if everything were normal — to spend, vacation, and visit Disney World.
In other words, the “homeland,” protected in new ways, was to be locked down and at peace, while Washington was to be a war capital into the distant future. In the process, the Bush administration invoked warring powers of every sort — from torture and offshore imprisonment to assassination and warrantless wiretaps. At the time, all of this seemed like a unique combination, but looking back, the marriage of war and Disney, of military might and consumerism, has a far longer history. Considered a certain way, Washington has been a war capital since December 7, 1941, and certainly the global capital of consumerism since at least 1945.
Unlike after World War I, post-World War II demobilization proved to be anything but complete. The various structures of the relatively new national security state and its intelligence networks, as well as the U.S. military, were left largely in place and soon expanded massively, as were the array of global bases from which the U.S. had fought its world war. From 1945 on, as the Cold War gained strength and staying power, war was distinctly on Washington’s agenda. In a big way in Korea and Vietnam, of course, but also globally in what was then called “the shadows.” And it didn’t end when the Soviet Union began to totter and finally imploded. The 1980s and 1990s saw a range of interventions, invasions, raids, air strikes, and the like in Afghanistan, Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Panama, Serbia, Somalia, and of course Iraq (again and again). In the twenty-first century, the U.S. military was simply let loose across the Greater Middle East and North Africa and eternal war (as well as military-first policies of all sorts) became the American Way. Meanwhile, in Washington, there arose a war-hawk party in Congress and beyond who never saw a military solution that didn’t appeal to them (no matter how ineffective it had proved in its previous incarnations). All of this, in turn, took place in a country in which corporations were mobilized to go to war while the population itself was demobilized in just about every way imaginable. In other words, Americans became ever more divorced from their military and ever more fawning about it.
As retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and TomDispatch regular William Astore makes clear today in “The American Military Uncontained,” there was something increasingly uncontained about this phenomenon (and the funding and building of the U.S. military and the national security state that went with it). In a sense, Americans have yet to come to grips with what a never-ending “wartime” has meant in and to this country. Astore offers a place to start.
President Barack Obama Thursday played host to a collection of emirs, crown princes and senior ministers of the Persian Gulf Arab oil monarchies, a collection of dictatorial regimes that constitute Washington’s principal allies in the Arab world.
Appearing before the press with representatives of the six regimes that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, Obama described them as among Washington’s “closest partners” and affirmed a US commitment to “stand by our GCC partners against external attack.”
The summit at Camp David was part of an increasingly clumsy balancing act by Washington as it attempts to conclude an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program and pursue the possibility of a rapprochement with Tehran. This policy is bitterly opposed by the sectarian Sunni monarchies, which view Iran as a threat in large measure because of their repression of their own Shia populations.
The presence of only two of the six crowned heads that make up the GCC—the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar—was widely viewed as a deliberate snub of the Obama administration by the oil monarchies, expressing their hostility to the negotiations with Iran and concern that US imperialism could be weakening its decades-old commitment to defend these regimes as bastions of reaction in the Arab world.
The most notable of the absentees was Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Salman, who assumed the throne just last January, is widely reported to suffer from both Alzheimer’s and dementia and may not have been able to play any role in the talks in Maryland. In any case, he sent the two most senior members of his regime, his nephew, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Together they hold the reins of Saudi Arabia’s security and military forces.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa skipped the summit to join Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for a horse show at Windsor Castle.
Disappointment in the Obama administration’s failure to come through with a formal US-Japan-style mutual defense pact for the Gulf monarchies may have played a role in the no-shows. In discussions last week in Paris with GCC foreign ministers, US Secretary of State John Kerry made statements that were interpreted by some in the region as suggesting that such an agreement was in the offing.
Also expressing the Gulf regimes’ displeasure was a vow by a leading figure in the Saudi royal family, Prince Turki bin Faisal, the 70-year-old former Saudi intelligence chief, that Saudi Arabia would build up its own nuclear program. “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” he said on the eve of the summit. Iran has always denied that its nuclear program is intended for anything but peaceful purposes.
As part of US imperialism’s protracted drive to assert its hegemony over the energy-rich Middle East, successive American administrations have sworn to defend Saudi Arabia and the lesser oil monarchies. In proclaiming the Carter Doctrine in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution, President Jimmy Carter declared that any attempt by an outside power to assert control of the Persian Gulf would be “regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
The fear among the Saudis and other oil monarchs is that rapprochement with Iran combined with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” could lead to a downgrading of the US military presence in the region, which these undemocratic and widely despised regimes regard as essential to their own survival.
In what appeared to be an indication of the absence of substantive progress in the Camp David talks, Obama said that he was going to “make sure this is not just a photo opportunity” by organizing a similar session next year.
The summit served mainly to underscore the bloody catastrophe that US imperialism has wrought in the region and to expose the gross hypocrisy and duplicity of the rationales used to justify Washington’s policies.
Obama declared that he and the oil emirs and princes had discussed close collaboration in the struggle against “terrorism,” in the process lumping Iran together with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In reality, ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Al Nusra Front, have become the principal fighting units in the bloody sectarian struggle for regime change in Syria, precisely because of the substantial financial and arms support lent by the Sunni oil monarchies, with Washington’s collaboration.
And for all of Obama’s talk of defending the countries of the region against outside aggression, his government is providing critical logistical and intelligence support along with the bombs and missiles that have been used to turn much of Yemen into rubble, in a criminal war of aggression that has killed over 1,400 Yemenis and wounded another 6,000, the vast majority of them civilians.
Obama said that in the course of the summit he had reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners.”
He said that this would take the form of increasing “already existing security operations” with more frequent military exercises and other measures aimed at building up the security forces in these dictatorial states. He said that this would include the promotion of “rapid reaction forces” for “peacekeeping” missions. The precedent for such operations was set when Saudi Arabia sent tanks rolling into Bahrain in 2011 to suppress protests by the oppressed Shia majority in that Sunni-ruled monarchy.
He also said his administration would “streamline and expedite” the massive flow of US weaponry into the region, promoting an integrated regional anti-missile system, which will spell massive profits for Lockheed Martin and other US arms merchants.
For all the talk of an Iranian threat, the Gulf monarchies spent some $100 billion on armaments last year, compared to $15 billion for Iran, which has three times as many citizens as all the GCC countries combined.
Keeping a straight face, Obama said he and the emirs and princes had also discussed the importance of “inclusive governance” and “human rights.” In virtually every one of these states, torture, the suppression of free speech and assembly, the imprisonment of political dissidents and brutal executions are the favored means of propping up their ruling royal families. Obama’s rhetoric notwithstanding, they do so with the close collaboration of the CIA and the Pentagon.
“In the morning and at night, you can see steam coming off the outfall channel. It never feels like winter anymore, it is always warm now,” said Budha Ismail Jam, another of the plaintiffs. “The fish catch has been declining since 2011. The last three years have been particularly bad. In one day, I used to catch three times as much fish as I have caught in the last 7 days.”
In an audit report issued in August 2013, the CAO agreed that the Wagher “were not adequately considered” and that a “lack of effective consultation with fishing communities early in the project cycle process resulted in missed opportunities to assess, avoid and reduce adverse potential adverse impacts of the project.”
But Rick Herz, Earth Rights litigation coordinator, says that is no excuse for destroying the livelihood of the local community. “While the IFC purports to support this project in the name of poverty reduction and development, its impacts fall hardest on the poorest and most vulnerable communities,” Herz said in a press statement. “The IFC failed on all counts with the Tata Mundra project.”
In 2013, the company asked the state governments to pay an extra 20 percent for electricity from Tata Mundra. Although the Indian Central Electricity Regulatory Commission initially approved an increase from Rs 2.26 per megawatt to Rs 2.73 ($0.0376 to $0.0455), the Supreme Court struck down the rate hike in August 2014.
Five major international banks are expected to plead guilty as soon as next week to criminal charges in the US related to their deliberate manipulation of global foreign exchange markets, which allowed them to rake in billions of dollars at the expense of retirees, university endowments and municipalities.
Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Barclays and UBS are expected to plead guilty to felony fraud and antitrust charges. They will pay fines totaling several billions of dollars, according to bank and regulatory officials who spoke anonymously with the New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters.
The effect of the guilty pleas will be essentially zero, beyond the immediate costs of the fines levied on the institutions. As the Times put it, “life will go on, probably without much of a hiccup.”
In the years since the financial crisis, federal regulators avoided bringing criminal charges against banks and their executives, opting instead for either cash settlements and so-called deferred-prosecution agreements, in which charges are delayed on the basis of the banks’ compliance with certain conditions.
In 2012, it became clear that major global banks, including UBS and Barclays, were systematically engaged in manipulating LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), the benchmark global interest rate on the basis of which hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial contracts are valued.
In June of that year, Barclays was fined $200 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and $160 million by the United States Department of Justice. This was followed by UBS’s agreement in December 2012 to pay regulators $1.5 billion in connection with the scandal and an agreement by Deutsche Bank in 2015 to pay $2.5 billion to regulators. Numerous other banks, including Citigroup and JPMorgan, were fined by European authorities.
UBS was offered a deferred-prosecution agreement in connection with the LIBOR scandal, but broke the terms of the agreement by manipulating the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets in the subsequent periods.
In late 2014, six banks—JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC—agreed to pay $4.3 billion to federal regulators to settle civil charges.
The investigation charges also had a criminal component, which the Justice Department is now seeking to settle with guilty pleas from the banks. Unlike some previous cases, however, these guilty pleas are expected to come not merely from the subsidiaries of the banks, but from bank holding companies themselves.
Financial regulators have released voluminous records in connection with the foreign exchange scandal, showing how brazenly and openly bank traders discussed rigging currency rates, even as they knew their employers were being investigated for similar activities with regard to LIBOR.
Despite the unprecedented character of the pleas, the actual impact of the admissions of criminal wrongdoing by the banks is expected to be next to nothing.
As the Times reports,
“Behind the scenes in Washington, the banks’ lawyers are also seeking assurances from federal regulators—including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Labor Department—that the banks will not be barred from certain business practices after the guilty pleas.”
In particular the banks are seeking waivers to retain their status as “well-known seasoned issuers,” allowing them to raise credit more easily, as well as the ability to operate mutual funds. The Times reports that “a majority of commissioners” of the SEC are in favor of granting such such waivers.
In fact, for the biggest corporations, being convicted of a felony is increasingly becoming legally irrelevant, and just one element of their normal operations. As the Times points out, the guilty pleas are merely “an exercise in stagecraft.”
One former Justice Department official told the Times that an “underlying assumption” of the Justice Department is that “the bank is not a criminal operation.” But the emergence of scandal after scandal, including the selling of toxic mortgage-backed securities that caused the financial crisis, the forging of foreclosure documents, widespread complicity in Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, money laundering, and tax evasion by Wall Street testifies to the fact that the banks are, in fact, criminal outfits.
Since taking office shortly after the onset of the financial crisis, the Obama administration has sought not to hold the banks to account and prevent criminal wrongdoing, but rather to conceal their crimes and, when this becomes impossible, to issue wrist-slap punishments that allow the banks to go on largely as before.
In these cases, the fines levied by financial regulators remain a cost of doing business, and pale in comparison with the billions of dollars made by the major banks every year through criminal activities.
The guiding principle of the Obama administration, in the words of former Attorney General Eric Holder, is that the giant banks are “too big to jail.” As the Times article explained, prosecutors are “mindful that too harsh a penalty could imperil banks that are at the heart of the global economy.”
In exchange for their services, top financial regulators are almost universally provided with high-paying positions in Wall Street after their stints with the government.
Most notably, Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman who funneled trillions of dollars in government funds to Wall Street, announced last month that he has been hired by Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel LLC. This followed the announcement in November 2013 that former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner joined the hedge fund Warburg Pincus.
To this day, not a single executive at any major bank has been criminally prosecuted for helping to cause the financial crisis, or any of the crimes that followed.
Since protests broke out in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura in April 25th 2015 against the decision of the ruling party to nominate the country’s leader Pierre Nkurunziza for a third term as president, the international press has published reports suggesting that the country is on the verge of civil war, as president Nkurunziza, portrayed as a dictator attempting to hold on to power, is confronted with an ever increasing movement of ‘peaceful protesters’, ‘human rights’ and ‘civil society’ activists who have an almost absolute monopoly on reportage concerning Burundi’s electoral controversy.
While the mainstream media continue to report on the activities of the ‘peaceful protesters’ who have lynched and murdered suspected members of the imbonerakure, the youth wing of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, the country’s ruling party, the massive and entirely peaceful demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of government supporters have been completely ignored. 
It seems a consensus has rapidly been reached concerning who the good and bad guys are in this conflict. But all is not what is seems. In fact, the East African nation is currently experiencing the culmination of a US/EU backed regime change programme which has been conducted as a low-intensity media and covert operations war since 2005. The objective of this war is to redraw the map of the resource-rich Great Lake’s region of Central Africa in accordance with Western corporate and geostrategic interests.
Who is Pierre Nkurunziza?
The current incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza joined the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Forces for the Defense for Democracy (CNDD-FDD) after the brutal murder of left-wing president Melchior Ndadaye in 1993, the country’s first democratically elected leader who stemmed from the Hutu, ethnic majority in the former German and Belgian colony. Burundi was traditionally ruled by the Tutsi minority ethnic group, whose elites ruled the country in the interests of European colonialism.
Nkurunziza lost many members of his own family during the genocide of the Hutus by the Tutsi military regime which plunged the country into a decade long civil war causing the death of over 300,000 people.
Nkurunziza’s rebel movement signed an agreement with the Tutsi-dominated government of Burundi in Arusha, Tanzania in August 2000, according to which a transition government of power-sharing between Hutus, Tutsis and Twa would be put in place.
Although in power since 2005, sensu strictu, the country only became a democracy during the election of 2010, where Nkurunziza’s CNDD won a landslide victory. It is on this basis that Burundi’s constitutional council, the supreme legal authority in the country, judged correctly that the incumbent has the right to be nominated for another electoral term.
Western backed opposition activists have admitted that the government has not violated the constitution, but insist instead that the constitutional council is corrupt as its members were nominated by the president. No one would claim, for example, that the French constitutional council is corrupt because its members are nominated by the President of the French Republic. But in the case of Africa, constitutional councils are regularly scoffed at by Western powers when their decisions do not conform to neo-colonial interests and neo-colonial interests, not disputes over interpretations of the country’s constitution, are the key issue in the current Burundian crisis.
Since coming to power in 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza has done a remarkable job in re-uniting and re-building a country ruined by internecine war. A fanatical supporter of football, the former physical sports teacher has been rewarded by many peace organizations throughout the world for his use of football as a means of bringing Hutu and Tutsi communities together.
Education has also been a key focus of the Nkurunziza administration.
Burundi has built more schools since 2007 than any previous government since independence almost 50 years ago. Nkurunziza wants to transform Burundi’s economy into a major exporter of fruit and has implemented an ambitious fruit tree plantation programme to this effect.
The Burundian president spends much of his time doing manual work with the peasants of Burundi. After coming to power, the Burundian government passed a law according to which citizens are required to preform community labour on Saturdays in order to expedite the construction of vital public infrastructure. A key role in this endeavour is played by the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling CNDD party.
The Burundian government has made modest progress in reducing poverty, and has promised to increase economic growth from 4.5 percent to 8.5 percent from 2015 from investments made in nickel mining, fruit production and tourism.
Since 2005 gross domestic product levels have increased significantly. In 2012 Nkurunziza won the Pan-African prize for the fight against Malaria. 
Burundi’s success in the fight against malaria has been due to the construction of health centres throughout the country, the provision of free health care for children under five years old and pregnant mothers.
Deeply patriotic and highly popular, having fought a long battle for his country’s liberation, Nkurunziza has succeeded in creating a modest form of national voluntarism, nascent self-reliance and a sense of optimism about the country’s future.
He has increased ties with China, India and Brazil, while adroitly taking advantage of inter-imperialist rivalry for access to African markets by signing several important trade deals with Japan.
Indeed, due to the implacable hostility of the neocolonial powers and their press agencies, Burundi will now most likely have no choice but to increase its links with the BRICS powers.
Nkurunziza’s decision in 2010 to sign an agreement with Beijing that provides for closer Sino-Burundian military cooperation is of tremendous significance. Closer relations with China will enable Burundi to strengthen its defense forces from what Burundian patriots refer to as the BHBFC, the Burundi-Hima-Belgian-French Connection, that is to say, the incessant hostility of the neo-colonial powers and their local collaborators.
Who are the Burundian opposition?
The opposition party Movement for Solidary and Democracy (MSD), part of the umbrella organization, the Alliance for Democratic Change Ikibiri (ADC Ikibiri) is led by Alexis Sinduhije. He is a protégé of US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. In the general election of 2010 the The MSD withdrew from the electoral process after gaining a mer 4 percent of the popular vote. They claimed the elections were unfair, in spite of the fact that international observers did not report any irregularities.
According to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s 2013 report, Sinduhije does not fear violence from the Burundian government but, on the contrary, the Burundian government does fear violence from Sinduhije and his armed bandits. 
Sinduhije has been accused of terrorism by the Burundi government after it was revealed that he was forcibly recruiting youths in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Eastern Kivu region for the formation of a rebel group with a view to seizing power in Bujumbura.
The MSD leader was arrested in Tanzania in January 2012 where he was accused of forming a terrorist group for the invasion of Burundi. He was subsequently released by the Tanzanian authorities and escaped to Europe,where human rights groups closely linked to the US State Department and Western intelligence agencies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have hailed him as a champion of ‘human rights.’
Sinduhije has little popular support inside Burundi but he does have the support of the European Union and the United States, who never wanted the Hutu majority to rule Burundi, as imperial divide and rule policy dictates that post-colonial countries should remain internally divided on ethnic lines with a militarized minority constituting a neo-colonial comprador bourgeoisie eternally dependent on their foreign masters.
Francois Nyamoya is the secretary general of the Movement for Solidary and Democracy. He is also the son of Albin Nyamoya, one of the generals involved in the 1972 genocide of the Hutus under the Micombero regime.
A 2011 UN report on the situation in Eastern Congo identifies many of the so-called Burundian oppositionists as involved in smuggling of gold and terrorizing the inhabitants of Southern Kivu.
Notwithstanding the official criminal evidence against the Burundian ‘opposition’, however, the ‘international community’ chooses to present them as heroes attempting to free their country from ‘corruption’. 
None of these fake opposition parties should be confused with the 17 democratically elected deputies of the opposition party Uprona. As in the case of Syria, one must distinguish between the legally constituted opposition and the US and European sponsored gangster networks posing as oppositionists.
Ethnic Conflict in the Service of Neo-Colonialism
During the 1980s the Pentagon trained Rwandan Major General Paul Kagame at the US Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) Fortleavenworth, Kansas.
Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Forces invaded Rwanda from Uganda between 1990 and 1994, assassinating two Hutu leaders, President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi and President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda.
An impressive US led propaganda campaign has presented Paul Kagame as the man who put an end to the genocide in Rwanda, whereas in fact it was Kagame’ forces with full US and Israeli backing who perpetrated most of the mass killings Hutus, Tutsi and Twa blaming all of their crimes on the majority Hutu government.
In October 1996 Kagame’s forces invaded the Congo on the pretext of fighting Hutu rebels. The real objective, however, was to gain control over the mineral rich province of Eastern Congo in close collaboration with Western corporate mining interests. 
Kagame’s regime is one of the proxy-forces being used by the United States and the European Union to destabilize and overthrow the democratically elected government of Burundi. Many researchers in Burundi suspect that the CIA may have been behind the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993, given the fact that they directed Kagame who ordered the murder of Ndadaye’s successor Cyprien Ntaramira a year later.
The US government is acutely aware that if the people of Burundi are to know the truth about the US-backed genocide of the Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi, it could jeopardize their foreign policy objectives in the region. Managing people’s perspectives and memory of their own suffering due to US imperialism is a key component of the Pentagon’s strategy in parts of the world it controls. That is why a suitable criminal to replace president Nkurunziza must be found and the CIA database of military intelligence assets is filling up with warlords and war criminals from the Congolese Armageddon, where several million people have been murdered since the US proxy invasion of 1996.
Imperialist geo-strategy: Terrorism and Colour Revolutions
Burundian democracy is currently threatened by two main instruments of Western imperial policy: terrorism and colour revolutions. One of the world’s poorest countries, Burundi could not possibly hope to compete with the barrage of media disinformation waged against it since the Nkurunziza’s election victory in 2010.
Almost every report about the country has been based on the statements of oppositionists and so-called ‘civil society’ activists. These activists are been generously funded by the US State Department think tank, the National Endowment For Democracy,(NED) which on the admission of its founder, functions as a front organization for the CIA. 
And as William Blum has shown in his book ‘ Killing Hope: US military and CIA interventions since 1945’ the Boys from Langley’s job is not promote democracy but, rather as he puts it ‘make the world safe for democracy by getting rid of democracy.’
Many activists and pseudo-journalists funded by the NED have been arrested by the Burundian authorities on charges of fomenting ethnic tension and promoting terrorist groups in collaboration with the enemies of the country, a crime prohibited by all internationally recognized nation-states.
Terrorist groups who have attacked Burundi in recent years have received extensive and positive coverage from the Francophone media.
For example, in a report entitled ‘Retour de la Rebellion’ French journalist Pauline Simonet reported on a ‘rebel’ group in Eastern Congo, who are hoping to invade and seize power in Burundi. The terrorist group was presented in a positive light, while the point of view of the Burundian government was dismissed. The message was clear: the ‘rebels’ have a just cause and are worthy of our sympathy.
The report also mentioned the massacre of Gatumba of the 18 and 19th of September 2013 where several civilians were murdered outside the Burundian capital. The Burundian National Intelligence Service (SNR) blamed the attack on the Forces for National Liberation (FLN), a terrorist group based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and headed by warlord Agathon Rwasa, whom UN investigators have accused of gold smuggling. The France 24 team seems to be unaware of official UN investigations.
Instead the French TV station suggested that the Gatumba Massacre might have been a false flag operation carried out by the Burundian Government to discredit the ‘opposition’, in spite of having no evidence to support this conspiracy theory. 
Rwasa is a former opposition candidate from the ACD-Ikibiri coalition and a full time criminal who ran against Nkununziza in 2010, lost miserably, declared the election to be false, fled to the Congo and returned to his specialization: terrorism.
Lucien Rukevya, a journalist with Radio France Internationale’s Swahili section was arrested on June 16th 2013 while embedded with a Burundian terrorist group. He was charged with complicity in the promotion of terrorism against the Burundian state. The French media and associated ‘human rights’ groups, did their best to justify this young man’s flagrant and criminal violation of journalistic professionalism, in order to accuse the Burundian government of cracking down on ‘free speech’.
In September 9th 2013 ‘journalist’ Hassan Rovakuki was also arrested for complicity in terrorism. The charge of the Burundian government against these journalists is that they are spreading propaganda in favour of criminals who are attempting to declare war on the people of Burundi. This is in the context of a poor country whose existence is being constantly threatened by militia on its borders in the service of neo-colonial powers, who have not disguised their wish to implement ‘regime change’ in Bujumbura.
Any serious researcher who reads these press dispatches on the so-called Burundian ‘rebels’ operating from the DRC would have to agree that the reports are incontrovertibly biased against the government of Burundi.
All of the reports emphasize the arguments of the rebels while attempting to dismiss those of the government. This is in violation of the most basic rule in journalism: objectivity. Furthermore, such biased, mendacious and aggressive reporting by the agencies of the most powerful countries in the world against a defenseless developing nation constitutes nothing less than acts of psychological terrorism.
On March 8th 2014 an armed insurrection was organized by the opposition in Bujumbura. Police were attacked and kidnapped in what was a clear attempt to seize power. The contrast between citizens throughout the country engaged in community labour in an attempt to rebuild a broken country and a group of fascist thugs attempting to plunge the country into chaos could not have been more poignant. Needless to say, the United States expressed ‘concern’ about the ‘brutal’ crackdown on their putschists.
On December 30th 2014, Burundi’s Northern Province of Cibitoke, on the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was invaded by a terrorist gang. It took the Burundian National Defense Forces four days to defeat the invasion. Many of the terrorists were captured and a spokesman for the army in a press conference after the incident assured reporters that they would be treated according to international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile the NED funded media outlets in the country were zealously spreading pro-rebel propaganda, even publishing photos of dead Shebaab rebels in Kenya, claiming they were Burundian prisoners of war ‘massacred’ by the Burundian military.
The European Union and the United States have shamelessly expressed ‘human rights’ concerns about the Burundian government’s defeat of the foreign-backed invasion, while showing no concern for their victims.
The international Francophone press was also vociferous in it condemnation of the arrest in January 2015 of Rob Rugurika, the director of Radio Publique Afrique, a privately-funded ‘opposition’ radio station, after he accused the government of ordering the massacre of three Italian nuns in Kamenge in 2014.
Rugurika, who has links with terrorist groups outside the country, has been accused by the Burundian judiciary of being part of a conspiracy to commit crimes and blame them on the government in a destabilization campaign backed by foreign powers.
In September 2014, 40 bodies were found floating on Lake Rweru between Rwanda and Burundi. Villagers upriver in Rwanda fled from French journalists when they attempted to investigate the crime. They told RFI that they had been warned by the Rwandan authorities not to speak to journalists about what they had seen. In spite of the fact that Burundian authorities could not have been behind the crime, US-funded opposition media inside Burundi continue to peddle all sorts of lies suggesting that the corpses might have been oppositionists murdered by the Burundian government.
The US-funded media disinformation campaign is part of the prelude to the mobilization of street protests against the government that can be presented to the world as a ‘popular uprising’against a ‘dictator’ who is ‘killing his own people’ It is a techinique that has been perfected by US ‘democracy’and ‘civil society’ NGOS.
The director of France’s Lazard Bank and proprietor of the French daily Le Monde, Mathieu Pigasse is on record expressing his adoration for the Arab Spring. He has also pointed out that Western policy makers are now focusing on spreading the techniques of the Arab Spring throughout Africa. The millionaire ‘revolutionist’ has made it clear that Western investors prefer to deal with ‘civil society’ organizations in Africa rather than governments. 
This phenomenon is what Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci referred to as the ‘takeover of politics by civil society’, that is to say, the destruction of the political sphere and the agora of human agency and social progress by the absolutism of corporate exploitation.
Since the US-backed people-power coups in North Africa in 2011, the US ‘youth industry’, this anti-politics of destruction, has spread its tentacles throughout the African continent, where, paradoxically, ‘anti-corruption’ and ‘down-with-the-dictator’ activism further entrenches imperialism by contriving a discourse on social discontent that obfuscates its material basis, thereby dis-empowering and corrupting the youth. We could call this phenomenon the stultification of dissent.
The aim of terrorism and people-power coups or colour revolutions is to render nations of the Global South powerless in the face of globalization.
It is a deeply cynical but nevertheless ingenious US foreign policy programme, which, due to the fact that so many critics of US foreign policy continue to believe that the Arab Spring was a genuinely ‘spontaneous uprising’ of the masses against US-backed dictators, attests to the sophistication and prescience of the US foreign-policy establishment.
A Neo-Colonial War on a free African nation.
The United States and the European Union are at war against the people of Burundi. Situated at the heart of the mineral rich Great Lakes region of Africa, the democratic government of Burundi is an obstacle to the depopulation programme currently being carried out by US client dictator Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his partner Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who are attempting to carve up Eastern Congo in order to create an independent Republic of Kivu, bringing that region’s vast wealth into the possession of European and American corporate interests.
In October 2014 the Burundian military were forced to withdraw by the United Nations ‘peace-keeping’ force MONUSCO from Kiliba in Eastern Congo where they had been cracking down on terrorist groups. Shortyly thereafter, the Burundian authorities arrested several NED funded activists ,who were busy spreading absurd lies about the Burundian military training pro-government Burundian youth( the imbonerakure) in the Congo for the purposes of terrorizing the Burundian population at home.
These lies were meant to incite fear and ethnic hatred among the population, in order to weaken the credibility of the government.
This withdrawal from the DRC will make it more difficult for the Burundian government to protect its borders from terrorism. Meanwhile, ‘peaceful protesters’ are attacking police and lynching pro-government civilians with the full backing of the international military-industrial-media-intelligence complex.
The protesters in the streets are chanting ‘’down with the dictator’’ and an ‘’end to corruption’’ but in reality, Nkurunziza is being targeted for not serving the interests of the infinitely corrupt scoundrels currently running the United Nations, the potentates of the soi-disant ‘international community’.
The African Union has called on the Burundian government to postpone the elections. This is the same African Union which stood by and watched French forces bomb and invade the Ivory Coast in 2010, Libya in 2011, Mali in 2012, and the Central African Republic in 2013.
If the African Union is to gain a modicum of respect, it must stand up for the sovereignty of African nations and threaten to lead a coalition of military forces to defend any country attacked by US/European imperialism.
In the case of Burundi, the African Union should have denounced the diabolical terrorist and media disinformation campaign against a young democratic country which has just emerged from a civil war. The fact that they did not shows that they have sided with the enemies of Africa. It is hardly surprising that truly independent, post-colonial countries such as Eritrea will have nothing to do with the sham called the African Union.
If the Burundian authorities do not succeed in crushing the violent insurgency, the country could be facing more years of civil war and permanent foreign occupation by UN ‘peace-keepers’ after a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to ‘stop the massacres’. The script has been tried and tested in Haiti, the Ivory Coast, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.
So, the key question now is this: Can Burundi defy the Empire and protect its people from carpet bombing called ‘humanitarian intervention’, a terrorist invasion called ‘liberation’, a military coup called ‘transitional government’ and a possible genocide where once again the victims will be blamed?
Gearoid O Colmain is a political analyst based in Paris. He is a frequent contributor to Russia Today and Press TV and has published articles on Global Research, Dissident Voice and other independent media outlets. He has also appeared on Al Jazeera and has contributed to Venezuela’s Radio Del Sur.
In 1990 Amnesty International made a horrendous mistake in the midst of the media campaign leading up to Gulf War 1. While U.S. military action was being debated and the public was significantly opposed, it was reported that Iraqi troops were stealing incubators from a Kuwaiti hospital and leaving babies to die on the floor. In dramatic testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a Kuwaiti teenage girl claimed she was a hospital volunteer and eye-witness. Congress members were in tears, the event received huge publicity and had significant influence in changing public opinion. The event was a fabrication conceived by a Washington PR firm and the girl was the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter. There might have been more scrutiny and investigation but the story was corroborated by Amnesty International.
More recently, in early 2011, Amnesty International and other human rights groups were influential in spreading false or exaggerated information about conditions in Libya. It paved the way for a “No Fly Zone” which NATO converted into a mandate for “regime change”. The consequence has been a catastrophic loss of security and living standards for the citizens of Libya and an eruption of violence and sectarianism within and beyond the borders.
Currently we see a major media campaign for a “no fly zone” billed as a “safe zone” in opposition controlled northern Syria. In this context, Amnesty has just issued a report: “Death Everywhere: War Crimes and Human Rights Abuses in Aleppo, Syria“. The 62 page report alleges the Syrian government is deliberately targeting civilians in opposition controlled parts of Aleppo, using barrel bombs to kill 3124 civilians versus only 35 fighters in the past 15 months. Amnesty accuses the Syrian government of committing war crimes and possible “crimes against humanity”. They recommend an arms embargo against the Syrian government.
Following are significant problems with the report.
1. Amnesty ignores external interference in Syria.
Article 2 of the United Nations Charter says “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”. It is public information that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, USA, France and Britain are funding, supplying, weaponizing and promoting armed insurgents in Syria. Is this not a “use of force” against Syria? The insurgents, both Syrian and foreign, are being paid salaries by one or another of the countries seeking overthrow of the Damascus government. Turkey is providing facilities and military support. The USA is providing training, communications equipment and coordination. Saudi Arabia, France and Qatar are providing weapons. Britain is providing training and other supplies. Are these not violations of the U.N. Charter to which all these countries are signators? The Erdogan government in Turkey has openly advocated taking over northern Syria, imposing a “No Fly Zone” and basically enforcing this as a zone controlled by the NATO/Gulf sponsored opposition. This is a clear threat on Syrian territorial integrity. Why does Amnesty ignore this?
2. Amnesty approves the violation of international customary law.
International customary law does not allow for supplying arms to “vetted” or “approved” insurgents. Yet one of the Amnesty recommendations to the international community is that: “If considering supplying arms to non-state armed groups in Syria, first carry out a rigorous human rights risk assessment and establish a robust monitoring process …”.
This is an amazing statement, effectively sanctioning the supplying of arms to insurgents who agree to follow “humanitarian” rules of war. The implication is that it’s permissible to kill soldiers, police, government and security people in Syria if you avoid killing civilians. Would it be similarly permissible for Canada and Mexico to train and arm insurgents to come to the U.S. to kill soldiers, police and anyone else defending the security apparatus?
Somehow we can be sure that Amnesty would NOT accept or justify this invasion and violation of international law. So why are they and others justifying this violation against Syria?
When the U.S. created the ‘Contras’ to sow mayhem and bloodshed in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the World Court at the Hague was clear. Their decision was that “by training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying the ‘Contra’ forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua” the United States was“in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State.”
The situation today with Syria is very comparable. International customary law has not changed. It is just being ignored. Amnesty should be challenging this violation, not approving it.
3. Amnesty relies on witnesses who are biased and possibly paid and coached.
The Amnesty report is based on interviews with “78 current or former residents of Aleppo and 29 professionals working in or on Aleppo “. Amnesty established contact with witnesses through collaboration with the following groups: Syrian Institute for Justice and Accountability, the Violations Documentation Center, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, and the Syria Research and Evaluation Organization.
Each of these collaborating groups is either based in, or receiving funds from, Turkey, USA or one of the other countries heavily involved in seeking overthrow of the Damascus government.
Two-thirds of the displaced persons in Syria live INSIDE Syria. To produce a more accurate and objective report, Amnesty could have obtained testimonies from people who fled Aleppo and are now living in Homs, Latakia, Damascus or in Aleppo under government control. That would have entailed collaborating with other organizations that are not part of the foreign funded opposition supporting “human rights” groups, but would have given a more balanced picture.
The Amnesty report includes numerous references to testimony or interviews with members of the “Civil Defence”. What they do not say is that “Syrian Civil Defence”, also known as “White Helmets”, are a creation of the US and UK. There may be some useful training but they are heavily used for propaganda purposes.
The recent exposure of the Richard Engel/NBC hoax confirms that the insurgents are keen to manipulate the media. It is quite likely that witnesses provided to Amnesty were ‘vetted’ and/or coached in advance and some of them might have been paid. With no other testimonies, the result is a highly distorted picture of circumstances in Aleppo.
4. Amnesty relies on dubious data from a biased source.
The Amnesty analysis and conclusions rely substantially on data from theViolations Documentation Center (VDC). This source is highly partisan. For example, they divide fatalities into two overall groups: “Martyrs” and “Regime Fatalities”.
“Martyrs” include ISIS fighters and foreign mercenaries killed by the Syrian Army/Militia or even by the U.S. airstrikes around Kobani. See the VDC screenshot photo 1 showing the ISIS “martyr” killed in Kobani. Photo 2 shows a young girl listed as “regime fatality”.
The data itself looks dubious. For example, we know there was much conflict and loss of life in the Idlib area during the past six weeks. Both Idlib and Jisr al Shughour were captured by the armed opposition. It is very probable that many Syrian soldiers and armed fighters were killed in the conflict. Many civilians fled the urban areas as the armed groups came in. However, the VDC site (photo 3) shows something startling and less than credible for Idlib Governate from March 1, 2015 through May 1, 2015:
“regime fatalities” (Syrian army, militia and supporting civilians) = 12
“martyrs” (opposition fighters and supporting civilians) = 662.
There is little or no evidence provided regarding most of the alleged victims. Photographs and video evidence is provided for a small minority of the cases.
The spokesman and advocacy director for VDC is Bassam al Ahmad. He is based in Istanbul and closely connected to the United States as shown in his recent participation in a “Leadership Conference” as shown in photograph #4 below.
In short, Amnesty’s report and conclusions are based on dubious data from a biased source closely aligned with foreign powers actively seeking “regime change” in Damascus.
5.Amnesty ignores important background information.
There is considerable evidence that armed groups which invaded Aleppo in summer 2012 quickly fell into disfavor and became unpopular. The unpopularity of the armed opposition was identified by American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff in the Fall of 2012 and Winter 2012-2013. Foley described how rebels invaded Aleppo in the summer of 2012. His article, written in October, was titled “Rebels losing support among civilians in Aleppo”. A few months later Sotloff described civilian dislike of the rebels in an article titled “Bread lines and disenchantment with the FSA”.
According to the Syrian journalist known as Edward Dark, there was youthful enthusiasm for early protests but it rapidly turned to regret as armed rebels invaded Aleppo, took over neighborhoods and engaged in widespread looting. As Dark says in his article “How we lost the Syrian revolution“….
Never have I felt as sad as when, shortly after Aleppo was raided by the rebels, I received messages from some of those people I used to work with. One said, “How could we have been so stupid? We were betrayed!” and another said, “Tell your children someday that we once had a beautiful country, but we destroyed it because of our ignorance and hatred”.
Edward Dark may be naive regarding the extent of US and foreign involvement in the armed insurrection but his article seems to sincerely express the early dreams and subsequent regrets of idealistic protesters in Aleppo. The Amnesty report completely ignores this important background and context.
6. Amnesty ignores important current information.
Readers of the Amnesty report on Aleppo may assume there have been large numbers of civilians living in the opposition controlled districts. In reality civilians began departing as soon as the armed insurgents invaded neighborhoods years ago. Currently the most common description of an opposition controlled neighborhood is that it’s a “ghost town”.
Amnesty also fails to disclose the huge number of Syrian soldiers and militia killed by opposition snipers and bombs. Isn’t it relevant that, depending on the source, between 75 and 120 thousand Syrian soldiers and local militia defenders have been killed in Syria?
7. Amnesty echoes allegations which are unverified and probably false.
Opponents of the Syrian government allege that the Syrian Army uses chlorine gas weapons in violation of a recent U.N. Security Council resolution. The Amnesty report includes a graphic of a “barrel bomb” with a caption suggesting that chlorine was used in attacks on March 16, 2015. These claims are widespread but dubious. They ignore the following facts:
(a) Syrian military has no reason to use chlorine since it has more effective bomb explosives;
(b) Syrian military has strong motive to NOT use such a weapon since it has been explicitly sanctioned.
(c) The opposition has a strong motive to use such a weapon because they seek to draw foreign intervention; and,
(d) The opposition has the means and the opportunity to use chlorine gas weapons since they have ground projectiles and because the major chlorine gas producing factory in Syria was seized by Nusra rebels in 2012.
Instead of seriously examining chlorine allegations, the Amnesty report echoes the dubious charges.
8. Amnesty fails to recognize what keeps the conflict going.
As indicated above, the initial enthusiasm of idealistic protesters soon turned to despair as they came face to face with the reality of abusive and sectarian armed gangs. The general population was unhappy and largely departed with whatever they could take. This leaves the question: Why does the conflict continue? The reason is because there is a continuing supply of money, weapons, foreign fighters and supplies coming through Turkey. Without that, the conflict would have ended long ago. Perhaps there could have been a reconciliation agreement as was done one year ago in Homs. But because Aleppo is relatively close to the porous border with Turkey, and because wealthy external powers have not been willing to give up on plans for “regime change”, the conflict has continued. Generous salaries have continued to flow to foreign and domestic fighters; supplies and armaments have continued to flow. In recent months Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have coordinated more closely to escalate the conflict, including collaboration with Jabhat al Nusra (al Queda). Fighters and heavy artillery recently poured across the Turkish border to invade Idlib then Jisr al Shugour. There are also reports of large quantities of ammonium nitrate fertilizer going across the border from Turkey destined for exploding and killing Syrians not fertilizing the soil.
Amnesty is appropriately concerned with civilian deaths. But what keeps the war going, to the detriment of soldiers and civilians, is external powers continuing to funnel money, supplies, weapons and mercenaries into Syria. It seems the outside powers are willing to destroy Syria rather than give up their plan for regime change in Damascus.
Tragically there is “death everywhere” in Syria. In significant measure, it is the consequence of powerful countries trampling on international law. Amnesty should be exposing this, not ignoring or approving it.
“Regime fatality” (VDC)
Latest Martyr Idlib Fatalities (VDC)
Latest Regime Idlib Fatalities (VDC)
Bassam al Ahmad of VDC at U.S. Leadership Conference (VDC)
“A growing demand for organics, and the near-total reliance by U.S. farmers on genetically modified corn and soybeans, is driving a surge in imports from other nations where crops largely are free of bioengineering. Imports such as corn from Romania and soybeans from India are booming, according to an analysis of U.S. trade data released Wednesday by the Organic Trade Association and Pennsylvania State University.
“Sales of foods certified by the U.S. as free of synthetic chemicals or genetic engineering reached $35.9 billion in 2014, an 11% increase over 2013 and about 5.1% of U.S. grocery spending. The organic sector’s average annual growth of about 10% is triple that of overall food sales, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture and trade association data.
“According to trade data compiled by the US Organic Trade Association and the Pennsylvania State University, the rising demand for organic foods has pushed up the import bill for corn and soybean, the two most important GM crops being cultivated in America. Although corn and soybean go primarily into cattle and poultry feed, consumers are increasingly wanting milk and food products to be free of GM ingredients”.
Straws in the wind?
The New York Times also reported in January that Monsanto’s earnings fell 34% in the first fiscal quarter as South American farmers cut back on planting corn, reducing demand for the company’s biotech-enhanced seeds. The company said its business was also affected by reduced cotton planting in Australia and a shift in timing for its chemical business.
As US imports more organic foods on consumer preference, Indian biotech companies are ‘pushing for GM crops’
Sharma reports that public opinion as seen in grocery sales data indicates a gradual shifting to foods grown without the use of chemicals and GM. However, in India, four State Governments – Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab – have allowed field trials of GM crops. He sees pressure mounting on other State Governments to fall in line. The biotech industry led by the Association of Biotec Led Enterprises (ABLE) has reportedly written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the regulatory process for clearing the field trials.
Competing lobbies: the biotech industry v Soybean Processor Association
Resistance from the Soybean Processor Association of India (SOPA) led former Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh to oppose research trials of GM soybean. The industry claimed that importers preference for Indian soymeal would be lost once contamination from GM crops becomes obvious. India is at present the biggest exporter of rice; Sharma comments that allowing GM rice field trials, even if excluded from areas such as Orissa where it is believed to have originated, would risk contamination. He emphasises that utmost caution should be exercised before the country is opened up for field trials of GM crops which:
have, in most cases, led to the doubling in the application of chemical herbicides like glyphosate; use has increased to over 283.5 million pounds in 2012;
have led to the emergence of superweeds in some 60 million acres of crop land
and, to date, have shown no increase in crop productivity.
Sharma notes that the annual increase in sales of foods free of synthetic chemicals and GM ingredients in the US indicate a rising preference for organically produced foods and that in the White House Michelle Obama grows only organic food in the sprawling gardens and is known to serve organic food to guests, ending:
The consumer preference for GM-free foods in the US is growing rapidly. We hope that this commercial imperative will eventually lead to the winding down of the industry’s drive to grow GM crops.
Big Pharma sells Gardasil based on fear of cervical cancer. But do the benefits outweigh the costs? Inform yourself, find your compass, so that you can be one less woman, wishing she had only known more.
The New Gardasil
I believe in living life with no regrets. When we make decisions from a place of authenticity, when we listen to our inner compass for guidance, check our fear, then we have done the best that we could have done. If it ends up being a mistake, then look at that as an opportunity, and own it. Move on. In fact, many times, our most tragic life events lead us somewhere expansively grand.
This untethered existence is challenged by a simple fact, these days: the Pharmaceutical industry has co-opted our maternal inner compass. They, in partnership with media, have grabbed onto our natural tendency to worry about the welfare of our children, and they have tempted us with a shiny apple. Visiting again and again until we relent.
And here we create fertile soil for regret. Every day, in my office, I have women expressing poignant remorse, shame, and rage because they trusted their Pharma-pushing doctor instead of trusting themselves, trusting in the inherent potential of the body to be well, to heal, to surmount seeming obstacles. No cohort of women are more lionized than those who have lost their daughters to a vaccine promoted to save them from a disease they were never going to get. The HPV vaccine.
This issue activates my primal feminism, my perception that I am here on this earth to help guard what is sacred about women and their children. It pulls at my heartstrings. I had tears streaming down my face, watching this 5 minute video.
But, we don’t have to recruit emotion to sound a blaring alarm about what is going on here.
Let’s just stick to the science, shall we?
The Fear They’re Selling: Cervical Cancer
What is your likelihood of developing cervical cancer? And if you do develop it, is it a death sentence?
In the marketing and licensure of the HPV vaccine, changes to cervical cells have been equated with death. This is called using a “surrogate marker” and in vaccine research, this is considered acceptable because we can’t otherwise prove a non-event is attributable to an intervention. There are leaps in logic and in science inherent in this practice, that render conclusions nothing more than false marketing.
In fact, none of the HPV vaccines have ever been proven to prevent a single case of cervical cancer. Don’t take my word for it, listen to what Diane Harper, one of the lead researchers for the vaccine, and a whistleblower, has to say:
Built on this house of cards, and defying pre-existing FDA criteria for fast-tracked approval, Gardasil was brought to market in 6 months and is now one of our great human experiments. Several countries including Japan, France, and India have banned and/or filed criminal lawsuits about Gardasil, but, as Americans, not only are the “one less” commercials still running, but the latest and greatest version of Gardasil is now available.
Why A New & Improved Model?
When we mess with nature, it fights back. We all know that antibiotics are responsible for increasingly virulent and deadly strains of bacteria. Well, it’s a similar story when you force viruses to respond to vaccine-level perterbations. This is called serotype replacement or forced strain evolution. This means that when we trigger highly unnatural immune responses to specific strains, the other existing strains become stronger. This is why and how we went from 7 to 13 strains of Prevnar and from 4 to 9 strains of Gardasil.
“…vaccinated women had a higher prevalence of nonvaccine high-risk types than unvaccinated women (61.5% vs 39.7%, prevalence ratio 1.55, 95% CI 1.22-1.98).”
Here we have a vaccine creating the need for another vaccine, just as has happened with chicken pox and shingles vaccines. Employing the usual tactics of a vaccine “placebo” and distributing a small sample over many areas (600 participants per location), Gardasil 9 is brought to us with a whopping dose of viral antigen, and a mind-crushing dose of aluminum – 1,500mcg per 3 recommended doses. It is brought to us without even review by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. Slipped onto the market.
Who Cares About Aluminum?
I do. And I’m not talking about what you’re wrapping your leftovers in. I am talking about bypassing intestinal barriers and securing 100% absorption through injection of this known neurotoxin into your daughter’s body.
“Aluminum in adjuvant form carries a risk for autoimmunity, long-term brain inflammation and associated neurological complications and may thus have profound and widespread adverse health consequences.”
Once thought to be efficiently cleared from the body, it has been known since 2001 that aluminum “biopersists”. Gherardi et al. state:
“We previously showed that poorly biodegradable aluminum-coated particles injected into muscle are promptly phagocytosed in muscle and the draining lymph nodes, and can disseminate within phagocytic cells throughout the body and slowly accumulate in brain.”
One of my intellectual heroes, Dr. Suzanne Humphries, explores Dr. Kawahara’s research positing all of the ways that aluminum is a “death factor” for humans in a compelling video lecture. The list is long and growing.
What Could Happen?
Well, you could be one less. And not in the way that Merck means it. You could die in the prime of your young life, as these women have. But, more likely you could develop a chronic and debilitating autoimmune condition, primary ovarian failure, or bizarre neurological impairments such as the now documented POTS syndrome. I personally have seen patients with new onset mania and psychosis, as well as debilitating and treatment resistant depression.
Even the package insert itself declares a rate of 2.5% serious adverse events, and that is only within the 15 day trial monitoring period. That’s 2,500 life-altering events per 100,000 women.
Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, poses this important question:
Given this, it is all the more harrowing that we are living in a legislative climate that puts profits before our children’s health. In many states across the nation, bills are hitting the floor that seek to eliminate the ethical principle of informed consent by allowing children as young as 12 to receive the HPV vaccine without parental oversight.
Inform yourself, find your compass, so that you can be one less woman, wishing she had only known more.
Dr. Brogan is boarded in Psychiatry/Psychosomatic Medicine/Reproductive Psychiatry and Integrative Holistic Medicine, and practices Functional Medicine, a root-cause approach to illness as a manifestation of multiple-interrelated systems. After studying Cognitive Neuroscience at M.I.T., and receiving her M.D. from Cornell University, she completed her residency and fellowship at Bellevue/NYU. She is one of the nation’s only physicians with perinatal psychiatric training who takes a holistic evidence-based approach in the care of patients with a focus on environmental medicine and nutrition. She is also a mom of two, and an active supporter of women’s birth experience. She is the Medical Director for Fearless Parent, and an advisory board member for GreenMedInfo.com.Visit her website.
As I reported on Wednesday, a deal was worked out in the U.S. Senate on the early afternoon of May 13th to “Fast-Track” through to approval U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed trade deals, TPP with Asia, and TTIP with Europe. (It should have been reported on the nightly TV news programs, but most of them ignored it then, and reported the news only the next day when the Senators made it official.)
TPP and TTIP have been represented in America’s press as ‘trade’ deals, but instead they’re actually about sovereignty. They’re about America and the other participating countries handing their democratic sovereignty — on regulation of the environment, consumer protection, worker protection, and finance — over to panels, all of whose members will be selected by the large international corporations that for years have been working with U.S. President Obama’s Trade Representative to draft these “trade” treaties.
If some corporation “C” under these ‘trade deals’ then brings a case to one of those panels and says that country “X” has any regulations regarding the environment, consumer protection, worker protection, or finance, that are stricter than the ones that are set forth in TPP and TTIP, then country X will be assessed to pay a fine to corporation C, for “unfair trade practices” against that corporation.
In other words: these corporate panels will constitute a new international government, with the power to fine countries for exceeding the regulations that are set forth in these international ‘trade’ treaties.
President Obama’s Trade Representative, Michael Froman, has told the AFL-CIO and U.S. Senators that when countries such as Colombia systematically murder labor-union organizers, it’s no violation of workers’ rights — nothing that is of any concern to the U.S. regarding this country’s international trade policies or enforcement. On April 22nd, Huffington Post, one of the few U.S. news media to report honestly on these treaties, bannered “AFL-CIO’s Trumka: USTR Told Us Murder Isn’t A Violation,” and reported that, “Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts.
“In other words: this is and will be the low level of the playing-field that U.S. workers will be competing against in TPP and TTIP, just as it is already, in the far-smaller NAFTA. “Trumka said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labor protections four years ago, some 105 labor organizers have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.”
The Obama Administration is ignoring the tightened regulations that it itself managed to get implemented on paper.
“Pressed for details about Trumka’s assertion that murder doesn’t count as a violation of labor rules, Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, told HuffPost that USTR officials said in at least two meetings where she was present that killing and brutalizing organizers would not be considered interfering with labor rights under the terms of the trade measures.”
Furthermore: “’We documented five or six murders of Guatemalan trade unionists that the government had failed to effectively investigate or prosecute,’ Lee said. ‘The USTR told us that the murders of trade unionists or violence against trade unionists was not a violation of the labor chapter.’” That U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is the same person Obama has negotiating with foreign governments, and with international corporations, both the TPP, and the TTIP.
Any country in TPP or TTIP that brings up worker-protection regulations which are beyond this abysmal level will be fined by corporate panels, and those fines will then become income to the companies whose ‘rights’ (such as to murder labor-organizers) have been violated, under the terms of the given treaty: TPP or TTIP.
And that’s just one example of the type of sovereignty (in this instance over workers’ rights) that is being ceded to international corporations, under these ‘trade’ deals.
It couldn’t have happened if not for the fact that such news reports as that just quoted from Huffington Post have constituted only a tiny minority of the ‘news’ reports about these proposed ‘trade’ deals, in the American press.
Every Senator, and every member of the U.S. House, who votes for “Fast Track” approval for these deals, is looking for big money from big corporations, and not for fulfilling his or her supposed and oathed job: to be an authentic representative of the public back home — and of their children, and future generations.
The idea that these are ‘free market’ treaties is the biggest of all Big Lies. They’re a transfer of sovereignty from national democracies to a fascistic world government. This is the biggest news-story of our times, and it’s been virtually ignored, until it’s too late to stop.
Every week it seems the Western mainstream media devises yet another propaganda narrative to be launched at the Syrian government and Bashar al-Assad. As one can easily see, each attempt becomes more and more desperate.
After numerous attempts at portraying Assad as guilty of having committed atrocities against innocent civilians, using chemical weapons, and dropping barrel bombs, the media has since taken to narratives portraying the Syrian president as losing his grip on the Syrian government as well as suffering huge territorial losses.
There was just one problem with this volley of headlines – none of them were true.
Yet only hours after the media frenzy began, Syrians who were confronted with the Western propaganda were surprised to learn that the man they had just seen in the presence of Bashar al-Assad at a highly prestigious meeting had supposedly been arrested as a result of his coup attempt. Indeed, Syrian audiences were not so gullible as Western ones. Of course, direct visual contradiction to claims being made by media outlets generally makes it easier to determine that such outlets are inaccurate.
Syria’s intelligence chief, who, according to British newspaper The Telegraph was placed under house arrest after plotting a coup against President Bashar Assad, made his first appearance on Syrian State TV on Wednesday.
Ali Mamlouk, the chief of the national security office, was seen sitting next to President Bashar al Assad during a meeting with visiting Iranian official Alaeddin Boroujerdi. A photo of the meeting also appeared on the official SANA news agency on 13 May.
Earlier on Monday, The Telegraph had reported that Brigadier General Ali Mamlouk was arrested for plotting a coup with rebel groups and other exiled leaders to overthrow PresidentAssad. Mamlouk is one of the closest supporters of Assad and said to be among the few officials who still closely interact with the Syrian president.
The report of Mamlouk house arrest was seen by many as a sign of an increasing ‘unrest’ in the inner circle of President Assad. However, his latest appearance on State TV dispels several claims, including one that he was in a hospital.
Middle East Monitor earlier last month had reported that Mamlouk was fighting for his life in Al-Shami Hospital in Damascus. Similarly, a report in Middle East Eye claimed in late April that he was reportedly in a Damascus hospital after being poisoned with cyanide.
The reports went on to claim that if Mamlouk died, “whether in the hospital or under other circumstances,” he will be the fifth suspect to be linked to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Thus, it seems that not only are Western media outlets attempting to compete for the most outlandish propaganda narrative (a tough competition since the State Department’s Libyan Viagra claims) regarding the history of the Syrian crisis and the events on the ground, they are apparently competing for the most outlandish Ali Mamlouk story.
While little time and energy should be spent debunking the Telegraph and all of its copycats’ claims regarding Mamlouk, it nonetheless stands as a perfect example of the depths to which Western media will sink to promote a false narrative in the minds of their readers.
The city of Detroit may be bankrupt financially, but moral bankruptcy abounds as well as city officials began handing out notices to as many as 25,000 residents to tell them that they have ten days to pay or their taps will be turned off.
“We want the water shut-offs to end. Period. End of story,” says DeMeeko Williams of the Detroit Water Brigade.
Some of Detroit’s poorest citizens are losing their water in the second round of water cut-offs even though they live right next to a body of water that carry’s one-fifth of the world’s water supply.
Child welfare authorities even moved into homes to take children from their parents in abodes that had their water cut off earlier in 2014. The cut-offs are nothing more than a demonstration of greed.
Water rates have risen more than 119% in the last decade in Detroit, affecting primarily the poor. Every winter, aging pipes spew water into the street, and while the city ‘has no money to repair this crumbling infrastructure,’ they continue to tap the poorest for resources to pay for water.
What’s worse – as a “cost cutting measure,” the water department stopped sending bills, expecting residents to just figure out what they owed. The department then installed “smart meters” that read backwards, causing may families to receive bills saying they owed thousands of dollars.
The new ‘water warnings’ will be hung on the doors of households that owe more than $150 to the city or are more than 60 days behind on their water bills. They have only ten days to pay up or apply for assistance to pay their bills.
“They can send out the notices, but really are not reaching out to the people.”
The United Nations has even accused Detroit of violating the human right to water.
Maureen Taylor, of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, reminds us that if people can’t pay their water bills now, how are they going to pay them suddenly when the city starts sending them past-due statements?
The city has created a new ‘payment plan’ called the “10-30-50” where overdue households enter a two year agreement, but they first have to pay a 10 percent ‘down-payment’ of their past due balance.
If the residents miss a payment, they then have to pay 30 percent of their balance. Another missed payment – 50 percent of their balance, and after that, the water is shut off. It’s like issuing mortgage payments for the right to drink water.
Perhaps not any big surprise, but a recent survey by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan found that nearly all of the customers who signed up for the “10-30-50” plan are now 60 days overdue – that’s more than 24,450 Detroit citizens about to have their water cut off. Only 300 residents have been able to keep up with their water payments.
MWRO has started a petition calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene against the renewed shut-offs, which the group says target “low-income families and have affected the homes of children, the disabled, and our honorable veterans.”
For some families, the water payment amount to as much as 30 percent of their income, and the crisis is growing. It isn’t due to a lack of water though. You can count on crooked corporations like Nestle, which sells water back to the people at high prices.
While the war in Ukraine has raged on for more than a year, the growing conflict between the US-NATO and Russia has taken on new dimensions. From economic warfare waged by the West in the form of sanctions, to the diplomatic rows over the commemoration of Victory Day in Moscow, more and more it seems that relations between East and West are fraying beyond repair. Though it may seem that this conflict is escalating into simply an extension of what was once known as the Cold War, the potential exists for a hot war of global dimensions.
Lost amid the cacophony of saber-rattling and chest-thumping in Washington and Brussels is the quietly emerging, and infinitely dangerous, military deployment in the Black Sea. Once seen as a no-go zone for the US and NATO, the Black Sea, with its expansive Russian shores, has recently become the site of a slew of provocative military moves by the US, and equally significant counter-moves by Russia. Adding fuel to this potential fire is the participation of Chinese naval assets in this quietly brewing cocktail of global conflict.
The presence of US military assets all throughout the Black Sea region is undoubtedly provocative as it is pushing perilously close to Russia’s borders. The potential for escalation – premeditated or otherwise – puts the entire region, and indeed the entire world, at risk of catastrophe.
This article will focus on the US-NATO military developments in and around the Black Sea. While by no means a comprehensive listing of all of Washington’s moves in the region, it is an attempt to provide a glimpse into a little discussed theater of deployment for the West – one that is regarded as a very serious threat by Moscow.
Washington Swimming in the Black Sea
There is no doubt that US strategy vis-à-vis Russia places tremendous strategic importance on maintaining and expanding a robust military presence in and around the Black Sea. Recent moves by the US-NATO military forces make this fact all the more apparent. Having deployed a significant amount of forces to littoral countries, as well as initiating a series of critical military exercises and drills, Washington is demonstrating unequivocally its commitment to escalating the conflict with Russia.
Nearly a year ago, in June 2014, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid bare US intentions. In the wake of President Obama’s public announcement of $1 billion to expand the US military presence in Eastern Europe, Hagel stated that the billion dollar commitment was for a “stronger presence of US ships in the Black Sea,” and that “[The US] will sustain that tempo going forward.” Put in slightly more understandable terminology, the US committed a significant monetary investment to the permanent expansion of its military presence in and around the Black Sea.
The permanence of this new commitment is what is striking because, unlike much of the bluff and bluster from Washington over Ukraine and related issues, this represents a military deployment with real tactical value. It is not mere rhetoric, it is military escalation. And, in the year since the announcement was made, this process has evolved in earnest.
The US Army is currently, or will soon be, leading a series of critical military exercises in the Black Sea. One notable one is known as Noble Partner. This series of exercises is being conducted with the de facto NATO member Georgia which has effectively become a forward arm of NATO military forces. As the official page of the US Army noted:
Noble Partner will support Georgia’s contribution of a light infantry company to NATO Response Force, or NRF… The exercise will focus on unified land operations … Exercise Noble Partner provides an opportunity for the U.S. military to continue its training relationship with the Georgian Armed Forces as the sponsor of Georgia’s participation in the NRF. The NRF provides a rapid military response force to deploy quickly, wherever needed…. Exercise Noble Partner will include approximately 600 U.S. and Georgian Service members incorporating a full range of equipment… Georgian forces will operate alongside U.S. forces with their BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicle. The exercise will consist of both a field training exercise and a live-fire exercise.
However, as part of the US military training, a significant amount of military hardware is being shuttled across the Black Sea in an unprecedented move by the US which has never so brazenly treated this body of water as its own backyard. As the US Army page wrote:
Fourteen Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicles and several wheeled-support vehicles, roughly 748 metric tons of steel and rubber, cut across the Black Sea…bound for the port in Batumi, Georgia, May 2. This is the first time that the U.S. Army has deployed a mechanized company worth of equipment across the Black Sea. The equipment will support the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers, participating in Exercise Noble Partner.
Taken in combination with Hagel’s comments a year ago, it is clear that the US is committed to escalating its military presence in the Black Sea. Of course, it is self-evident that such a strategic development must be seen as an attempt to both outgun and intimidate Russia in its traditional sphere of influence.
Additionally, and concurrent to these military exercises, is the planned Trident Joust 2015, which according to US Navy Admiral Mark Ferguson, will
“test the capability of the NRF [NATO Response Force] command and control element to work at full operational capacity in a deployed location…TRIDENT JOUST 15…will reinforce the NATO Readiness Action Plan from the Wales Summit and project assurance measures to all NATO allies.”
Trident Joust should be understood as an attempt to prepare NATO’s military architecture for possible rapid deployment in the Black Sea region, ostensibly as a defense against so-called Russian aggression while in reality seeking to expand NATO military capability against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and increased tensions with Moscow.
At no time during the Cold War did the US engage in such openly hostile and belligerent actions designed more to provoke than to defend. It seems the policy now is to both prepare for war and work to ensure that it comes to fruition. As if to make it even more transparent what Washignton’s intentions are with Trident Joust, Admiral Ferguson was quoted as saying “I appreciate the efforts of Romania as we work on other measures to transform the Alliance, such as the formation of the Multinational Division Southeast and the NATO Force Integration Unit.”
There are other important military moves that the US-NATO have made in the Black Sea in recent months, all designed to send a stern warning to Russia. NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed its training exercises “designed to improve interoperability and enhance rapid integration of Alliance maritime assets… The force trained on anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare procedures during separate exercises with the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian navies.” As part of SNMG2, NATO deployed significant military assets to the Romanian port of Constanta, not coincidentally a short distance across the Black Sea from Crimea and Russia’s fleet at Sevastopol. Participating in the SNMG2 was the USS Vicksburg with its Mark 41 Vertical Launching System, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and arsenal of guns. In addition were Canadian, Italian, and Turkish warships, all carrying significant firepower of their own.
Aside from these specific sets of naval exercises, the US has had major assets in and around the Black Sea to participate in a series of one-off maneuvers and a variety of drills in the past year, even before Secretary Hagel’s public announcement in June 2014. These include the recently decommissioned USS Taylor which spent much of 2014 in the Black Sea. Perhaps not so coincidentally, this US frigate is now slated for sale to Taiwan in a move that is likely to be met with disapproval in Beijing. Additionally, the USS Donald Cook, a missile destroyer, conducted exercises with the USS Taylor and Romanian Navy. Also, the USS Truxton and USS Vella Gulf both logged significant time in the Black Sea in 2014, undoubtedly motivating Russia to move quickly to ramp up its naval and military capabilities.
It is interesting to note that Russia’s moves in Crimea in 2014 came within a matter of days of the entrance into the Black Sea of these US naval assets. Anyone who doubts that Moscow’s decision to support Crimea’s vote for reunification with the Russian Federation was motivated by something other than military and strategic pragmatism would do well to examine this timeline of events.
All of this makes plain that the US and its NATO arsenal are gearing up for a “pivot” – to borrow the grossly overused terminology of the Obama administration and the Pentagon – that will see their forces focused on the Black Sea, just as they have shifted attention to the Baltic Sea even more so in recent months. It does not take exceptional powers of deduction to see what the US intends: continued escalation, force preparedness, and intimidation against Moscow. However, it is equally apparent that such provocative moves raise the risk of a misstep, an accident or misunderstanding that could touch off a major military conflict. Considering the players involved, such a blunder could spark World War 3.
A forthcoming article will focus on the countermoves that Russia is employing to confront US-NATO aggression near Russia’s borders. The article will focus specifically on the fast-developing military relationship between Russia and China.
Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Can a new surveillance law help stop terrorists the government is already tracking and simply choosing not to stop?
France has announced that in the wake of the so-called “Charlie Hebdo Shooting,” it will be passing a controversial new bill granting security agencies unprecedented powers to tap the communications of France’s population without judicial overview.
Impossible to pass without having first provoked fear, hatred, division, and hysteria across the French population, and still facing stiff resistance from civil liberty activists, the bill’s passage raises further suspicions regarding the fatal January 2015 shooting in regards to who organized the incident and who stood most to benefit.
The French parliament has overwhelmingly approved sweeping new surveillance powers in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris in January that killed 17 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in Paris.
The new bill, which allows intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge, sparked protests from rights groups who claimed it would legalise highly intrusive surveillance methods without guarantees for individual freedom and privacy.
The Guardian would also claim that:
The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, defended the bill as “necessary and proportionate”, saying that to compare it to the mass surveillance Patriot Act introduced in the United States after the 9/11 attacks was a lie.
He said that the previous French law on wiretapping dated back to 1991, “when there were no mobile phones or internet,” and the new bill was crucial in the face of extremist threats.
Not a Lack of Surveillance
As seen in nearly every recent terror attack both in Europe and North America including the “Charlie Hebdo shooting” and the more recent Garland, Texas attack, the alleged suspects behind the attacks all have one thread in common – they were all already under the watch of security agencies for years, some even imprisoned one or more times for terror-related and/or other violent offenses, some even having traveled overseas to fight alongside Western-backed terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and beyond.
The Guardian itself admits that the French government alone has over 1,400 people under watch, including hundreds of terrorists who have recently returned from fighting alongside Western-backed terrorists including Al Qaeda and its regional franchise, the “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Among these monitored potential risks were in fact the suspects behind the “Charlie Hebdo shooting.”
Kouachi was arrested in January 2005, accused of planning to join jihadists in Iraq. He was said to have fallen under the sway of Farid Benyettou, a young “self-taught preacher” who advocated violence, but had not actually yet traveled to Iraq or committed any acts of terror. Lawyers at the time said he had not received weapons training and “had begun having second thoughts,” going so far as to express “relief” that he’d been apprehended.
Kourachi and his brother would be reported to have traveled to the Middle East to receive training from Al Qaeda, then to have fought in Syria in a war backed in part by France, before returning home and carrying out their grisly terror attack, all while being tracked by French intelligence.
If Kouachi previously could be arrested for “association with wrongdoers with the intention of committing a terrorist act,” why wasn’t he arrested immediately upon his return to France for having received and employed military training by a terrorist organization?
Western intelligence officials are scrambling to learn more about possible travel of the two Paris terror attack suspects, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, with new information suggesting one of the brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with al Qaeda in that country, U.S. officials briefed on the matter told CNN. Additional information from a French source close to the French security services puts one of the brothers in Syria.
The terror attacks in Paris that have killed 17 people over three days this week represent one of the worst fears—and failures—of counterterrorist officials: a successful plot coordinated by people who had once been under surveillance but who were later dropped as a top priority.
The U.S. provided France with intelligence showing that the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo massacre received training in Yemen in 2011, prompting French authorities to begin monitoring the two brothers, according to U.S. officials. But that surveillance of Said and Chérif Kouachi came to an end last spring, U.S. officials said, after several years of monitoring turned up nothing suspicious.
It is a narrative that begs to be believed – considering the brothers had already tangled with the law, already traveled to Yemen to receive training from Al Qaeda, and with evidence suggesting they were indeed still being tracked since it is now known they have recently returned from Syria. The Wall Street Journal would also claim that France depends heavily on US intelligence, contradicting US intelligence officials who have said their information came from their French counterparts.
“French intelligence is mostly focused today on more than 1,000 French citizens that traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2012,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, the author of “Zarqawi: The New Face of Al-Qaeda.”
He added that one-fifth of them were being tracked around the clock. “This is a problem of resources,” he added. “We cannot follow everyone.”
Brisard said the brothers had been “well known to French intelligence [for] several years now.”
The problem that led up to the “Charlie Hebdo shooting” was clearly not a lack of intelligence or surveillance. French security agencies more than adequately identified the “Charlie Hebdo shooting” perpetrators as potential threats and tracked them for years beforehand. The problem was what appears to be a deliberate effort to keep these terrorists roaming freely among society. Free to join French-backed mercenary forces abroad, and free to commit heinous acts of terror at home, both serving the singular agenda of expanding Western hegemony abroad while preserving the primacy of select special interests at home.
New Surveillance is For Crushing Freedom, Not Terror
As already explained in painstaking detail, had the French government been interested in actually stopping terrorism, including the flight of its own citizens to the Middle East to participate in a war the French government itself is backing, it could have done so easily. Existing laws and France’s current security agencies successfully identified the impending threat that led to the “Charlie Hebdo shooting,” but willfully failed to stop it – with certain factions of French intelligence having even played a potential role in executing it.Therefore, clearly the solution to stopping terrorism is in fact evicting the criminal special interests occupying power throughout the French government, and more broadly, from across the Western World. However, such an eviction will now become exponentially more difficult to execute, thanks to France’s new surveillance laws that give them virtually unhindered access to their citizenry’s data, granting them an unparalleled strategic advantage.
Indeed, France’s new surveillance laws will not stop terrorism at home nor quell the legions of terror they are backing, ravaging lands abroad – instead – they will ensure the uncontested expansion of terror used to coerce the French population at home while justifying and carrying out extraterritorial conquest abroad.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
The Blockade continues preventing enough vital humanitarian aid from reaching millions of needy Yemenis. Amounts permitted in are woefully inadequate.
Iran’s cargo ship “Rescue” is en route with food, water, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid. Washington wants it blocked.
US-Saudia Arabia wants it diverted to Djibouti where they control UN aid for Yemen. An Iranian Defense Ministry statement warned of dire consequences if attempts are made to block its efforts, saying:
“The US and Saudi Arabia will be responsible for the consequences of any provocative moves.”
“The US is an accomplice to the war criminals by supporting genocide in Yemen. and the Iranian people’s food and drug aid is a humanitarian move to soothe the oppressed Yemeni people’s pains.”
Aid diverted to Djibouti may prevent its “deliver(y) to the oppressed Yemeni people, and if the international organizations, especially the UN, really want to help the oppressed Yemeni people, they should adopt the necessary measures to prevent the (US-orchestrated) Saudi regime’s savage attacks and fully stop them.”
On Tuesday, Deputy Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Brig. General Massoud Jazzayeri warned: “Attacking the Iranian Red Crescent aid ship will spark war in the region.”
“And this fire may not be put out or brought under control. The US and Saudi Arabia should know that Iran’s self-restraint is limited.”
In April, the Iranian Red Crescent Aid Society blasted Saudi Arabia for blocking Tehran’s humanitarian aid efforts.
Its deputy managing director for international and humanitarian affairs, Shahabeddin Mohammadi Araqi, said “(t)he IRCS humanitarian aid consignments are ready to be dispatched to Yemen, but unfortunately Saudi Arabia prevents their delivery to Yemen.”
On Thursday, Fars News reported the Iranian destroyer Alborz accompanying Iran’s humanitarian cargo ship to Yemen “locked its missile systems on an invading vessel in the Gulf of Aden after a high-speed boat left Yemen’s coasts and rushed to attack it.”
“(T)he vessel changed course and returned to the coast after the Iranian destroyer warned it would target the vessel in seconds.”
According to Iranian destroyer captain Commodore Hassan Maqsoudlou: “If the terrorists ignored our warning, they would be killed with the first bullets of Alborz.”
He stressed Iranian naval forces are prepared to defend the Islamic Republic’s interests – including preventing anyone from provocatively inspecting its ships.
What follows remains to be seen. Iran intends supplying Yemenis with desperately needed humanitarian aid. US/Saudi attempts to block it could lead to regional war.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
This article provides important data, but it does examine the broader causes affecting bee colonies. In a recent GR article, the role of Neonicotinoid pesticides is highlighted as one of the causes:
Neonicotinoid pesticides are a newer class of chemicals that are applied to seeds before planting. This allows the pesticide to be taken up through the plant’s vascular system as it grows, where it is expressed in the pollen and nectar.
These insecticides are highly toxic to bees because they are systemic, water soluble, and pervasive. They get into the soil and groundwater where they can accumulate and remain for many years and present long-term toxicity to the hive as well as to other species, such as songbirds.
Neonicotinoids affect insects’ central nervous systems in ways that are cumulative and irreversible. Even minute amounts can have profound effects over time.
The disappearance of bee colonies began accelerating in the United States shortly after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market in the mid-2000s. The lawsuit alleges that the EPA allowed the neonicotinoids to remain on the market despite clear warning signs of a problem.
The mysterious die-off of the nation’s honeybees worsened last year, with a spike in summer deaths indicating a troubling new development.
Each year the Bee Informed Partnership in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America conducts a survey among both commercial and backyard beekeepers to track the health and survival rates of their honeybee colonies.
What the results reveal for April 2014 to April 2015 are dismal. Beekeepers surveyed lost a total of 42.1 percent of their colonies during the period. And while winter loss rates dipped .6 percent (from 23.7 percent last year to 23.1 percent this year), summer loss rates increased significantly, from 19.8 percent to 27.4 percent, which is troubling. The health of bee colonies isn’t getting better.
“We traditionally thought of winter losses as a more important indicator of health, because surviving the cold winter months is a crucial test for any bee colony,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an etymologist from the University of Maryland and project director for the Bee Informed Partnership. “We expect the colonies to die during the winter, because that’s a stressful season. What’s totally shocking to me is that the losses in summer, which should be paradise for bees, exceeded the winter losses.”
“Years ago, this was unheard of,” he added.
The losses among small-scale beekeepers (those with fewer than 50 colonies) seems clearly related to the varroa mite, a pesky and deadly parasite that is contagious between colonies; but for commercial beekeepers, the reason behind the losses remain less clear.
“Backyard beekeepers were more prone to heavy mite infestations, but we believe that is because a majority of them are not taking appropriate steps to control mites,” van Engelsdorp said. “Commercial keepers were particularly prone to summer losses. But they typically take more aggressive action against varroa mites, so there must be other factors at play.”
The survey, which is partially funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is part of a comprehensive effort to understand what’s going on with the honeybees and what can be done to help. While many of us consider the honeybee as the canary in the coalmine, colony losses represent significant economic threats to the livelihood of beekeepers and are of vast importance to a lot of the nation’s crops as well. Things like almonds completely depend on honeybees for pollination.
A world without bees would be a world with much, much less food; we are more dependent on them than many people are aware of.
“The winter loss numbers are more hopeful especially combined with the fact that we have not seen much sign of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) for several years,” said Jeffery Pettis, a senior entomologist at U.S. Department of Agriculture and a co-coordinator of the survey. “But such high colony losses in the summer and year-round remain very troubling,”
This December 2014 article sheds light on the flimsy evidence pertaining to the conviction of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the Boston bombings. Dzohkhar faces life imprisonment or the death penalty. Relevant sections are highlighted.
The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the defining domestic national security event since 9/11—and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state. For that reason, WhoWhatWhy is continuing to investigate troubling aspects of this story and the establishment media treatment of it. We will be exploring new elements of the story regularly as the January trial of accused co-conspirator Dzhokhar Tsarnaev approaches.
All dead: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 2011 murder victim Brendan Mess, Ibragim Todashev. By WGBH.
For nearly any crime requiring a “Whodunnit” answer in Boston around the time of the April 15, 2013, Marathon bombing, the authorities answered: The Tsarnaev brothers.
One egregious crime pinned on them was a grisly Sept. 11, 2011, triple murder in Waltham, Mass.
Now, prosecutors in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have delivered a shocking reversal. They admit to having no evidence that his dead brother, Tamerlan, was involved in the slayings.
That wasn’t the case right after the bombing: law enforcement fingered Tamerlan as the perpetrator, and suggested Dzokhar may have been involved. Much of the media has presented it as fact ever since.
This is a pattern we’ve seen since the bombing: The government feeds prejudicial information (usually anonymously) to the press, implying Tamerlan and Dzhokhar’s guilt, despite having flimsy or no evidence. In the most extreme example, prosecutors had to completely recant their accusation thatthe brothers robbed a 7-Eleven.
The Waltham triple murder case got the same treatment. Within weeks of the bombing on Boylston Street, law enforcement officials confidently proclaimed they had a “growing” amount of “forensic evidence,” along with a written confession from a now-dead friend of Tamerlan’s, that implicated Tamerlan in the Waltham slaying.
But now, the government admits that, other than the confession, it “has no evidence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev actually participated in the Waltham murders.” And it turns out that the damning confession has some serious holes in it too.
So, what happened? First, a little history.
Cold Case: The Waltham Murders
On Sept. 12, 2011, the bodies of Brendan Mess, 25; Erik Weissman, 31; and Raphael Teken, 37; were discovered in Mess’s Waltham apartment, their throats slashed, with pounds of marijuana and thousands of dollars in cash scattered over them.
Investigators immediately assumed that these murders in a small suburban community outside Boston likely involved some type of illicit drug dispute. But the trail to the perpetrators of the triple homicide soon went cold—until the Marathon bombing.
While the public was still riveted by wall-to-wall news coverage of the bombing, law enforcement began to speculate about the Tsarnaevs’ involvement in the slayings. Tamerlan had been friends and an occasional martial arts and boxing sparring partner with one of the three victims, officials told the media.
But the government’s own story called into question the behavior of law enforcement officials in the same case. Despite the fact that Tamerlan’s link to the murder victims was known then, it appears he was never questioned about the crime. This is just one of the many inexplicable mysteries surrounding Tamerlan’s pre-bombing relationship with authorities.
Pointing the Finger
The Boston bombing somehow changed everything.
Eight days after the attack, the Boston Globe first reported the possible link, and sourced it to an unnamed relative of one of the victims. The families of the victims asked that the investigation be reopened in light of the bombing.
But how solid was this evidence linking the Tsarnaevs to Waltham? All but nonexistent. We know that because Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team in the bombing trial asked prosecutors to share the proof they had of Tamerlan’s involvement in the Waltham murders.
Why does Tamerlan’s participation in a murder have anything to do with his younger brother’s trial for a wholly separate crime, the Marathon Bombing? The defense is trying to gather proof that Tamerlan dominated his younger brother, which would help Dzokhar’s arguments against the death penalty. Presiding Judge George O’Toole ultimately denied the defense request.
Nonetheless, the answer the prosecution gave in court filings demonstrated one thing: that what was leaked to multiple news outlets as evidence was nothing more than innuendo.
In terms of incrimination, all that’s left is the confession by the dead friend of Tamerlan’s, Ibragim Todashev. Which also appears, on close scrutiny, to raise more questions than it answers.
In fact, Boston Magazineuncovered an important inconsistency in Todashev’s description of the crime scene that calls its legitimacy into question. Due to an improper redaction which made the confession public, the magazine was able to compare Todashev’s written description of the victims with what the first eyewitness encountered at the crime scene.
But the first eyewitness to the gruesome scene, Hiba Eltilib, girlfriend of Brendan Mess, said otherwise: “None of their hands were tied as I recall,” she said in an interview.
So here we have another example of the authorities’ early assertions about the Tsarnaevs looking suspiciously shaky under close scrutiny. The Tsarnaevs’ imputed connection to the Waltham murders rests on nothing but a questionable confession by a friend — a man who was later shot down by an FBI investigator while being interrogated. And dead men tell no tales.
Meanwhile, as so often happens in these high-profile cases, the initial allegations are still widely circulating in media accounts, while the later, potentially exculpatory information barely registers in the mind of the public.
Certainly there’s a lot of pressure on public officials to solve particularly horrific crimes like the Waltham murders. But a year-and-a-half after the government’s confident claims of Tamerlan’s guilt, we’re finding out that what they really have is next to nothing.
Can this rush to judgment be blamed on expediency, wishful thinking, or something else?
Highlighted sections of this important GR article by Joaquin Hagopian, published by GR on April 12th, 2015. It would appear that Dzhokhar’s Defense team betrayed him. He pleaded not guilty and his attorney conceded that he was guilty.
With the official government narrative of the 9/11 attack filled with a plethora of lies that have since been subsequently exposed, the next biggest “war on terror” event on US soil that the feds failed to stop was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. And now the lone living suspect from that horrific crime that killed three people, left 17 limbless and injured 264 victims (though that number’s been accused of being purposely inflated) has now been found guilty of all 30 counts after the jury’s 11 hour deliberation earlier this week. As we mark the second anniversary of this tragic event and the second and final phase of the trial beginning on Monday that will decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – whether he’ll live out the rest of his life in prison or be put to death, a critical review of preceding events and developments surrounding his high profile, extremely significant case seems both timely and much needed.
Despite Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleading not guilty to the 30 counts (17 carrying the death penalty) he was charged within a week after the April 15th bombings last year, his lead defense attorney Judy Clark several days ago conceded to the jury that her client was guilty in her closing argument. Apparently blaming the dead brother whose due process was denied became Dzhokhar’s only defense strategy. The defense team insisted that he was coerced and bullied by his older brother into committing alleged acts of terrorism. Considering no real solid proof other than photos placing Dzhokhar and older brother Tamerlan both wearing backpacks at the scene of the crime where the two bombs exploded was even presented at the trial, no justice for either the Tsarnaevs nor the many victims can possibly come from this guilty verdict.
If the purpose of the US judicial system in criminal trials is to ensure that all factual evidence surrounding an alleged crime or crimes be accurately and fairly presented so that the jurors can properly assess the best semblance of the truth as presented by both prosecution and defense in order for the jury to adjudicate and decide a defendant’s true guilt or innocence, this trial was a complete travesty of justice. And if a basic tenet of the justice system in the United States holds that a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty, then again this verdict outcome is an obscene farce and a shameful joke exposing America’s justice system for its gross injustice. Just as the 9/11 commission failed to adequately address and answer dozens of questions that its official narrative failed to deliver, and years earlier the Warren Commission failed JFK and America, so does the prosecution’s case of evidence of Tsarnaev’s guilt fail to be convincing, much less provide definitive and unequivocal proof that the 21-year old Chechen American with his brother committed the Boston Marathon crimes.
And the prime reason why is that so much of the testimony and so called evidence was based on the FBI and local law enforcement’s dishonest versions of events that were based near exclusively on the government’s one star witness’s faulty, changeable, non-credible accounting of events. The identity of this sole witness that even through the trial was never revealed, testified in court by his fake name “Danny.” Later it was learned that Danny’s real name was Dun Meng. A Chinese national finishing his masters at Northeastern University in engineering, during his alleged carjacking, Meng claimed that the deceased brother Tamerlan confessed that he and his younger brother were responsible for both the Marathon bombings as well as the murder of the MIT campus policeman.
Throughout his trial testimony, the key witness maintained constant eye contact with what seemed almost like his handler, Northeastern University criminology professor James Fox. Fox clearly acted as Meng’s coach and gatekeeper ensuring that Fox would be present in a tentative interview with WhoWhatWhy journalist Russ Baker though it turned out Fox made sure it never happened. In a television interview with the immigrant gas station attendant that Meng ran to when he escaped, it was Fox once again guarding his henhouse, making sure the attendant stayed on script, an odd role for a criminology professor. But in a case where the entire story was badly scripted by the feds, necessitating absolute control over all outgoing information to the public, Professor Fox was merely playing his part. And that part also included state propagandist. Samplings from articles he wrote for the Boston Globe, starting with his response to the difficulty of finding a cemetery that would accept Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, he wrote:
I truly understand and appreciate why many folks want nothing to do with the corpse of a man who apparently hated America and our way of life… If and when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were scheduled to die, his name and image would be plastered all over the news, further increasing his undeserved celebrity in the minds of those on the political fringe who view our government as evil and corrupt… The bombing seems to have been an attack against American life, not specifically American lives. Those killed and injured were unfortunate surrogates of the intended target: America and the freedoms we enjoy.”
When the strength of the state’s evidence to convict and execute a man relies solely on one incognito witness whose tightly controlled testimony repeatedly kept changing depending on whom he talked to, how can a guilty verdict be considered legitimate or fair? Virtually the entire guilt or innocence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested on what this one alleged witness claimed, yet he kept changing his story on numerous occasions despite his gatekeeper’s best intentions.
The other so called incriminating evidence used against Dzhokhar was a bogus, totally unbelievable written confession that he is purported to have written in the dark on the inside wall of the boat he was hiding out in. Dzhokhar was supposedly laying there nearly bleeding to death from the alleged gunshot exchange with police a few hours earlier. Yet on video footage the young man is seen emerging unassisted from the boat appearing bloodless and uninjured only to be admitted minutes later to the emergency hospital room in critical condition suffering from a deeply sliced neck wound that prevented him from speaking for weeks. How did that happen while in police custody? And that came after a swarm of police shot a slew of bullet holes into the boat while Tsarnaev supposedly lay there gravely injured.
Just as the French authorities made sure that no prisoners were allowed to be taken alive in the alleged Hebdo Paris crime spree in January, nor in Osama bin Laden’s alleged execution in Pakistan in 2011, nor in the JFK assassination, that barrage of gunfire into that boat by FBI and/or local police was also intended to kill the only suspect. That way the government’s complicity, criminal involvement and subsequent cover-up would have conveniently been eliminated – wiped clean of any messy complications in the form of a suspect trial and the truth inadvertently leaking out. So the US government proceeds with a pseudo-trial that kept the defendant silent and unable to ever present his side of the story. In effect, he may as well have been silenced by the bullets intended to kill him.
Another of the dozens of discrepancies in this case is over how and when older brother Tamerlan actually died. A series of photos of a naked and handcuffed Tamerlan were taken as the police placed him into custody and inside a patrol car. Both CNN and the Boston Globereported that Tamerlan was alive in police custody. Yet the feds’ official line was that after the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven, Tamerlan was killed in the Watertown shootout with the police while Dzhokhar backed the car over him as he made his temporary getaway. It can only be one or the other. The photos don’t lie. Cops do.
For so many incredulous inconsistencies to actually be accepted as convincing “evidence” while so many discrepant facts directly contradict state evidence, and then the “no questions asked” defense and mainstream media throughout the trial passively swallowing it hook, line and sinker in its rush to convict Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (trial being over in less than a month with 95 witnesses) is utterly preposterous and again, a complete and total miscarriage of justice. For nearly two years all the potential defense witnesses were constantly harassed, deported, jailed, and even killed, thus, virtually silencing any chance of a fair defense for Dzhokhar.
But then the propaganda lies built into this case from the start were designed to convict the brothers as the patsy fall guys all along. Going back to the JFK assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald, every false flag operation has its unwitting stooges who are used by the feds as props to take the sole blame. From President Obama to the FBI to their propagandist presstitutes, they were all publicly weighing in their guilty verdicts no sooner than the release of the photos that within days of the bombings identified the two brothers as the only prime suspects, thus prejudicing the entire case, effectively swaying Americans into believing that the one suspect still alive was guilty long before his trial ever began. And we know based on both Obama and the FBI’s track records that they both are constantly lying through their teeth and obviously cannot be trusted. The overwhelming majority of American citizens per last August’s CNN poll, an all-time high of 87%, of Americans simply do not trust their own government, knowing that they are constantly being lied to every day. And with so many blatant holes in the state’s case, anyone half aware and informed of what’s been allowed to go down in the Boston Marathon bombings case would be near 100% certain that the government is once again producing an over-the-top false narrative designed to hide its own criminality. But then the US federal government’s become a militarized dictatorship, part of an international crime cabal that uses state propaganda as effectively as the Nazis ever did.
All kinds of unexplained anomalies are rampant throughout this case. A number of paid mercenaries from Craft International, a paramilitary private security contractor out of Texas (not unlike notorious Blackwater/aka Xe/aka Academi) were also spotted in photos wearing those same black colored government-issued-like backpacks. The question of whether any of them laid their backpack and its contents on the ground never quite came up in the trial. Apparently these guys were part of a Homeland Security training exercise that just happened to be training at the exact same time and place as the so called terrorists on that Boston Marathon day. Think about those odds, kind of like America’s entire national air defense on 9/11 conveniently being absent, purposely diverted to training exercises in the Atlantic just so the 9/11 false flag could be executed as planned. In Boston the unmistakable heavy presence of the military and special ops personnel assembled en-masse instantly on the scene after the marathon explosions is yet another giveaway indicating that the feds had something if not everything to do with this tragedy.
Clearly it was a training exercise alright, Bostonians was used as a guinea pig litmus test for assessing how a large US urban population of over a million people would react to a first practice, simulation dry-run of martial law in America, conveniently prepping us for what’s to come. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act upheld by the US Supreme Court a year ago now permits the US military to invade our homes without warrant, arrest us without charges, and imprison us indefinitely without trial, legal representation or due process. After the marathon bombings the feds’ stand down order issued over an expansive, densely populated metropolitan area to remain in their homes while a massive police state-army dressed and armed for war against its own people without warrants entered thousands of homes with automatic weapons drawn in the largest, monster-scale manhunt in US history searching for one teenager from a family with whom the feds were already very familiar.
Perhaps the most respected independent news team that’s been diligently investigating the Boston Marathon bombings the last two years – WhoWhatWhy – has asserted that older brother Tamerlan was most likely an FBI informant. Through court motions last year Dzhokhar’s defense team submitted evidence that the FBI had approached the older Tsarnaev brother in an effort to recruit him to spy on his fellow Boston Chechen and Muslim community. The US intel community has a verifiably long history both here and around the globe of seeking out troubled youth and young people like the Tsarnaevs as informants in its worldwide clandestine operations.
The FBI and CIA’s common misuse of paying informants to entrap others globally into joining plots of terrorism was well documented in researcher-author Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Between 9/11 and 2011 he confirmed that 508 defendants were recruited by informants paid up to $100,000 in multiple sting operations. In fact, in all but only three high profile cases were the FBI and their informants not involved. Again, this demonstrates that the US government’s calling card around the world reads “Terrorism-R-US,” just another M.O. for squandering hard earned taxpayer dollars to keep its invented “war on terror” very much ongoing and alive forever.
What seems most probable are efforts by the FBI to recruit Tamerlan to become a snitch in the neocons’ self-serving war on terror. Yet this piece of crucial evidence has been purposely withheld from all court proceedings and MSM’s dubious, half-ass coverage. 26-year old Tamerlin was a down on his luck, unemployed boxer whose dream of Olympic gold had been shattered, married to a nurse’s aide working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. Yet WhoWhatWhystates that just two days prior to the bombings, Tamerlan could afford sending his mother in Russia $900 cash along with paying for the backpacks (or were they government issued?), ammunition and bomb-making materials. Yet this critical piece of information was also prohibited from further inquiry during the trial.
Of course the FBI predictably denied any Tsarnaev solicitation to become an informant. Prior to last month’s trial, the US Circuit Court judge presiding over the case explicitly ordered that the brother’s involvement with FBI not be allowed to enter his courtroom during the trial. It remains to be seen if Judge George A. O’Toole will permit the defense to present this critical information during the upcoming sentencing phase. Because the government has so much to hide and has failed to address so many discrepancies in the case for obvious high stakes reasons, it probably won’t be included, which of course only reinforces what many of us already know, that this trial is but a sham for police state propaganda and truth suppression.
Of all the receipts for typical everyday items purchased, the only receipts found in Tamerlan’s pockets were receipts for his self-incriminating bomb-making materials. That’s almost like finding the unblemished passport belonging to the lead 9/11 box-cutter a couple blocks from the towers’ ashes the day after, or the Hebdo gunman’s wallet with ID left carelessly on purpose in the cab so those terrorists could instantly be identified. This calling card pattern smacks of yet another inside job rendition with the same shabby, grubby fed fingerprints carelessly smudged all over it.
Another inconsistent weakness in the prosecution’s case was the sophistication required for making the “pressure-cooker” bombs used at the marathon. Supposedly Tamerlan learned off an al Qaeda internet website where the article’s authors mention the directions being beyond the scope of a novice. Throughout the trial, the prosecution team would go back and forth promoting the notion of the bombs’ complexity whenever it served their purpose. For example, as the reason used to justify the FBI interrogating Dzhokhar for two days straight without reading him his Miranda rights, the FBI suspected that others were also involved, partially based on the bombs seeming more than homemade-like. Yet whenever it would come up as a reason to mitigate seeking the death penalty, the notion of lone wolves would get drummed home every time.
The traces of bomb materials in Tamerlan’s apartment underwent the same flip floppy logic as a transparent prosecution ploy used to convict the younger brother. Three times the feds changed their tune on traces of the bomb material being found in the apartment and whether the brothers had outside help or not. These discrepancies consistently went unchallenged by the defense during the trial as if pre-scripted to let the shady government off the hook in its back and forth rendition of “truth,” protecting the feds’ cover-up lies of discrepancy in order to allow the US government to get away with its incriminating part.
The one thread of unfailing consistency throughout this entire two year story is the constant inconsistencies and the countless conspicuously avoided bottom line questions that smack of inside cover-up. Initially the Tsarnaevs were not the suspects. Apparently once the photos of the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon were made public asking for help in identifying their names, overheard on a Boston police scanner and then scooped up immediately by social media network sources, the names Mike Mulugeta and Sunil Trapathi were erroneously identified as the suspects. The fact that the FBI knew who the two men in those photos were because they had previous dealings with them enough to place them on a no fly list, the FBI willfully lied to America pretending it needed the public’s assistance to identify them. And then the police put out false names of innocent people as suspects. Mike Mulugeta reportedly was shot dead though any actual accounts confirming his death are completely absent. However, East Indian American and Brown University student Sunil Trapathi who had been reported missing since mid-March was found floating face down in pond water in Providence, Rhode Island about a week after the Marathon explosions. What little information about his suspicious death was released through his family and the question of whether the death resulted from foul play is still largely unknown.
More bogus, planted propaganda against the brothers shortly after they were identified as the prime suspects was the FBI claim linking them to the triple murder case in Waltham, Massachusetts that took place on September 11th, 2011. Only during the trial did it come out that there existed absolutely no evidence that Tamerlan was involved. Yet the systematic damage of misinformation supporting the brothers’ guilt was already done, ensuring that in the court of public opinion the Tsarnaevs were guilty as charged right from the get-go.
Here the Tsarnaev brothers were supposedly on a no fly list acting as more evidence supporting prior contact with intelligence agencies, yet Tamerlan was permitted to fly to known terrorist hotbed Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan from January 21, 2012 to July 17, 2012. His family members insist he spent his entire time with family, among them a distant cousin who heads a non-violent organization critical of Western policies toward Islam. Yet his visit was used by prosecution as so called evidence that the older brother was “radicalized” there and came home an inspired terrorist seeking revenge on America.
A New York Times article dated April 20, 2013 suggests that Tamerlan was first approached by the FBI in January 2011 after a return trip from Russia. Russian intelligence services that monitored phone calls in Chechnya warned the FBI in March 2011 that Tamerlan was becoming a potential threat. Thus two plus years well in advance of the bombings, the FBI was already cognizant of Tamerlan’s extremist leaning activities. Yet the FBI allowed him to travel yet again to Russia despite being on a no fly list and less than nine months after his return from that final trip abroad, the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. This damning piece of government evidence makes the feds minimally guilty of criminal gross negligence if not actually a criminal accomplice.
Yet another despicable chapter to this tragic saga is the FBI’s murder of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend in Florida. Within weeks after the Boston bombings, an unarmed Ibragim Todashev was shot by an FBI agent previously reprimanded for excessive force as an Oakland police officer. Initially the FBI lied about the circumstances, falsely claiming Todashev wielded a knife. The victim’s family is suing the FBI for $30 million. Even after admitting the lie about the victim brandishing a weapon, the Justice Department (overseeing the FBI) and a Florida prosecutor cleared the murdering FBI agent of any wrongdoing. The official government’s response that in effect supports such egregious acts of violence toward innocent civilians strongly indicates that the victim knew too much and the crime syndicate’s answer for people aware of the feds’ evildoing is to systematically assassinate those who might incriminate the federal government. Neutralizing perceived threats is standard operating procedure.
As an aside, the Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle who went public shortly after the bombings blasting his nephews as “losers” was married for several years in the 1990’s to the daughter of well-known CIA career officer Graham Fuller. Fuller is the CIA architect for creating the Mujahedeen movement that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, the same outfit whose leader Osama bin Laden emerged as the so called 9/11 al Qaeda mastermind. Fuller was a committed advocate for using Islamic fundamentalists as US proxy war mercenaries. Another coincidence that the CIA VIP’s son-in-law and his nephews came from Chechnya, a hotspot for separatist Muslim terrorist activity?
Once again the United States government appears to be at least complicit in another state crime against its own citizens… and then applying a media blackout to any real investigative reporting that would ask the dozens of questions to get to the truth. Even the defendant’s legal representation abandoned Tsarnaev’s right to a fair trial, and by co-opting to act in accordance with the government’s “no questions asked” implicitly applied gag-rule, it too is complicit in this heinous crime for neither seeking the truth nor any real justice for either the defendants or the scores of victims. The US crime cabal and its fabricated “war on terror” is perpetuated globally, both on US soil and around the world as an ongoing crime against humanity. The truth behind 9/11 is in-our-face, and so is the truth behind these Boston bombings. The criminals in Washington must pay for their crimes.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.
Last month Islamist insurgents including al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, Nusra Front, captured the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Syria’s Idlib province, edging closer to the government-held heartland of Latakia along the coast. In turn, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said army setbacks were part of normal warfare.
Battles have been raging around the hospital on the southwestern outskirts of Jisr al-Shughour, where army forces and allied fighters have been holed up since the extremists’ offensive began. Government forces have endured a series of setbacks on the battlefield and Islamist fighters have edged closer to Assad’s stronghold in the coastal areas.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. The country is focusing its backing on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for the jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to the Islamic State which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate.
It threatens to trump Washington’s own attempt to train so-called “pro-Western opposition fighters”, announced by President Barack Obama a year ago but finally launched only last week. The number of fighters involved is small and, crucially, the State Department insists that they would take the field against Isis and not against the regime. However, official Washington’s attitude has to be examined apart from its real interests. Many refer arising of terroristic entities such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State with US’s activity in the region.
The Army of Conquest is the coalition, whose formation was announced in March, comprises a range of mostly jihadist and Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa and the powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham. Its command center is established in Idlib, northern Syria. Turkish officials admit giving logistical and intelligence support to the command headquarters. Although they deny giving direct help to al-Nusra, they acknowledge that the group would be beneficiaries. Turkish officials claim that bolstering Ahrar al-Sham will weaken the influence of al-Nusra. Material support – arms and money – have been coming from the Saudis, say rebels and officials.
Syria will face greater instability and control by extremist groups as soon as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s momentum in fighting off rebel groups is decreased. U.S. security officials attribute the gains of militants in part to their wide battleground experience and ability to use advanced tactics. There are also marks that extremists have become more coherent in their organization. The U.S. is continuing to argue that it supports only moderate rebels. Meanwhile, U.S. officials pointed out that they still had trouble identifying moderate partners, while al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra and Islamic State were tried to take advantage of any cracks in the government’s control. In account of these facts, question arises. If US has troubles with identifying ‘moderate rebel groups’ and its training of “pro-Western opposition fighters” is failed, which entities is U.S. supporting now?
The Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov met his U.S. counterpart John Kerry, on Tuesday, in the Russian city of Sochi. Addressing the media after the talks, both diplomats stressed that they were on common ground with regards to many issues, including the situation in Syria and the threat of Islamic State terrorists in the region, as well as the Iranian nuclear deal. They also discussed the developing conflict in Yemen. The Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak added that the discussion between the ministers and President Putin will help define priorities and outline a future course in the relations between the two countries.
Despite declarations of a temporary cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into the country, the Saudi-led Arab coalition continued heavy strikes against Yemen’s southwestern city of Abyan and the northern capital of Sanaa Wednesday, killing at least 70.
Strikes apparently targeted weapons caches on the outskirts of Sanaa, producing spectacular explosions and sending up plumes of smoke that were visible for miles. Another barrage of Saudi-led strikes reportedly decimated a Houthi convoy traveling in the south Wednesday morning.
The strikes have continued despite Saudi promises of a truce aimed at allowing UN agencies to distribute humanitarian aid to Yemeni cities, where hundreds of thousands of Yemenis face desperate shortages of food, drinkable water, electricity and other basic necessities. At least 700,000 Yemenis are in need of food assistance, according to UN estimates.
For weeks, the Saudi blockade, reinforced by the US Navy, has prevented essential supplies from reaching port, leaving millions without reliable access to water and crippling Yemeni medical centers, which are already battling dire supply shortages.
Estimates place the total number of dead as a result of the Saudi-led assault at around 1,500, with the vast majority believed to be civilians. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been driven from their homes and become refugees since the war began in late March.
US drones also attacked targets inside Yemen this week, including government buildings in the port city of Al Mukalla Wednesday. The US drone strikes may have targeted several members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to sources cited by Fox News.
Officials in Tehran announced Wednesday that an Iranian cargo ship has sailed for Yemen loaded with humanitarian supplies. The announcement marks a further escalation of tensions between the US, Saudi and Iranian naval forces now massing around the strategically critical choke-points on either side of the Arabian Peninsula, the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
Recent weeks have seen the strategic waterways transformed into “a tinder box,” according to a commercial risk assessment expert who spoke with Reuters.
US officials immediately denounced the Iranian move as a “political stunt” intended to provoke Washington and Riyadh. Pentagon officials insisted that the Iranian vessel reroute to Djibouti and hand over its cargo for inspection by US and UN officials.
Some 2,000 US Marines are standing by to intervene against any attempt to break the Saudi blockade of Yemen, a US Navy officer told Fox News.
Saudi warships have already begun imposing forced inspections of all ships seeking to dock at Yemeni ports. Saudi officials have insisted publicly that no Iranian vessels will be allowed to reach Yemen without being boarded and thoroughly searched.
Iranian officials responded to US warnings with rhetorical shows of defiance. Any efforts by the US or the Saudi navies to intercept the vessel could “spark a war in the region,” an Iranian military officer warned Wednesday.
Continued reports of intense fighting on the ground have underscored the fact that, official truces notwithstanding, the conflict is escalating. Major clashes continued in Yemen’s southern capital of Aden, where weeks of fighting between the Houthis and militants aligned with the deposed US- and Saudi-backed government have devastated large areas of the city.
Saudi coalition warships joined the action Wednesday, shelling targets including fuel tanks near the historic port city. Artillery barrages fell on residential neighborhoods in Taiz Wednesday as Houthi fighters battled local militants for control of the city.
From the beginning, the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen has been backed by the United States, which is determined to retain control over the geostrategically critical country. In remarks Wednesday while meeting with officials from Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE in Paris, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Obama administration is prepared to reach a “clearer defense arrangement between the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] and other friendly countries and the United States.”
The US is prepared to offer the Gulf elites “a series of new commitments that will create between the US and GCC a new security understanding, a new set of security initiatives that will take us beyond anything we have had before,” Kerry said.
Kerry’s comment came in response to requests from US imperialism’s regional allies that the US formally recognize them as strategic allies on the same level as the NATO powers and Japan.
To discuss the matter, US President Barack Obama is scheduled to hold private meetings with six leading representatives of the Saudi and Gulf dynasties, including several kings, emirs and sultans, at Camp David this week. The meetings aim to assuage fears on the part of the US-allied regimes that the administration’s negotiations with Iran will undercut their own regional interests, which conflict with those of Tehran.
Saudi skittishness over a possible US-Iranian rapprochement likely explains the sudden cancellation of Saudi King Salman’s plans to attend the Camp David meetings.
Nonetheless, in comments to a recent conference at the Atlantic Council, UAE ambassador Yousef Otaiba made clear that the Gulf regimes are prepared to make compromises and “work together” with the Obama administration to secure whatever forms of strategic support Washington remains prepared to offer.
The Saudis and their Gulf partners ultimately “do not have a viable alternative strategic partnership in Moscow or Beijing,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace researcher Karim Sadjadpour told the New York Times this week.
In official statements Wednesday afternoon, White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said that the US is not prepared to sign a NATO-style pact with the Arab states.
“A treaty is not what we are looking for. It took decades to build NATO and the Asian allies,” Rhodes said. The US can still “provide clear assurances that we will come to their defense,” Rhodes said.
Saudi and Gulf state demands for recognition as full strategic partners of US imperialism represent a grave warning to the Middle Eastern and international working class. National and sectarian-based conflicts, long incited and manipulated by Washington in the service of US domination of the Middle East, are threatening to ignite all-out war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The imminent possibility of such a conflict is increasingly acknowledged in the bourgeois press. “Middle East giants Saudi Arabia and Iran are squaring up on opposing sides in the Yemen war,” Reuters noted in the opening lines of its report Wednesday.
A 17-year-old teenager was remanded in custody on Monday after facing a children’s court in Melbourne on unspecified charges of “engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act” and “possessing things connected with a terrorist act.”
For the second time in two weeks, alarming police claims and media reports about teenagers planning imminent terrorist attacks—first on April 25 (the “Anzac Day plot”) and then May 10 (the “Mother’s Day plot”)—have proven to be dubious.
Last weekend, federal and state police chiefs claimed to have foiled a bombing, just in time, that would definitely have killed people. “As a result of Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police [AFP] interception, some Victorians are going to be alive because of it,” AFP Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan told a media conference.
“Mother’s Day bomb plot: Teen allegedly blocked family and friends from Facebook posts” was the headline in the Sunday Herald Sun, a Melbourne tabloid. According to the Fairfax Media’s Age:
“Up to three teenagers have been arrested in relation to a Melbourne terror plot that was reportedly set to be carried out on Mother’s Day. A 14-year-old boy in Sydney was also arrested in relation to the ‘imminent threat’.”
Ending any hopes of the teenager receiving a fair trial, Prime Minister Tony Abbott seized on the raids to launch another terrorism scare campaign. “There is evidence of a bomb plot that was in a reasonably advanced state of preparation,” he declared last Saturday.
However, by the time that the 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, appeared in court on Monday, the police had admitted they had no evidence of any attack planned for May 10, or any other specific date. Nor could they nominate a supposed targeted location.
The police also revealed that no other arrests had been made, and they were not investigating any other suspect. No connection was alleged to the 14-year-old reportedly detained in Sydney.
AFP Deputy Commissioner Phelan stated: “We may not know exactly where it was going to occur nor when it was exactly going to occur, but … let me tell you, something was going to happen.”
Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Cartwright said there was no evidence the teenager planned on attacking a specific event. Nevertheless, the police chief sought to continue the atmosphere of crisis. “We will allege he was well advanced in preparing a bomb,” he maintained.
This claim contradicted the earlier police accounts of detecting three “suspected improvised explosives devices” and detonating them in a local park. That operation, conducted by heavily-suited bomb disposal personnel, was designed to give the impression that bombs actually existed.
Cartwright said investigators were not looking for anyone else in connection with any plot, but were exploring the possibility of online radicalisation. His statement underscored the focus on the teenager’s political views, which voiced hostility to the atrocities being committed by the US and its allies throughout the Middle East.
Cartwright declared that, under existing legislation, the teenager could face an adult court, despite his youth. Media proprietors also applied to the children’s court judge to publicly name the boy. This was refused, but the judge said the application could be revisited at a later date.
Media interviews with members of the 17-year-old’s family gave a picture of the terrifying manner in which balaclava-clad Special Operations Group police officers armed with assault rifles stormed their house last Friday. The operation was clearly intended to send a wider signal to working people of the powers of the police to shoot to kill.
The boy’s mother first thought the police were “some type of terrorist group,” she told the Sunday Herald Sun.
“I thought I was being shot at, I thought I was going to be killed,” she said. The police shot at her car as she backed out of the driveway. “[T]hey started shooting into the tyres, around the car … five or six times,”
Police sources claimed the bangs were flash charges, thrown beneath the car to distract the teenager. But family members said police, with automatic weapons drawn, pulled the 17-year-old from the car and yelled at his mother to get out.
The boy’s sister, who watched the scene from the house, rushed outside, only to be confronted by three police with drawn guns who yelled “do not move.” The sister screamed to her friend to “call the cops” but the armed men answered back, “We are the cops.”
Questions remain about the timing of the operation. Police said there was an anonymous tip to the national security hotline nine days earlier. The raid was only launched once an attack was “imminent.” Now that claim has been abandoned.
Two weeks earlier, both Abbott’s Liberal-National government and the Victorian state Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews exploited the arrests of five other teenagers to urge people to turn out in large numbers to attend the Anzac Day ceremonies marking the centenary of the disastrous British-led invasion of Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula during World War I.
The vague charges laid against the 17-year-old highlight the political and legal purposes of a crucial amendment to the terrorism laws that was rammed through the Australian parliament in November 2005 by the Howard Liberal-National government, with the full support of the Labor Party and the Greens.
That amendment changed the wording of all terrorism offences from “the” to “a” terrorist act. That has allowed the police to arrest and successfully prosecute people without having to show evidence of any specific terrorist act. Nothing has to be proven about any time, place, date, target, method or equipment used—simply that “a” terrorist act was being plotted, even a hypothetical one.
In a manufactured atmosphere of national crisis, all the parliamentary parties, including the Greens, lined up behind the government in rushing the amendment through both houses of parliament within 36 hours. Prime Minister John Howard claimed he had received “specific intelligence” about a “potential terrorist threat.”
For electoral reasons, the Greens have postured at times as critics of aspects of the police-state terrorism laws, while mostly proposing cosmetic modifications. When the World Socialist Web Site exposed their role in backing the amendment, they protested, claiming that the change had “no discernible impact.”
In reality, the amendment opened vast new scope for police-government frame-ups and “terrorist” scare campaigns. Last weekend’s raids are the just the latest in a long line of cases that have relied on the shift from “the” to “a.”
By voting for the key amendment, the Greens displayed their broader role of lending legitimacy to the fraudulent “war on terror.” Its real purpose has become increasingly clear—to provide a pretext for escalating US-led militarism in the Middle East, and for the ripping up of basic democratic rights and civil liberties at home.
US concerns about Iran’s well-known peaceful nuclear program were always red herring cover for its real aim – regime change, replacing Iranian sovereignty with stooge governance Washington controls.
However P5+1 one talks conclude by around end of June, US business as usual remains unchanged.
Washington wants Iranian independence destroyed. Israel wants its main regional rival eliminated, ideally balkanized into impotent mini-states under Western control.
In an interview with Saudi Arabian owned and operated Al Arabiya News, Obama declared Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism” – months after National Intelligence director James Clapper said this designation no longer applied to Tehran.
In his annual report to the US Senate, he highlighted Iran’s “intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia.”
Obama reversed policy by outrageously claiming “Iran clearly engages in dangerous and destabilizing behavior in different countries across the region. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism.”
“supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen.”
“So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations.”
“When it comes to Iran’s future, I cannot predict Iran’s internal dynamics. Within Iran, there are leaders and groups that for decades have defined themselves in opposition to both the United States and our regional partners.”
“I’m not counting on any nuclear deal to change that.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif blasted Obama’s remarks saying “(t)he US has resorted to projecting blame on others in order to appease its regional allies.”
Obama’s “statements are merely a repetition of his previous unfounded accusations to appease his allies” – Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.
“Our policies in the region are based on consolidating friendship and cooperation as well as conducting responsible acts to reinforce stability and guarantee regional security.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham responded to John Kerry claiming Iran seeks regional destabilization, saying:
“The allegations of certain US officials about what they call ‘Iran’s destabilizing acts in the region’ are completely rejected.”
“Instability in the region is rooted in the foreign interference in the region’s affairs and this (foreign meddling) threatens security and stability and prevents deep cooperation and strong and constructive interaction based on mutual interests among the regional states.”
Afkham blasted Washington hypocrisy – its double standard approach to terrorist groups, supporting the region’s most extremist exponents.
On Wednesday, John Kerry lied saying
“Iran needs to recognize that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilized or while people engage in over warfare across lines – international boundaries – in other countries.”
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
According to evidence unearthed from the archives of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the United States, it has been established that Monsanto was fully aware of the potential of glyphosate to cause cancer in mammals as long ago as 1981.
Recently the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a statement in which glyphosate (the main component of Roundup herbicide) was classified as “probably carcinogenic” to humans and as “sufficiently demonstrated” for genotoxicity in animals (1). This announcement of a change to toxicity class 2A was given vast coverage in the global media, causing Monsanto to move immediately into damage limitation mode. The corporation demanded the retraction of the report, although it has not yet been published! Predictably, there was more fury from the industry-led Glyphosate Task Force (2). This Task Force also sponsored a “rebuttal” review article (3) from a team of writers with strong links with the biotechnology industry; but because of the clear bias demonstrated in this paper (which suggests that glyphosate has no carcinogenic potential in humans) it is best ignored until it has been carefully scrutinized by independent researchers (4).
With Monsanto continuing to protest that glyphosate and Roundup are effectively harmless (5) if used according to instructions, in spite of accumulating evidence to the contrary, we undertook a search through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) records with a view to finding out what was known about glyphosate at the time of its initial registration. This followed up earlier investigations by Sustainable Pulse which highlighted a sudden change in the EPA view on toxicity in 1991. What was discovered was very revealing. There were many animal experiments (using rats, mice and dogs) designed to test the acute and chronic toxicity of glyphosate in the period 1978-1986, conducted by laboratories such as Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto and submitted for EPA consideration. Two of these reports relate to a three-generation reproduction study in rats (6) (7), and another is called “A Lifetime Feeding Study Of Glyphosate In Rats” (8); but like all the other older studies they were and still are treated as Trade Secrets and cannot be freely accessed for independent scrutiny. That in itself is suggestive that the studies contain data which Monsanto still does not wish to be examined by experts in the toxicology field. It is also deeply worrying that EPA acceded to the routine Monsanto requests for secrecy on the flimsiest of pretexts.
However, archived and accessible EPA Memos from the early 1980′s do give some indications as to what the rat studies contain (9). Although the studies predate the adoption of international test guidelines and GLP standards they suggest that there was significant damage to the kidneys of the rats in the 3-generational study — the incidence of tubular dilation in the kidney was higher in every treated group of rats when compared to controls. Tubular dilation and nephrosis was also accompanied by interstitial fibrosis in all test groups and in some of the lumens the researchers found amorphous material and cellular debris. Less than a third of the control rats showed signs of tubular dilation. In the rat study results, the changes in the bladder mucosa are significant because metabolites, concentrated by the kidneys, have led to hyperplasia that could be considered as a very early and necessary step in tumour initiation. EPA was worried in 1981 that these indications were sinister, and at first declined to issue a NOEL (no observed adverse effect level) — it asked for further information and additional research. In its 1982 Addendum, Monsanto presented evidence that minimised the effects and confused the data — and on that basis EPA accepted that glyphosate was unlikely to be dangerous. But Monsanto knew that scrutiny of the data in the studies would potentially threaten its commercial ambitions, and so it asked for the research documents concerned to be withheld and treated as Trade Secrets. So there was no effective independent scrutiny. Monsanto and EPA connived in keeping these documents away from unbiased expert assessment, in spite of the evidence of harm. (It is clear that EPA was thinking about carcinogenic effects — it knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused tumorigenic growth and kidney disease but dismissed the finding as “a mystery” in order to set the NOEL for the chemical and bring it to market.)
In the rat studies, the glyphosate doses fed to the test groups were 1/100 of those used in a later mouse study (9). It is unclear why these very small doses were decided upon by Monsanto and accepted by EPA, since there must be a suspicion that the studies were manipulated or designed to avoid signs of organ damage. In its 1986 Memo, EPA remarked on the very low doses, and said that no dose tested was anywhere near the “maximally tolerated dose.” Then the Oncogenicity Peer Review Committee said: “At doses close to an MTD, tumours might have been induced.” A repeat rat study was asked for. However, BioDynamics (which conducted the research for Monsanto) used data from three unrelated studies, which they conducted in house, as historical controls to create “experimental noise” and to diminish the importance of the results obtained by experiment.
In a 1983 mouse study conducted by Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto (10), there was a slight increase in the incidence of renal tubular adenomas (benign tumours) in males at the highest dose tested. Malignant tumours were found in the higher dose group. However, “it was the judgment of two reviewing pathologists that the renal tumors were not treatment-related”. Other effects included centrilobular hypertrophy and necrosis of hepatocytes, chronic interstitial nephritis, and proximal tubule epithelial cell basophilia and hypertrophy in females. The EPA committee determined there was a “weak oncogenic response” — so evidence was suggestive of early malignancy. The EPA Science Advisory Panel was asked for advice, and they said the data were equivocal and called for further studies in mice and rats. A further report was delivered in 1985. Part of the reason for this dithering was the prevalent but false EPA belief that all physiological effects had to be dose-related: namely, the higher the dose, the greater the effect.
Even though pre-cancerous conditions were imperfectly understood 35 years ago, and cortical adenomas in kidney were not thought dangerous at the time, the evidence from the Memos is that Monsanto, BioDynamics Inc and the EPA Committees involved were fully aware, probably before 1981, of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate when fed to mammals. In the Memos there are references to many more “secret” animal experiments and data reviews, which simply served to confuse the regulators with additional conflicting data. Thus EPA publicly accepted the safety assurances of the Monsanto Chief of Product Safety, Robert W. Street, and the status of the product was confirmed for use in the field (11). But behind the scenes, according to a later EPA memo (in 1991), its own experts knew before 1985 that glyphosate causes pancreatic, thyroid and kidney tumors.
On the EPA website (last updated 31.10.2014) reference is made to five Monsanto studies of 1980 – 1985, and it is noteworthy that these studies have not been made public in the light of current knowledge about malignant tumours and pre-cancerous conditions (12). Neither have they been revisited or reinterpreted by Monsanto and EPA, although one 1981 rat study and one 1983 mouse study are mentioned in the recent review by Greim et al (2015) (3). Following the conclusion that glyphosate was “not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity” nothing in the EPA advice about this chemical has changed since 1990. Given the recent assessment by the WHO Panel, and given the flood of scientific papers relating to health damage associated with glyphosate (13) the EPA attitude smacks of complacency and even incompetence.
Speaking for GM-Free Cymru, Dr Brian John says: “The evidence shows that by 1981 both Monsanto and the EPA were aware of malignant tumours and pre-cancerous conditions in the test animals which were fed small doses of glyphosate in the secret feeding experiments. Although concerns were expressed at the time by EPA committees, these concerns were later suppressed under the weight of conflicting evidence brought forward by Monsanto, some of it involving the inappropriate use of historical control data of dubious quality. None of these studies is available for independent examination (14). That is a scandal in itself. There has been a protracted and cynical cover-up in this matter (15). Glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen”, as now confirmed by the WHO Working Group, and no matter what protestations may now come from Monsanto and the EPA, they have been fully aware of its potential to cause cancer for at least 35 years. If they had acted in a precautionary fashion back then, instead of turning a blind eye to scientific malpractice (16), glyphosate would never have been licensed, and thousands of lives might have been saved.”
Retired Academic Pathologist Dr Stanley Ewen says: “Glyphosate has been implicated in human carcinogenesis by IARC and it is remarkable that, as early as 1981, glyphosate was noted to be associated with pre neoplastic changes in experimental mice. This finding was never revealed by the regulatory process and one might therefore expect to see human malignancy increasing on the record in the ensuing years. John Little (personal communication) has demonstrated an unexpected and alarming 56% upsurge in malignancy in England in those under 65 in the past 10 years. Presumably British urinary excretion of glyphosate is similar to the documented urine levels in Germany, and therefore everyone is at risk. The effect of glyphosate on endocrine tissue such as breast and prostate, or even placenta, is disruptive at least and an increased incidence of endocrine neoplasia is likely to be seen in National Statistics. The Glyphosate Task Force denies the involvement of glyphosate in human malignancy despite their knowledge of many reports of lymphomas and pituitary adenomas in experimental animals dosed with glyphosate. On the other hand, Prof. Don Huber at a recent meeting in the Palace of Westminster, has warned of severe consequences if rampant glyphosate consumption is not reined in. I feel sure that the suppression of the experimental results of 1981 has enhanced the global risk of malignancy.”
Toxico-pathologist Professor Vyvyan Howard says: “”The drive towards transparency in the testing of pharmaceuticals is gathering pace with legislation in the EU, USA and Canada being developed. All trials for licensed drugs will likely have to become available in the public domain. In my opinion the case with agrochemicals should be no different. At least with pharmaceuticals exposure is voluntary and under informed consent. There are several biomonitoring studies which demonstrate that there is widespread exposure of human populations to glyphosate, presumably without informed consent. Given the clear level of mistrust over the licensing of this herbicide and the emerging epidemiological evidence of its negative effects there can, in my opinion, be no case whatsoever for keeping the toxicological studies, used to justify licencing, a secret. They should be put in the public domain.”
Research scientist Dr Anthony Samsel says: “Monsanto’s Trade Secret studies of glyphosate show significant incidence of cell tumors of the testes and tumorigenic growth in multiple organs and tissues. They also show significant interstitial fibrosis of the kidney including effects in particular to the Pituitary gland, mammary glands, liver, and skin. Glyphosate has significant effects to the lungs indicative of chronic respiratory disease. Glyphosate has an inverse dose response relationship, and it appears that its effects are highly pH dependent. Both Monsanto and the EPA knew of the deleterious effects of this chemical in 1980 at the conclusion of their multiple long-term assessments, but the EPA hid the results of their findings as “trade secrets.” Monsanto has been lying and covering up the truth about glyphosate’s harmful effects on public health and the environment for decades. The increases in multiple chronic diseases, seen since its introduction into the food supply, continue to rise in step with its use. Monsanto’s Roundup glyphosate based herbicides have a ubiquitous presence as residues in the food supply directly associated with its crop use. Nations must stand together against Monsanto and other chemical companies who continue to destroy the biosphere. We are all part of that biosphere and we are all connected. What affects one affects us all.”
(1) Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate (2015) Kathryn Z Guyton, Dana Loomis, Yann Grosse, Fatiha El Ghissassi, Lamia Benbrahim-Tallaa, Neela Guha, Chiara Scoccianti, Heidi Mattock, Kurt Straif, on behalf of the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group, IARC, Lyon, France Lancet Oncol 2015. Published Online March 20, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S1470-2045(15)70134-8 International Agency for Research on Cancer 16 Volume 112: Some organophosphate insecticides and herbicides: tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon and glyphosate. IARC Working Group. Lyon; 3–10 March 2015. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risk Chem Hum (in press).
(3) Helmut Greim, David Saltmiras, Volker Mostert, and Christian Strupp (2015) REVIEW ARTICLE: Evaluation of carcinogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate, drawing on tumor incidence data from fourteen chronic/carcinogenicity rodent studies. Crit Rev Toxicol, 2015; Early Online: 1–24 DOI: 10.3109/10408444.2014.1003423
(4) Not only is this paper written by authors who have strong industry links, but the 14 carcinogenicity studies assessed are carefully selected industry studies which have not been peer-reviewed and published in mainstream scientific journals. All of the studies were conducted for clients (like Monsanto) who would have experienced gigantic commercial repercussions if anything “inconvenient” had been reported upon, with glyphosate already in use across the world. Therefore the possibility of fraud and data manipulation cannot be ruled out. The 14 studies are all secret, and cannot be examined by independent toxicology experts. The fact that the review article in question reproduces (as online supplementary material) a series of tables and data sets is immaterial, since the data are useless in the absence of clear explanations of the laboratory protocols and practices of the research teams involved.
(6) “A Three-Generation Reproduction Study in Rats with Glyphosate” (Final Report; Bio/dynamics Project No. 77-2063; March 31, 1981) — submitted by Monsanto to EPA
(7) “Addendum to Pathology Report for a Three-Generation Reproduction Study in Rats with Glyphosate. R.D. #374; Special Report MSL-1724; July 6, 1982″ EPA Registration No 524-308, Action Code 401. Accession No 247793. CASWELL#661A” — submitted by Monsanto to EPA
(8) “A Lifetime Feeding Study Of Glyphosate In Rats” (Report by GR Lankas and GK Hogan from Bio/dynamics for Monsanto. Project #77-2062, 1981: MRID 00093879) — submitted by Monsanto to EPA and Addendum Report #77-2063
(10) Knezevich, AL and Hogan, GK (1983) “A Chronic Feeding study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical) in Mice”. Project No 77-2061. Bio/dynamics Inc for Monsanto. Accession No #251007-251014 — document not available but cited in EPA 1986 Memo. Follow-up study: McConnel, R. “A chronic feeding study of glyphosate (Roundup technical) in mice: pathology report on additional kidney sections”. Unpublished project no. 77-2061A, 1985, submitted to EPA by BioDynamics, Inc.
(12) Monsanto Company. 1981a. MRID No. 0081674, 00105995. Available from EPA. Write to FOI, EPA, Washington, DC 20460. Monsanto Company. 1981b. MRID No. 00093879. Available from EPA. Write to FOI, EPA, Washington, DC 20460. Monsanto Company. 1985. MRID No. 00153374. Available from EPA. Write to FOI, EPA, Washington, DC 20460. Monsanto Company. 1980a. MRID No. 00046362. Available from EPA. Write to FOI, EPA, Washington, DC 20460. Monsanto Company. 1980b. MRID No. 00046363. Available from EPA. Write to FOI, EPA, Washington, DC 20460.
(14) That having been said, Monsanto has allowed access to selected later reports to selected researchers (Greim et al, 2015). It is still uncertain whether these selected reports are available in full, for detailed independent scrutiny — even though there can now be no possible justification for “trade secret” designation, following the lapse of the US glyphosate patent in 2000.
(15) http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/03/26/who-glyphosate-report-ends-thirty-year-cancer-cover-up/ In 1985 the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate was first considered by an EPA panel, called the Toxicology Branch Ad Hoc Committee. The Committee then classified glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen on the basis of its carcinogenic potential. This classification was changed by the EPA in 1991 to a Class E category on the basis of “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans”. Mysteriously this change in glyphosate’s classification occurred during the same period that Monsanto was developing its first Roundup-Ready (glyphosate-resistant) GM Crops. Not for the first time, commercial considerations were allowed to trump public health concerns. The EPA scale of cancer-forming potential of substances: Group A: Carcinogenic to humans Group B: Likely to be carcinogenic to humans Group C: Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential Group D: Inadequate information to assess carcinogenic potential Group E: Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans
(16) Wikipedia 2012: Internal EPA Memos Document Fraud 1983 EPA Scientist on EPA’s public stance: “Our viewpoint is one of protecting the public health when we see suspicious data.” Unfortunately, EPA has not taken that conservative viewpoint in its assessment of glyphosate’s cancer causing potential.” “There are no studies available to NCAP evaluating the carcinogenicity of Roundup or other glyphosate-containing products. Without such tests, the carcinogenicity of glyphosate-containing products is unknown.” “Tests done on glyphosate to meet registration requirements have been associated with fraudulent practices.” “Countless deaths of rats & mice are not reported.” “Data tables have been fabricated” “There is a routine falsification of data”
The fate of Ukraine’s agricultural sector is on shaky ground. Last year, the Oakland Institute reported that over 1.6 million hectares (ha) of land in Ukraine are now under the control of foreign-based corporations. Further research has allowed for the identification of additional foreign investments. Some estimates now bring the total of Ukrainian farmland controlled by foreign companies to over 2.2 million ha;1 however, research has also identified important grey areas around land tenure in the country, and who actually controls land in Ukraine today is difficult to ascertain.
The companies and shareholders behind foreign land acquisitions in Ukraine span many different parts of the world. The Danish “Trigon Agri,” for example, holds over 52,000 ha. Trigon was established in 2006 using start-up capital from Finnish “high net worth individuals.” The company is traded in Stockholm (NASDAQ), and its largest shareholders include: JPM Chase (UK, 9.5 percent); Swedbank (Sweden, 9.4 percent); UB Securities (Finland, 7.9 percent); Euroclear Bank (Belgium, 6.6 percent); and JP Morgan Clearing Corp (USA, 6.2 percent).
AgroGeneration, which holds 120,000 ha of Ukrainian farmland, is incorporated in France, with over 62 percent of its shares managed by SigmaBleyzer, a Texas-based investment company.
US pension fund NCH Capital holds 450,000 ha. The company began in 1993 and boasts being some of the earliest western investors in Ukraine after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Over the past decade, the company has systematically leased out small parcels of agricultural land (around two to six hectares in size) across Ukraine, aggregating these into large-scale farms that now operate industrially. According to NCH Capital’s General Partner, George Rohr, the leases give the company the right to buy the currently-leased farmland once the moratorium on the sale of land in Ukraine is lifted.
Another subset of companies have Ukrainian leadership, often a mix of domestic and foreign investment, and may be incorporated in tax havens like Cyprus, Austria, and Luxembourg. Some of them are also led by Ukrainian oligarchs. For instance, UkrLandFarming controls the country’s largest land-bank, totalling 654,000 ha of land. 95 percent of the shares of UkrLandFarming are owned by multi-millionaire Oleg Bakhmatyuk with the remaining five percent having been recently sold to Cargill. Similarly, Yuriy Kosiuk, Ukraine’s fifth richest man, is the CEO of MHP, one of the country’s largest agricultural companies, which holds over 360,000 ha of farmland.
With the onset of the political crisis, several of these mostly Ukrainian-based companies have descended into crisis themselves. One example is Cyprus-incorporated Mriya Agro Holding, which holds a land-bank of close to 300,000 ha. In 2014, the company’s website (which is no longer available online) indicated that 80 percent of the shares of Mriya Agro Holding are/were owned by the Guta family (Ukrainian), who hold primary leadership positions in the company. The remaining 20 percent are/were listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
According to news sources, in summer 2014 the company defaulted on its payments for two large Eurobonds, putting its future into question. The company first enlisted the support of US-based Blackstone Group and Ukrainian-based Dragon Capital, both of whom withdrew support after only one month; and later, the international auditing and financial service firm, Deloitte. An international bondholder committee was struck, comprised of several US and UK-based investment groups (including CarVal Investors – Cargill’s investment arm), which together own over 50 percent of the debt owed on Mriya’s 2018 Eurobonds and 15 percent of the 2016 Eurobonds. The future of this firm is unclear with some sources suggesting a risk of bankruptcy.
Other Ukrainian-owned companies incorporated in tax havens are also experiencing difficulties. Sintal Agriculture Public Ltd (based in Cyprus, traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as of 2008, and holding almost 150,000 ha of land) ceased trading in shares on January 29, 2014 “until further notice” after bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against the company. In 2013, its website (now also defunct) indicated that 36.3 percent of the company was free floating shares.
The potential bankruptcy of these corporations, and the involvement of Western investors in the crisis management, raises questions about the fate of the agricultural land they hold. At this time, it is not clear how control over the agricultural lands in question will be addressed and what the role of foreign companies and funds who have invested in these companies will be. However, if things progress in a similar way to neighboring Romania, foreign control of this land could transpire.
Romania has a similar story of dissolving collectivized farms, giving land titles to collective farm workers, and imposing a moratorium on the sale of agricultural land. Loopholes in the country’s national legislation have created opportunities for foreign control of land via bankruptcy proceedings. As documented by Judith Bouniol, the bankruptcy of national agribusinesses has provided a gateway for foreign control of Romania’s farmland.
It is far from clear if the same scenario could take place in Ukraine. However, this lesson from Romania emphasizes the importance of keeping close watch on these agricultural land deals. In addition, the murky situation around land ownership in Ukraine raises many questions. Perhaps the most important is whether the growing concentration of Ukrainian land in the hands of a few oligarchs and foreign corporations can benefit the country, its people, and its economy.
1 Two land investment databases were accessed over the past year: the Land Matrix accessed in July 2014 and April 2015, and GRAIN’s 2012 data set on land investments worldwide. Taken individually, these databases suggest foreign land acquisitions of between 997,000 ha to 1.7M ha. When consolidated, individual deals reported by these databases represent over 2.2M ha of land in Ukraine.
While some agencies in Brazil have been busy giving 3 new GMO crops green lights, the country’s public prosecutor has written the Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) asking it to urgently re-evaluate their stance on the ‘likely carcinogenic’ herbicide ingredient, glyphosate. The letter was written with an expectation that the agency will ban the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best selling herbicide.
In addition to this request, the prosecutor would like ANVISA to revoke authorizations for any GMO crops which were created to be used with glyphosate. This means most of the crops, since biotech has based almost their entire marketing campaign on ‘Round Up Ready” seed – engineered to withstand copious amounts of glyphosate.
The prosecutor’s urgent request comes after the IARC, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, admitted that glyphosate was ‘probably carcinogenic.’ The prosecutor is joined by thousands around the globe who seem to have been waiting for a claim such as this one by the WHO to feel confident enough to voice their own worries about glyphosate.
The public prosecutor only now seems to stand for the public, and has launched an investigation into whether regulatory authorizations for glyphosate-tolerant transgenics are even legal.
The public prosecutor has asked the CTNBio, the agency that granted the authorizations in Brazil, for copies of all regulatory documents relating to the commercial release of glyphosate-tolerant GMOs.
ANVISA is waiting on the IARC to publish a report on glyphosate before making a decision about whether or not to ban the toxic chemical. Thus far, only an executive summary has been published in the Lancet.
Furthermore, Brazil’s consideration of banning Monsanto’s chemical concoction is still way ahead of America’s steps to do the same. Further, while US garden and DIY stores are still selling cancer-causing poison in a jug, a German retail giant announced that it will no longer carry glyphosate-containing products as of September 30, 2015.
Where are America’s actions? Even our presidential candidates are still pushing poison GMOs.
Fidel is a living legend – bigger than life, remarkable by any standard, a hero to Cubans and millions worldwide.
He recovered from serious illness that nearly took him. His inner strength and redoubtable spirit saved him. He’s an inspiration to us all.
In August, he’ll reach age 89. His intellect and spirit remain strong. The flesh isn’t what it used to be – nor for most anyone after 80 years.
He still writes occasional articles and reflections – always with important thoughts to convey – this time on “Our right to be Marxist-Leninists.”
His article was published the day before Russia’s stunning V-Day commemoration – a glorious tribute to millions of heroes who saved their Motherland, Europe and beyond from the scourge of fascism.
It didn’t die. It’s resurgent in Europe’s heartland. It’s headquarters shifted from Berlin to Washington.
It threatens humanity’s survival more than ever before. Perhaps Russia allied with China and other independent countries will save us – hopefully before America’s war machine kills us all.
Castro called Lenin
“a brilliant revolutionary strategist who did not hesitate in assuming the ideas of Marx and implementing them in an immense and only partly industrialized country, whose proletariat party became the most radical and courageous on the planet in the wake of the greatest slaughter that capitalism had caused in the world, where for the first time tanks, automatic weapons, aviation and poison gases made an appearance in wars, and even a legendary cannon capable of launching a heavy projectile more than 100 kilometers made its presence felt in the bloody conflict.”
The war to end all wars spawned new ones – endless ones preventing peace and stability.
Castro quoted comments he made 23 years ago at a UN Conference on the Environment and Development, saying:
“An important biological species is in danger of disappearing given the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural life-sustaining conditions: man.”
He didn’t “know at that time, how close we were to this,” he said – today closer than ever before.
Honoring Russia on the 70th anniversary of its Great Patriotic War victory, Castro “put on record (his) profound admiration for the heroic Soviet people, who provided humankind an enormous service.”
Today he noted the “solid” Sino/Russian alliance – “both countries with their close cooperation, modern science and powerful armies and brave soldiers…”
They “constitute a powerful shield of world peace and security, so that the life of our species may be preserved.”
“Physical and mental health, and the spirit of solidarity are norms which must prevail, or the future of humankind, as we know it, will be lost forever.” Castro explained.
“The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War, also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninists, communists, and leave the dark ages behind.”
The scourge of US imperial lawlessness risks darker than ever dark times. Heroic figures like Castro are needed to save us.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
Yes, I saw the glum faces of prosecutors in the courtroom a few days ago, when the judge sentenced CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison — far from the 19 to 24 years they’d suggested would be appropriate.
Yes, I get that there was a huge gap between the punishment the government sought and what it got — a gap that can be understood as a rebuke to the dominant hard-line elements at the Justice Department.
And yes, it was a positive step when a May 13 editorial by the New York Times finally criticized the extreme prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling.
But let’s be clear: The only fair sentence for Sterling would have been no sentence at all. Or, at most, something like the recent gentle wrist-slap, with no time behind bars, for former CIA director David Petraeus, who was sentenced for providing highly classified information to his journalist lover.
Jeffrey Sterling has already suffered enormously since indictment in December 2010 on numerous felony counts, including seven under the Espionage Act. And for what?
The government’s righteous charge has been that Sterling provided information to New York Times reporter James Risen that went into a chapter of his 2006 book “State of War” — about the CIA’s Operation Merlin, which in 2000 provided Iran with flawed design information for a nuclear weapon component.
“If the government’s indictment is accurate in its claim that Sterling divulged classified information, then he took a great risk to inform the public about an action that, in Risen’s words, ‘may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.’ If the indictment is false, then Sterling is guilty of nothing more than charging the agency with racial bias and going through channels to inform the Senate Intelligence Committee of extremely dangerous CIA actions.”
Whether “guilty” or “innocent” of doing the right thing, Sterling has already been through a protracted hell. And now — after he has been unemployable for more than four years while enduring a legal process that threatened to send him to prison for decades — perhaps it takes a bit of numbness for anyone to think of the sentence he just received as anything less than an outrage.
Human realities exist far beyond sketchy media images and comfortable assumptions. Going beyond such images and assumptions is a key goal of the short documentary “The Invisible Man: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling,” released this week. Via the film, the public can hear Sterling speak for himself — for the first time since he was indicted.
One of the goals of the government’s assault on whistleblowers is to depict them as little more than cardboard cutouts. Aiming to dispense with such two-dimensional portrayals, the director Judith Ehrlich brought a film crew to the home of Jeffrey Sterling and his wife Holly. (On behalf of ExposeFacts.org, I was there as the film’s producer.) We set out to present them as they are, as real people. You can watch the film here.
Sterling’s first words in the documentary apply to powerful officials at the Central Intelligence Agency:
“They already had the machine geared up against me. The moment that they felt there was a leak, every finger pointed to Jeffrey Sterling. If the word ‘retaliation’ is not thought of when anyone looks at the experience that I’ve had with the agency, then I just think you’re not looking.”
In another way, now, maybe we’re not truly looking if we figure that Sterling has received a light sentence.
Even if the jury’s guilty verdict was correct — and after sitting through the entire trial, I’d say the government didn’t come close to its burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt — an overarching truth is that the whistleblower(s) who provided journalist Risen with information about Operation Merlin rendered a major public service.
People should not be punished for public service.
Imagine that you — yes, you – did nothing wrong. And now you’re headed to prison, for three years. Since the prosecution wanted you behind bars for a lot longer than that, should we figure you got a “light” sentence?
While the government keeps harassing, threatening, prosecuting and imprisoning whistleblowers for public service, we’re living in a society where corrosive repression continues to use fear as a hammer against truth-telling. Directly countering such repression will require rejecting any claim or tacit assumption that government prosecutors set the standard for how much punishment is too much.
Norman Solomon’s books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and coordinates its ExposeFacts project. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org, which has encouraged donations to the Sterling Family Fund. Disclosure: After the guilty verdict, Solomon used his frequent-flyer miles to get plane tickets for Holly and Jeffrey Sterling so they would be able to go home to St. Louis.
Over the last weeks, a great debate has erupted regarding silver. More to the point, Ted Butler claims JP Morgan has accumulated at least 350 million physical ounces. Some pooh pooh this and say it is not possible while others who may believe it are scared witless because they are afraid Morgan will dump the metal and destroy the silver price.
Taking first things first and then later expanding, I believe it is possible for Morgan to have accumulated this silver. If you look at the bleed from both COMEX and SLV inventories and add in the purported movements on the LBMA, I do believe it is possible that JPM has amassed a silver war chest. From a “dollar” standpoint, this is only about $5 billion which wouldn’t even need to come from their equity as they have a direct pipeline to the bowels of the Fed and Treasury for credit.
To answer the question of “fear” propounding this silver will be used to destroy the market, I would first remind you that “devious” and “stupid” are two separate descriptions. No matter what anyone believes, JP Morgan is not stupid, devious may be another matter altogether with each fine they have paid as proof. JP Morgan has had a huge short paper position in silver for many years dating back to at least 2007 when they inherited Bear Stearns positions. The position has been so large in fact, they could never possibly “push a button” to cover it because the metal simply never existed to cover it in a short period of time. Any attempt to cover would have created a panic of demand and a minimum price of $100 per ounce for starters!
This leads us to one of several theories and the most obvious, JP Morgan has been amassing physical silver and is now actually a hedge against their short position as opposed to the other way around. It makes zero sense to me that Morgan would dump a physical position because the accumulation was so difficult to acquire in the first place. As I said above, JP Morgan is not stupid and they understand the logic of where the macroeconomics are headed. They know the game is either inflate or die and can surely make the judgment as to whether or not they want to be net long, or short silver. And trust me, they also know the difference between paper contracted silver and the real thing in their vaults.
It also occurred to me, what if the short position is “used” to revalue the long position?
We have seen so many times where naked contracts were “sold sloppy and sold BIG”, what if JPM decided to actually cover their short by buying “sloppy”? They effectively could use the short position as a springboard if you will? What would stop them from covering the short to become flat and just keep on buying sloppy in the futures pits and running every short on the planet? They must surely know the upside pressure is there not only technically but fundamentally because of the supply being knocked off stream by below production prices? This is an easy trade for them if truly have built a physical long, thus making their short to unwind the “sloppier the better”! This makes more sense to me than dumping the physical long which everyone is so afraid of.
Another theory is that JP Morgan has gotten very long physical silver at low prices by compressing said price in the futures markets. Some believe Morgan understands where the game is headed and also understands the “uses” for silver are expanding exponentially, and in particular the solar energy industry. This is possible in my opinion as I don’t believe there is any hoard of 350 million ounces or more anywhere else. Maybe they are looking to the future and want to sit on the real metal to supply into a future market at grossly higher prices with real demand unable to be satisfied.
There is one more theory, one that I cannot prove but makes a lot of sense. I believe the Chinese lent 300 million ounces of silver to the U.S. back in 2003 and this was a 10 year lease. I believe the lease ran out and was defaulted on in 2013, this would partially or mostly explain why silver was attacked in the paper markets so brutally. The “tree had to be shaken” in an effort to shake some real silver from holders hands. Also if you remember, it was around this time that Warren Buffett let loose of his 129 million ounce position he announced originally a few years earlier, the divestiture “coincidentally” coincided with the formation of the ETF, SLV… that was funded with a very similar number of ounces!
It is my belief that after the U.S. defaulted on its lease to China, China wanted some sort of assurance they would ultimately be paid. It was this broken transaction and the following agreement not to “let the price of silver (or gold) to get away” that has allowed China to amass huge sums of gold “in lieu of” silver. I believe this broken transaction is the reason suppression has been so blatant and violent since April 2013, time will tell.
I say “time will tell” because something very different has just begun to happen. Sovereign bonds all over the world have begun to gyrate wildly with yields moving to the upside. The short squeeze/giant margin call in the dollar seems to be ending and the dollar has now reversed. Gold and silver are also acting unlike anything over the last two years just today. They opened on the firm side, jumped higher, and then rather than being capped it is like they are bulldozers in low gear steadily rising tick by tick. We will need a few more days to see if the previous patterns are firmly broken but it looks like it so far.
The odds China announces how much gold they have accumulated sometime later this year are very high in my opinion. The case for 10,000 tons is very easily proven, just as is the case that much of that gold MUST have come from N.Y., London and the FRBNY (or Fort Knox). The paper short positions in gold and silver will be destroyed in virtually overnight fashion after any announcement by China even close to 10,000 tons.
Getting back to JP Morgan’s silver position, I cannot see them trying to “flood” the market with physical silver because a move like this might have the staying power of 24 hours. For them to sell $5 billion worth of silver is laughable in dollar terms and would be “Hooverized” by physical buyers (even China herself) long before it hit any market or exchange. If JP Morgan truly does have 350 million ounces of real physical silver it is in my opinion because they are bullish on “real physical silver”!
The EU-Israel Association Agreement is a trading concession that allows free access to the European single market from Israeli exporters and arms manufacturers notwithstanding that the Israeli state is not in Europe but in the Middle East: is not a member of the NATO alliance nor a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), nor the Chemical or Biological Weapons Conventions (CWC/BWC), and is not subject to European law.
The EU has similar Association Agreements with a number of other countries none of which, however, seek to infiltrate European defence systems by the sale of propriety weaponry that impose on Europe a dangerous and vulnerable reliance upon a third party that happens to be an undeclared nuclear weapons state. Such a reliance upon this non-member state, poses a potentially serious risk to both EU and NATO in the event of future conflict.
The state of Israel is geographically, politically, economically, militarily and ethnically quite distinct from Europe and European values of democracy and human rights. It is, arguably, the last colonial power – and the most dangerous, for apart from it being the only undeclared nuclear-weapons state in the world, it is estimated to conceal an arsenal of up to 400 nuclear warheads, all of which are outside IAEA inspection.
Somewhat belatedly, the EU has now recognised the danger inherent in the status quo and is expected to take appropriate action to ensure that its defence capabilities are not further compromised, by reviewing its bilateral trading links and its arms purchases from a state whose new, extreme right-wing government is now expected to become increasingly belligerent towards not only a non-nuclear Iran but also the GCC, and the UN, in its hegemonic drive for regional supremacy.
It is no secret that the Harper administration and Israeli officials have had a close relationship over the years, and Canadian officials now look wiling to place that support for their friends, above the basic Charter-protected rights to free speech of Canadian citizens they are in place to represent. Israel has continuedto gain a lot of criticism throughout the years for its questionable military actions, one movement in particular that has caught the attention of officials in Canada is the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement.
When it comes to arresting those who speak-out, Harper has the ability to assign priorities to the RCMP for investigation purposes; emphasizing the need to find those engaging in hate speech regarding Israel. However, the prosecution of those individuals would ultimately require an assent from a provincial attorney general. When it comes to hate speech laws in Canada, there are believed to be several limits which have been set to prevent the state’s ability to criminalize your words. In order for you to be prosecuted for your hate speech, all of these (7) conditions must be met:
2. The hate speech must be targeted to an identifiable group;
3. It must be public;
4. It must be deliberate, not careless;
5. Excluded from hate speech are good faith interpretations of religious doctrine, discussion of issues of public interest, and literary devices like sarcasm and irony;
6. The statements must be hateful when considered in their social and historical context;
7. No prosecution can proceed without approval of the attorney-general, which introduces political accountability because the attorney-general is a cabinet minister.
Hopefully these types of checks-and-balances in the Canadian legal system would prevent any peaceful individual from being wrongfully incarcerated, simply for sharing their non-violent viewpoints. Civil liberties groups are insisting that the new move by the Harper administration would be challenged in court because of the seeming infringement on basic rights to free speech. Public Security Minister Steven Blaney has deemed boycotts of Israel to be on par with anti-Semitic hate speech and violence. Blaney says the government should show zero tolerance when dealing with BDS and this type of criticism.
It appears as if there are efforts being made in a number of ways that contribute to the overall action of suppressing dissent from the status quo. Is it going to soon get to the point where you cannot criticize the government at all? Is that a pillar one would expect to find in any “free and democratic” society? Especially a nation which has an international reputation as being a bastion for human rights. Over the last few months in Canada we’ve seen piano players losing contracts over controversial political tweets regarding Russia and Ukraine, mail employees refusing to carry mail that had too strong a message for their personal feelings, student activists being jailed and fined for sharing controversial anti-police street art, citizens being bullied into feeling like they’re “with the terrorists” if they don’t support unjust anti-terror legislation, and now anyone who vocalizes dissent against the nation of Israel is also going to have problems. We can only imagine what’s next.
A protester faces police in riot gear in Baltimore. Photograph: Shawn Carrié
The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore is not just a story of police brutality or the lack of socioeconomic mobility for the urban poor. It’s also a story of how deregulation allowed corporate banks to strip middle-class families of their financial stability and walk away, leaving behind payday lenders and check-cashing stores to plunder low-income and minority communities.
To better understand and communicate that story, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took their Middle Class Prosperity Project to Baltimore on Monday. It was the latest in a series of forums that started in February to focus “congressional and public attention on challenges faced by the middle class.”
Baltimore was hit especially hard by the 2008 economic collapse. In 2008, 3,909 foreclosures were filed in the city of Baltimore. In 2009, the number increased to 6,213 – an almost 60 percent increase. The city’s median property value dropped by $10,500 between 2007-2012. And as of 2014, the city is ranked
69th out of 100 by Brookings on the strength of its economic recovery.
Even while Baltimore and other cities struggled, the federal government held corporations in higher regard than the American people; $1.2 trillion in post-recession bailouts from the Federal Reserve to private banks was equal to the money lost by homeowners holding 6.5 million foreclosed mortgages.
These bailouts were a result of the federal government’s prior decisions to appease corporate interests. Warren, at the panel at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law in Baltimore, emphasized the role deregulation contributed to the foreclosure crisis. “None of this had to happen; it’s because of policy decisions made at the federal and state level – policy decisions to deregulate financial institutions, to turn them loose, to allow them to do whatever they wanted to do to make profits.”
The deregulation and minimal government oversight that allowed the banks’ discriminatory and unfair actions during the foreclosure crisis are responsible for many of the city’s hardships.
On January 8, 2008, former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon’s administration filed a suit against Wells Fargo in the U.S. District Court. The city claimed that Wells Fargo charged higher fees to black borrowers through their subprime lending program designed for less creditworthy consumers who are more likely to default on loans. The city claimed that the bank’s discriminatory and predatory lending practices led to foreclosures, reduced city tax revenues, and increased city costs due to the crimes surrounding the abandoned properties. The city asked for the bank to cover costs associated with these damages.
In 2010, the bank won the dismissal of the lawsuit brought by Baltimore. However, in 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Wells Fargo for failing to report more than 6,000 loans that did not meet insurance requirements under the Federal Housing Administration, and for its failure to properly review early payment defaults. The bank settled, paying $17.5 million to the city of Baltimore and $2.5 million to 1,000 area residents who were affected.
Mitria Wilson, Vice President of Government Affairs and Senior Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, explained that corporate funding of congressional campaigns is to blame for lack of legislation that would protect communities from banking woes. Commercial banks contributed over $55 million to Republican campaigns during 2004-2008 election cycles. As of 2014, 17 of the top 20 recipients of commercial banks funds are Republicans.
According to Wilson, the 1974 Community Development Act, which provides guidelines to ensure equitable and fair banking investment in communities, “has not been updated since 1974. The failure to update this law is what makes it ineffective.”
With no updates to the law, banks have acted like thieves, plundering communities, while leaving few branches in these areas that offer essential services. As Rep. Cummings said at the panel, “many more banks are clustered in the high income areas, while the low and moderate income areas have fewer banks.”
Wilson confirmed Cummings’ observation, saying that “large disparities exist in the availability of mainstream financial services in underserved neighborhoods.:
The low number of banking branches in these areas have led unbanked and underbanked households to turn to payday lenders and cash checking services, or to utilize money lending, refund anticipation loans and car title loan outfits. For example, in Baltimore’s neighborhood of Sandtown – the epicenter of the uprising in the wake of Gray’s death – there are only three bank branches, yet more than 18 alternative providers.
Often, these alternative providers are typified by predatory practices – they are “loan sharks” that lock families into cycles of high-interest debt they simply cannot escape. Warren emphasized that “predatory practices target those who live on the margins of our mainstream financial system” and lead to severe socio-economic problems in our communities.
The prevalence of these alternative services and minimal access to regular banks is a symptom of a larger problem – the need for overall banking regulation and reform. Rachel Schneider, Senior Vice President at the Center for Financial Services Innovation explained, “The problem is not just an absence of products. In addition, we need financial institutions genuinely designed to build consumer financial health.”
Wealthy influences and special interests have too much power in Washington, which is why banks have not been held to a higher level of accountability. Regulating the housing market and its accessibility will allow us to stabilize the middle class and mobility for the working class. Congress must work to regulate alternative financial service providers like payday lenders and check-cashing outlets, as well as corporate banks, so these institutions are obligated to invest in the communities they have left in financial ruin. Until then, the middle class in these communities will keep working hard, but keep falling behind.
For more than 500 years, Europeans have invaded and looted the planet, yet their home civilizations are deemed so fragile that they must be insulated against the cultures of the formerly colonized peoples. Having created millions of Muslim and African war refugees, the Europeans now gear up to attack the boats that might bring them to Europe.
The United States has been the big, bad leader of the imperial world for so long, we may sometimes forget that most of the evils that beset our world have their origins in Europe, a small corner of the Earth that has for 500 years grown fat off the blood and resources of the rest of the planet. This Europe is a greedy little place, most of whose inhabitants believe they have somehow earned what they have stolen from the world’s darker peoples, and that they are entitled to continue stealing in perpetuity.
In 2011, in league with the United States, European members of NATO launched a totally unprovoked 7-month bombing campaign against Libya, resulting in the murder of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the empowerment of Islamist jihadists throughout the northern tier of the African continent. Col. Gaddafi had warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia, with vast numbers of people desperately fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea to escape the turmoil. Gaddafi was right, of course. Not only has Libya been reduced to a state of sheer anarchy and terror, but thanks to Europe and the United States, Hell has descended on Syria, and conditions in Somalia have grown even worse. The Europeans and their American cousins are intent on wiping out every vestige of civilization in the Muslim world – all the while spouting the same twisted, racist logic that they have employed for half a millennium: that Muslims and Africans are unsuited to civilization, and must be guided by the white hands of Europe, for their own good.
The refugee crisis, the thousands of deaths at sea, are crimes of Europe and the United States. The Euro-Americans are just as unquestionably guilty as the arsonist who sets the fire that causes apartment dwellers to jump to their deaths from high windows to escape the flames. Now, the nations of the European Union, all 28 of them, are backing plans to launch air and naval attacks against boats in the ports of Libya and on the high seas, to make sure that the refugees that Europe and America have created do not wind up on European shores. This new war against Libya will not be to destroy a secular regime, or to grab oil fields, but a war to keep Europe white. On this the Europeans can unite. They argue only about how to distribute among themselves the Muslim and African refugees that somehow do manage to make landfall. They must be scattered across the map. European civilization is a fragile thing. Although the British, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Belgians, Dutch, Danes and Germans have looted, raped and massacred every people they have encountered since the early 1400s, their own societies cannot tolerate more than a token exposure to former colonized cultures. In addition to the riches of the world, the Europeans demand racial exclusivity on their home turf.
So today, they prepare to beat back by military force the most desperate victims of previous Euro-American crimes. And they have the colossal gall to call it a “humanitarian” operation.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
The Syrian war stalemate appears to be over. The regional powers surrounding Syria — especially Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Jordan — have re-ignited their war against the Syrian government. After over 200,000 dead and millions of refugees, the U.S. allies in the region recently re-committed to deepening the war, with incalculable consequences.
The new war pact was made between Obama’s regional darlings, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who agreed to step up deeper military cooperation and establish a joint command in the occupied Syrian region of Idlib.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are now openly backing Islamic extremists under the newly rebranded “Conquest Army.” The on-the-ground leadership of this “new” coalition consists of Jabhat al-Nusra — the “official” al-Qaeda affiliate — and Ahrar al-Sham, whose leader previously stated that his group was the “real al-Qaeda.”
“The Turkish-Saudi agreement has led to a new joint command center in the northeastern Syrian province of Idlib. There, a coalition of groups — including Nusra and other Islamist brigades such as Ahrar al-Sham that Washington views as extremist — are progressively eroding Assad’s front. The rebel coalition also includes more moderate elements of the Free Syrian Army that have received U.S. support in the past.”
The article admits that the Free Syrian Army — that Obama previously labeled as “moderates” and gave cash and guns to — has been swallowed up by the extremist groups.
This dynamic has the potential to re-engulf the region in violence; deep Saudi pocketbooks combined with reports of looming Turkish ground forces are a catastrophe in the making.
Interestingly, the Saudi-Turkish alliance barely raised eyebrows in the U.S. media. President Obama didn’t think to comment on the subject, let alone condemn it.
The media was focused on an odd narrative of Obama reportedly being “concerned” about the alliance, but “disengaged” from what two of his close allies were doing in a region that the U.S. has micromanaged for decades.
It seems especially odd for the media to accept that Obama has a “hands off” approach in Syria when at the same time the media is reporting about a new U.S. program training Syrian rebels in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
It’s inconceivable that Obama would coordinate deeply with Turkey to set up a Syrian rebel training camp on Turkish soil, while at the same time be “disengaged” from the Turkish-Saudi war coalition in Syria.
One possible motive behind the fake narrative of “non-cooperation” between Obama and his Turkish-Saudi allies is that the U.S. is supposed to be fighting a “war on terrorism.”
So when Turkey and Saudi Arabia announce that they’re closely coordinating with terrorists in Syria — like al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham — Obama needs an alibi to avoid being caught at the crime scene. He’s not an accomplice, simply “disengaged.”
This is likely the reason why Obama has insisted that his new “moderate” rebels being trained in Turkey will fight ISIS, not the Syrian government. But this claim too is ridiculous.
Is Obama really going to throw a couple hundred newly-trained “moderate” Syrian rebels at ISIS while his Turkish-Saudi allies focus all their fire on the Syrian Government? The question answers itself.
The media has made mention of this obvious conundrum, but never bothers to follow up, leaving Obama’s lame narrative unchallenged. For example, the LA Times reports:
“The White House wants the [U.S. trained rebel] proxy force to target Islamic State militants, while many of the Syrian rebels — and the four host nations [where Syrian rebels are being trained] — want to focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad.”
The article simply shrugs its shoulders at the irreconcilable. The article also fails to mention that Obama’s “new” training camps aren’t new at all; he’s been arming and training Syrian rebels since at least 2012, the only difference being that the “new” training camps are supposedly meant to target ISIS, compared to the training camps that were openly used to target the Syrian government.
“The covert U.S. training [of Syrian rebels] at bases in Jordan and Turkey began months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming the opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.”
This is media amnesia at its worse. Recent events can’t be understood if the media doesn’t place events in context. In practice this “forgetfulness” provides political cover to the Obama administration, shielding his longstanding direct role in the Syrian war, allowing him to pretend to a “passive,” “hands off” approach.
When it was reported in 2012 that the Obama administration was funneling weapons to the Syrian rebels, the few media outlets that mentioned the story didn’t bother to do any follow up. It simply fell into the media memory hole. After the weapons funneling report came out, Obama incredulously stated that he was only supplying “non lethal” support to the rebels, and the media printed his words unchallenged.
Consequently, there was no public discussion about the consequences of the U.S. partaking in a multi-nation proxy war against Syria, a country that borders war ravaged Iraq.
In 2013 when Obama announced that he would be bombing the Syrian government in response to a supposed gas attack, the U.S. media asked for no evidence of the allegation, and strove to buttress Obama’s argument for aggression.
And when Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh wrote an article exposing Obama’s lies over the aborted bombing mission, the article didn’t see the light of day in the U.S. media. Critically thoughtful voices were not welcome. They remain unwelcome.
In 2015 direct U.S. military intervention in Syria remains a real possibility. All the conditions that led to Obama’s decision to bomb Syria in 2013 remain in place.
In fact, a U.S. intervention is even more likely now that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are fighting openly against the Syrian government, since the Saudi-Turkish alliance might find itself in a key battle that demands the special assistance that only the U.S. air force can offer.
Unsurprisingly, there has been renewed discussion of a U.S. enforced “no fly zone” in Syria. ISIS doesn’t have an air force, so a no fly zone would be undeniably aimed at the Syrian government to destroy its air force. The new debate over a “no fly zone” is happening at the same time as a barrage of new allegations of “chemical weapons” use are being made against the Syrian government.
If a no fly zone is eventually declared by the Obama Administration it will be promoted as a “humanitarian intervention, that strives to create a “humanitarian corridor” to “protect civilians” — the same rhetoric that was used for a massive U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign in Libya that destroyed the country and continues to create a massive refugee crisis.
As the Syrian war creates fresh atrocities the Obama administration will be pressured to openly support his Saudi-Turkish allies, just as he came out into the open in 2013 when he nearly bombed the Syrian government.
History is repeating itself. But this time the stakes are higher: the region has already been destabilized with the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the regional conflicts have sharpened between U.S. allies on one hand, and Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Russia on the other.
Such a volatile dynamic demands a media willing to explain the significance of these events. The truth is that Obama has been a proxy war president that has torn apart the Middle East as badly as his predecessor did, and if the U.S. public remains uninformed about developing events, an even larger regional war is inevitable.
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org) He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmai
We noted in March that we’re already at war with Russia. Many experts agree …
Former White House official Dr. Philippa Malmgren – former presidential adviser and member of the U.S. President’s Working Group on Financial Markets – said last December that the United States is already at war with China and Russia:
I was recently at a meeting with a lot of very senior people from the defense community, and their view is that we are already in a nose-to-nose confrontation (war) with China and Russia. But these (wars) are being conducted through cyberspace rather than through traditional conventional weapons.
Paul Craig Roberts – former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world – says that U.S. war against Russia has already begun.
Mark Galeotti – a Full Professor of Global Affairs at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, and a prominent expert on modern Russia – says “the West and Russia are already at war“.
On the other side of the coin, a former high-level Commander in the German Army warns:
NATO is formed out of 28 states, if just one of them gets involved into a conflict with Russia, the contract obliges all of them to assist. And out of a sudden we get a third world war. The only way to prevent it is if the people rise and say: Russia had to mourn more than enough victims in WWII, do you really want to start a war again?
A complex class system exists in the United States, but the mass media and political rhetoric generally reduces it to three components — one middle class, and two economic generalizations — rich and the poor. Indeed the term “class” itself, as a means of defining the economic and social status of the population, has been fading away. There are, of course, a number of other classes, particularly the all-important capitalist class.
Virtually the only class ever mentioned these days is the middle class, and now that seems on the way out, at least until the next election if not longer. The New York Times reported May 12 that political candidates for election in 2016 are no longer mentioning the middle class because it may remind people that this once sacrosanct vehicle for attaining the “American Dream” seems to be falling apart and taking the dream down with it. This is indeed news, and we will get back to it.
Whatever happened to the term upper class? It’s hardly used at all these days. Gone as well is general usage of lower class, lower middle class, and upper middle class — all popular designations in the past but rare now. They may not have been scientific, but people knew what they meant.
Remember when there was a “working class” in our country? The frequent reference to this class a few decades ago has nearly vanished today, except in some academic and economic circles, a few militant unions and in the political left. The working class was split up. Its members became sold on the idea that benefits and security awaited their families in the middle class. The poor and very low-wage workers were pushed into their own weaker category, belonging neither to the working class nor middle class. One reason for this entire transformation was to suppress the memory and continuing existence of a more militant era in U.S. history when the working class and the union movement was strong and tough.
Nearly all unions now avoid mention of the working class, substituting “working families” or “employees,” but mostly the unions now identify their members as part of that all-embracing and utterly misleading ticket to paradise known as membership in the middle class. The U.S. government and the corporate elite worked together to transform a bothersome working class into a relatively placid middle class desiring to retain its new status.
It was a cunning way to disarm the working class and the union movement as well. In the U.S. today, over 60% of the work force holds the same working class jobs but in the more exalted middle class and have little say production or anything else. The wages and benefits of virtually all working class jobs have been stagnant for many years, layoffs are frequent, joblessness is higher and the unions much weaker.
Virtually obliterated is the term “ruling class” to describe that relatively small group of billionaire and upper millionaire capitalist plutocrats, corporate leaders, bank presidents, financiers and their highly paid henchmen who possess the power to decisively influence if not totally control the political system (including elections to high office and legislation), the financial system (they largely were responsible for the Great Recession) and the functioning of Big Business of our society.
This boss of bosses in the U.S.is hiding in plain sight but its existence dare not be acknowledged because it emphatically contradicts the very essence of the democratic ideal that Washington pretends to embody. All told, according to economics professor Michael Zweig in the July-Aug. 2006 issue of Monthly Review: “The entire U.S. ruling class could fit into the seats at Yankee Stadium (capacity: 54,000).
Many of the missing class categories were subsumed into the middle class, supposedly consisting of individuals or families earning between $35,000 and $100,000 a year. In reality, government and business propaganda long suggested that the middle class is one big happy family earning between $20,000 and $200,000 annually. After that the sky was the limit for anyone who was willing to work hard. We were all in the same boat together, except those who refused to row and, of course, those who owned the boat.
This all seemed like a good deal for those who hadn’t already been tossed overboard until it was finally perceived by millions of working people during the bitter experience of the Great Recession beginning in September, 2008, that the middle class seemed to be in the process of decomposition. Government safety nets primarily served the rich, big banks and Wall Street. Six million families,often with children, were forced from their homes by foreclosures during and after the latest recession, but aside from occasional rhetoric and skimpy deeds, the Obama Administration didn’t actually give a damn. The logic of neoliberal economics dictates that such suffering by the working class leads to economic recovery in a recession.
Suddenly things got clearer for many workers: Washington’s capitalist economics and trade deals were leading to off-shoring jobs to lower wage countries, to weak unions, wage stagnation, increasing economic inequality and expanding hard times for multitudes of people.
Finally, many Americans found the target when they ingested the fact that the top 1% of the population owned 42.7% of the nation’s wealth; the next highest 19% owned 50.3%; and the bottom 80% of the entire population managed to hold on to 7% of U.S. wealth. This and other realities have aroused the consciousness of millions of people to the extent that they have come to doubt or simply disbelieve certain of the revered myths about America they were taught throughout their lives. Perhaps the most important in this regard is that membership in the middle class is a one-way ticket to economic security for themselves and their families.
Now, for the first time since the end of World War II in 1945, the corporate class has decided to downplay the importance of the middle class in the next elections, according to a New York Times article headlined, “Middle Class Is Disappearing, at Least From Vocabulary of Possible 2016 Contenders.” It reads in part:
“Hillary Rodham Clinton calls them ‘everyday Americans.’ Scott Walker prefers ‘hard-working taxpayers.’ Rand Paul says he speaks for ‘people who work for the people who own businesses.’ Bernie Sanders talks about ‘ordinary Americans.’
“The once ubiquitous term ‘middle class’ has gone conspicuously missing from the 2016 campaign trail, as candidates and their strategists grasp for new terms for an unsettled economic era. The phrase, long synonymous with the American Dream, now evokes anxiety, an uncertain future and a lifestyle that is increasingly out of reach….
“The move away from ‘middle class’ is the rhetorical result of a critical shift: After three decades of income gains favoring the highest earners and job growth being concentrated at the bottom of the pay scale, the middle has for millions of families become a precarious place to be.
“A social stratum that once signified a secure, aspirational lifestyle, with a house in the suburbs, children set to attend college, retirement savings in the bank and, maybe, an occasional trip to Disneyland now connotes fears about falling behind, sociologists, economists and political scientists say….”
This is exceptionally important. True, as the middle class and its promise of milk and honey is faltering, the politicians and those who control them will pursue other ways to manipulate and deceive the American people, but there are limitations. Great lessons have been and are continuing to be learned by the people. It’s going to take a remarkable and above all inclusive economic recovery to return to the status quo ante — and it is improbable that this will happen. The Democrats will adopt a populist pose during the 2016 elections but if they win no serious changes will transpire, based on the performance of the last three Democratic presidents.
The popularization of the idea that “We are the 99%” (in opposition to the 1% who rule America) was the best thing Occupy Wall Street did in its relatively brief existence. It was an eye-opener for so many people. It gave a concrete form to an abstract idea. So that’s who’s doing this to us!
It would be shortsighted in the extreme for the progressive and left movements not to follow up in a big way on the deepened consciousness of the American people about unequal distribution of wealth, Washington’s failure to protect democracy, the degeneration of the electoral process, the increasing exploitation of workers, the decline of the vaunted middle class and the extraordinary power of the 1% ruling class that controls the U.S. on behalf of a neoliberal form of warrior capitalism.
Is it any wonder that fewer people these days are willing to trust the US federal government or their American leader President Obama? The citizen furor over the highly controversial Jade Helm 15 military operation scheduled for two months this summer (July 15-September 15) in all four US Border States with Mexico plus Utah and Nevada is well grounded. Despite mainstream media and war mongers like Senator John McCain mocking and ridiculing those behind the ongoing uproar as mere paranoid conspiracy nutcases, a closer look at the nonstop lies flowing out of Washington provides every justifiable reason for Americans’ suspicion that the feds are up to no good in the Southwest. Many US citizens have come to recognize that their civil liberties and constitutional rights since 9/11 have completely vanished under the ever-darkening cloud of tyranny usurped by the insidiously false pretense of national security.
Meanwhile 9/11 and the US war of terror in reality are nothing less than a deplorable scapegoat war against Islam religion. Duped into doing the evil bidding of fellow crime syndicate partners Israel and Saudi Arabia, under the WMD mantra of yet more lies to push false justification of committing crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has lost two costly wars each lasting a decade plus and still raging, killed millions of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa squandering up to six trillion taxpayer dollars, and leaving only completely decimated failed states in its death wake, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Ukraine. Initiating another arms race and cold war against Russia and China heating up with catastrophic nuclear world war III, endgame potential, the US Empire’s war on terror has only created with financing, training and arming savage US proxy mercenary allies posing as fake enemies on steroids that have gained more control over the region as time drags on.
Meanwhile, the globally expanding, morally reprehensible US killer drone policy ensures a forever supply for its forever war of anti-American terrorists as fresh new recruits. And the most demonic fact is that all this destabilizing planetary plunder, devastation and murderous destruction is all by intentional oligarch design to facilitate the New World Order. Psychopathic criminals operating as globalists seek their one world government using their errand boy and girl Western leaders to do their dirty bidding.
And now as a result, a growing number of Americans strongly believe that 9/11 itself was an inside job committed jointly by the treasonous Bush-Cheney regime in full cooperation if not direction from the Israeli and Saudi governments. An inordinate number of the key co-conspirators are neocon US-Israeli dual citizens whose actions demonstrate full loyalty to Israel versus complete betrayal of America. An increasing segment of the American population has realized that these diabolical rogue elements within the US government have long been in control operating as the US traitors responsible for assassinating President John F. Kennedy and maintaining the cover-up ever since – despite the vast majority in America accepting it too was an early inside job.
Just months prior to Kennedy’s murder, he warned America of its subversive shadow forces. He pissed off power players in both the armed forces and the CIA for refusing to involve US military in the Bay of Pigs failed operation to overthrow Cuba’s Fidel Castro in 1961. He enraged the Chiefs of Staff generals when he nixed their plan to kill US citizens in Miami and Washington DC in false flag terrorism they’d plotted with Operation Northwoods. Despite the October 1962 Missile Crisis when Kennedy stood up to Russia’s Khrushchev over placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, JFK’s willingness to negotiate with the volatile Communist leader in the face of Soviet Bloc expansion in East Germany resulted in a rash of harsh criticism that JFK was “soft on communism,” generating yet additional wrath from the same key cold war promoters within the CIA, top military brass and the all-powerful Council on Foreign Relations. And the young and only Roman Catholic US president further sealed his fate when he made it clear he was returning all US military advisors stationed in Vietnam home to ensure that no Vietnam War could break out on his watch. In August 1964 just nine months after his plotted murder, Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson who’s been implicated as a Kennedy co-conspirator lied to America in yet another false flag claiming North Vietnamese gunboats had fired on a US Navy ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, thus making sure that America was committed to war in Southeast Asia lasting the next decade.
In fact every assassinated US President from Lincoln to Garfield to JFK prior to their deaths had outraged the controlling oligarchs of the central banking cabal, moving to drastically reduce their power. More recently so did onetime US allies-dictators Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi after each went public in removing the US dollar/petrodollar as their standard international currency. Threatening the absolute power and control over the debt-based Ponzi scam of the private centralized banking cabal represented in the US by the misnomered Federal Reserve Board has in fact been the fastest, surefire way to death and destruction for any leader or nation both here in America and abroad.
Strong evidence has emerged that JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 murders were also perpetrated by government insiders operating within this same shadowy crime syndicate posing as the federal government. The US intelligence community of the CIA and FBI have been repeatedly implicated in all these heinous crimes of the century that have radically altered the course of modern world history. And if the lives of America’s greatest leaders have proven expendable to the criminal self-interests of Washington’s elite still retaining power today, the value of America’s ordinary citizens means even less, rendering us all expendable to the ruling totalitarian oppressors.
And with that brief historical overview providing relevant background context, let’s now examine why so many Americans have very sound reasons for fearing the worst with this upcoming military operation. The virtually nonstop lies coming from America’s government and military leaders and its financial institutions in the twenty-first century alone have driven the American people’s trust toward them ever plummeting with each passing year to new unprecedented, all-time lows. For instance, during the course of the Bush-Obama regime, referred to as one and the same contiguous entity, trust toward the office of the US presidency has fallen from 58% early in Bush’s first term in 2002 to 35% for Obama in 2012. And so far in his lame duck presidency Obama is only continuing to flounder with hislowest approval rating in six years recorded in January. A Fox News poll a year ago showed that 61% of Americans believe Obama lies “some” or “most of the time” as the growing majority simply don’t trust the man.
After all, this is the candidate who lied when he promised to be the most open and transparent president in history and has only proven to be the most secretive and vindictive in history. His dishonesty as a severe character flaw has become his trademark and legacy. He lied when he promised repeatedly to close the Guantanamo Bay Prison that’s unlawfully held and tortured innocent victims for more than a decade. Refusing to “look back” and hold neocon criminals accountable, Obama lied claiming torture ceased on his presidential watch while heroic CIA whistleblowerJohn Kiriakou maintains it more than likely just submerged deeper underground:
Many of us believed that the torture policy was solely a Bush-era perversion. But many of these perversions, or at least efforts to cover them up or justify them, have continued under President Obama.
Bragging that he taught constitutional law over ten years, Obama lied when he took a sworn oath vowing to protect, defend and uphold the US Constitution, consistently violating law 5 U.S.C. 7311, a federal criminal offense carrying a punishment subject to removal from office, jail time and fine, grounds for kicking virtually all government members in all three branches out of office. Candidate Obama’s promise in his own empty words:
I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.
Obama has run roughshod over Second Amendment rights with 23 executive orders on gun control. He also lied when he repeatedly assured Americans that neither the NSA nor the federal government records phone conversationsadding that a judge’s warrant is necessary to authorize surveillance of private phone and computer records.
Just out this week comes another indictment against the commander-in-chief written by renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh once again calling Obama out as a fullblown liar over the alleged Osama bin Laden murder. Recall back in 2013 it was Hersh who called Obama a flat out liar then after Obama was getting ready to launch air strikes on Syria, falsely accusing Assad forces of using chemical weapons when in fact it was Obama’s backed al Qaeda rebels that were guilty. Grandstanding for the credit he exploited, Obama lied insisting that bin Laden was armed and fired shots at the Navy Seal team along with a number of his alleged armed guards. Hersh maintains it was a total lie, that the feeble and dying elderly Osama was unarmed and without protection from others. In fact for the last five years he had been held hostage by Pakistani Intelligence who Obama betrayed in his public announcement. The White House painted the false picture that Osama was still actively calling all the al Qaeda shots when he was an isolated, weakened prisoner still being covertly supported financially by the Saudis. In his eagerness to take a bow in stride with his upcoming reelection, Obama’s rush to show and tell outed an angry Navy team and betrayed the Pakistani generals in charge of military intelligence without whom the operation would have failed.
Aside from pathologically lying presidents, the NSA, the DEA and the IRS all routinely lie when they incessantly violate laws and then matter-of-factly deny spying on Americans. Similar to other Constitution oath takers who also routinely violate 5 U.S.C. 7311, law enforcement personnel across the nation also take oaths promising to “protect and serve” the public, and then in a state sanctioned militarized police state turn around and murder countless defenseless and unarmed citizens with alarming frequency (70 times the rate of other First World nations) and virtually always with complete impunity.
Turning now to the legislative branch of government liars and betrayers, the US Congressional approval ratings show even more distrust and contempt. Per Gallup polls during the same 10-year period from 2002 to 2012, Americans’ trust toward US Congress spiraled even lower from just 29% to only 12%. The latest figures released April 29th from the Harvard Institute of Politics polling registered Democrats and Republicans from the millennial generation indicate that 83% do not trust Congress. Had independents or even the larger segment of non-voters amongst millennials been included, the percentage of young people trusting their government would undoubtedly be close to zero!
While US taxpayers were burdened on two separate occasions with imposed massive bailouts for “too big to fail” corporations and then banks, simultaneous to the biggest transfer of wealth in US history with the 2008 housing loan bubble burst while not even one criminal banksters was indicted or sent to prison. Meanwhile during 2007-2011 when over five million American homes were lost due to foreclosure, public trust in the economy and banks in particular plunged even more than trust toward members of the federal government, dropping 24 percentage points in the same 2002-2012 decade from 47 to 23%. With the cruel choice of the nation’s powerbrokers to make war profiteers richer at the expense of the decimated, shrinking middle class, Americans have been lied to, fleeced and horrifically victimized at every turn to such an extreme that freefall towards total collapse appears preeminent.
This overwhelming decline in Americans’ willingness to trust their government leaders and institutions in recent years(13%) has run a parallel course with their disbelief in trusting mainstream media outlets as well, recognizing that NBC, CNN and Fox News as well as the nation’s major newspapers (i.e., the New York Times, Washington Post, and LA Times) also fail miserably in delivering the honest truth. The US populace has come to reluctantly accept that the six oligarch owned corporations controlling over 90% of the flow of all information and news spew out the same mimicked, distorted lies and propaganda that the federal government tells them to spin. Gov.corp has these giant media corporations notorious for willfully withholding the truth by refusing to ask the hard, critical questions necessary to ascertain and expose the true reality that the feds in turn habitually, willfully, deceitfully conceal. As the mere propaganda department for the US government, mainstream media has become nothing but the feds’ lapdog whore in the exact same way that politicians service their globalist puppet masters only. A year ago a Princeton-Northwestern study officially declared the US an oligarchy.
With full awareness of how members of mainstream media and government lie every single day for a living, their unabashed zeal that has them currently frothing at the mouth to denigrate and humiliate Americans, especially Texansunderstandably worried that the Jade Helm operation will go live midway or towards the end in September to begin locking people up are more than justified. Texas Governor Abbott is calling out his State Guard to oversee the Special Ops drills in the Lone Star State as precaution to relieve the worry of his citizens. But he and alarmed Americans continue to be unfairly lampooned by McCain, MSM and even Jon Stewart.
In actuality numerous conspiracy theories have proven to become accurate depictions of reality in the past. Just a few examples: already covered MSM lies and propaganda, the militarized police state and secret “black hole” prisons, invasive spying on every aspect of our private lives, the rigged, thoroughly corrupt stock market, the vaccine inquisition and the geoengineering metal toxins, and finally the potential WMD Ebola virus can be contracted by airborne passage.
So prior to scoffing at Americans whose distrust over Jade is very real, the rest of us should ponder and think twice about smugly judging and dismissing this potential NWO ambush. Absolute tyranny comes in incremental steps. The US-UK-Canadian joint military exercise Maple Resolve across Canada this month combined with the sudden closure of all 133 north-of-the-border Target Stores gives one pause for ponder. Two years ago few would foresee the total lockdown of America’s first taste of martial law in a major metropolitan city, yet the Boston Marathon bombing hoaxinduced just that.
The feared prototypical scenario is the military training drill will suddenly go live with a strategically timed response to some induced false flag crises involving civil unrest giving Obama the convenient excuse to declare martial law under the pretense of a national emergency, then begin extraction of anti-government activists and initiate the infamous FEMA prison camp round-up of dissidents. It could easily go into effect either regionally or nationally. Rest assure the feds will be ready. Just like they were recently ready in Baltimore when police attempted to provoke high school kids to react and the mayor purposely waited till chaos grew out of control before intervening. Meanwhile, five state National Guards were simultaneously undergoing “civil unrest” training exercises and ready to go live. This recurring pattern is no coincidence.
Historically every totalitarian and genocidal regime first goes after its designated opposition leaders classified red on its watch list of dissenters deemed enemies of the state for simply opposing Washington’s ruthless tyranny. And it would not be the first time in US history that a group of innocent American victims were targeted as the designated homegrown enemy. Over 127,000 Japanese Americans were systematically rounded up, involuntarily relocated and unlawfully placed in prison camps during World War II. The Red Scare harassed and ruined hundreds of lives in the early 50′s. Then throughout the 1960’s and early 70’s J. Edgar’s FBI unlawfully compiled growing watch lists of antiwar student protestors, African American and Native American leaders and harassed and assassinated Malcolm X, MLK and targeted killings of members of both the Black Panther Party and American Indian Movement.
With the manufactured “war on terror,” political activists, combat veterans, constitutionalists, libertarians, progressives, anarchists, gun owners, right wing paramilitary militia group members, Tea Partiers, home school-ers and even fundamentalist Christians are but the latest victims monitored and singled out as today’s potential domestic terrorists. Thus, with Jade Helm the fear of persecution is certainly not in the least unfounded. Yet the liars and propagandists in the media and government every day are taking cheap shots at concerned patriots. Meanwhile in recent years Homeland Security documents and US Army manuals (FM 3-39.40 called Internment and Resettlement Operations) along with dozens of presidential executive orders and oppressive draconian laws (Patriot Act, 2012 NDAA) are all on the books specifying in detailed living proof how the federal government’s not-so-hidden agenda will be to force hundreds of thousands of US citizens to relocate into prison resettlement camps complete with fenced in barb wire walls, armed guard towers, tribunal and even mortuary sections. Psychological officers are designated to reprogram citizens deemed salvageable while the hardcore dissidents will simply be violently exterminated. These shocking details illustrating the feds’ sinister plan are all a matter of public record.
Or contemplate why have all the federal agencies totally unrelated to either the military or law enforcement like the Social Security Administration, the Fish & Wildlife Department, the IRS, the FDA, EPA, and even the US Postal Service been busily buying up all the hollow point bullets, guns and ammo in America? Clearly it is not paranoia at all to fear what could rapidly unfold this summer – the potentially diabolical hidden agenda for the largest US military operation ever conducted on expansive US soil during its entire 239-year history! Especially based on the recent egregious track record of utter deception and rampantly mounting oppression increasingly perpetrated by the US federal government, the more rational and prudent question then becomes why wouldn’t any self-aware, mindful resident of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California, Nevada and Utah or for that matter any US citizen not be extremely concerned about their government’s long proven, secretive, deceitful true intentions. From here on out, regardless of the skeptics, let vigilance be the operative word.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.
The following text was presented at the International Conference on “9/11 Revisited – Seeking the Truth”, Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), Kuala Lumpur, November 2012
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history, a decisive watershed, a breaking point.
Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.
September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society. The post September 11, 2001 era is marked by the outright criminalization of the US State, including its judicial, foreign policy, national security and intelligence apparatus.
9/11 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.
A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.
9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.
In assessing the crimes associated with 9/11 in the context of a legal procedure, we must distinguish between those associated with the actual event, namely the loss of life and the destruction of property on 9/11, from the crimes committed in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 “in the name of 9/11″.
The latter build upon the former. We are dealing with two related dimensions of criminality. The crimes committed “in the name of 9/11″ involving acts of war are far-reaching, resulting in the deaths of millions of people as well as the destruction of entire countries.
The 9/11 event in itself– which becomes symbolic– is used to justify the onslaught of the post 9/11 US-NATO military agenda, under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), not to mention the ushering in of the Homeland police state and the repeal of civil liberties.
The crimes committed in the name of 9/11 broadly consist in two intimately related processes:
1. The launching of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification to Wage a War of Conquest. This GWOT mandate was used to justify the 2001 and 2003 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The GWOT mandate has since extended its grip to a large number of countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where the US and its NATO allies are intervening selectively under a counterterrorism mandate.
2. The derogation of civil liberties and the instatement of an Orwellian police state apparatus within Western countries. In the US, the introduction of the PATRIOT legislation and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks set the stage for the subsequent restructuring of the judicial and law enforcement apparatus, culminating in the legalization of extrajudicial assassinations under an alleged counter-terrorism mandate.
The 9/11 attacks constitute what is referred to in intelligence parlance as a “massive casualty producing event” conducive to the deaths of civilians.
The dramatic loss of life on the morning of 9/11 resulting from an initial criminal act is used as a pretext and a justification to wage an all out war of retribution, in the name of 9/11 against the alleged perpetrators of 9/11, namely the “state sponsors of terrorism”, including Afghanistan, Iraq as well as Iran.
We are dealing with a diabolical and criminal project. The civilian deaths resulting from the 911 attacks are an instrument of war propaganda, applied to build a consensus in favor of an outright war of global domination.
The perpetrators of war propaganda are complicit in the conduct of extensive war crimes, in that they readily justify acts of war as counter-terrorism and/or humanitarian operations (R2P) launched to protect civilians. The “Just War” (Jus ad Bellum) concept prevails: The killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq are “rightfully” undertaken in retribution for the deaths incurred on 9/11.
Evidence is fabricated to the effect that the “state sponsors of terrorism” had committed, on the morning of 9/11, an outright act of war against the United States.
Realities are turned upside down. The US and its allies are the victims of foreign aggression. America’s crimes of war in Afghanistan and Iraq are committed in the name of 9/11 under a counter terrorism mandate.
The 9/11 attacks are used to harness public opinion into supporting a war without borders. Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” are set in motion.
Video: Michel Chossudovsky’s presentation to the Kuala Lumpur 9/11 Revisited Conference, November 19, 2012
Chronology of Events
At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an in-depth police investigation.
CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those [foreign governments] who harbor them”.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”
That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.
The war cabinet had decided to launch an an illegal and criminal war on Afghanistan, based on essentially two interrelated concepts:
1. The 9/11 attacks although allegedly conducted by Al Qaeda were upheld as an all out military attack by a foreign power.
2. Afghanistan in allegedly supporting Al Qaeda, was responsible for an act of military aggression directed against the United States of America.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”. Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. In taking on this stance they provided legitimacy to the conduct of war crimes. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11.
In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.
The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America. The post 9/11 era was also characterised by the development of Islamophobia, including routine ethnic profiling directed against Muslims.
Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?
Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?
According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. Rawalpindi is the Headquarters of the Pakistani military including its intelligence apparatus. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.
DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.
This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
The foregoing CBS report which is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:
1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;
2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.
U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.
Recovering from his hospital treatment in Rawalpindi on the 11th of September, how could Osama have coordinated the 9/11 attacks?
How could Afghanistan be made responsible for these attacks by Al Qaeda? Bin Laden is a national of Saudi Arabia who, according to CBS News, was not in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan at the time of the attacks.
September 12, 2001: The Invasion of Afghanistan: NATO’s Doctrine of Collective Security
The immediate response of the US and its NATO allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who at the time of the attacks was in Pakistan, protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus. In a bitter irony, the Pakistani government and military, which had facilitated bin Laden’s hospitalization in Rawalpindi on September 10, offered to assist the US in “going after bin Laden”. An agreement to this effect was reached on September 12 in Washington between the head of Pakistan’s military Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmed and Secretary Colin Powell.
Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.
By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Afghan government was complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.
This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.
On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan (taken by the war cabinet at 11pm on September 11), invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.
The War on Afghanistan: First Stage of the “Global War on Terrorism”
The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away.
Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. Confirmed by press reports, the war on Afghanistan was already in an advanced state of readiness prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
In other words, the 9/11 attacks were used as a means to trigger a military agenda which was already on the drawing board of both the Pentagon and NATO.
The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan. Immediately following 9/11, the PATRIOT legislation was adopted. The Homeland Security apparatus was launched, with a view to “protecting Americans against terrorists”. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Article 5 of the Washington Treaty: NATO’s Legal Argument
In invoking Article 5 on the morning of September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council endorsed a criminal military agenda, in derogation of international law.
The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade Afghanistan was that the September 11 attacks constituted an undeclared “armed attack” “from abroad” by an unnamed foreign power, and that consequently “the laws of war” apply, allowing the nation under attack, to strike back in the name of “self-defense”.
On the morning of September 12, 2001, NATO’s North Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, responded to the decision of the War Cabinet taken a few hours earlier at 11pm on 9/11, adopted the following resolution:
“if it is determined that the [September 11, 2001] attack against the United States was directed from abroad [Afghanistan] against “The North Atlantic area“, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty”. (emphasis added)
In this regard, Article 5 of the Washington Treaty stipulates that if:
“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.” (NATO, What is Article 5, NATO Topics – NATO and the Scourge of Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009, emphasis added)
An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) was considered as an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security.
Under no stretch of the imagination, can the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.
“Use of Armed Force” only “If It is Determined…”
There was an “if” in the September 12 resolution. Article 5 would apply only if it is determined that Afghanistan as a Nation State was complicit or behind the 9/11 attacks.
In practice, the “if” had already been waived prior to 9/11. The entire NATO arsenal was already on a war footing. In military terms, NATO and the US were already in an advanced state of readiness. Known to military analysts, but never revealed in the Western media, the implementation of a large scale theater war takes at least one year of advanced operational planning, prior to the launching of an invasion.
The use of article 5 of the Washington Treaty had in all likelihood been contemplated by military planners, as a pretext for waging war, prior to 9/11.
There was, however, no official declaration of war on September 12th. The Alliance waited until 3 days before the invasion to declare war on Afghanistan, an impoverished country which by no stretch of the imagination could have launched an attack against a member state of “The North Atlantic area”.
The September 12 resolution of the Atlantic Council required “determination” and corroborating evidence, that:
1) Al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden with the support of a foreign power had ordered the “attack from abroad” on the United States of America;
2) The terrorist attacks of 9/11 constituted a bona fide military operation (under the provisions of Article 5) by an alleged foreign country (Afghanistan) against a NATO member state, and consequently against all NATO member states under the doctrine of collective security:
“Article 5 and the case of the terrorist attacks against the United States: The United States has been the object of brutal terrorist attacks. It immediately consulted with the other members of the Alliance. The Alliance determined that the US had been the object of an armed attack. The Alliance therefore agreed that if it was determined that this attack was directed from abroad, it would be regarded as covered by Article 5. NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, subsequently informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the Alliance’s decision.
Article 5 has thus been invoked, but no determination has yet been made whether the attack against the United States was directed from abroad. If such a determination is made, each Ally will then consider what assistance it should provide. In practice, there will be consultations among the Allies. Any collective action by NATO will be decided by the North Atlantic Council. The United States can also carry out independent actions, consistent with its rights and obligations under the UN Charter.
Allies can provide any form of assistance they deem necessary to respond to the situation. This assistance is not necessarily military and depends on the material resources of each country. Each individual member determines how it will contribute and will consult with the other members, bearing in mind that the ultimate aim is to “to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”.
By invoking Article 5, NATO members have shown their solidarity toward the United States and condemned, in the strongest possible way, the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September.
If the conditions are met for the application of Article 5, NATO Allies will decide how to assist the United States. (Many Allies have clearly offered emergency assistance). Each Ally is obliged to assist the United States by taking forward, individually and in concert with other Allies, such action as it deems necessary. This is an individual obligation on each Ally and each Ally is responsible for determining what it deems necessary in these particular circumstances.
No collective action will be taken by NATO until further consultations are held and further decisions are made by the the North Atlantic Council. (NATO, NATO Topics – NATO and the Scourge of Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009, emphasis added)
The Mysterious Frank Taylor Report
The final decision to invoke Article 5 in relation to the 9/11 attacks came three weeks later upon the submission to the NATO Council of a mysterious classified report by a US State Department official named Frank Taylor. The report was submitted to NATO on October 2nd, 5 days before the commencement of the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan.
Frank Taylor was working in the US State Department. He had been entrusted with the writing of a brief to establish whether the US “had been attacked from abroad”, pursuant to the North Atlantic Council’s resolution of September 12 2001.
US Ambassador at Large and Co-ordinator for Counter-terrorism Frank Taylor briefed the North Atlantic Council on October 2nd, five days before the commencement of the bombings.
The classified report was not released to the media. And to this date, to our knowledge, it has remained classified.
NATO’s Secretary General Lord Robertson casually summarised the substance of the Frank Taylor report in a press release:
“This morning, the United States briefed the North Atlantic Council on the results of the investigation into who was responsible for the horrific terrorist attacks which took place on September 11.
The briefing was given by Ambassador Frank Taylor, the United States Department of State Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.
This morning’s briefing follows those offered by United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and illustrates the commitment of the United States to maintain close cooperation with Allies.
Today’s was classified briefing and so I cannot give you all the details.
Briefings are also being given directly by the United States to the Allies in their capitals.
The briefing addressed the events of September 11 themselves, the results of the investigation so far, what is known about Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida organisation and their involvement in the attacks and in previous terrorist activity, and the links between al-Qaida and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
The facts are clear and compelling. The information presented points conclusively to an al-Qaida role in the September 11 attacks.
We know that the individuals who carried out these attacks were part of the world-wide terrorist network of al-Qaida, headed by Osama bin Laden and his key lieutenants and protected by the Taliban.
On the basis of this briefing, it has now been determined that the attack against the United States on September 11 was directed from abroad and shall therefore be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack on one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.
I want to reiterate that the United States of America can rely on the full support of its 18 NATO Allies in the campaign against terrorism.” (Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General, statement to the NATO Council, State Department, Appendix H, Multinational Response to September 11 NATO Press http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/10313.pdf, accessed 24 November 2009, emphasis added)
In other words, 2 days before the actual commencement of the bombing campaign on October 7, the North Atlantic Council decided, based on the information provided by Frank Taylor to the Council “that the attacks were directed from abroad” by Al Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, thereby requiring an action on the part of NATO under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty ( NATO – Topic: Terrorism, NATO and the fight against Terrorism, accessed 24 November 2009):
NATO action under article 5, was outlined in an October 4 decision, 3 days before the commencement of the bombings.
Two days later, on 4 October, NATO agreed on eight measures in support the United States, which were tantamount to an illegal declaration of war on Afghanistan:
to enhance intelligence sharing and co-operation, both bilaterally and in appropriate NATO bodies, relating to the threats posed by terrorism and the actions to be taken against it;
to provide, individually or collectively, as appropriate and according to their capabilities, [military] assistance to Allies and other states which are or may be subject to increased terrorist threats as a result of their support for the campaign against terrorism;
to take necessary measures to provide increased security for facilities of the United States and other Allies on their territory;
to backfill selected Allied assets in NATO’s area of responsibility that are required to directly support operations against terrorism;
to provide blanket overflight clearances for the United States and other Allies’ aircraft, in accordance with the necessary air traffic arrangements and national procedures, for military flights related to operations against terrorism; to provide access for the United States and other Allies to ports and airfields on the territory of NATO nations for operations against terrorism, including for refuelling, in accordance with national procedures;
Press reports of Frank Taylor’s brief to the NATO Council were scanty. The invocation of Article 5, five days before the bombings commenced, was barely mentioned. The media consensus was: “all roads lead to Bin Laden” as if bin Laden was a Nation State which had attacked America.
What stands out are outright lies and fabrications. Moreover, prior to October 2nd, NATO had no pretext under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to intervene militarily in Afghanistan.
The pretext was provided by Frank Taylor’s classified report, which was not made public.
The two UN Security Council resolutions adopted in the course of September 2001, did not, under any circumstances, provide a justification for the invasion and illegal occupation of a UN member country of 28 million people. (see Security Council resolution 1368 (2001) Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts).
UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) called for prevention and suppression of terrorist acts, as well suppression of the financing of terrorism:
“(e) Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and ensure that, in addition to any other measures against them, such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts;
“3. Calls upon all States to:
“(a) Find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information, especially regarding actions or movements of terrorist persons or networks; forged or falsified travel documents; traffic in arms, explosives or sensitive materials; use of communications technologies by terrorist groups; and the threat posed by the possession of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups;
“(b) Exchange information in accordance with international and domestic law and cooperate on administrative and judicial matters to prevent the commission of terrorist acts;
“(c) Cooperate, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements, to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks and take action against perpetrators of such acts;
“4. Notes with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms-trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials, and in this regard emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international security;
Nowhere in this resolution is there any mention of military action against a UN member State.
The US led war on Afghanistan, using 9/11 as a pretext and a justification is illegal and criminal.
The US and NATO heads of state and heads of government from 2001 to the present are complicit in the launching of a criminal and illegal war.
The Big Lie: Al Qaeda Made in America
Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.
Both the 9/11 Commission Report as well as the Western media have largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks. The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.
Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “Global War on Terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.
After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
This is why a legal procedure directed against the actual perpetrators of 9/11 is absolutely essential.
History of Al Qaeda
Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.
In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.
In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
Iraq: Alleged State Sponsor of the 9/11 Attacks
The formulation of a war of retribution conducted in the name of 9/11 was not limited to Afghanistan.
In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush, in an October 2002 press conference:
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,.. We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)
Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.
The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.
Iran: Condemned by a New York City Court for Supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 Attacks
In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.
In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.
The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 9/11 Commission’s recommendation was that this “apparent link” required “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).
In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran) “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.
According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).
This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.
Ironically, while Washington accuses Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran of complicity in the 9/11 attacks, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their intelligence counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Realities are turned upside down. Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East an d North Africa.
In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command:
“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011).
In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:
Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/
“Crimes against Civilization”
9/11 mythology has been the mainstay of war propaganda, which in itself constitutes a criminal act under international law.
Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.
Muslims are presented as the perpetrators of the 9/11, thereby unleashing a Worldwide demonization campaign.
In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council. All these various bodies are complicit in a criminal project.
September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.
What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.
With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of war propaganda.
Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.
Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally. According to the media, “Muslims were behind the attacks”, thereby justifying a war of retribution against Muslim countries.
Racism and Islamophobia are an integral part of war propaganda.
Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?
People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!
The routine use of 9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion.
It prevents people from thinking. It strikes at the core of human values. In a sense, it destroys civilization.
All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.
The criminality underlying post 9/11 propaganda is of much broader nature, affecting people’s mindsets, redefining fundamental social, political and institutional relations.
“Crimes against Civilization” have been committed.
9/11 mythology precipitates the World into barbarity.
Mainstream media consistently distributes disinformation to push the war agendas of the very institutions of power that keep them on the air.
Time and again, we have seen how deceptive reports have sent the West headlong into yet another conflict: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria… the list is long and growing.
Many media portals exist proclaiming to have real, legitimate news, but unless they are 100% independent it becomes difficult to know to what extent their newscasts are imbued with spin.
In battling this onslaught of disinformation, the Global Research website remains completely independent: no funding from governments, foundations or institutions. It exists solely on account of the contribution of its readership.
As Graeme MacQueen writes:
Today, more than ever before, war depends on deception. To oppose war without seeing through the deceptions currently being practiced by governments of the West is to act in vain. I have visited many websites that attempt to offer alternatives to the mainstream media, but I have been disappointed repeatedly by their inability or refusal to challenge these myths and deceptions.
Global Research bravely takes on this task, and that is why it is a vital resource for us all. This is why I have made its website my homepage and why I have taken out a membership. I hope you will do the same. - Prof. Graeme MacQueen (for list of articles, click here), Co-editor, Journal of 9/11 Studies
Please help Global Research continue to deliver the truth, the real news that remains unreported, under-reported or downright manipulated by corporate news media. Scroll down to find out about our different annual and monthly membership options (all of which include free book offers!) and how you can support independent media.
The pro-Nazi core of the Ukrainian government that was installed by the U.S. in February 2014 is too well-documented to be denied, and so the West’s major propaganda media (self-styled as being ‘news’ media) instead simply hide it — most don’t report any of it, but a few report snippets along with excuses to make individual events seem like aberrations, not the core, which they actually are.
And here it is in a flag at a rally by the Right Sector organization, which is the gang that goes back to Ukraine’s Nazis during World War II and that actually constituted the foot-soldiers the Obama Administration hired to bring the present, racist-fascist, Ukrainian Government, into power February 2014:
And here is the video from which that still-photo was taken:
And here is how Obama’s team used the violent Right Sector to bring down Ukraine’s democratically elected neutralist Yanukovych government in what the West insists upon calling “peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations at the Maidan Square in Kiev”; here they’ve set fire to police who were defending a government building:
And here is the video from which that still-photo was taken:
How much of this, which has been shown in Russia and in other countries that aren’t yet controlled by the U.S., has been shown also on the nightly ’news’ in the West, and reported in ‘news’papers such as The New York Times, and the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung — ‘news’ organizations that deny these realities, whenever they’re brought up, but that can provide no counter-evidence and therefore prefer to ignore altogether these realities, even while claiming to ‘report the news’?
But how else can democracy be killed, than by such a coordinated campaign to hide reality and deceive the masses? After all, what you’ve just now seen documented here is “Leftist.” But it’s also reality. So: fascist regimes need to hide it.
After the Second World War ended, The Vatican, the CIA, the ex-Nazis, and the Sicilian/American Mafia forged an alliance to fight the Cold War against the former Soviet Union and the rising pro-Soviet governments in Europe and the rest of the world.
In a new book, Paul L. Williams offers new and disturbing evidence to expose what he calls the unholy alliance. Operation Gladio is likely to be a controversial book and may even be contested by several quarters. However, it would be difficult to reject the evidence author Paul L. Williams has provided.
The story started as early as 1942 with the formation of the Vatican Bank. The same year ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) recruited Lucky Luciano, a pre-eminent drug lord. The Swiss director of the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Allen Dulles came to the conclusion, “We’re fighting the wrong enemy.” Schutzstaffel (SS) sent Dulles a message through the Vatican that the Nazi government wanted to establish a separate peace with the United States; they wanted to fight the Soviets. Dulles met Prince Max von Hohenlohe in Bern. Hohenlohe found Dulles in agreement with him. Later, Dulles also met other Nazi officials to forge the new alliance. Chief of Special Intelligence for the OSS in China Col. Paul E Helliwell thought of another unholy alliance between the US intelligence community and organized crime groups. Consequently, the US intelligence agencies got drug lord Lucky Luciano released from jail, allowed him to build his narcotic empire, and simply watched the flow of drugs into the largely black ghettos of New York and Washington. The unholy alliance of the American spies and criminals was replicated everywhere, from Laos and Burma to Marseilles and Panama.
After Richard Nixon became president in 1969, the strategy of tension gained more impetus. National Adviser Henry Kissinger issued orders to Licio Gelli to carry out terror attacks and coup attempts. The United States and the Vatican channeled millions of dollars for these operations. Most of the money was raised in questionable ways. The first major attack in Europe took place on December 12, 1969 when a bomb went off in the lobby of Banca Nazionale Dell’ Agricoltura in Milan, Italy. Seventeen people died in the explosion. Within an hour, three bombs exploded in Rome. According to official figures, 14,591 acts of violence with a political motivation took place between January 1, 1969 and December 31, 1987. In these terror attacks, 491 people died and 1,181 were injured. A large number of terror attacks took place in other European countries from 1965 to 1981. After a series of assassination attempts to kill French President De Gaulle failed, he denounced “the secret warfare of the Pentagon” and expelled the European headquarters of NATO.
In the Latin America, the CIA and the Vatican launched Operation Condor as the Latin American version of the Operation Gladio. The label was applied very liberally by the US intelligence agencies that “any government risked being so labeled if it advocated nationalization of private industry (particularly foreign-owned corporations), radical land reform, autarkic trade policies, acceptance of soviet aid, or an anti-American foreign policy.” The CIA and the Vatican started Operation Condor in the early 1970s when Opus Dei elicited support from Chilean bishops for the overthrow of the government of President Allende. The Catholic group was closely working with the CIA-funded organizations such as the Fatherland and Liberty, which was later turned into the dreaded Chilean secret police. “In 1971, the CIA began shelling out millions to the Chilean Institute for General Studies (IGS), an Opus Dei think tank, for the planning of the revolution.” Many members of the IGS joined the government after the coup. Hernan Cubillos became the foreign minister. He was the founder of Que Pasa, an OPUS Dei magazine, and publisher of El Mercurio, the largest newspaper in Santiago which was subsidized by the CIA.
Williams shows that the Vatican was fully involved in Operation Condor. The Pope was fully behind the purging of the left wing clerics; leaders of the military junta were devout Catholics. The Vatican did not abandon General Pinochet even when he was arrested in Britain for the murder of thousands of Chileans. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano wrote to the British government on behalf of the Pope to demand his release. Under Pinochet, hundreds of thousands Chileans had disappeared while more than four thousands had died. More than fifty thousand Chileans were tortured in the name of Catholic god. CIA’s dirty war was perpetuated in many Latin American countries with the help and blessing of the Vatican.
Williams quotes FBI whistle blower Sibel Edmonds who said,
“Between 1996 and 2002, we, the United States, planned, financed, and helped execute every major terrorist incident by Chechen rebels (and the Mujahideen) against Russia. Between 1996 and 20002, we, the United States, planned, financed, and helped execute every single uprising and terror related scheme in Xinjiang (aka East Turkistan and Uyhurstan). Between 1996 and 2002, we, the United States, planned and carried out at least two assassination schemes against pro-Russian officials in Azerbaijan.”
Operation Gladio is a highly well-researched book with some 1,100 endnotes and footnotes. This work is highly rich in details. It is an estimable scholarly and intellectual accomplishment which is unrivaled. His scholarly work fills a major lacuna in the study of the US foreign policy which was left by scholars such as Alfred McCoy, Peter Dale Scot, Martin A. Lee, Dale Yallop, and Sibel Edmonds.
Reviewed by Arif Jamal
Paul L. Williams is a journalist and author of The Vatican Exposed, Crescent Moon Rising, The Day of Islam, Osama’s revenge, and the Al-Qaeda Connection. He has written articles for The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Counter-Terrorist, NewsMax, and National Review. He is the winner of three first-place Keystone Press Awards for journalism. He has also served as a consultant for the FBI and as an adjunct professor of Humanities at the University of Scranton and Wilkes University.
Copyright Arif Jamal, The Washington Book Review, 2015
This is what the arrogant morons who comprise the US government have stirred up:
Watch this video for its entire 1 hour 20 minutes, and then ask yourself if Washington is making a good decision by driving us into conflict with Russia.
Americans, being an insouciant people, are unaware that it was Russians, not England’s Wellington, who defeated Napoleon. The Grande Army did not return from Russia. The loss broke the back of French military power.
The German Wehrmacht, which in a few days overran France and drove the British off the continent, was destroyed in Russia by the Red Army.
The allied invasion of Normandy encountered only a few under-strength German units deprived of fuel.
The German army and all available resources were on the Russian front.
Americans played a small role in the war against Hitler. Eisenhower cleverly waited until the Red Army had defeated Hitler, and then invaded long after the tide had turned against Germany. Today Washington claims credit for winning a war in which Washington’s role was small.
The US has not won a war since the defeat of Japan. The US was defeated by Third World armies in Korea and in Vietnam.
After 14 years in Afghanistan the US has been defeated by a few lightly armed Taliban. After 8 years, half of Iraq is in the hands of the militant Islamic State.
Washington has squandered trillions of dollars on wars that Washington has lost, while the US economy and living standards declined as a result of the trillions of dollars wasted on futile wars.
The neoconsevative warmongers responsible for this disaster still control both US political parties. These crazed warmongers are driving America to America’s final defeat.
I worked with President Reagan to end the Cold War and to established friendship with the Russians. The George H. W. Bush administration and its Secretary of State James Baker held to the agreement. But all subsequent regimes have violated it. The neoconsevatives displaced the old Republican Establishment and the Reagan Republicans. The neocons have also prevailed among the Democrats, so there is no political competition. Warmongers control US foreign policy.
American police apply the same gratuitous violence to the American population that the American military applies to foreign populations. Abroad the violence has swelled the ranks of those Washington sought to quell. Within the US police violence is turning Americans themselves into enemies. Defeat abroad and at home could be Washington’s future. Demitry Orlov describes “America’s Achilles’ Heel”.
El 11 de mayo 2015, precisamente un mes después del encuentro histórico entre Barack Obama y Raúl Castro en la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá, François Hollande realiza una visita oficial a Cuba, convirtiéndose en el primer presidente francés que viajará a la isla. Aprovechando un contexto internacional favorable con el acercamiento operado por Washington y La Habana desde el 17 de diciembre de 2014, así como el proceso de normalización entre la Unión Europea y Cuba desde febrero de 2014, París refuerza sus lazos con la mayor de las Antillas.
Una visita minuciosamente preparada
Varios viajes oficiales precedieron a esta visita histórica. En un primer tiempo, el 12 de abril de 2014, Laurent Fabius, ministro francés de Relaciones Exteriores, realizó una estancia en Cuba donde lo recibió el presidente Raúl Castro. Se trataba entonces de la primera visita del jefe de la diplomacia francesa desde el viaje de Claude Cheysson en agosto de 1983. Con esta iniciativa oficial, París ratificó el fracaso de la política de sanciones de Bruselas, que aplica la Posición Común a la Isla desde 1996.
En marzo de 2015, una delegación francesa liderada por Mathias Felk, secretario de Estado para el Comercio Exterior, y Bruno Bézard, Presidente del Club de París y Director General del Tesoro Francés, realizó una visita de tres días a Cuba para preparar la estancia del presidente Hollande y abordar el tema de la deuda de Cuba con el Club de París de unos 15.000 millones de dólares.
Visita a Fidel Castro
Las motivaciones de Francia
Las motivaciones del viaje oficial del presidente Hollande son múltiples. Primero son de orden político. En efecto, la diplomacia francesa es consciente de que Cuba es la puerta de entrada de América Latina, donde Estados Unidos ha perdido una gran parte de su influencia en beneficio de China y Rusia, que tienen relaciones muy estrechas con la Isla.
Jamás en la historia del continente la influencia de La Habana ha sido tan grande. Cuba no sólo tiene relaciones diplomáticas, comerciales y culturales fructíferas con todas las naciones latinoamericanas, sino que además ocupa un lugar preponderante en los organismos de integración regional como la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC), que agrupa los 33 países de América Latina y del Caribe, y la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA) que reúne 13 naciones de la región. La II Cumbre de la CELAC de La Habana en enero de 2014 federó a los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno de todo el continente, en una demostración impresionante de unidad, y declaró a América Latina “Zona de Paz”.
Prueba de la importancia de Cuba, Estados Unidos también tuvo que abrir un proceso de diálogo con La Habana a causa de su aislamiento en América Latina, donde hasta sus más fieles aliados, como México y Colombia, expresaron firmemente su oposición al estado de sitio económico impuesto a la población cubana. Por otra parte, varias naciones del continente amenazaron con boicotear la Cumbre de las Américas de abril de 2015 en Panamá, en caso de ausencia de Cuba. Así Juan Manuel Santos, Presidente de Colombia y principal socio de Washington en América Latina, declaró en abril de 2012 durante la VI Cumbre de las Américas en Cartagena que “otra Cumbre sin Cuba sería inaceptable”.
Así, el apoyo latinoamericano a Cuba supera las oposiciones ideológicas tradicionales. El Gobierno francés sabe que unas relaciones cordiales con Cuba facilitarán los lazos con el resto del continente. Por ello, no menos de ocho ministros acompañarán al presidente Hollande, lo que ilustra la importancia que concede Francia a este viaje oficial.
Las motivaciones son también de orden económico. En efecto, además de los encuentros oficiales clásicos y de la inauguración de la nueva sede de la Alianza Francesa en La Habana, la agenda de François Hollande incluye también la participación en un foro económico entre inversionistas franceses y el Estado cubano con el fin de reforzar la presencia de Francia en Cuba.
Así, decenas de empresarios franceses forman parte del viaje presidencial. Aunque unas 60 empresas francesas se encuentran en Cuba, entre las cuales las más importantes son Pernod-Ricard, Accor, Bouygues, Alcatel-Lucent, Total, Alstom y Air France, Francia sólo es el noveno socio económico de la Isla después de Venezuela, China, España, Canadá, Países Bajos, Brasil, México e Italia. Francia desea desarrollar su presencia en los sectores de las energías renovables, transporte, biotecnología, agroalimentario e integrar la Zona Especial de Desarrollo del puerto de Mariel.
La reciente visita de Bruno Rodríguez, ministro cubano de Relaciones Exteriores, a París el 20 y 21 de abril de 2015, ilustra el interés de Francia en las relaciones con Cuba. En efecto, el ministro cubano no sólo fue recibido por su homólogo francés Laurent Fabius, sino que también fue acogido por el presidente Hollande, que bajó la escalinata del palacio del Eliseo para saludarlo, gesto protocolario tradicionalmente reservado a los grandes jefes de Estado. También se entrevistó con Manuel Valls, Primer Ministro, que desenrolló la alfombra roja en el Hôtel de Matignon al representante de la República de Cuba.
Las relaciones entre Francia y Cuba han mejorado mucho, particularmente gracias a Jean Mendelson, embajador de Francia en La Habana de noviembre de 2010 a enero de 2015, que obró a favor del acercamiento entre ambas naciones y fue apreciado por los cubanos. Del mismo modo Orlando Requeijo, embajador de Cuba en Francia de 2009 a 2013, así como Héctor Igarza, su sucesor actualmente en cargo en París, contribuyeron ampliamente al reforzamiento de los lazos entre ambas naciones. El embajador Igarza considera la visita del presidente Hollande al mismo tiempo “histórica y simbólica del estado de las excelentes relaciones bilaterales”.
Lazos históricos entre Francia y Cuba
Con esta primera visita de un jefe de Estado francés a Cuba, François Hollande repara una anomalía histórica. En efecto, “más de 200 años de amistad y 113 años de relaciones diplomáticas y consulares [desde 1902]” unen a ambas naciones, recuerda el embajador Igarza. Los primeros colonos franceses se instalaron en Cuba en 1804 tras huir la Revolución Haitiana. Cienfuegos, una de las principales ciudades cubanas, fue fundada por el francés Jean-Louis Laurent de Clouet. Esta “Perla del Sur” de 150.000 habitantes conserva todavía la influencia francesa, particularmente en su arquitectura.
Del mismo modo los independentistas cubanos también recibieron la influencia de los ideales de la Revolución Francesa y el himno nacional de la isla, La Bayamesa, saca su inspiración de La Marseillaise. Victor Hugo apoyó la causa de la emancipación cubana contra el yugo español y mantuvo una correspondencia con José Martí, Héroe Nacional cubano.
De la misma forma, cosa poco conocida, el lema de la Revolución Cubana “Patria o Muerte”, derivado de la máxima “Libertad o Muerte”, lanzado por primera vez por Fidel Castro el 5 de marzo de 1960 tras el atentado terrorista que organizó la CIA contra el barco francés La Coubre que transportaba armas y municiones a Cuba y que causó un centenar de muertos y más de 200 heridos, saca su fuente del lema robespierrista “Libertad, Igualdad, Fraternidad, o Muerte”.
Con esta visita histórica, el presidente François Hollande indica la vía a seguir a las demás naciones occidentales y manda un mensaje a la Unión Europea y a Estados Unidos. Francia recuerda que la mejor manera de promover intereses mutuos es basar las relaciones con Cuba en la igualdad soberana, el diálogo respetuoso y la no injerencia en los asuntos internos.
Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, SalimLamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano. http://monthlyreview.org/books/pb4710/
Le Monde, «Laurent Fabius en visite à Cuba, ‘amie’ de la France», 13 de abril de 2014. Claude Cheysson, «Déclaration de M. Claude Cheysson, Ministre des relations extérieures sur les relations avec Cuba et le droit des peuples», 5 de agosto de 1983.
“The ultimate solution is a multiplication of leverage by citizens to the point where it simply cannot be denied”. -Clifford Carnicom
The materials disbursed in stratospheric aerosol geoengineering operations contain a combination of ionizable metallic salts, filaments, gel-type materials, and crystals. These are the longstanding and deeply interrogated observations of independent environmental research scientist Clifford Carnicom given on a December 10 conference call organized by GlobalSkywatch.com director Russ Tanner. During the meeting, coincidentally held on International Human Rights Day, Carnicom asserted that because the system of responsible government has failed, the immediate collective efforts of citizens are necessary “to claim their rights upon this planet.”
His remarks were made just three months after his presentation at the Consciousness Beyond Chemtrails conference held in Los Angeles last summer. In that talk, “Geoengineering and Bioengineering: The Unmistakable Link,” Carnicom upheld his research detecting such a correlation. “’Is there a direct relationship between the alteration of living systems (us) and ecosystems (the environment)?’” he asks. “My answer is unequivocally, ‘Yes.’”
Mr. Carnicom’s work began in 1999 when he noted clear changes in the skies overhead. He has since produced a large body of sound and meticulous yet accessible research reports examining the nature and contents of such aerosols, all of which are available at carnicominstitute.org.
The implications of his observations—that virtually every breathing organism is an unwitting participant in a massive biological experiment of unknown purpose—have proven terrifying enough to prevent many individuals from even tentatively considering his investigations and hypotheses. “There’s a personal journey everyone has to take about the reality of this,” Carnicom told call participants.
The most well-known manifestation of such nano-biologicals is the oft-misunderstood Morgellons ailment, an especially unusual and disturbing condition marked by painful dermal lesions through which such nano-fibers protrude. Tammy, a participant on the conference call suffering from Morgellons who became intimately informed about the sickness because of Carnicom’s work, asked if the broader population was also susceptible.
“I want to be as accurate as possible if I’m going to make a public declaration,” Carnicom stated. “The diplomatic way of saying this is that the evidence indicates that the general population is subject to the very same symptoms that Tammy is experiencing.”
How can one determine whether they are an unknowing subject of bioengineering? In 2008 Carnicom presented a simple technique developed by naturopathic physician Gwen Scott for the lay population to detect the presence of nano-fibers in their bodies. A mouthwash consisting of two teaspoons dry red wine and one teaspoon hydrogen peroxide vigorously applied for five minutes yielded observable clumps of fibrous strands comprised of an “encasing filament, sub-micron filament network, Chlamydia-like structures and the ‘hybrid form’” in fourteen subjects tested from diverse geographic locations across the US.
According to Carnicom such organisms “have now been discovered repeatedly across all major body systems and functions, including skin, blood, hair, saliva, dental(gum), digestive, ear and urinary samples.” 
US Government’s Conflicted Interest
Shortly after Carnicom began his research in the late 1990s major government and corporate entities with probable ties to this program made numerous repeated visits to the researcher’s website. Their interest suggests the threat Carnicom’s investigations posed in making such programs publicly known. IP addresses employed to peruse the site included offices as high as the Secretary of Defense and Air Force Headquarters, as well as over one dozen US Air Force bases, several US-based research laboratories, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the corporate offices of Lockheed, Boeing, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Arco Chemical, Kaiser Permanente, and the Mayo Clinic.
Yet such curiosity fails to permeate the US agencies entrusted with the preservation of the environment and public health. Even though Carnicom is producing especially valuable research and has persistently called for regulatory intervention on the public’s behalf, the EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been wholly dismissive of his findings and requests to actively enforce existing laws intended to protect the environment and public health. Nor have these agencies presented comparable evidence of their own refuting Carnicom’s findings and justifying their failure to act upon the standards under which they are purportedly governed.
For example, when Carnicom sent the EPA samples of fibrous pollutants for analysis several years ago the agency responded, “It is not our policy to identify unsolicited materials.” Carnicom characterized this key instance of bureaucratic denial as “a powerhouse of innuendo and obfuscation that has never been resolved. When you have a specific mission statement you do not adopt a policy that suits the person in office at the time.”
Along these lines in early 2012 the CDC announced the findings of its inquiry into Morgellons by stating that it could not identify an origin for the fibers and concluding that individuals demonstrably suffering from the condition were “delusional.” Environmental writer Randy Ananda commented that the obfuscation merely provided cover for the Department of Defense’s ongoing experimentation.
The US Government and Human Experimentation
The US government and military have long possessed the capacity and demonstrated the will to violate the Nuremberg Code by using nerve, biological, and radiological agents on unsuspecting human subjects.The fluoridation of public water supplies and above-ground nuclear testing are but a few dramatic and irrefutable examples. The premeditated will to do so further resounds in the government’s overt sponsorship of over 700 Nazi scientists under Operation Paperclip. The fruits of their research included the noxious and debilitating mycoplasma stealth pathogen derived from the brucellosis bacterium that likely infects many today.
Further, the US military’s ability to administer lethal substances on civilian populations is well established. In 1969 testimony before the House Defense Appropriations Committee the Pentagon’s Deputy Director of Research and Technology Dr. Donald MacArthur explained how “[l]ethal chemicals … about ten times more potent than the most toxic of World War I gases” could be released “in artillery shells or bombs, rockets, or you can deliver them from spray tanks … [T]o attack a complete city of many millions of people,” MacArthur continued, “let’s say a densely populated city like New York—it would take 300 to 400 tons efficiently dispersed to immobilize the city.”
There are likewise numerous historical instances of the US government using citizens as nothing short of guinea pigs. For example, in 1994 Freedom of Information Act requests forced the US Army to divulge how in the mid-1950s it sprayed hundreds of pounds of zinc cadmium sulfide into a densely populated and predominantly black district of St. Louis.
“I’m wondering if it got into our system,” said former resident Lisa Martino-Taylor, who lost four brothers and sisters to cancer early in their lives and suspects that radioactive particulates were mixed with the metallic substance. “When I learned about the testing, I thought ‘Oh my god. If they did that, there’s no telling what else they’re hiding.’”
The Army claimed that it only used blowers atop buildings to distribute the toxins. Yet a resident of another targeted neighborhood in St. Louis, Mary Helen Brindell,
recalled a summer day playing baseball with other kids in the street when a squadron of green Army planes flew close to the ground and dropped a powdery substance. She went inside, washed it off her face and arms, and then went back out to play. Over the years Brindell has battled four types of cancer—breast, thyroid, skin and uterine. “I feel betrayed,” said Brindell, who is white. “We pointed our finger during the Holocaust, and we do something like this?
With such instances in mind the question is no longer, “Would the government partake in such human experimentation that may be injurious or fatal to its own population?” It is instead, “What safeguards and systems of accountability exist that would prevent the government from using members of the general population as unwitting lab animals?” The bureaucratic shenanigans of the EPA and CDC and the abandonment of their respective mandates to protect the environment and public health make the answer more than obvious.
“Our World Has Been Transformed”
In a 2011 paper Carnicom demonstrates how the filament samples likely originating from aerial spraying are identical to those found in Morgellons’ victims. “The fact that this traces itself to a repeatedly occurring environmental sample represents, in my opinion, the worst crime in human history.”
Indeed, such observations suggest how the unspeakable horrors of Dacchau and Auschwitz are not the stuff of a seemingly distant historical past. As Carnicom’s deep research suggests, such profound crimes have been resurrected in the skies above and worlds within. “Our biology is being negatively affected by this intrusion into our lives,” Carnicom warns, “whether it will be fifteen or fifty years.”
Drawing a conclusion to his remarks on the GlobalSkywatch call, Mr. Carnicom responded to an attendee articulating frustrations shared by many conscious and concerned citizens. “How do we get this to stop? How do we get the government to respond to us?”
“I will be inadequate in terms of what I can offer,” Carnicom began.
I have an obligation as a human being to do what is within my means to make the world a better place. As an individual I have that obligation, and so I do that to the best of my ability, so much so that it has occupied the past 15 years of my life and I have to spend a good part of it managing a non-profit. I’m one person that has certain particular talents and a background. I’m not the best public speaker in the world. I’m not the best activist in the world. I’m not the best money raiser in the world. But I do some things hopefully reasonably well.
To start answering this question I have to extend it to each one of you. Do you remember the old JFK [challenge]? I know it’s a cliché but clichés sometimes have some meaning. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Just skip the patriotic aspect of it and ask yourself what you’re going to do.The first thing that I would do is extend to every one of us the necessity for involvement and using your talents.
The second thing is that our world has been transformed now. Normal things don’t work. Frustration does not eliminate the call for duty that exists upon each of us … This is more a level of consciousness and awareness; of planting a seed, but the level that is going to be required is so different in this world than anything that has been imagined in terms of the demand for the right to a healthful and peaceful existence on this planet. It’s going to have to happen at a level that we’re not thinking of right now because the normal processes are not working. The Million Man March doesn’t cut it. I wish that I could answer simply what it is going to be. But it is going to [require] a shift in consciousness and awareness that is so forthright and direct that all of the games and manipulations–and the business of three, four, six companies controlling the media–no longer works and no longer applies. I don’t want for it to be decades in our future.
 Clifford E. Carnicom, Remarks to GlobalSkyWatch Weekly Phone Meeting, December 10, 2012, http://globalskywatch.com/go/ Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from this December 10 event.
 United States House of Representatives, Ninety-First Congress, Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, First Session. In Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2011, 65-66.
The Lend-Lease Act, or “An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States,” which was signed by President Roosevelt on March 11, 1941, gave the US president the right “to sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of … any defense article … for the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.” The term “any defense article” was understood to mean weapons, military equipment, munitions, strategic raw materials, ammunition, food, and civilian goods required by the army and homeland-defense forces, as well as any information of military significance.
The structure of the Lend-Lease Act required the recipient nation to meet a number of conditions:
1) payment is not required for any items that go missing or that are lost or destroyed during hostilities, but any property that survives and is suitable for civilian use must be paid for in full or in part, as repayment of a long-term loan granted by the US
2) military articles being stored in the recipient countries may remain there until the US requests their return
3), in turn, all leasees must assist the United States using all the resources and information in their possession
The Lend-Lease Act required countries requesting American assistance to provide the US with an exhaustive financial report. US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. was correct to recognize this requirement as something unprecedented in world affairs, claiming during a Senate Committee hearing that for the first time in history, one state and one government was willingly providing information to another about its own financial position.
President Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease bill
With the help of the Lend-Lease Act, President Roosevelt’s administration prepared to address a number of urgent issues, both foreign and domestic. First, its framework would make it possible to create new jobs in the US, which had not yet fully emerged from the extreme economic crisis of 1929-1933. Second, the Lend-Lease Act made it possible for the American government to exert a certain degree of influence over the countries on the receiving end of the lend-lease assistance. And third, by sending his allies weapons, goods, and raw materials, but not boots on the ground, President Roosevelt was able to stay true to his campaign promise, in which he pledged, “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
The lend-lease system was in no way designed to aid the USSR. The British were the first to request military assistance on the basis of this special leasing relationship (which was similar to an operating lease) at the end of May 1940, at a time when France’s crushing defeat had left Great Britain with no military allies on the European continent. London asked Washington for 40-50 “old” destroyers, offering three payment options: getting them for free, paying in cash, or leasing. President Roosevelt quickly accepted the third option, and that transaction was completed in late summer of 1940.
At that point, staffers inside the US Treasury Department came up with the idea of taking the concept behind that private deal and extending it to apply to all intergovernmental relations. The War and Navy Departments were brought in to help develop the lend-lease bill, and on Jan. 10, 1941 the US presidential administration brought that act for consideration before both houses of Congress, where it was approved on March 11. Plus, in September 1941, after much debate the US Congress approved what was known as the Victory Program, the essence of which, according to US military historians (Richard Leighton and Robert Coakley), was that “America’s contribution to the war would be in weapons, not armies.”
US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (R) meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (L) in the United States in 1942.
On Oct. 1, 1941, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov, British Minister of Supply Lord Beaverbrook, and US Special Envoy Averell Harriman signed the First (Moscow) Protocol, which marked the beginning of the expansion of the lend-lease program to the Soviet Union. Several additional protocols were subsequently signed.
How important was the US lend-lease?
During the war, Soviet factories produced more than 29.1 million small arms of all major types, while only 152,000 small arms (0.5% of the total) were manufactured by American, British, and Canadian plants. Looking at all types of artillery systems of all calibers we see a similar picture – 647,600 Soviet weapons and mortars vs. 9,400 of foreign origin, representing less than 1.5% of the total.
The numbers are less grim for other types of weapons: the ratio of domestic vs. allied tanks and self-propelled artillery was, respectively, 132,800 vs. 11,900 (8.96%), and for combat aircraft – 140,500 vs. 18,300 (13%).
Out of the almost $46 billion that was spent on all lend-lease aid, the US allocated only $9.1 billion, i.e., only a little more than 20% of the funds, to the Red Army, which defeated the vast majority of the divisions from Germany and her military satellites.
During that time the British Empire was given more than $30.2 billion, France – $1.4 billion, China – $630 million, and even Latin America (!) received $420 million. Lend-lease supplies were distributed to 42 different countries.
South American bomber A-20 “Boston» (Douglas A-20 Havoc/DB-7 Boston), crashed at the airport in Nome (Nome) in Alaska during the distillation in the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease.
But perhaps, despite the fact that the quantities of transatlantic assistance were fairly negligible, is it possible that it did play a decisive role in 1941, when the Germans were at the very gates of Moscow and Leningrad, and within 24-40 km from the Red Square?
Let’s look at the statistics for arms shipments from that year. From the onset of the war until the end of 1941, the Red Army received 1.76 million rifles, automatic weapons, and machine guns, 53,700 artillery and mortars, 5,400 tanks, and 8,200 warplanes. Of these, our allies in the anti-Hitler coalition supplied only 82 artillery weapons (0.15%), 648 tanks (12.14%), and 915 airplanes (10.26%). In addition, much of the military equipment that was sent – in particular, 115 of the 466 tanks manufactured in the UK – did not even make it to the front in the first year of the war.
If we convert these shipments of arms and military equipment into their monetary equivalent, then, according to the well-known historian Mikhail Frolov, DSc (Velikaya Otechestvennaya Voina 1941-1945 v Nemetskoi Istoriografii.[Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 in German historiography], St. Petersburg: 1994), “up until the end of 1941 – the most difficult period for the Soviet state – under the Lend-Lease Act, the US sent the USSR materials worth $545,000, out of the $741 million worth of supplies shipped to all the countries that were part of the anti-Hitler coalition. This means that during this extraordinarily difficult period, less than 0.1% of America’s aid went to the Soviet Union.
“In addition, the first lend-lease shipments during the winter of 1941-1942 reached the USSR very late, although during those critical months Russia was able to put up an impressive fight against the German aggressors all on her own, without any assistance to speak of from the democracies of the West. By the end of 1942 only 55% of the scheduled deliveries had made it to the USSR.”
For example, in 1941 the United States promised to send 600 tanks and 750 aircraft, but actually sent only 182 and 204, respectively.
In November 1942, i.e., at the height of the battle for the Caucasus and Stalingrad, the arms deliveries practically came to a complete halt. Disruptions in shipments had already begun in the summer of 1942, when German aircraft and submarines almost entirely wiped out the infamous Convoy PQ 17 that was abandoned (at the order of the Admiralty) by the British destroyers assigned to escort it. Tragically only 11 of the original 35 ships arrived safely into Soviet ports – a catastrophe that was used as a pretext to suspend subsequent convoys from Britain until September 1942.
A new convoy, the PQ 18, lost 10 of its 37 vessels along its route, and another convoy was not sent until mid-December 1942. Thus, for three and a half months, when one of the most decisive battles of the entire Second World War was being waged on the Volga, fewer than 40 ships carrying lend-lease cargo arrived intermittently in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. For this reason, many were understandably suspicious that London and Washington were spending that time just waiting to see who would be left standing after the battle of Stalingrad.
As a result, between 1941 and 1942 only 7% of the wartime cargo shipped from the US made it to the Soviet Union. The bulk of the weapons and other materials arrived in the Soviet Union in 1944-1945, once the winds of war had decisively shifted.
What was the quality of the lend-lease military equipment?
Out of the 711 fighter planes that had arrived in the USSR from the UK by the end of 1941, 700 were hopelessly antiquated models such as the Kittyhawk, Tomahawk, and Hurricane, which were significantly inferior to the German Messerschmitts and the Soviet Yakolev Yaks, both in speed and agility, and were not even equipped with guns. Even if a Soviet pilot managed to get a German flying ace positioned in the sights of his machine gun, those rifle-caliber guns were often completely useless against the German plane’s rugged armor. As for the newest Airacobra fighter planes, only 11 were delivered in 1941. And the first Airacobra arrived in the Soviet Union disassembled, without any sort of documentation, having already long outlived its service life.
Bell P-39Q Airacobra
Incidentally, this was also the case with the two squadrons of Hurricane fighters that were armed with 40-mm tank guns designed to engage German armored vehicles. But these fighter planes turned out to be so completely useless that they sat out the war mothballed in the USSR because no Red Army pilots could be found willing to fly them.
A similar situation was observed with the much-vaunted British light Valentine tanks that Soviet tank operators nicknamed “Valentinas,” and the medium Matilda tanks, for which those tank operators reserved a more scathing epithet: “Farewell to Our Homeland.” Their thin armor, highly-flammable gasoline-powered engines, and positively prehistoric transmissions made them easy prey for German gunners and grenade launchers.
According to Valentin Berezhkov, an interpreter for Joseph Stalin who took part in all the negotiations between Soviet leaders and Anglo-American visitors, Stalin was often deeply offended by British actions such as offering obsolete aircraft like the Hurricane as lend-lease handouts, instead of newer fighters like the Spitfire. Moreover, in September 1942, in a conversation with Wendell Willkie, a leader in the US Republican Party, Stalin asked him point-blank in front of the American and British ambassadors, William Standley and Archibald Clark Kerr: why were the British and American governments supplying such poor-quality equipment to the Soviet Union?
He explained that he was primarily speaking of shipments of American P-40s instead of the much more up-to-date Airacobras, and added that the British were providing completely unsuitable Hurricane fighters, which were far inferior to what the Germans had. Stalin claimed that once when the Americans were preparing to ship 150 Airacobras to the Soviet Union, the British had intervened and kept them for themselves. “We know that the Americans and British have planes that are equal to or better than the German models, but for some reason many of those are not making it into the Soviet Union.”
The American ambassador, Admiral Standley, knew nothing about this, but the British ambassador, Archibald Clark Kerr, admitted that he was aware of the Airacobra event, but he defended their redirection with the excuse that in British hands those fighters would be much more valuable to their common Allied cause than if they ended up in the Soviet Union…
Our previous ecological studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has demonstrated a correlation between increasing ASD rates and aluminium (Al) adjuvants in common use in paediatric vaccines in several Western countries. The correlation between ASD rate and Al adjuvant amounts appears to be dose-dependent and satisfies 8 of 9 Hill criteria for causality.
We have now sought to provide an animal model to explore potential behavioural phenotypes and central nervous system (CNS) alterations using subcutaneous injections of Al hydroxide in early postnatal CD-1 mice of both sexes. Injections of a “high” and “low” Al adjuvant levels were designed to correlate to either the U.S. or Scandinavian paediatric vaccine schedules vs. control saline-injected mice. Both male and female mice in the “high Al” group showed significant weight gains following treatment up to sacrifice at 6 months of age. Male mice in the “high Al” group showed significant changes in light–dark box tests and in various measures of behaviour in an open field. Female mice showed significant changes in the light–dark box at both doses, but no significant changes in open field behaviours. These current data implicate Al injected in early postnatal life in some CNS alterations that may be relevant for a better understanding of the aetiology of ASD.
Aluminium (Al) is the most abundant metal and third most common element in the Earth’s crust. Normally chemically bound to other elements, Al is not typically bioavailable and indeed seems to play no role in any known biochemistry of plants, animals or humans. In the last 150 years, however, Al, through human activities has become much more prevalent in the human environment. Notably, Al is widely used in industrial and material applications, is widely found in processed foods, is contained in various medicinal compounds, and can be used as a flocculant in water treatment. Because of such ubiquity, it is increasingly found in our bodies. Overall, we now live in what has been termed “The Aluminium Age”.
For all of its positive properties as a material, Al is also demonstrably toxic to biological systems, an observation that has been in the scientific literature for at least a century. Although Al may deleteriously impact various organ systems, some of its worst impacts may be on the nervous system.
Some of the toxic actions of Al on the nervous system include: disruption of synaptic activity, mis-folding of crucial proteins, promotion of oxidant stress, and increased permeability of the blood–brain barrier, to mention only a few of the more egregious impacts. In particular, Al has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and animal models of the disease clearly demonstrate Al-induced cognitive deficits and pathologies. Al vaccine adjuvants, in use since the mid-1920s, have been shown to produce Lou Gehrig’s-like motor phenotypes in mice and motor neuron degeneration. The neurotoxic effects of Al adjuvants have been discussed in previous publications by our group and by others. Additionally, Al in vaccines has been linked to the induction of autoimmune diseases. Recently, we compared the amount of Al in various national paediatric vaccine schedules with increasing rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found a significant correlation that appeared to be dose dependent. These ecological data satisfied 8 or 9 so-called Hill criteria for causality. Similar conclusions about a potential role of Al adjuvants in ASD have been discussed by other investigators. The above results led us to attempt to create an animal model of ASD based on early life administration of Al adjuvants by injection. The current manuscript describes the behavioural outcomes of this study. A future publication will address central nervous system (CNS) alterations. <<<snip>>>
Al salts are the most widely used adjuvants today and have been since the 1920s. The fact that they can trigger pathological immunological responses and a cascade of unwanted health effects has been relatively under-appreciated to date. Nevertheless, it is clear that the problem with vaccine-derived Al is three-fold: 1) it can persist in the body,2) it can trigger pathological immunological responses and 3) it can make its way into the CNS where it can drive further deleterious immuno-inflammatory and excitotoxic processes.
This paper reports only preliminary data on the adverse neurodevelopmental effects of early Al exposure in paediatric vaccine-relevant doses in an animal model and hence does not provide conclusive evidence on the hypothesized causative role of Al in autism. However, our current results are consistent with the existing evidence on the toxicology and pharmacokinetics of Al adjuvants which altogether strongly implicate these compounds as contributors to the rising prevalence of neuro-behavioural disorders in children. Given that autism has devastating consequences in a life of a child, and that currently in the developed world over 1% of children suffer from some form of ASD], it would seem wise to make efforts towards reducing infant exposure to Al from vaccines.
First published in Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 128 (2013) 237–244 Administration of Aluminium to Neonatal Mice in Vaccine-Relevant Amounts is Associated with Adverse Long Term Neurological Outcomes C. A. Shaw et.al. Neural Dynamics Research Group, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, B. C. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013413001773
Image: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) disputed a federal appeals court ruling on Thursday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is illegal, and some senators expect McConnell to try for a short-term extension of the existing law. (Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Just as Congress was debating whether to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the government has used to collect data on every telephone call we make, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously struck it down in ACLU v. Clapper. Congress has four days left in its current session to decide whether to reauthorize Section 215, amend it or let it die a natural death on June 1, 2015 (the date on which it will sunset if not reauthorized).
Section 215 of the Patriot Act
The controversial section authorizes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to issue orders mandating phone companies, internet service providers, banks, credit card companies etc. to provide their records to the government if the FISC finds “there are reasonable grounds to believe” the records “sought are relevant to an authorized investigation” aimed at protecting the country “against international terrorism.”
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that the FISC used Section 215 to issue an order mandating Verizon to provide
“on an ongoing daily basis … all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ … for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”
The National Security Agency (NSA) has been collecting metadata on our phone communications, including the identities of the caller and the person called, the phone numbers of both parties, as well as the date, time, duration and unique identifiers of the communication.
The “data archive” could be accessed only “when the NSA has identified a known telephone number for which … there are facts giving rise to reasonable, articulable suspicion that the telephone number is associated with [Redacted].” The Court of Appeals speculated that the Redacted portion “presumably” includes “terrorist activity or a specific terrorist organization.”
So the government is collecting data that is not “relevant to an authorized investigation,” but it argues that it might be of use later when a specific terrorist suspect or terrorist plot is being investigated.
The government “does not seriously dispute [the] contention that all significant service providers in the United States are subject to similar orders,” Judge Gerard E. Lynch wrote for the three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals in Clapper. That means all of our phone communications are being collected.
The Court of Appeals Opinion
Judge Lynch began by citing United States v. U.S. Dist. Court (Keith), in which the Supreme Court in 1972 struck down warrantless surveillance procedures that the government had argued were lawful as an exercise of the president’s power to protect national security. The Keith Court remarked on “the inherent vagueness of the domestic security concept [and] the necessarily broad and continuing nature of intelligence gathering.”
Lynch went on to describe the Senate’s Church Committee, established in response to Keith and alleged abuses in the intelligence-gathering and surveillance activities of the NSA, FBI and CIA during “the early 1970s, in a climate not altogether unlike today’s.” The committee concluded that the privacy rights of US citizens had been violated by activities conducted under the rubric of foreign intelligence collection.
It was the Keith case together with the findings of the Church Committee that led Congress in 1978 to enact the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and establish the FISC to review the government’s applications for wiretap orders. The FISC, which functions in secret, has authorized just about every wiretap the government has asked for since its creation.
Shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks, Congress amended FISA by passing the USA Patriot Act, and subsequently amended Section 215. An application for a wiretap order must contain
“a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation (other than a threat assessment) … to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” (emphasis added).
In construing the phrase, “relevant to an authorized investigation,” Lynch notes, “The records demanded are all-encompassing; the government does not even suggest that all of the records sought, or even necessarily any of them, are relevant to any specific defined inquiry.”
The government argued that although the vast amount of information does not contain directly “relevant” information, the data should be collected as it may allow the NSA sometime in the future to identify relevant information. Lynch disagreed, noting, “We agree with appellants that such an expansive concept of ‘relevance’ is unprecedented and unwarranted.”
“The sheer volume of information sought is staggering; while search warrants and subpoenas for business records may encompass large volumes of paper documents or electronic data, the most expansive of such evidentiary demands are dwarfed by the volume of records obtained pursuant to the orders in question here.”
But, Lynch noted,
“§ 215 does not permit an investigative demand for any information relevant to fighting the war on terror, or anything relevant to whatever the government might want to know. It permits demands for documents ‘relevant to an authorized investigation.’”
“The overwhelming bulk of the metadata … concerns … individuals who are not targets of an investigation or suspected of engaging in any crime whatsoever, and who are not even suspected of having any contacts with any such targets or suspects,”
The court was concerned about the slippery slope of allowing the government such expansive power to collect our data. “If the government is correct,” Lynch noted,
it could use § 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e-mail and social media information) relating to all Americans.”
“Such expansive development of government repositories of former private records,” according to Lynch, “would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.”
The court held that Section 215 does not authorize the government “to collect phone records only because they may become relevant to a possible authorized investigation in the future.”
Therefore, the court decided that Section 215 “does not authorize the telephone metadata program.” Since the Court of Appeals concluded that Section 215 does not allow the FISC order, it did not decide whether the metadata collection program also violates the US Constitution.
Because Section 215 is set to expire soon, and Congress is debating how to proceed, the Court of Appeals decided not to issue a preliminary injunction at this time. The court’s opinion rejected the government’s contention that Congress impliedly authorized the FISC order when it voted for extensions of Section 215. The court said that since the metadata program was secret, members of Congress could not be said to have approved it.
Judge Robert D. Sack concurred with Lynch’s opinion and wrote separately, “Because our decision is based on our reading of a federal statute, not the Constitution, Congress can in effect overrule it.” If the Court of Appeals had instead concluded that the metadata collection program violated not just Section 215, but the Fourth and/or First Amendments to the US Constitution as well, Congress would be bound by that decision.
What Should Congress Do?
The House of Representatives is poised to pass the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which would amend Section 215 to end bulk collection of metadata from domestic phone companies, but would leave in place a sweeping surveillance program focused on international communications. And if a call originates overseas, information about Americans could still be collected. It would allow the NSA to continue to analyze the metadata, which would be stored by the telephone companies. A panel of experts would advise the FISC, but there would be no provision for a civil liberties advocate. The House Judiciary Committee rejected amendments that would provide safeguards for civil liberties and require the government to secure a warrant before searching collected data for information about Americans.
Even before the Court of Appeals issued its ruling, senators were at odds about what to do with Section 215. Many of them, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), support the USA Freedom Act. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), who authored the overhaul legislation, said they would not consent to a short-term extension of Section 215 to get past the June 1 deadline.
Others, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-North Carolina), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), want reauthorization with no change.
Still others, including Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), have threatened to mount a filibuster rather than allow a brief extension of Section 215. They oppose the USA Freedom Act, favoring a stronger bill that would end the metadata collection program.
McConnell has refused to allow the USA Freedom Act to come to the Senate floor for discussion. Some Democrats might agree to a brief extension in exchange for McConnell’s agreement to allow the act to be debated.
But any legislation that keeps the bulk metadata collection in place would run afoul of the Court of Appeals decision.
Wyden characterized the Court of Appeals ruling as “a huge step for individual Americans’ rights.” He added,
“Now that this program is finally being examined in the sunlight, the executive branch’s claims about its legality and effectiveness is crumbling. The president should end mass surveillance immediately. If not, Congress needs to finish the job and finally end this dragnet.”
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, as well as a review group appointed by the president, reviewed classified files and concluded that there was no evidence the metadata collection program had ever played a pivotal role in any terrorism investigation.
Congress should take the cue from the Court of Appeals and end the metadata collection program. “If we don’t allow Section 215 to sunset,” wrote ACLU executive director Anthony Romero, “we risk making permanent a ‘new normal’ of government surveillance and extending surveillance programs that haven’t yet been – and may never be – disclosed to the public.”
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, past president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.
The Obama White House and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced Monday that Royal Dutch Shell has received US government authorization to resume its drilling operations in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea, near Alaska.
Drilling in the area was halted three years ago, after Shell’s activities produced near-disasters, including the running aground of a drilling rig and malfunctions of important safety-related machinery.
Renewed drilling could begin as early as June. The oil transnational is planning to drill half a dozen new “exploratory” sites while spending more than $1 billion on its Arctic venture this year.
Shell has already dispatched a vessel, the “Polar Pioneer,” to begin initial preparations. Reports Tuesday indicated that environmentalist groups planned to confront the vessel as it entered port in Seattle, Washington.
Environmental activist groups are being presented in the corporate media as the main voices of opposition to the latest move to open the Arctic to unrestrained economic and military development.
Shell’s proposals themselves are “risky and ill-conceived,” an executive at environmental group Oceana told the Wall Street Journal. US government approval for resumed drilling was “based on a rushed and incomplete environmental and safety review,” according to research conducted by Earthjustice.
As was made painfully clear during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the entire corporate and political establishment is prepared to tolerate the destruction of vast ecosystems in pursuit of profits. In 2010, as British Petroleum’s damaged Deepwater Horizon rig spewed crude oil into the Gulf for months on end, the Obama administration and its corporate-financial backers did everything in their power to protect BP’s leadership from any form of accountability.
A repeat of 2010 in the Arctic could continue to flood huge volumes of ocean water with toxic chemicals for an even longer period of time.
According to environmental experts, the extreme conditions of Arctic drilling sites and their distance from North America’s main concentrations of civilization and infrastructure mean that a spill in the Chukchi Sea along the lines of the 2010 catastrophe could not be “directly” cleaned up, due to the impracticality of large-scale cleanup in Arctic conditions. Such a spill would be dispersed throughout the Pacific and beyond, riding the massive swirling currents that connect the waters of the Arctic to the broader global water conveyor belt, experts warn.
An official statement from the Bureau of Ocean Management, which formally approved the new drilling, acknowledged that some type of disaster is likely, stating that resumption of drilling operations implies a “75 percent chance of one or more large spills happening” in the coming decades.
The efforts to reopen the Chukchi Sea for corporate exploitation are bound up with sweeping measures to militarize and economically plunder the entire Arctic.
Over the past decade, the Arctic has emerged as a major arena of global geopolitical antagonisms. The Obama administration’s 2013 “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” calls for the U.S. to “seize the greater part of the economic opportunities in the region.” The U.S. Defense Department must deploy forces “under, on and throughout the airspace and waters of the Arctic,” the strategy document stated.
Resource deposits beneath the Arctic ice are estimated to contain at least 90 billion barrels of oil (estimates from as recently as 2005 predicted only 40 billion barrels), for a total of some 20 percent of the world’s total supply, as well as some 90 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Significant deposits of gold, copper, lead, diamonds and zinc are also believed to be present inside the Arctic Circle.
The disintegration of the northern ice shelf is transforming the northernmost reaches of Earth into “a maelstrom of competing commercial, national security and environmental concerns, with profound implications for the international legal and political system,” a 2009 Brookings Institution study noted.
In the coming struggle for the Arctic, Washington must play the “leading role in creating an effective regime for the region,” the elite think tank argued,” and it cited the need for “ice-capable military training” and the creation of a “sizable ice-capable naval fleet.”
Geopolitical tensions in the north are heightened by the fact that the region lacks clearly defined boundaries demarcating national ownership. As recently as 2013, the Canadian government commissioned a report aimed at clarifying Canada’s territorial claims in the Arctic, many of which conflict with those of the U.S. and European powers.
Conflicts over crucial Arctic territories have already been brewing between Russia and U.S.-aligned Norway for at least a decade. Even as Russia has sought to develop new infrastructure for the transportation and export of oil resources based out of its port of Murmansk and centered on the Barents Sea, Norway’s ruling elite, including the royal family, have demanded support from Washington on behalf of their own claims to this area.
The struggle for the Arctic is simultaneously amplifying tensions between the Western imperialist powers themselves. Canadian and Danish establishments exchanged heated rhetoric earlier this year over Copenhagen’s assertion of sovereignty over large sections of the Arctic. The U.S. also maintains standing territorial disputes with Canada, refusing to recognize Ottawa’s claim to the Northwest Passage, contesting Canada’s claim to the resource-rich Beaufort Sea, and maintaining a joint US-Danish military base at Thule, Greenland.
As one of the largest official landowners in the Arctic, Ottawa is not likely to passively accept US intervention in wealthy territories long recognized as Canada’s by “historical right.” Signaling the determination of the Canadian bourgeoisie to resist US and European moves in Ottawa’s historical sphere of influence, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has used recent annual tours of the Far North to promote Ottawa’s plans for the militarization of the Arctic.
Harper has openly demanded that Ottawa must prepare to impose its sovereignty in the Arctic through comprehensive militarization of its northern territories, a perspective that enjoys broad support within Canada’s elite. Responding to Canada’s formal assertion of ownership over large areas of the north, the Ottawa Citizen proclaimed, “Persuasion is good, but military hardware— battleships, icebreakers, aerial patrols by fighter jets, and satellite surveillance—will garner more respect.”
Dane County, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced Tuesday afternoon that he would not bring criminal charges against the Madison, Wisconsin, police officer who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Tony Robinson, Jr. on March 6 of this year.
Nervously dabbing sweat from his face during his 30-minute statement, the DA told reporters that he had concluded that Matt Kenny used a “lawful amount of force” when he ended Robinson’s life.
The killing of Robinson sparked walkouts and protests by thousands of students and workers in the state capital. Kenny, who had previously shot and killed a mentally disturbed white man in 2007, was placed on paid administrative leave.
To prove his bona fides, Ozanne began the speech by referring to the fact that, like Tony Robinson, he is biracial, and that his African-American mother participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He also drew attention to the fact that he is the first non-white DA in the history of the state.
“My decision will not bring Tony back. My decision will not end racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system. My decision is not based on emotion. Rather, this decision is based on the facts as they’ve been investigated and reported to me—guided by rule of law and the oath I took to uphold the constitution of the United States and the state of Wisconsin,”
He then launched into an official account of the moments before Robinson’s killing. According to Ozanne, Kenny and other officers were responding to 911 calls reporting that Robinson had assaulted one of his friends and was assaulting pedestrians and disrupting traffic. The young man was apparently having a negative reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms that he had ingested a short time before.
As Kenny arrived on the scene Robinson had already returned to his friend’s apartment. Ozanne reported that Kenny then entered the second floor flat through a door that had already been broken open by Robinson after he heard a disturbance.
According to Ozanne, the officer announced himself, after which Robinson allegedly rushed the officer, hitting him in the face with his fist, knocking him back against the stairwell wall. As he retreated backward down the stairwell the officer opened fire seven times, emptying his gun into the unarmed Robinson, hitting him seven times. Robinson was pronounced dead at the hospital with bullet wounds in his head, torso, and right arm.
The family’s attorney, John Loevy, questioned the DA’s accounting of the event, highlighting video evidence that reportedly shows the police officer firing the seventh and final shot which killed Robinson from outside the house. Loevy also stated that Kenny was warned by dispatchers not to pursue Robinson and unnecessarily escalated the situation.
The district attorney concluded his news conference Tuesday by quoting Martin Luther King, Jr as a warning to those who might protest his decision, encouraging them to instead turn their anger and frustration back into the electoral system. “I am reminded that true and lasting change does not come from violence but from exercising our voices and our votes,” he stated. “The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said ‘violence brings only temporary change, violence by creating many more social problems than it solves never brings permanent peace.’”
Ozanne’s remarks gave expression to the deep concern amongst the ruling elite about growing social opposition, especially in the wake of mass protests against the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, where the National Guard was deployed for a week in order to suppress popular anger.
Police officers were mobilized in advance of the DA’s news conference to respond to any spontaneous protests in response to his decision. Several hundred protestors holding banners which read “#JusticeforTony” and “Black Lives Matter” marched on the State Capitol building Tuesday evening. The protest organization Young Gifted and Black has called for students to walk out of school Wednesday to protest the decision not to bring charges.
Robinson was just one of more than 100 people killed by the police across the United States in March. According to killedbypolice.net Robinson was the 192nd person killed by police since the beginning of 2015, and since his death another 227 people have been killed as the result of an encounter with the police.
Kevin Marino, Attorney for Sergey Aleynikov, Believes the FBI Was Doing the Bidding of Goldman Sachs
It is clear to most Americans that Wall Street’s financing of presidential and congressional campaigns is creating too many pals wearing blindfolds about epic corruption on Wall Street. The President, subject to Senate confirmation, selects the U.S. Treasury Secretary, the Chair of the Federal Reserve, the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission – all of whom regulate Wall Street, for better or worse. Given that Wall Street collapsed the U.S. financial system in 2008 and has been perpetually charged with new crimes ever since, there is the strong suggestion that regulation isn’t strong enough.
The President also selects the U.S. Attorney General at the Justice Department, the office that can bring criminal charges against Wall Street. But according to a January 2013 report by the PBS program, Frontline, in the years following the 2008 collapse there was no serious effort at the Justice Department to indict the miscreants. The exchange went as follows between Frontline producer and investigator, Martin Smith, and Lanny Breuer, then head of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department:
MARTIN SMITH: “We spoke to a couple of sources from within the Criminal Division, and they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on. There were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.”
LANNY BREUER: “Well, I don’t know who you spoke with because we have looked hard at the very types of matters that you’re talking about.”
MARTIN SMITH: “These sources said that at the weekly indictment approval meetings that there was no case ever mentioned that was even close to indicting Wall Street for financial crimes.”
Now, concerns are growing that the corrupting tentacles of Wall Street may reach into the FBI. The two cases raising alarms are the recent arrest of Navinder Singh Sarao in the U.K. on charges that he was a key contributor to the Flash Crash in the U.S. stock market on May 6, 2010 – a case brought five years after the fact and an earlier government report that placed the blame on a mutual fund company; and the manner in which the FBI appears to have done the bidding of Goldman Sachs in the relentless prosecution of Sergey Aleynikov, a former computer programmer at Goldman, who was alleged to have violated Federal law by downloading a small amount of computer code before he left for another job.
In the Sarao case, the 36-year old is sitting in jail in the U.K., unable to make bail because the U.S. has frozen all of his assets worldwide while the sum of $7.6 million has been set for his bail. As we previously reported, the decidedly questionable case against Sarao for manipulating the market is based solely on an FBI affidavit signed by one agent, which relies heavily on testimony from an unnamed “consulting group” and an unnamed “academic researcher.”
Jeffrey Sterling, who has maintained his innocence, was sentenced on Monday to 42 months in prison for leaking national security secrets. (Screenshot via The Invisible Man)
One day after a federal court sentenced the former CIA officer to 42 months in prison for allegedly blowing the whistle on a botched CIA mission, Jeffrey Sterling is sharing his side of the story.
In The Invisible Man: Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, a short documentary released Tuesday, Sterling describes how his experience with racial discrimination within the CIA took him from working as an Agency case manager, to living out of his car, to years later facing charges under the Espionage Act for supposedly leaking national intelligence secrets toNew York Times journalist James Risen.
The film was directed by Judith Erlich, whose past works include the Oscar-nominated The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.
“They already had the machine geared up against me,” Sterling said. “The moment that they felt there was a leak, every finger pointed at Jeffery Sterling.”
Sterling, who has maintained his innocence, says he had lawfully approached the Senate Intelligence Committee to express concerns over certain CIA operations and the impact those missions might have on the safety of troops in Iraq.
Prior to reporting those concerns, however, Sterling had filed racial discrimination charges against the CIA, becoming the first CIA case officer ever to do so. That case was eventually dismissed on the grounds that its details might compromise national security and Sterling was eventually fired.
Years later, after meeting his wife and moving on to a job in the health care industry, Sterling was told by his attorneys that he was being looked at as a possible leak.
Sterling, who was convicted on January 26, 2015, said, “It was a shock. It’s still a shock. He added, “They shut me up with my discrimination case and they closed the door on me with the criminal case.”
Throughout the case, Sterling’s supporters have denounced the injustice of the charges and sentencing, particularly as it contrasts with the recent plea bargain deal granted to former CIA chief General David Petraeus, who leaked troves of classified material to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell.
Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and coordinator of whistleblower advocacy organization ExposeFacts.org, who produced the Sterling documentary, toldDemocracy Now! on Tuesday that the sentence marks a “continuation of the war on whistleblowing and journalism and a clampdown on the essential flow of information for democracy” under the Obama administration.
“General Petraeus’s ‘fondle on the wrist’ by the government was hovering over the courtroom yesterday,” Solomon continued, “showing the absurdity and tyranny of what the administration continues to do.”
In a press statement following the sentencing, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern said: “It seems clear that the White House told the Department of Justice to make an example of Jeffrey Sterling—an example of what one can expect if s/he decides to blow the whistle.”
It looks like Monsanto could soon go the way of many missing airplanes in the Bermuda triangle. Following a recent study on Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup and its main chemical ingredient glyphosate, Bermuda has decided to suspend any importation of glyphosate/Roundup until further research give reason to lift the suspension.
“Effective immediately, all importers of glyphosate/Roundup will be notified that the approval for all glyphosate products has been suspended, pending the continuing assessment of the emerging research.” – Jeanne Atherden, Bermuda Minister of Health
Apparently, there are still some countries that haven’t been completely infiltrated by Monsanto. Bermuda’s health minister has recently issued a declaration temporarily banning any further imports of Monsanto’s best selling chemical, Round Up, due to its glyphosate content.
This decision clearly comes following the World Health Organization’s declaration of glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic.’ Other nations have already expressed concern, and are considering bans themselves. And while nations don’t take a stand, retail stores are taking matters into their own hands, halting the sale of glyphosate-containing products. Bermuda’s immediate action should be applauded.
Atherden’s full statement, printed at a local Bermuda paper, is as follows:
“The Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment is committed to promoting safe practices as part of our stewardship of Bermuda’s delicate environment. Technical officers stay abreast of trends and scientific developments to ensure that our regulation of all aspects of how we influence the environment around us remains safe and in keeping with best practice.
Following a recent scientific study carried out by a leading cancer agency, the importation of weed spray “Roundup” has been suspended.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently asked a group of experts from around the world to spend a year examining the data from peer-reviewed studies about Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup.
As a result of this research, the (IARC) reported that it had assessed the cancer causing risk to humans of five pesticides including glyphosate.
According to the assessment, the herbicide glyphosate along with two other insecticides were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. This description is used when there is limited evidence of cancer causing effect on humans and sufficient evidence of it in experimental animals. Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations could not be ruled out. This category is also used when there is limited evidence of cancer causing in humans and strong data on how the agent causes cancer.
Currently, only two of the recently analyzed substances are permitted for importation and use in Bermuda. The remaining three that were reviewed as part of the research are already banned and their use is prohibited.
In light of the recent IARC study, Bermuda will take the following steps:
Effective immediately, all importers of glyphosate/Roundup will be notified that the approval for all glyphosate products has been suspended, pending the continuing assessment of the emerging research. Our hope is to complete the assessment within six months. However, orders placed for glyphosate will be honoured, with proof that the order had been placed prior to today, May 11th, 2015. Whilst the restrictions will take effect immediately; there will be a grace period of 14 days from today for current importers of Roundup during which they can make application at the Department of Environmental Protection to import small quantities of low concentrations of Roundup.
No further applications for the importation of glyphosate will be processed during this evaluation period.
I have asked the Department of Environmental Protection to convene a meeting with stakeholders including:
the industry (farmers, landscapers, golf-courses, merchants);
The Bermuda Health Department who are responsible for human health;
The Department of Environmental Protection’s regulatory personnel;
The Department of Conservation Services;
The Department of Works and Engineering,who conduct roadside spraying, and
The Department of Parks
I have also asked the Toxicologist at the Health Department to collaborate with the Government Hydro-geologist and jointly conduct research to determine if any of the break-down products of glyphosate are present in the ground water and inshore waters. A report of findings will be prepared.
Once this important research and assessment is completed, the Government’s final determination regarding Roundup (glyphosate) will be made clear for the public.
It is important to note that a similar assessment will be conducted for other pesticides of concern.
The Department of Works and Engineering can be contacted for the proper disposal of pesticides should any members of the public have a container of Roundup which they no longer wish to use.
For more information regarding alternative herbicides, the public can contact the Plant Protection Laboratory at the Department of Environmental Protection at 239-2321.They have a database that lists all of the pesticides imported into Bermuda, as well as where they can be purchased.
On a related front, I am also pleased to advise the public today that I have invited my Cabinet colleagues to support the long overdue development of regulations needed to properly regulate pesticides in Bermuda. The Pesticides Safety Act 2009 was passed by the Legislature but to date; the required Regulations have not been addressed. This important feature of safety and proper enforcement will be introduced to complete the work contemplated by the substantive Act.
I believe that the action we are taking today is prudent and in the best interests of a safe environment for Bermuda. Like any area of science, there are competing studies and a wealth of information on both sides of the argument. Having considered the clear and cogent advice of the Ministry’s technical team, I am satisfied that this action is warranted and we are committed to conducting an open and thorough assessment.”
That didn’t take long did it? I of course am speaking of the second overnight and global meltdown of the credit markets …in the last four business days! Before getting into this topic which I believe will soon be seen in retrospect and by historians far into the future as “THE” trigger event.
Just as we saw last Wed. night/Thurs. wee hours, credit markets again melted down overnight. The following charts clearly illustrate this.
…But wait, just as last Thursday, credit again reversed so, …no harm no foul?
It is so important you understand “what” is happening and have an idea of “why”. Let me tackle the what part first, We are witnessing sovereign bonds and their yields move in wider standard deviations than most commodities ever do. When you hear the word “commodity” you should think “risky risky” because they have wild moves limit up and limit down, it’s the way the game is played and should be expected.
Sovereign notes and bonds are (were) the opposite. They are THE bedrock of the entire financial system. They are “supposed to be safe”. They are supposed to be for widows and orphans. Sovereign credits are THE core to nearly all retirement funds on the planet. If everything else fails, it is this sector, government bonds, which should stand tall and stave off the failure of retirement plans. The action over the last week is anything but bedrock or “stable”, in fact, it is volatility in the bond markets that are endangering everything financial, suffice it to say “a foundation of BAD credit is not foundation at all”!
The next question is “why”. For laughs I guess I should point out the explanation of a guest moron on CNBC. He claims that yields on European bonds are rising because their economy is turning up. He went on to actually say these spikes in yields (drop in prices) are actually a very good thing because they provide “proof” of future growth. Never mind all of this debt is held as collateral for everything else, lower bond prices are “good” when too much debt is the problem in the first place?
I would ask if he has even heard of a little country named Greece?
Is it even possible that eurobonds are being sold because fear of a Greek default?
Is the fear of a default cascade the reason bonds are being dumped in wholesale batches? I have heard the explanation that “net issuance” has again gone positive as the reason for these air pockets. Maybe this is true, I do not think so but if it is then there is a very real problem! If this is true, it means the market cannot absorb the issuance and yields are going higher not by design but because there are simply not enough buyers, an “uh oh moment” so to speak.
I have a little different theory which if not so now, or “yet”, it will be soon!
I believe much of the bond market weakness is being caused (and saved) by OTC derivatives. I believe and have said multiple time before, “someone(s) out there is already dead”. I believe that “bankrupts” are strewn all over the place and have been hidden with overnight loans… but there is a new problem. The recent volatility has created more and more losers …which creates more and more FORCED SALES! (Please don’t scoff at this as there are a handful of “choice” firms who have not had a single day of trading losses in over four years, with a whole string of losers in their wake? )
You see, for all intents and purposes we have lived through a global bull market in bonds since 1982. This has culminated in negative interest rates and we ended up with everyone on the same side of the boat with no one left to “buy”. Of course you could ask the question “why would anyone buy?” with zero or even negative interest rates. Only a few of the “sane ones” out there have asked this question until now, it seems maybe a few of the insane may be regaining at least some sense of sanity!?
As I did yesterday, I will repeat “why” all of this is important. “Credit” is what our entire system is based upon. It has become the basis for all paper wealth and the lubricant for all real economic activity. Should credit collapse (it will), everything we have come to believe in (been fooled by) will change. Credit has come to be viewed as “wealth”, it is considered an “asset”… with just one problem, it is neither! Credit is only an asset and can be considered wealth as long as the borrower “can pay”.
And herein lies the rub, Greece cannot pay which means the holders of Greek debt (along with issuers of CDS) cannot pay and so on. It is not just Greece of course, it is the entire Western world, it just happens that Greece is first because they lied the most with the help of Goldman Sachs and other “benefactors”. If counterparty risk did not matter, there would be no problem. The reality is this, the whole show from single dollar bills to trillions in derivatives will be engulfed in this “counterparty risk”!
Derivatives are a $1 quadrillion ticking time bomb, soaked in gasoline and sprinkled with gunpowder. The volatility we are now seeing are the matches! While we have had two “saves” where the central banks have stepped in and bought debt to steady the markets, the day will come when it does not work. This game has gone on for a very long time and resulted in a mania where most all of the players are “long”. The only potential new longs left are the central banks themselves who can only buy more debt with money created by debt. The day will come when the ability to “save” is overcome. Along with it will come the freedom of prices created by Mother Nature herself. Stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and yes, even silver and gold will finally break the chains of “algo mania”.
Finally, this you must understand, “power” is currently debt. The control of debt is also the power of prices. Once debt breaks loose and trades out of the control of central banks, these central banks will also lose the control to price everything else. We have come very close twice in the last four trading days of the credit market control being broken. Will loss of control be on the next convulsion? Or the next? I nor anyone else knows this answer, I do know the greatest margin call in all of history will be issued … and it cannot be met!
190 scientists from 38 nations have submitted the International EMF Scientist Appeal to the United Nations, UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk from this rapidly increasing environmental pollutant.
The scientists who have signed the Appeal have collectively published over 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the biological or health effects of non-ionizing radiation. It was submitted on 11 may 2015 to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to Dr. Margaret Chan, MD, Director General of the World Health Organization, and to the United Nations Member States.
Here is Dr. Martin Blank’s three-minute video announcing the Appeal. Dr. Blank has had over 30 years of experience conducting EMF research at Columbia University and is a past president of the International Bioelectromagnetics Society.
In his own words, Dr. Blank gives a compelling explanation of the major health crisis we are facing due to increasing levels of environmental pollution from growing and expanding EMF sources.
It doesn’t matter if it happens or not. It does not matter how probable the eventuality is. We are working in the higher realm of probabilities, designated as such by the police authorities who found, first, the possibility that there would be terrorist attacks in Melbourne on Anzac Day; second, that a 17-year-old would initiate a “Mother’s Day terror attack”. The point repeatedly made here is that a terrorist event just might have happened “in the coming days.”
On Friday afternoon, the seventeen-year-old in question was charged with engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act following a large-scale raid on the family home. The object of interest here was a two-storey dwelling at Greenvale in Melbourne’s north. This action, supposedly, prevented the materialisation of “an imminent threat to the community.”
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan gave us a sense of this hypothetical world, one where genuine consequences visit the individual who has, in fact, committed no verifiable criminal act. “We may not know exactly where it was going to occur nor when it was exactly going to occur.” (Exactitude is the enemy of actuality.) “But let me tell you, something was going to happen and as a result of Victoria Police and AFP interception yesterday, some Victorians are going to be alive because of it.”
Victoria Police acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright added his share to the dish of hypotheticals. “We do believe the young man intended to explode a device at an event over the coming days.” The case for the prosecution was that the young man had “taken serious steps to prepare a device and… we made the judgment call late last week that in the interest of public safety we needed to act and we did.”
The case of exceptionality is intoned as the catch-all justification. In Cartwright’s assessment, there are two agents that figure in this pressing security emergency, one of flesh, the other distinctly absent of corporeal presence. “Overseas recruiters and, more broadly, social media are a real challenge for us, a challenge we haven’t seen in the past.”
To add plausibility to these claims, the Australian National Security Hotline, famous for its insistence on citizens reporting anything out of the ordinary, was cited as an important source. The unmistakable point about the Hotline is that it has proven a great incitement to regard everything as extraordinary. All that is banal is potentially suspect, infested with dangerous potential. Even materialistically crude occasions like Mother’s Day are not immune. Thank goodness for the excruciatingly vigilant public, especially one which sees fundamentalist enemies everywhere.
Having been created in 2002, The Adelaide Advertiser reported in 2011 that 31,495 calls out of a total of 156,694 on that celebrated phone line were teasing hoaxes.
Victims of Crime Commissioner Michael O’Connell could only say, with queued exasperation, that “The line was set up for the purpose of preventing people from becoming the victims of terror and it is shameful that people are using it to perpetrate hoaxes.” Shame tends to be a relative concept, whether it comes from the phoning hoaxer, or a government official dazzled by possible terrorist activities. Such a field tends to be littered with security fantasists and pranksters.
The papers have conscientiously marched to the government tune. Andrew Rule, writing for the Herald Sun, decided to spread the seeds of terror with a nice sowing observation. The headlining of the piece was direct enough: “Mother’s Day bomb plot: A DIY guide to the dark side.” The spirit of youth can be such a terrible thing. “You don’t have to be old enough to vote to make something in your bedroom that will tear through human bodies just as murderously as shrapnel from an artillery shell machined in a modern munitions factor.”
Rule could only regret that the “gentle civilised custom” was to observe “17-year-olds” as “children”. For it was “our gentle Western law” that refused to accept that teenagers “are not children when it comes to acts of terrorism and criminality.”
Such commentary narrows to the eye of the needle. Afghanistan keeps popping up by way of comparison, as if distant Australia somehow bears resemblance to war ravaged Kabul. (Yes, Australia did its share of ruining yet another state in the ledger of crusading folly, but Rule’s wishful thinking is that ruination there implies imminent ruination here.)
The logic of the battlefield is the strained logic of Australian suburbia, where childish “beginners” are easily lured to making weapons such “that bloodthirsty peasants and zealots from Ireland to Afghanistan” can muster. An environment that has neutralised any notion of revolutionary ardour becomes energised by the likes of the “gentle” 17-year-old who has to be viewed as anything other than gentle. Such disposition acts as its own judgment. For all of this, is Rule trying to tell us something, inadvertently suggesting that foreign interventions, meddlesome engagements, and nose-poking do have consequences of blowback proportion?
The rest is left to reports to cast the accused to the wolves. The views of unnamed and unspecified friends are cited, claiming that the teen was “gullible” and susceptible to being “brainwashed”. He did not disagree with targeting kafirs. He expressed dissatisfaction on Facebook that Muslim youths supporting Sharia law were being subjected to excessive surveillance. “You will be monitored and possibly have your passport taken away.”
Finally, in this entire sordid business of speculation, a few verifiable facts. There is pervasive surveillance, along with enlarged powers on the books. And the witchdoctors in Canberra and Melbourne are desperate – one might even say very desperate – for their terrorist quarry.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
Election outcomes like Alberta’s do not come often: the total collapse of a four decade conservative dynasty and majority power for a party considered on the “left” in Canada. The reactions were typical: shock, elation, fear, uncertainty. No one saw it coming. Well, that’s not quite true. If you followed the polls you knew a significant event was unfolding. The polls were not volatile, which says a great deal. They recorded a steady rise in NDP support and a corresponding decline in Tory support. Days before the election it was pretty clear the NDP would form a minority government. It was also clear the Tories were about to be tossed into the dustbin of history. On election day something more happened – the yearning for change crystallized around the NDP just to make sure the change happened.
Alberta’s voters have a habit of doing this very dramatically, but very rarely. They are definitely not fickle. In 1921 Henry Wise Wood’s United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) was elected, defeating the Liberals (1905-1921). In 1935 William Aberhart’s Social Credit swept to power, wiping out the UFA (1921-1935). In 1971 Peter Lougheed’s Tories ended the Social Credit dynasty (1935-1971). On May 5 Rachel Notley‘s NDP crushed the Tory juggernaut (1971-2015). Two patterns are worth noting. First, when Alberta’s voters throw a party out, that party is finished. If it hangs around for a time, like the Liberals or the Socreds, it remains a zombie party, never to come to life again. Second, once Alberta’s voters give an untested party a majority they remain loyal as long as the leader and the party delivers, or honestly fights to deliver, what was promised. If Notley and the NDP actually deliver on their promises in the next four years, they might be around for a long time.
For such a seismic political shift to occur, there has to be a perfect political storm combining four elements. A major political/economic crisis the governing party proves incapable of overcoming. The governing party, having been given many chances, is finally thoroughly discredited. A new, untested party, with a vision of hope and some credible solutions, presents itself. The leader proves able to win the public’s trust. The UFA in 1921 had the agrarian populist crusade culminating in the Progressive party’s attack on the corrupt party system and the Special Interests (and a post-war depression). Aberhart had the Great Depression and his attack on the banks and “The Fifty Big Shots of Canada,” promising debt protection and a guarantee of the necessities of life for all. Lougheed had Social Credit’s repeated failures to maximize returns from Alberta’s oil to diversify the economy (yes, the Social Credit government was even more dominated by the oil industry than the Tories). Notley had the collapse in oil prices, the failure to deal with the fallout from the 2008 economic disaster, and the Tories pretending to get on with business as usual.
Alberta has been experiencing an economic crisis since 2008 – seven years of increased hidden taxes, cuts in spending, deficits, increasing government debt, and a litany of broken promises. The government seemed paralyzed, unable to find a way out of the mess. Falling oil prices led to a $5-billion deficit in 2009 – the first in a golden decade. Deficits were projected for the next three or four years. That proved optimistic. While sheltering Alberta’s oil industry from the downturn with lower royalty rates, the general public bore the brunt of the reduced revenue stream. New drilling technology and “fracking” in shale deposits brought gushes of new oil and natural gas onto the North American market, increasing supply and lowering prices further. Alberta’s natural gas exports collapsed, reducing government gas revenues from $6-billion in 2007 to less than a billion in 2013. Alberta’s oil faced heavy price discounts. Deficits increased, requiring higher taxes, delayed projects, and heavy borrowing. Oil prices reached the unthinkable low of $50/barrel. Industry experts knew this was coming and advised the government of the looming cloud. The Tory solution was to hide their heads in the tar sands and wait for the inevitable boom to save them. Hence, the oil industry’s market fate replaced the government as the province’s economic planner.
The Tory dynasty faced growing public disaffection. The process began with the disintegration of Ralph Klein starting in 2001. The public was offended when he called an unnecessary election in 2004 just to secure a fourth consecutive term and cling to office. The party lost 22 seats and voter turnout fell from 62 to 47 per cent. Ed Stelmach, his successor, was a disaster, becoming premier in 2006 and winning the election in 2008 just in time to preside over the global economic crisis. Voter turnout collapsed further to 41 per cent. By 2011 polls showed Stelmach would lose to the Wildrose party. He was forced to resign. His replacement, Alison Redford, was also on track to defeat by Wildrose in 2012, but was saved by a last minute stampede of Liberal voters and an eleventh hour plea by Peter Lougheed. Upon victory Redford faced a worsening economic crisis, as the biggest slide in oil prices began. By 2014 polls indicated Redford would lose to Wildrose. She had to go. An orchestrated caucus rebellion, and a smear campaign fed by leaked documents about her lavish spending, drove her to resignation. We all know what happened to her successor, Jim Prentice.
Notley’s moderate platform obviously resonated with the public, largely because it seemed fair and addressed much of the public’s anger at the Tories: an increase in the corporate tax from 10 to 12 per cent; mildly progressive rather than flat taxes on high income earners and the wealthy; a review of oil royalties (which many Albertans believe are criminally low); increasing the minimum wage to $15; opposition to the Keystone and Northern Gateway pipelines; a promise to get serious about the degradation of Alberta’s environment and controlling green house gas emissions; more spending on health, education and social programs. This is hardly a hard left wing program, just sensible measures long overdue in Alberta. Notley quickly won the trust of the public, no easy feat given the political cynicism in Alberta about party politics.
Will Notley deliver? If she does, she just might make history again by winning a second term in an election featuring dramatically increased public engagement. If not, she may indeed become a one term wonder.
Notley’s biggest political opponent is the oil and gas industry. The industry has ruled Alberta ever since Preston Manning replaced Aberhart in 1943. Poor Ed Stelmach apologetically promised an oil royalty review in 2008. Shortly after his election he was beaten into submission by the industry.
The industry has fired warning shots across Notley’s bow: a 3 per cent drop in energy stocks the day after her election and dire warnings of a possible capital strike if she displeases the industry.
Notley’s first and most important task is to show that she, the Premier of Alberta, and her government and party, reflecting the democratic will of the people, rule the province. It will be a tough battle. The oil and gas industry prides itself on never losing political power in Alberta. After all, it doesn’t face elections. All it has to do is wield its economic power to get its way, and damn the public interest.
We will see who prevails over the next year or two.
J. F. Conway is a professor of sociology at the University of Regina where he has been committing sociology for more than 30 years.
Brazil’s government has excluded an Israeli “security” company from working at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro following a campaign by Palestine solidarity activists.
In October 2014, the Israeli firm International Security and Defence Systems (ISDS) announced it had won a $2.2 billion contract with the Brazilian government to coordinate security at the huge sports event. The Times of Israeldescribed the deal as “an unprecedented achievement for Israel,” while senior figures from the company stated it had already begun work.
But on 8 April a division dealing with large events at Brazil’s justice ministry denied that ISDS had been awarded any contract.
A letter from the ministry stated: “Any contract made by Rio 2016 won’t result in compromises by the Brazilian government.” The campaign against ISDS, which was supported by some of Brazil’s labor unions, is interpreting this as an acknowledgement of its grievances.
Julio Turra, executive director of CUT, the largest workers’ union in Brazil, says in a press release: “We are glad that the government distances itself from ISDS. It would be illegal and shameful to hire a company that develops its technologies in complicity with Israeli crimes and that accumulates complaints about its participation in Central American dictatorships.”
This boycott success comes on the heels of another recent and very significant win in Brazil for activists urging boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. At the end of 2014, in response to a separate campaign, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul canceled a contract with the Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems to develop a major aerospace research center.
The campaign against the ISDS contract focused on lobbying the government to cancel any contract with ISDS on the grounds that the company had close ties with the Israeli military, as well as a long and sordid history in Central and South America.
Founded in 1982 in Tel Aviv by a former colonel in the Israeli army, ISDS has provided security and “counterterrorism” training to many Central American states, including paramilitaries in Honduras and Guatemala, throughout the 1980s.
ISDS helped train and arm the Contras in Nicaragua who tried to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government. In the 1989 book, The “Terrorism” Industry, Edward Herman and Gerry O’Sullivan document how ISDS also trained and helped form anti-terrorism “squads” within the Guatemalan military to target opposition forces and grassroots organizing, while providing the military with electronic surveillance, arms, helicopters, and airplanes. Furthermore, ISDS trained Honduran death squads, including the notorious Battalion 3-16, which conducted kidnappings, killings, and torture against political dissidents.
While Palestine solidarity activists are celebrating Brazil’s decision, they are now turning their focus to the Olympics Committee, which has named ISDS as an “official supplier” for the games.
Maristela Pinheiro, a member of the Rio de Janeiro Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People stated: “There will be for sure a strong campaign against the supplier deal between ISDS and the 2016 organizing committee and we’ll keep monitoring Coesrio [the government agency responsible for the Olympics]. The games can’t be intensifying repressive practices in our country, or endorse illegal and immoral actions.”
Large sporting events, like the Olympics and the World Cup, are magnets for military and security firms that are hired to pacify, place under surveillance and remove poor and other “undesirable” segments of the population from the festivities. ISDS is just one of several Israeli and other international companies that have profited from this routine in the past.
Due to Palestine solidarity activists, the company will not be enjoying as much profit as it had hoped to reap in Brazil next year.
Students interviewed for a New York Times article about campus Palestine solidarity activism say they were asked leading and inappropriate questions by reporters. In one case, a student says he was subjected to a troubling “Jewish litmus test.”
Lead reporter Jennifer Medina, who co-wrote the story with Tamar Lewin and Ronnie Cohen, referred questions to New York Times assistant national editor Jennifer Kingson.
In an email to The Electronic Intifada, Kingson said that Times reporters “behaved professionally and that the story we published was both fair and accurate.”
“Our reporters spoke to multitudes of students on many campuses, and the story depicts the range of viewpoints that they encountered,” Kingson wrote. She pointed out that the story mentions that “divestment activists say they are concerned about retaliation and the stifling of their views.”
“In a 1,600 word story, not all voices can be included, so many people who were interviewed were not mentioned – on both sides of the issue,” Kingson added.
Some of the students interviewed for the story, however, told The Electronic Intifada that the questions they were asked were driven by a specific agenda.
Hammering a “wedge”
The New York Times article hews closely to the narrative promoted by Israel lobby groups that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is “threatening” and marginalizing to Jewish students. The story insinuates that BDS campaigning is the cause of various alleged incidents of anti-Jewish bias on campus.
The motivations of students supporting BDS are dismissively described as “what they see as Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians” – a phrasing that construes facts about Israeli human rights abuses and decades of military occupation and colonization as a matter of mere perspective.
Sarah Schulman, professor and faculty advisor to Students for Justice in Palestine at the College of Staten Island, commented on Facebook that “there is a lot that is wrong with this article.”
Students say New York Times reporters posed inappropriate questions for story on campus divestment movement.
She pointed out that the article claims “hundreds” were killed in Gaza during Israel’s attack last summer, when in fact the number of Palestinian dead was more than 2,200.
Schulman rejects the article’s central assertion that campus divestment movements are “driving a wedge between many Jewish and minority students.” She points out that “many Jews, like Jewish Voice for Peace [JVP], are part of these divestment movements.”
But apart from a passing mention of JVP, these voices are silenced in the article in favor of Israel lobby-aligned students such as Natalie Charney at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In the New York Times story, Charney asserts that students making connections between the Palestinian struggle and protests against police violence in Ferguson, Missouri, are “hating” something that is “central to who I am and what I stand for.”
“There’s more poison in the rhetoric than we’ve ever felt before,” the Times quotes Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director of Hillel at UCLA, saying.
The article fails to note that Seidler-Feller is himself a major purveyor of poisonous rhetoric. In 2014, for instance, Seidler-Feller accused Omar Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian BDS campaigner, of giving a speech resembling “the anti-Semitic propaganda of 1930s” Nazi Germany.
Safwan Ibrahim, an undergraduate student at UCLA, spoke to Jennifer Medina by telephone in mid-April, after the Times reporter emailed the campus Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group.
“She asked me questions about divestment, about the campus climate, but not actual questions about the workings of the divestment tactic and why we’re doing it,” Ibrahim told The Electronic Intifada. “She just wanted to know what I thought about people saying it was anti-Semitic. She kept asking about Jewish students feeling unsafe.”
Ibrahim says he told Medina that he could speak to her about the experience of Palestinians on campus and the harassment that Palestine solidarity activists have faced from off-campus groups. He mentioned flyers that recently appeared on several campuses depicting images of executions and calling SJP “Jew haters.”
Ibrahim said it was unsettling how passive the university administration had been about the flyers and the atmosphere of intimidation they created for students like himself on campus.
But, according to Ibrahim, The New York Times’ Medina did not appear very interested, and asked to be put in touch with someone with no “ancestral ties” to the region.
Medina also spoke with Agatha Palma, another SJP at UCLA member and a doctoral student in anthropology. Palma described a similar experience.
“I’d expected to hear questions about divestment, but she didn’t ask about that,” Palma said. “She just wanted to hear about anti-Semitism and wanted to try to dig to see if there’s any information that we’re hiding from the public as SJP.”
Palma says Medina then asked her a “weird question.”
“She asked me if there was anything as an organization that we believe in and tell our members not to say publicly,” Palma recalled.
“If there were, why would I tell her? But there isn’t,” Palma said. “Everything we believe, we say publicly; it’s very carefully laid out in our positions and our constitution.”
He spoke to Cohen for more than an hour, phone records seen by The Electronic Intifada show, after the Times had contacted SJP specifically asking to speak to Jewish members.
McCleary also provided copies of text messages between him and Cohen.
“We talked about everything – why as a Jew I was supporting BDS, why this wasn’t singling out Israel, all the standard questions, but there were all these weird questions about my Judaism,” McCleary told The Electronic Intifada. He said he felt like he was being subjected to a “Jewish litmus test.”
According McCleary, Cohen asserted that his name “didn’t sound Jewish.” Cohen also asked him if he had had a Bar Mitzvah – the Jewish ritual for adolescent boys.
“I had to explain that Judaism goes through the mother,” McCleary recalled. “I went to Jewish Sunday school growing up. I’m about as Jewish as you get.”
But the question McCleary found even more disturbing is when Cohen asked him: “Do you look Jewish?”
In an exchange of text messages after the conversation, McCleary told Cohen that her “questioning of my Jewish identity was deeply troubling.”
“I am sorry,” Cohen responded.
Minimizing Jewish role
The text messages seen by The Electronic Intifada also show Cohen apparently trying to shape McCleary’s statements to minimize the role of Jewish students in SJP. The exchange begins with a message from Cohen asking the student if he is “the only Jew in SJP.”
“No. I can think of three other active core members off the top of my head, likely more at the general meetings,” McCleary responds.
“One of less than a handful of Jews?” Cohen then asks.
“If you’re trying to find a phrase to minimize Jewish participation I can’t help you,” McCleary shoots back. “There are a disproportionately large number of Jews in SJP based on campus demographics.”
But as far as McCleary is aware, he is the only Jewish SJP member at Berkeley that theTimes approached.
McCleary felt that the New York Times article – which did not quote him or any of the other students interviewed for this post – “completely misrepsented my experiences as a Jewish student at Berkeley.”
“In my experience at Berkeley I have never experienced anti-Semitism,” McCleary said. “What I have experienced is being called a terrorist, a Nazi, a kapo – which is the most anti-Semitic thing you can call a Jew – but only by other Jews in opposition to BDS.”
Kapo is the word used to refer to Jews who collaborated in the Nazi extermination camps during the Second World War.
McCleary also spoke about the atmosphere of intimidation provoked by a David Horowitz article published in the campus newspaper The Daily Californian. Horowitz characterized SJP as “Jew-haters,” part of a wave of anti-Semitism “not seen since the 1930s, when Hitler was laying plans for the final solution—the physical extermination of European Jewry.”
But in the end, according to McCleary, none of his concerns were deemed fit to print by the Times.
“It was very clear that what I had to say about BDS and Jews’ relationship to BDS complicated their narrative,” McCleary said. “For them to find out that SJP at UC Berkeley is disproportionately Jewish interferes with that narrative that they are trying to invent.”
Questions from an iPhone
Paul Hadweh, a Palestinian student at UC Berkeley, met with Ronnie Cohen. His experience corroborates that of the other students: that instead of reporting, the Timeswas attempting to shape a very specific narrative, looking for anti-Semitism where it didn’t exist.
At one point, according to Hadweh, Cohen told him, “I don’t know how to rephrase these questions so I’m going to read out the questions my editors told me to ask.”
She then pulled out her iPhone and read questions that to Hadweh’s recollection included: To what extent is BDS used as a fig leaf for anti-Semitism? Why is it that you are singling out Israel when there are multiple Arab countries that violate human rights and women’s rights?
Hadweh says that in his responses he stressed that the BDS movement was not about Judaism, but about a settler-colonial project and ending the abuses of military occupation. He also stressed that SJP has members of all faiths and backgrounds, including many Jewish students.
That is a message Times reporters heard consistently from the SJP activists they interviewed – and would certainly hear speaking to students in the Palestine solidarity movement across the country.
But it is not a message that fits with the bogus narrative of Jews on campus besieged by “angry brown and Black students,” as UCLA’s Agatha Palma put it.
The experience has left a dirty feeling that Times reporters attempted to manipulate these students, and when their words didn’t fit a preordained story, their voices were excluded altogether.
US-installed Kiev fascist putschists find new ways to elevate chutzpah to a higher level.
In April 2014, they launched premeditated US proxy naked aggression against their own people in Donbass for wanting democratic rights everyone deserves.
Mass slaughter and destruction followed. Civilians by far suffered most.
Three agreements to end the conflict failed – Minsk II the latest in February.
Low-level fighting continues ahead of US/Kiev plans to escalate it full-blown.
Hundreds of US combat troops and special forces are training Kiev’s Nazi-infested National Guard and likeminded battalions for renewed all-out war – at Obama’s discretion.
He has no intention of ending hostilities until Donbass is entirely destroyed – many more of its people slaughtered or displaced.
His fascist Kiev friends want Russia forced to pay for the carnage they caused – for nonexistent Russian aggression.
RT International quoted Ukraine’s deputy economy development minister Aleksandr Borovik saying
“(a)t a certain point, Russia will pay.”
“We need to calculate. We need to be ready to lobby wherever we can. And say, this must be paid.”
“It was $350 billion when Iraq attacked Kuwait,”
“Then they decided $320 billion was owed.”
“Taking into account how long that aggression took and how long Russia’s aggression against us has been going on, those are comparable.”
Chances for Kiev collecting compensation from Russia for its own criminality are ZERO.
Russia’s lower house State Duma International Committee chairman, Alexey Pushkov, expressed outrage about Kiev’s demand, twittering:
“Kiev’s regime has been involved in ruining Donbas, shelled the cities and plants, and now it demands $350 billion from Russia. Strange. And hopeless.”
Ukraine has a separate absurd $16 billion damage claim over contracted gas prices Russia charged – agreed to by former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Its parliament adopted a decree calling Russia an “aggressor state.” Pending legislation criminalizes publicly denying “Russian aggression” – even though the whole world knows none exists or is planned.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
I am honoured to share a platform with Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. I intend in this 20 minute talk to give additional political context to 9/11, to set it in a fraction of the history of the last century and in the NOW.
The following is a Transcript of Dr. Halpin’s presentation
The lie of 9/11 has provided the pretext for the most terrible wars on the Muslim peoples in defiance of the Nuremberg Protocols and the UN Charter. Unless that lie is laid bare by truth, 9/11 will be seen as the crucible from which World War Three erupted. There will be no way back from the smoking ruins for those unfortunate enough to survive. The images from Hiroshima and Nagasaki are there to warn us.
I cannot recall when I became certain that 19 Muslims with box cutters were NOT responsible for these events. (1) The cinematographic images shocked billions, and especially the terror in those humans who jumped. (2) I recall asking how could it be that of hundreds of engineers in the plot not one had broken ranks. I have known the truth for at least 8 years and push two points in writing and discussion. Cui bono – ‘to whose benefit’. NOT the Muslim world at all – so much has been laid waste both in life, limb and social structure. And Tower 7. I am a sceptic and I am ashamed that the dawning was not immediate for me.
I will describe what is necessary for this gigantic conspiracy to succeed for ever.
Then I will discuss the receptiveness of the public mind to this truth and more generally, as well as the malign forces and techniques that are played upon that mind.
The false flag of the Reichstag Fire in 1933 allowed the Nazis to progressively remove the laws and freedoms of the German state. They cowed those of independent mind, regimented the rest and assassinated their own whose loyalty was questioned. That same process is in train in the US and Britain NOW. The remarkable words of Milton Mayer -
They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer, The Germans, 1938-45
One paragraph -
“You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone…..you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes….”
The citizen is encouraged to think he has the power to influence government policy when that power is minute or absent.
3. Psychopaths are at the top. (3)
For instance Cheney – the essence of evil, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ are OK etc, 5 deferments to serve in Vietnam and a member of United Methodist Church! They gain power easily being very ruthless, often charming and good with their tongues. Furthermore, they attract each other, so cabals are formed and these combine further. In the US, and to a lesser extent in the cunning UK, the ‘think’ tanks are stuffed with these circling sharks. Their evil is beyond measure. Of the thousands driving war, subversion and all the rest, the now extinct Project of the New American Century – PNAC, was central. Add the Council for Foreign Relations, the American Enterprise Institute, AIPAC – America Israel Public Affairs Committee and many more.
4. PNAC was formed in 1997 with Kristol and Kagan the first signatories.
This urged more war by the US, with Iraq the first target. Remember – Iraq was to be the first target. Some dozens of psychopaths were part of PNAC and all were Zionists. US hegemony of our planet, especially by force of arms, was the evil aim. Full spectrum dominance was the method. PNAC lead the charge to remove Saddam Hussein who was vilified just as Ghaddafi was vilified, and now Dr Bashar Assad. There were several joint letters to the President urging massive military action.
5. The PNAC document of November 2000, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defenses:
Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, was written for the George W. Bush even before he was elected in part, by ‘hanging chads’ in 2000. This was the nitroglycerine that infused the blood lust rising in Bush and his cabal. BUT the fuse had to be lit and the Muslim framed so Cheney’s Pearl Harbour in down town NY was hatched over several months.
6. Oded Yinon. This is very important.
He worked it is said in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 80s. There is only one image on the web so I assume he belonged to Mossad. (4) His paper, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, was translated from the Hebrew by the good Israel Shahak. This was a plan for decimation of ALL Arab States/Entities.
Foreword by Shahak – quotes
‘The following essay represents, in my opinion, the accurate and detailed plan of the present Zionist regime (of Sharon and Eitan) for the Middle East which is based on the division of the whole area into small states, and the dissolution of all the existing Arab states.’
‘The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the USA is very prominent, ..’
‘… the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power. In other words, the aim of Sharon is to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest.’
‘The plan follows faithfully the geopolitical ideas current in Germany of 1890-1933, which were swallowed whole by Hitler and the Nazi movement, ..’
Section 23 Yinon writes -
‘Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria.’
You know that a country of 290 million is subservient to an entity with a population of 6 million. The evidence for that is overwhelming.
The late Ariel Sharon -
Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that…. I want to tell you something very clear. Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on Oct. 3, 2001, to Shimon Perez as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.
The public mind – the seed bed and the swamp
1. The media moulds the many minds, especially when images are used.
The extraordinary series of four BBC films by Adam Curtis examines the methods and the potency. The title – ‘The Century of the Self’.
Edward Bernhays, nephew of Freud is centre stage. It is on Youtube. It shows the power of desire and self gratification over need. And in my words the driver for capitalism.
The BBC, or ZBC as I call it, is the master of state and war propaganda. Two tiny current examples – Muamar Ghaddafi was ‘toppled’ – NOT caught in a storm drain, dragged behind a pick-up and then a sword thrust into his rectum. The other – James Reynolds reports hundreds of brown/black humans drowning including dear children. There has been NO reference to the cause. Libyans and Syrians are in the majority, the former from the chaos caused by our Satanic bombing, and the latter from terrorists imported into Syria’s land with the full support of the west.
2. Truth has to be repeated constantly because Error also is being preached all the time, and not just by a few but by the multitude.
In the Press and in Encyclopaedias, in Schools and Universities, everywhere Error holds sway, feeling happy and comfortable in the knowledge of having Majority on its side. Goethe
3. Milton Mayer – as alluded to already. We wait for others to stand up. A dark has fallen over the world but a majority see only colour and light.
4. The Romans distracted their citizens with bread and circuses. Our circuses? Endless ‘sport’ + Celebrity Come Dancing + for the British, endless costume dramas on ZBC and the other propaganda channels. ‘Celebrities’ and game shows fill the vacant brains.
5. I have described in my many words in defence of OUR NHS that ‘feelings of resignation’ are cunningly generated. ‘They have made up their mind’.
6. The British are reminded daily of the European Holocaust and its many Jewish victims. The Slav and the Romany go without mention. This stifles all criticism or even examination of the Zionist entity. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were NOT holocausts according to the Holocaust Day Memorial Trust in the UK though they meet the criteria exactly.
7. Ali Abbas. The incineration of his arms, and of his parents plus 10 relatives, was caused by a neutron weapon – an enhanced radiation weapon. The images show he did not move; the incineration took place in milliseconds. The very deep trunk burns taper symmetrically towards his back. I have published these images five times. I have received only ONE comment. The more terrible the violence, the more speedily does the shutter in the mind come down, even in those who dissent against state terror. (5&6), even in those who stand against state terrorism.
There is much more that warps the public mind, allowing it to accept the murder and maiming of other peoples without dissent. How many in the House of Commons or in the UK could recite this when another country is to be bombed by us or by a surrogate – as in the Yemen now -
“To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” – Nuremberg Tribunal
“Cluster bombs in the Yemen? Made by the yanks and dropped by the Saudis. Forget it. Concentrate on the election in the fattened, self-obsessed UK instead. The Yemenis are getting what they deserve.” Forget that we helped destabilise that country years ago when it was the coaling station for the Raj.
The citizenry is less well informed than say in 1945, less cohesive and much more cruel.
I return to 9/11 and cui bono.
Netanyahu’s comments echo a previous statement he made on the very day of 9/11, as reported in the New York Times, September 12th:
Asked what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied:
“It’s very good.”
Then he edited himself:
“Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.”
There is a straight line from well before the disgusting Balfour Declaration to 9/11. The arrogance and cruelty of the European in arranging for the robbery of Palestine with the greatest violence is captured here in the words of ‘Lord’ Arthur Balfour. (7) The current lawless dominance and great cruelty of the Zionist entity has been given a vast boost by the 9/11conspiracy.
And Cheney’s promise of ‘everlasting war’ is ensured unless we take note of Milton Mayer’s lesson. We must stand against fascism though we are in the thick of it.
My definition – FASCISM – the subjugation of the individual’s will and freedom by an overweening state. Humanity withers, freedom of speech is stifled and the soul dies. Self preservation becomes a dominant drive.
A dark is falling and psychopaths are two a penny. Here are two of our war criminals – a paramount psychopath (8) and one other in his cabal, Campbell (9). Both go free with many.
No mother and child should be in the least harmed anywhere in our still beautiful world.