An interesting thing happened in Washington recently, and it had nothing to do with Beltway politics, Democrats vs. Republicans, or any of the other standard fare for the middle of the week in mid-January. Rather, a relatively small, little publicized event took place at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a prominent liberal-leaning think tank in Washington.
At this point, the question is not so much whether what Ponomarev did was improper. The much more pressing issue is whether or not, by making this presentation in Washington precisely at the moment of heightened tensions between the US and Russia, Ponomarev has committed treason. While this may seem a rather extreme characterization, it is in fact quite appropriate.
Image: Ilya Ponomarev prepared an entire PowerPoint detailing his contempt for Russia and his best advice for its ruination. The entire presentation can be viewed hereWhat Is Treason and Does It Apply?
If we define treason as “the offense of acting to overthrow one’s government or to kill or harm its sovereign,” then Ponomarev’s actions seem to tread very close to the threshold for treason. Moreover, the fact that such a presentation was delivered at CSIS – a think tank rife with “strategic planners” and proponents of the use of “soft power” to expand US hegemony – is instructive as it provides a window into both Ponomarev’s thinking and, perhaps more importantly, that of the political establishment in the US.
During his presentation, Ponomarev touched on a number of critical issues related to Russia’s domestic political situation, trying to illustrate for the attendees that the political reality in Russia, despite the simplicity of the western corporate media narrative, is rather complex. Though he described the Putin-led government as “Bonapartist,” he noted that “Putin is Russia’s only reliably working institution.” While the veracity of that statement is debatable, it does seem interesting that an elected Russian lawmaker would go to a foreign country under the auspices of wanting to help his country move forward, and then proceed to advocate the overthrow of the “only reliable institution.” Would this not be a thinly veiled attempt to advocate for destabilization, putsch, or something similar?
The most significant portion of Ponomarev’s presentation centered on a slide titled “Conditions for the Change of Power in Russia,” which laid out essentially a roadmap or blueprint for regime change in Russia. Ponomarev’s slide outlined what he believes to be the essential elements for successful overthrow of the democratically elected government. These include:
Organized street protest (versus spontaneous one)
Appealing vision of the future presented to the majority of Russians
Leader, acceptable for all protesters and the elites
Access to some financial resources
Part of the elites should support the revolution
Examining these points, it is clear that Ponomarev is not merely “informing” the assembled policymakers, journalists, and guests about what should happen, but rather is making a case for what must bemade to happen. This is no educational exercise, but a thoughtfully crafted appeal to the political establishment of the US to support Ponomarev and his faction both financially and politically.
Of course the prescription above is nothing new to keen political observers who have followed the development of the crisis in Ukraine, and who have knowledge of how “soft power” works, and the concept of the “color revolution.” What Ponomarev is describing has happened more than a few times before. What is particularly troubling this time is that a sitting parliamentarian, himself a beneficiary of the democratic electoral process, is openly advocating an anti-democratic, unconstitutional overthrow of his own government.
And Ponomarev is perfectly aware of this fact. Indeed, he included in the slide entitled “Conditions for the change of power in Russia” the following points:
Unlikely – elections
Likely – revolution (non-violent or violent)
Compromise with the current elites increases probability of non-violent changes, but decreases the probability of successful reforms in the future
Here, Ponomarev is openly acknowledging a number of critical points. First, that regime change is unlikely to come through elections. This is a blatant admission that not only is Putin democratically elected and wildly popular, but that the opposition will never have anything close to enough popular support to defeat him. In other words, Ponomarev is tacitly saying that Putin must be overthrown precisely because the Russian people support him, and will likely continue to do so. Imagine: a democratically elected politician from a country supposedly run by an “authoritarian dictator” comes to the US – allegedly the world’s great champion of democracy – to advocate an anti-democratic regime change scenario. The hypocrisy is beyond words.
Imagine: a democratically elected politician from a country supposedly run by an “authoritarian dictator” comes to the US – allegedly the world’s great champion of democracy – to advocate an anti-democratic regime change scenario. The hypocrisy is beyond words.
Second, and this is crucial to the question of treason, is the fact that Ponomarev is advocating “non-violent or violent revolution” in collaboration with a foreign power. Here the propagandists and assorted mouthpieces for the Empire might argue that CSIS is a private institution that is not affiliated with the US Government. One would have to painfully naïve about the nature of power in the US and how it functions to believe such a line of argument.
CSIS, with its long association with individuals such as Zbigniew Brzezinski who come from the uppermost echelons of power, is one of a small number of hugely influential think tanks that directly impact US foreign policy. CSIS, along with the Rand Corporation, Council on Foreign Relations, and a handful of other groups, are a useful barometer for measuring the pulse of the US establishment, and for individuals such as Ponomarev to get close to the levers of US power.
Therefore, it could be argued that Ponomarev is openly collaborating with a foreign government – in this case through the nominal intermediary of CSIS – to bring about the overthrow of his own government. I would refer readers back to the above-referenced definition of treason.
Third, and perhaps most telling about Ponomarev, is the fact that he openly warns against any form of compromise with the government, or the elites with influence in the government. Such a preemptively hostile, and inherently adversarial, relationship with the government precludes any possibility for dialogue or even negotiation. Considering the fact that, at best, Ponomarev and the liberal opposition represent a relatively small proportion of the Russian people (primarily the western-oriented business, finance, and media community, and the young liberals they can mobilize on the streets), the net effect of what he is advocating is that a small, foreign-backed minority with deep pockets seize control of the government in a quite possibly violent putsch. Ukraine anyone? Treason anyone?
While such open treason might come as a shock to many outside Russia, those who follow the country closely are all too aware of the insidious role of the United States in fomenting unrest and bankrolling the liberal opposition. It is an open secret in Russia that many, if not most, of the opposition liberals are either directly or indirectly collaborating with the US against their own country.
Liberal Opposition or Agents of a Foreign Power?
It would be an extreme oversimplification, and not entirely honest, to characterize all Russian liberals as foreign agents. Some are simply socially liberal people who see in the West a political, economic, social and cultural template for their own society. Needless to say, such a view is a small minority in Russia where traditional values and social/cultural conservatism have been on the rise since the end of the Soviet Union, and especially since Putin came to power.
However, when one examines key figures and institutions of the liberal establishment in Russia – both in politics and civil society – it becomes clear that some of the most influential are in fact collaborating with foreign powers (especially the US) to undermine the Russian government.
Boris Nemtsov is not only one of the leading liberal opposition figures in Russia, he is also a notoriously corrupt and oligarch-friendly politician who, in recent years, has fashioned for himself the public persona of an anti-corruption, anti-oligarch crusader. Of course, he doesn’t care to mention his notorious, and politically and financially lucrative, relationship with disgraced Russian oligarch Khodorkovsky. Nor does he advertise his deep commitment to aiding the US further its own agenda, as evidenced by his appearance at the now infamous 2012 gathering at the US Embassy of liberal leaders with then newly appointed Ambassador, and self-described “expert” in regime change, Michael McFaul.
Similarly, Nemtsov’s ally Vladimir Ryzhkov, according to various accounts, “formed a Committee…in 2003 to ‘draw’ funds of the imprisoned Khodorkovsky along with soliciting funds from fugitive oligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and western foundations such as the Soros Foundation. The stated aim of the effort was to rally ‘democratic’ forces against Putin.” The anti-corruption campaigner seemed to have little qualms with being financed by the most corrupt forces in the country.
Gary Kasparov, the outspoken opposition figure, former chess champion and darling of the US neocon establishment, has his own questions to answer. As F. William Engdahl has written:
In April 2007, Kasparov admitted he was a board member of the National Security Advisory Council of [the] Center for Security Policy, a “non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security.” Inside Russia Kasparov is more infamous for his earlier financial ties to Leonid Nevzlin, former Yukos vice-president and partner of Michael Khodorokvsky. Nevzlin fled to Israel on being charged in Russia on charges of murder and hiring contract killers to eliminate “objectionable people” while Yukos vice-president.
Can one really doubt the true intentions of a Russian “activist” and “leader” who happily sits on the board of a US think tank that focuses on “American security” (coded language for US foreign policy objectives)? Rather than being interested in progress in Russia, Kasparov is motivated only by his desire to gain power and prestige.
Beyond just the individuals, a number of influential “civil society” organizations deeply tied to the US establishment figure prominently in the liberal opposition. These organizations (Strategy 31, the Moscow-Helsinki Group, Levada Center, GOLOS, and many others) are either directly or indirectly funded by the United States through its myriad soft power organs, the most infamous among them being the National Endowment for Democracy. That these organizations knowingly take money from the US Government, and then present themselves as objective, disinterested civil society organizations is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy. What does one call such an organization if not an “agent of a foreign power”? I would again refer readers to the above-cited definition of “treason.”
Whether or not Ponomarev’s presentation fits the legal definition of treason would be for lawyers and legal scholars to decide. What is clear however is that Ponomarev, and indeed the vast bulk of the Russian liberal establishment, is a de facto appendage of US soft power in Russia. They act not in the interests of the Russian people, but of themselves and their patrons in the West. As such, it is up to the people of Russia to address this sort of treacherous behavior in their elected (and unelected) officials. And it is up to those of us around the world – those who refuse to go along with western imperialism in its many forms – to expose these individuals and organizations wherever they rear their ugly heads.
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 and frequent contributor to “New Eastern Outlook.”
We need a strong alliance between Europe with its technology and Russia with its resources. This is our duty of historic proportions. - Jean-Marie Le Pen, Komsomolskaia Pravda, Jan 15, 2015.
The conspiracy theorist functions as both magnet and vessel. Conspiracy theorists, in the absence of appropriate evidence, substitute and improve upon. But the conspiracy theory is also a product of passion, anger and irrational temper. Unwanted feelings, concerns, and suspicions, tend to be channelled through the workings of sinister forces, problematic alliances and seeming compromises.
Then come political figures who are impossible to wrap and summarise along plain conspiratorial lines. They are unpleasantly problematic, precisely because they use the pragmatism of politics, with the intoxication of anxious polemics. Occasionally, they can even be lucid, identifying themes of the troubling Zeitgeist.
The hard-hitting, seemingly inflated being of France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and president-for-life of the Front National Party, is such a figure. He is not easy to categorise, and dismissive slurs about his reactionary behaviour simply won’t do. He fears Islam in France, something he has deemed a virus in need of policing and eventual eradication. He thinks, as he acted before, as a soldier, having himself done his bit for Francophile imperialism with stints in Algeria and Indochina.
He fears those, in fact, who would be anything other than French in that rigidly cut fashion he deems appropriate. It seems antiquated, but the fact that he, and the party his daughter currently leads, is proving to be a serious electoral chance in France, suggests anything but. He nurses the long held suspicion about other powers and forces he fears are undermining French sovereignty. He does not trust the American program, which he accuses of belligerence and global mischief making.
The recent, and rippling interview with Komsomolskaia Pravda, featured a colourful assortment of opinions. There is the usual anti-immigration sentiment, a slur against France’s millions of Muslims. “They [Charlie Hebdo] can organise a show with a powerful media attack and the slogan ‘I am Charlie,’ temporarily mobilizing the nation but they are incapable of protecting the country from the influx of immigrants from the south.”
These immigrants refuse to work, though there is a sense that Le Pen would rather they did not. They are, for Le Pen, secondary agents of conquest. His preference, rather than for the “clowns” of Charlie Hebdo’s project, is to be the historically lionised, and Moor-stopping Charles Martel. “Martel, this brilliant French warrior, stopped the Arab invasion at Poitiers in 732.”
Combing through the rough and ready patches of Le Pen’s reasoning, and a few strands of logic are detectable. He doesn’t like Muslims nor cares much for Islam, but he was against the French meddling in Libya that resulted in the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. “Getting involved in a war with Libya was true insanity.” Gaddafi’s forces, readying to attack the fundamentalist Salafists in Benghazi, were strafed by French planes. The fall of the regime led to a proliferation of weapons through North Africa, an outcome he lays squarely at the feat of the previous President Nicola Sarkozy.
Then came the Ukrainian crisis, another excuse for meddling in a bid to expand NATO, and US, power up towards Russia’s borders. “Our party’s position is as follows: the conflict between the Russians and the Ukrainians is a family feud. After all, Russia was born in Kiev. Neither Europeans, nor Americans should get involved in this family drama.”
The acute sense that France, and the rest of Europe, is in an existential struggle with Washington is made clear. There is a demographic problem – following a long historical trajectory, Russia’s population numbers are in decline with its eastern territories in a spot of bother, and Germany “is a gold-plated coffin stuffed with dead bodies.”
Dying nations, dying states, among the supposed roses of civilization, are losing out to the breeders and the movers, the immigrants of colour Le Pen hopes will disappear under the pressures of pandemics. (“Monsieur Ebola,” he claimed in May 2014, “can solve the problem in three months.”)
Then there is the economic weapon, furnished via the incapacitating Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement. If the EU signs it with the United States, “We will turn into America’s economic colony.” His sharp solution? “We need a united Europe – from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but this must be a Europe of sovereign nations”.
The statement about US imperial power nosing about in the European provinces is a bit out of date – for decades various European states have offered bases, soldiers and material for the US project, a form of “empire by invitation,” as the less critical scholars on the subject claim. But Le Pen, and here, the lucidity breaks through, is right to fear the encroachments on sovereignty through such corporation-friendly instruments as the TTIPA.
The record of officialdom is also something to be doubted. Trusting a dyed-in-the-wool official of the tie and suit establishment is akin to believing a paid-up astrologer versed in reading entrails. Forget the fools in Brussels. Forget the new born moralists of the Hollande government who suddenly woke up to threats.
For that reason, Le Pen would rather not believe what exactly took place behind the Paris murders, though he stops short of the suggestions made by the site McLatchy and Thierry Meyssan that French and American operators were behind the attacks (The Independent, Jan 17). At least the official version, in which he smells something rank. “The Charlie Hebdo shooting has the modus operandi of the special ops, but we have no proof.” When in doubt, official versions prove dismissive of terrorists, seeing them as incompetent, and nitwits. Sadly, the nitwit tendencies are not exclusive.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
The current anti-Israeli feeling in Europe has led to manufacturers and retailers opting for non-Israeli products and produce as more importers decide not to buy goods from a state that treats the United Nations and human rights law with such contempt.
Up to now, the EU has been Israel’s primary, bilateral trading partner but the political climate has radically changed in recent months as Europe loses patience with the Netanyahu government and its all too obvious moves to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. The EU urgently wants a settlement to the Palestinian conflict but now sees that the current right-wing, Israeli administration of Binyamin Netanyahu is not, and never will be, a partner for peace.
If the EU Commission decides to abrogate the Association Agreement with Israel, as now looks possible, then the Israeli economy is likely to be very severely dented indeed whether Mr Netanyahu finds replacement orders in the Far East or not. But for the EU, a settlement to the conflict is the highest priority.
Mountaintops offer dynamic vistas and symbolize not only physical heights but inspiring points of prominence.
On the nightbefore he was murdered, Martin Luther King told a packed church in Memphis where he was crusading on behalf of the city’s garbage workers, that he had been to the mountain top.
He was practically singing as he bellowed,
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”
To him, climbing that mountain also offered him a panoramic view of a world of pain and change. Earlier in that prophetic final oration, he spoke of the human condition in these terms.
“…the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That’s a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
I have just returned from another mountaintop where the streets are packed with people traipsing through the cold and snow—looking for other stars—movie stars.
The Sundance Film Festival is on,based in the wealthy resort ofPark City, Utah, up on a snowy mountain not far from Salt Lake City attracting movie aficionados, show biz wannabes, groupies, and skiers.
Most are there to embraces (or worship) the commandingheights of our culture industry. There were plenty of contradictions on display as well.
The actor Robert Redford who created Sundance seems to have become less infatuated with the annual spectacle. The Hollywood Reporter profiled him, noting,
“Redford seems ambivalent about the festival’s success, however, hostile to the corporate and marketing forces overwhelmed his counter-cultural creation, while appreciative about everything it has achieved.”
Journalists who cover show biz were even less excited, reported Sharon Waxman, editor or the Hollywood website The Wrap:
“If you weren’t at Sundance this year, it’s just as well. The lack of a breakout, buzzy film that had everyone talking tells us something about the challenged state of independent film. While the festival had glimmers of excitement, the movies were – in the aggregate – interesting but not inspiring, thought-provoking but not thrilling.
In short, not essential enough to grab a distracted public’s attention.”
While most of the consciousness there these days revolves around commerce and Hollywood type deal-making, some major hard hitting documentaries are shown, films we rarely see on TV.
Ironically, one that I saw, “Concerning Violence” was based on the text of 1960’s revolutionary and psychiatrist Franz Fanon who in his bestseller,The Wretched of The Earth wrote that the road to decolonization was inevitably and necessarily a violent one.
A Swedish production, it is competing with less controversial fare like a tribute to the State’s native son, Mitt Romney. Sundance showed the Fanon inspired film on the eve of the national holiday celebrating America’s most loved apostle of non-violence.
Just as the Festival opened, President Obama announced his NSA reforms. The local Salt Lake Tribune reported that they will not affect the opening, on another nearby mountaintop, known as “the point of the Mountain,” of a new vast, gargantuan NSA spy center.
According to the paper,
“The Utah Data Center, a massive warehouse of computer servers at the Point of the Mountain, is largely a storage facility for the agency’s international intelligence gathering operations, expert say…”
That same weekend, amidst stores of a local snake collector complaining of being evicted because he kept 25 boa constrictors in his home, was a page one report that the Defense Department had given a big present to the Utah state police in the form of deadly weapons, an arsenal of bullets and even a tank-like vehicle used in Afghanistan.
So much for Dr. King: it looks like the Pentagon is now quietly preparing for insurrections in America.
Across the world, in Davos in the Swiss Alps, yet another mountaintop of distinction is being readied for afestive gab fest for the elite of the elite, the real 1%, at the annual World Economic Forum that I have covered in years past.
Explains Christopher Dickey in the Daily Beast,
“Even the high and mighty assembling at the Swiss resort recognize, now, that grotesque inequality is the greatest threat to world peace.
Their answer: Party on!…tonight as the little resort town begins to welcome 2,500 participants, including more than 40 heads of state, the forum itself is better organized than ever—it’s the rest of the world that’s not. Nobody at Davos claims to be a master of the universe anymore. Hell, nobody would dare.”
Media Tenor, a research company that works for many major corporations issued a report on the finance industry that helps pay for the Davos Forum and is a key cog in the world economy.
“January 21, 2014. Davos, Switzerland – With the image of banks at an all-time low, the industry is currently viewed with the same levels of negativity as organized crime, terrorism, and dictatorship, according to new research from Media Tenor International. This level of negativity, unseen in Media Tenor’s 20 years of research across all industries, positions banks as posing a greater societal risk than nuclear power or tobacco, stepping up pressure on regulatory bodies and central banks.
The research, released this week at the World Economic Forum, highlights the critical risks banks face in maintaining their license to operate, while also underscoring the dangers society faces from an untrusted banking sector. The trust meltdown raises questions about how banks can possibly maintain their current client relationships and attract new business with their basic operations under attack by the media, while also suggesting a clear platform for politicians globally.”
Comments Martin Wolf, editor of the Financial Times that is practically the house organ of this annual display of affluenza, likens the situation today the eve World War 1, exactly a Century ago, when the world’s rich and its ruler stumbled towards the horrific conflagration in history.”
(Somehow when 2012 rolled around, all the buzz was about Mayan prophecies; today, no one seems to remember how, in l914, an assassination triggered a World War in Sarajevo, a city that was devastated a relatively few years ago, and all but forgotten now. Sarajevo was a city surrounded by mountaintops that were used by Bosnian fanatics as perches to kill innocent civilians from.”)
So, while awesome in their beauty, mountaintops are not any longer a pathway to the promised land. Not today, not in the world of inequality in which we live.
News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at NewsDissector.net and edits Mediachannel.org. His new book in MadibaAtoZ: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela. (Madibabook.com) Comments to [email protected].
Coretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.” – King Family Press Conference, Dec. 9, 1999.
After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. In a press statement held the following day in Atlanta, Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict, saying ,
“There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation.
The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame. I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law… My husband once said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” To-day, almost 32 years after my husband and the father of my four children was assassinated, I feel that the jury’s verdict clearly affirms this principle. With this faith, we can begin the 21st century and the new millennium with a new spirit of hope and healing.”
KING FAMILY STATEMENT ON MEDIA REQUESTS REGARDING THE MEMPHIS VERDICT
The King family stands firmly behind the civil trial verdict reached by twelve jurors in the Memphis, Tennessee courtroom on December 8, 1999.
An excerpt from remarks made by Mr. Dexter Scott King, Chairman, President, and CEO of The King Center, during the December 9, 1999 press conference regarding the verdict that may be used in support of this family decision:
“We can say that because of the evidence and information obtained in Memphis we believe that this case is over. This is a period in the chapter. We constantly hear reports, which trouble me, that this verdict creates more questions than answers. That is totally false. Anyone who sat in on almost four weeks of testimony, with over seventy witnesses, credible witnesses I might add, from several judges to other very credible witnesses, would know that the truth is here.”
“The question now is, “What will you do with that?” We as a family have done our part. We have carried this mantle for as long as we can carry it. We know what happened. It is on public record. The transcripts will be available; we will make them available on the Web at some point. Any serious researcher who wants to know what happened can find out.”
The King family feels that the jury’s verdict, the transcripts of the conspiracy trial, and the transcripts of the King family’s press conference following the trial — all of which can be found on The King Center’s website — include everything that that family members have to say about the assassination.
Therefore, the King family shares the conviction that there is nothing more to add to their comments on record and will respectfully decline all further requests for comment.
Excerpt from Verdict [Global Research Editor, emphasis added, for further details see full transcript]
(Verdict form passed to the Court.)
THE COURT: I have authorized
this gentleman here to take one picture of
you which I’m going to have developed and
make copies and send to you as I promised.
Okay. All right, ladies and
gentlemen. Let me ask you, do all of you
agree with this verdict?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: In answer to the
question did Loyd Jowers participate in a
conspiracy to do harm to Dr. Martin Luther
King, your answer is yes. Do you also find that others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy as alleged by the defendant? Your answer to that one is also yes. And the total amount of damages
you find for the plaintiffs entitled to is
one hundred dollars. Is that your verdict?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: All right. I want
to thank you ladies and gentlemen for your
participation. It lasted a lot longer than
we had originally predicted. In spite of
that, you hung in there and you took your
notes and you were alert all during the
trial. And we appreciate it. We want you to
note that our courts cannot function if we
don’t have jurors who accept their
responsibility such as you have.
I hope it has been a pleasant
experience for you and that when you go back
home you’ll tend tell your friends and
neighbors when they get that letter saying
they’ve been summoned for jury duty, don’t
try to think of up those little old lies,
just come on down and it is not so bad after
I know how much you regret the fact
that you won’t be able to come back for the
next ten years. I don’t know, I may or may
not recognize you if I see you on the street
some day, but if you would see me and
recognize me, I sure would appreciate you
coming up and reminding me of your service
To remind you of your service, we
have some certificates that we have prepared
for you. They look real good in a frame.
Not only will they remind you of your service
here, but they will remind you also of that
wonderful judge who presided over this. We
do thank you very much on behalf of everyone
who has participated in this trial.
You were directed not to discuss the
case when you were first sworn. Now that
your verdict has been reached, I’m going to
relieve you of that oath, meaning that you
may or may not discuss it. It is up to you.
No one can force you to. And if you discuss
it, it will only be because you decide that
you wanted to.
I guess that’s about all except that
I want to come around there and personally
shake your hand. You are what I would call
Having said that, as soon as I get
around there and get a chance to shake your
hands, you’ll be dismissed.
(Judge Swearengen left the bench
to shake the jurors hands.)
THE COURT: Those of you who
would like to retain your notes, you may do
so if you want to.
I guess that’s about it. So
consider yourselves dismissed and we thank
Ladies and gentlemen, Court is
(The proceedings were concluded
at 3:10 p.m. on December 8th, 1999.)
DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
COURT REPORTERS’ CERTIFICATE
STATE OF TENNESSEE:
COUNTY OF SHELBY:
We, BRIAN F. DOMINSKI, MARGIE
DAUSTER, SARA ROGAN, KRISTEN PETERSON and
SHERYL WEATHERFORD, Reporters and Notaries
Public, Shelby County, Tennessee, CERTIFY:
1. The foregoing proceedings were
taken before us at the time and place stated
in the foregoing styled cause with the
appearances as noted;
2. Being Court Reporters, we then
reported the proceedings in Stenotype to the
best of our skill and ability, and the
foregoing pages contain a full, true and
correct transcript of our said Stenotype
notes then and there taken;
3. We am not in the employ of and
are not related to any of the parties or
their counsel, and we have no interest in the
WITNESS OUR SIGNATURES, this, the
____ day of ___________, 2000.
BRIAN F. DOMINSKI
Certificate of Merit
Notary Public for
the State of Tennessee at
DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD
Notary Public for
the State of Tennessee at
Never before has it been so important to have independent, honest voices and sources of information. We are – as a society – inundated and overwhelmed with a flood of information from a wide array of sources, but these sources of information, by and large, serve the powerful interests and individuals that own them. The main sources of information, for both public and official consumption, include the mainstream media, alternative media, academia and think tanks.
The mainstream media is the most obvious in its inherent bias and manipulation. The mainstream media is owned directly by large multinational corporations, and through their boards of directors are connected with a plethora of other major global corporations and elite interests. An example of these connections can be seen through the board of Time Warner.
Time Warner owns Time Magazine, HBO, Warner Bros., and CNN, among many others. The board of directors includes individuals past or presently affiliated with: the Council on Foreign Relations, the IMF, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Warburg Pincus, Phillip Morris, and AMR Corporation, among many others.
Two of the most “esteemed” sources of news in the U.S. are the New York Times (referred to as “the paper of record”) and the Washington Post. The New York Times has on its board people who are past or presently affiliated with: Schering-Plough International (pharmaceuticals), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chevron Corporation, Wesco Financial Corporation, Kohlberg & Company, The Charles Schwab Corporation, eBay Inc., Xerox, IBM, Ford Motor Company, Eli Lilly & Company, among others. Hardly a bastion of impartiality.
And the same could be said for the Washington Post, which has on its board: Lee Bollinger, the President of Columbia University and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and individuals associated with (past or presently): the Coca-Cola Company, New York University, Conservation International, the Council on Foreign Relations, Xerox, Catalyst, Johnson & Johnson, Target Corporation, RAND Corporation, General Motors, and the Business Council, among others.
It is also important to address how the mainstream media is intertwined, often covertly and secretly, with the government. Carl Bernstein, one of the two Washington Post reporters who covered the Watergate scandal, revealed that there were over 400 American journalists who had “secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” Interestingly, “the use of journalists has been among the most productive means of intelligence-gathering employed by the CIA.” Among organizations which cooperated with the CIA were the “American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald-Tribune.”
In 2008, it was reported that the Pentagon ran a major propaganda campaign by using retired Generals and former Pentagon officials to present a good picture of the administration’s war-time policies. The program started in the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2003 and continued into 2009. These officials, presented as “military analysts”, regurgitate government talking points and often sit on the boards of military contractors, thus having a vested interest in the subjects they are brought on to “analyze.”
During the public debate around the question of whether to attack Syria, Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush, made a series of high-profile media appearances. Hadley argued strenuously for military intervention in appearances on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV, and authored a Washington Post op-ed headlined “To stop Iran, Obama must enforce red lines with Assad.”
In each case, Hadley’s audience was not informed that he serves as a director of Raytheon, the weapons manufacturer that makes the Tomahawk cruise missiles that were widely cited as a weapon of choice in a potential strike against Syria. Hadley earns $128,500 in annual cash compensation from the company and chairs its public affairs committee. He also owns 11,477 shares of Raytheon stock, which traded at all-time highs during the Syria debate ($77.65 on August 23, making Hadley’s share’s worth $891,189). Despite this financial stake, Hadley was presented to his audience as an experienced, independent national security expert.
The major philanthropic foundations in the United States have often used their enormous wealth to co-opt voices of dissent and movements of resistance into channels that are safe for the powers that be. As McGeorge Bundy, former President of the Ford Foundation once said, “Everything the Foundation does is to make the world safe for Capitalism.”
Examples of this include philanthropies like the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation providing immense financial and organizational support to Non-Governmental Organizations. Furthermore, the alternative media are often funded by these same foundations, which has the effect of influencing the direction of coverage as well as the stifling of critical analysis.
This now brings us to the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Global Research.
As an institution which acts as a research centre as well as a source of alternative news through the website www.globalresearch.ca, the CRG has become a much needed voice of independence seeking to break through all the propaganda and misinformation.
To maintain our independence, Global Research does not accept assistance from public and private foundations. Nor do we seek support from universities and/or government.
While the objective is to expand and help spread important and much-needed information to more people than ever before, Global Research needs to rely upon its readers to support the organization.
Thank you, dear readers, for your tireless support.
Supporting Global Research is supporting the cause of truth and the fight against media disinformation.
A COLLEAGUE of mine in Cairo told me a story a few years ago about a massacre in the streets of Paris. He was a news service reporter at the time of the violence in the French capital – Oct. 17, 1961 – and saw tens of bodies of dead Algerians piled like cordwood in the center of the city in the wake of what would now be called a police riot.
But his superiors at the news agency stopped him from telling the full story then, and most of the world paid little attention to the thin news coverage that the massacre did receive. Even now, the events of that time are not widely known and many people, like myself, had never heard of them at all.
This year is an apt time to recall what happened, and not only because this is the 35th anniversary year of Algerian independence. The continuing civil war in Algeria and the growing violence and racism in France, as well as the appalling slaughters taking place elsewhere in the world, give it a disturbing currency.
Here’s what happened:
Unarmed Algerian Muslims demonstrating in central Paris against a discriminatory curfew were beaten, shot, garotted and even drowned by police and special troops. Thousands were rounded up and taken to detention centers around the city and the prefecture of police, where there were more beatings and killings.
How many died? No one seems to know for sure, even now. Probably around 200.
It seems astonishing today, from this perspective, that such a thing could happen in the middle of a major Western capital closely covered by the international media. This was not Kabul, Beijing, Hebron or some Bosnian backwater, after all, but the City of Light – Paris.
But the Fifth Republic under President Charles de Gaulle was in trouble in October 1961. De Gaulle, who was primarily interested in establishing France’s pre-eminent position in Western Europe and the world, found himself presiding over domestic chaos. France was constantly disrupted by strikes and protests by farmers and workers, as well as by terrorism from opposing organizations: the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), representing the Algerian nationalist independence movement, and the Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS), a group of disaffected soldiers, politicians and others committed to keeping Algeria French. The OAS rightly perceived that de Gaulle was bound to free France from the burden of its last major colonial holding, so he could get on with the business of making France the economic and political power of his lofty ambition.
Eyewitness reports recounted stranglings by police.
But the vicious war in Algeria, marked by bloody atrocities committed on all sides, had been grinding on for nearly seven years. Terrorist attacks in Paris and other French cities had claimed dozens of lives of police, provoking what Interior Minister Roger Frey called la juste colère – the just anger – of the police. They vented that anger on the evening of Oct. 17. About 30,000 Muslims – from among some 200,000 Algerians, ostensibly French citizens, living in and around Paris – descended upon the boulevards of central Paris from three different directions. The demonstration of men, women and children was called by the FLN to protest an 8:30 p.m. curfew imposed only on Muslims.
The demonstrators were met by about 7,000 police and members of special Republican Security companies, armed with heavy truncheons or guns. They let loose on the demonstrators in, among other places, Saint Germain-des-Prés, the Opéra, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysée, around the Place de l’Étoile and, on the edges of the city, at the Rond Point de la Defense beyond Neuilly.
My news agency friend counted at least 30 corpses of demonstrators in several piles outside his office near the city center, into which he had pulled some Algerians to get them away from rampaging police. Another correspondent reported seeing police backing unarmed Algerians into corners on sidestreets and clubbing them at will. Later eyewitness reports recounted stranglings by police and the drowning of Algerians in the Seine, from which bodies would be recovered downstream for weeks to come.
Maurice Papon, the Prefect of the Paris police, was the only Vichy France official to be convicted for his role in the deportation of Jews during WW II. But Papon was never prosecuted for the deaths of Algerians caused by police under his orders in 1961. These were not the last deaths caused by police under Papon’s responsibility. Four months later, in February 1962, Papon went too far even for the French President Charles De Gaulle, when French police killed nine white people at a Communist-led demonstration against the war in Algeria. 700,000 people marched at the funeral of the five protesters while a general strike shut down Paris. | AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of Algerians were rounded up and brought to detention centers, where the violence against them continued. “Drowning by Bullets,” a British TV documentary aired about four years ago, alleges that scores of Algerians were murdered in full view of police brass in the courtyard of the central police headquarters. The prefect of police was Maurice Papon, who recently was still denying charges that he was responsible for deporting French Jews to Auschwitz during World War II while he was part of the Vichy government.
The official version
The full horror of this inglorious 1961 episode in French history was largely covered up at the time. Though harrowing personal accounts did eventually percolate to the surface in the French press, the newspapers – enfeebled by years of government censorship and control – for the most part stuck with official figures that only two and, later, five people had died in the demonstration. Government-owned French TV showed Algerians being shipped out of France after the demonstration, but showed none of the police violence.
Journalists had been warned away from coverage of the demonstration and were not allowed near the detention centers.
With few exceptions, the British and American press stuck to the official story, including suggestions that the Algerians had opened fire first. Even the newsman who saw the piles of Algerian corpses was not allowed to report the story; his bosses ordered that the bureau reports stick to the official figures.
Both French and foreign journalists in Paris seemed tacitly to agree that nothing should be done to further destabilize the French government or endanger de Gaulle, who was widely seen as the last, best hope for navigating France out of its troubles.
The story quickly died, drowned out by fresher alarums and excursions in Europe and elsewhere.
And, of course, in the next year, Algeria would have its independence.
Jacques Vergès, the controversial French lawyer who represented the FLN during the war in Algeria, told me in an interview last summer that the police violence and government and press cover-up in 1961 were not surprising. The political circumstances were right for it, and the news media usually do what they’re told. Just look at how easy it was to round up and intern American citizens of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor, he observed. If he’s right, then the problem for politicians is to make sure that the conditions for injustice and atrocity do not conjoin, that there is no probability created for massacres like the one in Paris in October 1961. And if the politicians fail, then the problem for journalists and others is how to resist becoming their accomplices.
Whether they were killed, injured or left homeless and traumatized in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s summer attack, or whether they faced “increasing levels of violence [by Israeli forces] … at demonstrations [or] as part of military operations throughout the West Bank” including occupied East Jerusalem — especially during frequent arrest raids — Palestinian children were regular targets of Israel’s systematic violence throughout 2014, says Brad Parker of DCI-Palestine.
Parker told The Electronic Intifada in a recent interview that Palestinian children face routine physical abuse, violence and torture during arrest raids and detention. “In about twenty percent of cases, kids are brought and held in solitary confinement solely for interrogation purposes,” a practice that has been condemned by international law, which equates it to torture, Parker explained.
Youths arrested in Beit Ommar
Palestinian news sources reported this week that twenty Palestinians, including at least six teenagers, were arrested by Israeli forces overnight on Thursday in the southern occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar, a day after 18 Palestinians were arrested and detained there.
Mohammed Awad of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ommar described the raids “as the largest military invasion” into the village by Israeli forces since 2004, Samidoun, the Palestinian prisoner solidarity network, reported.
At the same time, Israeli forces carried out arrest raids in East Jerusalem, taking at least eight Palestinian youths, according to Ma’an News Agency and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. At least four young men were arrested in Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank as well on Thursday.
Othman, 15, was put on house arrest for eleven months in 2014. Israeli interrogators were physically violent toward Othman, and threatened to rape him, his father told DCI-Palestine. (DCI-Palestine)
In a report filed on the last day of 2014, DCI-Palestine says that “2014 brought no respite for Palestinian children, whether entangled in the Israeli military detention system, living in residential areas in the Gaza Strip, or simply on their way to school.”
The organization says that in 2014, “the average number of children held in Israeli military detention stood at 197 per month.”
On Friday, The Electronic Intifada spoke with Parker about the ongoing arrests and detentions of Palestinian children. Listen to the interview via the media player above, or read the transcript below.
Transcript of interview with Brad Parker
Nora Barrows-Friedman: Can you talk about the arrest campaigns this week in occupied East Jerusalem and Beit Ommar? What do these raids typically look like, and where are the children taken to?
Brad Parker: So, typically Palestinian children are arrested in night raids like this by Israeli forces — forces come in the middle of the night, anywhere from 12am to 5am, have a strong military presence, heavily-armed soldiers, they bang on a child’s door, soldiers storm the home, check IDs, usually if a child’s name is on the intelligence officer’s list, the child will be taken out of the house, typically handcuffed, blindfolded, and their hands tied with a plastic cord, ushered out into a military jeep. Sometimes the kids face physical violence during that transfer process when they’re in the back of the jeep. They’ll be transferred around the West Bank, maybe detained at a military camp, spend the rest of the night into the morning really just waiting for whatever comes next. They don’t really have a sense of what comes next.
In the morning, they’re typically brought to a police station inside a settlement, where they appear in interrogation rooms. Their parents haven’t been notified where they’ve been taken, and if they don’t have access to counsel, that interrogation is typically meant to coerce a confession — to have some type of evidence against the child that then could be used later on in the military courts.
Once an interrogation finishes — if there’s a confession — and if there’s not a confession, kids typically are transferred inside Israel to Meggido prison in the north, and sometimes they can be held at Ofer prison just outside of Ramallah. So, typically, that’s where kids go. The families don’t know where they’ve been taken. Nobody really hears from them until they appear in a military court, which could be anywhere from twenty-four to forty-eight hours later — that’s the first time they typically see their families, they first see an attorney. Because of that, they sometimes have confessions against them before they’ve even spoken with an attorney.
The typical situation is really not meant to find justice or seek justice — it’s really about control and using the military court system and arrests to target youth, to create that control, to keep kids from participating in weekly protests, from participating in anything that can be somewhat political. And that’s the general case that we see based on our evidence gathering throughout the West Bank.
NBF: Based on that evidence gathering, can you tell us what typically happens to children in Israeli detention, and if the historic Israeli policies of torture, interrogation and psychological trauma are still in effect, or if anything’s changed over the past year?
BP: Children still face ill-treatment and torture — it’s widespread, systematic throughout the Israeli military detention system. Nothing really has changed over the past not only one year but the past decade. It’s really become more and more a part of what Palestinian children who are arrested by the Israeli army encounter when they’re in detention, within custody with Israeli forces.
NBF: And what kind of torture and interrogation does DCI-Palestine typically see happening to these kids?
BP: So, in about 75 percent of these cases, Palestinian kids arrested by the Israeli army face some type of physical violence during arrest, transfer or interrogation. It could be anything from being slapped in their face, being hit with a rifle, being hit with a helmet, kicked, punched, beaten in the back of a jeep.
In interrogation, physical violence is a little bit less common over the past few years, but you still see kids being slapped, punched, shoved against walls during interrogation. In about 20 percent of cases, kids are brought and held in solitary confinement solely for interrogation purposes — this is a practice that’s condemned by the international community, international law. International law equates it to torture, considers it a form of torture when solitary confinement is used against juveniles.
So these are the typical scenarios and issues that kids face.
NBF: Let’s talk about 2014 in this context — of course, in Gaza during the attack over the summer, more than 500 children were killed, and hundreds of thousands remain in serious need of psychological treatment from multi-layered and repeated trauma. And in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, arrest raids like the ones we’ve seen this week, along with incessant home demolitions, arrest and detention of parents and family members, and daily dehumanization of children continued unabated.
Can you assess 2014 in terms of what needs to be done to protect the rights of Palestinian children, and what your No More Forgotten Lives campaign aims to accomplish?
BP: 2014 was devastating for Palestinian kids in Gaza, kids were being killed at a higher rate than at any time before, their homes, schools, families were destroyed. For six and seven-year-old kids, this was the third or fourth major military offensive that they’ve lived through.
In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, we saw increasing levels of violence against Palestinian kids at demonstrations, as part of military operations throughout the West Bank, associated with arrests and search-and-rescue operations, et cetera. It was pretty devastating on all fronts. We saw increased deaths because of live fire used at protests and demonstrations — the May 15th Nakba Day protests outside of Ramallah resulted in two children, two Palestinian teenagers being killed with live ammunition.
It was caught on security camera footage that we were ultimately able to release and publicize, and then this campaign, No More Forgotten Lives really attempts to take the evidence that we’ve collected around those two deaths, tie it together with the complete lack of accountability and impunity for these violations, to highlight the number of kids that have been killed in 2014, and really that nothing has been done to hold anybody accountable.
The May 15th killing of Nadim Nuwara was highly publicized because of the video we released, and ultimately a soldier was arrested and implicated in his murder, but what we’ve seen is that instead of being charged with homicide, murder, some higher-level offense, he’s currently charged with manslaughter. He was held in custody, but now he’s been released on house arrest.
So even when there is something that resembles some type of accountability, it’s still extremely weak and doesn’t conform with international law standards. So the No More Forgotten Lives campaign really seeks to highlight this impunity and lack of accountability and show that Palestinian kids are being targeted, are being killed — and we need to speak out and demand justice. Because the Israeli authorities are not interested in accountability for serious violations of childrens’ rights.
NBF: How can people learn more about the campaign, and what’s one important thing, or ten important things, that international civil society can do today to help?
BP: To learn more about the campaign, you can go to NoMoreForgottenLives.com, or to our website, dci-palestine.org. Each website will have more information on the campaign, more information about us as an organization and the things that we document.
Really, coordinating efforts and demanding justice and speaking about Palestinian rights and Palestinian childrens’ rights through a human rights lens rather than through a political lens — it is the most important thing the international community can do.
So often, people defer to the politics and forget the human aspect of what the occupation is, what the impact the occupation has on families, on children. And that’s really the thing that we try to highlight as an organization.
In a recent broadcast of “Tagesthemen”, the main newscast of Germany’s ARD public television channel, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk grotesquely distorted the history of World War II, accusing the Soviet Union of having invaded Germany and Ukraine.
Remarkably, this brazen and thoroughly calculated falsehood, designed to promote the myth of a joint German-Ukrainian struggle against a Soviet-Russian aggressor, went unchallenged by the presenter. It has not been denounced by the broadcaster in retrospect.
The interview, conducted with Yatsenyuk during his visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on January 7, consisted largely of anti-Russian ranting. Presenter Pinar Atalay’s innocuous and unfocused questions remained unanswered, and only amounted to brief interruptions to Yatsenyuk’s castigation of Putin, Russia and the Soviet Union.
“Russian aggression in Ukraine is an attack on world order and order in Europe. All of us still clearly remember the Soviet invasion of Ukraine and Germany. That has to be avoided. And nobody has the right to rewrite the results of the Second World War. And that is exactly what Russia’s President Putin is trying to do.”
Atalay made no comment on this scandalous historical lie, i.e. that the Soviet Union—not Nazi Germany—had invaded Ukraine. The television station responded to a complaint about the programme from the Public Committee for Public Service Media, remarking that the quality of the simultaneous Russian-German translation was too poor for the presenter to question the statement during the ongoing interview. In fact, however, the “Tagesthemen” news item was a recording of the interview, and there was no critical response to Yatsenyuk’s lie from the programme’s director or ARD.
Five days after the interview, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper attacked not Yatsenyuk and ARD, but the Russian foreign ministry, which vehemently rejected the Ukrainian prime minister’s account, citing the proceedings of the Nuremberg Trials.
“As to the Second World War,” wrote Russia correspondent Kerstin Holm in the newspaper,
“the thinking of the Russians is set in concrete … But disabused countrymen remember that Russia, in the wake of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, was an aggressor in World War II and was responsible for the Katyn massacre”.
Holm also claims that “Liberation could at best be said to apply to the expulsion of the Nazis, but not to the Sovietisation of reconquered areas”.
The German government did not distance itself from Yatsenyuk’s remarks or comment on his statements. Foreign office spokesman Martin Schäfer said:
“Like anyone here in Germany—politicians, citizens or sports celebrities—the Ukrainian prime minister has the right to tell the German media whatever he deems appropriate. That is part and parcel of our extremely important right to freedom of expression”.
Thus, the results of the Nuremberg Trials and the denial of German guilt in the Second World War are declared to be matters of opinion. In fact, the German Wehrmacht (army) and Waffen-SS waged a war of extermination in Ukraine, whose barbarism still stands out among the countless atrocities and crimes of the Nazi dictatorship and the world war that it wanted and started.
On June 22, 1941, German Wehrmacht troops stormed across the borders of the USSR without any declaration of war, aiming to engulf the enemy in a Blitzkrieg and push them far back into the interior of the country. While the northern and central sectors of the army had orders to capture Leningrad and Moscow, the southern army sector marched on Kiev. It was supported in this by two battalions of Ukrainian nationalists, code-named “Nachtigall” and “Roland”, marching in German uniforms and under German army command.
These Ukrainian battalions were recruited from the rabid anti-Semitic and anti-Communist Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) under the leadership of Stepan Bandera. After the invasion and with the approval of the German occupiers, they took over management of police stations and launched pogroms. In late June 1941, the German occupiers incited the first major pogrom, in the Galician city of Lviv, which was carried out with the active support of the OUN. The public hunting down of Jews claimed at least 4,000 lives.
Many massacres and pogroms followed. The largest single extermination took place shortly after the sacking of Kiev on September 29-30, 1941 in the ravine of Babi Yar. Approximately 33,000 Kiev Jews were killed, including elderly people, women and children who had not been able to flee from the advancing army. The massacre was one of the crimes prosecuted at the Nuremberg Trials. Approximately 850,000 Jews were murdered in the German war of extermination in Ukraine.
Judaism and Bolshevism were synonymous in the propaganda of the Nazis and the OUN. The murder of Jews was seen and propagandised as equivalent to the anti-Soviet struggle. The brutal terror waged against the Jews and the determination to destroy particularly the Jewish people in occupied Ukraine flowed from the German Reich’s resolve to annihilate the Soviet Union and the impact of the world’s first socialist revolution.
The Wehrmacht’s conquest of Ukraine not only entailed a deep incursion into Soviet territory. It also cut off the rest of the USSR from Ukraine’s fertile agricultural land and large coal reserves. While the USSR was weakened by hunger, Nazi Germany exploited Ukraine’s resources, deporting over a million Ukrainians to work in German industry and agriculture as slave labour.
The German occupiers were therefore unwilling to tolerate any notion of an independent Ukraine. When the OUN proclaimed Ukraine’s independence in Lviv on June 30, 1941, Bandera was taken into “protective custody” in then Sachsenhausen concentration camp. This was not the end of collaboration between the German occupiers and Ukrainian fascists, however.
OUN supporters remained active in administration and as an auxiliary police force in the organisation of the Holocaust in Ukraine. Tens of thousands of them served as volunteers in SS divisions, directly aiding the Nazis in combat against the Red Army.
The current Ukrainian leadership, which was backed by Germany in the coup d’état that brought it to power last spring, stands unashamedly in this bloody tradition of Ukrainian nationalists and fascists. They extol Stepan Bandera as a national hero and rely on an alliance with Germany against Russia as the basis of their political power.
Members of Yatsenyuk’s government maintain close relations with fascist elements and place them in key positions.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov appointed the fascist, Vadim Trojan, chief of police for the Kiev region in November 2014. Trojan was commander of the extreme right-wing Azov volunteer battalion, some of whose members wear helmets with swastikas and SS runes in the fighting against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Another commander of the Azov battalion, Andrij Bilezki, told the British Telegraph newspaper: “The historical mission of our nation in these crucial times is to lead the white races of the world in the final crusade for their survival”.
The installation of such violently reactionary forces in power in Kiev and the support given to them by the imperialist powers of NATO requires the rewriting and falsification of history. This is the significance of Yatsenyuk’s statements to ARD, and the silence of authorities in Germany on them.
The life of Martin Luther King, Jr. was short. He was born in 1929 into a racist, hate-filled society with entrenched bigotry enforced by uncivilized laws. But, like Mohandas Gandhi, who took back his country from the British, MLK forced change on the United States through his inspired use of nonviolent resistance.
King had guts. Think of the courage it took for him, and for those who were with him, to work the front lines. As he explained in 1957 in the journal Christian Century:
This is not a method for cowards; it does resist. The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which he protests as is the person who uses violence…
Nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that noncooperation and boycotts are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness…
This method is that the attack is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who are caught in those forces…
Nonviolent resistance avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.
Six years later, on August 28, 1963, he gave one of the greatest, most electrifying speeches ever delivered in America. This is how his rousing oration ended:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
What he wanted seems so simple, so natural, and so heartbreakingly normal.
One year later, on December 10, 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of 35, he was the youngest man ever to have received it. Can you think of anyone who deserved the Nobel Peace Prize more than he did?
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
Below we present a brief history, told in eloquent images, of what gave rise to Martin Luther King’s crusade and kindled his dream of a better life for everyone.
On September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford, age 15, and eight other African American students—known as the Little Rock Nine—tried to enter a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Elizabeth was supposed to join the others so they could go to school together, but she didn’t get the message. So she went on alone. This is what happened.
“The crowd was quiet. They were waiting to see what was going to happen. When I tried to enter, they raised their bayonets. They glared at me and I was very frightened. I turned around but the crowd came to me. They moved closer and closer. They started to revile, and blame me. They were shouting, ‘Kill her! Kill her!’”
“I tried to see a friendly face, someone who maybe would help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she frowned to me. I turned back to the guards but their faces told me I wouldn’t get any help from them. It was hell…”
“Then I looked down the block and saw a bench at the bus stop. I don’t know why the bench seemed a safe place to me, but I started walking toward it. I tried to close my mind to what they were shouting and kept saying to myself ‘If I get there, I can be safe’…”
“. . . to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from difficulties, embarrassments, and to make his trips more enjoyable.”Esso, one of the few gas companies that would sell franchises to black entrepreneurs during that period, was a sponsor of the Negro Green Book and gave away copies at some of its stations. Esso’s Special Representative Wendell Alston wrote in an introduction to the 1949 edition, “The Negro travelers’ inconveniences are many and they are increasing because today so many more are traveling individually and in groups. The GREEN BOOK with its list of hotels, boarding houses, restaurants, beauty shops, barber shops and various other services can most certainly help solve your travel problems.”
The central bank of Germany, BuBa, has just released the numbers of their gold repatriation activities in 2014. More than expected the Germans shipped home 85 tonnes of gold from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY),previously BuBa hinted at withdrawing 30 to 50 tonnes from New York in 2014, from France 35 tonnes were returned. Below we can see an overview from BuBa of all repatriation activities since 2013:
There has been a lot of fuzz about the German gold repatriation schedule, which in 2013 was set to return 674 tonnes before 2020, when only 37 tonnes reached German soil in the first year. Many eyebrows were lifted in the gold space; is there any gold left in New York? Why is it taking seven years to repatriate a few hundred tonnes? Especially the fact only 5 tonnes were returned from the FRBNY in 2013 was suspicious. In my opinion it’s very strange only 5 tonnes returned in the first year, but as far as my intelligence goes this was wasn’t unilaterally obstruction by the Fed.
More speculation went round when in November The Netherlands announced they had secretly repatriated 122.5 tonnes from New York. The FRBNY publishes on a monthly basis how much gold they hold in total as foreign deposits. When we learned The Netherlands had repatriated 122.5 tonnes somewhere in between January and November 2014, some suspected most of what was drained from the FRBNY, as published by year to date FRBNY data, was brought to The Netherlands and Germany wouldn’t meet its schedule for 2014. But because the FRBNY data lags a few months analyst could only speculate as they didn’t have the total numbers of 2014.
At this moment we have FRBNY data up to November.
January till November 2014 the FRBNY was drained for 166 tonnes, if we subtract 123 tonnes The Netherlands got out that leaves 43 tonnes for Germany. The fact Germany claims to have repatriated 85 tonnes from New York in 2014 means they must have pulled 42 tonnes from the Manhattan vaults in December. By the end of this month (January 2015) the FRBNY will release the foreign deposit data of December and we’ll see if the numbers match. If not, there obviously is “a problem”. Otherwise, everything is going to plan and we are only left to think about what reasons BuBa has to take seven years to repatriate 674 tonnes. Perhaps this time is needed for out great leaders to shape a new international monetary system. Who knows? It can’t be because of logistical reasons as hundreds of tonnes of gold are shipped around the world every year – for example, Switzerland exported 2,777 tonnes of gold in 2013.
In less than two years, if current trends continued unchecked, the richest 1% percent of people on the planet will own at least half of the world’s wealth.
That’s the conclusion of a new report from Oxfam International, released Monday, which states that the rate of global inequality is not only morally obscene, but an existential threat to the economies of the world and the very survival of the planet. Alongside climate change, Oxfam says that spiraling disparity between the super-rich and everyone else, is brewing disaster for humanity as a whole.
“Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined?” asked Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International. “The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”
Global wealth is becoming increasing concentrated among a small wealthy elite. Data from Credit Suisse shows that since 2010, the richest 1% of adults in the world have been increasing their share of total global wealth . Figure 1 shows that 2010 marks an inflection point in the share of global wealth going to this group. Figure 1 : Share of global wealth of the top 1% and bottom 99% respectively ; Credit Suisse data available 2000 – 2014. In 2014 , the richest 1% of people in the world own ed 48% of global wealth , leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet. 1 Almost all of th at 52% is owned by those included in the richest 20%, leaving just 5.5% for the remaining 80% of people in the world. If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% of people in just two years with the wealth share of the top 1% exceeding 50% by 2016.
The report also shows that even among the über-rich there remain divisions, with an outsized majority on the list of the world’s wealthiest people hailing from the United States. And it’s not an accident. The world’s most wealthy, as the Oxfam report documents, spends enormous amounts of their money each year on lobbying efforts designed to defend the assets they have and expand their ability to make even more.
The world’s wealthiest, reads the report, “have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance and pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Companies from these sectors spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying to create a policy environment that protects and enhances their interests further. The most prolific lobbying activities in the US are on budget and tax issues; public resources that should be directed to benefit the whole population, rather than reflect the interests of powerful lobbyists.”
Released on the eve of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam says that the world’s financial and political elite can no longer ignore, and should no longer perpetuate, inequality at this scale.
“Our report is just the latest evidence that inequality has reached shocking extremes, and continues to grow,” said Byanyima, who was invited to act as co-chair for this year’s Davos summit. “It is time for the global leaders of modern capitalism, in addition to our politicians, to work to change the system to make it more inclusive, more equitable and more sustainable.”
She continued, “Extreme inequality isn’t just a moral wrong. It undermines economic growth and it threatens the private sector’s bottom line. All those gathering at Davos who want a stable and prosperous world should make tackling inequality a top priority.”
Contained in the paper is a seven-point plan of specific proposals which Oxfam says must be added to the agenda of all world leaders:
Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals
Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education
Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption towards capital and wealth
Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers
Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal
Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum income guarantee
Agree a global goal to tackle inequality.
On her role as co-chair at the WEF summit this week, Byanyima told the Guardian she was surprised to be invited, because Oxfam represents a “critical voice” to most of the others who attend. “We go there to challenge these powerful elites,” she said. “It is an act of courage to invite me.”
However, part of the message contained in the report is that economic inequality of this magnitude is not just threat to the poor and disadvantaged but also to those who have traditionally benefited from the model of pro-growth capitalism. As growing amounts of research have shown—most prominently in the work of French economist Thomas Piketty—the nearly unprecedented levels of inequality is hurting modern capitalism even on its own terms.
But just as these levels of inequality are the result of government policies that have benefited the rich, Oxfam believes that a change in such governing structures is the key to reversing the trend.
As Byanyima told the Guardian, “Extreme inequality is not just an accident or a natural rule of economics. It is the result of policies and with different policies it can be reduced. I am optimistic that there will be change.”
For the first time in at least half a century, low-income children make up the majority of students enrolled in American public schools, according to a report by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF).
The percentage of public school students who are classified as low-income has risen steadily over the past quarter century, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. In 1989, under 32 percent of public school students were classified as low-income, according to statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) cited by the report. This rose to 38 percent by 2000, 48 percent in 2011, and 51 percent in 2013.
These figures are the result of decades of deindustrialization, stagnating wages and cuts to antipoverty programs. Since the 2008 financial crisis in particular, the US ruling class, with the Obama administration at its head, has waged an unrelenting assault on the social rights of working people, carrying out mass layoffs, driving down wages, and slashing social services during the recession and the “recovery.” The SEF report makes clear that it has been the most vulnerable sections of society, including children, who have been made to bear a disproportionate burden due to these policies.
The study defines low-income students as those qualifying for either free or reduced-price lunches. Students from families making less than 135 percent of the federal poverty threshold are eligible for free lunches, while those making under 185 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for reduced-price lunches.
The report was published last week in the form of an update to a 2007 study, entitled “A New Majority,” which warned that low-income students had for the first time in decades become the majority in the historically impoverished American South, and were well on their way to becoming the majority in the US as a whole. In 2006, the year covered by the report, low-income students constituted 42 percent of students enrolled at public schools. Seven years later, the figure has risen by a shocking nine percentage points.
The 2007 report noted that in 1959, “Historical correlations suggest that close to a majority of the school-age children in the South were in households living below the recently defined American poverty line.” It added, “Somewhere between 1959 and 1967, it is likely that for the first time since public schools were established in the South, low income children no longer constituted a majority of students in the South’s public schools.”
“By 1967, the percentage of low income children in the South and the nation had declined to unmatched levels,” the report continued, but noted that the improvement
“came to a halt in 1970 when the percentage of low income children leveled off and remained essentially constant over five years. In 1975 the trend lines for low income students in the South and across the nation began to creep upward. After 1980, the Reagan Administration convinced Congress to enact large federal cutbacks in anti-poverty programs, and the numbers of low income children in the South started to rise sharply.”
The vast historical retrogression exposed by the report is further emphasized in the breakdown by state. The report notes, “In 1989, Mississippi was the only state in the nation with a majority of low income students. It had 59 percent. Louisiana ranked second with 49 percent.”
Low-income students now comprise the majority in 21 states, and between 40 percent and 49 percent of students in 19 others. While all states had significant numbers of low-income students, the share of poor students in the South and West is “extraordinarily high.” It notes that “thirteen of the 21 states with a majority of low income students in 2013 were located in the South, and six of the other 21 states were in the West.”
Mississippi has the highest share of low-income students, at a shocking 71 percent, or nearly three out of four, in 2013. Second was New Mexico, where 68 percent of public school students are low-income. These are followed by Louisiana, with 65 percent; Arkansas, with 61 percent; Oklahoma, with 61 percent; and Texas, with 60 percent. California, the country’s most populous state, has 55 percent of its public school students in poverty.
Poor students require far more resources than their affluent peers if they are to keep up. But rather than provide resources according to need, the Bush and Obama administrations, under the “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top” programs, have channeled resources away from schools with a high share of students in poverty, which are declared to be “underperforming.”
The SEF report warns, “With huge, stubbornly unchanging gaps in learning, schools in the South and across the nation face the real danger of becoming entrenched, inadequately funded educational systems that enlarge the division in America between haves and have-nots.”
The study is the latest in a series of reports showing the increasingly desperate social conditions facing children in the United States.
In September, the US Department of Education released statistics showing that the number of homeless children increased by eight percent in the 2012-2013 school year, compared to the year before. There were 1.3 million homeless children enrolled in US schools, a figure that is up by 85 percent since the beginning of the recession.
In April, Feeding America reported that 16 million children, or 21.6 percent, live in food insecure households. The share of all people in the United States who are food insecure has increased from 13.4 percent in 2006 to 21.1 percent in 2013.
In April 2013, the United Nations Children’s Fund released a report showing that the US has the fourth-highest child poverty rate among 29 developed countries. Only Lithuania, Latvia and Romania have higher child poverty rates. The US fell behind even Greece, which has been devastated by years of austerity measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund.
Arabia Saudita, dicembre 2014 - La monarchia saudita utilizza anche una trasmissione di intrattenimento, come il famosissimo Arab Idol, per veicolare la propria visione geopolitica del Medio Oriente. Che è poi la stessa degli Stati Uniti e di Israele (nella foto, il logo di Arab Idol)
Il ruolo proattivo che alcune emittenti satellitari arabe hanno giocato negli avvenimenti che hanno sconvolto i paesi arabi – impropriamente battezzati “primavera” araba – è stato oggetto di molti commenti da parte di numerosi osservatori. E’ oramai diventato di pubblico dominio che canali come la qatariana Al Jazeera o la saudita Al Arabiya sono solo dei potenti strumenti mediatici al servizio di agende politiche fissate dai paesi che le hanno create, finanziate e ideologicamente orientate, e questo ben da prima delle rivolte “primaverili” (1). Come ben riconosce un analista saudita: “Le due emittenti si preoccupano più di veicolare il punto di vista dei loro finanziatori, che di informare in modo professionale e obiettivo” (2). Questo allineamento contrario all’etica giornalistica è stato, non solo flagrante nella “copertura” della primavera araba, ma si è visto anche in altri dossier, come quello del massacro di Gaza (3) o della deposizione di Mohamed Morsi, il presidente egiziano appartenente alla confraternita dei Fratelli Mussulmani (4).
A proposito della Siria, Sultan Al Qassemi afferma che “nel tentativo di appoggiare la causa dei ribelli siriani, questi giganti mediatici hanno violato ogni norma giornalistica, trascurato anche i controlli più rudimentali dei fatti e si sono appoggiati su fonti anonime e video non verificati (…)” (5).
La parzialità politicamente teleguidata di questi media, che pure godevano di una fiducia senza precedenti nel mondo arabo (6), ha distrutto la loro credibilità (7) e provocato il crollo dell’audience dell’emittente qatariana (8).
In realtà, la “primavera” araba e le sue drammatiche conseguenze sono stati solo i rivelatori di agende politiche fissate già al momento in cui questi media erano stati creati.
Al Jazeera e Wadah Khanfar
Al Jazeera è stata fondata nel 1996 dall’emiro del Qatar, sceicco Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, che aveva assunto il potere l’anno prima rovesciando niente meno che suo padre. Dotata di un capitale di 150 milioni di dollari al momento della sua creazione, le spese del gruppo sono state stimate sui 650 milioni di dollari nel 2010 (9).
Al Jazeera ha avuto come direttore, per otto anni (dal 2003 al 2011), il palestinese Wadah Khanfar. E l’incarico affidato a questo direttore generale di tendenze notoriamente islamiste (10) non è passato inosservato. Khanfar è stato collocato, nella classifica Forbes 2009, al 54° posto delle personalità più potenti del mondo e, nel 2011, è stato portato alle stelle dal periodico statunitense Fast Company, che lo ha piazzato tra i primi 100 manager più creativi (11).
Wadah Khanfar, l’ex direttore generale di Al Jazeera
E non è tutto. Solo sette mesi dopo essere stato forzato a dimettersi da Al Jazeera, Khanfar è entrato nell’International Crisis Group (ICG) (12), un think tank statunitense con sede a Washington, cui appartengono molti uomini politici occidentali di primo piano, in particolare statunitensi o provenienti da paesi membri della NATO. Nel 2013 l’ICG ha avuto la disponibilità di un budget superiore ai 18 milioni di dollari, la metà circa dei quali veniva dalle sole sovvenzioni di governi occidentali (13). Wadah Khanfar siede all’ICG in compagnia di George Soros, presidente dell’Open Society Institute (OSI) e di Nahum Barnea, capocronista del giornale israeliano Yedioth Ahronoth (14). Ricordiamo che Soros è un miliardario statunitense, illustre speculatore finanziario, che è stato fortemente implicato, attraverso le sue fondazioni, nelle rivoluzioni colorate e nella formazione degli attivisti arabi che hanno organizzato le famose “primavere” arabe. Tra le personalità statunitensi più influenti del Consiglio di amministrazione dell’ICG, figura il nome di Morton Isaac Abramowitz, ex segretario di Stato aggiunto, con delega alla intelligence e alla ricerca nell’amministrazione Reagan. E’ anche interessante fare cenno del fatto che Abramowitz è stato un membro influente del Consiglio di amministrazione della National Endowment for Democracy (NED) per nove anni. Nel 2007 lo ha insignito della “Democracy Service Medal”, quale riconoscimento del “suo eccezionale contributo all’avanzamento dei diritti dell’uomo e della democrazia nel mondo” (16). E’ necessario ricordare che la NED è la più grande organizzazione statunitense di “esportazione” della democrazia? Anch’essa, come l’OSI, è stata attiva nelle rivoluzioni colorate, nelle “primavere” arabe (17), ma anche nell’Euromaidan (18) e nella recente “rivoluzione degli ombrelli” a Hong Kong (19).
Tra i più importanti consiglieri dell’ICG, si può citare Zbigniew Brzezinski, ex consigliere presidenziale per la sicurezza nazionale degli Stati Uniti, Shimon Peres, ex presidente e primo ministro di Israele, o Shlomo BenAmi, ex ministro degli affari esteri di Israele (20).
Con tutto questo bel mondo, non è difficile capire quali interessi serva questa organizzazione che si dichiara “impegnata a prevenire e risolvere i conflitti sanguinari” (21).
Tutte queste manifestazioni di stima da parte di organizzazioni statunitensi che sembrano circondare Wadah Khanfar hanno forse una spiegazione assai semplice, stando ad alcuni cablo Wikileaks firmati dall’ambasciatore USA in Qatar dell’epoca, Chase Untermeyer. Secondo questi documenti, infatti, Khanfar sarebbe stato in “contatto permanente” con l’US Defense Intelligence Agency (Agenzia statunitense di informazioni e di difesa) e avrebbe provveduto ad addomesticare la copertura di talune notizie a richiesta degli USA (22). Secondo il New York Times, avrebbe anche invitato i responsabili statunitensi a mantenere nascosta la loro collaborazione (23).
Wadah Khanfar è stato sostituito dallo sceicco Ahmed Ben Jassem Al Thani, un membro della famiglia regnante qatariana. Quest’ultimo è stato nominato, nel 2013, ministro dell’economia e del commercio (24).
Al Arabiya, “Voice of America”
Il sunto del cablo Wikileaks 09RIYADH651, redatto nel 2009 dall’ambasciata USA in Arabia Saudita, chiarisce le questioni della proprietà e dell’orientamento ideologico dei media sauditi (25). Vi si può leggere: “Il sistema normativo saudita offre al regime degli Al Saud un mezzo per manipolare la stampa nazionale scritta promuovendo la propria agenda, senza dover ricorrere ad una sorveglianza quotidiana sui giornalisti, e i giornalisti sono liberi di scrivere quel che vogliono, a condizione che non critichino la famiglia reale e non parlino della corruzione del governo. Inoltre la maggior parte dei media in Arabia saudita – scritti o elettronici – sono di proprietà di membri della famiglia reale, e di conseguenza l’autocensura è all’ordine del giorno”.
E Al Arabiya non fa eccezione.
Lanciata nel 2003, in piena guerra d’Iraq, serviva a fare concorrenza e, soprattutto, a contrastare Al Jazeera che, negli anni 1990, non esitava a criticare la famiglia reale saudita (26). E’ stata dotata di un capitale iniziale di 300 milioni di dollari e, secondo qualche esperto, il budget operativo sarebbe di centinaia di milioni di dollari (27).
El Arabyia appartiene in maggioranza al gruppo MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Centre), co-fondato e presieduto da un certo Walid Al Ibrahim.
Walid Al Ibrahim, co-fondatore e DG del gruppo MBC
Walid Al Ibrahim è fratello di Al Jawhara Al Ibrahim, una delle tante mogli, nondimeno favorita, del defunto re Fahd. Al Jawhara aveva lasciato il suo primo marito per unirsi al più alto rappresentante dei Al Saud. Secondo qualche osservatore, è stato proprio grazie a questa unione che la famiglia degli Al Ibrahim è “uscita dall’oscurità”, offrendo ai fratelli di Al Jawhara l’opportunità di diventare influenti businessmen, non senza attirarsi le critiche e i pettegolezzi del cerchio reale (28). Oltre a Al Jawhara, Walid ha altre due sorelle e dieci sorellastre, diverse delle quali hanno sposato degli Al Saud. Le sue due sorelle, Maha e Mohdi, sono rispettivamente sposate al principe Abderrahmane Al Saud (ex viceministro saudita della difesa e dell’aviazione) e Khaled Al Angari (Ministro saudita dell’insegnamento superiore) (29).
Walid è anche lo zio materno del principe Abdul Aziz, l’unico figlio di sua sorella Al Jawahra e il più piccolo (e preferito) del re Fahd (30). Fin da giovane (in una monarchia gerontocratica), Abdul Aziz ha occupato posti importanti nel governo saudita. Dapprima ministro senza portafoglio, è stato poi nominato capo di gabinetto del Consiglio dei Ministri quando aveva solo 27 anni (31). Silurato nell’aprile 2014 (32), il principe vive attualmente come un playboy miliardario, ma è anche un attento uomo d’affari. Per la cronaca, è stata l’autocolonna che lo accompagnava ad essere stata spettacolarmente svaligiata su un’autostrada parigina nell’agosto 2014 (33).
Il principe Abdul Aziz ai funerali del padre, il re Fahd d’Arabia Saudita (2 agosto 2005)
Quando era vivo, re Fahd considerava MBC come il suo progetto personale. D’altronde si dice che all’epoca il re raccontasse che l’acronimo MBC voleva dire “My Broadcasting Company” e che telefonava alla stazione per chiedere la messa in onda di questo o quel programma, secondo il suo umore (34). In effetti, mentre il sostegno finanziario di re Fahd a MBC nei primi anni resterà una questione di pura congettura, era invece di pubblica notorietà l’ampiezza del sostegno logistico reale (35). E adesso è il figlio ad incassarne i dividendi: secondo il cablo Wikileaks 09RIYADH651 già citato, il principe Abdul Aziz incasserebbe “il 50% di tutti i profitti dell’impero MBC”.
Al Arabyia, la trasmissione di notizie del gruppo MBC, è stata diretta dal giornalista saudita Abdul Rahman Al Rached, dal 2004 al 2014. A differenza di Wadah Khanfar, egli è conosciuto per la sua opposizione all’islam politico e ai Fratelli Mussulmani, cosa che gli ha attirato i fulmini degli islamisti e spiega il ruolo giocato da questa emittente in Egitto (36).
Abdul Rahman Al Rached, ex direttore generale di Al Arabiya
Secondo il politologo Mohamed El Oifi, “Al Arabiya è prigioniera dell’immagine di una emittente che ‘riflette il punto di vista statunitense’, addirittura israeliano, tanto coscienziosamente che i suoi detrattori la chiamano Al-lbriya (l’ebraica)” (37).
Abdul Rahman Al Rached è dovuto lui stesso correre ai ripari (senza essere convincente) per smentire queste accuse durante il massacro di Gaza del 2009 (38). A proposito di questa tragedia, l’universitario saudita Mohsen Al Awaji ha dichiarato in un’intervista rilasciata alla stessa emittente che “Al Arabiya (…) ha preso le parti del nemico sionista” e che “alcune emittenti sioniste erano più imparziali di Al Arabiya nel trattare la vicenda di Gaza” (39).
Questa vicinanza tra la linea editoriale di Al Arabiya e gli interessi USA è stata manifesta fin dalla sua creazione. Infatti, nel maggio 2004, il presidente Bush scelse Al Arabiya, e non Al Jazeera, per rilasciare un’intervista sulla vicenda della prigione di Abou Graib. E’ questo che ha fatto dire a qualcuno che Washington aveva chiaro chi stesse dalla sua parte e chi no (40). E a conferma di ciò, Al Arabiya ha anche realizzato, nel febbraio 2009, la prima intervista del presidente Obama ad una televisione araba (41).
Al Arabiya è accusata di predicare la “normalizzazione” con lo Stato ebraico. Hassan Nasrallah, il capo di Hezbollah, “ha pubblicamente denunciato quello che considera come propaganda di Al Arabiya a favore dello Stato di Israele nel mondo arabo” (42).
Il 26 luglio 2014, in piena aggressione israeliana contro Gaza, Al Arabiya ha pubblicato sul suo sito un editoriale del saudita Mohammed Al Sheikh intitolato “La pace con Israele è la soluzione” (43). Questa dichiarazione, che ha suscitato un ampio dibattito, è stata definita dal commentatore israeliano Yaron Friedman come sorprendente. “Perché questo articolo è stato pubblicato in Arabia Saudita e perché adesso?” si è chiesto. “La famiglia del redattore è molto influente in Arabia Saudita e le sue origini risalgono alla famiglia wahhabita fondatrice del regno. I componenti della sia famiglia, che è originaria del deserto del Naid e della captale di Riyadh, comprende eminenti dignitari religiosi, degli imam, dei muftì, e Ministri dell’Educazione e della Giustizia” (44).
Ha concluso la sua analisi affermando: “Oggi l’Arabia Saudita e Israele hanno in comune più interessi che mai, ivi compreso quello di fermare il programma nucleare iraniano, la guerra contro il movimento dei Fratelli Mussulmani e le sue filiali (Hamas), l’appoggio la regime Al Sissi in Egitto, il mantenimento della stabilità nel regno di Giordania, la contrapposizione al regime di Bachar al Assad in Siria e agli Hezbollah in Libano, la guerra contro Al Qaeda e, più precisamente, lo Stato islamico in Iraq e in Siria, e la lista è ancora lunga…”
“L’interesse dell’Arabia saudita sarebbe, molto semplicemente, di porre termine al “piccolo conflitto” tra Israele e i Palestinesi, in modo che Israele possa schierarsi al suo fianco nel “grande conflitto” contro gli Sciiti e la minaccia terrorista sunnita crescente”.
Arab Idol e l’intrattenimento politicizzato
Non vi è dunque alcun dubbio che le due emittenti più famose del mondo arabo abbiano delle linee editoriali che riflettono fedelmente le visioni politiche dei governi dei paesi che le hanno fondate e che le finanziano.
Nel caso della rete MBC, le agende politiche non sono veicolate solo attraverso il canale di notizie Al Arabiya. Una trasmissione di intrattenimento molto apprezzata dal pubblico panarabo come “Arab Idol”, viene anch’essa utilizzata a questi fini. Trasmessa dal canale MBC1, è alla sua terza edizione. Ispirata allo show televisivo inglese “Pop Idol”, lo schema del programma è semplicissimo. Vengono selezionati dei giovani cantanti nel mondo arabo. Ogni settimana essi interpretano, in rappresentanza del loro paese, una canzone. I telespettatori vengono invitati a votare con sms e il (o i) candidato (i) che ha ottenuto meno voti viene eliminato. Per dare un’idea della popolarità della trasmissione, la finale della seconda edizione (2013) di Arab Idol è stata seguita da non meno di 100 milioni di telespettatori (45).
La terza edizione, iniziata a dicembre 2014, ha dimostrato in modo chiaro questa miscela di generi tra l’intrattenimento e la politica.
Prima di tutto, in una delle prime trasmissioni è stata presentata una carta dei paesi arabi di provenienza dei candidati. Il problema è che questa carta menzionava Israele al posto della Palestina, per indicare la provenienza di due candidati di origine palestinese: Manal Mousa e Haitham Khalaily. Dopo il coro generale di proteste sollevato da questo sproposito, il gruppo MCB si è giustificato dicendo che si era trattato di un errore tecnico (46).
Ma la storia non è così semplice, giacché i candidati di origine palestinese sono in effetti Arabi israeliani e, dunque, possessori di un passaporto dello Stato ebraico. D’altronde i media israeliani s’erano divertiti alla grande. Per esempio Haaretz aveva titolato “Il prossimo Arab Idol potrebbe essere israeliano” (47), l’emittente 124News aveva annunciato “Due Israeliani realizzano il sogno ‘Arab Idol’ in Libano” (48), e il Times of Israel dichiarava: “Israeliani cantano ad Arab Idol per la Palestina” (49). La vicenda ha assunto tali proporzioni che il portavoce dell’esercito israeliano in persona, Avichay Adraee, ha formulato i suoi auguri ai due candidati (50).
Avichay Adraee, il portavoce dell’esercito israeliano
Molti internauti e cittadini arabi hanno, ancora una volta, accusato MBC di voler “normalizzare” le relazioni con Israele, e che l’indicazione sulla Cartina di Israele era premeditata, cosa che il gruppo ha negato attraverso il portavoce ufficiale, Mazen Hayek (51).
Un’altra decisione assunta dall’emittente in tema di associazione dei candidati ai loro paesi di origine mostra un chiaro orientamento politico. Uno dei candidati, Ammar Al koufi, è un iracheno di origine curda. Invece di indicare il suo paese ufficiale, vale a dire l’Iraq, è stato invece associato al “Kurdistan iracheno”, come si trattasse di un paese riconosciuto. Sarebbe come se, invece di scrivere “Algeria” per un concorrente algerino, si usasse una denominazione etnico regionale come “Cabila”, o Chaoui” o “Mozabiti”. Ed esempi di tal genere sono numerosi nei paesi arabi.
Questa differenziazione territoriale tra l’Iraq e il Kurdistan iracheno da parte di MBC non è stata certamente fortuita. Essa corrisponde alla dottrina del “Grande Medio Oriente” che propugna il rimodellamento delle frontiere, superando quelle ereditate dagli accordi di Sykes-Picot.
Benché lanciata sotto la guida del presidente G.W.Bush e dei suoi falchi neoconservatori (52), questo progetto si ispira ad un’idea del 1982 di Oded Yinon, un alto funzionario del ministero degli affari esteri israeliano. Il “Piano Yinon”, come viene conosciuto, si proponeva di “smembrare tutti gli stati arabi esistenti e di riorganizzare la regione in piccole entità fragili, più malleabili e incapaci di far fronte agli Israeliani” (53).
A titolo di esempio, questo piano raccomandava la divisione dell’Iraq in tre stati distinti: sunnita, curdo e sciita (54).
Nel 2006, Ralph Peters, luogotenente colonnello dell’esercito USA, pubblicò un articolo sul “Grande Medio Oriente” nel quale propose che le nuove frontiere dei paesi ivi compresi avrebbero dovuto seguire le “affinità etniche” e il “comunitarismo religioso” (55). Su questa base, propose una mappa che presenta molte somiglianze con quella di Yinon (56).
Il Grande Medio Oriente, secondo Ralph Peters
Da parte sua, Jeffrey Goldberg ha proposto nel 2008 un’altra carta di suddivisione del Grande Medio oriente, nella quale prevedeva lo smembramento della Siria e dell’Iraq, ma anche quella del Sudan in due stati, battezzando la nuova entità come “Nuovo Sudan” (57). Ricordiamo che il Sudan del sud si è separato dal Sudan del nord nel 2011, vale a dire tre anni dopo la pubblicazione della cartina di Goldberg.
Suggerita da Robin Wright, la più recente cartina dello smembramento del Grande Medio Oriente è datata settembre 2013 (58). Oltre alla spartizione della Siria e dell’Iraq, vi si propone anche la divisione della Libia in tre entità: la Tripolitania, la Cirenaica e il Fezzan. Questa cartina prevede anche la separazione dello Yemen in due parti (Nord e Sud), situazione esistente prima del 1990, anno della riunificazione del paese.
Il Grande Medio Oriente, secondo Robin Wright
L’Arabia Saudita sarebbe in procinto di promuovere una divisione condivisa con Israele e interpretata dai giovani candidati arabi? Lavorerebbe per lo smembramento dell’Iraq in maggioranza sciita per indebolirlo e, come insinua Yaron Friedman (59), impedire all’asse sciita (Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah, Houtis dello Yemen) di dominare la scena politica del Medio oriente a detrimento dei sunniti?
Così, per quanto i media qatariani e sauditi siano stati capaci di attirare un grandissimo numero di telespettatori arabi grazie alla loro padronanza delle tecniche televisive moderne, essi restano potenti strumenti efficacemente utilizzati sul piano politico dai loro rispettivi paesi. Laddove il loro ruolo parziale e privo di etica professionale è stato evidenziato nella copertura che i loro canali di informazione continua hanno dato della “primavera” araba o della causa palestinese, risulta oggi che il gruppo MBC utilizzi anche le trasmissioni di intrattenimento per veicolare gli obiettivi politici della monarchia saudita.
10. Fred Halliday, « Political Journeys: The Open Democracy Essays », Yale University Press, USA (2012), p. 118,http://books.google.ca/books?id=QjWCHaInTAsC&pg=PA118&lpg=PA118&dq=wadah+khanfar+islamist&source=bl&ots=iRQWu6sF3a&sig=L-yP1dNZtO6DvDwevYAFE-eWZlQ&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=eRSBVMPzDYieyATW8YH4BA&ved=0CFEQ6AEwCzgK#v=onepage&q=wadah%20khanfar%20islamist&f=false
As long as Saudi oil is seen as a valuable resource for US oil corporations, the US will maintain relations with the feudal regime regardless of what that means for the rights of Saudi people, Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, told RT.
RT:Time to time we hear about executions and human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. How do you see the situation the country at the moment?
Sara Flounders: Saudi Arabia from the very beginning has had a very special relationship with the US based on oil, based on huge military support for a completely corrupt feudal regime. The punishment, the absence of any rights for the people go hand and hand. It is not covered here and it should be known because there is one beheading on average every four days in Saudi Arabia, it is so common. Along with other horrendous forms of punishment, of course the beheadings are absolutely outrageous, offensive around the world, [there’s] great outrage when it is carried out by ISIS, but when it’s done in Saudi Arabia it’s not even publicized. And other punishments, to sentence someone to1000 lashes, that is almost a death sentence. It is so horrendously torturous. And these are common punishments in Saudi Arabia.
Saad al-Hariri (R), son of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, with other Saudi royal family members (Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed)
It is important to know that women have absolutely no rights in Saudi Arabia: not to work, not to drive, not to have any funds of their own, not to travel, not to step foot out of the house without the permission and accompaniment of a male family member. The immigrants have no rights whatsoever in Saudi Arabia. Although that’s a third of the population, doing everything from the highest level technical jobs to the lowest level housekeeping, garbage, and so on.
At every level Saudi Arabia is dependent on these foreign work force, and this woman is from Burma, I don’t know her exact circumstances, but certainly as a woman and as a non-Saudi, as an immigrant she would be absent any kind of appeal or rights. And otherwise there are no rights, there is no appeal within Saudi Arabia even for the Saudis. There is a great deal of poverty although there is extreme wealth. There is an enormous amount, the highest in Arab world, of illiteracy in Saudi Arabia and this is what unending US military support has meant to the population of Saudi Arabia.
RT:We know about Saudi’s close ties with the US. Why does the US support such a cruel regime and at the same time in the past influenced overthrows of many other less brutal regimes in the Mideast? Why don’t we hear at least of US disapproval of the executions, etc?
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud (R) listens to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry before a meeting at the Royal Palace in Jeddah (Reuters / Brendan Smialowski / Pool)
SF: The whole regime is a feudal regime. Back to US support, the largest number of people facing execution in the world right is here in the US. The use of lethal injection and electrocution has also been found to be excruciatingly painful. The last couple of lethal injection executions in the US turned out to be completely botched and a great torture, great torment to those facing execution.
So there is no good way to kill people, but the Saudi form because of the outrage that it raised when it was carried out when the US wanted to whip up its right to bomb, strafe, and use cluster bombs, white phosphorus and horrendous forms which are also torturous and deadly against ISIS. Then they made much of the decapitation, the execution of two journalists. They made no mention of how routine this is in Saudi Arabia, where they plan to train what they say are their new forces to be used in Syria. That is very interesting that Saudi Arabia would be heading up a UN sponsored counter terrorism conference, where Saudi Arabia would be chosen for the training of forces to go into Syria. Yet, their own record is the worst in the region.
Members of Magic Movement, a group of young Bangladeshis, stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in front of National Museum in Dhaka (Reuters / Andrew Biraj)
RT:How do you see this recent horrible “blogger” case? What was the US reaction?
SF: First of all, the blogger who was charged, committed no crime, this is a thought crime, a violation of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to put forth ideas. And for that he is facing 1000 lashes, carried out 50 at a time because that is all that a human being could bear and live. So this means this excruciating torture will take place over many, many months again and again. It is absolutely inhuman, a degrading form of punishment and intended to be that.
It is so well and good for US senators to call for the end of flogging, but really they should call for an end to the support of this corrupt Royal family who are named the House of Saud, they have named the very country after themselves, expropriated its entire wealth, is in the hands of this one clan, this one grouping. And the rest of the population has no rights whatsoever.
It is held in place in a straightjacket by US support, financial support, technical support, and every way military support, especially because Saudi Arabian oil is considered an extremely valuable resource and contracts favor US oil corporations. They want to keep that relationship regardless of what that means for human rights, for millions of people in Saudi Arabia.
RT:How should US senators act in your opinion?
SF: I think that the senators…are asking to put a good face on a totally rotten situation. Really they should call for a break and end to all support for this Saudi regime. It will collapse tomorrow; it has existed by totally repressing the entire population and acting as a police force in the whole region. Also constantly arming and fomenting the most reactionary jihadist forces throughout the region.
RT:Is there any chance of changing the situation within Saudi Arabia?
SF: Because the oppression is so harsh, so extreme – immediate execution – …. the very idea of trying to unionize or organize in any way whatsoever is punishable by death. As we can see even writing something in anyway critical of the regime – 1000 lashes is a penalty. In Saudi Arabia, the royal family keeps their position of total power by mass terror, and they have brutally put down in the past any kind and every kind of resistance. This is not in any way a democratic regime and it’s far harsher even than military dictatorships that are known around the world. This is really a form of terror against the whole population.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
“World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970
New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance,” a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.
So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.
The Der Spiegel report does not mention the wider issue of the expanding network of everyday objects and appliances that are connected to the Internet. According to CIA chief David Petraeusthe Internet of Things will have a monumental impact on “clandestine tradecraft.” Richard Adhikariwrites for Tech News World that the Internet of Things is “…ripe for exploitation by the NSA.”
Consumer appliances are now becoming activated and “smart.” RFID chips and wireless Internet connections enable devices like televisions, refrigerators, printers, and computers to communicate with each other and generally make life easier for us. This comes at a price, however. Your privacy is eliminated.
The NSA’s Cyber Weapons program will undoubtedly exploit these devices, which include household appliances, and, frighteningly, medical devices that can be hacked. Pacemakers can be remotely stopped, and insulin pumps can be made to deliver a lethal dose of insulin. With the advent of implantable devices that communicate via Wifi, the potential for manipulation and hacking is growing exponentially.
If the developers of these Internet-connected devices don’t willingly work with the NSA to place back-doors in the technology, the agency is hard at work trying to find and exploit them.
Insurance companies, now following the command-and-control structure of Obamacare, are already anticipating this surveillance infrastructure as a means to monitor individuals’ behavior. Spying on eating habits will be easy with RFID-enabled refrigerators.
More revelations are made every day regarding government surveillance, and the fact that it is unable to stop terror attacks. As time goes on it will be readily apparent to the masses that the monumental surveillance architecture that will catalog and track the population is nothing more than an attempt at full spectrum domination.
Despite the U.S. food supply already being riddled with copious amounts of pesticides, the United States Department of Agriculture continuously approves new pesticides to be used on U.S. crops. The most recent case of approval revolves around the sale and planting of Monsanto’s genetically engineered dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Even more concerning, though, is that the USDA recently claimed that current pesticides levels on food are mostly nothing to worry about, and that we should continue eating food coated with toxic chemicals.
The USDA report states:
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted data from the 2013 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary. The PDP summary confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose a safety concern.
The 2013 PDP Annual Summary shows that over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.23 percent of the samples tested. The PDP pesticide residue results are reported to FDA and EPA through monthly reports. In instances where a PDP finding is extraordinary and may pose a safety risk, FDA and EPA are immediately notified. EPA has determined the extremely low levels of those residues are not a food safety risk, and the presence of such residues does not pose a safety concern.”
This isn’t the most comforting news coming from an agency that is supposed to protect our food supply. Of course, as mentioned, it ins’t so surprising, The agency continuously approves new pesticides and GMO crops that are genetically engineered to withstand copious amounts of the toxic chemicals.
Cancer – The dreaded diagnosis of cancer has been linked in over 260 studies worldwide to agrochemicals. Worse, scientists have linked pesticides with several types of cancers, including that of the breast, prostate, brain, bone, thyroid, colon, liver, lung, and more. Some researchers from USC found that“those who lived within 500 meters of places where methyl bromide, captan and eight other organochlorine pesticides had been applied, they found, were more likely to have developed prostate cancer.”
Obesity and Diabetes – Because pesticides have also been linked to obesity, it’s logical that it would be connected to diabetes, in which obesity often has a role. Some researchers found a higher prevalence of obesity in the participants with high urinary concentrations of a pesticide known as 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP). It is important to note that 2,5-DCP is one of the most widely used pesticides on the globe.
Infertility, Birth Defects, Reproductive Problems – One study states, “Exposure of men or women to certain pesticides at sufficient doses may increase the risk for sperm abnormalities, decreased fertility, a deficit of male children, spontaneous abortion, birth defects or fetal growth retardation.”
Deterioration in the Ecosystem and Environment – Pesticides can travel distances through the environment. When sprayed on crops or in gardens, pesticides can be blown by the wind to other areas. They can also flow with rain water into nearby streams or can seep through the soil into ground water. Some pesticides can remain in the environment for many years and pass from one organism to another.
And all of these exposures have a cumulative effect, according to independent scientist Anthony Samsel and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientist Stephanie Seneff:
“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
“Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”
What/s even more concerning is that the USDA didn’t test for glyphosate – the most widely used pesticide-chemical in the world. This is also the chemical found in Monsanto’s best-selling RoundUp herbicide. Why, you may ask, is this widely used chemical not tested for? Because it is ‘too expensive.’
A USDA spokesperson said it did not test this past year for residues of glyphosate because the test measures required for glyphosate are “extremely expensive… to do on an regular basis”.
It is obvious that the USDA is simply succumbing to corporate lobbying and isn’t terribly interested in protecting the public from toxic chemicals.
Mike Barrett is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural Society. Studying the work of top natural health activists, and writing special reports for top 10 alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness through natural health.
There is bi-partisan opposition in Congress to Fast Track and a large movement of movements mobilized to stop it.
The corporate media is reporting that since the Republican leadership and President Obama support Fast Track trade authority, it is a done deal. And that message, also heard by countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is driving the race to finalize that agreement.
The truth is: Fast Track is not a done deal. There is bi-partisan opposition in Congress and a large movement of movements organized to stop it.
Across the political spectrum there is mass opposition to fast tracking the secretly negotiated TPP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, aka TAFTA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). People remember the impact of NAFTA on job loss, destruction of Mexican agriculture, expansion of inequality, environmental degradation and increased immigration. The most recent South Korean trade pact, which Obama touts as a success, is leading to similar results of lost jobs and an expanding US trade deficits.
Members of both parties know that Obama will be out of office when the negative impacts of these trade agreements are felt. Congress will be alone facing an angry electorate while Obama is raising money for his post-presidential career from the transnational corporations who get rich off these agreements at the expense of everyone else.
Conservative Opposition Grows In All Segments of Republican Party
On the conservative side of the political spectrum there is more organizing than ever. Breitbart reports a Fast Track bill faces conservative headwinds. The opposition as a “broad spectrum of the Republican Party” and represents “all three legs of the traditional Republican Party stool– national security, economics and faith-based.”
Breitbart quotes Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government expressing concern about the secrecy surrounding the trade agreements, a concern shared by colleagues across the spectrum, “we don’t know what’s in it. We do know that this is a huge grant of authority to President Obama.”
Dana Milbank writing for the Washington Post (a very pro-free trade publication) notes how for six years Republicans have railed about President Obama usurping power, and the irony of its leadership now wanting to give Obama massively expanded power through fast track. He highlights the Tea Party opposition to fast track and notes “roughly 30 House Republicans are already on record opposing the trade legislation.” The conservative activist base predicts that number is growing.
Conservatives have taken to calling the trade deals ObamaTrade and do not want to see the Congress give away its authority under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” Manning describes Fast Track as Congress “effectively tying its own hands.”
In a press statement quoting multiple conservative leaders, TheTeaParty.net leader Niger Innis builds on Manning’s point, describing Fast Track as ceding additional legislative powers to Obama that would be “a monumental failure of Congressional Republicans.”
These conservatives highlight Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitting Fast Track is “an enormous grant of power, obviously, from a Republican Congress to a Democratic president.” Manning described McConnell’s path as the opposite of what Congress should be doing, saying the legislation is “an ill-founded grant of trust to a President who has repeatedly shown that he has outright disdain for the legislative branch, rather than providing a speedy up or down vote, the Senate should examine every aspect of any treaty that is presented to ensure that American interests are advanced.”
Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, told WND (World News Daily) that “We know the people bringing us this deal have a record of serial malfeasance with respect to negotiations. It would not only be the height of irresponsibility to essentially give the president a blank check, it would be something that makes the Congress complicit in the next bad deal if they give the president fast track authority.”
WND reported that at an event on Capitol Hill, Glyn Wright, executive director of the Eagle Forum, presented remarks from conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly. She blasted the Congressional move toward Fast Track as sending the wrong message saying “Fast track just legitimizes what the president has already done once again behind Congress’ back.”
Religious conservative, Sandy Rios, the director of government affairs for the American Family Association, emphasized opposition to the trade agreements because they undermine the traditional role of the United States in using its economic might to expand freedom around the world saying, “Wisdom dictates that America must use all means at its disposal to resist religious persecution anywhere it is found through the power of our God-given treasure and resources. It is for this reason that American Family Association opposes passage of fast track legislation that negates their ability to change the Trans-Pacific Partnership to end religious oppression in Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.”
WND reports that the coalition delivered a letter to Congress urging opposition to Fast Track. Further, the coalition promised “a robust effort to educate members of Congress and their constituents about the dangers of giving Obama yet more power.” In addition to those at the press conference, they report that others signing the group letter were Jenny Beth Martin, founder of Tea Party Patriots and Judson Philips of Tea Party Nation.
Conservatives, like progressives, want the trade agreements to be considered under regular order, which would allow for unlimited debate and amendments.
Largest Progressive Coalition Ever On Global Trade Opposes Fast Track
On January 8, a large coalition of progressive and liberal organizations joined with more than a dozen members of Congress to express opposition to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, described the coalition as “the largest coalition to ever oppose global trade agreements, representing tens of millions of Americans.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who is leading the opposition on the Democratic side in Congress, echoed Cohen’s view saying “This is one of the broadest advocacy coalitions that we’ve had. There is no reason why we should exacerbate the loss of jobs or lower wages in the United States.”
Opponents on the left argue “the president is asking for carte blanche to hammer out trade deals that would cost American jobs, weaken food safety and financial regulations, and undermine environmental and labor standards.”
When President Obama toured the country to discuss the economy he avoided mention of the trade agreements as he knows the Democratic base opposes them. But, even without mentioning them, people in Detroit took the opportunity of a presidential visit to express their anger.
Politico reports that even before he landed, Obama was being attacked by labor, Hill Democrats and others in his base for his call for new trade deals. Reuters reports that local officials say “the Korean free trade agreement has helped that country’s auto industry significantly more than the U.S. sector.” They told the president that “trade agreements would hurt manufacturing jobs like those in the resurgent auto industry.”
The White House has touted the South Korean trade pact as the type of agreement Obama wants to see. The facts: in its first two years, the pact resulted in $7.6 billion increase in the trade deficit with South Korea and the loss of 50,000 jobs. Perhaps the president is making the mistake of believing the false and misleading statements of the US Trade Representative. Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said “The fact that the Korea deal has resulted in a worse trade deficit and more lost jobs has had a very chilling effect on public and congressional support for the TPP and Fast Track….”
The AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka said unions oppose the trade deals and will put resources into a campaign to stop Fast Track. Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO’s policy specialist for trade and international economics, told Politico there’s no way to make an argument both for a major international trade deal and for American workers, as Obama is attempting to do, adding:
“If you’re serious about reviving U.S. manufacturing and raising wages for America’s workers, the last thing you want is yet another race-to-the-bottom trade agreement that doesn’t empower workers, it empowers companies to offshore jobs. And you fight fast track — the process that guarantees that bad trade deals become law — tooth and nail.”
When trade negotiators gathered in Washington, DC in early December they were protested by a broad coalition of groups. The day of protests began with a Popular Resistance blockade of the US Trade Reps building calling for release of the text and opposing Fast Track. Eyes on Trade reports: “hundreds of activists from labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, public health, Internet freedom, faith and family farm activists joined concerned citizens to loudly make their voices heard outside of the secretive negotiations.” The cry heard from the protest was “No Fast Track now, No Fast Track ever! The TPP is a lost endeavor!”
Indeed, a year ago when the Congress considered Fast Track there was a massive outpouring of opposition. Congress received more than 40,000 phone calls and 600,000 emails opposing Fast Track in ten days. More than 100 organizations joined the Stop Fast Track coalition, 5.4 million users were reached in a social media “Thunderclap” and 50 rallies and protests were held in the US, Canada and Mexico.
In November 2014, the opposition to TPP grew significantly when the world’s largest trade union, the International Trade Union Confederation representing 176 million workers added their voice to the growing list of organizations and individuals speaking out against the trade pact. They urged that the negotiations be stopped and a transparent process be developed before they begin again.
In November, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit there were protests held around the world against TPP. In the United States, a broad coalition of labor unions, environmental, consumer, faith, online, and other groups assembled on Capitol Hill to deliver 713,674 petition signatures opposing Fast Track. Eyes on Trade reporting on these worldwide protests says “The message of citizens across the globe is clear: we are not willing to accept a ‘trade’ deal negotiated in secret in the interest of corporations and at the expense of our rights to safety, democracy, and health.”
Opposition Will Grow, Fast Track Will Be Defeated
President Obama will be urging action on Fast Track in his upcoming State of the Union address, bringing national attention to trade agreements shrouded in secrecy. As more people learn about these agreements opposition will grow across the political spectrum. There will be an immediate reaction of tens of thousands contacting Congress to oppose Fast Track and secretive trade deals.
Dave Johnson has a preview of the State of the Union and a response to what Obama is expected to say. He notes that Obama plans to have an owner of a small business that has increased exports to South Korea. This will be a false story as the opposite is more common. On the specific point of small business, Johnson writes:
“The KORUS FTA has hit American small businesses harder than large ones. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, small firms with fewer than 100 employees saw exports to Korea drop 14 percent while firms with more than 500 employees saw exports decline by 3 percent.”
The State of the Union will be followed by Congress holding hearings on Fast Track at the end of January. Congress is likely to introduce legislation on Fast Track shortly after that. This will galvanize opposition and members of Congress will realize they are risking their careers if they support giving this authority to President Obama. They will understand that these ‘NAFTA on steroid’ agreements risk their political futures.
- Trade deficits have exploded, growing more than 440 percent with countries with Fast Tracked trade pacts. Since Fast Track was used for NAFTA and the WTO, the U.S. goods trade deficit has more than quadrupled, from $216 billion to $870 billion.
- Good American jobs were destroyed; nearly 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs – one in four – were lost since the Fast Tracking NAFTA.
- U.S. wages have stagnated and inequality has soared with three of every five manufacturing workers who lost a job finding reemployment with pay cuts, one in three losing greater than 20 percent, according to the Labor Department. U.S. wages have barely increased in real terms since 1974 – the year that Fast Track was first enacted – despite American worker productivity doubling.
- U.S. food exports have stagnated while food imports have doubled under NAFTA and the WTO. The average annual U.S. agricultural deficit with Canada and Mexico under NAFTA’s first two decades reached $975 million, almost three times the pre-NAFTA level. Approximately 170,000 small U.S. family farms have gone under since NAFTA and WTO took effect.
This is a hard record to defend. Congress will be made aware of the failure of corporate trade agreements and warned that they will be the ones paying the political price. Congress needs to live up to its constitutional duty and oppose Fast Track and examine these agreements closely.
On issue after issue, if we fail to stop these trade agreements, it will be a major setback. The only way these agreements can become law is through secret negotiations in league with transnational corporations followed by Congress giving up its constitutional responsibility and not having a democratic and transparent review process. Stopping Fast Track is the essential task ahead.
A major opportunity to show our opposition to Fast Track and stop these trade agreements will be in New York City. A meeting of trade negotiators for the TPP has been scheduled for Jan. 26-Feb. 1. It will take place at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel in midtown Manhattan. They are pushing hard to complete the negotiations and a protest at this event will let trade negotiators know that the people say “No Fast Track, no way, not ever, not today.”
The Western democracies have a real problem with the concept of “freedom of speech”. Their hypocrisy and double standards know no borders. The inflicted state terrorism of the West against Muslims in the Middle East or non-white peoples in Africa or elsewhere is boundless. But when these downtrodden victims of Western genocidal attacks fight back, they are called “terrorists”. Insults and incitement against Muslims and their prophet Mohammad falls allegedly under the concept of freedom of speech, which is assumed unlimited, however, when this noble concept is used against the atrocities committed by the Zionist occupying regime in Palestine or its US master, it’s considered a “crime” by the French judiciary.
Maurice Sinet, who worked as a political cartoonist for “Charlie Hebdo” for 20 years, was fired in 2009 for his “anti-Semitic” cartoon mocking the relationship of Nicolas Sarkozy’s son, Jean, with a wealthy Jewish woman. Commenting on rumors that Jean considered to convert to Judaism out of carrier reasons, Maurice Sinet quipped: ““He’ll go a long way in life, that little lad.” He was charged of “inciting racial hatred”. After the journalist Claude Askolovitch thought, Sinet’s article was anti-Semitic, then editor in chief, Philippe Val, demanded an apology from Sinet. He refused saying: “I’d rather cut my balls off.” He lost his job. One of the many Zionist front Organizations took him to court, and Sinet won a 40, 000 Euro court judgment against his former publisher.
I’m Maurice Sinet – “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”
The controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala posted on facebook “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”. An investigation by the Paris prosecutor’s office followed immediately, and two days later, Wednesday 14 January, he was arrested for exercising his right of freedom of speech. His shows are banned because of being “anti-Semitic”. With the approval of the French government freedom of expression can be utilized, but if it doesn’t fit into the prevailing political concept of the ruling political and media class, one has a problem.
The “protest march of millions” in Paris, “led” by 40 big shots, was a fake. The heads of states did not lead the march, instead they flew in for a photo op on a hermetically sealed street. No wonder that US President Obama did not want to waste his time for such a gimmick. Many of these heads of states fight against freedom of speech in their own countries. Was this the only manipulation by the corporate media?
The circumstances of the terror attack at “Charlie Hebdo” raises more questions that it has answered so far. The cold-blooded assassination of police officer Ahmed Merabet at point-blank range did not cause a single blood splatter on the sidewalk. In the assassination of John F. Kennedy, however, there was blood and brain all over the car. How come that the attack by the Kouachi brothers and their getaway were filmed from roof tops? Who were these people and who stationed them there? Do people take their IDs with them, when going on a deadly rampage? But the world knows already that it’s possible to find a brand-new passport besides the pulverized twin towers in New York City. Like the 9/11 hijackers, the perpetrators of the Paris atrocities were known within minutes.
Also the anti-terror raids in Belgium produced explosions and a burning apartment but no perpetrators. In Germany, suspects were arrested in camera. The Paris terror attakcs will be used by the local governments to crack down on civil liberties and bring the European governments in line with Washington’s expansionist and deadly policy in the Middle East, against Russia and Africa.
By the way, did the Kouachi brothers know, when they committed themselves to “Al-Qaeda”, that the CIA invented the term in order to subsume all the “mujahedeen freedom fighters” against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? Didn’t US President Carter’s security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski not only meet with Osama bin Laden but also posed with a Kalashnikov with these so-called freedom fighters for a photo op and told them the following:
“We know of their deep belief in God, and we are confident their struggle will succeed. That land over there is yours, you’ll go back to it one day because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes and your mosques back again. Because your cause is right and God is on your side.” How come that within few years these religious people turned into terrorist?
The US and other Western so-called “Friends of Syria” have created, in cooperation with the Gulf dictatorships, Islamist gangs of mercenaries who lead the imperialist war by proxy. Nobody knows who hires these jihadist fighters. Are they following NATO or Salafist propaganda? Although these mercenaries still risk their lives in the struggle of the West against the Assad regime, they are misused by Western propaganda in order to present them to the domestic audience as an “Islamic threat”.
After the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, the “Islamic threat” as a permanent tool of war propaganda that has been implanted into the consciousness of the peoples of the West. If the West does not turn away from this wrong track, he will continue to expose its populations to “Islamist threats”. Western policies and media reporting over parts of the Muslim world are totally irresponsible and should be corrected.
Initiated post-Paris killings. On the pretext of fighting nonexistent homegrown terrorism. At the same time, MSM ignore Kiev’s ceasefire hoax.
Ongoing dirty war rages in Europe’s heartland. Donbas residents attacked. Civilian neighborhoods shelled. Killing defenseless men, women and children in cold blood.
Kiev continues mobilizing for escalated conflict. On January 16, Itar Tass headlined “New spate of drafting to Ukrainian Armed Forces (for) full-scale war in Europe.”
Saying increased mobilization “testifies to Kiev’s plans to suppress resistance in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics by force.”
According to Academy of Geopolitical Problems president Konstantin Sivkov:
“Yet another drafting to the Armed Forces declared in Ukraine now proves that all the talking about willingness for peace in the southeast of the country on the part of president Petro Poroshenko is little more than a cover-up aimed at getting a pause prior to a major offensive on the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”
“At present, the Ukrainian Army doesn’t have enough manpower or resources to guarantee victory over the self-defense forces but Poroshenko obviously hopes to accumulate enough strength and to destroy the rebellious republics by spring.”
Unanimously passed US Ukraine Freedom Support Act (UFSA) of 2014 authorizes lethal and non-lethal aid.
Besides what Washington already supplies. Covertly since conflict began. Including stingers, anti-tank missiles, anti-armor weapons and other heavy weapons.
Britain supplies weapons and munitions. So do other NATO countries. According to Sivkov:
“There’s hardly any doubt as regards Kiev’s craving to regain control over Donbas through the use of arms, since the region concentrates the biggest manufacturing potential and natural resources – mostly coal – found in Ukraine.”
“…Donbas and Novorossia…make up a buffer zone between Russia and Ukraine, while the American masters of the incumbent Kiev rulers need to eliminate that buffer zone by fair means and foul and to turn it into a springboard for destabilizing Russia.”
“These plans of the Kiev government, which is drawing on Washington’s support, (involve) full-scale war in the center of Europe.”
Russian lower house State Duma Education Committee chairman Vyacheslav Nikonov said Ukraine’s “new spate of drafting (into its) army (isn’t) conventional…”
Its “mobilization means preparations for war.” Poroshenko is “playing out the scenario of a future war in this manner.”
He’s complicit with “US plans to fan tensions in the region as a method of struggle with Russia.”
“Russia won’t be able to watch the plight of citizens of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics placidly because the Russians never let their relatives or friends down.”
“Once in the past, the US lost the Vietnam war because Russia – then the Soviet Union – gave aid to the brotherly Vietnamese people and that’s a lesson not to be forgotten.”
Ruthless fascists run Ukraine. Waging war on freedom. Threatening Europe’s heartland.
Potentially destabilizing the entire continent. Waging dirty war.
Committing horrendous crimes of war and against humanity.
Spokesperson Lily Rodionov for the Committee for Refugees reported rebel and noncombatant Donbas prisoners held by Ukraine were brutally treated.
Saying “(a)lmost all the people come back with broken ribs, arms, legs, torn teeth…One man received eight bullet wounds. He was even in the hospital beaten, shoved his fingers into the wound.”
“Teeth pulled out with pliers. Bute in wound sites. Many people with a fractured skull…(E)lectroshock” used. “Someone thrown into a pit with corpses, crushed excavator bucket, soldering iron thrust into his mouth.”
“People were kept in iron containers without air. Sophisticated torture, scary – people maimed.”
They don’t “have medical care, even diabetics. Our prisoners can be distinguished by the color of the skin. (G)rayish.” One Committee member said:
“I know of cases where people sprinkled powder on the genitals, branded with hot iron, shot in front of the other, were sent to the minefield was loaded tractor bucket to the ground, left to spend the night in the pits with corpses. Fed them mostly just water and bread.”
Obama’s new friends are ruthless criminals. Cold-blooded killers. Washington funds them. Provides political support. Wants dirty war on Donbas continued.
Encourages it. On January 15, Donetsk Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko reported finding caches of “American-produced weaponry” at Donetsk’s airport. Discovered after Ukrainian forces pulled out.
Illegitimate Ukrainian oligarch president Petro Poroshenk’s so-called “silence regime” is one of his many Big Lies.
Fighting never stopped. Kiev bears full responsibility. Supported and encouraged by Washington.
Russia calls Ukrainian ruling authorities a “party of war.” Peace is pure fantasy. Talks to end conflict more ruse than real.
On January 16, Fort Russ reported Ukrainian forces sustaining “stunning” losses. Lugansk People’s Republic commander of an LPR unit explained ongoing operations.
Saying “(e)verything’s going well…Ukrainian forces are taking stunning losses both in manpower and material.”
Itar Tass said “(a)ll Ukrainian troops…withdr(ew) from the territory of the Donetsk international airport.” Citing the Donetsk News Agency.
According to DPR’s defense ministry, “no Ukrainian servicemen (remain) at the new terminal of the airport.”
“They have abandoned their positions and have withdrawn seeing no point in further resistance.”
On Friday, DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko promised to send the Ukrainian flag left behind to Poroshenko.
Saying “(t)hose people who have been killed at the airport because of you have the right to take in the flag and remember that it was you who had send them there to die.”
“Let this flag be passed over to the mothers whose sons were killed at the airport” in vain.
Obama bears full responsibility. Arming, funding and conspiring with Kiev fascists’ dirty on on their own people.
Targeting democracy. Wanting it crushed. Wanting hardline rule replacing it.
Washington’s dirty hands manipulating what’s ongoing. Using Ukraine as a pretext. Russia the real target. Regime change the objective.
Dirty war without mercy continues. Fort Russ reported “Ukrainian volunteers” saying they’re used as “cannon fodder…”
OUN Battalion’s Vladislav Goranin was quoted saying Kiev officials “do not understand the seriousness of what’s happening.”
“We are cannon fodder, tinned meat.” Another volunteer group called Lemko said Ukrainian artillery fired in an unknown direction.
“(A)mmunition supply situation is very poor. It is almost entirely exhausted.”
These and similar comments reflect morale among Ukrainian forces perhaps near a breaking point.
At the same time, increased mobilization suggests escalated conflict coming. New “cannon fodder” used to wage it.
Using mostly conscripted forces. Ordinary Ukrainians want no part of war. Especially against their own people.
Forced into combat against their will. Threatened with reprisals for refusing.
On January 16, Fort Russ said “(i)n five days (of fighting), the Ukrainian army lost 25% of its first-line equipment, up to 2,000 wounded.”
“Reinforcements are moving up. The fight for Novotoshkovka is continuing. The militia at the 31st checkpoint is taking significant losses.”
One LPR freedom fighter described things as follows:
“I’m at the 31st checkpoint. I feel sadness. Overnight there was a pitched battle, we lost many of our brothers.”
“But they did not push us out of the checkpoint. The Ukrainian army threw their last reserves but had to withdraw. We have about 15 killed and 50 wounded.”
Fort Russ cited intelligence reports indicating Ukraine’s front line was reinforced. New equipment arrived.
Kiev forces failed to penetrate an area near Debaltsevo. Heavy fire was reported.
Artillery inflicted most casualties. Freedom fighters continue attacking “the entire Ukrainian front line” in self-defense.
“Ukrainians are sitting in shelters for the second day. Their army tried to take Novotoshkovka, but we held out and are fighting near the village.”
“The Ukrainian army is too weak to attack, so they are trying to reach a settlement, but after an almost whole year of war we know they can’t be believed. We fire without respite!”
On January 15, DPR parliament speaker Denis Pushilin called ongoing conditions “acute.”
Kiev forces “are carrying out provocations…” Donetsk was bombarded.
“We want to end it at the negotiating table even if it means doing things which are unpopular with the population, namely negotiating,” said Pushilin.
“We know the cost of human life. We know what one day of war can do, how much damage it causes, and the irreversible consequences, in terms of loss of life and health, so it is very important to us that we find compromises.”
At the same time, he stressed no abandonment of Novorossia’s freedom struggle. No surrender to Kiev fascist rule. “(S)imply impossible,” he said.
“(W) are not fighting against Ukrainians…(O)nly against the government which came to power as a result of an armed coup and which is now committing violations.”
“(W)e are not aggressors, occupiers. We’re not about to force anyone to become part of us, support us.”
“We don’t think it’s proper to force any group…to join us because then we’d become just like” Kiev fascists.
Kiev launched aggression continues. Escalated conflict looms. Expect lots more death and destruction.
Fascist regimes operate this way. Civilians always suffer most.
MSM scoundrels ignore their suffering. Supporting Kiev’s dirty war. Naked aggression. Instead of denouncing it forthrightly.
On January 15, Itar Tass reported DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko saying Kiev forces used chemical weapons in attacking Donetsk’s airport.
After shells burst, “a pungent cloud of gas spread across the old terminal,” he said.
“They are firing banned munitions in breach of the Geneva Convention. (It’s) impossible to breath” in the line of fire.
Try finding a single MSM report discussing this. Similar earlier incidents.
Kiev’s systematic use of banned weapons. Atrocities committed. Prisoners tortured. Most held are noncombatant civilians.
State terror against millions of Donbas residents. Mobilization for escalated conflict.
Hardline rule affecting all Ukrainians. Fascist governance harming everyone.
Destabilizing an entire region. Confronting Russia irresponsibly. Risking the unthinkable.
Possible East/West nuclear war. Vital to prevent at all costs. Otherwise all bets are off.
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.
Israel has been having its own internal debate about the significance of the Paris killings this month, with concerns quite separate from those being expressed in Europe.
While Europeans are mired in debates about free speech and the role of Islam in secular societies, Israelis generally – and their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular – view the attacks as confirming Israel’s place as the only safe haven for Jews around the world.
The 17 deaths in Paris have reinforced Israeli suspicions that Europe, with its rapidly growing Muslim population, is being dragged into a clash of civilisations that it is ill-equipped to combat. More specifically, the targeting of a kosher supermarket that killed four Jews has heightened a belief that Jews outside Israel are in mortal danger.
If surveys are to be believed, such anxieties are shared in Europe’s Jewish communities. One published last week found that 56 per cent of British Jews think anti-semitism in Britain now is comparable to the 1930s.
As one calmer Israeli analyst pointed out, the findings suggested “a disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria”.
Such fears have been stoked by images like the one posted on Facebook last week by the Israeli embassy in Dublin, showing the Mona Lisa wearing a hijab and carrying a large rocket. The line underneath read: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world.”
In similar vein, the Arab affairs correspondent on Israel’s Channel 10 broadcast a fear-mongering “investigation” from London supposedly proving that the city was overrun with jihadis.
The hysteria is echoed by Israeli politicians, not least Mr Netanyahu. Since the Paris attacks, he has repeated warnings of a “poisonous” Islam conquering the West – ignoring the reality that Europe, including France, is far safer for Jews than Israel has proved.
Politicians on both the left and right have parroted his message that European Jews know “in their hearts that they have only one country”. Israel apparently persuaded the families of the four Jewish victims of that: they were flown to Israel to be buried in Jerusalem.
In contrast, the burial in Paris of Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim policeman also killed by the gunmen, sent a message of French unity, noted a French Jewish leader. This was the moment, he added, for his community to say: “We will be buried here, just like everyone else. We are French and we have not given up.”
Mr Netanyahu has other ideas. At a time when the number of Jewish migrants from France is already rocketing, he has established a ministerial committee to find ways to induce yet more to come to Israel.
It was widely reported in Israel that the French president, Francois Hollande, had appealed to Mr Netanyahu not to participate in the solidarity rally in Paris a week ago, fearful that he would use the occasion to exacerbate tensions in France. Mr Netanyahu ignored the request.
He had good reason to want to be there, not least to grandstand with world leaders during Israel’s election campaign. In addition, proselytising for his claim that the so-called Judeo-Christian West is on a collision course with Islam usefully places him on the side of the angels as he tries to build a Greater Israel, crushing Palestinian ambitions for statehood.
But it would be wrong to view Mr Netanyahu’s argument as solely opportunistic. It is underpinned by an authentic worldview, even if one with paradoxical antecedents.
His approach is embodied in recent efforts – delayed because of the election – to pass a basic law defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. That would crown Mr Netanyahu leader of Jews worldwide rather than of Israeli citizens, a fifth of whom are Palestinian.
Such a conception of citizenship and nationhood is based on ethnicity, not territory. It opposes multiculturalism, believing instead that loyalty to the state derives from a tribal attachment rather than a civic one. It stands in stark opposition to most European countries’ notions of citizenship.
As a result, the Israeli leadership assumes that all Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, cannot be trusted and that there can never be real peace in the region. That is why Israel has been building iron walls everywhere to create a fortress Jewish state.
But the logical corollary is that Jews too cannot be loyal to the other states they live in, such as France. In Mr conception, a Jew’s primary bond should be to their “true home”: the Jewish state of Israel.
Paradoxically, that view is shared by Europe’s far-right, including groups like France’s National Front, whose popularity has been growing on the back of attacks like the one in Paris. They argue that minorities are inherently suspect and that Europe is better off without them.
In this regard, Mr Netanyahu and the far-right share much common ground. He wants a Europe free of Jews – as well as Muslims who undermine Europe’s support for Israel – because he thinks that is in Jewish interests. The far-right wants the same because it believes it will be in the interests of a supposed “native” white majority.
One Israeli commentator noted pointedly that Israeli politicians like Mr Netanyahu were helping to “finish the job started by the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators: making France Judenrein”.
In calling for Jews to flee after the Paris attacks, Mr Netanyahu is bolstering the dangerous arguments of Europe’s far-right.
Terror raids have been mounted in Belgium, France and Germany in the aftermath of the January 7 assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
In Belgium, two suspects were shot dead by police and another seriously wounded in the town of Verviers, near the border with Germany. Thirteen arrests were made, with nine suspects held in raids in Molembeek, two in Brussels, one in Berchem, one in Verviers, and two in France. All three Verviers gunmen were Belgian nationals recently returned from Syria.
The centre of Verviers and its train station were sealed off Thursday by heavily armed police, who tried to enter a flat above a bakery. Witnesses said they heard a series of explosions at 5:45pm and sustained gunfire.
Special police units carried out at least a dozen raids elsewhere in four districts with predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods. A total of 10 search warrants were issued. Police reported that two more suspects had been arrested after a car chase and gunfight in the city of Liege.
Authorities claim they had moved to dismantle an active terror cell spanning Belgium and France that was planning an “imminent” attack targeting police officers and various buildings in Belgium. Eric van der Sijpt, a federal magistrate, said, “The suspects immediately and for several minutes opened fire with military weaponry and handguns on the special units of the federal police before they were neutralised.”
Police sources said earlier that they had resolved to launch the pre-emptive operation a fortnight ago, i.e., before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, after bugging the homes and cars of the men recently returned from fighting in Syria. “I can confirm that we started this investigation before the attacks in Paris,” Van Der Sypt said. No link had been established with the Paris attack, he insisted.
The authorities and the media are deliberately downplaying or concealing the wealth of information on the perpetrators, including the gunmen who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack, known by European and US intelligence and police officials in advance of the attacks and alleged plots.
Belgian police this week acknowledged that Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher used in the Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket attacks, as well as the Tokarev handgun used by Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman in the Kosher market attack, had been purchased from Belgian criminal gangs. The information is highly specific. Coulibaly is said to have bought the weapons near the Gare du Midi in Brussels.
Neetin Farasula, from Charleroi, is in detention after he handed himself over to police Tuesday. He admits being in contact with Coulibaly.
In another example of cross-border operations, French national Mehdi Nemmouche last May killed four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels after having fought in Syria the previous year. He was caught by French police in Marseille.
A court case is underway in Antwerp involving 43 men and three women alleged to be members of Sharia4Belgium, which is linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
This week, Europol Director Rob Wainwright told British MPs that the names of 2,500 Islamist suspects had been collected from agencies across European Union member states.
In France, 12 people were arrested in anti-terrorism raids targeting people linked to Coulibaly. A spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, said the arrests began overnight Thursday and continued in three towns Friday morning. Those arrested included the man who supplied a car to Coulibaly, identified based on DNA found in the car.
The Gare de l’Est train station in Paris was evacuated for an hour Friday morning after an alleged bomb threat. This occurred on the day US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris, mending fences with President François Hollande after President Barack Obama’s failure to attend the memorial rally for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Another incident Friday afternoon involved a gunman who took two people hostage in a post office in Colombes, a suburb of Paris. The man was arrested after giving himself up to police and releasing the hostages unharmed. He was reportedly carrying a military weapon that he told police was a Kalashnikov.
Friday saw prominent media reports that several French national media web sites, including L’Express, Le Parisien and France Inter, experienced technical problems traced to a common service provider, Oxalide. About 19,000 French web sites have been hit by cyberattacks in the wake of the Paris shootings, according to Arnaud Coustilliere, head of cyber-defence for the French military. Military authorities have reportedly launched round-the-clock surveillance to protect government sites.
On Friday morning, in Berlin, 250 police were involved in dawn raids on 11 premises, leading to the arrest of two men suspected of helping to recruit for the Islamic State in Syria. One, Ismet D, a 41-year-old man, was suspected of “leading an Islamist extremist group made up of Turkish and Russian nationals from Chechnya and Dagestan,” the police said.
On Thursday, police in Wolfsburg, about 200 kilometres west of Berlin, took a 26-year-old German-Tunisian dual national, Ayub B, into custody on suspicion he had fought in Syria for the Islamic State in 2014.
The ruling elite have lost no time in using the raids to whip up a climate of fear and justify demands for further repressive powers for the state.
Jewish schools in Brussels and Antwerp were closed and classes cancelled after officials said they were a “potential target” for attack. The Cheider school, the only Orthodox Jewish school in the Netherlands, was also closed.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel announced new legislation making traveling abroad for terrorist activists punishable by law, expanding the reasons for Belgian citizenship to be revoked for dual nationals deemed to be a terror risk, freezing assets of those suspected of aiding terror and, most importantly, authorizing the calling in of the army domestically.
In France, up to 100 people are now under investigation for making or posting comments supporting or justifying terrorism—with some sentences of years in prison already summarily handed out.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a draft bill Wednesday to allow the authorities to withdraw the national identity cards of suspected extremists to prevent them from traveling abroad.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is in the United States seeking the support of President Obama for his own raft of repressive measures. His visit was preceded by former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking at a private strategy session of Republican senators. Introduced by Senator John McCain, he stressed that, “a substantial and not a fringe minority” of Muslims supported fundamentalism, which must be opposed by “force.”
Wednesday saw the public release of a report produced by the CIA “accountability board” appointed by CIA Director John Brennan to review the agency’s spying on the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) as it prepared its report on the CIA torture program.
The board, headed by former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh and including a top Obama White House aide as well as three CIA agents hand-picked by Brennan, was established to investigate the spying operation. The board completed the report in December, but the document was not released until this week.
The “independent” board exonerated five CIA agents who spied on Senate staffers of any wrongdoing, and held that the agents were acting in “good faith” to defend national security. These conclusions contradicted the views of members of the Senate’s investigative team, who said during interviews with the board that they believed the CIA violated US law as well as a “common understanding” arrived at with the agency at the outset of the investigation.
CIA spying on the Senate was “reasonable” and the CIA officers who carried out the hacking and spying operation should not face any punishment, according to the review board’s report, officially titled the “Final Report of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Network Agency Accountability Board.”
The board reported that during several days in January 2014, agents “searched the SSCI-side of RDINet and reviewed SSCI-related REDACTED,” taking three “looks” at the Senate-side of the RDINet system over a period of several days.
Beginning on January 9, 2014, agents searched the Senate side of the network for various words and acronyms in an effort to locate material related to internal CIA documents known as the “Panetta review,” prepared in 2009 for then-Director Leon Panetta, the report states.
In what appear to be redacted references to Brennan and senior decision-makers within the CIA and executive branch, the report states that an unnamed top official believed that the agency had a “legal duty” to search the Senate’s torture research servers.
“REDACTED has maintained that the Agency’s obligations under the National Security Act created a legal duty to search the SSCI side of RDInet,” the report states.
“REDACTED in discussions with REDACTED made the decision to find out if SSCI staff had access to… documents that were deemed privileged.”
The agents involved “acted reasonably under the complex and unprecedented circumstances involved in investigating a potential security breach in the highly classified shared computer network,” the report found.
During one of the “looks,” agents enjoyed “inappropriate access to SSCI work product” and viewed several emails between Senate staffers, the report acknowledges. But it claims that the agency had a legitimate national security concern for its investigation and that it was overseen at the agency’s highest levels. The agents conducting the spying engaged in “regular dialogue with [CIA] leadership as events unfolded.”
Agents “improperly accessed” communications between Senate staff while searching through computer drives being used by the SSCI personnel to investigate the torture programs, the report acknowledged. The report claims that director Brennan did not intend for his carte blanche authorization to extend this far.
Any notion that the Senate research was guaranteed against CIA monitoring was erroneous, the review board claims. The CIA “routinely and without controversy searched the SSCI side of RDINet for CIA documents,” the report claims, as part of routine security procedures. Moreover, there was no “signed agreement between the SSCI and Agency on the definition of work product.”
The report acknowledges that the CIA violated what it called an informal agreement with the Senate committee by spying on emails sent between the Senate research team members. Still, these actions were “reasonable” in light of the security threat posed by the acquisition of the Panetta report by the Senate staffers, the review board found.
In a concise expression of the authoritarian outlook guiding the intelligence bureaucracy, the CIA review board essentially claimed that there is no reliable standard to determine the legality or illegality of CIA operations.
“The [accountability] board noted the difficulty of identifying the most appropriate, reasonable, proper course of action for this security incident because nearly every such course is open to objection or question,” the CIA panel wrote, referring to its own deliberations.
In a paragraph in bold type stating the report’s “General Conclusion” on the matter, the accountability board found: “SSCI staffers were, or should have been aware of, CIA’s REDACTED monitoring of RDINet for security purposes.
“In fact, CIA had previously accessed REDACTED collected from the SSCi side of RDINet when security concerns arose,” the authors concluded.
The CIA has resisted and sought to hamper investigations of the spying operation in every possible manner, as evidence cited in the report illustrates. According to the report, three of the CIA officers “demonstrated a lack of candor during their first interviews with the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) because they did not disclose actions they took on behalf of the two OGC officers,” the board admits. These officers “failed to disclose” actions that they took under orders from the two senior CIA personnel overseeing the operation, the CIA board found.
The board fails to address the obvious question of why the CIA was so determined to suppress the Panetta review. The supposed purpose of RDINet was to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee with “full, un-redacted access to millions of the Agency’s most sensitive operational materials,” according to the CIA review board.
Why then was the crucial Panetta report “pulled” from the SSCI drive, out of millions of highly sensitive documents purportedly being made available? The likely explanation is that the report was pulled because it revealed aspects of the torture programs that are denied or covered up in the official CIA response to the Senate inquiry.
The review board also did not consider an earlier breach of Senate committee staff computers in May 2010, during which 926 documents were removed, supposedly because Brennan did not ask them to include that in its investigation.
This article was first published on August 1, 2010
“It isn’t just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. The European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility.”
– Quote from a TV documentary on HAARP by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a little-known, yet critically important U.S. military defense program which has generated quite a bit of controversy over the years in certain circles. Though denied by HAARP officials, some respected researchers allege that secret electromagnetic warfare capabilities of HAARP are designed to forward the US military’s stated goal of achieving full-spectrum dominance by the year 2020. Others go so far as to claim that HAARP can and has been used for weather modification, to cause earthquakes and tsunamis, to disrupt global communications systems, and more.
Major aspects of the program are kept secret for alleged reasons of “national security.” Yet there is no doubt that HAARP and electromagnetic weapons capable of being used in warfare do exist. According to the official HAARP website, “HAARP is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere, with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes.” The ionosphere is the delicate upper layer of our atmosphere which ranges from about 30 miles (50 km) to 600 miles (1,000 km) above the surface of the Earth.
The HAARP website acknowledges that experiments are conducted which use electromagnetic frequencies to fire pulsed, directed energy beams in order to “temporarily excite a limited area of the ionosphere.” Some scientists state that purposefully disturbing this sensitive layer could have major and even disastrous consequences. Concerned HAARP researchers like Dr. Michel Chossudovsky of the University of Ottawa and Alaska’s Dr. Nick Begich (son of a US Congressman) present evidence suggesting that these disturbances can even cause tsunamis and earthquakes.
Two key major media documentaries, one by Canada’s public broadcasting network CBC and the other by the History Channel, reveal the inner workings of HAARP in a most powerful way. The very well researched CBC documentary includes this key quote:
“It isn’t just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. In January of 1999, the European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility.”
To view the European Union (EU) document which brings HAARP and similar electromagnetic weapons into question, click here. The actual wording at bullet point 24 in this telling document states that the EU “considers HAARP by virtue of its far-reaching impact on the environment to be a global concern and calls for its legal, ecological and ethical implications to be examined by an international independent body before any further research and testing.” This reveling document further states that the EU regrets the repeated refusal of the U.S. government to send anyone to give evidence on HAARP.
To watch this engaging 15-minute CBC documentary online, click here. For an even more detailed and revealing 45-minute History Channel documentary on HAARP and other secret weapons used for electromagnetic warfare, click here. Below are two quotes from the History Channel documentary:
“Electromagnetic weapons … pack an invisible wallop hundreds of times more powerful than the electrical current in a lightning bolt. One can blast enemy missiles out of the sky, another could be used to blind soldiers on the battlefield, still another to control an unruly crowd by burning the surface of their skin. If detonated over a large city, an electromagnetic weapon could destroy all electronics in seconds. They all use directed energy to create a powerful electromagnetic pulse.”
“Directed energy is such a powerful technology it could be used to heat the ionosphere to turn weather into a weapon of war. Imagine using a flood to destroy a city or tornadoes to decimate an approaching army in the desert. The military has spent a huge amount of time on weather modification as a concept for battle environments. If an electromagnetic pulse went off over a city, basically all the electronic things in your home would wink and go out, and they would be permanently destroyed.”
For those who still doubt that such devastating secret weapons have been developed, here is an intriguing quote from an article in New Zealand’s leading newspaper, the New Zealand Herald:
“Top-secret wartime experiments were conducted off the coast of Auckland to perfect a tidal wave bomb, declassified files reveal. United States defence chiefs said that if the project had been completed before the end of the war, it could have played a role as effective as that of the atom bomb. Details of the tsunami bomb, known as Project Seal, are contained in 53-year-old documents released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”
If the military secretly developed a weapon which could cause a tsunami over half a century ago, what kind of advanced deadly weapons might be available now? And why is it that the general public still doesn’t know about secret weapons developed over 50 years ago? To understand why the media isn’t covering these highly critical issues, click here. Clearly the military has the capability to cause a tsunami and likely to cause earthquakes and hurricanes, as well. It’s time for us to take action to spread the word on this vital topic.
Having interpreted to for top generals in my work as a language interpreter with the US Department of State, I learned that military planners are always interested in developing the most devastating weapons possible. Yet these weapons are kept secret as long as possible, allegedly for reasons of national security. The many layers of intense secrecy both in the military and government result in very few people being aware of the gruesome capabilities for death and destruction that have been developed over the years. There are many examples of major defense projects kept successfully out of the public’s eyes for years and even decades.
The massive Manhattan Project (development of the first atomic bomb) is one such example. The building of an entire city to support the project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee was successfully kept secret even from the state’s governor. The stealth bomber was kept top secret for many years, and the public still has no way of knowing it’s full capabilities. It is through the use of the highly organized military and intelligence services that the power elite of our world, working in cooperation with key allies in government and corporate ownership of the media, are able to carry out major cover-ups and secret operations like those involved with HAARP.
Some researchers have raised questions about the possible involvement of HAARP in major disasters like the earthquake in Haiti, Indonesian tsunami, and hurricane Katrina. Could these have been HAARP experiments gone awry? Might they even have been caused by rogue elements which gained control of this devastating technology. Of course disasters like this happen regularly on a natural basis, yet if you begin to research, there is some high strangeness around some of these disasters. The evidence is inconclusive, yet with the known and unknown major destructive capabilities of this weapon, serious questions remain.
Jesse Ventura, the former Navy Seal who turned pro wrestler only to then become governor of Minnesota, has also done a special on HAARP that is a bit sensationalized, yet contains useful information. You can watch this special on YouTube at this link.
Last night, at a late hour, my friend Mohamed Benhaddou was dropping me in front of my door, in my street. I step out and two police officers storm out of a police car and head towards me.
- What are you doing here? They ask in French.
They were young French speaking cops, so they did not recognize me. I say calmly, this is my street, I live here. I see the look in their eyes, and feel that they do not believe me. They ask my identity card, I give it and I ask why is that necessary, I live here, you want me to show you? They ask me to take my hands out of my pockets and to stand against the wall. Me, a father and a man who is 43 years old, who has never committed a crime in his life. I have to stand against the wall like some teenage delinquent.
- I am not standing against the wall I say in a calm tone.
One of them is already pointing his machine gun at me. I hear them calling for back up on the radio. In the meantime My friend turns the car and comes towards us. They ask him to stop the car and to stand next to me. He does that.
Two more police cars arrive with more cops with machine guns.
I see some of them looking surprised, they are Flemish and they recognize me obviously. One French speaking cop asks “what did they do”… The answer is “ they were in the street looking suspicious”… Me and my friend laugh bitterly… We were looking suspicious… I think they meant, our look is suspicious… you know the black hair and the dark eyes.
We stay 20 minutes at gun point, in my street, in front of my door, under the window where my two daughters are sleeping… At gun point!
Eventually, a cop comes to us and gives back our identity cards and say that we can go. He looks worried, I think his boss told him on the radio that he is for no reason at all ethnically profiling an activist, and a writer in a newspaper and that this is not a smart thing to do… but then again, I don’t think they care… we are all suspected terrorists now… we are all ethnically profiled…. We look like these terrorists right? We look like these cartoons everybody is so keen to publish now…. Ethnically profiled at gun point in my own street, under my own window, they could have just went with me few meters to see my name on the bell and compare it with the name on my ID. I walk feeling heavy, very heavy inside, I stand in front of my door and wonder if I have the right to open it… I see blond blue eyed people walk next to the cops, they walk not looking suspicious at all… I guess they were right…. I guess.
It is already days after, it is time to look back at this and assess it without too much emotion. Or at least try. I conclude the following:
- I am still somewhat emotional about this. I think it is not normal to have your “home feeling” taken away from you this way. I always thought that my street is my street, that I cannot be just asked to go stand against the wall with a machine gun pointed at me just because I was walking towards my door, to enter my house. If this had happened in down-town somewhere, or far from my doorstep I would maybe be less moved by it than now. But this is outrageous.
- The reaction of the people could not be more divided. it ranged from outrage and indignation to outright fury! And from understanding or even supporting the cops and blaming me for not obeying, to people writing things like “they should have killed that scum”. Our society is more divided than ever. Our vision of what is a state of law is also so contradictory. Some clearly believe in a police state and some others believe apartheid is normal. Differentiating between citizens is normal.
- The reaction of the police was outright shocking. They told the media that “standard procedure was applied” because I “disobeyed” and order of a cop. Meaning that it is standard procedure to intercept a person walking to his door, with no reason whatsoever, except his ethnicity. Ask him his ID card, and command him to stand facing the wall while checking who he is. Not listen to him when he says I live here, this is my house, I was just walking to my own door. And when he refuses to be treated like a criminal for no reason at all and refuses to stand facing a wall, it is standard procedure to point a machine gun at him, putting his life in danger.
- Some said that this is to be understood in the current context. That the attacks against Europe today are coming from Muslim terrorists so it is normal to ethnically profile Muslims. First of all it is absurd, because a Muslim can be also white and European. Secondly, Attacks do not come only out of Muslim extremism. Only yesterday a Muslim father was slaughtered in front of his children by a Muslim hater. Should I remind people of Breivik? of Hans Van Temsche? of Volkert van der G.? Should I predict the next attack were Immigrants or Muslims will be victims? No Ethnically profiling people is not the solution, it is part of the problem. You can use checkpoints where you can randomly control. And of course if you see something, a certain Item or behavior that is suspect, then you can control, while respecting the law and the liberties and rights of citizens. Putting citizens against the wall in front of their doorsteps at gun point for no reason at all but their racial profile is not part of security measures, it is part of terror!
- Finally, luckily that this happened to me, a public figure with access to the media, because I can open a debate about it and that debate can make the police think, and can make the people aware of the problem of ethnic profiling. This is something that is happening every day to hundreds of people in Belgium and to millions world wide. Generations are growing with this treatment and no wonder they grow to consider the police as an enemy.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) is an Act of the UK Parliament “regulating the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, and covering the interception of communications.”
Laws have certain flexibility to them, the vast legroom that allows a degree of significant contortions. The most resilient ones tend to be those concerning security. Where safety is perceived to be at stake, the legroom widens. Interpreters of national security laws tend to make leaps to extend their application as far as possible. Rather than reading down the effects of legislation, with the tendencies to limit civil liberties, the desire lies in expanding power. The drafting, for that reason, is fundamental.
Since 2000, the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ) has noted an institutionalised campaign against that noble profession, with a notable increase in incarcerations.
“Throughout the world, CPJ research has found, the vague wording of national security and terror legislation has allowed the authorities wide latitude to retaliate against reporters covering sensitive issues” (Feb, 2013).
In 2012, the number of journalists incarcerated reached 232, of whom 132 were held on grounds pursued under national security legislation. This makes poor reading, but even more striking is the performance of countries keen to trumpet the virtues of a free press with its assortment of liberties. While doing so, they have also been busy cutting strips from various sacred cows.
CPJ reports that the use of such national security legislation to target practitioners of the journalistic code was regrettably pioneered by US authorities from the Bush administration onwards. “The United States helped legitimise the tactic by imprisoning at least 14 journalists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay throughout the past decade.”
In October last year, the National Union of Journalists told the British Parliament that police misuse of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to snoop on journalists and sources was “systematic and institutionalised.” An example that caught the eye of parliamentarians was how the police surreptitiously obtained a Mail on Sunday’s reporter’s home records in connection with former MP Chris Huhne’s speeding fraud.
RIPA is the weight Britain’s civil liberty advocates must bear, and is one that continues to plague local freedoms. Not only is the legislation being used against journalists, it is being used against citizens in general. “Under the [RIPA] law, the localities and agencies can film people with hidden cameras, trawl through communication traffic data like phone calls and Web site visits and enlist undercover ‘agents’ to pose, for example, as teenagers who want to buy alcohol” (New York Times, Oct 24, 2009).
The campaign group Big Brother Watch has noted various misuses of the legislation over the years. One particular study found that local authorities had made use of the act on 550 occasions to catch fly-tippers, investigate the sale of a puppy, the activities of a fraudulent escort agency, and the movement of pigs (Financial Times, Aug 22, 2012). So much for the overarching threat posed by terrorism.
In April 2008, council officials in Dorset placed three children and their parents under surveillance, using RIPA powers, to monitor their daily movements. With a note of sinister, regulatory mania, the reason for doing so was to see if the parents were attempting to find spots for their children at a popular local school some distance away from the “catchment area”.
Not even the BBC, which touts itself as the grandest of public broadcasters, is immune from the surveillance bug. The Beeb has decided to make monetary use of RIPA, invoking it in the context of catching viewers who do not pay the mandatory £145 licensing fee.
As the BBC falls within the category of a public body, it can duly avail itself of various investigative and surveillance powers granted under the act – even if this involves nabbing those shirking their paying obligations. Thus, by some miracle of interpretation, terror suspects intent on doing harm against her Britannic majesty’s realm, and those reluctant for fork out for watching the BBC, keep curious company.
A document obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, as discussed by the Belfast Telegraph(Jan 16), states the position clearly. “The BBC may, in certain circumstances, authorise under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers (British Broadcasting Corporation) Order 2001 the lawful use of detection equipment to detect unlicensed use of television receivers… the BBC has used detection authorised under this legislation in Northern Ireland.”
The comments from DUP MP Gregory Campbell, are illustrative of a classic problem. What is the true purpose underlying legislation on the books of parliament? “The purpose for which the anti-terror legislation was introduced was pretty clear – the clue is in the name. It should be used for that purpose, and if the BBC is using legislation for a purpose that it wasn’t originally intended, then they should explain this to the public” (Belfast Telegraph, Jan 16).
Easily said as a sentiment, but impossible to execute. The name and purpose of an executed bill changes with use. When on the books, statutes such as RIPA will always be overly extended, stretched to the point of non-recognition by overly zealous officials keen to patch the holes in administration. Motivating such moves is a permanent suspicion of the citizen.
The message for residents in Britain should be clear: Whether your dog fouls, whether you wish to evade a school catchment area, or whether you wish to avoid the public broadcasting licensing fee, you will be subjects of interest for the surveillance state.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
“The group photo should have been a perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo opportunity for the seriously blood thirsty.”
Don’t kill white people. After all is said and done, the Charlie Hebdo outrage, the hashtags, and the million person marches amount to that simple but very powerful dictum. In the eyes of the governments that do most of the killing on the planet and the corporate media who act as their scribes, there is nothing worse than targeting even a handful of white people for death.
Charlie Hebdo is a supposedly satirical magazine published in Paris, France. It was little known to Americans until January 7, 2015 when two gunmen attacked its offices and killed twelve staff members. Charlie Hebdo was well known for intentionally violating the Islamic prohibition of depicting the prophet. According to survivors, the killers announced themselves as members of al-Qaeda and said they were avenging the prophet Muhammad. A policewoman and four more people were killed the following day when another gunman took hostages in a kosher supermarket.
One look at Charlie Hebdo cartoons shows that the word satire is being used very loosely. The depictions of cabinet minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, and the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as pregnant welfare recipients make a mockery of the world satirical. Regardless of how many French politicians are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech.
Their reputation for insult and offense was quickly forgotten and the call to unquestioningly identify with the victims was immediate. Within a few days, #Jesuischarlie was tweeted more than one million times. The propaganda onslaught created an awkward example of hypocrisy for world leaders who are always the worst killers of all.
Barack Obama trotted out tired denunciations, calling the attacks “cowardly” as he claimed to stand up for the rights of a free press. These were strange words coming from a man who on seven occasions has used the discredited Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to the media.
Americans were not alone in hypocritically condemning murder. The convenient selective amnesia of the French people is as stunning as their sense of feeling more aggrieved than anyone else in the world.
France was a party to every atrocity and genocide committed by Europeans in history. France played a major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, kidnapping approximately 1,250,000 Africans and sending them to work under barbaric conditions in their American territories.
After being forced out of Haiti by the world’s most successful slave rebellion, France then held that nation hostage under threat of re-enslavement and demanded a payment of $60 million francs which were paid from 1838 to 1947. Haiti remains poverty stricken to this day as a result.
France was at the table during the 1884 Berlin Conference which chopped Africa up into European spheres of influence. France engaged in mass slaughter again and again as it attempted to prevent colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria from gaining independence.
After NATO murdered Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, French president Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Libya to personally gloat over the country he helped to destroy. He was joined by UK prime minister David Cameron, who was also among the killers-in-chief who arrived in Paris looking solemn. France and the UK are part of the NATO effort to destroy Syria and turn it into a chaotic ruin as they have done to Libya.
The corporate media determines who is and who isn’t a worthy victim and people with dark skin rarely make the cut. The thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza included members of the press. Seventeen journalists were killed in Gaza in 2014 alone, yet Israeli president Netanyahu was allowed to join the “unity march” in Paris as if he too were an innocent.
There is enough horror in the world to cause outrage but the level of outrage seems to depend on who is being treated horribly and who is carrying out the atrocity. The worst acts of terror are committed by heads of state who don’t kill seventeen people as these attackers did in Paris. They kill in the thousands yet are still treated with respect.
It doesn’t say much for the state of human advancement that killings committed by individuals still create so much more concern than those committed by governments. They get away with mass murder because the same corporate media which saturated coverage of Charlie Hebdo say little or nothing about Gaza or Libya or Somalia or Syria or Iraq or Haiti. Instead of pointing out that Barack Obama is a killer too, the pundits criticize him for not being among the sanctimonious liars who gathered in Paris. The group photo should have been a perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo opportunity for the seriously blood thirsty.
Murder is wrong when committed by individual gunmen with grudges and it is still wrong when it comes from a drone strike. A unity march should denounce human rights abuses, of which warfare is the worst. The next time 1 million gather to denounce terror, the anger should be directed at those people who carry it out the most.
Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
Current, dangerous anti-Semitism in Europe could be ameliorated, and eventually nullified, if the Netanyahu government were to dismantle its illegal settlements and repatriate its citizens back to Israel in accordance with the judgement of the International Court and the will of the UN, the U.S. and the European Union, including Britain.
To maintain that the actions of the Netanyahu government in inducing its citizens to illegally settle in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in a deliberate attempt at ethnic-cleansing to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, has nothing to do with the increase in anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere – as is being promoted by a powerful program of pernicious, political propaganda – is a patent denial of the facts on the ground.
But Netanyahu has no intention of acceding to international demands to dismantle his settlements. He is secure in the knowledge that the Israel lobby in Washington is powerful enough to ensure that the US congress continues to instruct President Obama to prop up his Likud government with $6 billion worth annually of F16 war planes, drones, bombs, missiles and other weaponry to include grants and loan guarantees.
In this context, in effect the POTUS is Netanyahu himself, not the democratically elected Barack Obama. And that fact alone is sufficient to cause considerable ill-feeling around the free world.
Fascism looks the same whether it wears a baseball cap, a kippah or a hijab.
Fascism definition: ‘A system of government or a political movement marked typically by a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism’
What’s wrong with America is what’s wrong with Big Pharma. And what’s wrong with Big Pharma is what’s wrong with America. This circular reality is aimed to be thoroughly covered in this presentation. This is the story of how Big Pharma seeks enormous profits over the health and well-being of the humans it serves, and how drug companies invasively corrupted the way that the healthcare industry delivers its vital services. This is neither a new nor unique story. In fact, the story of Big Pharma is the exact same story of how Big Government, Big Oil, Big Agri-Chem Giants like Monsanto have come to power. The controlling shareholders of all these major industries are one and the same. Big Money belonging to the global central banking cabal own and operate all the Fortune 500 companies in addition to virtually all national governments on this earth. The Rockefellers privatized healthcare in the United States back in the 1930’s and has financed and largely influenced both healthcare and Big Pharma ever since.
The history of the last several centuries is one in which a handful of these oligarch families, primarily from Europe and the United States, have been controlling governments and wars to ruthlessly consolidate and maximize both power and control over the earth’s most precious resources to promote a New World Order of one totalitarian fascist government exercising absolute power and control over the entire global population. This group of oligarch families have systematically and effectively eliminated competition under the deceptive misnomer of a free enterprise system. Modernization is synonymous with globalization, privatization and militarization. Subsequently, an extremely small number of humans representing a privileged ruling elite has imposed a global caste system that’s hatched its long term diabolical plan to actualize its one world government. Sadly at this tumultuous moment in our human history, it’s never been closer to materialization.
Here in the early stages of the twenty-first century, a ruling elite has manipulated our planet of seven billion people into a global economic system of feudalism. Through pillaging and plundering the earth, setting up a cleverly deceptive financial system that controls the production and flow of fiat paper money using the US dollar as the standard international currency, they have turned the world’s citizens and nations into indentured servants, hopelessly in debt due to their grand theft planet. With Russia and China spearheading a shift away from the US dollar and petrodollar, and many smaller nations following their lead, a major shift in the balance of power is underway between Western and Eastern oligarchs. Thus, by design escalating calamity and crises are in overdrive at the start of 2015.
By examining one aspect of this grand theft planet through the story of Big Pharma, one can accurately recognize and assess Big Pharma’s success in its momentum-gathering power grab. Its story serves as a microcosm perfectly illustrating and paralleling the macrocosm that is today’s oligarch engineered, highly successful New World Order nightmare coming true right before our eyes that we’re all now up against. By understanding how this came to manifest, we will be better able to confront, challenge and oppose it.
Every year a handful of the biggest pharmaceutical corporations are a well-represented fixture amongst the most powerful Fortune 500 companies of the world. The twelve largest drug manufacturers and the eight largest drug delivery companies (or otherwise known as the drug channels companies) that include drug wholesalers, chain pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (so called PBM’s) consist in total only 20 of the top 500 global corporations in the world. Thus, despite making up only 4% of the total Fortune 500 companies in 2014, both Big Pharma’s highly profitable revenues and absolute economic and political power in the United States and world are unprecedented.
The median revenue of the drug channels companies that made 2014’s Fortune 500 from the most recent available 2013 figures was $95.1 billion with a median profit as percentage of assets of 2.9% over the year before. The top 12 drug manufacturing companies held a median revenue of only $17.5 billion but a median profit of assets level of 10.6% over 2012. Though the channels companies like CVS (the top channels company and #12 on Fortune 500), Walgreen (#37) and Rite-Aid (#118) overall maintain higher revenues and positions in the Fortune 500 list, their profit margins are not nearly as immense as the pharmaceutical manufacturers that are almost four times more profitable.
Big Pharma’s top eleven corporations generated net profits in just one decade from 2003 to 2012 of nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars - that’s just net profit alone. The net profit for 2012 amongst those top eleven amounted to $85 billion in just that one year. The majority of these largest pharmaceuticals are headquartered in the US – including the top four, Johnson & Johnson (#39 on Fortune 500 list), Pfizer (#51), Merck (#65) and Eli Lilly (#129) along with Abbott (#152) and Bristol Myers Squibb (#176). The healthcare research company IMS Health projects worldwide sales of Pharma drugs to exceed one trillion dollars by 2014. With that kind of obscenely powerful money to throw around, what Big Pharma wants, Big Pharma nearly always gets.
Just as the oligarchs buy, own and control national governments to do their sleazy bidding, Big Pharma as an extension of those same oligarchs does too. Perhaps what makes Big Pharma unique in the US is that the industry outspends all others in laying down cold hard cash into its lobbying efforts – another word for bribing governments that includes not only US Congress (and parliaments) but its US federal regulator, the bought and sold Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It poured $2.7 billion into its lobbying interests from 1998 to 2013, 42% more than the second most “Gov. Corp.” bribe which happens to be its sister industry insurance.
And it’s this unholy trinity of the medical establishment (personified by the American Medical Association), embedded insurance industry that wrote Obamacare into law and Big Pharma that makes the United States the most costly, broken, corrupt, destructive healthcare system in the entire world. The structured system is designed and layered with built in incentives at every tier to make and keep people sick, chronically dependent on their drugs for survival that merely mask and smother symptoms rather than cure or eradicate the root cause of disease.
Plenty of empirical evidence exists that confirm concerted diabolical efforts have been made to ruin the lives ofpioneering heroes who have come up with possible cures for cancer, AIDS and other terminal illnesses. Obviously their work poses a serious threat to medical status quo. Hence, their treatments have all been effectively suppressed by conventional medicine. Bottom line, if humans are healthy, the healthcare industry does not survive. Thus, it’s in its own inherently self-serving interest to promote illness in the name of wellness.
Also because natural healing substances cannot be patented, Big Pharma has done its sinister best to squelch any and all knowledge and information that come from the far more affordable means of alternative health sources that explore ancient traditional cultures’ medicinal use of hemp along with thousands of other plants and roots that could threaten drug profits and power of Big Pharma and modern medicine as they’re currently practiced and monopolized.
Another cold hard reality is pharmaceutical drugs especially when consumed to manage chronic disease and symptoms cause severe side effects that also damage, harm and kill. The most prescribed drugs of all are painkillers that typically are highly addictive. Big Pharma with the help of their global army of doctors have purposely and calculatingly turned a large percentage of us especially in the United States into hardcore drug addicts, both physically and psychologically addicted to artificial synthetic substances that are detrimental to our health and well-being. More than three quarters of US citizens over 50 are currently taking prescribed medication. One in four women in their 40’s and 50’s is taking antidepressants. Though the US contains just 5% of the world population, it consumes over half of all prescribed medication and a phenomenal 80% of the world’s supply of painkillers. Those who admit to taking prescription drugs on average take four different prescription drugs daily. Taking massive amounts of prescription drugs has caused an epidemic that’s part of a sinister plan to squeeze yet more profit out of a system designed to keep humans chronically unhealthy.
Even more alarming is the fact that death by medical error at near a quarter million people annually has become thethird largest killer of US citizens behind heart disease and cancer. Other more recent studies have estimated upwards of up to 440,000 have died yearly from preventable mistakes at hospitals. Blind obedience to Big Pharma and a conventional medical system too dependent on surgery and technology has inflicted more harm than good on the U.S. population.
Because doctors now are forced to rely so heavily on drug companies for information about what they prescribe, they’re ill equipped and ill-informed in their lack of adequate knowledge and training to understand what all the interactive drugs are doing to toxically harm their human guinea pigs they call patients. We are finding out that thecumulative and synergistic effects of poly-prescription drug use is frequently a lethal cocktail to millions of human beings on this planet. Combine that with the negative effects of our air, water, food and alcohol/illicit drugs, and the health dangers increase dramatically.
Look at the current damage done by over-prescribing antibiotics. Studies have learned that too much antibiotics cause trans-generational permanent DNA damage. The 20,000 times a year in the US alone that antibiotics are prescribed are highly toxic and damaging to the nervous system. On top of that, they simply don’t work anymore. The epidemic of trans-mutated bacterial infection and parasites that invade and infest the digestive tract in particular killing good bacteria and spread to other internal organs have become highly resistive to overuse of antibiotics. Big Pharma and doctors know all this yet they are responsible for antibiotic overconsumption by uninformed Americans.
Then look at what we are now learning about Big Pharma vaccines and the wanton reckless endangerment of children and pregnant mothers with toxic levels of mercury causing increased rates of autism, brain damage and even death. The criminal cover-up by Big Gov. and Big Pharma is egregious. Flu vaccines have recently been exposed that are totally ineffective along with the horrific damage being done to humans worldwide. Instead of preventing and decreasing illness, vaccines too often have had the opposite effect, exponentially increasing illness, causing irreversible damage and even death to thousands of unsuspecting victims mostly living in Third World nations. India’s Supreme Court is currently looking into charging Bill Gates with criminal harm to many of its citizens especially children injured or killed by his global vaccine program.
A growing number of critics believe Gates’ true aim is to eugenically reduce the world population from seven billion down to a “more manageable” size of half to one billion people. With the precedent of a well-documented history of horrifying eugenics practiced on the poor and most vulnerable in the US up till the 1980’s, oligarchs have been scheming to kill most of us on the planet for a long time now. With last year’s West African outbreak of the most deadly Ebola virus ever, and it being patented as bio-warfare, and mounting evidence that it was purposely started by a joint US military-university research team in Sierra Leone causing its global spread, more people than ever have perished and a growing segment of the population suspect that it is being used as a weapon of mass destruction to effectively depopulate the earth. We can largely thank the demonic partnership between Big Pharma and US Empire for that.
To further control the global health system, Big Pharma has largely dictated what’s been taught in medical schools throughout North America, heavily subsidizing them as a means of dictating the conventional dogma that’s standard curriculum down to even the textbooks. Several years ago a revolt at Harvard amongst med students and faculty went public. For a long time now doctors have been educated primarily to treat their patients with drugs, in effect becoming drug pushing, pharmaceutical whores, mere foot soldiers in Big Pharma’s war on health. Starting in the final year of med school, Big Pharma insidiously hones in on young med students, seductively wining and dining prospective physicians, showering them with money in the form of educational handouts, gifts, trips and perks galore to recruit its legions of loyal, thoroughly indoctrinated drug peddlers around the world. Thousands of doctors in the US are on Big Pharma payrolls. Typically early on in their careers physicians are unwittingly co-opted into this corrupt malaise of an irreparable system that’s owned and operated by Big Pharma.
And here’s why the drug companies control the global healthcare empire. Since 1990 Big Pharma has been pumping at least $150 million that we know about (and no doubt lots more we don’t know about) buying off politicians who no longer represent the interests of their voting public. Thanks to Big Law via last spring’s Supreme Court decision, current campaign financing laws permit unlimited, carte blanche bribery power for America’s most wealthy and powerful to fill the pockets of corrupt politicians with absolutely no oversight. Though the corporate buyoff of other nations around the globe may not appear quite so extreme and blatantly criminal as in the United States, international drug companies make certain that every national government allows full access and flow of their prescription drugs into each nation, including rubber stamped approval by each nation’s regulatory body to ensure global maximization of record setting profit. But because far more money is spent on the healthcare industry in the US, twice as much as the next nation Canada and equal to the next ten combined, it’s no surprise that hapless Americans end up having to pay far higher exorbitant costs for their made-in-the-USA drugs than anyone else on the planet. The average US citizen spends about $1000 on pharmaceutical drugs each year, 40% higher than Canadians.
Big Pharma also invests more dollars into advertising than any other industry in America, transmitting its seductively deceptive message direct to its consumers, explicitly giving them marching orders to request specific drugs from their doctors. In 2012 alone, pharmaceutical corporations paid nearly $3.5 billion to market their drugson television, radio, internet, magazines, saturating every media outlet. Their message – pleasure, relief, peace of mind, joy, love and happiness are all just a pill away. No problem or pain in life can’t be conquered by a quick fix - compliments of Big Pharma.
Much of Big Pharma’s success over the last couple decades has been the result of specifically targeting special new populations to con and win over, resorting to creating new diseases and maladies to entice troubled, stressed out, gullible individuals into believing there’s something abnormally wrong with them, that they are among always a growing segment of our population who quietly suffer from whatever discomforting symptoms, deficits, dysfunctions, ailments, syndromes and disorders that enterprising Big Pharma connives to slyly invent, promote, package and sell. This unethical practice has been called “disease mongering.” Drug companies today operate no different from the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear. Saturating the market with their alluring, promising ads, check out any half hour of national network news on television targeting the baby boomer and geriatric crowd and you’ll notice 95% of the commercials are all brought to you by none other than Big Pharma. Of course they pay big bucks for slick ad marketing campaigns that shrewdly target the oldsters most apt to suffer health problems in addition to being virtually the only Americans left still watching the nightly network news. Three out of four people under 65 in the US today recognize that mainstream news media is nothing less than pure Gov. Corp. propaganda.
Also in recent years Big Pharma has become deceitfully masterful at repackaging and rebranding old meds at higher prices ever in search of expanded consumers. It’s a lot easier and far less money to engage in this unethical industry-wide practice of recycling an old pill than to manufacture a new one. Prozac became the biggest drug sold until it was learned that it caused so many people to kill themselves or others, especially adolescents. Then Eli Lilly deceptively repackaged and relabeled it under the less threatening name Sarafem at a much higher price tailored to target unsuspecting women seeking relief from menstrual pain. Like Prozac as another Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor antidepressant, Paxil was suddenly repackaged as the cure-all for shyness under the guise of treating social anxiety. Taking full advantage of knowing that millions of humans feel unsure of themselves dealing with strangers and groups, Big Pharma to the rescue exploiting people’s nervousness by clinically labeling it as social anxiety and reintroducing the antidepressant pink pill as their panacea to personal happiness, lifelong self-confidence and success in life. This most prevalent industry pattern of reusing the same old drugs all dressed up with new custom designed names for new purposes on new custom designed populations for yet more price gouging is nothing less than resorting to a predatory practice of criminal false advertising.
Perhaps as sinister as any aspect of the drug business is how Big Pharma has completely taken over the FDA. A recent Harvard study slammed the FDA making the accusation that it simply “cannot be trusted” because it’s owned and operated by Big Pharma. With complete autonomy and control, now pharmaceutical companies knowingly market drugs that carry high risk dangers for consumers. But because they so tightly control its supposed regulatory gatekeeper, drugs are commonly mass marketed and before the evidence of potential harm becomes overwhelming, by design when the slow bureaucratic wheels turn issuing a drug recall, billions in profit have already been unscrupulously reaped at the deadly expense of its victims. Additionally, doctors, pharmacists and patients rarely even hear about important recalls due to dangerous side effects or contamination. Yet hundreds of Big Pharma drugsare recalled every year. Many FDA approved drugs like FenPhen, Vioxx, Zohydro and Celebrex kill hundreds before they’re finally removed from the shelf. This withholding the truth from the professionals and public consumers is yet more evidence that Big Pharma protects its profits more than people.
This evil practice that keeps repeating itself is proof that Big Pharma is a criminal racket. It no longer needs outside independent research demonstrating a drug’s efficacy to be FDA approved. Currently research is conducted and compiled by the pharmaceutical industry itself to fraudulently show positive results from methodologically flawed drug trials when in reality a drug proves either ill effective at doing what it’s purported to do or downright harmful. Research outcomes only need to show that the drug outperforms a placebo, not other older drugs already available on the market that have proven to be effective at lower cost.
Similar to shady personnel moving seamlessly in and out of governmental public service to think tanks to universities to private law to corporations to lobbyists, the same applies to heads of the FDA moving to and from Big Pharma. Unfortunately this is how our government has been taken over by special interests. Yet this rampant conflict of interest goes unchecked.
Because Big Pharma sometimes outright owns and largely controls today’s most prominent medical journals, spreading false propaganda, disinformation and lies about the so called miracle effects of a given drug is yet another common practice that is malevolent to the core. 98% of the advertising revenue of medical journals is paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Shoddy and false claims based on shoddy and false research all controlled by Big Pharma often get published in so called reputable journals giving the green light to questionable drugs that are either ineffective or worse yet even harmful. Yet they regularly pass peer and FDA muster with rave reviews.
But because Big Pharma’s never held accountable for its evildoing, it continues to literally get away with murder, not unlike the militant police, the CIA, Monsanto and the US Empire that willfully and methodically commit mass murder on a global scale or through false flag terrorism having its mercenary Moslem allies kill innocent people as on 9/11 and France’s recent “9/11.” Since all serve the interests of their oligarch puppet masters toward grand theft planet and New World Order with total impunity, the world continues to suffer and be victimized.
Nearly five years ago the Justice Department filed and won a huge criminal lawsuit against Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world employing 116,000 employees and boasting an annual revenue of more than $50 billion ($53.8 in 2013). Fined $2.3 billion to pay off civil and criminal charges for illegally promoting the use of four of its drugs, the unprecedented settlement became the largest case of healthcare fraud in history. The crux of the case centered on Pfizer’s illegal practice of marketing drugs for purposes other than what the FDA originally approved. While the law permits a wide leeway for physicians to prescribe drugs for multiple purposes, Pharma manufacturers are restricted to selling their drugs only for the expressed purposes given them by FDA approval.
The 2003 lawsuit would never even have been filed had it not been for whistleblowing sales rep John Kopchinskiwho forced authorities to investigate what’s been a common Big Pharma practice, selling drugs for off-label uses. While back in 2001 the FDA had approved a 10 mg dosage of Bextra for arthritis patients and for menstrual cramps, Pfizer sent Kopchinski out with instructions to give complimentary 20 mg samples of Bextra to doctors, thus willfully and illegally endangering patient lives, particularly because in 2005 Bextra was taken off the market due toincreased risk of heart attacks and stroke. The truth is Big Pharma will do anything to boost its money making big profits, including killing innocent people.
But the story doesn’t end here. This legal case potently illustrates how the US federal government has been co-optedand conspires with Big Pharma to knowingly do harm to American citizens. When the story broke in the fall of 2009 of this record fine levied against Pfizer, assistant director Kevin Perkins of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division touted how the feds mean business going after lawbreakers within the pharmaceutical industry, boasting that “it sends a clear message.” But it turns out that that false bravado was an all-for-show facade.
The truth is the US government will knuckle under to Big Pharma, Wall Street and Big Banks every single time, even when it knows these “too big to fail” criminals repeatedly violate laws intended to protect the public. And constantly bailing them out at overburdened taxpayer expense only causes them to become more brazenly criminal, knowing they will always be protected by their co-conspirators the feds.
Back in November 2001 the FDA had stated that Bextra was unsafe for patients at risk of heart disease and stroke, rejecting its use especially at higher than 10mg doses on patients suffering from post-surgery pain. Yet Pfizer went ahead anyway marketing its product for any doctor who “used a scalpel for a living” as one district manager testified. It was learned that Pfizer deployed multimillions of dollars to its well-paid army of hundreds of doctors to go around “educating” other MD’s on the miracle benefits of Bextra. Again, misusing doctors as pitchmen to sell inflated false claims is employing the medical profession as Big Pharma’s industry whores.
By the time Bextra was finally taken off the market in April 2005, after killing a number of at risk patients that never should have been prescribed the painkiller, Pfizer had already made its cool $1.7 billion off the drug being illegally sold for purposes the FDA had expressly forbidden. Here’s where Big Pharma rules over Big Gov. Because by law any company that’s found guilty of fraud is prohibited from continuing as a Medicare and Medicaid contractor, which of course Pfizer is and was, the feds under the morally bankrupt excuse that Big Pharma’s also “too big to fail” made a dirty little secret deal with Pfizer in the backroom law offices of the federal government.
Just like US Empire uses the “national security” card, so do the banksters, Wall Street and Big Pharma use their “too big to fail” trump card to get away with their own crimes against humanity. It’s a rigged world where an elitist cabal of cheats and thugs mistreat fellow humans as owned commodities and indentured expendables. Money and power mean everything while human life means nothing to them. So the secret deal was cut where on paper only the fake Pfizer subsidiary Pharmacia and Upjohn that never sold a single drug would be found criminally guilty so the conveniently contrived loophole would spare Big Pharma Pfizer’s from its alleged death. Records show that on the very same day in 2007 that the feds worked out this sweetheart deal with Pfizer, this hollowed out shell company as Pfizer’s backdoor nonentity was born. How convenient as Big Gov. and Big Pharma got to live happily ever after together in criminal conspiracy against their own people they’re supposed to serve and protect, kind of like the way police forces across this nation are “serving and protecting” citizens.
Then with drug profits so obscenely high, even with a slap on the hand penalty fee of $2.3 billion, Big Pharma’s net profit for just one quarter easily can pay it off. Three years later in July 2012 the Justice Department handed down yet an even bigger fine of $3 billion to UK’s global healthcare giant GlaxoSmithKline for the same exact crimes. As long as Big Pharma continues raking in such enormous profits, fines into the billions mean nothing since they’re paid off in a few months’ time. Not until CEO’s and top executives of Big Banks, Big Wall Street and Big Pharma start going to jail to serve long term sentences for their crimes, it’ll conveniently remain business as usual. And as long as Big Pharma owns Big Gov. Corp., just like the oligarchs own everything there is to earthly own, nothing will ever change for the better unless we as citizens of the world demand accountability and justice that punishment rightly fit the corporate crime.
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 masters 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.
Central banks lie. That is what they do. Not too long ago, the Swiss National Bank promised that it would defend the euro/Swiss franc currency peg with the “utmost determination”. But on Thursday, the central bank shocked the financial world by abruptly abandoning it. More than three years ago, the Swiss National Bank announced that it would not allow the Swiss franc to fall below 1.20 to the euro, and it has spent a mountain of money defending that peg.
But now that it looks like the EU is going to launch a very robust quantitative easing program, the Swiss National Bank has thrown in the towel. It was simply going to cost way too much to continue to defend the currency floor. So now there is panic all over Europe. On Thursday, the Swiss franc rose a staggering 30 percent against the euro, and the Swiss stock market plunged by 10 percent. And all over the world, investors, hedge funds and central banks either lost or made gigantic piles of money as currency rates shifted at an unprecedented rate. It is going to take months to really measure the damage that has been done.
Meanwhile, the euro is in greater danger than ever. The euro has been declining for months, and now the number one buyer of euros (the Swiss National Bank) has been removed from the equation. As things in Europe continue to get even worse, expect the euro to go to all-time record lows. In addition, it is important to remember that the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s began when Thailand abandoned its currency peg. With this move by Switzerland set off a European financial crisis?
Of course this is hardly the first time that we have seen central banks lie. In the United States, the Federal Reserve does it all the time. The funny thing is that most people still seem to trust what central banks have to say. But at some point they are going to start to lose all credibility.
Financial markets like predictability. And gigantic amounts of money had been invested based on the repeated promises of the Swiss National Bank to use “unlimited amounts” of money to defend the currency floor. Needless to say, there are a lot of people in the financial world that feel totally betrayed by the Swiss National Bank today. The following comes from an analysis of the situation by Bruce Krasting…
Thomas Jordan, the head of the SNB has repeated said that the Franc peg would last forever, and that he would be willing to intervene in “Unlimited Amounts” in support of the peg. Jordan has folded on his promise like a cheap suit in the rain. When push came to shove, Jordan failed to deliver.
The Swiss economy will rapidly fall into recession as a result of the SNB move. The Swiss stock market has been blasted, the currency is now nearly 20% higher than it was a day before. Someone will have to fall on the sword, the arrows are pointing at Jordan.
The dust has not settled on this development as of this morning. I will stick my neck out and say that the failure to hold the minimum rate will result in a one time loss for the SNB of close to $100B. That’s a huge amount of money. It comes to 20% of the Swiss GDP!
Most experts are calling this an extremely bad move by the Swiss National Bank.
But in the end, they may have had little choice.
The euro is falling apart, and the Swiss did not want to be married to it any longer. Unfortunately, when any marriage ends the pain can be enormous. The following comes from CNBC…
How do you know you’re looking at a bad marriage?
Well if one or both of the spouses can’t wait to get out as soon as the smallest crack in the door opens, you have a pretty good clue.
Something like that just happened in Europe as we learned the real reason why so many traders were still invested in the euro: They had nowhere else to go.
As the Swiss National Bank unlocked the doors on its cap on trading euros for Swiss francs, the rush to exit the euro was faster than one of those French bullet trains.
But this move has not been bad for everyone. In fact, for many of those that live in Switzerland but work in neighboring countries what happened on Thursday was very fortuitous…
“I heard the news this morning. I’m so happy!” Vanessa, who refused to give her last name, told AFP outside of one of many mobbed exchange offices in Geneva.
She has reason to be extatic: she is one of some 280,000 people working in Switzerland but living and paying bills in eurozone countries France, Germany or Italy.
These so-called “frontaliers”, or border-crossers, are the biggest winners in Thursday’s Swiss franc surge, seeing their incomes jump 30 percent in the blink of an eye.
In normal times, things like this very rarely happen.
This move by the Swiss National Bank is just the beginning. Expect more desperate moves on the global economic chessboard in the days ahead. But in the end, none of those moves is going to prevent what is coming.
And one of these days, another extremely important currency peg is going to end. Right now, the Chinese have tied their currency very tightly to the U.S. dollar. This has helped to artificially inflate the value of the dollar. Unfortunately, as Robert Wenzel has noted, someday the Chinese could suddenly pull the rug out from under our currency, and that would be really bad news for us…
In other words, the SNB is no People’s Bank of China type patsy, where the PBOC has taken on massive amounts of dollar reserves to prop up the dollar.
Will the PBOC learn anything from SNB? If so, this will not be good for the US dollar.
So keep a close eye on what happens in Europe next.
It is going to be a preview of what is eventually coming to America?
Note: The first video has the most visual information.
Here is a video of the execution of Amedy Coulibaly. It is a German website with the actual live French video of the police assault on the deli. There are three videos. The first one repeatedly shows Coulibaly with tied hands containing no weapons shot downand killed when he could easily have been captured. It is as if the order was to make sure that there is no live suspect whose story might have to be explained away. The first video also repeatedly shows the execution in slow motion. Commentary in French accompanies the video.
In response to my Charlie Hebdo update European readers report that the situation in Europe is much the same as in the US and UK. The “mainstream” print and TV media parrot the official line and raise no unsettling questions. The independent Internet media is where real information is reported.
The German print and TV media have suffered dramatic declines in readers and viewers. This decline accelerated when Udo Ulkotte’s book about CIA penetration of European media was published by Kopp Verlag and became a best seller. Thinking people no longer trust the German media. The German media has lost the intelligent part of the population and only retains the somnolent sheep.
There are efforts to infiltrate the Internet media. Sites funded by money, such as Salon, appear. These sites attempt to discredit all who raise honest and obvious questions. Readers report that the Huffington Post has lost credibility by its move into “respectability.” Salon, apparently, has no more credibility than Fox News or The Weekly Standard.
The view I get from Europe supports my view. The left-wing, or what little remains of a left, supports the official stories of terrorist attacks, For the American left, the stories confirm the left-wing’s emotional need to believe that peoples oppressed by Western colonialism/imperialism are capable and determined and strike back at their oppressors. The left-wing’s sense of justice demands that oppressed and abused peoples don’t just sit there and take it. The French left sees the Charlie Hebdo attack as an effort by obscurantist religion to attack freedom of expression and brings to mind the French left’s anti-Catholic crusade.
The right-wing accepts the official stories for two different reasons. The anti-immigrationists among them use the terror attacks as evidence against immigration. The patriotic right can go along with this, but also responds to writers such as myself, who defend the Constitution against the government, with the argument that it is the government’s job to interpret the Constitution and I should not use the Constitution in order to criticize our government. Much of the American right believes that liberals use the Constitution in order to defend criminals and terrorists, who simply should not be tolerated. In other words, the Constitution is seen not as our defender but as a defender of those the right-wing regards as undesirables, such as criminals, terrorists, abortionists, and homosexuals.
The rest of the population has simply succumbed to the many years of demonization of Muslims. Indeed, Israel has been demonizing Muslims for 60 years and has created the image of Muslims as terrorists wearing suicide bombs. If a person has been prepared to regard Muslims as terrorists, the official stories simply fit that already prepared compartment in the brain.
Additionally, although false flag attacks are commonplace and have been used throughout history to advance undeclared agendas, the public has been brainwashed to regard them as “conspiracy theories.” Thus, anyone who raises questions is dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist.” Many Americans do not even understand that the official story of 9/11, for example, is a conspiracy theory. So is the official explanation of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the Charlie Hebdo attack. What it boils down to is that official conspiracy theories are accepted as true, but everyone who questions them is a “conspiracy theorist.”
Readers point out that as stupid as governments are, populations are even more stupid and that governments succeed in brainwashing populations. Many conclude that in the absence of an adversarial media, democracy is a sham as the people have no inclination or means of confronting the government.
The hope appears to be that the mainstream media will continue to diminish and will be replaced by the independent Internet media, thus releasing populations from their brainwashed state. Others think that this hope will come to naught as governments will assert control over the Internet and that governments will make dissent the equivalent of terrorism.
Those who try to suppress dissent might be simply defending a personal bias or they might be agents of a cover-up. Regardless, it comes to the same thing in the end. People who raise dissenting points and honest questions are ridiculed or demonized in efforts to silence or marginalize them. Whether or not truth can actually prevail, it doesn’t usually prevail in time. For example, “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction” prevailed over truth. After Iraq is destroyed we learn that the basis for the US invasion of Iraq rested firmly on an orchestrated lie.
The culpability of the Western media in lies, death, and destruction is extreme. Consider the Malaysian airliner that went down in Ukraine. The US, UK, EU, and the puppet government in Kiev blamed Russia and forces of the breakaway eastern province for shooting down the civilian airliner. An investigation was convened. It has been six months since the investigation was convened, and the results have not been released.
Clearly, if the investigation supported the Western propaganda, the results would have been released. We can safely conclude that the investigation does not support the West’s propaganda. There has not been one word from the Western media demanding the results of the investigation. The world has forgotten it, but the world remembers the loudly shouted propaganda, and the conclusion, unsupported by any evidence, is that Russia is guilty.
The Western media works the same way when it reports Charlie Hebdo.
At the expense of popular needs gone begging. Including so-called financial reform legislation written by Wall Street lawyers. Obamacare drafted by healthcare giants.
So-called “grand bargain” help for struggling middle America reflects total capitulation to America’s aristocracy.
The nation’s social contract threatened. Targeted for elimination altogether. Forced-fed austerity replacing it. During protracted Main Street Depression conditions.
Unprecedented wealth disparity unfairness. Growing millions impoverished. It doesn’t matter.
Throughout his tenure, Obama consistently supported corporate tax cuts. Increased corporate subsidies. Other corporate benefits.
Medicare and Social Security cuts. Fantasy jobs created. Fake ones concealing nearly one-fourth of working-age Americans unemployed.
Most others underemployed. Needing two or more jobs to survive. Most available are part-time or temp low-pay/poor or no benefits rotten ones.
Privatizing public education. Commodifying it. Making it another business profit center at the expense of real learning.
Gutting public and private worker pensions. Other social benefit cuts when most needed.
Including extended unemployment benefits millions of jobless Americans need. Food stamps for low income households.
Home energy assistance. Especially for heat in winter. Pell Grants for college tuitions. Loan shark student loans replacing them.
Head Start for comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent-involvement services. WIC (women, infants and children) grants.
Community healthcare centers. Numerous other federal programs. Cut on route to eliminating them altogether.
Leaving increasing numbers of Americans on their own sink or swim. “Grand bargain” deception. Social America being systematically destroyed.
Its resources increasingly benefitting privileged elites. Inequality is institutionalized. Hard times keep getting harder.
Poverty is a growth industry. A race to the bottom reflects official bipartisan policy. Human suffering is real.
America’s middle class is targeted for elimination. Heading for history’s dustbin. The nation increasingly becoming a ruler/serf society.
Obama is a serial liar. Breaking every major promise made. Expect his latest to be no exception.
His annual state of the union addresses reflect beginning-to-end doublespeak duplicity. Empty rhetoric concealing business as usual.
Continuation of ruinous policies. Governing to the right of George Bush. Beholden solely to monied interests.
in previous state of the union addresses, he promised undelivered economic growth. Millions of new living wage/good benefits jobs.
Tax relief for ordinary Americans. Lump of coal harshness followed. Throughout his tenure, he promised one thing. Delivered another.
His latest scheme promises more of the same. Smoke and mirrors deception in lieu of real substantive change.
If none throughout his first six years in office, why expect something different this time.
Especially with Republicans controlling both houses. Many Democrats supporting their policies.
Obama a stealth Republican. Based on his record so far. Earlier as a US senator.
Expect nothing benefitting ordinary Americans from his latest so-called proposal. The New York Times discussed it.
Saying he’ll “use his State of the Union address to call on Congress to raise taxes and fees on the wealthiest taxpayers and the largest financial firms to finance an array of tax cuts for the middle class, pressing to reshape the tax code to help working families, administration officials said on Saturday.”
It bears repeating. If not earlier throughout his six years in office, why now? As a lame duck. With Republicans largely controlling policy.
On January 17, a so-called White House Fact Sheet headlined “A Simpler, Fairer Tax Code That Responsibly Invests in Middle Class Families.”
Rubbish! A litany of Big Lies followed. Reality is polar opposite duplicitous claims listed.
Including saying “(o)n Tuesday, (Obama) will lay out his (new) vision…”
“A key part…include(s) a new strategy to simplify our complex tax code, make it fairer by eliminating some of the biggest loopholes, and use the savings to responsibly pay for the investments we need to help middle class families get ahead and grow the economy.”
He’ll propose eliminating loopholes he supported maintaining up to now. Raising capital gains and dividends taxes he endorsed cutting earlier.
“Making the biggest financial firms pay their fare share.” Up to now, his policies were polar opposite.
“Helping working families” he harmed unfairly. “Tripling the child care tax credit” he’s done nothing to increase so far.
“Making college accessible and affordable.” Obama supports America’s student loan racket. Assuring longterm debt bondage for millions of graduates.
A conspiratorial alliance of lenders, guarantors, servicers, and collection companies. Ripping off students unfairly.
Principle, accrued interest, late payment and collection agency penalties create enormous burdens to repay.
Private lenders are exempt from federal fair debt collection requirements. Federal loans have minimal safety net protection.
Lenders operate virtually risk-free. The system is rigged against borrowers.
Loans are easy to get. Tough to service. Never forgiven. Burdensome debt escalates higher.
A vicious circle entraps graduates and dropouts. For many it’s permanent. Obama’s student loan policy made things worse, not better.
“(M)aking it easy and automatic for workers to save for retirement.” When up to now he supported gutting public and private pensions.
In 2010, he rhetorically opposed extending Bush era tax cuts for households earning over $250,000.
An earlier promise made. Another broken. Saying one thing. Doing another. Capitulating to Republicans.
A December 6 press release saying while “disagree(ing)” with GOP members he capitulated.
Claiming “without a willingness to give on both sides, there’s no reason to believe (the current) stalemate won’t continue well into next year…”
“I am not willing to let that happen. (I)t would be the wrong thing to do.”
“As a result, we have arrived at a framework for a bipartisan agreement.”
Assuring business as usual. Caving to deep-pocketed donors. Benefitting America’s privileged class.
Stiff-arming others most in need. Gaining nothing from low capital gains and dividends taxes.
Obama’s so-called “tough choices…to secure our future and our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future” involves assuring they have none at all.
Class warfare is official US policy. Democrats and Republicans support it.
Neoliberal harshness reflects it. So do an array of bipartisan backed policies solely benefitting corporate America and super-rich elites.
The New York Times operates as a megaphone of misinformation. Ludicrously claiming Obama’s “initiative signals a turnabout…”
After six years of broken promises. One-sided fealty to monied interests. Letting war profiteers gorge at the public trough.
Cutting social programs when most needed. Popular ones increasingly ignored. Duplicity defines his agenda. Business as usual reflects it.
Expect nothing different this time. Once a monied interests tool. Always one.
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.
The British government has been accused of “wearing the Saudi muzzle” over its failure to publicly condemn Saudi Arabia for continuing to flog a prominent blogger.
Amnesty International said the UK government’s “credibility” is undermined, as it celebrates free speech in the wake of the Paris attacks but fails to condemn “oil-rich” Saudi Arabia.
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is to receive 50 lashes this Friday, the second installment of a 1,000-lash sentence for “insulting Islam” via an online forum he launched.
Badawi, who also faces 10 years in jail and a £175,000 fine, was flogged 50 times after Friday prayers last week, just days after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France.
While the Foreign Office condemned the flogging, senior government officials have not publicly commented on the case.
Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s UK director, accused the British government of “wearing the Saudi muzzle” over the case.
“Our ministers rightly celebrate free speech in Paris or in London but suddenly seem to lose their own power of utterance when it comes to forthrightly and publicly condemning the authorities in Riyadh,” Allen said. “Why do ministers keep wearing the Saudi muzzle? It seriously weakens the UK’s credibility if it’s seen to tone everything down when it comes to oil-rich Saudi Arabia.”
She added: “David Cameron and his ministers should have the courage of their convictions and say – loud and clear – that Raif Badawi’s case is an absolute disgrace, that this weekly flogging should be halted, and he should be freed from jail.”
The blogger’s only hope of reprieve this Friday is if a Saudi prison doctor determines he has not yet recovered from last week’s punishment.
Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told Amnesty International she fears her husband may not be able to physically withstand a second round of lashes.
Speaking to Human Rights Watch, a witness to last Friday’s flogging in central Jeddah said “Badawi suffered visible bruising,” but was able to walk back to the prison car on his own.
The writer and activist first incited the wrath of Saudi officials when he was detained in 2008 on charges of “apostasy,” or abandoning his religion – a crime that carries the death penalty.
He was released a day later but continued to face persecution for editing his blog, Free Saudi Liberals, which criticized the role of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
In 2012, Saudi authorities shut down his website and charged Badawi with “ridiculing Islamic religious figures.”
The blogger was sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison in July 2013.
Following appeals from his lawyers, a Saudi court increased the sentence last May to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison.
Al-Juffali Mosque, Jeddah (Image from Flickr.com/Ibrahim Ajlan)
Badawi’s punishment will be carried out in front of al-Jafali mosque for the next 19 weeks.
His lawyer, Waleed Abu al-Kahir, was given his own 15-year prison sentence on Monday, having been convicted of charges including “breaking allegiance to the ruler.”
Human rights groups have condemned the flogging.
“Corporal punishment is nothing new in Saudi Arabia, but publicly lashing a peaceful activist merely for expressing his ideas sends an ugly message of intolerance,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch.
“Saudi Arabia is showing a willingness to inflict vicious and cruel punishments on writers whose views it rejects,” she added.
RT contacted the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London, but was told the kingdom has no official statement to make concerning Badawi.
American officials have taken a difference stance, with some saying that they have made their issues with the sentence known to Saudi authorities. When questioned by reporters on Monday, however, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf stopped short of saying what, if any, specific steps the US is taking to stop the floggings from being carried out.
CNN’s Elise Labott argued with Harf for several minutes, questioning why the government is not demanding that Saudi Arabia—a close US ally—change course. The spokesperson responded that the department is “not in the business of demanding things” from other governments, and she would have to get back to her with more information.
With the Greek elections only days away, the governments and the media of the European Union have once again stepped up their campaign of threatening the Greek people and stirring up anti-Greek sentiments. While the IMF has shown its contempt for democratic elections by suspending all payments to Athens, the German government keeps refusing to deny allegations that the EU is prepared to dismiss Greece from its currency zone and let it reintroduce the drachma.
To anyone familiar with global finances it is highly improbable for a country with government debt running at almost 330 billion euros to leave the euro zone without dramatic consequences not only for the euro, but also for the global financial system. Germany’s allegations should therefore not be taken at face value. However, they should be seen as a very serious threat to Greek voters. The message sent from Berlin: Do not elect a government that dares resist the measures imposed upon Greek working people by the troika.
Five years have passed since Greece was put under forced administration by the troika made up of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After the euro crisis hit Greece in 2009, the country’s major banks were facing bankruptcy, so the Greek government saved them by handing huge sums of taxpayers’ money to the financial industry. These payments in turn tore big holes into the state budget, which had to be refilled. This is where the troika stepped in, officially “aiding” the ailing Greek economy by passing out loans to Athens.
The working people of Greece were told that these loans were designed to help the country get its finances in order again and that everybody would benefit from them in the long run. However, the majority of these loans went straight into the coffers of large banks. Here’s just one example: Of the 18 billion euros released by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in June 2012 6.9 billion euros went to the National Bank, 5 billion euros to Piraeus Bank, 4.2 billion euros to the EFG Eurobank Ergesias and 1.9 billion euros to the Alpha Bank.
As with all other loans granted by the troika, not one cent of these alleged “aid payments” went to the working people of Greece. But that was not all. Although they weren’t in the least responsible for their country’s financial catastrophe, it was Greek workers and employees that were then forced to master the gigantic task of assuring the repayment of these loans. While those that had caused the deficits – reckless financial speculators – were allowed to go unpunished and unharmed it was the common people that were placed under the troika’s forced administration. Within four years they had to undergo six consecutive austerity programs that lowered their living standards from those of a European country to those of a developing nation.
Greece today is a country in shambles. Five years after the onset of the crisis, more than a million old age pensioners are forced to live on less than 500 euros a month, the minimum wage is at 860 euros a month, unemployment runs at 26 percent while youth unemployment is almost 60 percent. The medical system has been taken down and social services are almost nonexistent.
Social desperation has led to an increase in the number of suicides while life expectancy has dropped and infant mortality has risen significantly.
So what does the troika have in mind for Greece after the elections? First of all, if Greece against all odds should actually be forced to leave the euro zone this would certainly be accompanied by a massive devaluation of a new drachma which in turn would lead to a further loss of purchasing power and have a dramatic effect on the poorest sections of society. Also, a devalued drachma would attract foreign investors who would be able to engage in a new round of currency speculation and could then use their profits to buy up even more small and medium sized Greek businesses at rock bottom prices. Moreover, a devaluation of the drachma would prolong repaying government debt and lead to an extension of debt servicing over more than a generation.
But what if Greece were allowed to stay a member of the euro zone? Could this go along with an easing of austerity measures? Quite the contrary: In order to repay government debt which in relation to GDP is presently 27 % higher than when austerity started in 2010, the new rulers in Athens would not only have to stick to the path set out by the troika, but would even have to tighten austerity measures, further cutting government spending, laying off more public workers, and increasing the exploitation of labor in order to improve the economy’s ‘competitiveness’.
However, as all these measures would very certainly not suffice to significantly lower Greek government debt, one should be prepared for even sharper moves. It is worthwhile taking a look at the troika’s intervention in Cyprus where the bail-out of banks (saving banks with taxpayers’ money) was partly replaced by a bail-in, i.e. forcing small investors and savers to bear the burden of repaying government debt. Also, one should look at the IMF’s publication “Taxing Times” published in October 2013, which proposes a 10 % tax on all private households in order to fill the holes in state budgets. One should definitely expect the troika to enforce measures like these on any future government in Athens.
But what if Syriza wins the elections on 25 January 2015? Would they be able to withstand the troika’s demands and lead Greece out of its crisis? Well, let’s take a look at their program: On the one hand they are promising Greek voters to put an end to austerity, but on the other they are announcing that they will keep cooperating with the EU. This is, to say the least, a highly contradictory strategy of which one thing can be said for sure: That it will meet with the troika’s fiercest resistance.
So far Syriza’s leaders and a lot of their followers seem oblivious to the fact that the troika – the executive organ of European and American finance capital and the major international driving force of global financial markets – is much more powerful than any single government in the world. If Syriza does come to power and actually starts cutting back on austerity measures, one can be sure that the financial markets will immediately react, and this reaction will resemble an earthquake. They will bring down the Greek economy within days and force Syriza to comply with the demands of big international financial institutions or resign. This in turn will lead to factional struggles within Syriza and also bring about to a massive radicalization of disappointed voters who will demand that Syriza stick to every one of its promises.
Actually, it is this development that Germany’s government, the EU and the IMF fear most: They are deadly afraid that once Syriza gets tangled up in its contradictory policies, the working people of Greece could insist on their demands, take to the streets in huge numbers and spark off protests and demonstrations in other European countries which could easily assume dimensions not seen on the continent since World War II.
Ernst Wolff is a freelance journalist and the author of the book “Pillaging the World. The History and Politics of the IMF”, published by Tectum Verlag, Germany.
Reported along the peripheries of the Western media, it was reported recently that some 3,000 so-called “moderate rebels” of the “Free Syrian Army” had defected to the “Islamic State” (ISIS). While not the first time so-called “moderates” have crossed over openly to Al Qaeda or ISIS, it is one of the largest crossovers that has occurred. With them, these 3,000 fighters will bring weapons, cash, equipment, and training provided to them by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, the UK, and perhaps most ironic of all in the wake of the recent terror attack in Paris, France. Indeed, ISIS and Al Qaeda’s ranks continue to swell amid this insidious network of “terror laundering” that is only set to grow.It was an open conspiracy exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article, ”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?“, that the US and its regional allies sought to use Al Qaeda and other extremist groups to wage a proxy war on Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. This conspiracy has clearly manifested itself today in the form of ISIS. Despite a feigned military campaign waged against ISIS, targeting primarily Syria’s oil infrastructure, the true source of ISIS’ strength, emanating from NATO territory in Turkey, remains unscathed and uninterrupted. Additionally, torrents of cash, weapons, and supplies are working their way across ISIS’ rank and file through the migration of so-called “moderates” under their banner.
Before this brigade-sized defection, several other “vetted moderate rebel” groups, armed by the US in particular, have openly pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. The most notorious incident was when terror group Harakat Hazm, provided antitank TOW missiles by the US, openly pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization Al Nusra. Al Nusra would assume possession of the TOW missiles, using them allegedly in a successful campaign in Syria’s Idlib province.
One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United Statescondemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.
Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”
Weaponry supplied by the US to moderate Syrian rebels was feared to have fallen into the hands of jihadist militants affiliated to al-Qaida after clashes between rival groups.
Islamist fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of large swathes of land in Jabal al-Zawiya, Idlib province, at the weekend, routing the US-backed groups the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SFR) and Harakat Hazm, activists said.
Washington relied on SFR and Harakat Hazm to counter Isis (Islamic State) militants on the ground in Syria, complementing its air strikes.
Clearly however, Harakat Hazm’s “surrender” was merely the finalizing of its growing alliance with Al Nusra.
US Prepares Another Brigade for ISIS
When “moderates” appear inevitably destined for the ranks of ISIS, and with US weapons falling into Al Qaeda’s hands along with entire brigade-sized defections taking place, what the world would last expect is for the US to prepare another brigade-sized army to arm, fund, train, and turn loose inside of Syria. But that is precisely what the US is planning to do.Stars and Stripes would report in its article, “Agreement reached for US to train Syrian rebels in Turkey,” that:
Officials say the initial round of training would produce of 5,000 trained Free Syrian Army members within about a year.
Saudi Arabia in September agreed to host the training of moderate Syrian rebels to assist the U.S. strategy to combat Islamic State insurgents, who control territory in Syria and Iraq.
U.S. support of the Free Syrian Army has been criticized as halting by supporters of greater U.S. involvement in Syria, and the group suffered setbacks when units were overrun and driven from their bases in recent weeks by members of another insurgent group, the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Only this “Free Syrian Army” wasn’t overrun and driven out by Al Nusra – as previously mentioned – instead many of these groups had been part of long-running alliances with the Al Qaeda franchise, and simply made it official, bringing their Western arms, cash, and training with them.
For the US already, plausible deniability is impossible with revelations as early as 2007 exposing America’s desire to use Al Qaeda as a proxy military force. With Harakat Hazm turning over US-supplied antitank TOW missiles to Al Qaeda, and now an entire brigade-sized defection by so-called “Free Syrian Army” fighters to ISIS – what besides “disaster” could befall America’s new brigade it plans to start training this spring?
Inevitably, these fighters, their supplies and weapons will end up consolidated under ISIS and Al Nusra’s banner. Terrorism continues to grow in Syria not because of ISIS’ control over oilfields and revenue from hostage ransoms, but because the US and its partners continue to intentionally feed into its maw thousands of trained fighters, weapons, and billions in cash, equipment, and other supplies.
When these terrorists begin filtering into Europe and America, the same interests involved in intentionally creating this massive terrorist enterprise in Syria will wring their hands demanding what little is left of civilization at home be dismantled, after having insidiously and intentionally destroyed it abroad.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.
Amply documented, the French Republic under the helm of president Francois Hollande is supporting as well as funding Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists.
“The forbidden truth” which the French public should address is that their government together with the US, NATO and Israel –while waging a self-proclaimed “Global War on Terrorism”– routinely provide covert support to the same terrorist entities which are the object of their “humanitarian wars” and “counter-terrorism operations”.
While the French media in chorus point to the jihadist threat to “Freedom of Expression”, not a single French media has had the courage of raising the broader issue of State sponsorship of terrorism and the insidious role of the French government and its intelligence apparatus in supporting Al Qaeda affiliated entities not only in the Middle East and Africa but also in France.
In a bitter irony, the campaign following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo has not contributed to sustaining ”Freedom of Expression”. In fact quite the opposite. It has contributed to a new wave of media censorship.
There is a gruesome political agenda behind these attacks which must be the object of public debate. Who are the terrorists? Those who commit terrorist acts or those who control and finance the terrorists?
Commissaire Helric Fredou: “The Forgotten Policeman”
Fredou was part of the official investigation. His passing –while participating in the Charlie Hebdo investigation– has barely been acknowledged. His death in Limoges, South-West France is shrouded in mystery. He allegedly committed suicide within hours of a police debriefing and the preparation of his police report.
His body was found at 1am on Thursday morning with a bullet in his head. He allegedly committed suicide.
Fredou’s funeral was held privately in Limoges on the same day (Tuesday) as that of the other three policemen.
The official story is that he was depressed and had suffered from a burnout following a meeting with relatives of one of the victims. There are no details as to who these relatives are and where they are living, in the region of Limoges (Haute Vienne) or in Paris (400 km. from Limoges).
What the reports fail to mention is that the Kouali brothers had spent their high-school years in the Limoges region and that Commissaire Ferou’s police investigation was in all probability related to gathering information within the region on the Kouali brothers including their whereabouts.
”An autopsy was performed at the University Hospital of Limoges, “confirming the suicide” . The French media decided or was instructed not to cover the incident.
Commissaire Ferou committed suicide in his workplace, in his office at the police station.
Did he commit suicide? Was he incited to commit suicide?
Or was he an “honest Cop” executed on orders of France’s judicial police?
In addition to the Israeli SWAT team, Prime minister Netanyahu “has ordered Mossad to provide French officials for all the assistance they need in tackling the ongoing terror situation in and around Paris” (Daily Telegraph, emphasis added). What this suggests is that Mossad agents would be operating on French soil in partnership with France’s Direction générale de la sécurité extérieureformerly known as Le Deuxième Bureau.
According to Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu, (January 9)
“[the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Paris kosher grocery store] are a microcosm of of a greater battle against jihadists …
This is a global struggle. Bringing to justice the Paris murderers is just the beginning,…
And all of them seek to destroy our freedoms and to impose on all of us a violent, medieval tyranny. They might have different names, but all of them are driven by the same hatred and blood-thirsty fanaticism.”
They bomb churches in Iraq; they slaughter tourists in Bali; they rocket civilians from Gaza; and strive to build nuclear weapons in Iran…we have to fight these enemies of our common civilization” (quoted in Times of Israel, January 9, 2015)
What the Times of Israel report fails to mention is that Netanyahu has been actively supporting Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusrah terrorists out of the occupied Golan heights. While coming to France’s rescue, Netanyahu does not deny his government’s support of the jihadists in Syria. The IDF top brass has acknowledged that “global jihad elements inside Syria” are supported by Israel:
Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
At a lookout point overlooking the Syrian border, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan briefed Netanyahu on the presence of global jihad elements inside Syria, as well as on the work being done to fortify the Israeli-Syrian border fence. (Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2014)
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with an Al Qaeda Terrorist. Is the wounded terrorist an Israeli intelligence asset?
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″ (ibid, emphasis added)
Ironically, the State of Israel is collaborating with the French authorities in the Charlie Hebdo counterterrorism operation, while also supporting the two main terrorist entities in Syria: the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusrah.
While there is no evidence of Mossad presence prior to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, it should be noted that France and Israel have a longstanding bilateral relationship in military and intelligence affairs. The fact that the Israeli government announced its intention to dispatch Mossad officials to Paris might suggest that Israeli intelligence officials were in Paris at an earlier date, prior to the January 9 official announcement by PM Netanyahu.
On January 8, in his sparsely-furnished New York City office, the Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, sat down with Al-Akhbar for an interview. The veteran diplomat, who has held his position at the UN since 2006, and lives restricted to a 25-mile radius of New York City, has much more to say than the half hour allowed. Defiant as always, he discussed the challenges he faces at the UN, explained why he thinks the organization has lost its way, and censured Western states and media for their hostility toward the Syrian government.
First, however, we discussed the exhibition of Aleppo-based Syrian photographer Hagop Vanesian, titled “My Homeland,” which opened the same day at the United Nations headquarters.
Al-Akhbar: How did this exhibition come about?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This is the first breakthrough we’ve had at the level of the United Nations since the beginning of what is commonly called “the Syrian crisis.” For four years, I have been trying very hard to do something inside the UN. Every time we attempted to do something, we were confronted by a huge amount of bureaucracy, excuses, apologies (sometimes), denial of our rights (sometimes), negligence, etc.
I’m very glad that we finally succeeded in organizing this exhibition — which doesn’t address the whole, dramatic picture of the Syrian crisis, but only focuses on what happened to and in Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria, after the capital, Damascus. It’s about Syria, it’s about the Syrian people. It’s not about the Syrian government or the Syrian opposition or the Syrian coalition thugs or Da’esh (ISIS). It’s about Syria, about what happened in Aleppo, through undeniable photos.
The exhibition is the work of a highly-professional Syrian photographer of Armenian origin, who is himself a citizen of Aleppo. He is an eyewitness to the terrorist rampage that hit this beautiful city, Aleppo, which has always been a cradle of civilization. He is suffering greatly. He lost his home, his family. He will show only 26 photos, but he has an archive of thousands of photos. He has complete archives of Aleppo, before and after, building by building, how it was before and how it became.
AA: Why do you think that the UN has allowed this exhibition now? You mentioned you’d wanted to sponsor exhibitions in the past but hadn’t been allowed.
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: The Saudi mission, the French mission, the Danish mission, the British mission, the German mission… they have countered Syrian government activities in the UN. Every time we complained about it they said, “You can do the same.” Today we said, “We have an exhibition.” They were cornered. They couldn’t say no (chuckles), because they kept telling me “You can do the same.” We are not attacking Germany or France or others, we are showing the reality in our country.
AA: An Associated Press article that has been running in the mainstream papers slammed this exhibit; citing an official in the opposition Syrian National Coalition calling the photographer a “propagandist.”
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This is what they are good at. They don’t look at the picture in its entirety, in its comprehensiveness. They don’t address what the photographs are talking about objectively. They have prejudices, wrong preconceived ideas about what’s taking place in Syria. They start with wrong ideas and end with wrong ideas. It’s really unfortunate, because here we are not talking about just some gallery in New York. We are talking about the United Nations headquarters!
We are speaking the language of the UN: territorial integrity of states, political independence of states, sovereignty of states, equal membership of states. All these sacrosanct terms are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We are not starting from scratch or re-inventing new language. We are in full harmony with the UN language and the UN provisions of the Charter.
Others are not, because they don’t belong to the UN world. They [the media] are, of course, against the Syrian government. They are against anything that might explain positively, or objectively speaking [the Syrian crisis], to the so-called “international community” — I don’t believe in this word. They have been falsifying facts, spreading rumours, making propaganda against the Syrian government for years. And they are living off this criticism, it has become a source of their livelihood, their own welfare. The more you criticize the Syrian government, the more money you get from the petrodollar countries, the more visas you get from Western world, the more you go to five-star hotels, the more you appear on TV screens as dignitaries of the Syrian people, as representatives — exclusive representatives — of the Syrian people.
Anybody who opposes this exhibition belongs to a political current opposing the truth. Any honest, objective Syrian who loves his homeland, who says he feels sick because of what is going on in Syria, should have a great interest in showing what is going on in Syria. All Syrians should push for organizing more exhibitions, not only at the United Nations but all over the world, to explain what Da’esh and al-Nusra Front and the other terrorist groups sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, are doing. The Turkish intelligence is deeply involved in sponsoring Da’esh, and in stealing our plants and factories.
AA: You are the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic at the United Nations, and Syria is an important subject in the news. Are you asked to appear on major TV channels?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: Mainly, I address the media at the UN, at the stakeout, which is the podium for diplomats, for ambassadors. I also go on TV from time to time. But to be honest, when they record interviews, I speak for 20 minutes, then they show only 20 seconds, 10 seconds, whatever fits their agenda. You saw what happened with Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour, and others. They always try to manipulate the facts, and they do their best to deviate from the direction of the conversation into little, negative, details, so that the audience will have a negative idea of what I am saying. Simultaneously, as I am speaking, they show a negative video clip on what’s going on in Syria, accusing the government of doing so and so. Which means that they are indirectly telling viewers that this ambassador is not telling the truth. You see how they manipulate?
Christiane Amanpour was lying when she was interviewing me on the so-called chemical weapons. She was lying, not telling the truth at all! This is why I told her, “You know what? You also may be a weapon of mass destruction, because you are poisoning public opinion and deviating from the main points I’m making.”
AA: You are now under a 25-mile travel ban, how did they justify imposing this restriction on you?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: Yes. They didn’t give me any reason, they didn’t explain anything. They just notified me that from now on, you won’t be able to go beyond 25 miles [of New York City's Columbus Circle]. It’s an American sovereign decision. I’m an ambassador to the United Nations, not to the United States, so maybe they are taking advantage of that nuance. Of course, it is not justifiable. I have the right to move according to the Vienna Diplomatic Convention. But if they want it this way, let it be.
AA: Prior to this, had you been traveling in the US or elsewhere?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: Yes. Maybe my activism caused me this trouble.
AA: Your activism consisted of meeting with members of the Syrian-American community?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: Yes, meeting with them, explaining to them what’s going on in Syria. They needed information, they needed to be briefed about what’s going on in their homeland. They are all extremely worried, they have families there.
AA: Speaking of traveling, recently, there were reports that you launched an official complaint at the UN regarding US Senator John McCain and other heads of states traveling illegally to Syria and meeting with anti-government fighters.
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: Yes, this is what transpired in the media. I didn’t ask to circulate the letter, I wanted it to be shared only by the members of the Security Council, but it was somehow leaked. But I would like to confirm that, yes, I sent a letter drawing the kind attention of the secretary-general and the members of the Security Council to this flagrant and blatant interference in domestic affairs, this violation of our sovereignty, the illegal crossing of our borders. Whenever one of those who cross illegally into Syria gets killed by the terrorists, then the Syrian government is blamed for not protecting him, although they entered Syria illegally. Many journalists have been killed, unfortunately. It is unfortunate, but they are responsible for their own fate. They didn’t enter Syria via the Syrian government. We would have protected them. We would have shown them where to go and where not to go. But they had bad intentions. So, many of them got killed, beheaded, kidnapped.
So, indeed, I forwarded this letter with some specific names, even though there are thousands, but we gave just some names. John McCain, an American senator, goes and meets with Da’esh (ISIS) in Aleppo. In one picture, he was with a man from ISIS. And the other “moderate” criminals. The American weapons delivered to them ended up in the hands of al-Nusra Front and Da’esh. All these people are “moderate,” as you know. Bernard Kouchner, the former French Foreign Minister, entered Syria illegally, too. Can you imagine that? A senator from the USA, a former minister from France, Turkish intelligence… and then they tell you that, “you know what, we are extremely worried about the spread of terrorism.”
AA: In UN sessions, your microphone has repeatedly had suddenly “technical difficulties” and been cut, or the video feed has had sudden inexplicable “technical difficulties”…
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: Many times, many times. I have been the only Ambassador at the United Nations since 1945 whose speeches were cut off, or not recorded at all. It has never happened otherwise in UN meetings. Never. Two of my speeches were not recorded. One, under the Chairmanship of the former Qatari ambassador… of course, Qatar. But what adds insult to injury was that Ban Ki-moon himself was at sitting at the podium, and he supported the move taken by the President of the General Assembly. That triggered a very negative reaction from many ambassadors who intervened. The biased position of the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly was obvious from the very first days, thanks to these wrongdoings.
This has been a phenomenon related exclusively to me. Let me elaborate. Every time I speak, for instance, at the Security Council, they choose a bad interpreter who is unable to fully interpret what I am saying. So the people do not get my message. They do it on purpose. One day, I was invited to address the Security Council. I saw one of the Security Council staff members addressing the interpreters. He gave them a hand signal: change. I saw it with my own eyes. So they changed the good interpreter with a poor one, thus ensuring that my political message does not transpire fully.
They do the same things in the General Assembly. The British ambassador cut me off one time while I was speaking. He said “you have exceeded four minutes.” I said, “Who gave you the right to fix four minutes? I am a member of a concerned party, and I have the right to explain.” To justify his wrongdoing, he also cut off the Iraqi ambassador after me. We were the only two ambassadors speaking at that session, and it was on Syria and Iraq. The issue was on terrorism in Syria and Iraq, and he cut off both of us after four minutes!
The UN has lost its credibility. The UN has lost a lot of the principles of its founding fathers. The UN of today has nothing to do with the UN of the Charter. This is why everybody has forgotten about the Charter; people do not speak of the Charter. They don’t speak about sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, equality among members. Now they speak about the rule of law, human rights, the environment — because this is very dear to the heart of the private sector: money — partnerships. Now the Secretary-General is focused on partnerships, because he wants to privatize the United Nations.
The budget of peacekeeping operations is three times higher than the regular budget! Rather than extinguishing the conflicts, and decreasing the number of peacekeeping operations, we have increased the peace-keeping operations. We have right now 36 special political missions, aside from 15 peacekeeping operations. Twenty years ago, we didn’t have any special political missions. This is a new phenomenon. By the way, the special political missions and the peace-keeping operations are not in the Charter. These are some of the ways they are deviating from the Charter itself. Together they consume $7.9 billion per year. And they are solving nothing.
When one of the peacekeeping operations, such as the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDOF) on the Syrian occupied Golan makes mistakes, they hide it, they don’t share the information with the Security Council. For instance, Israel is dealing with Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) right now in the Golan, helping the terrorists and treating their wounded in Israeli hospitals. Israeli TV shows Netanyahu visiting them. Still, the report of the secretary-general denies this fact, and the report of the Secretary-General does not address this fact, does not acknowledge that there is cooperation between Israel and the terrorists in the Golan.
AA: The media accuses President al-Assad of being responsible for Da’esh, and other terrorists. Who do you blame for the proliferation of terrorists in Syria?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: I’m sure you’re aware of the alarming reports of Da’esh coming from Camp Bucca in Iraq, the famous American prison in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi, the caliph of Da’esh, was at Bucca. He was released by the Americans, not by the Syrian president. The men who committed the massacre in Paris, they were fighting in Syria and came back to France. France allowed them to go to Syria, where they killed scores of people, and in Iraq. Then they came back, normally, and the French police let them in. The same terrorists. They are good when they kill Syrians, and they are bad when they kill the French.
In 2012, Laurent Fabius, the French minister of foreign affairs, said himself that the jihadists — he didn’t call them terrorists then — were doing well. The French minister! A permanent member of the Security Council in charge of maintaining international peace and security. He described their dirty actions by saying that they are doing well. The French minister of the interior, who is now the prime minister of France — the one who was crying over the bodies of the people killed in Paris — what did he say? At that time, the French ministers were competing to see who could go furthest in their animosity towards President al-Assad. “He should step down; he should go; he should resign.” It was à la mode then. The French minister of the interior said at the time, “I cannot do anything to prevent and stop French jihadists from going to make jihad in Syria.” He cannot, as minister of the interior, stop the terrorists coming from France from going to Syria to kill Syrians! Through Turkey, of course. Why? Because freedom of speech, freedom of what… freedom of lies. He “cannot stop them.”
Now, he can. Now, he knows the outcome of what he did. We warned him, in our statements: don’t play with the terrorists, they will come back to you. They thought they were big powers and exempt, immune against this terrorist disease.
It is said publicly today that the Americans with the Turks will start training the terrorists in Turkey in spring. It has become public, no shame whatsoever. The Jordanians are doing the same, in secret camps in the northern part of Jordan, run by the French and the British and the Americans. The same thing in Saudi Arabia. The same thing in Doha and Qatar. This is scandalous behaviour.
That’s why I say, there’s no United Nations anymore, it’s over. Multilateral diplomacy is not working, it’s being manipulated by the powerful. This is why they want to privatize the United Nations, so that the influential donors can control the decision-making mechanisms, without giving a damn about the provisions of the Charter.
We are member states, and we are here based on this famous concept and principle of equal sovereignty. All that has disappeared, it’s about business now. Can you believe that Saudi Arabia is sponsoring the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre? Can you believe for a second that Qatar is sponsoring the committee for alliance amongst civilizations, the dialogue among cultures and civilizations and religions? They are buying the UN with dirty money.
AA: In reference to Syria’s destroyed heritage, US Secretary of State John Kerry has implied that it is America’s duty to protect Syria’s heritage. What is your take on his statement in light of the US’ involvement in the Syrian war?
Ambassador al-Ja’afari: This man is disconnected from reality, totally disconnected. I heard this from an American man who fought with him in Vietnam. He told me, “This man has always been disconnected.” But, he’s not the only one.
On the other hand, there are many honest senators and genuine people in Congress who opposed the American administration’s plan to attack Syria. There are genuine people, and the American constitution is based on beautiful values. Once applied, that is.
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian freelance journalist and activist who has lived in and written from the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon.
In the wake of the heinous massacre that took place in Paris last week, and with Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia having just received 50 lashes out of the 1000 he’s been sentenced to for the crime of setting up a blog deemed ‘insulting to Islam’, Britain’s ongoing relationship with this vile regime is an insult to the very words ‘decency’ and ‘democracy’.
Indeed, has there ever been a more vile regime than the gang of bloated potentates that rules over Saudi Arabia? Responsible for fomenting chaos and carnage beyond their own borders, while at home brutalising their own people, surely it is time for the international community to turn its attention to the Saudis and their utter and complete disregard for anything resembling human rights.
The scale of the brutality and barbarism that is a regular occurrence in this oil-rich kingdom is reflected in the number of public executions by beheading that are carried out there. According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), 19 people were beheaded in Saudi Arabia in the first half of August last year alone. Of those executed eight were found guilty of non-violent offences, while a further seven were found guilty of drug smuggling. One victim was executed for sorcery, whatever that means.
Let us not equivocate: in the 21st Century the idea of state-sanctioned execution of prisoners by beheading with a sword in public is beyond barbaric. Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said:
“Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious.” She went on: “There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.”
Women in Saudi Arabia, along with minorities regardless of gender, are regarded as chattel, with little if any rights that most would consider compatible with a civilised society. It is a medieval system, underpinned by the most extreme interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, which at the time of writing is playing a key role in spreading religious fundamentalism throughout the Middle East. Donations and money have verily flooded into the coffers of groups such as IS (formerly known as ISIS), enabling them to sustain and consolidate their presence as they set about turning the region into a graveyard for anyone who does not subscribe to their poisonous ideology, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
With this in mind, the fact Saudi Arabia remains a close strategic ally and economic partner of western governments, including France, whose failure to seriously confront or challenge it over its serial human rights abuses, smacks of immorality and hypocrisy, especially in light of the Charlie Hebdo massacres, carried out in the name of the same warped ideology that underpins the kingdom’s existence.
Only in February last year, British defence firm BAE agreed a deal to supply the Saudis with 72 Typhoon fighter jets, worth £4.4billion (just over $7billion). The deal was agreed around the same time as Prince Charles paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is a frequent visitor. When asked, the Prince’s office denied any connection between the BAE deal and his visit to the country.
In fact Saudi Arabia has been a very lucrative market for British arms firms over the years. British author Nicholas Gilby, in his book Deception In High Places (Pluto), traces the covert deals and ‘commissions’ that have punctuated the murky relationship between the Saudi government and British arms firms and their representatives, among them members of the British government and Royal Family.
Gilby claims that various Saudi princes received tens of millions of pounds in these so-called ‘commissions’ as a reward for granting arms contracts to British firms. Between 1989 and 2002 the Saudis received over £60million in gifts and cash from BAE, the writer reveals.
By an standard, this is corruption on a grand scale.
That the British government cosies up to the Saudis in the full knowledge of the living hell in which many of its citizens are forced to endure, is a scandal that has gone criminally under reported and highlighted over the years. That it does so while lecturing the rest of the world about democracy and human rights merely adds an extra layer of hypocrisy to the equation.
The only country in the world named after a family, Saudi Arabia is the world’s petrol station and has been since the 1930s, when the country came into being. Indeed, US oil companies were present in the country even before a US Embassy was established in Riyadh in 1944, located in the headquarters of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO).
This close relationship between US oil interests and the Saudis, which has dictated US government policy in the region to a large extent, has never waned. In particular the relationship between the Bush family and the Saudis has attracted controversy over the years. In his bestselling book House of Bush, House of Saud (2004), American journalist Craig Unger asks who gave permission for prominent Saudi nationals to fly out of the United States immediately after 9/11, when all passenger and civilian aircraft were meant to be grounded. Given that 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the 9/11 were also Saudi nationals, the fact that those individuals were allowed to leave the US came as a startling revelation.
To date no explanation has been given.
Public beheadings, human rights abuses, the funding of terrorism, arms deals, bribes, connections with the British Royal Family and leading US political figures – taken together it sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie. Sadly, it is all too real.
Taking a stand against the barbarism that erupted on the streets of Paris last week, without taking a stand against Saudi Arabia and everything it represents, is more than hypocritical it is utterly reprehensible.
We’ve heard about Anthropogenic (human-generated) Climate Change, and less frequently the threat of a nuclear war between rival super powers as the biggest threats facing humanity and life on this planet.
There are however less talked about dangers which are just as pressing and demanding of attention. Seldom are these perils confronted in any serious way.
The first of these, that will be explored in this week’s Global Research News Hour radio programme, is the threat posed by nuclear radiation from the nuclear industry.
The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear facility, which became crippled by an earthquake and tsunami almost four years ago, is estimated to have released over 25 million billion becquerels of Cesium-137 radiation into the ocean in just the four months following the disaster.  According to a major study, in the 14 weeks following the Fukushima meltdowns, radio-active fall-out that descended on North America resulted in 14,000 excess US deaths. 
There are dozens of other nuclear plants in the US and around the world that could likewise melt down as infrastructure breaks down. Nuclear radiation in the air, water, and food supply represent a clear and present threat to all life on this planet.
Another critical concern is the amount of toxic material being deliberately being inserted into the atmosphere, apparently with the aim of affecting climate.
Commonly referred to as ‘chemtrails,’ the release of reflective microscopic particles by aircraft in order to affect the amount of sunlight reaching the earth is having an impact not only on weather, but on human, plant and animal health.
These and other weather modification techniques have been not only contemplated, but in effect for decades, as is well documented. (see document above.)
Yet, discussion of these artificial climate control mechanisms is virtually absent from all mainstream around climate change. In fact, like counternarratives around the 9/11 attacks, ongoing geo-engineering programs through ‘chemtrailing’, solar radiation management, HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program ) and other mechanisms is commonly referred to as a ‘conspiracy theory’ in public discourse.
This week’s Global Research News Hour introduces these planetary perils with two outspoken, passionate and knowledgeable guests.
Mimi German is a self-described Earth Activist, with the grassroots group No Nukes Northwest, and is founder of Radcast.org which monitors radiation readings world-wide. She speaks to the nuclear question in the first half hour.
Dane Wigington has an extensive background in the field of solar energy, a licensed contractor and a former employee of Bechtel. The founder of the information site geoengineeringwatch.org, Wigington is convinced that geo-engineering is the number one threat facing humanity at present, and expands on his research in the second half hour.
It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.
CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.
Obama hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House today. Focusing on mutual issues.
Ongoing wars. Escalation plans. Choosing new targeted countries.
Stepped up cyber and other forms of surveillance. New police state crackdowns. Economic and financial issues benefitting monied interests alone.
Both countries represent an axis of pure evil and then some. Longstanding partners in global genocidal crimes.
In March 1946, Winston Churchill spoke at Fulton, MO-based Westminster College. Delivering his famous “Iron Curtain” speech. Titling it “The Sinews of Peace.”
Noting a special US/UK relationship. Saying “(n)either the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples…a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.”
In November 1945, he said “(w)e should not abandon our special relationship with the United States…”
In 1930, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald affirmed it earlier. Churchill incorrectly called its originator. He’s best remembered for what was said earlier.
The special relationship dates from the 19th century. Notably after America’s Civil War. The structure and character of US/UK relations changed.
Hostile tensions abated. Accompanied by growing economic, financial and political interdependence. Its modern form emerging post-WW II.
At the same time not mutually exclusive. Notably Washington’s special relationship with Israel. Sharing strategic interests. Partnering in each other’s wars.
The way US/British relations work. One rogue state supports another. On January 16, AP headlined ”Obama hosting UK’s David Cameron for working dinner.”
Saying Britain’s prime minister arrived in Washington Thursday evening for a two-day visit.
His meeting with Obama “comes amid heightened fears about terrorism in Europe and the West.” A press conference will follow.
Ahead of their meeting both leaders issued a joint statement. Typical demagogic boilerplate rubbish. Turning truth on its head saying:
“By confronting the terrorists who threaten us, standing together against Russia’s aggressive acts and continuing our efforts to advance our economic growth, we will continue to advance the security and prosperity that our people deserve.”
“(O)ur ability to defend our freedoms is rooted in our economic strength and the values that we cherish – freedom of expression, the rule of law and strong democratic institutions.”
“Whether we are facing lone fanatics or terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda, Islamic State (ISIS) or Boko Haram we will not be cowed by extremists.”
“We will defeat these barbaric killers and their distorted ideology, which tries to justify the murder of innocents, whether children attending school in Peshawar, or girls forced to become suicide bombers in northern Nigeria.”
The imperial record of both countries stands in sharp contrast to the disingenuous Big Lies both leaders duplicitously regurgitate.
War criminals multiple times over. Waging state terror against targeted countries, groups and individuals at home and abroad.
Shaming the positions they hold. Belonging in prison, not high office. Responsible for millions of AfPak, Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian deaths. Victims in other countries.
Partnered with Israeli slow-motion genocide on Palestine. With Washington’s support for reemergent fascism in Europe’s heartland.
Headquartered in Kiev. Destabilizing the entire region. Risking direct confrontation with Russia. Possible nuclear war.
Ahead of Cameron’s arrival, he announced joint US/UK “war games.” Joint “cyber cell” activities were launched.
Involving FBI and NSA officials together with Britain’s GCHQ and MI5. Initial games scheduled for later this year will simulate attacks on Wall Street and London banks.
Others will test infrastructure resilience in both countries. Their only threats are ones they invent. Including false flags blamed on victims.
Expect more to come. Maybe something big in either country or both. Rogue states operate this way. Britain and America for generations.
More sinister now than ever. Especially teamed up with other NATO members and Israel. A humanity menacing alliance.
A 2014 BBC poll showed only around half of Brits call US/UK relations positive. Over 40% believe it’s negative.
Perhaps millions of Brits are as fed up as most Americans with imperial wars without end. While homeland needs go begging.
Britain’s social contract is being systematically destroyed like America’s. New Labour no different from Tory governance.
Monied interests alone benefit. War-profiteering now more lucrative than ever. Homeland repression more vicious.
Phony war on terror facilitates police state ruthlessness. Britain, France, other European countries and America are becoming militarized armed camps.
Fear-mongering is the coin of the realm. Getting most people to people to believe government Big Lies.
No matter how many times before they were conned. Amnesia plagues Western societies.
Most people believe most everything governments and media scoundrels tell them. Big Lies repeated often enough become gospel.
Manipulating public sentiment always works when done effectively. Regurgitated often enough drowns out hard truths.
Washington Post editors urge stepped up anti-terrorism efforts. More aggressive US-led action in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
Escalated wars without end. More repressive cybersecurity legislation. Ludicrously claiming “cyberattackers are outrunning defenses.”
Urging “harder edge” initiatives to combat nonexistent threats. Invented ones to destroy remaining freedoms. Make America more of a police state than already.
Britain, France and other European countries heading down the same slippery slope toward full-blown tyranny. Likely one major continental and/or US false flag away.
Perhaps exceeding 9/11. Able to enlist overwhelming public support for eviscerating remaining freedoms in the name of security.
Losing both instead. New Pew Research Center findings show over three-fourths of Americans prioritize counterterrorism. Mindless of reality. State terrorism alone threatens them.
Western societies face their moment of truth. Fascism threatens freedom. State-sponsored fear-mongering dispels reason.
World peace is pure fantasy. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance.
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.
Russia’s military doctrine can be updated and altered against the changing nature of threats. Pravda.Ru interviewed President of the International Center for Geopolitical Analysis, Doctor of Historical Sciences Leonid Ivashov, about the current state of affairs in the military doctrine of the Russian Federation.
“The concluding part of the military doctrine from 2010 states that its provisions can be adjusted in accordance with the changing nature of military dangers and threats. Who and what is now a threat to Russia?”
“The military doctrine is neither an order, nor a directive. This is just an action plan, a body of views to military security of a state. Of course, views change as the military-political situation changes. The doctrine is then used as a basis for the creation of rules about the use of armed forces, appropriate orders, directives and so on. The doctrine, which was approved in 2010, was based on more or less quiet conditions for Russia in military-political and military-strategic terms. Russia’s military and political leadership believed that our relations with the West were generally friendly. We were only concerned about the expansion of NATO. This aspect was gently designated in the doctrine. The doctrine is clearly defensive in nature. The text of the Russian doctrine from 2010 does not contain such a word as “offensive”, let alone “counter battle.
“It contains a purely defensive stance, but if something suddenly happens, we’re ready. Our nuclear capabilities serve as the guarantee of Russia’s security. This made it possible to destroy forces of ordinary purpose and carry out the reforms that Serdyukov (former defense minister of Russia – ed.) was conducting, destroying the army and the navy of Russia as a military organization system. Everything was guaranteed by the fact that we have nuclear weapons. Our nuclear shield is the primary factor of nuclear deterrence. However, this deterrence does not guarantee safety, because we do not see a situation when we can push the button even for a retaliatory attack.
“The Americans radically changed both their military strategy and nuclear doctrine in the early 2000s. They pushed nuclear weapons into the background. They have not upgraded one single ballistic missile, and they do not build new ones either. What they do is they create a new strike force that will decide the outcome of future battles. On December 18, 2003, they signed a directive on the concept of prompt global strike. Under the directive, they will attack by launching thousands of high-precision vehicles from different strategic directions. These include idea and air based cruise missiles, strategic missiles, drones.
“With the first strike, they plan to incapacitate our submarine-based ballistic missiles and even silo-based missiles. In this situation, if Russia strikes back, they will use the missile defense system, the main component of which is not the European missile defense, but the marine component. The United States has 93 ships equipped with AEGIS systems. It was AEGIS that removed an American defunct satellite from orbit in 2008 at an altitude of 247 km.
“Thus, the Americans plan to destroy our remaining ballistic missiles in the boost phase of their flight. For these purposes, the Americans create this missile defense. Afterwards, AEGIS systems will disable the warheads of the missiles that have been launched. The Americans do their best to devalue the Russian nuclear missile potential. And they can succeed.
“If this happens, and we can already see this, we will see a completely different behavior of the United States. Having neutralized strategic nuclear forces of Russia, the Americans can declare that they do not recognize neither the Northern Sea Route, nor the Mendeleev and Lomonosov Ridge as Russian waters. The USA will pronounce them their own or international, and for the Americans, ‘international’ stands for ‘American.’ We may face such a situation, and what will Russia do? Launch nuclear ballistic missiles? No, of course not.
“The military doctrine contains another fairly precarious position, which I call a move of despair. It says that should non-nuclear powers show aggression against Russia, threatening the existence and the territorial integrity of Russia, then we will preemptively use nuclear weapons. Sounds correct, but let’s see: against whom of our neighbors can we use tactical nuclear weapons, weapons of the battlefield? Against NATO? They are all under the American nuclear umbrella. Japan is also under this umbrella.
“It just so happens that it is only Mongolia and Finland that can be the countries against which we can use nuclear weapons, if they threaten us. The situation has changed dramatically, and we are standing on the brink of a war – not a cold, but a hot war. Therefore, today Russia hastily takes efforts to rebuild the defensive capacity of the armed forces and change the military doctrine.
“The Russian style of development is slow – a step forward, a step or two back. After all, space forces existed in the times of the Soviet Union. However, it was then thought that we have no enemies in space, and the troops were disbanded. Today we are working on this wasteland. According to the plan of the likely enemy, navigation and reconnaissance satellites that ensure the use of our cruise and ballistic missiles should be destroyed first.
“The first phase of the possible attack will target the space group, so that we do not see anything. It will be hard for aviation to reach targets without the GLONASS system. Today, Russia takes measures to correct this mistake as well.”
“The Russian strategic long-range aviation celebrates 100 years since the establishment. What is the role of the long-range aviation today?”
“Any normal state creates a complex system of arms. We still live in the remains of Ustinov’s system, when all would be interconnected by problems, when all would work in concert. When we were building the triad of sea, land and air components, there were many disputes, but the place for long-range aviation was found. This place is unique, because ground missiles are attached to a certain base. A submarine travels in oceans, but it still remains a base, the actions and movement of which are trackable.
“Aviation is much more mobile, it can change direction and altitude. Today, when the Americans have built the missile defense system against Russian ballistic missiles, aviation should come to the forefront in this triad. To make matters worse, using such bulky missiles as Bulava, Topol and Voevoda in a nuclear-free version is meaningless, because costs are enormous, but the effect can be minimal.
“Yet, Russian long-range strategic aircraft can use precision cruise missiles in a nuclear-free version. It can even change the capacity of warheads. I think it has been forgotten unfairly. Long-range aircraft needs to be revived urgently. Our “White Swans” can fly and land somewhere at an intermediate distance from the United States, perhaps in Latin America. Bingo – they have the US territory at gunpoint, and this is what the Americans fear most. They invest a lot of money in missile defense not to wage wars on their own territory. They will be happy to stage wars anywhere, but not on their own territory. We need to find some power to create a group that could, in case of aggression against Russia, act on the territory of the United States. Now that would be a factor of deterrence. They say that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Russian Ministry of Defence work on that already.”
“What methods of non-nuclear deterrence can be most effective at the moment?”
“One should keep the US territory at gunpoint to be able to immediately act on the territory. The group should target the Federal Reserve, but I’m joking here, of course. Yet, there is some truth in this joke, because, as a rule, it is financial oligarchs, who need to start wars. Non-nuclear deterrence factors should include powerful government agencies, particularly the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Economic agencies should be involved as well to cause damage with the use of economic methods. This should be considered as a combat mission. Planning the supplies of hydrocarbons and other strategic goods must necessarily envisage a possibility for a special period in wartime.”
On January 13th, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) telecast the FRONTLINE documentary, “Putin’s Way,” which purported to be a biography of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin.
The press release about this film states:
Drawing on firsthand accounts from exiled Russian business tycoons, writers and politicians, as well as the exhaustive research of scholar and best-selling Putin’s Kleptocracy author Karen Dawisha, the film examines troubling episodes in Putin’s past, from alleged money-laundering activities and ties to organized crime, to a secret personal fortune said to be in the billions. … These accounts portray a Russian leader who began by professing hope and democracy but now is stoking nationalism, conflict and authoritarianism.
Yeltsin brought that team in, to plan and oversee the process, because he figured that Harvard would know how to set up capitalism. On 10 February 2006, the Harvard Crimson headlined about the result, “‘Tawdry Shleifer Affair’ Stokes Faculty Anger Toward Summers,” and noted that the affair was such an embarrassment to the University that, “Shleifer, the Jones professor of economics, was found liable by a federal court in 2004 for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government while leading a Harvard economic reform program in Russia as it transitioned to capitalism in the 1990s. Shleifer settled the case for $2 million.” An extensive article by David McClintick in Institutional Investor magazine described the sleazy details of this affair, under the banner of “How Harvard Lost Russia.” However, this FRONTLINE documentary ignores all of that history, and pretends that Yeltsin established Russia’s crony-capitalism with no help or guidance from the U.S., the World Bank, and Harvard’s economists. Putin is instead portrayed as having been, and as now being, just a continuation of Soviet-era corruption, not at all as functioning in what was, to a significant extent, actually a U.S.-headed transition into capitalism.
Then, the film presents Putin as having first come to power in Russia on account of his attacking Chechnya after several apartment buildings in Moscow and other Russian cities were bombed and Chechens were blamed for the bombings. This film fails to mention that Chechnya was a part of Russia, rather than a foreign country, and that, as wikipedia summarizes the origin of the Chechen war:
With the impending dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, an independence movement, initially known as the Chechen National Congress, was formed and led by ex-Soviet Air Force general and new Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev that rallied for the recognition of Chechnya as a separate nation. This movement was ultimately opposed by Boris Yeltsin’s Russian Federation, which firstly argued that Chechnya had not been an independent entity within the Soviet Union—as the Baltic, Central Asian, and other Caucasian States had—but was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and hence did not have a right under the Soviet constitution to secede; secondly, that other republics of Russia, such as Tatarstan, would consider seceding from the Russian Federation if Chechnya were granted that right; and thirdly, that Chechnya was a major hub in the oil infrastructure of the Federation and hence its secession would hurt the country’s economy and energy access.”
The documentary mentions none of that, but, instead:
NARRATOR: And Putin’s invasion would be brutal.
CHECHEN CHILD: [subtitles] It’s my grandpa lying there!
NARRATOR: The man who waged it [Putin] was a new national hero.
It also notes that both Yeltsin and Putin refused to allow those bombings to be officially investigated, and that a possibility exists that the Russian Government itself had bombed the apartment buildings and falsely blamed it on Chechen separatists in order to enable Putin to win a popular election so as to succeed Yeltsin.
Whereas it’s likely that the 1999 Moscow apartment-building bombings were a false-flag operation, it’s practically certain that the two recent events in Ukraine were false-flag events — but they were perpetrated by our side, not by Russia, and so this documentary ignores these Ukrainian incidents and pretends that whereas Putin uses false-flag tactics, Obama and the U.S. do not.
The Invasion of Dagestan was the trigger for the Second Chechen War. In August and September 1999, Shamil Basayev (in association with the Saudi-born Ibn al-Khattab, Commander of the Mujahedeen) led two armies of up to 2,000 Chechen, Dagestani, Arab and international mujahideen and Wahhabist militants from Chechnya into the neighboring Republic of Dagestan. This war saw the first (unconfirmed) use of aerial-delivered fuel air explosives (FAE) in mountainous areas, notably in the village of Tando. By mid-September 1999, the militants were routed from the villages and pushed back into Chechnya. At least several hundred militants were killed in the fighting; the Federal side reported 279 servicemen killed and approximately 900 wounded. …
Before the wake of the Dagestani invasion had settled, a series of bombings took place in Russia (in Moscow and in Volgodonsk) and in the Dagestani town of Buynaksk. On 4 September 1999, 62 people died in an apartment building housing members of families of Russian soldiers. Over the next two weeks, the bombs targeted three other apartment buildings and a mall; in total nearly 300 people were killed. Khattab initially claimed responsibility for the bombings, but later denied responsibility. This was followed by an anonymous caller, who said he belonged to a group called the Liberation Army of Dagestan. There were no other calls or acts by the Liberation Army of Dagestan.
The fact that the Chechen separatist movement was supported by the Saudis and entailed “Wahhabist militants from Chechnya” wasn’t even mentioned in the PBS documentary, though it certainly is relevant to deciding whether Putin waged the second Chechen War solely in order to win election to the Presidency and was doing something he shouldn’t have been doing there.
The PBS documentary notes:
DAVID SATTER, Author, Darkness at Dawn: Well, the apartment buildings saved the Yeltsin system. They saved the corrupt division of property that took place after the fall of the Soviet Union. They cost thousands of innocent lives, both Russian and Chechnyan, by starting a new war. They brought to power someone from the security services — and that’s Putin — who, of course, had no interest in democracy.
NARRATOR: His first act as president was to grant his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, immunity from prosecution. But Putin’s administration would quickly ensure his own safety, too. Case number 144-128, that corruption investigation in St. Petersburg, quietly went away.
Nothing is said about U.S. President Barack Obama’s having done the same thing with respect to his predecessor, George W. Bush, who had lied his country into invading Iraq in 2003, and also about Obama’s having protected from criminal prosecution the megabank chiefs who grew rich from mortgage-backed-securites frauds that brought down America’s economy in 2008, and whose Administration covered up much else besides. The pretense is instead put forth that Putin is evil in ways that today’s American Presidents are not.
Then, Russia’s richest man, whom Putin had placed in prison for tax-evasion, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is interviewed and says that all he was really trying to do was to fight against corruption and against dictatorship, and for capitalism and democracy.
Then, the liberal political leaders Tony Blair from UK and Gerhard Schroeder from Germany are described as having been corrupt for having supported Putin’s policies.
EDWARD LUCAS: Putin was trained in the KGB to deceive foreigners. He has a very sharp eye for human weakness. He’s good at persuading people and intimidating them, and he’s been doing this with Western leaders, sometimes with charm, sometimes with threats. But boy, does he do it.
Then, others are interviewed who similarly describe Putin as being corrupt in ways that America isn’t, such as:
KAREN DAWISHA, Author, Putin’s Kleptocracy: So the system is a system of mutual support and tribute. It’s a pay-to-play system. If you are on a list of possible people who might be approached to be a member of the Duma, for example, you have to pay for your seat. Once you’re in there, then you can turn around and charge businessmen to have line items in the budget. Same thing all across all sectors.
Then, Putin is described as being like an unpopular Middle Eastern tyrant.
NARRATOR: The Arab spring surged out of Tunisia into Tahrir Square and on to Tripoli. For Putin, these mass demonstrations overthrowing powerful dictators must have been worrying.
STANISLAV BELKOVSKY: It was the first stage of his coming to understanding that he could never quit the post because the destiny of Gadhafi could be waiting for him.
NARRATOR: In 2011, when Vladimir Putin announced he would run again for Russia’s presidency, the response was mass demonstrations in Moscow’s streets, protests which had to be put down by police.
This documentary assumes, unquestioningly, the U.S.-propaganda line, that Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, and that the economic sanctions against Russia are punishment for that, and also punishment for Russia’s supposed guilt in the shooting down of the MH17 airliner.
NARRATOR: Putin has invaded Crimea and redrawn the map of Ukraine, claiming he is protecting ethnic Russians. According to his spokesman, it is a justifiable response to Western encroachment on territories the Soviet Union once held. …
The United States was calling for strong sanctions against Russia. But in the capitals of Europe, there was reluctance.
EDWARD LUCAS: We keep on trying to bring Mr. Putin in. We invite him to our summit meetings. We try and treat Russia as a normal country. And we think we’re trying to calm things down, but in fact, what we’re doing is we’re stoking things. We’re giving Mr. Putin the impression that we’re not to be taken seriously, and he continues to push us harder and harder and harder, and that’s extremely dangerous.
NARRATOR: But then in July 2014, one violent act would transform the political landscape. Malaysian passenger plane MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by what was widely believed to have been a Russian-supplied weapon. Two hundred and ninety-eight people were killed. Suddenly, the West was galvanized.
TONY ABBOTT, Prime Minister of Australia: I demand that Russia fully cooperate with the criminal investigation into the downing of MH17.
STEPHEN HARPER, Prime Minister of Canada: It’s necessary to make it clear it will not be business as usual.
Pres. BARACK OBAMA: We’re opposing Russia aggression against Ukraine, which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shootdown of MH17.
However, actually, Russia didn’t “invade” Crimea, but instead there was a coup on 22 February 2014, which installed a new Ukrainian Government, which wanted to oust from Crimea Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which had been stationed there since 1783, and Crimeans immediately demonstrated against that coup-Government, and they held a referendum on rejoining Russia, of which Crimea had been a part until 1954. 96% voted to rejoin Russia. Gallup polls taken in Crimea both before and after that referendum showed similar majorities wanting to rejoin Russia. What was illegal wasn’t Crimea rejoining Russia; it was instead the coup that precipitated Crimea’s rejoining Russia. But this documentary doesn’t even mention that coup, at all, nor the ethnic cleansing that has followed it. Russia’s accepting Crimea back into Russia was legal, and it was also essential for Russian national security. It was the right thing to do. The coup, however, and the Obama-demanded ethnic cleansing of Ukraine’s Donbass region — the area that had voted 90% for the Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew — were violent U.S.-backed actions to impose upon all of Ukraine a far-right, rabidly anti-Russian, Government, which authentically constitutes a national security threat against Russia.
The militias in southeastern Ukraine say they’ve taken control over the strategic Donetsk airport, following an exhausting standoff with government forces. The airport has been a scene of violent fighting since last May.
“The airport is under our full control now,” Valentin Motuzenko, an advisor to the head of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, told Rossiya TV channel.
The current spike of violence at the airport was provoked by “rouge” units within the ranks of Kiev troops, which “don’t obey the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, the country’s president, or anybody else,” he stressed.
According to the adviser, Ukrainian forces again opened fire on the militias at the airport without any warning on Wednesday.
“One of our units was shelled by heavy mortars, with its ammunition load being hit. There was a massive explosion. Our people, our warriors have died and we just had no moral right to turn a blind eye to what has happened,” he said.
Motuzenko stressed that before coming up with any counter-measures, the militias provided a green corridor for the Kiev troops to retreat.
“The majority of them [Ukrainian soldiers] denied the offer, but some used the corridor and left. Those, who stayed were eliminated,” he said.
No more than half a dozen Kiev troops remain in hiding at the airport at the moment. Militias are searching for them, the advisor said.
The People’s Republic of Donetsk now plans “to invite the international observers so that they could see the violations and atrocities committed at the airport by the Ukrainian state and its military,” he concluded.
A burned plane at Donetsk airport. (RIA Novosti / Gennady Dubovoy)
Ukrainian security forces did not confirm Motuzenko’s words, saying that Kiev still remains in control of the airport’s new terminal.
“Judging by the rhetoric and the questions that I’m being asked today, I get the feeling that some journalists are openly waiting for us to announce that we’ve given up the Donetsk airport. We have no plans to give up the Donetsk airport,” Roman Turovets, who heads the press center of Kiev’s military operation, told 112 Ukraine TV channel.
The Donetsk airport became the venue for several large-scale battles between May and late September, in which over 70 people died.
As a result, the international airport that used to handle some five million passengers annually is now lying in ruins.
The Ukrainian military launched an operation in the country’s southeast last April, after the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions refused to recognized the new, coup-imposed authorities in Kiev.
The death toll in the Ukraine conflict has exceeded 4,700 people. Over 10,000 have been injured, according to UN estimations.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of January 7 in Paris, police across Europe have launched a wave of arrests, rounding up dozens of alleged Islamist militants, many of whom have reportedly traveled to and from Syria, where the US and its allies have fomented a bloody civil war.
Amid press reports of imminent plots being disrupted, it is evident that European security officials were well aware of who the alleged plotters were and had been closely following their movements and activities.
The media, throwing itself into the state-backed campaign to terrorize the public, fails to ask the most obvious questions. How is it, for example, that these individuals were able to freely travel to a foreign war zone, fight there, and then return, no questions asked?
The most obvious answer is that they enjoyed the acquiescence, if not direct support, of elements within the state itself. They were left alone until now because they were deemed to be useful.
For nearly four years, Washington and its Western European allies—France first among them—have politically orchestrated and helped finance and arm a war for regime-change in Syria in which Islamist fighters, like the men who carried out the mass killing at the offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, have served as the principal ground troops.
Weapons, foreign fighters and money have been sent into Syria largely through Turkey, where the CIA set up a secret station to coordinate these operations. Much of the arms and aid flowing to the imperialist-backed “rebels” have come from Washington’s key Arab allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Two organizations have emerged as the preeminent armed opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: the Al Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a split-off that has been condemned by Al Qaeda itself for its excessive brutality.
German reporter Jürgen Todenhöfer, the first Western journalist to travel through ISIS-held areas in Syria since the outset of the latest US-led war in the region, reported last month that fully 70 percent of those fighting to overthrow Syria’s Assad regime are foreign fighters, funneled into the country from throughout the Middle East, Chechnya, Western Europe, North America and elsewhere. According to a recent US government estimate, as many as 1,000 foreign fighters are joining these militias each month.
The death toll in Syria approaches 200,000. Terrorist attacks, mass executions and other crimes have for years been carried out there by the same elements that committed the killings in Paris, without a word of protest from the official circles now promoting the “Je suis Charlie” campaign. They were doing the West’s dirty work.
With the entry of ISIS into Iraq last summer, however, today’s imperialist crimes collided with those of yesterday, creating a serious crisis. The debacle suffered by the Iraqi army at the hands of ISIS was the product of nearly nine years of US war and occupation that ravaged the country, claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, turned millions into refugees, and provoked an intense Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict.
Washington and its allies moved quickly to exploit this crisis, organizing a bombing campaign in both Iraq and Syria and sending thousands of US troops back into Iraq. Yesterday’s proxy forces in the war for regime-change in Syria were transformed into today’s enemies in the revived “war on terror.” This is the political context for the attack in Paris and the warnings of threatened attacks elsewhere.
This is hardly a new story. US imperialism has for over half a century given its support to Islamist forces, with the aim of combating secular nationalist movements and regimes bent on asserting control over the region’s oil wealth or cementing close ties with the Soviet Union.
The most famous example is Afghanistan, where the CIA, working in close collaboration with Pakistani intelligence, sponsored a war by Islamist fundamentalist forces to overthrow a Soviet-backed government in Kabul. The forces that would later emerge as Al Qaeda played a key role in this operation.
Since then, virtually all those designated as prominent targets and suspects in the “war on terror” are individuals well known to the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
There are the 9/11 attacks themselves, in which the principal hijackers enjoyed close ties to the government of Saudi Arabia, Washington’s key ally in the Arab world. More than 13 years after the event, the US government has refused to declassify 28 pages from a report produced by a congressional investigation into the September 11 events that deal with Saudi financing for the attacks. Key organizers of the attack were under direct surveillance by the CIA, but were allowed to enter, leave and re-enter the US freely, without even possessing proper visas. Once in the US, they were allowed to train as commercial jet aircraft pilots.
Then there is the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric who was assassinated in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Now blamed for a host of alleged plots, including providing direction to the Paris gunmen, al-Awlaki had intimate ties with the American state. He became the first imam to conduct a prayer service for Muslim congressional staff members at the US Capitol in 2002. Months after the 9/11 attacks, he was brought to the Pentagon to speak on easing tensions between Muslims and the US military.
More recently, in the case of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the key suspect in the attack, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was not only under surveillance by the FBI, but was targeted for recruitment as an informant against the Muslim community. Tsarnaev, who was killed four days after the bombing, was allowed to travel freely to and from southern Russia, meeting with Islamists fighting the Moscow government. Moscow itself warned US authorities about his activities not once, but twice.
As for the gunmen killed last week in Paris, it is acknowledged that they had been under surveillance by not only French, but also US and British intelligence.
How is it that those under surveillance by and in direct contact with police and intelligence agencies are the authors of one terrorist attack after another? The possibility of deliberate provocation can by no means be excluded. It is impossible to say for certain in each of these events whether some form of CIA skullduggery was involved, with events allowed to transpire, carried out by individuals known to the state, either through acts of omission or commission by the authorities.
The media’s attempt to present those involved in these acts of terrorism as mysterious and unknown individuals is fraudulent. On Friday, they reported in succession the mass arrests in Paris and the rollout of new US plans to fund and train Syrian “rebels.” There was no examination of the connection between these developments.
After the first decade of the “global war on terrorism,” in which Al Qaeda was portrayed as an existential threat, these same forces were employed as proxies in Western-backed wars for regime-change against secular Arab governments, first in Libya and then Syria. Now, their actions are once again being exploited to promote war abroad and repression at home.
Ultimately, attacks like the one carried out on Charlie Hebdo are the product of decades of imperialist intervention in the Middle East. The wars that have devastated one country after another have unleashed a wave of violence that cannot but spill beyond the region. Meanwhile, Washington and its allies promote and work with the very forces involved in these attacks.
Credit rating agencies are predicting quite a storm for the Russian economy, and they are therefore threatening to lower the country’s status to ‘junk’ level. Just as a weatherman may be incorrect about their storm predictions, so too may a ‘financial meteorologist’, except the latter has ulterior motives in doing so.
S&P has joined Moody’s in launching an attack on the Russian economy, hoping that the threat of lowing Moscow’s credit status will somehow translate into political changes in Eastern Europe. Although such an idea may seem plausible in theory, in practice it’s absolutely disjointed from reality and merely symbolizes the third wave of the economic war on Russia. This coming economic storm, cooked up in the West, is going to come up against the multipolar storm breaker of Russia and China’s own Universal Credit Rating Group (UCRG), expected to become active later this year. When the waves inevitably crash, the West may find that it has unwittingly and irreversibly damaged its own unipolar economic defenses and opened up a flood of multipolarity.
The Third Wave
There have thus far been two major waves of economic warfare waged against Russia, with the third one well on its way. They are as follows:
The US and the EU enacted selective and then generalized sanctions against the Russian economy and certain individuals, apparently under the false belief that Russia is Zimbabwe and can somehow be bullied via these means. They weren’t successful in this attempt and thus decided to escalate the conflict to the next level.
Enter the third wave, which is what Russia is on the cusp of experiencing. The strategy here is to use institutional ratings agencies to damage Russia’s international economic reputation in the hopes that this can help ‘isolate’ it from the non-Western markets that it has recently (andquite eagerly) engaged. This plan is dead in its tracks, since Russia’s rating was worse in 2005 but it was consistently growing at around a 7% average during the period 2000-2008, showing the inherently political (and economically ineffective) nature of Western ratings.
The Multipolar Storm Breaker
Shielding Russia and the multipolar world from the West’s politically minded economic ‘ratings’ is the formation of an alternative agency constructed in cooperation with China, the Universal Credit RatingGroup (UCRG). This forthcoming buffer, if it can build the necessary trust and objectivity, could realistically help the non-West weather the oncoming ‘financial storm’ that the Western agencies are all hyped up about.
The underlying idea behind this initiative is that the West has a unipolar monopoly on all manners of international ‘ratings’, be it economic, political stability/fragility, or terrorism. Given that there is a realistic and clearly discernable trend towards geopolitical multipolarity, it’s natural that this would eventually transition over into the economic sphere. The BRICS Bank and China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are examples of this, with the UCRG being the next institutional progression. If the non-West can free itself from the subjective ‘ratings’ and dictates of Western institutions, then it will be at liberty to pursue multipolarity as it sees fit.
When The Waves Finally Crash
The ‘financial meteorologists’ may be in for a surprise when their politically constructed storm hits the multipolar breakers, as the resultant back-splash may reverberate with unintended consequences. Although it is still a relatively far time away in the future, especially considering the rapid and somewhat surprising transformations that have been taking place in all spheres over the past couple years, an increasingly possible scenario is beginning to take shape, and that’s the macro-structural division of the world into entities (not necessarily states) supporting the retention of the unipolar world and those advocating the construction of the multipolar one.
This is seen in all spheres (as was earlier touched upon), and the creation of the UCRG, especially given the current ‘New Cold War’ context, must be understood as being the next logical extension of this. As the world divides itself into either the pro- or anti-multipolar camp, the emerging dichotomy will come to define international relations for the entire century or until one side capitulates. Given this dynamic, it is a very realistic possibility that certain states will ‘switch sides’, just as occurred during the ‘Old Cold War’, either by force (whether covert or overt) or by choice.
Something that may sway various states towards multipolarity could be the creation of regional agencies and institutions to complement inter-regional (‘Greater Multipolarity’) ones, for example, a credit ratings institution specifically for Latin America. Likewise, if the unipolar world continues its political designations of supposedly impartial topics such as the economy and does so in favor of geostrategic on-the-fence states, it could find itself gaining new allies. No matter how things play out, though, it’s evident that a global competition is definitely taking place between the unipolar and multipolar worlds, and that this is being fought on all levels, including the financial institutional one described within this article.
The West is poised to launch the third wave of its asymmetrical economic war against Russia, but it’s predictably bound to fail in inflicting the damage it has in mind. Russia and China, the two anchors of the multipolar world via the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, are taking the initiative in creating an alternative institution to counter the West’s politically motivated economic ratings. This creates more openings for the actualization of full-spectrum multipolarity, whereby this concept makes the leap from the geopolitical to the institutional, with the long-term potential of rivaling (and perhaps unseating) the West’s ‘supremacy’ in the targeted fields. Importantly, however, this entire episode portends the division of the world into two camps, with the unipolar and multipolar worlds slated for their inevitable face-off sometime later this century.
Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.
Seven EU countries support the lifting of Western sanctions on Russia, a diplomatic source in Brussels told TASS on Thursday.
“The sanctions’ lifting has been supported by Austria, Hungary, Italy, Cyprus, Slovakia, France and the Czech Republic,” he said.
A European diplomatic source close to the EU Council told TASS previously that foreign ministers of 28 EU member countries would not make any decisions on sanctions against Russia at their first meeting this year in Brussels on January 19. “Russia, of course, will be on the agenda of the Council (EU Council on Foreign Relations), but the specific issue of the sanctions – whether they should be cancelled, softened, renewed or not – will not be raised. The decision on sanctions should be taken in March,” he said.
According to another source, although no concrete decisions on sanctions are expected at the upcoming ministerial meeting, “the tone of this issue discussion should be softened.” “Ministers will most likely be preparing the ground for softening the sanctions regime. Perhaps the time has come,” said the diplomat.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported with reference to a document prepared by the EU foreign policy service that became available to WSJ reporters that the European Union was ready to soften the anti-Russian sanctions and for partial normalisation of relations with Russia if Moscow changes its stance on the situation in Ukraine. The newspaper says this document should be considered by the participants in the meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels on January 19. The document will be presented in the next few days to the EU member states’ foreign ministers.
The President of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, is furious that a million-man march against the killings in France, a march intended to uphold and sanctify human life and the freedom of free speech, included Benjamin Netanyahu; a man who stands for neither.
Mr. Erdogan is definitely right in his condemnation of having the Zionist leader whose hands still smell of the blood of children, women and the elderly; that is with no doubt the dirtiest joke of our time. The indiscriminate falling bombs on children and hospitals of Gaza and even UN centers are not even one year old but Mr. Hollande and other leaders have completely forgotten. They lovingly hold hands with Netanyahu in the rally, a rally to uphold human life. What a tragedy!
It is this kind of behavior of Westerners that makes groups perpetrating such events either receive direct support, sympathy or at the very least indifference from Muslims around the world. Whereby Muslims within Europe might be under pressure to be apologetic and even join such rallies because they fear the backlash, millions of Muslims don’t have nearly as much sympathy. Why?
Apart from including blood thirsty people like Netanyahu, the rally highlighted the long standing double standard of the West in relation to others especially Muslims. Yes, there were people who killed in France but if the world and its leaders were to hold a rally against each massacre, Netanyahu massacres alone would have needed a billion-man march.
If you add to it the “collateral” killings committed by American drones and the Blood Rivers of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, in proportion to what happened in Paris, humanity alone wouldn’t be enough to organize a worthy rally. We might need to include angels to make it befitting of the numbers of people who lose their lives every single minute in such a fashion outside the Western hemisphere. Just imagine the presidency of Obama if he has to sign the condolences book in every embassy of every country that suffers such a tragedy!
Human life is human life. If the world wishes to create a violence-free world, the world needs to sanctify the lives of all of its inhabitants. If leaders like the Saudi king and the media come out with the strongest terms of condemnation against the French massacre as we all do, then they need to make it a habit in relation to all such deaths. Short of that, the “extremists” will always find sympathy or indifference not only within the Muslim world but among others as well.
Muslims need to see serious actions taken to also protect their people. The fight against extremists cannot be won while the people to whom they belong feel that their lives don’t matter nearly as much as those of their Western counterpart.
Erdogan wouldn’t go as far as saying that he sees double standards in a world aroused and united by the deaths of seventeen people but one which is happy to go on with life as usual for the last four years as hundreds of thousands died and continue to die in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Muslim world because he has to be a politician as well but his sentiment is shared by millions of Muslims.
Since 2003 millions have died and no such a rally; a rally which is promptly headed by world leaders. The message being sent is that the West can tolerate violence as long as it happens elsewhere; in fact some argue that not only is the West ok with it but go as far as fueling a good chunk of it.
Violence cannot be condemned piece meal or selectively. If the world chooses to denounce violence, it must do so wholly and fully. There were children of Syria who froze to death on the same day that the Charlie Hebdo staffs were killed. If we are talking of innocence, the children are far more innocent and the global outrage should have been just as much if not more.
The US military will send nearly 1,000 troops to train Syrian rebel forces as part of a long-planned effort to build up a “moderate opposition” to take on the ISIS group, the Pentagon said Friday.
The training will take place in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar and is expected to start in the “early spring,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.
More than 400 trainers would start deploying in the next four to six weeks, backed by a similar number of support troops that will provide help with logistics, communications and intelligence, he said.
The total troop number “for this mission could approach 1,000,” Kirby said. “It might even exceed that.”
About 5,400 Syrian rebels would be trained and armed in the first year of the program, with an initial group of fighters possibly ready to enter battle “before the end of the year,” he said.
The US Congress backed legislation last month to fund the training and equipping “moderate Syrian rebels”, allocating about $500 million for the Syrian effort.
But President Barack Obama has been accused of moving too slowly to help the opposition while the ISIS group and other hardline extremists have taken on an increasingly dominant role on the battlefield.
Obama, wary of having the US drawn into Syria’s multi-sided civil war, had long kept what he called “moderate rebels” at arm’s length. But the rise of the ISIS group last year prompted a change in strategy, with the US president announcing plans in September to train and arm the opposition.
The US administration, however, has placed a priority on fighting the ISIS militants rather than President Bashar al-Assad’s government, an emphasis that has led to disagreements with some allies, including Turkey.
The Pentagon made no mention of Assad in announcing the training effort.
The American troops will complement a small CIA training program that is already in place but officials declined to discuss whether the military would oversee the spy agency’s efforts.
Two other countries also have pledged to help train the Syrian fighters, but officials did not say which governments or how many trainers they would contribute.
US intelligence agencies and foreign partners are working to identify potential recruits for the training program, who will then be vetted to ensure they have no ties to the ISIS group or other extremists, officials said.
Major General Michael Nagata, who is overseeing the US-led fight against the ISIS terrorists in Syria, met a range of opposition figures in Istanbul earlier this week and came away encouraged, Kirby said.
To avoid a repeat of insider attacks that have plagued the military training mission in Afghanistan, a portion of the US troops to be deployed would focus on security for their compatriots, he said.
In Iraq, US troops already have started training Iraqi government and Kurdish forces in the fight against the IS jihadists, with about 2,100 Americans deployed there.
But all people aren’t treated equally .. African-Americans are treated especially poorly.
Michelle Alexander – a law school professor who directed Stanford Law School’s Civil Rights Clinic and served as law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun at the U. S. Supreme Court – notes:
The United States incarcerates a higher percentage of black men than South Africa did at the height of apartheid
Primarily because of these significant incarceration rates, the level of black youth poverty is higher today than it was in 1968
An African-American male is sentenced an average of a 20 to 50 times longer prison term then a white male convicted of the same drug crime.
Over 2.3 million men in America are in prison — about half for drug crimes. Seventy percent of all men imprisoned are black or Hispanic. Thirty years ago, before the “War on Drugs” was implemented, there were only 300,000 people in the American prison system.
There are 2.7 million children whose fathers or mothers are in prison, on probation, or on parole.
There are 7 million Americans either in prison, on probation, or on parole — mostly for selling or using drugs. In many inner cities, eighty percent of young men have prison records. These convictions will remain on their records permanently, limiting their voting rights and their ability to find employment. Currently, in all but two states, citizens with felony convictions are permanently or temporarily prohibited from voting. The United States is the only country that permits permanent disenfranchisement of felons even after completion of their sentences.
- Since 1971, there have been more than 40 million arrests for drug-related offenses.
– Even though blacks and whites have similar levels of drug use, blacks are ten times as likely to be incarcerated for drug crimes.
– “There are more blacks under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”
– “As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.”
– In 2005, 4 out of 5 drug arrests were for possession not trafficking, and 80% of the increase in drug arrests in the 1990s was for marijuana.
– There are 50,000 arrests for low-level pot possession a year in New York City, representing one out of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts. Most of these arrested are black and hispanic men.
A report released last year by the National Research Council – an arm of the National Academy of Sciences – found:
The U.S. prison population is largely drawn from the most disadvantaged part of the nation’s population: mostly men under age 40, disproportionately minority, and poorly educated.
Prisons are part of a poverty trap, with many paths leading in, but few leading out.
Today, a new study published by Robynn J.A. Cox – assistant professor of economics at Spelman College – finds:
The United States has a dual criminal justice system that has helped to maintain the economic and social hierarchy in America, based on the subjugation of blacks, within the United States. Public policy, criminal justice actors, society and the media, and criminal behavior have all played roles in creating what sociologist Loic Wacquant calls the hyperincarceration of black men.
Although the right for blacks to vote has been enforced since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, mass incarceration policies have effectively taken this entitlement away from numerous African Americans.
Chart’s from Cox’s study tell the tale:
Postscript: The prison-industrial complex is part of the problem. Indeed, private prison corporations obtain quotas from the government, where the government guaranteesacertainnumber of prisoners at any given time.
Only a day after the final CIA whitewash of its unconstitutional spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, documents released by the agency reveal that the Obama White House knew in advance that CIA operatives had been ordered to investigate the legislative panel, which has legal responsibility for overseeing the agency.
An Accountability Board appointed by CIA Director John Brennan handed down its official finding Wednesday that the five CIA operatives who broke into Senate Intelligence Committee computers and read staff email were acting in good faith and that their spying was “reasonable.”
The five-member panel included former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, former White House Counsel Bob Bauer and three unnamed CIA officials (so much for accountability!). The panel rejected the findings of the agency’s own Inspector General, David Buckley, prepared last July, which condemned the spying on the Senate committee and referred it to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.
Along with the Accountability Board report, however, the CIA was also compelled to release a redacted version of Buckley’s report, which it had been fighting to keep secret, opposing Freedom of Information Act requests from several news organizations.
One attachment to the Buckley report is a memorandum from one of the five CIA operatives, a lawyer for the agency, which makes the remarkable admission about Brennan’s prior consultation with the White House before the intrusion into the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer system.
This was a special computer system set up by the CIA itself to handle some six million pages of documents on torture in CIA secret prisons between 2002 and 2007, which became the basis for the 6,300-page report prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the 512-page summary released to the public—again in redacted form—last month.
At some point during 2013, the CIA learned that the Senate committee staff had obtained a copy of an internal document dubbed the “Panetta report.” This was a summary of the evidence of CIA torture, prepared for then-director Leon Panetta in 2012 that undercut the CIA’s official pretense that it had never tortured prisoners at “black sites” in Europe and Asia.
CIA Director Brennan ordered an investigation into how the document came into the hands of the Senate committee staff, and then met with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to brief him on the plan. Following this meeting (whose contents remains top secret), Brennan called the CIA attorney who was part of the group of five investigating the Senate committee, and told him to use “whatever means necessary” to find the source of the leak.
“The conversation with McDonough came after Brennan first issued the directive, but before he reiterated it to a CIA attorney leading the probe,” the internal CIA report states.
This is nothing short of a smoking gun, demonstrating direct involvement of the Obama White House in actions which Senate Democrats publicly condemned as unconstitutional and illegal. Obama himself was more than likely consulted, given the sensitivity of the issue and his own close ties to Brennan, the head of counterterrorism at the White House before he was named CIA director.
McDonough and Obama are known to have an extremely close relationship, particularly on national security matters, as demonstrated by reports at the time of Obama’s decision, in August 2013, to pull back on plans for air strikes on Syria. After initially approving the military action, Obama went for a walk with McDonough, during which the two discussed the order to attack Syria and agreed it should be rescinded. No other White House or Pentagon officials were involved in the process.
The memorandum from the CIA lawyer suggests that he was well aware that discussing the spying on the Senate with the White House could be a political bombshell if it was subsequently revealed. He wrote of his conversation with Brennan: “I cautioned that discussing this matter with the WH, at this stage, was problematic, as it could later be viewed as WH interference in a potential criminal investigation.”
The memorandum continues:
“I repeatedly counseled the Director, as well as [redacted] and [the Director of the Office of Congressional Affairs], that it was unwise to ask the WH for direction as to a possible criminal investigation… If the WH were to order the inquiry stopped, it could constitute an act in furtherance of obstruction of justice. At the least, it could be interpreted that way by Congressional critics and the press. Merely consulting with the WH would place the director in a bad light, making it appear that he was politicizing a potential criminal matter.”
In the upside-down world of the CIA, the “criminal investigation” was being conducted by the agency, the “crime” was the Senate staff obtaining the Panetta review, and “obstruction of justice” would be any effort to prevent the CIA from spying on the Senate. Nonetheless, the use of such language is extraordinary, and goes far to explain the frenzied efforts of both the CIA and the Obama White House to block the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and all other associated documents.
It should be pointed out here that McDonough, who had advance warning from Brennan that the CIA was spying on the Senate committee, was later designated by Obama to “mediate” disputes between the agency and the committee over the declassification of the torture report. Throughout this process, McDonough sided with the CIA. Members of the Senate committee complained that the White House backed CIA demands for redaction of even the pseudonyms given to CIA agents, including those who directly perpetrated acts of torture.
In response to the final whitewash of the CIA by the Accountability Board, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the preparation of the torture report, issued a statement declaring, “I continue to believe CIA’s actions constituted a violation of the constitutional separation of powers.”
Feinstein said she was “disappointed that no one at the CIA will be held accountable,” but was conspicuously silent about the role played by the White House in both the cover-up of CIA torture and the intrusion into the Senate committee’s computers.
The Brennan-McDonough meeting sheds new light on the July 2014 declaration of the Obama Justice Department that it “had no prosecutorial interest” in the CIA spying on the Senate committee. Any such prosecution would have had to follow a trail that led straight to the highest officials in the White House.
Both the circumstances behind the obstruction of the Senate report on CIA torture, and the report itself, reveal criminality at the highest levels of the state—under both the Bush and the Obama administrations. Yet no one has been held accountable, and the entire matter has been almost entirely dropped by the media.
Suppose a reporter interviewed players behind the scenes re the question: who really runs the US government? Who really sets national policy?
A legit interview. Actual people. Actual quotes. Not just a circumstantial case.
And suppose these players answered the big questions directly and unmistakably?
And then…nothing happened.
No further coverage. No media hounds let loose to dig further. No government investigation. Nothing.
Well, it’s true. There was an interview. The questions were asked and answered. There was no tap-dancing or beating around the bush or vague reference.
Anyone who was anyone in Washington politics or media had access to the interview. Understood its meaning.
But no one shouted from the rooftops. No one used the conversation to force a scandal. No one protested loudly.
The conversation revealed that the entire basis of the Constitution had been torpedoed, that the people who were running US national policy were agents of an elite shadow group.
And yet: official silence. Media silence. The Dept. of Justice made no moves, Congress undertook no serious inquiries, and the President, Jimmy Carter, issued no statements. Carter was himself a covert agent in the White House, a willing pawn, and despite his proclaimed religious values, was nothing more than a rank con artist, a hustler, a phony down to his fingertips.
I’ll boil down the 1978 conversation between a reporter and two Trilateral Commission members:
“The US has been taken over.”
By the way, the infamous Trilateral Commission still exists.
Many people think the TC, created in 1973 by David Rockefeller, is a relic of an older time.
Patrick Wood, author of Trilaterals Over Washington, points out there are only 87 members of the Trilateral Commission who live in America. Obama appointed eleven of them to posts in his administration.
* Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary;
* James Jones, National Security Advisor;
* Paul Volker, Chairman, Economic Recovery Committee;
* Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence.
Several other noteworthy Trilateral members: George HW Bush; Bill Clinton; Dick Cheney; Al Gore.
Keep in mind that the original stated goal of the TC was to create “a new international economic order.”
In the run-up to his inauguration after the 2008 presidential election, Obama was tutored by the co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Brzezinski wrote, four years before birthing the TC with his godfather, David Rockefeller:
“[The] nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation state.”
Any doubt on the question of TC goals is answered by David Rockefeller himself, the founder of the TC, in his Memoirs (2003):
“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
Okay. Here is a close-up snap shot of a remarkable moment from out of the past. It’s through-the-looking-glass—a conversation between reporter, Jeremiah Novak, and two Trilateral Commission members, Karl Kaiser and Richard Cooper. The interview took place in 1978. It concerned the issue of exactly who was formulating US economic and political policy.
The careless and off-hand attitude of Trilateralists Kaiser and Cooper is astonishing. It’s as if they’re saying, “What we’re revealing is already out in the open, it’s too late to do anything about it, why are you so worked up, we’ve already won…”
NOVAK (the reporter): Is it true that a private [Trilateral committee] led by Henry Owen of the US and made up of [Trilateral] representatives of the US, UK, West Germany, Japan, France and the EEC is coordinating the economic and political policies of the Trilateral countries [which would include the US]?
COOPER: Yes, they have met three times.
NOVAK: Yet, in your recent paper you state that this committee should remain informal because to formalize ‘this function might well prove offensive to some of the Trilateral and other countries which do not take part.’ Who are you afraid of?
KAISER: Many countries in Europe would resent the dominant role that West Germany plays at these [Trilateral] meetings.
COOPER: Many people still live in a world of separate nations, and they would resent such coordination [of policy].
NOVAK: But this [Trilateral] committee is essential to your whole policy. How can you keep it a secret or fail to try to get popular support [for its decisions on how Trilateral member nations will conduct their economic and political policies]?
COOPER: Well, I guess it’s the press’ job to publicize it.
NOVAK: Yes, but why doesn’t President Carter come out with it and tell the American people that [US] economic and political power is being coordinated by a [Trilateral] committee made up of Henry Owen and six others? After all, if [US] policy is being made on a multinational level, the people should know.
COOPER: President Carter and Secretary of State Vance have constantly alluded to this in their speeches. [untrue]
This interview “slipped under the mainstream media radar,” which is to say, it was ignored, buried, sat on, censored.
US economic and political policy run by a committee of the Trilateral Commission—the Commission had been created in 1973 as an “informal discussion group” by David Rockefeller and his sidekick, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
When Carter won the presidential election, his aide, Hamilton Jordan, said that if after the inauguration, Cy Vance and Brzezinski came on board as secretary of state and national security adviser, “We’ve lost. And I’ll quit.” Lost—because both men were powerful members of the Trilateral Commission and their appointment to key positions would signal a surrender of White House control to the Commission.
Vance and Brzezinski were appointed secretary of state and national security adviser, as Jordan feared. But he didn’t quit. He became Carter’s chief of staff.
Think about this: if the interview had gained exposure, if it had ignited a firestorm in the press, with reporters pouring gasoline on it day in and day out, for months, interviewing Trilateral players and their government allies and their banking allies and their mega-corporate allies and their shills…with rats coming out of the closet and confessing exactly how the US government had been taken over…
…with headlines like:
SECRETIVE GROUP RUNS US NATIONAL POLICY;
US GOVERNMENT HELD PRISONER BY TRILATERAL COMMISSION;
AMERICA RUN BY ROCKEFELLER;
THE MEN BEHIND THE CURTAIN: DESTROYING INDEPENDENT AMERICA…
On and on and on…
This would have created the seeds of an alternative future, a future quite unlike the present we are living through now.
Of course, the naysayers would say it’s futile to imagine a future that didn’t happen, and we should just lay down and forget and let the takeover proceed. Yes, they always say that. They always say there is no chance for victory, because they’ve given up on their own lives, they’ve made their own internal compromises, they’ve sold themselves out over and over, they’ve bargained away their last chip of power and imagination, and they want companions in their spiritual narcosis.
But there it is. The interview that “never happened.”
Jon Rappoport is theauthor of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails atNoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.
“Today the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine.” - The Times of Israel, Jan 16, 2015
It had to come. With the International Criminal Court receiving bad press for its inefficiency, and a seeming lethargy in its prosecuting nerve, Israel came storming in with the clearest of messages against announcements of a preliminary investigation into the Palestinian issue. It will do everything it can to prevent its soldiers from being investigated for war crimes by a foreign body citing universal jurisdiction.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman led the charge. Liberman released a statement to the press on Friday finding it repugnant that Israel should be the subject of any “probe”.
“The same court which after more than 200,000 deaths didn’t see fit to intervene in what was taking place in Syria or in Libya or in other places now finds it worthwhile to ‘examine’ the most moral army in the world” (Jerusalem Post, Jan 16).
The importance of Israel’s statement lies precisely in its own assessment about the role of international institutions, which it deems inadequate before superior domestic experiments. Otherwise, any international entity is only useful as long as the rules are appropriately adjusted.
This is the very definition of law that ceases to be law, one that slips into the area of pure power politics. This concept lies at the core of those critical of ICC procedure, such as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. This is not in itself surprising, as Kissinger might himself, given the appropriate circumstances, face a successful prosecution suit. Writing for Foreign Affairs (July/August 2001), Kissinger called the move towards an international court as “an unprecedented movement… to submit international politics to judicial procedures.”
The argument that seems to be limping rather than galloping, is that of “substituting the tyranny of judges for that of governments; historically, the dictatorship of the virtuous has often led to inquisitions and even witch-hunts.” History gave us the Nuremberg trials, the specific tribunals of Rwanda and former Yugoslavia. But an international tribunal?
Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch came with an appropriate rejoinder to Kissinger’s argument against a universal war crimes court. “Behind much of the savagery of modern history lies impunity. Tyrants commit atrocities, including genocide, when they calculate they can get away with them” (Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2001).
Another tactic has become clear in targeting the ICC. Its judiciary, and its practices, are seen as tyrannical by powers which can have no truck with internationally directed scrutiny that refers to solid legal principle. For that reason, any judicial measures on its part are deemed “political” rather than “legal.”
Since the ICC is the enemy for the practice of Israeli politics and power, it is deemed a body that, by its very nature, is political. The only legal upholders, by a somewhat perverse sleight of hand, is Israel itself, with the “most moral army in the world”, as Liberman cites.
Israel is the righteous guardian of law, a sort of dangerous virtue that Kissinger attributed to the universal jurisdiction movement. It is impossible to imagine any violations from the guardian. Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement about the ICC is typically aligned to this view: “It’s scandalous that mere days after terrorists massacred Jews in France, the ICC prosecutor opens a probe against the Jewish state. And this is because we defend our citizens from Hamas, a terror group that signed a unity pact with the Palestinian Authority and war criminals who fired thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens.”
The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has had to provide words of calm instruction for critics. “A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a (full) investigation.”
Israel’s opposition is not unique. From the other side of the fence, Russia and China have been foremost in opposing efforts to refer the Syrian conflict to ICC procedures. In January, 2013, a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed alarm at the suggestion. “We view this initiative as untimely and counterproductive to achieving today’s main goal – an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria.”
This was repeated in May 2014, when other powers on the UN Security Council insisted that Syria account for war crimes before the ICC. Samantha Power, the grandee of human rights at the Security Council, and US Ambassador, would exhort how, “Our grandchildren will ask us years from now how we could have failed to bring justice to people living in hell on earth” (ABC, May 22, 2014).
Hells vary, and Power’s suggestion is that a Palestinian hell does not quite float so well on the international morality market as a Syrian one. Syrians were obvious bogeymen in need of legal chastising, while Israel was not. In fact, Power was keen to keep the ICC away from meddling in the Palestinian issue with a suitably long barge pole. “The ICC is of course something that we have been absolutely adamant about. I mean, this is something that really poses a profound threat to Israel.” When law is inconvenient, politics shall reserve its right to judge.
Israel has become something of a shock soldier against the ICC. Other powers will be quietly supporting its mission, seeing this as a chance to push back against a globalised jurisdiction that nets, rather than avoids, placing leaders before a court of law. For them, the very idea of universal jurisdiction is anathema to power politics. It is precisely for that reason that such efforts should fail.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
During a meeting in Pennsylvania to discuss reauthorizing the FISA surveillance law, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said the arrest of Christopher Cornell in Ohio would not have been possible without the 1978 law.
“The first thing that strikes me, we would have never known about this had it not been for the FISA program and our ability to collect information on people who pose an imminent threat,” Boehner saidduring a press conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Boehner insisted the government would not have known about Cornell if not for widespread surveillance of the American public.
“The first thing that strikes me, we would have never known about this had it not been for the FISA program and our ability to collect information on people who pose an imminent threat,” he said.
According to an FBI affidavit, however, authorities were tipped off by an informant who saw tweets posted by Cornell, who went by the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah.
Cornell came to the attention of local police in the fall of 2013 when he attended a 9/11 memorial ceremony with a sign that read, “9/11 was an inside job.”
“He committed no crimes. We filed no reports. He was constitutionally protected to do that at the event,” said Lt. Mitch Hill of the Green Township Police Department.
News reports indicate Cornell was set-up by the FBI informant who was cooperating with authorities to obtain “favorable treatment” in an unspecified case.
Acting under FBI supervision, the unidentified informant arranged meetings with Cornell and discussed an attack on the U.S. capitol. The seasonally employed and reclusive Cornell was arrested earlier this week after buying expensive firearms and ammunition.
Despite revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, are engaged in widespread surveillance of the American public, Boehner said the government only spies on terrorists.
“Our government does not spy on Americans unless there are Americans who are doing things that tip off our law enforcement officials to an imminent threat. It was our law enforcement officials and those programs that helped us stop this person before he committed a heinous crime in our Capitol,” Boehner said.
Congress will likely reauthorize the FISA law this summer.
“We don’t want to further encumber intelligence and law enforcement communities who already have a difficult task in tracking those who wish to attack Americans at home and abroad,” the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), said earlier this month.
Students of Kabul University, one holding a photo showing graves of Afghan victims, decry the deaths of civilians, including scores of children, during a demonstration against a coalition airstrike in Farah Province that took place in 2009. (Photo: Sadeq/AP)
“Je suis Charlie. Tout est pardonné.”
Muhammad in tears adorns the new cover of Charlie Hebdo: “I am Charlie. All is forgiven.” This is bigger than satire.
I take a deep breath, uncertain how to write about last week’s insane shooting spree in Paris. My daughter and her husband live there. “Things are normal,” she told me a few days afterward, “but there’s a presence — this thing that has happened. It’s in the air.”
A few days later I came upon this headline at the McClatchy Washington bureau website: “U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed 50 civilians.”
The story reports: “The civilians were being held in a makeshift jail in the town of Al Bab, close to the Turkish border, when the aircraft struck on the evening of Dec. 28, the witnesses said. The building, called the Al Saraya, a government center, was leveled in the airstrike. It was days before civil defense workers could dig out the victims’ bodies.”
The building, in fact, had been turned into a jail by Islamic State police. It contained guards and between 35 and more than 50 prisoners, according to different witnesses’ accounts. The prisoners “had been jailed shortly before the airstrike for minor infractions of the Islamic State’s harsh interpretation of Islamic law, such as smoking, wearing jeans or appearing too late for the afternoon prayer.”
IS arrested them. We killed them. Partners in terror.
This is my thought, in any case, as I absorb a week of marches, solidarity and media commentary. A “thing” is in the air. Something horrible has happened: Seventeen people were murdered in Paris and several million residents rallied at the Place de la Republique, crying for peace and freedom. I feel the shock and emotional pull of these murders as much as anyone else, but I’m unable to understand why they seem to matter more than the bombing deaths of Syrians or Afghans or Iraqis, which are also acts of terror.
They don’t, of course. And Muhammad weeps for them, too. So does the inexpressible largeness in everyone’s heart. Je suis Charlie. I am every victim of war and terror.
But no, it’s not that simple. The interests of war commandeer some of the murders for their own ends and ignore the others. Thus a simple-minded and righteous rage is stirred into the grief, particularly by that segment of the media accustomed to serving the powerful. TheChristianScience Monitor, for instance, informs us: “US will host summit to counter international terrorism.”
Brad Knickerbocker’s article begins: “The United States has been at war with the likes of the Paris terrorists who shook up the world last week since September 11, 2001 — back when the Bush administration dubbed it the ‘Global War on Terror’ or GWOT.”
Gosh, we’ve been plugging away for over 13 years now, battling evil, and we still haven’t gotten rid of it. However, the article continues: “For the most part, terrorist attacks on the US homeland have been thwarted — the major exception being the Ft. Hood shooting in 2009 when radicalized US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who’d been in touch with US-born Islamic militant Anwar al-Awlaki, killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.”
Apparently it’s only terrorism if the killer has an Arabic name. The ongoing string of mass murders by non-Arab lone wolves (Sandy Hook, Aurora, etc., etc.) are isolated incidents that have nothing to do with GWOT. And the feel-good war we’ve been waging in the Middle East and Central Asia, shattering countries, displacing millions, killing unknown numbers of civilians, isn’t terror. Indeed, it’s suddenly justified all over again by the lunatics who stormed Charlie Hebdo last week.
There’s a certain type of solidarity that requires an enemy, and I’m certain the national leaders who marched in Paris on Sunday were there to promote only this kind of solidarity, not the more troubled and complicated kind . . . the kind that sees no enemies, only victims.
“It takes strength not to be saddened by the fact that the hierarchical structure of the human world results in millions of people expressing their horror at the effects of a divided world, whilst the so-called ‘leaders’ who promote and sustain such divisions march as if they are wholly innocent of the crimes they protest,” John Hopkins wrote recently at Common Dreams.
Terrorism, he added, “will never be defeated by the military muscle of their states any more than it will be by their pretensions that its causes lie entirely outside their actions.”
A “thing” is in the air, my daughter said. It’s in the air in Paris, but also in Afghanistan and Iraq and a town in Syria called Al Bab, and countless other places. My guess is that most of those who rallied in collective grief because of it did so in solidarity with all the victims, not just a select few. But the interests of war — the partners in terror — are also rallying, capitalizing on isolated acts of evil to expand their power, relying on a simplistic media to keep “us’ carefully separated from “them.”
Guards from Camp 5 at Joint Task Force Guantanamo escort a detainee from his cell via Flickr/DVIDSHUB
Less than a quarter of the 119 detainees named in the US Senate’s summary report into the CIA’s secret torture programme remain in the military prison for the most “hardline” terror suspects – Guantánamo Bay – the Bureau has established.
Milestone research by the Bureau and The Rendition Project has identified only 36 individuals who were sent to Guantánamo after their “interrogations” by the CIA – and of those, just 29 remain at the prison on the island of Cuba. One of them has been recommended for transfer.
One of the 29 still in custody is Majid Khan, who was described in the report as being subjected to tortures including the brutal procedure known as rectal feeding.
Seven of the 36 were released between March 2007 and January 2010 – of whom six were transferred abroad and one was sent to a maximum security jail in mainland USA.
There have been a number of releases from Guantánamo in recent months, including one last night when five detainees were sent to Oman and Estonia.
However, new research by the Bureau and The Rendition Project has found that the military prison camp contains few of the 119 individuals named in last month’s Senate Intelligence Committee’s report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation programme.
The Bureau’s new investigation has produced a database which begins to provide details of what happened to each of the 119 individuals.
It has established for the first time their dates of entry and exit into the programme and shows which of the prisoners were eventually transferred to the US military detention camp in Guantánamo Bay.
While 36 were originally transferred to Guantánamo, the rest were either released without charge, sent to other US military prisons in Iraq or Afghanistan, or turned over to foreign governments.
The Senate’s full report ran to 6,700 pages, but only a 499-page summary was published in December 2014 and within this, crucial details were redacted after objections from the White House — to the anger of committee chair Dianne Feinstein.
The summary named 119 of the CIA’s prisoners put through the programme from 2002 until 2008, but it offered no full analysis of their time in custody. It instead gave a few individual case studies.
The Bureau has produced a comprehensive timeline for the 119 detainees by correlating new information in the Senate report with previously published investigations, legal filings, flight data and other material, including unpublished documents on file with the international NGO Reprieve.
Although the rough outlines of the CIA’s detention programme have long been established by legal teams and investigators, the Bureau’s analysis of the Senate report confirms and clarifies many details and offers many threads for further research.
The research casts new light on the programme’s evolution and eventual dismantlement. It shows, for example, that there were 28 people left in the programme in 2006, the year it was effectively dismantled.
The research also opens fresh possibilities for accountability and legal redress, according to lawyers who have worked on some of these cases.
Three senior lawyers representing a number of former CIA detainees welcomed the Bureau’s findings.
Meg Satterthwaite, Director of the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law, said: “This project to restore information blacked out in the Senate report reveals important data about former detainees’ time in the CIA’s detention system.
The Bureau examined all of the 119 cases cited in the Senate report.
In 54 of these, the Bureau has established entry dates into the programme to an accuracy of 10 days or fewer. Of these, the majority (32) are accurate to 5 days or fewer.
In all but 29 cases, the Bureau has established an entry date within a 30-day range.
“This kind of careful analysis is crucially important for those working to understand the US extraordinary rendition and torture program. For years, we have tried to create tables like the one included here, but essential information was always missing.
“This table will allow lawyers representing former detainees, human rights investigators, and citizens seeking the truth about what was done in their name to move several elusive pieces of the puzzle into place concerning the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared.”
Steven Watt, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “This research, confirming the dates and duration of the men’s confinement is important not just for transparency purposes but also for the men themselves.”
And Cori Crider, strategic director of the Abuses in Counter-Terrorism Team at Reprieve, added: “Even after publication of the CIA Torture Report, we’re none the wiser about the fates of dozens of men the US disappeared.
“Tracing them and their precise dates in custody does not just honour the dispersed and the dead, it is a crucial part of building a record that, one day hence, may be the cornerstone on which accountability is built.”
Inconsistencies in Senate Committee report
In a few cases, our analysis indicates inconsistencies in the detainee chart published in the Senate summary report. Sharif el-Masri entered the CIA programme between September 10 and 30 2004, as a transfer from a foreign government. The report states that he was sent back to the same government approximately three months later.
The chart, however, records that the CIA held him for over 800 days.
Likewise, Hambali – captured alongside Bashir bin Lap in Thailand on August 11 2003 – was included among the 14 prisoners transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2006, effectively the last year of the programme, whereas the chart has him remaining in CIA custody until February 2007. Janat Gul, who entered CIA custody in July 2004, must also have been transferred out of the programme by September 2006.
In the wake of the terror attack on the publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris, governments fromaroundtheworld are calling for increased surveillance.
But top security experts agree that mass surveillance is ineffective … and actually makes us MOREvulnerable to terrorism.
For example, the former head of the NSA’s global intelligence gathering operations – Bill Binney – says that the mass surveillance INTERFERES with the government’s ability to catch bad guys, and that the government failed to stop the Boston Bombing because it was overwhelmed with data from mass surveillance on Americans.
Today, Washington’s Blog asked Binney whether this applied to the Paris attack as well. He responded that it did:
A good deal of the failure is, in my opinion, due to bulk data. So, I am calling all these attacks a result of “Data bulk failure.” Too much data and too many people for the 10-20 thousand analysts to follow. Simple as that. Especially when they make word match pulls (like Google) and get dumps of data selected from close to 4 billion people.
This is the same problem NSA had before 9/11. They had data that could have prevented 9/11 but did not know they had it in their data bases. This back then when the bulk collection was not going on. Now the problem is orders of magnitude greater. Result, it’s harder to succeed.
Expect more of the same from our deluded government that thinks more data improves possibilities of success. All this bulk data collection and storage does give law enforcement a great capability to retroactively analyze anyone they want. But, of course,that data cannot be used in court since it was not acquired with a warrant.
The pro-spying NSA chief and NSA technicians confirmed Binney’s statement 3 months before 9/11:
In an interview, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, the NSA’s director … suggested that access isn’t the problem. Rather, he said, the sheer volume and variety of today’s communications means “there’s simply too much out there, and it’s too hard to understand.”
“What we got was a blast of digital bits, like a fire hydrant spraying you in the face,” says one former NSA technician with knowledge of the project. “It was the classic needle-in-the-haystack pursuit, except here the haystack starts out huge and grows by the second,” the former technician says. NSA’s computers simply weren’t equipped to sort through so much data flying at them so fast.
Indeed, the NSA itselfno longer claims that its mass spying program has stopped terror attacks or saved lives. Instead, intelligence spokesmen themselves now claim that mass spying is just an “insurance policy” to give “peace of mind”.
U.S. officials in the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government all say that the mass surveillance of our own people is ineffective:
3 Senators with top secret clearance “have reviewed this surveillance extensively and have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided any intelligence of valuethat could not have been gathered through less intrusive means”
A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks.“It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor….
“That was stunning. That was the ballgame,” said one congressional intelligence official, who asked not to be publicly identified. “It flies in the face of everything that they have tossed at us.”
The conclusions of the panel’s reports were at direct odds with public statements by President Barack Obama and U.S. intelligence officials.
Ray Corrigan – senior lecturer in mathematics, computing and technology at the Open University, UK –noted yesterday in New Scientist that mass surveillance isn’t the answer:
Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who murdered 17 people, wereknown to the French security services and considered a serious threat. France hasblanket electronic surveillance. It didn’t avert what happened.
Surveillance of the entire population, the vast majority of whom are innocent, leads to thediversion of limited intelligence resources in pursuit of huge numbers of false leads. Terrorists are comparatively rare, so finding one is a needle in a haystack problem. You don’t make it easier by throwing more needleless hay on the stack.
Mass surveillance makes the job of the security services more difficult and the rest of us less secure.
Israeli-American terrorism expert Barry Rubins points out:
What is most important to understand about the revelations of massive message interception by the U.S. government is this:
In counterterrorist terms, it is a farce. Basically the NSA, as one of my readers suggested, is the digital equivalent of the TSA strip-searching an 80 year-old Minnesota grandmothers rather than profiling and focusing on the likely terrorists.
And isn’t it absurd that the United States can’t … stop a would-be terrorist in the U.S. army who gives a power point presentation on why he is about to shoot people (Major Nadal Hassan), can’t follow up on Russian intelligence warnings about Chechen terrorist contacts (the Boston bombing), or a dozen similar incidents must now collect every telephone call in the country? A system in which a photo shop clerk has to stop an attack on Fort Dix by overcoming his fear of appearing “racist” to report a cell of terrorists or brave passengers must jump a would-be “underpants bomber” from Nigeria because his own father’s warning that he was a terrorist was insufficient?
And how about a country where terrorists and terrorist supporters visit the White House, hang out with the FBI, advise the U.S. government on counter-terrorist policy (even while, like CAIR) advising Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement….
Or how about the time when the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem had a (previously jailed) Hamas agent working in their motor pool with direct access to the vehicles and itineraries of all visiting US dignitaries and senior officials.
Suppose the U.S. ambassador to Libya warns that the American compound there may be attacked. No response. Then he tells the deputy chief of mission that he is under attack. No response. Then the U.S. military is not allowed to respond. Then the president goes to sleep without making a decision about doing anything because communications break down between the secretaries of defense and state and the president, who goes to sleep because he has a very important fund-raiser the next day. But don’t worry because three billion telephone calls by Americans are daily being intercepted and supposedly analyzed.
In other words, you have a massive counterterrorist project costing $1 trillion but when it comes down to it the thing repeatedly fails. In that case, to quote the former secretary of state, “”What difference does it make?”
If one looks at the great intelligence failures of the past, these two points quickly become obvious. Take for example the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. U.S. naval intelligence had broken Japanese codes. They had the information needed to conclude the attack would take place. [Background.] Yet a focus on the key to the problem was not achieved. The important messages were not read and interpreted; the strategic mindset of the leadership was not in place.
And remember that the number of terrorists caught by the TSA hovers around the zero level. The shoe, underpants, and Times Square bombers weren’t even caught by security at all and many other such cases can be listed. In addition to this, the U.S.-Mexico border is practically open.
The war on al-Qaida has not really been won, since its continued campaigning is undeniable and it has even grown in Syria, partly thanks to U.S. policy.
So the problem of growing government spying is three-fold.
–First, it is against the American system and reduces liberty.
–Second, it is a misapplication of resources, in other words money is being spent and liberty sacrificed for no real gain.
–Third, since government decisionmaking and policy about international terrorism is very bad the threat is increasing.
“In knowing a lot about a lot of different people [the data collection] is great for that,” said Mike German, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent whose policy counsel for national security at the American Civil Liberties Union. “In actually finding the very few bad actors that are out there, not so good.”
The mass collection of data from innocent people “won’t tell you how guilty people act,” German added. The problem with catching terrorism suspects has never been the inability to collect information, but to analyze the “oceans” of information collected, he said.
Mass data collection is “like trying to look for needles by building bigger haystacks,” added Wendy Grossman, a freelance technology writer who helped organize the conference.
This kind of dragnet-style data capture simply doesn’t keep us safe.
First, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are increasingly drowning in data; the more that comes in, the harder it is to stay afloat. Most recently, the failure of the intelligence community to intercept the 2009 “underwear bomber” was blamed in large part on a surfeit of information: according to an official White House review, a significant amount of critical information was “embedded in a large volume of other data.” Similarly, the independent investigation of the alleged shootings by U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood concluded that the “crushing volume” of information was one of the factors that hampered the FBI’s analysis before the attack.
Multiple security officials have echoed this assessment. As one veteran CIA agent told The Washington Post in 2010, “The problem is that the system is clogged with information. Most of it isn’t of interest, but people are afraid not to put it in.” A former Department of Homeland Security official told a Senate subcommittee that there was “a lot of data clogging the system with no value.” Even former Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that “we’ve built tremendous capability, but do we have more than we need?” And the NSA itself was brought to a grinding halt before 9/11 by the “torrent of data” pouring into the system, leaving the agency “brain-dead” for half a week and “[unable] to process information,” as its then-director Gen. Michael Hayden publicly acknowledged.
National security hawks say there’s a simple answer to this glut: data mining. The NSA has apparently described its computer systems as having the ability to “manipulate and analyze huge volumes of data at mind-boggling speeds.” Could those systems pore through this information trove to come up with unassailable patterns of terrorist activity? The Department of Defense and security experts have concluded that the answer is no: There is simply no known way to effectively anticipate terrorist threats.
The FBI’s and NSA’s scheme is an affront to democratic values. Let’s also not pretend it’s an effective and efficient way of keeping us safe.
Casting such wide nets is also ineffective, [security researcher Ashkan Soltani] argues. Collecting mountains and mountains of data simply means that when the time comes to find that proverbial needle in a haystack, you’ve simply created a bigger haystack.”Law enforcement is being sold bill of goods that the more data you get, the better your security is. We find that is not true,” Soltani said.
Collecting data is a hard habit to break, as many U.S. corporations have discovered after years of expensive data breaches. The NSA’s data hoard may be useful in future investigations, helping agents in the future in unpredictable ways, some argue. Schneier doesn’t buy it.
“The NSA has this fetish for data, and will get it any way they can, and get as much as they can,” he said. “But old ladies who hoard newspapers say the same thing, that someday, this might be useful.”
Even worse, an overreliance on Big Data surveillance will shift focus from other security techniques that are both less invasive and potentially more effective, like old-fashioned “spycraft,” Soltani says.
The debate over the U.S. government’s monitoring of digital communications suggests that Americans are willing to allow it as long as it is genuinely targeted at terrorists. What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens.
The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.
In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.
The Netherlands’ security service, which couldn’t find recent data on the size of the Undernet, cited a 2003 study from the University of California at Berkeley as the “latest available scientific assessment.” The study found that just 0.2 percent of the Internet could be searched. The rest remained inscrutable and has probably grown since. In 2010, Google Inc. said it had indexed just 0.004 percent of the information on the Internet.
Websites aimed at attracting traffic do their best to get noticed, paying to tailor their content to the real or perceived requirements of search engines such as Google. Terrorists have no such ambitions. They prefer to lurk in the dark recesses of the Undernet.
“People who radicalise under the influence of jihadist websites often go through a number of stages,” the Dutch report said. “Their virtual activities increasingly shift to the invisible Web, their security awareness increases and their activities become more conspiratorial.”
Communication on the core forums is often encrypted. In 2012, a French court found nuclear physicist Adlene Hicheur guilty of, among other things, conspiring to commit an act of terror for distributing and using software called Asrar al-Mujahideen, or Mujahideen Secrets. The program employed various cutting-edge encryption methods, including variable stealth ciphers and RSA 2,048-bit keys.
Even complete access to these servers brings U.S. authorities no closer to the core forums. These must be infiltrated by more traditional intelligence means, such as using agents posing as jihadists or by informants within terrorist organizations.
Similarly, monitoring phone calls is hardly the way to catch terrorists. They’re generally not dumb enough to use Verizon.
At best, the recent revelations concerning Prism and telephone surveillance might deter potential recruits to terrorist causes from using the most visible parts of the Internet. Beyond that, the government’s efforts are much more dangerous to civil liberties than they are to al-Qaeda and other organizations like it.
Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position.
No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians.
No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East.
No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia.
Do the neoconservatives also understand that they have united Europeans with the right-wing anti-immigration political parties? The wave of support for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is the wave of Marine Le Pen’s National Front, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, and Germany’s PEGIDA sweeping over Europe. These parties are empowered by the anti-immigration fervor that was orchestrated in order to reunite Europeans with Washington and Israel.
Once again the arrogant and insolent neoconservatives have blundered. Charlie Hebdo’s empowerment of the anti-immigration parties has the potential to revolutionize European politics and destroy Washington’s empire. See my weekend interview with King World News for my thoughts on this potential game-changer.
The reports from the UK Daily Mail and from Zero Hedge that Russia has cut off natural gas deliveries to six European countries must be incorrect. These sources are credible and well-informed, but such a cut-off would have instantly produced political and financial turmoil of which there is no sign. Therefore, unless there is a news blackout, Russia’s action has been misunderstood.
We know something real has happened. Otherwise, EU energy official Maros Sefcovic would not be expressing such consternation. Although I am without any definite information, I believe I know what the real story is. Russia, tired of Ukraine’s theft of the natural gas that passes through the country on its way to delivery to Europe, has made a decision to route the gas to Turkey, thus bypassing Ukraine.
The Russian energy minister has confirmed this decision and added that if European countries wish to avail themselves of this gas supply, they must put in place the infrastructure or pipeline to bring the gas into their countries.
In other words, there is a potential for a cutoff in the future, but no cutoff at the present.
These two events–Charlie Hebdo and the Russian decision to cease delivering gas to Europe via Ukraine–should remind us that the potential for black swans, and unintended consequences of official decisions that can produce black swans, always exist. Not even the American “superpower” is immune from black swans.
There is as much circumstantial evidence that the CIA and French Intelligence are responsible for the Charlie Hebdo shootings as there is that the shootings were carried out by the two brothers whose ID was conveniently found in the alleged get-away car. As the French made certain that the brothers were killed before they could talk, we will never know what they had to say about the plot.
The only evidence we have that the brothers are guilty is the claim by the security forces. Every time I hear government claims without real evidence, I remember Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” Assad’s “use of chemical weapons,” and Iran’s “nuclear weapons program.” If a US National Security Advisor can conjure up out of thin air “mushroom clouds over an American city,” Cherif and Said Kouachi can be turned into killers. After all, they are dead and cannot protest.
If this was, and we will never know for certain, a false flag attack, it achieved Washington’s goal of reuniting Europe under Washington and Israeli auspices. But this success has an unintended consequence. The unintended consequence is to unify Europe under the anti-immigration policy of the right-wing parties, thus empowering the leaders of those parties.
If this surmise is correct, Marie Le Pen and Nigel Farage will find their lives and/or reputations in danger as Washington will resist the rise of European governments that do not adhere to Washington’s line.
The consternation caused by Russia’s decision to relocate its gas delivery to Europe is proof that Russia holds many cards that Russia could play that would bring down the political and financial structures of the Western World.
China holds similar cards.
The two countries are not playing their cards, because they do not think that they need them. Instead, the two powers are withdrawing from the Western financial system that serves Western hegemony over the world. They are creating all of the economic institutions that they need in order to be completely independent of the West.
Therefore, the Russian and Chinese governments reason, “Why be provocative and slap down the Western fools. They might resort to their nuclear weapons, and the entire world would be lost. Let’s just walk away while they encourage us to depart with their provocations.”
We can be thankful that Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the Chinese government are both intelligent and humane, unlike Western leaders.
Imagine, for example, the dire consequences for the West if Putin were to become personally involved as a result of the numerous affronts to both Russia and Putin himself. Putin can destroy NATO and the entire Western financial system whenever he wants. All he has to do is to announce that as NATO has declared economic war against Russia, Russia no longer sells energy to NATO members.
The NATO alliance would dissolve as Europe cannot survive without Russian energy supplies. Washington’s empire would end.
Putin realizes that the insolent neoconservatives would have to push the nuclear button in order to save face. Unlike Putin, their egos are on the line. Thus, Putin saves the world from nuclear war by not being provocative.
Now, imagine if the Chinese government were to lose its patience with Washington. To confront the “exceptional, indispensable, unipower” with the reality of its impotence, all China needs to do is to dump its massive dollar-denominated financial assets on the market, all at once, just as the Federal Reserve’s bullion bank agents dump massive uncovered gold contracts on the future’s market.
In order to avoid US financial collapse, the Federal Reserve would have to print massive amounts of new dollars with which to purchase the dumped Chinese holdings. As the Federal Reserve would protect US financial markets by purchasing the dumped Chinese holdings, the Chinese would lose nothing from the sale. It is the next step that is decisive. The Chinese government then dumps the massive holdings of dollars it has received from its selloff of dollar-dominated financial instruments.
Now what happens? The Fed can print dollars with which to purchase the dumped Chinese holdings, but the Fed cannot print foreign currencies with which to buy up the dumped dollars.
The massive supply of dollars dumped in the exchange market by China would have no takers. The dollar’s value would collapse. Washington could no longer pay its bills by printing money. Americans living in an import-dependent country, thanks to jobs offshoring, would be faced with high prices that would seriously erode their living standard. The United States would experience economic, social, and political instability.
Putting aside their brainwashing, their defensiveness and patriotic support of the regime in Washington, Americans need to ask themselves: How is it possible that the government of the United States, an alleged Superpower, is so unaware of its true vulnerabilities that Washington is capable of pushing two real powers until they have had enough and play the cards that they hold?
Americans need to understand that the only thing exceptional about the US is the ignorance of the population and the stupidity of the government.
What other country would let a handful of Wall Street crooks control its economic and foreign policy, run its central bank and Treasury, and subordinate citizens’ interests to the interests of the one percent’s pocketbook?
A population this insouciant is at the total mercy of Russia and China.
Three years ago flight from euros and dollars into Swiss francs pushed the exchange value of the franc so high that it threatened the existence of the Swiss export industries. Switzerland announced that any further inflows of foreign currencies into francs would be met by creating new francs to absorb the inflows so as not to drive up the exchange rate further. In other words, the Swiss pegged the franc.
Yesterday the Swiss central bank announced that the peg was off. The franc instantly rose in value. Stocks of Swiss export companies fell, and hedge funds wrongly positioned incurred major hits to their solvency.
Why did the Swiss remove the peg? It was not a costless action. It cost the central bank and Swiss export industries substantially.
The answer is that the EU attorney general ruled that it was permissible for the EU central bank to initiate Quantitative Easing–that is, the printing of new euros–in order to bail out the mistakes of the private bankers. This decision means that Switzerland expects to be confronted with massive flight from the euro and that the Swiss central bank is unwilling to print enough new Swiss francs to maintain the peg. The Swiss central bank believes that it would have to run the printing press so hard that the basis of the Swiss money supply would explode, far exceeding the GDP of Switzerland.
The money printing policy of the US, Japan, and apparently now the EU has forced other countries to inflate their own currencies in order to prevent the rise in the exchange value of their currencies that would curtail their ability to export and earn foreign currencies with which to pay for their imports. Thus Washington has forced the world into printing money.
The Swiss have backed out of this system. Will others follow, or will the rest of the world follow the Russians and Chinese governments into new monetary arrangements and simply turn their backs on the corrupt and irredeemable West?
The level of corruption and manipulation that characterizes US economic and foreign policy today was impossible in earlier times when Washington’s ambition was constrained by the Soviet Union. The greed for hegemonic power has made Washington the most corrupt government on earth.
The consequence of this corruption is ruin.
“Leadership passes into empire. Empire begets insolence. Insolence brings ruin.”
Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation.
Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval.
Here we are again.
The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most tragic ways: France, like the United States on 9/11, has been used. The masses of the world have been deceived, and march in lockstep to NATO’s drumbeat again.
All signs lead from French intelligence back to Washington—and Langley, Virginia—directly and indirectly. Red herrings and deceptions comprise the official narrative.
The Al-Qaeda narrative, the classic CIA deception, gets fresh facelift. The fact that Al-Qaeda is CIA-created Anglo-American military-intelligence is ignored. The agenda behind the ISIS war—a massive and elaborate regional CIA false flag operation—registers even less.
The Charlie Hebdo terrorists have ties to Anglo-American intelligence and the Pentagon that the masses do not bother to think about. They are also tied to the (conveniently dead) 9/11-connected Al-Qaeda mastermind/CIA military-intelligence asset Anwar Al-Awlaki. These and other obvious connections to Washington and the CIA do not raise alarm bells among the ardent ones waving Je Suis Charlie signs (which “magically” appeared, and seem to have been mass-produced in advance).
Signs of an inside job and a still unfolding cover-up are significant, from pristine, undamaged passports found on scene to the convenient suicide of Helric Fredou, the Paris police commissioner in charge of the Hebdo investigation.
The Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly were not only well known by French authorities, French intelligence and the CIA. The Kouachis were tracked and monitored—guided—over the course of many years, arrested many times, yet were allowed to continue training and plotting with fellow Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, etc. These are telltale signs of a guided military-intelligence operation. A blatantly obvious terror cell, known to authorities, “drops out of sight”, and then set loose at an appropriate moment. And then executed.
None of these things, which alarm seasoned observers, registers among the emotional masses; the lemmings who willfully refuse to address its real source: the architects of Anglo-American war policy.
Only the NATO war agenda benefits from any of this.
“France’s 9/11” is more accurately France’s latest Operation Gladio. As noted by Paul Craig Roberts, there is a reason why the Charlie Hebdo attacks took place when it did:
France is suffering from the Washington-imposed sanctions against Russia. Shipyards are impacted from being unable to deliver Russian orders due to France’s vassalage status to Washington, and other aspects of the French economy are being adversely impacted by sanctions that Washington forced its NATO puppet states to apply to Russia.
This week the French president said that the sanctions against Russia should end (so did the German vice-chancellor).
This is too much foreign policy independence on France’s part for Washington. Has Washington resurrected “Operation Gladio,” which consisted of CIA bombing attacks against Europeans during the post-WW II era that Washington blamed on communists and used to destroy communist influence in European elections? Just as the world was led to believe that communists were behind Operation Gladio’s terrorist attacks, Muslims are blamed for the attacks on the French satirical magazine.
Now France is militarized, just as the US was in the wake of 9/11. And the French right-wing has newfound cache.
The hostile takeover of the public mind
Notice that the last two false flag operations in recent months—the false flagging of North Korea over Sony and the film The Interview, and the Charlie Hebdo deception—both revolve around the ideas of “free speech” and “free expression”.
This is a phantom battle, choreographed by those who could not care less for “freedoms”. In fact, the masses are being manipulated towards supporting war and mass murder, and police state agendas that specifically curtail freedoms.
What more creative way to take away freedoms than to make people give them up voluntarily?
The hordes of American citizens that supported the “war on terrorism” to “defend freedom” got the Patriot Act, which gutted what liberties they had; the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will not be restored. This process continues all over the world. Ask the average uninformed French citizen today suffering from post-traumatic stress, and they will gladly give up their rights, anything so that “terrorists” are stopped.
Note how the powers that be have taken to inserting their pro-war messages even more forcefully where the ignorant public spends the majority of its time: in popular entertainment. In Hollywood products, in their cartoons, in their magazines, in their celebrities.
Let George Clooney, Seth Rogen and James Franco transmit the messages of war for the CIA and the Pentagon.
Weaponize stupid movies like The Interview and crude magazines like Charlie Hebdo, and watch people become bloodthirsty, vengeful, unthinking and war-loving.
It is the CIA’s ongoing mission to plant its assets and its propaganda into the media and the arts, controlling the perception of culture as well as framing all debate. It is making a huge push at the moment, relishing the speed and effectiveness of technology and social media.
Hundreds and thousands of innocent lives have been lost in this endless, brutal and criminal war. Yet its architects and functionaries remain untouched.
Je Suis Langley
No Anglo-American war of conquest, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.
No CIA, no Militant Islam, no Al-Qaeda, no ISIS, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.
No 9/11, no “war on terrorism”, no ISIS deception, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.
No war against Russia, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Je Suis Charlie? No.
To the naïve ones who believe the lies and march on the streets carrying the signs, you are the victims, the gullible, the dupes, the pawns.