Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Timeline

July 19th, 2014 by Global Research News

by Dina Murad

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane has reportedly crashed in Ukraine near Russian border.

The plane, MH17, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Thursday, July 17

6pm: Scheduled time of departure of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17, a Boeing 777, from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.  [time is Central European]

 6.15pm: MH17 departs from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew.

10.15pm: MAS confirms it received notification from Ukrainian Air Traffic Control (ATC) that it had lost contact with MH17 at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

11.30pm: MH17 presumably crashes. MAS releases official tweet,“Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.”

11.40pm: Moscow based news agency Interfax says Malaysian passenger airliner was shot down at altitude of 10 km above Eastern Ukraine.

> They confirmed the location of a burning Malaysian plane in Eastern Ukraine.

> The Ukrainian Interior Ministry also confirmed that all passengers and crew are dead. The aircraft was “shot down” while cruising at an altitude of 30,000ft.

> Igor Strelkov, the military commander of pro-Russia separatists, posted on social media shortly before MH17’s crash that rebel forces had brought down an Antonov An-26, an aircraft commonly used by Ukrainian forces, in the same area.

Friday, July 18

12.03am: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders an investigation into the crash.

12.05am: Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tweets, “I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.”

12.18am: Ukrainian officials at the location of the crash confirm at least 100 bodies are found at the location and that body parts were scattered up to 15km from the site.

12.30am: Both Ukrainian authorities and rebel leaders deny shooting down MH17. A ground-to-air missile was the suspected to have brought down the aircraft.

> Russian President Vladimir Putin is in contact with United States president Barrack Obama on the crash, according to RIA news agency.

12.45am: Location of the crash site was revealed to be the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region.

2.10am: At least four French nationals were onboard MH17, says French foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

2.28am: Interfax reports that Pro-Russian separatists claim to have found MH17’s black box.

4.15am: The aircraft’s flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Air Transportation Association stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions, says Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak at a press conference.

> MAS confirms no distress call was made by MH17, he says.

> According to information provided by Kiev Air Traffic Control, the location of the plane’s emergency locator beacon is 48 degrees 7 minutes and 23 seconds North; and 38 degrees 31 minutes and 33 seconds East.

> Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot down. However, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy, says Najib.

> Malaysia will endeavour to “find out precisely what happened to this flight” and promises that any perpetrators will be brought to justice.

> Government is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a special Malaysian disaster assistance and rescue team as well as a medical team.

> Emergency operations centres have been established and Malaysian officials are in constant contact with counterparts in Ukraine and elsewhere, says the Prime Minister.

> Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko has pledged that there will be a full, thorough and independent investigation, says Najib.

> Ukraine will negotiate with rebels in the east of the country in order to establish a humanitarian corridor to the crash site.

6.10am: Crashed MH17 scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia.

7.30am: MAS says that all its flights to and from Europe will take alternative routes to avoid the usual path where flight MH17 went down in eastern Ukraine.

7.30am: MAS confirms that MH17 was carrying a total of 298 people – 283 passengers, including three infants of various nationalities, and 15 Malaysian crew members – and not 295, as previously reported.

Copyright The Star, Malaysia, 2014

A Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

As usual, the mainstream U.S. media is rushing to judgment over the crash of a Malaysian airliner in war-torn eastern Ukraine, but the history of U.S. government’s deceptions might be reason to pause and let a careful investigation uncover the facts.

It will likely take some time to determine who downed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people onboard. Initial speculation is that someone with a missile battery mistook the plane as a military aircraft, but the precise motive may be even harder to discern.

Given the fog of war and the eagerness among the various participants to wage “information warfare,” there is also the possibility that evidence – especially electronic evidence – might be tampered with to achieve some propaganda victory.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko immediately labeled the tragedy “a terrorist act” although there was no evidence that anyone intentionally shot down the civilian airliner. But Poroshenko and others in the Kiev government have previously designated the ethnic Russians, who are resisting the Feb. 22 overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych, as “terrorists” so Poroshenko’s bellicose language was not a surprise.

For their part, the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine denied responsibility for the crash – saying they lacked anti-aircraft missiles that could reach the 33,000-foot altitude of the Malaysian airliner – but there are reasons to suspect the rebels, including their previously successful efforts to shoot down Ukrainian military aircraft operating in the war zone.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin deflected questions about who may have fired the missile as he called for an international investigation. But he made a telling point when he noted that the “tragedy would not have happened if military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine.”

Those likely to agree with that statement include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande who, during a lengthy four-way conference call with Poroshenko on June 30, tried desperately to get him to prolong the ceasefire. Only the U.S. voiced support for Poroshenko’s decision to spurn that initiative and order Ukrainian forces into a major offensive in the east.

It was in the context of Ukrainian forces using their airpower to strike rebel positions that led to the rebels’ efforts to neutralize that advantage by deploying anti-aircraft missiles that have achieved some success in downing Ukrainian military planes. The Ukrainian military is also known to possess anti-aircraft batteries scattered throughout the country.

Raw Meat for Russia Bashing

But the chance to further demonize Putin and Russia will be hard for Official Washington and its corporate-owned press to resist. The New York Times was quick out of the starting blocks on Friday with a lead editorial blaming the entire Ukraine conflict, including the Malaysian Airline tragedy, on Putin:

“There is one man who can stop it – President Vladimir Putin of Russia, by telling the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to end their insurgency and by stopping the flow of money and heavy weapons to those groups.”

Among Putin’s alleged offenses, according to the Times, has been his “failing to support a cease-fire and avoiding serious, internationally mediated negotiations” – though Putin has actually been one of principal advocates for both a cease-fire and a negotiated solution. It has been the U.S.-backed Poroshenko who canceled the previous cease-fire and has refused to negotiate with the ethnic Russian rebels until they essentially surrender.

But the death of all 298 people onboard the Malaysian Airline flight, going from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, will surely provide plenty of fuel for the already roaring anti-Russian propaganda machine. Still, the U.S. press might pause to recall how it’s been manipulated by the U.S. government in the past, including three decades ago by the Reagan administration twisting the facts of the KAL-007 tragedy.

In that case, a Soviet fighter jet shot down a Korean Air Line plane on Sept. 1, 1983, after it strayed hundreds of miles off course and penetrated some of the Soviet Union’s most sensitive airspace over military facilities in Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island.

Over Sakhalin, KAL-007 was finally intercepted by a Soviet Sukhoi-15 fighter. The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots did not respond to the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane’s identity — a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier — Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire. He did, blasting the plane out of the sky and killing all 269 people on board.

The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder, not from a willful act of murder (much as on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired a missile that brought down an Iranian civilian airliner in the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people, an act which President Ronald Reagan explained as an “understandable accident”).

But a Soviet admission of a tragic blunder regarding KAL-007 wasn’t good enough for the Reagan administration, which saw the incident as a propaganda windfall. At the time, the felt imperative in Washington was to blacken the Soviet Union in the cause of Cold War propaganda and to escalate tensions with Moscow.

Falsifying the Case

To make the very blackest case against Moscow, the Reagan administration suppressed the exculpatory evidence from the U.S. electronic intercepts. The U.S. mantra became “the deliberate downing of a civilian passenger plane.” Newsweek ran a cover emblazoned with the headline “Murder in the Sky.”

“The Reagan administration’s spin machine began cranking up,” wrote Alvin A. Snyder, then-director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division, in his 1995 book, Warriors of Disinformation.

USIA Director Charles Z. Wick “ordered his top agency aides to form a special task force to devise ways of playing the story overseas. The objective, quite simply, was to heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible,” Snyder recalled.

Snyder noted that “the American media swallowed the U.S. government line without reservation. Said the venerable Ted Koppel on the ABC News ‘Nightline’ program: ‘This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.’”

On Sept. 6, 1983, the Reagan administration went so far as to present a doctored transcript of the intercepts to the United Nations Security Council (a prelude to a similar false presentation two decades later by Secretary of State Colin Powell on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction).

“The tape was supposed to run 50 minutes,” Snyder said about recorded Soviet intercepts. “But the tape segment we [at USIA] had ran only eight minutes and 32 seconds. … ‘Do I detect the fine hand of [Richard Nixon's secretary] Rosemary Woods here?’ I asked sarcastically.’”

But Snyder had a job to do: producing the video that his superiors wanted. “The perception we wanted to convey was that the Soviet Union had cold-bloodedly carried out a barbaric act,” Snyder wrote.

Only a decade later, when Snyder saw the complete transcripts — including the portions that the Reagan administration had hidden — would he fully realize how many of the central elements of the U.S. presentation were false.

The Soviet fighter pilot apparently did believe he was pursuing a U.S. spy plane, according to the intercepts, and he was having trouble in the dark identifying the plane. At the instructions of Soviet ground controllers, the pilot had circled the KAL airliner and tilted his wings to force the aircraft down. The pilot said he fired warning shots, too. “This comment was also not on the tape we were provided,” Snyder wrote.

It was clear to Snyder that in the pursuit of its Cold War aims, the Reagan administration had presented false accusations to the United Nations, as well as to the people of the United States and the world. To these Republicans, the ends of smearing the Soviets had justified the means of falsifying the historical record.

In his book, Snyder acknowledged his role in the deception and drew an ironic lesson from the incident. The senior USIA official wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.” [For more details on the KAL-007 deception and the history of U.S. trickery, see Consortiumnews.com’s “A Dodgy Dossier on Syrian War.”]

Reliability of U.S. Intelligence

It was not always this way. There was a time when the U.S. government wouldn’t risk its credibility for a cheap propaganda stunt, knowing that there are moments when it is crucial for the world to believe what U.S. officials say.

Some of us will remember when, in 1962, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson showed the Security Council U-2 photographs of fledgling Soviet offensive missile bases in Cuba. It was the perfect squelch to the Soviets and their allies trying to sow doubt about the truth behind President John F. Kennedy’s allegations.

Sadly, the credibility of U.S. officials and American intelligence is now at rock bottom. One need only think back on the evidence adduced to “prove” the existence of WMD in Iraq. “The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” is what the head of British intelligence told Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 23, 2002, after conferring with CIA Director George Tenet at CIA headquarters on July 20.

I also have grown more and more suspicious of the official U.S. government account about the crash of TWA-800 on July 17, 1996. Shortly after departing Kennedy Airport in New York, the plane exploded off Long Island with 230 people killed. More than 100 eyewitnesses reported seeing an object they described variously as a “missile,” “flare” or “rocket” rise up into the sky and merge with TWA Flight 800.

The immediate suspicion was that the disaster was an act of terrorism, although some speculation focused on the presence of U.S. Navy missile-carrying warships in the area. However, after raising much of the plane’s wreckage from the sea bottom, the National Transportation Safety Board and Justice Department/FBI dismissed the eyewitness accounts of a missile and concluded instead that the explosion was caused by an electrical malfunction.

To help in selling this version, the CIA “technical experts” working under CIA Director George Tenet – yes, the same fellow who described the Iraq WMD evidence as a “slam dunk” – were enlisted to prepare a video artfully designed to discredit the missile claims. But the TWA800 Project Investigative Team – a determined group of engineers, scientists, eyewitnesses and journalists – have continued to challenge the official findings, including the CIA video. [To see the team’s rebuttal, click here.]

Quite aside from the likelihood that CIA exceeded its authority with its involvement in this domestic issue, it pains me as a former CIA analyst that my former colleagues would take part in this kind of deception, producing a video that was unprofessional at best and fraudulent at worst.

So, there is, sadly, additional reason to kick the tires of any fancy truck carrying “intelligence” offered by the U.S. with respect to the Malaysian Airline shoot-down on Thursday.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as a CIA analyst for 27 years and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

On two consecutive days this week, journalists reporting from the Gaza war zone who evinced empathy for the Palestinians and less than unquestioning support for Israel were removed by television network executives.

NBC News’ Ayman Mohyeldin, an award-winning Egyptian-born journalist who provided on-the-spot coverage of the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2008-2009 and had distinguished himself for his objective reporting on the current Israeli war, was suddenly pulled from the region on Thursday.

He was removed after he described via social media and video the murder Wednesday of four Palestinian children by Israeli gunboats as the youth, between the ages of 9 and 11 and all from the same family, played soccer on a Gaza beach near hotels used by foreign journalists.

Mohyeldin wrote movingly of the tragic deaths, tweeting, “4 Palestinian kids killed in a single Israeli airstrike. Minutes before they were killed by our hotel, I was kicking a ball with them.” He also sent photos and a video of the devastated parents.

While NBC has given no public explanation for Mohyeldin’s banishment, numerous reports have referred to unnamed network executives citing “security concerns” as the reason. However, the Huffington Post and other sources have suggested the immediate trigger for his ouster was a tweet he posted, and subsequently removed, questioning a US State Department spokesperson who blamed the Palestinian Islamist movement that rules Gaza, Hamas, for the death of the four youth.

The tweet stated: “The US State Department Spokesperson just said that Hamas is ultimately responsible for Israel shelling and killing 4 boys who were cousins aged 9-11 because Hamas didn’t accept the ceasefire. Discuss among yourselves.”

Reporting Thursday on the removal of Mohyeldin, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has collaborated closely with Edward Snowden in exposing the National Security Agency’s secret and illegal mass spying, cited a report last week by Mohyeldin in which he said that “you can understand why some human rights organizations call Gaza ‘the world’s largest outdoor prison.’” In his news account, Mohyeldin went on to say: “One of the major complaints and frustrations among many people is that this is a form of collective punishment. You have 1.7 million people in this territory, now being bombarded, with really no way out.”

Greenwald noted that right-wing and pro-Israel web sites have repeatedly denounced Mohyeldin as a “Hamas spokesman” who spouts “pro-Hamas rants.”

In NBC’s Nightly News broadcast on Wednesday, Mohyeldin was inexplicably absent, and his report on the killing of the Palestinian youth was fronted instead by NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel, reporting from Tel Aviv. Engel, who has unswervingly mouthed State Department propaganda from every recent war zone, including Libya and Syria, has been assigned to replace Mohyeldin in Gaza.

On Friday, CNN removed correspondent Diana Magnay from her post covering the Israeli invasion of Gaza. She was banished in retaliation for a tweet in which she described as “scum” Israelis who were cheering the bombing of Gaza and threatening to attack her if her report diverged from the Israeli government line.

Magnay appeared on CNN Thursday, reporting from a hill overlooking the Israel-Gaza border. As she was reporting, Israelis could be heard cheering as missiles were fired at the Palestinian territory. After the live report, Magnay tweeted: “Israelis on hill above Sderot cheer as bombs land on Gaza; threaten our car if I say a word wrong. Scum.”

The tweet was quickly removed and a CNN spokeswoman issued a craven apology, followed by the announcement that Magnay had been reassigned to Moscow.

These incidents underscore the ironclad and rigidly enforced self-censorship practiced by the corporate-controlled media, which hardly bother any longer to disguise their role as purveyors of government lies and propaganda. Any evidence of sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians, any hint of criticism of Israeli war crimes is met with instantaneous banishment, generally followed by blacklisting.

The removal of the two reporters, particularly Mohyeldin, is intended as a warning to any other journalists who retain some commitment to journalistic principles and respect for the truth to keep their mouths shut. Under no circumstances can the people be given access to an honest and objective account of what is taking place in Gaza.

The death, destruction and human suffering caused by Israel’s 11-day-old onslaught against the impoverished and densely populated Gaza Strip increased sharply Friday. Israeli troops and armored columns continued pushing into the territory in an invasion launched the night before, even as the bombardment from air, land and sea intensified.

The death toll rose rapidly to the 300 mark on Friday, while the number of wounded climbed to well over 2,200. What is unfolding in Gaza is a calculated and savage war crime against a largely defenseless population carried out with the full and open support of Washington and the complicity of the European Union, the Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority (PA) of President Mahmoud Abbas.

It is no exaggeration to compare the lethal terror and collective punishment being meted out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza with the methods employed by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto. Massive firepower is being unleashed on a narrow strip of land bound on two sides by Israel and its invading armies, on a third by the sealed Egyptian border, and on the fourth by a sea filled with Israeli gunboats. Its total land mass is roughly equivalent to that of the US city of Philadelphia, while its population is some 20 percent greater.

In an act of psychological terror, Israel dropped leaflets ordering over 100,000 Palestinians in the border areas to flee their homes. The reality, however, is that there is nowhere to hide from the assault. Those remaining in their homes are designated as “terrorists” or “human shields,” who can be killed without compunction.

Medics in the town of Beit Hanoun, on the northeast edge of Gaza, reported Friday night that an entire family of eight was wiped out when a tank shell demolished their home, leaving their bodies in the rubble. Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra identified the victims as the Abu Jurad family, consisting of two men, two women, and four children. The children’s names were Hania, Ahlam, Samih and Musa—two girls and two boys. One of them was a five-month-old baby.

United Nations officials in Gaza reported Friday that the number of internally displaced Gazans seeking shelter at UN facilities had doubled to more than 40,000. But food is running out at these facilities, even as electric power and water supplies have been cut off for the overwhelming majority of the population.

In clear-cut crime against humanity, Gaza hospitals, which have been overwhelmed by the influx of wounded even as they run out of the most basic supplies, have themselves been repeatedly targeted for shelling and air strikes since the initiation of the Israeli ground invasion.

The Al-Quds hospital was struck overnight, according to the Ma’an News Agency. The bombardment ignited a fire that damaged several of the hospital’s departments. Shells also fell on the Beit Hanoun Hospital, damaging its top floors and panicking patients and staff. Tank shells also struck the al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza City.

“Israeli tanks are shelling the hospital, they have hit several of the floors, and several nurses have been injured,” the facility’s director, Basman Alashi, told the AFP news agency. “There is no place safe in Gaza,” he added. “If a hospital is not safe, where is?”

A report from the Nasser Hospital in the southern Gazan city of Khan Yunis by AFP provides a sense of the horrific human toll being inflicted by the Israeli aggression. Of those who arrived at the hospital Thursday night, it said, many were children, and at least 11 died.

Among the patients was 25-year-old Khadija Abu Hama, who was grievously wounded when tanks shelled her neighborhood. “Shrapnel ripped through most of her body, embedding itself in her brain, breaking her left arm and gouging out her left eye,” according to the report. “Next to her was 18-year-old Uday al-Astal, now paralyzed on his right side after shrapnel entered his brain.” He was wounded in a bombing that killed four of his relatives, including two children, ages four and six. A relative in the same intensive care ward had his leg amputated.

Dr. Moataz al-Jubur, who is in charge of the ward, told the AFP: “The whole world is watching while the Palestinians are being slaughtered. They are innocent people, people sitting next to their homes, people sitting with their relatives. Where should these people go?”

According to health officials, at least 63 Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Friday. During the same period, one Israeli soldier died, apparently the victim of “friendly fire” from an Israeli tank.

There are reports that Israel, which has called up another 18,000 reservists, bringing the total number of troops mobilized for the war on Gaza to 65,000, has also been using internationally banned weapons such as fletchette bombs, an anti-personnel weapon that saturates an area with lethal darts, as well as poison gas.

In the midst of this slaughter, President Barack Obama Friday morning spoke to Netanyahu, offering the Israeli regime unqualified US support for the bloody operation in Gaza. Speaking to White House reporters afterwards, Obama said he had “reaffirmed my strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.” He continued: “No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders.”

This, as missiles, bombs and shells rained down upon Gaza.

Obama then declared, “… we support military efforts by the Israelis to make sure that rockets are not being fired into their territory. We also have said that our understanding is the current military ground operations are designed to deal with the tunnels, and we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties.”

If the situation were not so tragic, Obama’s remarks would be almost comical. The idea that this massive military undertaking is being carried out to stop rockets that have in the space of 11 days killed one single Israeli, or that the IDF is confining itself to destroying tunnels, is ludicrous. The suggestion that Israel is acting to minimize civilian casualties, who make up 80 percent of those killed, with fully a quarter of these being children, is obscene.

Similarly, Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated Israel’s “right to defend itself,” while urging a cease-fire “as soon as possible,” a phrase that Tel Aviv correctly understood as a US green light to wage war on the people of Gaza as it sees fit.

The assault on Gaza was prepared long before a single rocket was fired from the territory. It was a response in the first instance to Hamas’s acceptance of a “national consensus” government with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, joining the two separated territories of Gaza and the West Bank under a single entity. Hamas held no posts in this administration and for the first time in eight years restored at least some authority in Gaza to the PA, a body that has been totally subservient to Israel and the US. Nevertheless, Tel Aviv was determined to maintain the separation between the two territories, even as Washington recognized the new government.

The Netanyahu government set about to wreck the unity agreement, tightening the blockade of Gaza and preventing the payment of salaries to its 43,000 public employees. At the same time, it seized upon the abduction of three settler youth in the West Bank, who were later found dead, as a pretext for a crackdown on Hamas’s members in the occupied territory, arresting some 600 people and launching a wave of repression in which at least 10 Palestinians were killed. It was this violent campaign of collective punishment that provoked the first rockets fired from Gaza.

More fundamentally, war is the mode of existence of the Zionist state, which continuously provokes armed confrontations as a means of diverting outward the immense contradictions that have built up in one of most socially polarized societies in the world.

The Obama administration, like previous administrations going back more than half a century, supports Israeli militarism as a means of advancing US imperialism’s own aims of asserting hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East.

Giving the lie to Obama’s rhetoric about Israel confining its operations to destroying tunnels, Netanyahu Friday signaled that Israel is preparing to escalate the Gaza bloodbath still further. “My instructions… to the Israeli army, with the approval of the security cabinet, is to prepare for the possibility of a widening, a significant widening of the ground operation,” he told reporters at the Tel Aviv military headquarters Friday.

Significant elements within his own government, including Israel’s fascistic foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, have demanded that the IDF reimpose control over all of Gaza and kill, capture or expel all Hamas members—war aims that entail the murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Israel invades Gaza, the number of dead soars (UPDATED) (UPDATE 2: Gaza deaths soar to 264 on day 11 of Israel assault), but the media has moved on. The Malaysian passenger jet tragedy is huge news, but does Israel’s invasion really not warrant even a mention on the Yahoo! News U.S. home page?

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That’s so odd that I start to question my own reality. Did Israeli missiles really kill four boys yesterday while they were playing soccer or hide-and-seek on a Gaza beach? Or was that just an ‘anti-Israel’ nightmare? Erase Gaza from your minds my fellow Americans, there’s a Malaysian Airlines tragedy to ponder!

But then, go to the UK’s Yahoo! News and the Israeli invasion of Gaza is back on, it’s real again. All very strange, how our U.S. media masters treat us. Like guinea pigs in a carefully controlled disinformation experiment.Much Gaza news disappeared today, but while it was ‘hot’ half a day ago, we had this from famous American ‘liberal’ Bill Maher: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her.” Yeah, say it loud misogynist man! And then there was the case of the man who reported too well and had to be removed immediately from your television. (Ayman Mohyeldin “was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack” on the four boys.)

But at least Israel can rest comfortably today, the paralyzed, bed-ridden terrorists of El Wafa Hospital*** will threaten it no longer: Israel destroys el-Wafa hospital as staff evacuates all patients. Even better, Alan Dershowitz tweets, today’s a great beach day in Tel Aviv. And to make your beach day even better:

‘Tel Aviv municipality to install giant screens to watch IDF offensive …’ (See the ‘screenshot’ of the Times of Israel frontpage here) [Parody Alert!]

(Steven Salaita writes: “Many think@bouno479′s parody of Israelis watching the bombing on a big screen is real. Think about that for a sec.”)

***’The Israelis … have destroyed the only rehab clinic in the West Bank and Gaza. They are not solving the issues; they are creating more suicide bombers. You cannot solve issues like this at all. They are the ones creating suicide bombings, not us.’ – El Wafa Hospital Director Basman Alashi

Copyright firedoglake.com 2014

 

Western media and politicians have blamed Russia without any concrete evidence for the crash of the Malaysian plane, suggesting that Russia has supplied Ukrainian pro-Russian rebels with sophisticated weaponry that was used to shoot down the plane. However, evidence emerging suggests that the Ukrainian military may have been responsible for the crash. In addition, the United States, who sponsor the new Ukrainian government, have many motives and benefit politically from this plane crash.

1.       Ukrainian military have the capability and were active in the area

The Russian Defense Ministry has said that when a Malaysian Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine, a Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational in the region. The ministry said that the battery was deployed at a site from which it could have fired a missile at the airliner. The Defense Ministry also added that the Ukrainian military has several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed. Buk anti-aircraft missiles are sophisticated weapons that are integrated into a complex air defence system that includes radar stations and command and control vehicles. They are certainly not the sort of weapons one can learn how to use in a few days. It is therefore likely that they were used by trained military professionals, rather than by the Ukrainian rebel forces.

2.       Ukrainian rebels do not possess Buk anti-aircraft missiles

Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema has admitted that rebels in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics do not have Ukrainian air defense missile systems Buk and S-300 at their disposal. He said: “After the passenger airliner was downed, the military reported to the president that terrorists do not have our air defense missile systems Buk and S-300. These weapons were not seized.”

3.       Ukrainian officials asked the pilot to fly lower

The plane was supposed to fly at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10.7 kilometres). However, according to the website “Malaysian Airlines”, the pilots lowered the plane on demand from the Ukrainian ground control services. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, the ground control service instructed the crew of the aircraft to lower the plane to 33,000 feet. Furthermore, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency that Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner.

 4.       The U.S. wanted Russia to invade Ukraine, but Russia did not fall for the provocations

The United States has been itching to slap heavy sanctions on Russia, but only if the European Union follows suit. Europe, however, understands that worsening relations with Russia are not in their interest, therefore the EU refused to follow America’s demands. In response, Washington tried to provoke Russia into a military intervention into Ukraine by allowing Ukrainian President Poroshenko to bomb ethic Russians in Ukraine and even shell Russian territory, killing one Russian national. Russian President Vladimir Putin understood the game that Washington was playing and held his nerve, thus failing to provide the U.S. with an excuse to hit Russia with heavy economic sanctions. The plane crash gives Washington the perfect opportunity to pressure the EU to sanction Russia. Ultimately, this disaster is much more beneficial to Washington than to Russia or Ukrainian rebels.

 5.       The West wants to isolate Russia

Russia is building closer ties with fellow BRICS countries. While the West wants to punish, isolate, and contain Russia, the BRICS vocally and openly support cooperation with it in an ever-greater number of fields. The BRICS are even going so far as to create a development bank that would function as a rival to the IMF or World Bank. On his recent visit to Latin America, President Vladimir Putin signed a series of agreements on nuclear energy in Argentina. In addition, Russia and Cuba signed about a dozen accords in areas such as energy, industry, health and disaster prevention. Russian companies will participate in petroleum projects around Boca de Jaruco on the island’s north coast, and that cooperation will extend to offshore oil deposits. Putin said: “Today, co-operation with Latin American states is one of the key and promising lines of Russia’s foreign policy.” This is a major threat to Washington, who do not want to see a multilateral world, but one dominated solely by the U.S.

 Alexander Clackson is the founder of Global Political Insight, a political media and research organisation. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations. Alexander works as a political consultant and frequently contributes to think-tank and media outlets.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power made a series of baseless, contradictory accusations aimed at politically exploiting the tragic loss of Malaysia Boeing 777 flight MH17 with nearly 300 civilians on board.

Power asserted that the most likely culprits behind the downing of MH17 were eastern Ukrainian separatists. Because of the high altitude MH17 was travelling at – approximately 33,000 feet – Power conceded that the weapons separatists have been using to down Ukrainian military aircraft would have been inadequate to down MH17. After claiming separatists had “bragged” about downing the airliner based on information from “social media,” she explained that Russia most likely assisted the separatists in operating the sophisticated anti-air missile systems required to reach MH17′s altitude.Power gives no explanation as to why after multiple successful downings of Ukrainian military aircraft with man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), Russia and the separatists decided to employ larger, more complex weapon systems that would link any incident directly back to Moscow. Power also failed to explain how in one breath she suggests the separatists shot down MH17, then in the next claimed they did not have the ability to do so, and that Russia instead “assisted.”Power appears to be suggesting Russia rolled self-propelled anti-air missile systems into Ukrainian territory and assisted separatists in firing at MH17 specifically – since all other incidents of separatists shooting down aircraft involved man-portable systems incapable of hitting MH17.

Separatists Haven’t Used Buks, Nor Do They Need To

Jane’s Defense Weekly’s articles, “Two Ukrainian Mi-24s shot down by MANPADS,” “Ukrainian Mi-8 shot down near Slavyansk,” and “Polish Grom MANPADS appear in east Ukraine conflict,” illustrate the scale of proliferation in both numbers and varieties of man-portable anti-air systems that have ended up in separatist hands. Power and other Western sources have claimed higher flying military transports being shot down by separatists indicate that indeed they have begun deploying – with Russia’s help – sophisticated self-propelled missile systems.

However, Jane’s article, “Ukraine claims Malaysian airliner was shot down in its territory,” gave an alternative explanation as to how separatists were able to down military transports flying at higher altitudes – the use of newer SA-24 man-portable systems. While the SA-24 allows separatists to target turboprop transporters at cruising altitudes, it still would have left MH17 out of reach.

If separatists did use a Buk (SA-11) self-propelled surface-to-air missile system to down MH17, it would have been the first attempt made with the sophisticated weapon, against the highest flying aircraft targeted thus far in the conflict, and done so at incredible risk when man-portable systems had already proven such a success. In other words – it is a scenario that is very unlikely – and a scenario Samantha Power and the special interests she represents have failed to underpin with evidence.

Strategically, politically, and even tactically, Russia and the separatists gained nothing by employing the larger Buk systems within Ukrainian territory as Power is suggesting.

Where the World Sees Tragedy, NATO Sees a “Game Changing” Opportunity

Power’s comments and conclusions were echoes from the halls of the West’s corporate-financier funded policy think-tanks. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in a statement titled, “The Downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17: Russia in the Dock,” provides a self-incriminating indictment as to the motives Kiev and its NATO backers had in carrying out the attack on MH17 and subsequently framing Russia for it. RUSI’s statement claims (emphasis added):

A Game Change: Within days, however, the real debate will shift from one about producing the right evidence and culprits, to more about what can be saved from the rapidly-deteriorating relations between Russia and the West.

The tragedy will stain Russia’s relations with the world for years to come. Nations determined to keep on good terms with Russia – such as China or Vietnam which relies on Russian weapon supplies and wishes these to continue – will keep quiet. And there will always be some plausible deniability, giving other countries enough room for manoeuvre to avoid accusing Russia directly for this disaster. But the culprits for the crime will be pursued by international investigators and tribunals. And many Russian officials will be added to the ‘wanted’ lists of police forces around the world. The story will linger, and won’t be pretty for Russian diplomats.

Given the fact that the majority of the victims are European citizens, it is also getting increasingly difficult to see how France would be able to deliver the Mistral ships which Russia ordered for its navyor how Britain could continue shielding Russia from financial sanctions. And, given the fact that scores of US citizens were also killed on the MH17 flightmeans that the US Congress will demand greater sanctions on Russia, making any improvement in relations with Washington highly unlikely.

RUSI explains in great detail the possible motivation Kiev and NATO had to shoot down MH17 and subsequently frame Russia. An international flight, with passengers from across the globe would invoke unifying outrage against Russia as well as universal support for NATO’s so far unsuccessful attempts to isolate Moscow. RUSI itself admits that individual members of the EU have until now, been reluctant to back sanctions and further confrontation with Moscow.

NATO’s Atlantic Council claimed in a statement titled, “In the Ukraine War, Putin’s Veil of Deniability Has Vanished,” claims:

The Kremlin’s thin veil concealing its waging of war against Ukraine effectively disappeared weeks ago for anyone carefully watching the evidence. But now it has vanished even for the casual observer. Moscow’s escalation of the war since the start of July has created too much clear evidence to permit President Vladimir Putin any further benefit of the doubt.

NATO needed a “game changer,” because it was playing a game it was clearly losing. The dubious circumstances surrounding the downing of MH17 – occurring just as Kiev’s forces were deteriorating across the country and additional US sanctions against Russia fell flat –  is more than a mere coincidence. RUSI and the Atlantic Council’s statement represent an increasingly desperate and shrinking corner the West finds itself in. With the ascension of Russia along with other BRICS nations, a “game changer” was desperately needed to “stain Russia’s relations with the world for years to come,” and help arrest what appeared to be the irreversible rise of the global East and South, in tandem with the irreversible decline of the West.

Image: The intentional targeting and death of civilians has already been carried out by NATO in Damascus Syria in August of 2013 where thousands of Syrians were gassed in an attempt to frame the Syrian government. It was later revealed that NATO’s proxy terrorists carried out the attack with sarin gas provided by NATO’s regional partners. 

If the West was so sure of who was responsible for the downing of MH17, it would patiently allow the facts to reveal themselves, giving them unassailable credibility as they begin an effective campaign to contain, isolate, and dismantle Russia’s global influence. However, just like in Damascus, Syria in August 2013 when NATO gassed thousands of Syrians in what is now confirmed to be a false flag attack, the West is racing against the clock to do maximum damage before the truth of MH17 emerges.

The very expediency the West pursues its smear campaign against Russia with raises suspicion. The world has been at critical junctures like this before, with Western politicians and media personalities making well-scripted, passionate pleas – but based on little to no “evidence.” Weathering the psychological inertia the West is seeking to stampede its political assault on Russia through with, will cause the West’s attempts to reverse its fortunes in Ukraine to fail. Failing in Ukraine will weaken the West’s position in Syria and Iraq, further undermine its “pivot” in Asia, and diminish its ability to visit upon humanity yet another horrific staged event it may finally realize will only further compromise its place among a new emerging, multipolar global order – not help it restore its antiquated “unipolar” empire.

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

You have to give him some credit.  The soul of the prison warder who inhabits the public school boy is not always easy to contain. Unrestrained, and lacking sound judgment, he is bound to spring out, however democratic, or liberal, a system can be. Prime Minister David Cameron, on the issue of jamming through bills connected with increased surveillance powers, has just about gotten what he wants.  The rule in his playbook here: call anything you don’t want looked at a matter of emergency.

For Cameron, “No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave.”  No evidence is required; none is shown.  What is important is the stress on terrorism, sustained by that good old giddying drug called fear. “As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe.”  All that matters is that the government claims that not acting, even if it doesn’t quite know what it is acting on, will be terrible than doing nothing to begin with.

Even as the Germans were celebrating their footballing triumph in Brazil, the frontlines of the UK papers featured Edward Snowden’s unchanging face, and the efforts of the Cameron government to push through its emergency surveillance bill.  Since the European Court of Justice made short work of the EU data retention directive, governments have been scrambling to respond.  The UK reaction has been less than conciliatory to the privacy advocates, always suspicious about the very idea that retaining data was somehow illegal.

The legislative reaction was something of a race, lasting three days.  Vital to the passage of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill, known as Drip, was dizzying speed – pushed through the Commons on Tuesday, then passed within a vote after a second reading in the House of Lords.  Thursday saw some tidying up, but when the rooms were ordered, it was clear that the surveillance team had won.

Drip has come in for a vocal beating from various sources. When it was being flagged in the halls of parliament on July 9, opposition Labour MP Tom Watson[1] tweeted that, “Something terrible could be happening in Parliament on Monday and I need your urgent attention”.  UK-based Privacy International[2] called it a glaring shame “that a year since Edward Snowden revealed the scope of the UK mass surveillance activities, the only British parliamentary action in relation to surveillance has been to drastically expand the interception powers of the intelligence services.”

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay made the obvious remark that Drip sidestepped, rather than confronted, the implications of the European Court of Justice decision.  “To me it’s difficult to see how the UK can now justify rushing through wide-reaching emergency legislation which may not fully address concerns raised by the court, at time when there are proceedings ongoing by the UK’s own investigative powers tribunal on these very issues” (Guardian, Jul 16).

This has not proven to the sole province of the bleeding hearts or the conspiracy fraternity.  Some far from radical voices feature, including Lord Butler of Brockwell, who was Cabinet secretary to Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair.  In his words, the government had “bounced” parliament.

On the issue of responding to the decision on data retention, Butler noted that “the government was discussing this problem with Microsoft, and Yahoo and other providers.  Why was it not willing to discuss the issue similarly with select committees of parliament?  And if the government could reach a conclusion about the necessity for this legislation one week before the Commons went into recess, it beggars belief that it could not have reached that conclusion three weeks before recess, and thus given parliament proper time to consider this bill.”

There are snips and abolitions of matters pertaining to oversight.  Former counter-terrorist watchdogs are not really in vogue and are being pushed back – Lord Carlile had figured in a position that may well be abolished, given the coalition government’s proposal for a privacy and civil liberties board.

What Drip does do is establish an “independent reviewer of terrorism legislation”, but the legislation clearly curtails the exercise of discretion. Yes, there are tentative nods made to “safeguards to protect privacy” and notions of transparency, but there is an overwhelming insistence on “current and future threats to the United Kingdom” and “the capabilities needed to combat those threats”.

There is much in the manner of weak language, the sort that admits that privacy is important before putting the kibosh on it.  The Secretary of State, as Drip makes clear, may “require a public telecommunications operator to retain relevant communications data if the Secretary of State considers that the requirement is necessary and proportionate for one or more of the purposes” outlined in the act itself.[3]

The relevant point here is that metadata is not the sole object of access under the new act.  Members of law enforcement can now access the actual content of the messages, irrespective of whether they are held by companies located outside the UK.  The Act makes it clear that interception warrants may be served on “a person outside the United Kingdom (and may relate to conduct outside the United Kingdom).”

Is all this radical?  No, claims Cameron.  “I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities – that is not for this Parliament.”  Everything bar what it actually was.

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

Notes

The Failures of America’s Foster Care System

July 19th, 2014 by Joachim Hagopian

I worked with the largest county children’s welfare services in America for more than a quarter century. For several decades as a licensed therapist in Los Angeles County, I provided mandated therapy to both children as well as young adults were aging out of the child welfare system. Over the years I made countless trips to LA County Children’s Court representing dozens of children and families as my clients.

My decades of firsthand mental health experience saw the destructive inside machinations of a corrupt, overloaded, thoroughly broken foster care system do more damage than good to children and families with whom I closely worked. Like all institutions in America, the child welfare system is just another corrosive, morally bankrupt, oppressive mechanism by which to control the poorest people in this country, acting as a national conduit pipeline to prison, substance abuse, human trafficking, homelessness, mental illness and early death.

Though each county child protective services department in the United States operates under a separate budget funded by individual county, state and federal mental health source dollars, the child welfare system in this country is so overburdened and systemically flawed, it has been failing our kids miserably for a long time now. We all hear about the horror stories of murdered children in the foster care system who fell through the cracks. High profile cases exposing the tragic fate of young people trapped in a system that fails to protect them are far too common. They are written about extensively in newspapers all the time. But the American public rarely is privy to the inner workings of a system gone bad from the firsthand perspective of an insider who worked within that failed system for decades.

This is my account of the child welfare system as a therapist who worked out in the community with young people on either probation or within foster care as well as in residential group homes. I observed the broken system from the inside out. Universal human rights are routinely violated every minute and hour of every single day, bringing with each passing year even more atrocities of neglect and abuse from the system designed to protect children. Instead it is literally destroying them. The shocking, gaping problems of the largest child welfare department in America that is the LA County Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) that I interfaced with for many years epitomizes what has gone so terribly wrong with the national system operating in every state and county throughout the United States.

To illustrate the blatant flaws inherent in the child welfare system, I shall present the stories of two families that as a therapist I strongly advocated for children as my clients to reunify with their biological families in LA County Children’s Court. The first case was an eight year-old boy I shall call Pablo who when two months old was placed by DCFS to live with the boy’s aunt due to the his mother being an alleged drug addict unable to properly care for the child. Pablo also had a sister six years older also placed with the biological mother’s sister.

Prior to my being assigned as Pablo’s therapist, the fifteen year old sister had grown increasingly rebellious and defiant, clashing with her aunt and after running away from home, DCFS decided to place her in the foster care system. Because of the volatile relationship the sister had with the aunt as her primary caregiver, the DCFS social worker assigned to the case became suspicious of the aunt’s capacity as primary caregiver to Pablo. DCFS normally contracts with local mental health agencies in the community to provide mental health services to minors with open cases in the child welfare system. I was working as clinical manager to one of the DCFS mental health providers overseeing community service operations in both biological and foster care family homes as well as group homes in the Pasadena area. I also directly supervised approximately eight to ten therapists including Pablo’s therapist. When DCFS grew concerned about the aunt’s capacity to provide a healthy home environment for Pablo, based on DCFS’ recommendation, the Children’s Court judge stipulated that a licensed therapist be assigned Pablo’s case. At that point I became directly involved in Pablo’s care as both his weekly individual therapist as well as his and his aunt’s weekly family therapist.

My assessment of Pablo and his aunt’s relationship after providing therapy services in their home for about two months was that Pablo was responding well to treatment and already beginning to make considerable progress with his treatment plan goals that I had collaboratively formulated with both Pablo and his aunt. They had to do with learning to stay on task with such daily activities as picking up toys after play and following his aunt’s prompts for redirection. As a child given the mild case diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a way over-diagnosed mental health classification conveniently used to label high energy children who simply have minds of their own and pose as management problems in an educational system designed to stamp out children’s spirited creativity in favor of docile compliance. Pablo experienced some difficulty focusing both in the classroom and at home and engaged in hyperkinetic motor movement and behavior that would often get him into trouble in both settings when he failed to comply with adult imposed rules. Under the psychiatric care of one of my agency’s staff psychiatrists, Pablo was taking daily medication prescribed for his ADHD.

After I completed and presented to DCFS my written assessment and clinical findings noting early progress in treatment per protocol under my service agency contract with county Children’s Services, against my recommendation and based on approval from the DCFS social worker’s supervisor, unbeknownst to me, one afternoon the social worker abruptly entered the family home and forcibly removed Pablo from the only family home he had ever known in all his nine years, severely traumatizing and terrorizing the little boy. Neither he nor the aunt nor I ever saw what seemed like an ambushed assault and violation of the worst order coming. In one fell swoop they were not only interfering and undermining the family’s progress in treatment, they were also destroying this family. The social worker created such extreme havoc in the home, Pablo was crying hysterically and uncontrollably as the social worker literally ripped him from his aunt’s arms and physically coerced him out the door. In all the turmoil, chaos and family drama he had created, the highly unprofessional DCFS social worker forgot to even take any of Pablo’s clothes or medication with him prior to placing the highly distraught boy against his will and choice into foster care, a task that was left for me to follow up with the next day.

After receiving the brokenhearted aunt’s horrifying account, I took Pablo’s clothes and meds over to the nearby foster home where Pablo was now living, consoled a still very traumatized Pablo and spoke briefly with the foster parents who had worked with DCFS for a number of years. Children’s Services had completely gone against the family’s therapist’s recommendations, but most importantly against the family’s best interest to stay together as an intact family, suddenly and violently uprooting this fragile young child with absolutely no justifiable reason at all. Clearly Pablo was severely traumatized by the system’s cruel and unusual decision to suddenly break up this family. There was no question that the aunt loved her nephew as her own son and the little nephew most definitely loved and needed his aunt as every child needs his mother.

Seeing the irreparable damage and harm the system willfully inflicted on my clients, I immediately contacted the social worker and his supervisor and arranged an emergency meeting a couple days later. When pressed for an explanation, neither the social worker nor his supervisor could supply a remotely legitimate reason for separating the boy from his only family. The most they could come up with was feebly mumbling something about the boy’s teacher remarking that one day Pablo had come to school wearing dirty clothes. No consideration apparently was ever made to think that every chance this little guy got he was on his knees playing in the dirt because that is what healthy, energetic, lively little boys do. For unknown reasons, it was clear that DCFS was on a witch hunt to demonize the aunt in their false accusations to break apart the family. I saw firsthand the criminal misuse of a totalitarian system run amok operating under the sinister guise of protecting children from harm but by its own vindictively blind and destructive actions was doing grave harm to my vulnerable innocent client who never knew what hit him.

I started seeing my client for his individual therapy sessions at his new foster home. But used to seeing me within the safe and familiar confines of the only home he ever knew, I quickly realized he was not comfortable in the foster home setting, so I began bringing him to a nearby park a couple times a week to help the child cope with the trauma the system had senselessly caused. Every time I would show up, the first thing out of this poor little kid’s mouth was, “When can I go home to my aunt?” It was heartbreaking. As a professional, I could never express my true feelings about the Nazi-like tactics responsible for his current trauma, anxiety and pain. In a matter of weeks the boy had gone from living his entire life with his aunt and sister, then to just living with his aunt and every other week hour-long visits with his sister, to now not living with any family at all. To his never ending question, I finally told him, “Pablo, I’m doing everything possible to get you home with your aunt.”

Because the child system had absolutely no basis for removing Pablo from his family home and knew it, they got caught in a compromising position of having to save face, notoriously unable to ever admit mistakes. In the meantime, they were constantly challenged and confronted by this therapist strongly recommending immediate reunification with the aunt. Just prior to the next scheduled Children’s Court hearing, on the holiday weekend the social worker and foster mother met with Pablo at the foster home and actually manipulated the nine year old child into allegedly agreeing that his aunt had used a belt to punish him. Without any visible sign as evidence other than their little boy’s “forced confession,” at the last minute they were able to bring fabricated evidence to court that would assure the judge to back their decision to keep the child locked in foster care indefinitely.

When I spoke to the aunt, I completely believed her when she told me she never touched Pablo with a belt. And in my next session with Pablo, he himself even denied such an event ever took place. Clearly the social worker and foster parent falsely twisted and put words in the boy’s mouth to maliciously trick him into keeping him from living with his aunt. After showing up at Children’s Court a number of times in person and writing numerous letters and reports to both DCFS and the court judge expressing my serious concerns that the move to foster care was clearly not in the child’s best interest and was doing irreparable harm to the young boy, the Children’s Court judge suddenly ordered me off the case.

After developing a close supportive relationship with the child helping the boy cope with the sudden traumatic loss of his aunt, now the system was removing his therapist as his only advocate in a position to get him back living with his aunt. Because the system viewed me as both a threat and a thorn in its side, an unpleasant reminder of its own wrongdoing, the corrupt and devious system eliminated me from ending the prolonged damage being inflicted on both this boy and his aunt. The system had no qualms about committing the despicable crime of repeatedly afflicting traumatic harm whereby this nine year old’s support system would one by one abruptly be eliminated from him. His sense of abandonment at that young age must have been so profound that the damaging effects are likely to leave permanent scars, never knowing he could trust those he felt closest to because they could all of a sudden disappear from his life at any time. This is the kind of diabolical harm I witnessed time and time again by an appallingly ugly system exercising life and death power and control over a half million foster kids in this country.

Another case came to me when an upset father arrived at my clinic after his son and daughter had been taken away from him and placed in foster care. I was in my office when the secretary called me to the lobby to deal with the distraught parent desperate to get his two kids back. I brought him back to my office and learned the circumstances that had befallen him as a struggling, low income, single parent. Ultimately I told him to contact his children’s DCFS social workers and request that they contact my agency for services and sent him home wishing I could do more.

Two or three months later I was contacted by one of his kid’s social workers and I became the therapist of his 14-year old son and 6-year old daughter. It turns out that earlier in the year the son I shall call Jim ended up with an abscess tooth infection that was swelling up and his father Bill rushed him to Children’s Hospital Emergency Room. Jim was admitted overnight but hospital staff contacted DCFS suspecting that possible physical abuse had caused Jim’s facial swelling. Two DCFS investigators interviewed Jim in the hospital and then unannounced the following evening showed up at the family residence with police officers in tow. After finding empty prescription bottles in the bathroom medicine cabinet, on the spot they made the snap decision to remove the six year old girl named Lisa from the only home she ever knew. They woke her up from a deep sleep and once again stole another traumatized, hysterical small child from her understandably agitated biological father.

The DCFS investigators placed Lisa and Jim into a foster care home, again without any solid evidence of either abuse or neglect, minus the customary criteria for children services to remove kids from their biological family home. The trauma for a six year old girl to be awakened and grabbed up by a police officer and carried away into the night from the only parent she had ever known and loved is both life altering and embeds such deep fears that most likely will haunt her the rest of her life. I can bear witness that for several years afterwards the trauma of that fateful night caused her to go into panic attacks cowering in anxiety and fear every time she saw a police officer in blue uniform. That is how deep-seeded the damage done to this defenseless little girl by the malevolent system that failed to protect her.

Though the damaging trauma had already been done, during the ensuing months LA Children’s Services ultimately found no evidence of parental abuse and after four months, Jim was reunified with his father at the same time that I was assigned as therapist. But Lisa remained in foster care. I began seeing Jim weekly for his individual therapy at the local high school where he was a freshman and family therapy at his home with his father. I went to Lisa’s foster home weekly for her therapy where I discovered the elderly foster mother smoking cigarettes inside her home, obviously posing physical health danger to my client. There is a very sad and sickening irony when the system sworn to protect children was placing and knowingly keeping a child in harm’s way after causing irreparable harm in originally taking her away from the only family who loved her.

Though no evidence of child abuse was ever uncovered by Children’s Services, the father Bill had only one-hour supervised visits with his daughter Lisa each week at the DCFS office. Throughout their entire lives both Jim and Lisa had lived under their father’s care despite each having different mothers. The boy’s mother was schizophrenic and the girl’s mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Jim as Lisa’s older brother had a very caring and protective relationship with his little sister. Both the father and brother’s sense of loss with Lisa no longer living with them made them both feel depressed as their family was not complete without her.

Lisa’s biological mother currently lived in San Bernardino County and after learning Lisa had been taken away from her father, she opportunistically contacted LA County DCFS to seek custody of Lisa. However, six years earlier when Lisa was only two months old the mother showed up for a visit with the father toting Lisa having visible facial scratches and abrasions. Once the father contacted DCFS, he received full custody. The mother was out of Lisa’s life after that. Therefore, the only family life Lisa ever knew was the love from her father and brother.

It turned out Lisa’s intellectually challenged six year older half-sister had aggressively hit and scratched two month old Lisa just prior to that fateful visit six years earlier. Lisa’s half dozen years older half-sister at that time was also being sexually molested by adult males the mother allowed into their home though the abuse was discovered a couple years later. Though Lisa’s mother could not keep either Lisa or her mentally challenged, sexually abused daughter safe, years later because LA County Children’s Services had removed Jim and Lisa from their father that year, under DCFS recommendation the Children’s Court judge began authorizing every other weekend visits to the mother’s home in San Bernardino County where that same sexually abused, still physically abusive older sister also lived, except now that older sister was twice Lisa’s age and size at 12-years old.

Over the next several months six-year old Lisa would disclose in her individual therapy sessions with me how her older sister would be constantly aggressively hitting and picking on her. The mentally impaired older sister did not like suddenly having a cute little sister competing for her mother’s attention after having the mother to herself her entire life. As a legally mandated reporter of suspected child abuse, I contacted Children Services abuse hotline and submitted a written child abuse report to DCFS that was then passed onto San Bernardino County Child Protective Services (CPS) to initiate a follow up investigation of suspected child abuse.

Several weeks later I learned that Lisa’s mother had caught the older sister and Lisa observing pornography on the internet. Within that same month while the older sister had a friend staying with them on a sleepover it was learned that the older sister who slept in the same room with Lisa woke Lisa up and insisted that she watch the older sister and her friend lay naked on top of each other simulating having sex. The severely sexually damaged 12-year old was clearly acting out both sexually and aggressively, a classic symptom of early sexual abuse. Overwhelmed, my six year old client was confused and disturbed by her bizarre sister’s behavior.

A couple months later in yet another incident the older sister physically forced Lisa to place a wad of Vicks Vapo-Rub up inside her vagina. When Lisa began screaming in pain, the mother quickly doused and washed Lisa’s burning private parts. But throughout Lisa’s time with her mother, Lisa began to regularly suffer from vaginal infections due to the ongoing abuse. Fixated with touching and sticking foreign objects into the vagina is also classic evidence of sexual abuse. When the father took Lisa to the family physician, the doctor expressed concern that Lisa’s reproductive organs were at risk of permanent damage.

Yet despite my constant series of abuse reports and subsequent San Bernardino County CPS’ investigations, apparently not enough substantiated evidence was ever found to warrant suspending all contact or changing the every other weekend arrangement at the mother’s. It became my client’s word versus her mother’s and other daughter’s. Clearly Lisa was being physically, emotionally and sexually abused by her older sister on a consistent and regular basis yet despite my countless phone calls, writing abuse reports every month, numerous letters and quarterly reports all bringing red alert full attention to Children’s Services in both counties as well as the LA Children’s Court judge presiding over the case, along with my showing up at Children’s Court repeatedly warning all authorities of the incessant overt abuse going on, nothing ever changed. The judge refused to even allow me into her courtroom. I would walk in and she would ask, “Who is this person?” Upon learning I was the child’s therapist, more than once the judge ordered me out of her courtroom with me asking her loudly, “Did you get all my abuse reports?”

Not only were all authorities that included DCFS social workers, the child’s attorney, the father’s attorney and the judge all fully aware of the ongoing abuse occurring every other weekend in San Bernardino County, the judge actually decided to completely wash her hands clean of the case, closing Lisa’s LA County file and transferring it to San Bernardino. But far worse, knowing she was being abused, the judge willfully sent Lisa to permanently live with her mother in the same home where the older sister was regularly abusing Lisa. At the final LA Children’s Court hearing with the judge having already made up her mind, she finally permitted me inside her courtroom to testify on record presenting the overwhelming evidence. But at that point it was too late, Lisa was being sent to live permanently with her mother and abusive older sister, like it or not.

The LA County judge obviously knew the child would only be further harmed by her decision. To me, that clearly constitutes criminal disregard and malfeasance betraying the very oath she had sworn to protect children from abuse. From day one of Lisa’s sad life never was her mother able to adequately protect Lisa from her other daughter’s abuse. It is all on record. Jim missed his sister badly and only became more depressed while Lisa’s father Bill became extremely upset and agitated over this unacceptable, unjust and inhumane court ruling. Based on petty reactions to the father’s anger, all players in the Children’s Court system complicit in this crime even included the father’s own attorney recommending Lisa be sent away to another county knowing full well Lisa would only be further abused. Even Lisa’s own DCFS social worker secretly knew it was wrong, apologizing to me after admitting it was his supervisor who was pushing permanent placement with the mother.

The judge arranged the exact reverse of the prior schedule. Lisa would now live fulltime at her mother’s and only be allowed to spend every other weekend with her father and brother. I would continue seeing her every other weekend for both individual and family therapy. I also continued conducting individual and family therapy with Jim and his father. Such outrageous unfairness, gross injustice and system’s complicit abuse were excruciating for Lisa who missed her brother and father so much, she would cry uncontrollably and throw fits every other Sunday when she knew she had to return to her mother’s abusive home, dreading she would continue to be victimized. Yet no one was protecting her, despite my over-the-top advocacy and the emotional pleas of both her father and brother. Lisa felt we were failing her in our impotence to change anything. The poor little girl thought her father and brother no longer loved her enough. It was an intolerable situation thanks to the child lack-of-welfare system.

Finally with more child abuse reports after Lisa told me her sister pushed her down the stairs at her home, Lisa’s social worker from San Bernardino County Children’s Protective Services finally began paying attention to me and ultimately recommended Lisa return under her father’s care. Driving two hours each way on numerous occasions out to San Bernardino County Children’s Court, I continued advocating for Lisa to be protected from her older sister’s nonstop abuse and her mother’s proven, longstanding incapacity to protect Lisa. After two years of fighting the system as their family therapist, all my efforts to seek justice for Lisa and her family finally paid off as the Children’s Court judge in San Bernardino at long last ultimately ordered Lisa’s reunification with her father and brother.

But the severe damage had already been done to Lisa. The system had criminally failed her and in my clinical opinion, Lisa was traumatized for life. Such protracted mental and emotional anguish most likely impaired her mental stability for life. She was not the same little girl I met when I first became her therapist. Her capacity to focus was completely shattered. Her capacity to trust was totally destroyed. As I see it, the mother’s neglect and inability to protect Lisa, her father’s, brother’s and my inability to protect her from the system’s horrific criminal abuse as well as her sister’s abuse that lasted nearly two straight years, has permanently crippled this little girl for life. These cases presented here are just two examples of how the child welfare system in America destroys families and individuals. With god-like powers the criminal system makes such far reaching life and death decisions with millions of families that hurt the lives of so many innocent, defenseless children. Children’s services and the foster care system whose sole purposes are to protect children from abuse do just the opposite. They betray our children every single day, inflicting irreparable harm on generation after generation of America’s youth.

The Orwellian Big Brother police state is currently a living nightmare oppressively ruining people’s lives by running roughshod over citizens’ and families’ rights in America. Local county children services agencies work hand in hand with law enforcement to usurp their authority by daily invading our homes and arbitrarily plucking our children from our biological families when no abuse or neglect is even present. The fact that abuse goes on regardless of socioeconomic level is belied by the fact that children in the child welfare system virtually all come from poor, impoverished families. Similar to the inequality of the prison population and broken justice system, the broken child welfare system also appears to prey exclusively on those living in poverty. This apartheid tyranny and betrayal is criminal injustice of the highest magnitude. In thousands of cases the only abuse is once again the punitive, megalomaniacal, thoroughly destructive arm of big government destroying private citizens’ lives and the sanctity of the family unit as a scared institution. This pervasive damage is currently being done to the American family.

The majority of children living in the foster care system truly are victims of some form of child abuse, often at the hands of biological adult family members that are most often the children’s parents. I have worked with countless youth and adolescents who were sexually, mentally and emotionally damaged by chronic abuse and neglect from adult family members and adult family friends. The demand for adequate care and treatment for these emotionally impaired children overwhelmingly exceeds available services. In situations where serious neglect and abuse are occurring, in the interests of protecting the child from further abuse, obviously it becomes necessary on both ethical and legal grounds to remove the child from the home immediately as a last resort (although the traumatic effects of removal of children may be lessened if the abuser(s) was instead removed). But prior to tearing so many families apart, clear-cut evidence of abuse needs to be present. Far too often in my extensive experience, it is not.

Efforts to keep the family intact by providing monitored support, therapy and training is far more effective and humane than constantly yanking children from their family homes. It is common even after prolonged severe abuse for kids to want to return home to their biological families and their abusers over remaining with foster care families. Then of course there is an extremely high incidence of abuse coming at the hands of abusive foster parents. More times than I can recall I learned of another abusive situation caused by a foster parent. Barely half of all foster parents hold a high school diploma. Many are low income households that need and use the foster care money as their main source of income. Fiduciary abuse of misspending dollars that should be utilized for the care and maintenance of foster children is all too common.

In the turnover shuffle from one foster home or group home to the next, many sent to ten or more in the course of their placement in the system, children quickly see through the transparent motivations of foster parents who value their monthly paycheck more than the kids they are
entrusted to care for. A very revealing fact is that a sizeable 22% of kids in foster care repeatedly run away or end up aging out of the system staying with friends rather than remain in the foster care setting. In one study during the year prior, one third of teenage runaways were in foster care. Nearly 40% of youth that arrive in runaway shelters nationally were in foster care during the preceding year. 11% arriving in shelters were homeless. Another alarming finding estimates that up to 45% of those leaving the foster care system end up homeless within their first year. These astounding numbers clearly show that the current system is failing these young people.

Young adolescent girls from abusive, impoverished backgrounds placed in the foster care system prone to drug abuse and being runaways are especially easy targets for adults pimps and human traffickers to exploit them as prostitutes and sex slaves. Children in the system come to see themselves as mere cash commodities to their surrounding adults, which when internalized manifests as self-worth debased into a mere monetary value. That makes children in the system especially vulnerable and prone to being exploited by adult human traffickers, pimps and predators.
60% of female minors rescued in the United States from human sex trafficking operations in 2013 were already former victims of the broken foster care system. In LA County in 2012 56% of the girls participating in a support program for commercially sexually exploited females were previously in the child welfare system. In New York City in 2007 of the 2250 victims of human trafficking, 75% were involved in the child system. In Florida an estimated 70% of trafficking victims were from the system. These numbers prove how the foster care system is but a direct pipeline to human trafficking. Only 50% of foster care children graduate nationally from high school and only 2% go on to college.

Clearly the outcomes for system aged out young adults are atrocious. Remarkably high percentage of them become statistics suffering from substance abuse, homelessness, prostitution, human trafficking and crime. Karl Dennis, executive director of the Illinois based Kaleidoscope, states:

“80 percent of the adults in in all the California correctional facilities are graduates of the state
juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health and/or the special education systems.”

Recognizing the enormity of poor outcomes befalling young adults who are aging out of the child welfare system, several years ago California smartly extended continuing support services funding up through age 23. The crucial importance of providing ongoing assistance into young adulthood with additional educational, vocational/job, therapeutic and housing resources has been a huge step in the right direction though still more needs to be done.
Just as there are good, well meaning, compassionate children’s court judges, county social workers, child and family therapists and children’s attorneys, there are also plenty of good caring foster parents. But because the system is so overloaded and overstretched beyond humane capacity, too many of these all-important players in the child welfare system act as dysfunctional cogs in a highly dysfunctional, uncaring bureaucratic system.

The number of children removed from families of origin in the last fifteen years has doubled while the number of foster parents has steadily decreased. When a county social worker has 100 or more kids on his or her caseload, and is mandated to make monthly visits to dozens of placements all over the county and then complete monthly reports on each child, it becomes virtually impossible to offer quality monitoring care and accurately managed services. Hence, so many young people fall through the ever widening cracks into the black hole abyss of mismanaged negligence and endangerment. The current system is reactive and crisis driven, frantically patching up all the gaping, dam-breaking holes and cracks while too many others always open up in their wake. In its current structure and operation, the flood of high profile deaths and permanent injuries to America’s most vulnerable population is beyond the faulty, broken system’s means to manage, protect and correct the current abominable conditions. A sorely needed overhaul of the system becomes imperative.

Of the five billion dollars federally allocated to annually fund child foster care in this country, 90% of that money spent on the child welfare system is reactive, after-the-fact interventions instead of proactive, preventative measures that would minimize the incidence of child abuse from ever taking place. Investing in programs that provide support to prospective parents and families can go a long ways to strengthening parenting skills and building a social support network of community resources vital to child abuse prevention. Monies allocated for addressing the root cause of child abuse prior to the actual abuse serve as a far more prudent and wise long term investment. More families would be able to stay together while the current exorbitant costs of outsourcing biological parents with hired hands too often in it to collect monthly paychecks from an overtaxed system clearly has not worked.

Whether unintended consequences of a thoroughly broken and shattered system or by pre-calculated, sinister design, the present foster care system merely serves as a human trafficking and prison pipeline to death and destruction. Foster care was originally intended to be a temporary placement until children could be adopted. Emphasis needs to be placed on reunifying with healthy and willing biological family members as well as finding suitable adoptive parents. But most of all prevention programs need to be instituted in every community throughout the nation. The present failed system is an enormous burden, grand theft automatically to both countless children’s lives stolen and destroyed as well as an American taxpayer rip-off. As a nation, we can and should do better. We owe it to our children, and that includes all our children.

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 has worked extensively with child abuse victims within the child welfare system. He now concentrates on his writing.

Only yesterday, I wrote an article entitled “6 Reasons To Question The Official Story Of The Malaysian Flight Over Ukraine” where, as the title suggests, I briefly discussed a number of reasons the story presented by Western media outlets blaming Ukrainian separatists and even the Russian government for shooting down the plane were both contradictory and dubious.

Now, on the day after the crash of the flight, more information has emerged regarding the details surrounding what actually brought the flight down. Yet, as is typical in international incidents, the Western press reports simply add more questions to the pile.

First, it is important to point out the deceptive nature of many of the Western reports so it can be demonstrated that the credibility of all future reports should be viewed as highly questionable.

For instance, in the late hours of the evening, a volley of reports emerged suggesting that a Ukrainian separatist leader had Tweeted a statement gloating over shooting down the Malaysian flight before subsequently deleting the Tweet. In reality, the Twitter statement suggested that the separatists had downed an AN-26, a much smaller cargo transport plane, not the Malaysian flight. If those controlling the Twitter account had fired upon the plane, it seems unlikely that they would have confused the aircraft since there is such a difference in their size.

It was subsequently revealed that the Twitter account being reported upon was not actually run by the commander but that it was a “fan page.” The latter has been curiously left out of later reports.

Even if the Tweet had been from the separatist leader, however, it would only prove that the separatists had made a tragic mistake.  Any pilot or aviation authority flying over this area of Ukraine would indeed have to be acting in a provocative manner, terribly lost, or clinically insane.

It is also important to point out that the entire discussion surrounding the type of missile that brought the plane down has been entirely controlled from the beginning. Initially, suggestions were that the plane was brought down by separatists using shoulder-fired missiles. However, it was soon revealed that shoulder-fired missiles could not have reached a plane flying at those altitudes.

Next, the idea came that the separatists or the Russians used BUK medium-range missiles to bring down the plane. Of course, the Russians do possess BUK missiles. Western media then seized upon a single report in the Russian press, an institution that is repeatedly denigrated when it contradicts the NATO party line but cited as fact when it corroborates it, which suggests that the rebels had seized a base in late June and now had BUK missiles in their possession.

Conveniently, there is no mention of the ITAR-TASS report that the Ukrainian military had moved its BUK missile system into Donetsk the day before the plane was brought down.

Very few mainstream outlets, however, are even considering the possibility that it was the Ukrainian military that shot down the Malaysian plane. This is simply because the goal of this whole ordeal, in addition to overshadowing the genocide taking place in Gaza, is to drum up international hostility toward Russia and the separatists that it supports.

It is also important to point out that nowhere in the mainstream press are there any suggestions of the possibility that it was not a missile that brought down the plane. That is, there is no suggestion of this possibility unless it can be blamed on Russia.

What is notable is the fact that there are emerging reports that the Malaysian flight was actually being escorted by Ukrainian military jets only 3 minutes before it crashed.

This report, released by E Turbo News, a global travel news agency, suggested that, not only was the plane being escorted by Ukrainian military jets but that air traffic records were immediately confiscated after the plane went down. The report suggests that internal communication acknowledged that the Ukrainian military was involved but shed no light on where the shootdown orders came from. Speculation ranging from a simple and tragic accident to an attempted coup by Timoshenko forces against the Presidency of Poroshenko have since arisen.

As E Turbo News reports,

ETN received information from an air traffic controller in Kiev on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

This Kiev air traffic controller is a citizen of Spain and was working in the Ukraine. He was taken off duty as a civil air-traffic controller along with other foreigners immediately after a Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft was shot down over the Eastern Ukraine killing 295 passengers and crew on board.

The air traffic controller suggested in a private evaluation and basing it on military sources in Kiev, that the Ukrainian military was behind this shoot down. Radar records were immediately confiscated after it became clear a passenger jet was shot down.

Military air traffic controllers in internal communication acknowledged the military was involved, and some military chatter said they did not know where the order to shoot down the plane originated from.

Obviously it happened after a series of errors, since the very same plane was escorted by two Ukrainian fighter jets until 3 minutes before it disappeared from radar.

Radar screen shots also show an unexplained change of course of the Malaysian Boeing. The change of course took the aircraft directly over the Eastern Ukraine conflict region.

Some tweets received suggest this may have been a secret military uprising against the current Ukrainian president under the direction of formerly-jailed Prime Minister Timoshenko.

Perhaps the most important question to ask in regards to the Malaysian flight situation, however, isCui Bono? Who Benefits?

Tony Cartalucci asks this question and provides some answers in his own article “Kiev Losing, Sanctions Flopped, Airliner Down, War Back on?” where he writes,

The remote possibility that separatists obtained a sophisticated Buk anti-air missile system, was able to maintain and operate it, failed to identify the Malaysian 777, and exercised the poor judgment to fire on it – would make the tragedy a catastrophic case of mistaken identity – for the separatists have no conceivable reason to fire on a Malaysian passenger liner – and absolutely nothing to gain by doing so.

However, for the regime in Kiev facing decimated and unraveling military forces in the east, growing dissent in the west, and Western sponsors who are unable to materialize any form of meaningful aid militarily, economically, or politically – shooting down a civilian airliner and blaming it on the separatists could unite public opinion and the leadership of European nations behind NATO and the US for a more direct intervention on behalf of Kiev and change the tide of what is now a battle they will otherwise inevitably lose.

The West is already working hard to set the stage for such a scenario. The BBC in an article titled, “Malaysia airliner crashes in east Ukraine conflict zone,” stated that:

Sir Tony Brenton, a former UK ambassador to Russia, told BBC News it would not be a huge surprise if suspicion initially fell on the rebels.

“That would be very damaging both for them and for their Russian supporters,” he said.

“The Russians have undoubtedly been supplying them with weapons, almost certainly with anti-aircraft weapons, so Russia would very likely be implicated and that would raise the volume of international criticism of Russia.”

Only the West and their proxies in Kiev would stand to benefit from this – and commentators like Tony Brenton and the BBC intentionally prey on the ignorance of their audience in hopes that they don’t know the difference between the Igla systems separatists most likely have, and the Buk system they most likely don’t have or are unable to operate.

This is the second Malaysian 777 to be lost under extraordinary circumstances this year. Malaysian flight MH370 disappeared in March, 2014, and has yet to be found despite unprecedented international search efforts.

Regardless of the true causes of the crash of Malaysian flight 777, it is clear that the world oligarchy is, at the very least, not letting a good crisis go to waste. The ability to distract from Western-backed genocides occurring simultaneously across the world as well as domestic issues and the world economic depression has been conveniently provided by the Malaysian flight shootdown.

Recently from Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

This important article first published on GR in May 2012 reveals the nature of US military doctrine. How hate concepts are embedded in military training

The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary.”

The course, first reported by Danger Room last month and held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, has since been canceled by the Pentagon brass.

It’s only now, however, that the details of the class have come to light. Danger Room received hundreds of pages of course material and reference documents from a source familiar with the contents of the class.

A cartoon included in Shireen Burki’s Joint Staff Forces College presentation on “Jihad: Defined and Operationalized” (.pdf) contains a number of ugly stereotypes. More slides at the end of the article.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to make sure it doesn’t contain similarly hateful material, a process that is still ongoing. But the officer who delivered the lectures, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia college, pending an investigation. The commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels who sat in Dooley’s classroom, listening to the inflammatory material week after week, have now moved into higher-level assignments throughout the U.S. military.

For the better part of the last decade, a small cabal of self-anointed counterterrorism experts has been working its way through the U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement communities, trying to convince whoever it could that America’s real terrorist enemy wasn’t al-Qaida — but the Islamic faith itself. In his course, Dooley brought in these anti-Muslim demagogues as guest lecturers. And he took their argument to its final, ugly conclusion.

“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” Dooley noted in a July 2011 presentation (.pdf), which concluded with a suggested manifesto to America’s enemies. “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”

Dooley could not be reached for comment. Joint Forces Staff College spokesman Steven Williams declined to discuss Dooley’s presentation or his status at the school. But when asked if Dooley was responsible for the course material, he responded, “I don’t know if I would classify him [Dooley] as responsible. That would be the commandant” of the school, Maj. Gen. Joseph Ward.

That makes the two-star general culpable for rather shocking material. In the same presentation, Dooley lays out a possible four-phase war plan to carry out a forced transformation of the Islam religion. Phase three includes possible outcomes like “Islam reduced to a cult status” and “Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation.” (It’s an especially ironic suggestion, in light of today’s news that Saudi intelligence broke upthe most recent al-Qaida bombing plot.)

International laws protecting civilians in wartime are “no longer relevant,” Dooley continues. And that opens the possibility of applying “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki” to Islam’s holiest cities, and bringing about “Mecca and Medina['s] destruction.”

Dooley’s ideological allies have repeatedly stated that “mainstream” Muslims are dangerous, because they’re “violent” by nature. Yet only a few of al-Qaida’s most twisted fanatics were ever caught musing about wiping out entire cities.

“Some of these actions offered for consideration here will not be seen as ‘political correct’ in the eyes of many,” Dooley adds. “Ultimately, we can do very little in the West to decide this matter, short of waging total war.”

Dooley, who has worked at the Joint Forces Staff College since August 2010, began his eight-week class with a straightforward, two-part history of Islam. It was delivered by David Fatua, a former West Point history professor. “Unfortunately, if we left it at that, you wouldn’t have the proper balance of points of view, nor would you have an accurate view of how Islam defines itself,” Dooley told his students. Over the next few weeks, he invited in a trio of guest lecturers famous for their incendiary views of Islam.

Shireen Burki declared during the 2008 election that “Obama is bin Laden’s dream candidate.” In her Joint Forces Staff College lecture, she told students that “Islam is an Imperialist/Conquering Religion.” (.pdf)

Stephen Coughlin claimed in his 2007 master’s thesis that then-president George W. Bush’s declaration of friendship with the vast majority of the world’s Muslims had “a chilling effect on those tasked to define the enemy’s doctrine.” (.pdf)  Coughlin was subsequently let go from his consulting position to the military’s Joint Staff, but he continued to lecture at the Naval War College and at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In his talk to Dooley’s class (.pdf), Coughlin suggested that al-Qaida helped drive the overthrow of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak and Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. It was part of a scheme by Islamists to conquer the world, he added. And Coughlin mocked those who didn’t see this plot as clearly as he did, accusing them of “complexification.”

Coughlin titled his talk: “Imposing Islamic Law – or – These Aren’t the Droids Your Looking For!”

Former FBI employee John Guandolo told the conspiratorial World Net Daily website last year that Obama was only the latest president to fall under the influence of Islamic extremists. “The level of penetration in the last three administrations is deep,” Guandolo alleged. In his reference material for the Joint Forces Staff College class, Guandolo not only spoke of today’s Muslims as enemies of the West. He even justified the Crusades, writing that they “were initiated after hundreds of years of Muslim incursion into Western lands.”

Guandolo’s paper, titled “Usual Responses from the Enemy When Presented With the Truth” (.pdf), was one of hundreds of presentations, documents, videos and web links electronically distributed to the Joint Forces Staff College students. Included in that trove: a paper alleging that “it is a permanent command in Islam for Muslims to hate and despise Jews and Christians” (.pdf). So was a video lecture from Serge Trifkovic, a former professor who appeared as a defense witness in several trials of Bosnian Serb leaders convicted of war crimes, including the genocide of Muslims. A web link, titled “Watch Before This Is Pulled,” supposedly shows President Obama — the commander-in-chief of the senior officers attending the course — admitting that he’s a Muslim.

Dooley added the caveats that his views are “not the Official Policy of the United States Government” and are intended “to generate dynamic discussion and thought.” But he taught his fellow military officers that Obama’s alleged admission could well make the commander in chief some sort of traitor. “By conservative estimates,” 10 percent of the world’s Muslims, “a staggering 140 million people … hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit” to Islam. He added, “Your oath as a professional soldier forces you to pick a side here.” It is unclear if Dooley’s “total war” on Muslims also applied to his “Muslim” commander in chief.

After the Pentagon brass learned of Dooley’s presentation, the country’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, issued an order to every military chief and senior commander to get rid of any similar anti-Islam instructional material. Dempsey issued the order because the White House had already instructed the entire security apparatus of the federal government — military and civilian — to revamp its counterterrorism training after learning of FBI material that demonized Islam.

By then, Dooley had already presented his apocalyptic vision for a global religious war. Flynn has ordered a senior officer, Army Maj. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim, to investigate how precisely Dooley managed to get away with that extended presentation in an official Defense Department-sanctioned course. The results of that review are due May 24.

Ironically, Dooley and his guest lecturers paint a dire picture of the forward march of Islamic extremism right as its foremost practitioner feared its implosion. Documents recently declassified by the U.S. government revealed Osama bin Laden fretting about al-Qaida’s brutal methods and damaged brandalienating the vast majority of Muslims from choosing to wage holy war. Little could he have known that U.S. military officers were thinking of ways to ignite one.

Slides of Dooley’s presentation

Economic Sanctions and the Ukraine Airline Crash

July 19th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Photos are now available of the wreckage from the Malaysian airliner crash. Notice the extensive debris and the large section of fuselage.

You are observing remains of an airliner that was hit with a missile at 33,000 feet and fell to impact land. Remember, no such debris was present at the site where the airliner is alleged to have hit the Pentagon and at the alleged crash site in Pennsylvania of the 4th 9/11 hijacked airliner.

Give that some thought. No doubt but that the 9/11 Commission will conclude that only Malaysian airliners leave debris.

The unilateral US sanctions announced by Obama on July 16 blocking Russian weapons and energy companies access to US bank loans demonstrate Washington’s impotence. The rest of the world, including America’s two largest business organizations, turned their backs on Obama.

The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers placed ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post protesting US sanctions. NAM said that the manufacturer’s association is “disappointed that the US is extending sanctions in increasingly unilateral ways that will undermine US commercial engagement.”  Bloomberg reported that “meeting in Brussels, leaders of the European Union refused to match the US measures.”

In attempting to isolate Russia, the White House Fool has isolated Washington.

The sanctions will have no effect on the Russian companies. The Russian companies can get more bank loans than they need from China, or from France and Germany.

The three traits that define Washington–arrogance, hubris, and corruption–make Washington a slow learner.  Arrogant people wallowing in hubris are incapable of learning.  When they encounter resistance they respond with bribes, threats, and coercion. Diplomacy requires learning ability, but Washington left diplomacy years ago and relies on force.

Consequently, with its sanctions Washington is undermining its own power and influence. Sanctions are encouraging countries to withdraw from the dollar payments system that is the foundation of US power. Christian Noyer, Governor of the Bank of France and a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, said that

Washington’s sanctions are driving companies and countries out of the dollar payments system. The huge sum extorted from the French bank, BNP Paribus, for doing business with countries disapproved by Washington makes clear the increased legal risks that arise from using the dollar when Washington makes the rules.

 Washington’s attack on the French bank was the occasion for many to remember the numerous past sanctions and to contemplate future sanctions, such as those that loom for Germany’s Commerzbank.  A movement to diversify the currencies used in international trade is inevitable. Noyer pointed out that trade between Europe and China does not need to use the dollar and can be fully paid in Euros or Renminbi.

The phenomenon of US rules expanding to all US dollar-denominated transactions around the world is accelerating the movement away from the dollar payment system.

Some countries have already arranged bilateral agreements with trading partners to make their trade payments in their own currencies. The BRICS are establishing new payment methods independently of the dollar and are setting up their own International Monetary Fund to finance trade imbalances.

The US dollar’s exchange value depends on its role in the international payments system.  As this role shrivels, so will demand for dollars and the dollar’s exchange value.  Inflation will enter the US economy via import prices, and already hard-pressed Americans will experience more compression of their living standards.

In the 21st century distrust has been growing of Washington. Washington’s lies, such as Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,”  and “Iranian nukes” are recognized as lies by other governments.  The  lies were used by Washington to destroy countries and to threaten others with destruction, keeping the world in constant turmoil.  Washington delivers no benefit that offsets the turmoil that Washington inflicts on everyone else.  Washington’s friendship requires complying with Washington’s demands, and governments are concluding that Washington’s friendship is not worth the high cost.

The NSA spy scandal and Washington’s refusal to apologize and desist has deepened the distrust of Washington by its own allies. World polls show that other countries regard the US as the greatest threat to peace.  The American people themselves have no confidence in their government. Polls show that a large majority of Americans believe that politicians, the presstitute media, and private interest groups such as Wall Street and the military/security complex rig the system to serve themselves at the expense of the American people.

 Washington’s empire is beginning to crack, a circumstances that will bring desperate action from Washington. Today (July 17) I heard a BBC news report on National Public Radio about a Malaysian airliner being shot down in Ukraine.  The reporting might have been honest, but it sounded like a frame-up of Russia and the Ukrainian “separatists.” As the BBC solicited more biased opinions, the broadcast ended with a report from social media that separatists had brought down the airliner with a Russian weapon system.

No one on the program wondered what the separatists had to gain by shooting down an airliner.  Instead, the discussion was whether once Russian responsibility was established, would this force the EU to endorse tougher US sanctions against Russia. The BBC was following Washington’s script and heading the story where Washington wanted it to go.

The appearance of a Washington operation is present.  All the warmongers were ready on cue.  US Vice President Joe Biden declared that the airliner was “blown out of the sky.”  It was “not an accident.”  Why would a person without an agenda be so declarative prior to having any information?  Clearly, Biden was not implying that it was Kiev that blew the airliner out of the sky.  Biden was at work in advance of the evidence blaming Russia. Indeed, the way Washington operates, it will pile on blame until it needs no evidence.

Senator John McCain jumped on the supposition that there were US citizens aboard to call for punitive actions against Russia before the passenger list and the cause of the airliner’s fate are known.

The “investigation” is being conducted by Washington’s puppet regime in Kiev.  I think we already know what the conclusion will be.

 The probability is high that we are going to have more fabricated evidence, such as the fabricated evidence presented by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN “proving” the existence of the non-existent Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.”  Washington has succeeded with so many lies, deceptions and crimes that it believes that it can always succeed again.

 At this time as I write, we have no reliable information about the airliner, but the Roman question always pertains:  “Who benefits?”  There is no conceivable motive for separatists to shoot down an airliner, but Washington did have a motive–to frame-up Russia–and possibly a second motive.  Among the reports or rumors there is one that says Putin’s presidential plane flew a similar route to that of the Malaysian airliner within 37 minutes of one another. This report has led to speculation that Washington decided to rid itself of Putin and mistook the Malaysian airliner for Putin’s jet. RT reports that the two airplanes are similar in appearance. http://rt.com/news/173672-malaysia-plane-crash-putin/

Before you say Washington is too sophisticated to mistake one airliner for another, keep in mind that when Washington shot down an Iranian airliner over Iranian air space, the US Navy claimed that it thought the 290 civilians that it murdered were in an Iranian fighter jet, a F-14 Tomcat fighter, a US-made fighter that was a mainstay of the US Navy.  If the US Navy cannot tell its own workhorse fighter aircraft from an Iranian airliner, clearly the US can confuse two airliners that the RT report shows appear very similar.

 During the entire BBC frame-up of Russia, no one mentioned the Iranian passenger airliner that the US “blew out of the sky.” No one put sanctions on Washington.

 Whatever the outcome of the Malaysian airliner incident, it demonstrates a danger in Putin’s soft policy toward Washington’s ongoing hard intervention in Ukraine.  Putin’s decision to respond with diplomacy instead of with military means to Washington’s provocations in Ukraine gave Putin a winning hand, as evidenced by the opposition to Obama’s sanctions by the EU and US business interests.  However, by not bringing a quick forceable end to the Washington-sponsored conflict in Ukraine, Putin has left the door open for the devious machinations in which Washington specializes.

If Putin had accepted the requests of the former Russian territories in eastern and southern Ukraine to rejoin Mother Russia, the Ukrainian imbroglio would have come to an end months ago, and Russia would not be running risks of being framed-up.

Putin did not get the full benefit of refusing to send troops into the former Russian territories, because Washington’s official position is that Russian troops are operating in Ukraine. When facts do not support Washington’s agenda, Washington disposes of the facts. The US media blames Putin as the perpetrator of violence in Ukraine. It is Washington’s accusation, not any known facts, that is the basis for the sanctions.

As there is no act too dastardly for Washington to undertake,  Putin and Russia could become victims of a devious machination.

Russia seems hypnotized by the West and motivated to be included as a part of the West.  This desire for acceptance plays into Washington’s hands.  Russia does not need the West, but Europe needs Russia.  One option for Russia is to tend to Russian interests and wait for Europe to come courting.

The Russian government should not forget that Washington’s attitude toward Russia is formed by the Wolfowitz Doctrine which states:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

The concept of a “Greater Israel” according to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, is a Jewish State stretching “’From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.’

Rabbi Fischmann, of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, stated to the UN Special Committee on 9th July 1947 that:

The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon’”, wrote Michel Chossudovsky. (1)

Thus “from the Nile to the Euphrates.” Herzl’s detailed thesis was written in 1904.

Quoted in the same article is Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya on The Yinon Plan (1982) “ … a continuation of Britain’s colonial design in the Middle East”:

“(The Yinon plan) is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

“Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which the Yinon Plan discusses.”

At the time Yinon wrote, the eight year, Western driven Iran-Iraq war was into its second year – with another six grinding years of loss, tragedy and heartbreak, valleys of widows, orphans, maimed, on both sides of their common border. The toll on life and health was compared to World War 1. Iraq of course, in an historic error, had virtually been fighting a proxy war for an American regime, even then obsessed with Islam, which, in Iran they had decided was the wrong sort of Islam. What the faith of a nation thousands of miles away had to do with Capitol Hill, remains a mystery.

The day after that devastating war ended, the US replaced Iraq over the then USSR as the country which was the biggest threat to America. A devastated, war torn nation of, at the time, just under seventeen million people. (2)

Then came the dispute with Kuwait over alleged oil theft and Dinar destabilizing with the then US Ambassador April Glaspie personally giving Saddam Hussein the green light to invade should he choose. The subsequent nation paralyzing UN embargo followed, then the 2003 decimation and occupation – another orchestrated downward spiral – and tragedy and now open talk of what has been planned for decades, the break up of Iraq.

File:Greater israel.jpg

Greater Israel” requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states.

“Mission accomplished” for both the US with its long planned redrawing of the Middle East and North Africa – and Israel, through whose friendship with the Iraqi Kurdish autocracy, was set to become pretty well a partner in an autonomous, independent Iraqi Kurdistan. Dream come true, from “the Nile to the Euphrates”, the final fruition of near seventy years of manipulation and aggression for domination of the entire region.

The all is also the vision of the super hawk, dreamer of destruction of nations, Lt Colonel Ralph Peters since the early 1990s. Here is his 2006 version (3.) Peters is a man whose vision of eternal war is seemingly an eternal wet dream. Here, again, for anyone unaware of the Colonel, is a repeat of that dream (US Army War College Quarterly, Summer 1997):

“There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts … around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. (US armed forces will keep) the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.

“We have entered an age of constant conflict.”

Peters would make some of history’s most megalomaniacal expansionists look like gift offering peaceniks. His cartographic monument to arrogance: “The New Map of the Middle East Project”, of geographical restructure in far away places of which he gave less than a damn, was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006.\

 

It was surely no coincidence that on 1st May 2006 Joe Biden, long time Member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – now US Vice President of course – and Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Committee, joint authored a New York Times piece (4) urging the break up of Iraq, dividing the country on ethnic lines: “ … giving each ethno-religious group – Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab …” their own ethnic and political ghettos. Ignorance on wide inter-marriage, inter-relations, until 2003, inter-communities at every level for millennia, mixed  neighbourhoods, shared celebrations, religious festivals, joys and heartaches, boggle the imagination. The deluded article is entitled: “Unity through autonomy in Iraq.” Think non-sequeta, think mixed marriages, does the husband live in a “Sunni” ghetto and the wife a “Shia” one, for example?

“The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security.” A “five point plan” of ghettoisation, destruction, delusion and wickedness, the US-Israeli game plan for Iraq, with the UK as ever, tagging along dreaming of days of empire when, with France, Iraq and the region’s borders were imperially tinkered with just short of a hundred years ago (5.)

Aside from the shaming arrogance and illegality of the plan, ignorance is total. Clearly there is no knowledge in the great annals of the US State Department, Department of Foreign Affairs or the CIA of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities, also co-existing for centuries: Christians, Mandaeans, Yazidis, Turkmen, Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahai, Kakai’s, Shabaks – and indeed those who regard themselves as non-religious.

By October 2007 Joe Biden had: “attempted to create a reality when an overwhelming majority of the US Senate voted for his non-binding Resolution to divide Iraq in to three parts … (with) the Washington Post reporting that the 75-23 Senate vote was a ‘significant milestone’ ” in the severing of Iraq in to three, wrote Tom Engelhardt (6.)

Engelhardt is seemingly the only eagle eye to have picked up that: “The (tripartite) structure is spelled out in Iraq’s Constitution, but Biden would initiate local and regional diplomatic efforts to hasten its evolution.”

The Constitution, written under US imposed “Viceroy” Paul Bremer, is of course, entirely invalid, since it is illegal to re-write a Constitution under an occupation.

“Only the Kurds, eager for an independent State, welcomed the plan.”

What, ponders Engelhardt, with forensic reality, would be the reaction if Iraq, or Iran for example: “passed a non-binding Resolution to divide the United States in to semi-autonomous bio-regions?”

He concludes that: “such acts would, of course, be considered not just outrageous and insulting, but quite mad.” In Iraq however: “at best it would put an American stamp of approval on the continuing ethnic cleansing of Iraq.”

However, the US Administration’s commitment is clear, Joe Biden, a self confessed Zionist, stated at the annual J Street Conference in September 2013: “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved.” (7) Think oil, gas, strategic aims.

Biden assured his audience that: “America’s support for Israel is unshakable, period. Period, period.” (sic) He stressed a number of times the commitment that President Obama had to Israel. His own long and deep connections, he related, stretched back to a meeting with then Prime Minister Golda Meir when he was a freshman Senator and latterly his hours spent with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The latest meeting was in January this year when he travelled to Israel to pay his respects to the late Ariel Sharon and subsequently spent two hours alone in discussion with Netanyahu.

It is surely coincidence that subsequently the rhetoric for the division of Iraq accelerated. Israel has had “military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s” viewing them as “a shared buffer between Arab adversaries.”

In June Netanyahu told Tel Aviv University’s INSS think tank: “We should … support the Kurdish aspiration for independence”, after “outlining what he described as the collapse of Iraq and other Middle East regions …”(8) Iraq’s internal affairs being none of Israel’s business obviously does not occur (apart from their outrageous historic aspirations for the region in spite of being the newly arriving regional guest.) The howls of Israeli fury when even basic human rights for Palestinians in their eroded and stolen lands are suggested for the last sixty six years, however, metaphorically deafen the world.

Of course Kurdistan has now laid claim to Kirkuk, with its vast oil deposits. The plan for the Northern Iraq-Haifa pipeline, an Israeli aspiration from the time of that country’s establishment can surely also not have been far from Netanyahu’s mind. An independent Kurdistan, which indeed it has enjoyed almost entirely within Iraq, since 1992 – and immediately betrayed the Iraqi State by inviting in Israel and the CIA – would herald the planned dismemberment of Iraq.

It is darkly ironic, that whether relating to the break up of their lands or ghettoisation of those of Iraqis and Palestinians, this mirrors the plan of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of ethnic cleansing, who, after the outbreak of Word War II “arranged for Jews to be concentrated into ghettos in major cities …” he also devised plans for Jewish “reservations.”

Additionally he was an architect of forcible expulsion, one of the charges brought against him after he was captured by Israel’s Mossad and Shin Bet in Argentina in 1960. He was tried in Israel, found guilty of war crimes and hanged in 1962. Ironically his pre-Nazi employment had been as an oil salesman (9.)

Can Israel and the “international community” really be planning to mirror Eichmann by repatriating and ethnic cleansing? Will nations never look in to history’s mirror?

Notes

1.      http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

2.      http://www.populstat.info/Asia/iraqc.htm

3.      http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-redrawing-of-the-map-of-the-middle-east-begins-with-destruction-of-iraq/5387928

4.      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/01/opinion/01biden.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

5.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sykes–Picot_Agreement

6.     http://www.alternet.org/story/64433/congress_wants_to_split_iraq_in_three_pieces,_but_who_asked_them

7.      http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/joe-biden-israel-97586.html

8.      http://jordantimes.com/israels-netanyahu-calls-for-supporting-kurdish-independence

9.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann

En un artículo publicado en septiembre de 2006 en The Electronic Intifada calificábamos la política israelí referente a Gaza de genocidio progresivo.

Por desgracia, el actual ataque de Israel a Gaza indica que esta política continúa con toda su furia. El término es importante ya que sitúa adecuadamente la brutal acción de Israel (la de entonces y la de ahora) en un marco histórico más amplio.

Se debe insistir en este contexto ya que la maquinaria de propaganda israelí intenta una y otra vez caracterizar sus políticas como políticas situadas fuera de contexto y convierte el pretexto para una nueva oleada de destrucción que en cada ocasión encuentra en la principal justificación para otra serie de matanzas indiscriminadas en los campos de la muerte de Palestina.

El contexto

La estrategia sionista de caracterizar sus políticas brutales como una respuesta ad hoc a tal o cual acción palestina es tan vieja como la propia presencia sionista en Palestina. Se utilizó continuamente como justificación para implementar la visión sionista de una futura Palestina en la que habría muy pocos palestinos originarios, si es que había alguno.

Los medios para lograrlo fueron cambiando con los años, pero la fórmula sigue siendo la misma: sea cual sea la visión sionista de un Estado judío, solo puede materializarse sin una cantidad significativa de palestinos y palestinas en él. Y hoy en día la visión es la de un Israel que se extiende sobre la casi totalidad de la Palestina histórica en la que todavía viven millones de palestinos y palestinas.

Como todas las anteriores, la actual oleada genocida también tiene unos antecedentes más inmediatos. Nació de un intento de frustrar la decisión palestina de formar un gobierno de unidad al que ni siquiera Estados Unidos pondría objeciones.

El fracaso de la desesperada iniciativa de “paz” del secretario de Estado estadounidense John Kerry legitimó el llamamiento palestino a las organizaciones internacionales de detener la ocupación. Al mismo tiempo los palestinos se ganaron una vez más el reconocimiento internacional debido al prudente intento del gobierno de unidad de crear una vez más una estrategia para coordinar las políticas de los diferentes grupos y agendas palestinos.

Ya desde junio de 1967 Israel buscó la manera de mantener los territorios que había ocupado ese año sin incorporar a la población palestina originaria como ciudadanos de pleno derecho. Al mismo tiempo participó en una farsa de un “proceso de paz” para encubrir sus políticas unilaterales de colonización a base de hechos consumados o para ganar tiempo.

Durante décadas Israel diferenció entre las zonas que quería controlar directamente y aquellas que controlaba indirectamente, y ello con el objetivo a largo plazo de reducir la población palestina al mínimo por medio, entre otras cosas, de la limpieza étnica y la asfixia tanto económica como geográfica.

La ubicación geopolítica de Cisjordania da la impresión, al menos en Israel, de que es posible lograr esto sin que se prevea un tercer levantamiento o demasiada condena internacional.

Debido a su excepcional ubicación geopolítica, la Franja de Gaza no se prestaba tan fácilmente a esta estrategia. Ya desde 1994 y todavía más cuando Ariel Sharon llegó al poder como primer ministro a principios de la década de 2000 la estrategia respecto a Gaza fue convertirla en un gueto y de alguna manera esperar que su población (que a día de hoy asciende a 1.800.000 personas) cayera en el olvido eterno.

Pero resultó que el gueto era rebelde y que no estaba dispuesto a vivir en unas condiciones de asfixia, aislamiento, hambruna y colapso económico. Por consiguiente, había que continuar con las políticas genocidas para volver a enviarlo al olvido.

El pretexto

El 15 de mayo las fuerzas israelíes asesinaron a dos niños palestinos en la ciudad cisjordana de Beitunia. Un vídeo grabó su asesinato a sangre fría a causa de los disparos de un francotirador. Sus nombres, Nadim Nuwara y Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, se sumaron a una larga lista de asesinatos similares en los últimos meses y años.

Puede que el asesinato de tres adolescentes israelíes, dos de ellos menores, que habían sido secuestrados en la ocupada Cisjordania en junio, fuera una represalia por el asesinato de los dos niños palestinos. Pero proporcionó a todas las depredaciones de la opresiva ocupación el pretexto para en primer lugar y sobre todo destruir la delicada unidad en Cisjordania, pero también para llevar a cabo el viejo sueño de eliminar a Hamás de Gaza con el fin de que el gueto recuperara la calma.

Desde 1994, incluso antes de que Hamás llegara al poder en Gaza, la muy peculiar ubicación geopolítica de la Franja hizo evidente que toda acción de castigo colectivo, como la que se está llevando a cabo ahora, solo podría ser una operación de asesinatos y destrucción masivos. En otras palabras, un genocidio progresivo.

El hecho de reconocer esto no impide a los generales que dan órdenes bombardear a la población por tierra, mar y aire. Reducir la cantidad de palestinos y palestinas de toda la Palestina histórica sigue siendo una visión sionista. En Gaza su implementación adopta su forma más inhumana.

Como en el pasado, el momento particular en el que se ha llevado a cabo esta oleada está determinado por otras consideraciones. Continúa el descontento social interno de 2011 y durante un tiempo el público israelí pidió recortar los gastos militar y dedicar a servicios sociales dinero del inflado presupuesto de “defensa”. El ejército calificó esta posibilidad de suicida.

No hay nada como una operación militar para acallar cualquier voz que pida a un gobierno que recorte sus gastos militares.

En la actual oleada también aparecen las típicas características de etapas anteriores de este genocidio progresivo. Se puede ver una vez más el apoyo generalizado judío israelí a la masacre de civiles en Gaza sin que haya una sola voz disidente significativa. En Tel Aviv las pocas personas que se atrevieron a manifestarse en contra de la masacre fueron golpeadas por fanáticos judíos mientras la policía se mantenía al margen y observaba.

Como siempre, las instituciones académicas se convierten en parte de la maquinaria. La prestigiosa universidad privada Centro Interdisciplinar Herzliya ha establecido un “cuartel general civil” en el que los alumnos se prestan a ejercer de altavoz de la campaña de propaganda en el extranjero.

Los medios de comunicación participan lealmente sin mostrar imagen alguna de la catástrofe humana que esta provocando Israel e informando a su público de que esta vez “el mundo nos comprende y nos apoya”.

Esta afirmación es hasta cierto punto válida ya que las elites políticas occidentales siguen concediendo al “Estado judío” la impunidad de siempre. Con todo, los medios no han concedido a Israel el mismo nivel de legitimidad que este buscaba para sus políticas criminales.

Entre las obvias excepciones encontramos a los medios franceses, especialmente France 24, y la BBC, que de manera vergonzosa siguen repitiendo como loros la propaganda israelí.

Esto no es sorprendente ya que los grupos de presión a favor de Israel continúan trabajando sin descanso para presionar a favor de Israel tanto en Francia como en el resto de Europa, como hacen en Estados Unidos.

El camino que tenemos por delante

Actos como quemar vivo a un adolescente palestino de Jerusalén, matar a tiros a otros dos solo por diversión en Beitunia o asesinar a familias enteras en Gaza son todos ellos actos que únicamente se pueden perpetrar si se deshumaniza a la víctima.

Reconoceré que por todo Oriente Próximo hay actualmente casos espantosos en los que la deshumanización ha cosechado horrores inimaginables como los de hoy en Gaza. Pero hay una diferencia fundamental entre estos casos y la brutalidad israelí: en todo el mundo se condenan los primeros por ser brutales e inhumanos, mientras que el presidente de Estados Unidos, los dirigentes de la Unión Europea y otros amigos de Israel en el mundo autorizan y aprueban públicamente los que comete Israel.

La única lucha fructífera posible contra el sionismo en Palestina es una lucha basada en un programa de derechos humanos y civiles que no diferencie entre unas violaciones y otras, aunque diferencie claramente entre la víctima y los victimarios.

Habría que juzgar con los mismos principios morales y éticos tanto a quienes cometen atrocidades en el mundo árabe contra minorías oprimidas y comunidades indefensas como a los israelíes que cometen estos crímenes contra el pueblo palestino. Todos ellos son criminales, aunque en el caso de Palestina llevan más tiempo actuando que ningún otro.

La identidad religiosa de quienes cometen estas atrocidades o en nombre de qué religión pretenden hablar en realidad no tiene importancia alguna. Ya se califiquen a sí mismos de yihadistas, judaístas o sionistas habría que tratarlos a todos de la misma manera.

Un mundo que dejara de utilizar un doble rasero en su trato con Israel sería un mundo mucho más eficaz en sus respuesta a los crímenes de guerra en cualquier otra parte del mundo.

Poner fin al genocidio progresivo en Gaza y restituir los derechos humanos y civiles básicos de los y las palestinas estén donde estén, incluido el derecho al retorno, es la única manera de abrir una nueva perspectiva de una intervención internacional productiva en Oriente Próximo en su conjunto.

 

Texto en inglés : 140713-gaza-mother-sonIsrael’s Incremental Genocide in the Gaza Ghetto

Electronic Intifada 13 de Julio 2014

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos

Nota:

[1] “Genocide in Gaza”, http://electronicintifada.net/content/genocide-gaza/6397; en castellano traducido por Chelo Ramos, http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=37450 

Ilan Pappe es autor de varios libros [entre ellos La limpieza étnica de Palestina], además de profesor de historia y director del Centro Europeo de Estudios Palestinos de la Universidad de Exeter.

Fuente: http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-incremental-genocide-gaza-ghetto/13562

The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation released the following statement in connection with the crash of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

“In view of the objective investigation of the air crash of the Boeing 777 that crashed on the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to conduct thorough investigation with the involvement of representatives of all interested international organizations. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, there are units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the disaster area; the units are armed with anti-aircraft missile systems Buk-M1. In the area of northwestern outskirts of Donetsk, divisions of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are deployed, with 27 Buk M1 complexes. These complexes, on their tactical and technical characteristics, are capable of detecting air targets at distances of up to 160 kilometers and striking them at all altitudes at a range of over 30 kilometers. Moreover, in the skies over the Donetsk region, aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force equipped with different types of missiles are constantly present. This is an undeniable fact.

“Statements from official Kiev saying that those complexes or aircraft did not open fire on air targets raise serious doubts. In such a short period of time, making such unequivocal conclusions under the conditions of fierce fighting in the area is impossible. Such responsible statements that entail serious legal consequences, require full investigation.

“In connection with all sorts of insinuations concerning the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the border regions of Ukraine, we herewith responsibly declare that:

“On July 17, air defense systems of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were not working in the area.

“The aircraft of the Air Force of the Russia were not performing any sorties on July 17 in the regions bordering on the Donetsk region.

“This information is fully confirmed by means of objective control.

“One should pay attention to the fact that Boeing 777 was conducting the flight beyond the range of air defense systems of the Russian Federation. The aircraft was flying in the airspace of Ukraine, under the control of its air traffic management system.

“We urge the international community to conduct thorough investigation of the disaster.” (emphasis added)

A Nuclear Waste Dump on the Shore of the Great Lakes?

July 18th, 2014 by Dr. David Suzuki

This “out of sight, out of mind” mentality must end. We can’t continue to dump garbage into the oceans, waterways and air or bury it in the ground and hope it will disappear.

Is dilution really the solution to pollution—especially when it’s nuclear waste that can stay radioactive for 100,000 years? A four-member expert group told a federal joint review panel it is.

The panel is examining an Ontario Power Generation proposal to bury low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste from the Darlington, Pickering and Bruce nuclear plants in limestone at the Bruce site in Kincardine, beside Lake Huron. According to the Toronto Star, the experts reported that 1,000 cubic meters of contaminated water could leak from the site, although it’s “highly improbable.” But even if it did leak, they argued, the amount is small compared to Lake Huron’s water volume and the quantity of rain that falls into it.

If the materials were instead buried in Canadian Shield granite, any leaking waste would be diluted by active streams and marshes, the experts claimed: “Hence, the volumes of the bodies of water available for dilution at the surface are either immense (Great Lakes) or actively flowing … so the dilution capacity is significant.”

Others aren’t convinced. The Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump group has more than 62,000 signatures on a petition opposing the dump. Many communities around the Great Lakes, home to 40-million people, have passed resolutions against the project, including Canadian cities Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, Kingston, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor and more, and local governments in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York and Ohio. The United Tribes of Michigan, representing 12 First Nations, is also opposed.

Michigan’s Senate recently adopted resolutions to urge President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Congress to intervene, and for the International Joint Commission, the Great Lakes Commission and all Great Lakes States and Ontario and Quebec to get involved.

According to Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, burying such highly toxic wastes in limestone next to 21 percent of the world’s fresh water “defies common sense.” The group’s website notes, “There are no precedents anywhere in the world for burying radioactive nuclear waste in limestone. The repository must function to safely contain the nuclear wastes for over 100,000 years. No scientist or geologist can provide a 100,000 year guarantee.” The Great Lakes are only 12,000 years old!

On top of that, retired Ontario Power Generation research scientist and chemist Frank R. Greening wrote to the review panel stating that OPG has “seriously underestimated, sometimes by factors of more than 100” the radioactivity of material to be buried.

Greening says the company acknowledged his criticism but downplayed its seriousness, which he believes raises doubts about the credibility of OPG’s research justifying the project. “Their response has been, ‘Oops we made a mistake but it isn’t a problem’ and that really bothers me as a scientist,” he told Kincardine News. “It is rationalizing after the fact.”

According to the newspaper, “a radiation leak at a nuclear waste site in New Mexico—cited by OPG as an example of a successful facility—is further fueling criticism of the project.” In February, radiation was detected in vaults and in the air a kilometre from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, where radioactive materials from the nuclear weapons program are stored. The facility, the world’s only deep geologic repository, had only been in use for 15 years and is closed for now. The cause of the leak isn’t yet known.

Those and other factors led the joint review panel to re-open hearings beginning September 9. They initially ended October 30, 2013. A federal cabinet decision is expected sometime next year.

This “out of sight, out of mind” mentality must end. We can’t continue to dump garbage into the oceans, waterways and air or bury it in the ground and hope it will disappear. If we can’t find better ways to use or at least reduce waste products, we must stop producing them.

In the meantime, this project must be halted. The Great Lakes are already threatened by pollution, agricultural runoff, invasive species, climate change and more. We can’t afford to add the risk of radioactive contamination to one of the world’s largest sources of fresh water.

Written with Contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said on July 17 that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 airliner had been downed by the Buk missile system

KIEV, July 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Militias in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics do not have Ukrainian air defense missile systems Buk and S-300 at their disposal, Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema told Ukrainian Pravda newspaper on Friday.

“After the passenger airliner was downed, the military reported to the president that terrorists do not have our air defense missile systems Buk and S-300,” the general prosecutor said. “These weapons were not seized,” he added.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said on July 17 that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 airliner had been downed by an air defense missile system Buk.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 airliner on the way from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in Ukraine on Thursday. All 298 people abroad the airliner died in the crash.

Protesters demonstrate against Israel’s attacks on Gaza at the Hague on 12 July. (Robert Soeterik)

The Palestinians of Gaza, naively, went to the polling station in January 2006, mistakenly believing the Bush doctrine of bringing democracy to the Middle East — in spite of him being responsible for the brutal massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

People voted, but not for the preferred choice of the Israelis, or their American backers and the Arab dictators. The Palestinian choice was against the peace process industry, against the fiction that is the ever-slippery two-state solution, against the corruption of the Oslo-eranouveau riche.

The outcome was a surprise not only for the Oslo camp, but also for the winners themselves: Hamas. And Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, were made to pay a heavy price for this transgression: the imposition of a severe siege described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe in 2006 as “genocide.”

But the deadly siege was not enough to satisfy Israel’s hunger for Palestinian blood. The Palestinians of Gaza refused to passively accept Israel’s siege, like good natives are supposed to. Hence, Israel ferociously attacked Gaza in three horrific assaults in 2006, 2009 and 2012 and now again in 2014.

In all of these attacks, the people of Gaza were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world — an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of trigger-happy soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs made in the United States. Gaza has no army, no navy and no air force. And yet Israelis claim to be under threat and fear for their lives!

Complicity

Commenting on this situation in Gaza, Karen Koning AbuZayd, former commissioner-general for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said in 2008: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution with the knowledge, acquiescence and — some would say — encouragement of the international community.”

We in Gaza know very well that Israel could not have carried out its current genocidal war, preceded by this horrific siege and a series of massacres before it, without a green light from the so-called international community.

Tellingly, an Israeli soldier was quoted by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper in 2009: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him.”

But this aggression is not new; none of these wars have been a response to Qassamrockets fired from Gaza.

The 1948 Genocide Convention clearly states that one instance of genocide is “the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part.”

Sara Roy, an expert on Gaza, describes the Strip as follows:

[Gaza is] a land ripped apart and scarred, the lives of its people blighted. Gaza is decaying under the weight of continued devastation, unable to function normally …The decline and disablement of Gaza’s economy and society have been deliberate, the result of state policy — consciously planned, implemented and enforced. Although Israel bears the greatest responsibility, the United States and the European Union, among others, are also culpable … All are complicit in the ruination of this gentle place. And just as Gaza’s demise has been consciously orchestrated, so have the obstacles preventing its recovery.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program stated in a 2009 report: “The evidence shows that the population is being sustained at the most basic or minimum humanitarian standard.”

As Ilan Pappe argues in Out of the Frame, mainstream discourse in Israel is about the need to destroy Gaza once and for all: “today from the left to the right, from academia to the media, one can hear the righteous anger of a state that more than any other in the world is destroying and dispossessing an indigenous population.”

And now, judging by the increasing air raids, the incitement of Israel’s war-mongering generals and politicians, Israel is putting that ideology into practice. As Thursday evening, Gaza time, the latest statistics are horrific: 237 dead, more than 50 of them children, and 1,770 injured, according to the Gaza health ministry, and more than 1,600 homesdemolished in broad daylight.

And yet those in places of power, unsurprisingly, still back Israel’s “right to defend itself,” conveniently forgetting or in the case of the Obama administration, denying that those who are oppressed and dispossessed also have the right to resist their oppression. Israel is intent on destroying Gaza and international official bodies and administrations like Obama’s repeatedly declare their commitment to Israel’s “security” like a broken record, without a care for Palestinian lives.

Urgent

The urgent question facing us in Gaza is not just how to survive for today, but how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights; how to stop the current escalation and the ongoing massacre and how to stop this from ever happening again.

Knowing that the credible Goldstone report on suspected war crimes in Gaza in 2008-09, and reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are all ignored or undermined, there is a bitter awareness that we in Gaza can have no expectation of Israeli accountability for the current onslaught. But this is in the short term only — in the long term, we know that Israel will have to answer to its oppression of Palestinians because this oppression will end one day. History will have it no other way.

What Palestine needs from the world today is not just a condemnation of the Gaza massacres and siege, but also a delegitimization of the ideology that produced this policy and justifies it morally and politically, just as the racist ideology of apartheid was delegitimized.

It seems, however, and again, as Ilan Pappe notices, that even horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as “discrete events, unrelated to events in the past and dissociated from any ideology or system.” Supporters of Palestine must always relate today’s massacres to the original sin of colonization of the land which Israel has claimed for its own and the dispossession of its indigenous people.

The window of hope comes from the lessons we have learned from South Africa, where the ugly apartheid regime came under mounting pressure from outside. It is time for international civil society, as opposed to the ineffectual United Nations, to redouble their support for our struggle against apartheid in Palestine today. As Palestinians under Israeli siege, occupation and apartheid, we increasingly rely on international law and solidarity for our very survival. That solidarity is needed more than ever today.

The best way to honor those killed, injured and made homeless in Gaza is to raise your voices even louder and demand that governments impose sanctions against Israel. Now is the time to increase the number of universities and businesses that boycott Israel. Now is the time to demand divestment from more pension funds. Now is the time for more countries to cut all ties with Israel.

A country that fails to abide by international law, that refuses to withdraw from Arab lands it has occupied since 1967, that practices racism against its Palestinian citizens, that refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands, is a country that should be expelled from the community of nations. International solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinians demands no less than the complete isolation of apartheid Israel.

Haidar Eid is an independent political commentator from the Gaza Strip, Palestine.

Four Palestinian boys, who were from the same family, were targeted and bombed by Israeli military forces while they were playing football (or soccer) on the beach. The boys were killed nearby the Al Deira hotel, where international journalists have been staying. They appeared to be targeted yet to the United States State Department the children would not have died if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire proposed yesterday.

Ayman Mohyeldin, a journalist for NBC News who has been reporting from Gaza, said he had been kicking around a ball with the boys minutes before the air strike that killed them. He, along with other journalists, including The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont, helped provide medical aid to children who were hit by the strike.

An eyewitness account from Washington Post reporter William Booth indicates the boys were nearby a fisherman’s shack on the “quay at the port, a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.” The kids were running from the shack to Al Deira. Waiters, a cook and journalists were shouting at them to run here. A second missile was fired and killed them.

The Gaza Health Ministry announced that their names were: Mohammed Bakr, 9 years-old; Ahed Bakr, 10 years-old; Zakaria Bakr, 10 years-old; and Mohammed Bakr, 11 years-old. They were all “scrawny fishermen’s kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves,” according to Booth.

Beaumont wrote in his firsthand account that as the second missile hit the children his colleagues, who were standing on the terrace wall, shouted at “unseen Israeli gunners” who could not hear them: “They are only children.”

A report from Reuters contained an even more shocking detail. Ahmed Abu Hassera, a 22 year-old who witnessed the bombing of children, said. “It looked as if the shells were chasing them.”

The State Department held its daily press briefing at 12:30 pm EST. By that time, the world could read messages from journalists, who witnessed the attack, that Israeli forces had bombed four children. But State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki essentially said she was not in a position to confirm what was happening on the ground and did not want to address the specific attack.

Al Jazeera English reporter Rosalind Jordan explained to Psaki that several of her colleagues had witnessed an attack on “what could only be described as a civilian target.” Journalists who witnessed the attack said “there wasn’t any rocket strike that they could see or detect or hear that might ostensibly” have come from Hamas.

“How is an Israeli air strike on what can only be described as a civilian target in full view of international journalists acceptable to the US government?” Jordan asked.

Psaki launched into talking points about the “circumstances” on the ground being of “great concern, including the deaths of civilians and “tensions” which have impacted the “civilian community.” Obviously, she added, a number of lives have been lost (over 200 Palestinians at this point). The loss of children is “absolutely tragic.”

Jordan followed up, “Why would it be reasonable to expect that civilians who, for whatever reason, happen to be living in Gaza would not become more hardened in their view of the Israeli government, of the Israeli people, when their own children can’t go play in the surf and instead the next time they see their children they’re on funeral biers?”

She answered with a typical talking point about deaths of any individuals, any civilians, and how this is why Secretary of State John Kerry is working on this issue daily. Then came the true position of President Barack Obama’s administration.

“I would remind you that yesterday there was a ceasefire proposed that was abided to by Israelis for a couple of hours that Hamas did not abide to. And they’re putting their own people at risk by continuing to escalate the situation on the ground,” Psaki declared.

In one statement, she absolved Israel of responsibility for civilians in Gaza. They aren’t Israel’s people, they are Hamas’ “own people.” And, if the world does not want children to be bombed on beaches, the world’s anger should be directed at Hamas and not the Israeli forces, which actually fired the shells at innocent civilians playing soccer.

Hamas did ultimately reject the ceasefire proposal. Its military wing did immediately reject the proposal and continue to launch rockets. However, the terms of a ceasefire proposal were decided between Israel and Egypt and then reported in the media. Egypt negotiated with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, humiliating Hamas leaders who were sidestepped entirely. Although Israel (and the United States) regard Hamas as a terrorist group, one can easily argue that Israel did not approach the issue of a ceasefire in good faith and that they wanted Hamas to reject it so the country could garner renewed support for bombing Gaza.

How can there be a ceasefire if the group you are at war with is not part of negotiations?

Jordan continued to press Psaki, “If Israel does have the legal right to defend itself, and I don’t think anyone in this room would dispute that, because I would expect the U.S. to protect this territory from attack, how is this considered an acceptable form of retaliation? Why wouldn’t people on the ground—who weren’t near any sort of Hamas airstrike into Israel—why wouldn’t they believe that this is not an act of retaliation?

“I’m not sure what your exact question is,” Psaki answered.

“Put it more simply: If rockets didn’t emanate from where I happened to be living or playing or visiting or doing whatever, and suddenly my area is targeted by a foreign government’s airstrike, why wouldn’t it be reasonable for me to think this is an act of retaliation and punishment, vengeance, rather than a direct response to a military attack?”

“I still don’t understand what your question is,” Psaki said.

Truly, these are the answers of a soulless institution.

*

There were another set of questions that merit just as much attention.

Matt Lee of the Associated Press asked Psaki about a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing Israel of violating international law by “targeting civilians.” He mentioned the beach. He asked if they believed “civilian structures” were being targeted. She completely dodged his question.

“Does the Administration believe that Israel is in violation of the laws of war?” Lee asked.

“I have not heard that concern expressed internally, Matt, specifically,” Psaki replied. She later stated that the “operation in Gaza” is Israel “defending itself therefore it’s not in any violation.”

But what about Palestinian armed groups? Lee informed her that HRW objected to their “indiscriminate rocket attacks launched toward the Israeli population.” Did the State Department agree with Human Rights Watch on this?

“Certainly, we would agree,” Psaki stated. “And we view and need to urgently bring an end to the escalation that we’re seeing on the ground.”

“So you agree with Human Rights Watch when they say that the Palestinians should stop their shelling, but you don’t agree with them when they say that Israel should; is that correct?” Lee asked. Psaki maintained that was not exactly what she said.

Not only was that what she was saying through her answers, it perfectly fit with an exchange she had with another reporter last week when asked if Palestinians had a right to defend themselves.

QUESTION: Do you believe that the Palestinians in Gaza have the right to defend themselves?

MS. PSAKI: I think – I’m not sure what you’re getting at, Said.

QUESTION: I am asking you: Do they have the right to defend themselves against Israeli aggression?

MS. PSAKI: What are you specifically referring to? Is there a specific event or a specific occurrence?

The reporter was not asking Psaki about anything specific. He was asking the State Department spokeswoman, in general, to respond, in general, to the issue of the “right to defend themselves,” as the State Department generally is so willing to do when generally taking a position in support of Israel’s “right to defend” itself. She would not and did not want to address this point because it would expose the US government’s real position on Israel’s conduct.

What the State Department—and Israel refuses to concede when confronted with questions—is that Israel is an occupying power. Its occupation, which includes a blockade of Gaza, means that it has a duty and obligation to protect the lives of civilians. It should not be permitted to kill over 200 Palestinians, seventy-five to eighty percent of which are civilians, and still claim it is merely “defending” itself. Yet, this is what the United States does.

The United States stands by Israel and covers for war crimes by pointing fingers at Hamas when children are killed by Israeli forces while playing soccer. This effectively gives Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu carte blanche to, as he has said, “restore the quiet” however the country chooses, whether that be through force that may include killing of civilians to sow division and induce the population to turn against Hamas in greater numbers.

Update

Here’s another exchange that took place, which should not go ignored (h/t Rania Khalek):

QUESTION: So the people who have been killed, including these children – it’s – frankly, it doesn’t seem to – it doesn’t faze you?

MS. PSAKI: That’s not at all what I said. I think I’ve stated multiple times that the deaths of civilians, the loss of lives for children and individuals in Gaza is horrific and is a tragedy. And that’s why we’re so focused on bringing an end to the violence, and I think that’s far more important than a speculation about —

QUESTION: Right, but it’s – but it’s horrific and it’s a tragedy, but you’re saying that it’s the fault of Hamas for not stopping the rocket fire.

MS. PSAKI: They certainly are at fault in part here, yes

Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane was travelling almost the same route as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s jet shortly before the crash that killed 298, Interfax news agency reports citing sources.

LIVE UPDATES:Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in Ukraine

“I can say that Putin’s plane and the Malaysian Boeing intersected at the same point and the same echelon. That was close to Warsaw on 330-m echelon at the height of 10,100 meters. The presidential jet was there at 16:21 Moscow time and the Malaysian aircraft – 15:44 Moscow time,” a source told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

“The contours of the aircrafts are similar, linear dimensions are also very similar, as for the coloring, at a quite remote distance they are almost identical”, the source added.

At the same time, there have been reports contradicting Intefax’s report that was the first and the only media source to publish the news, saying that Presidential plane was not flying over Ukraine at the same time.

As a source told Gazeta.ru online news portal, Putin’s plane does take off from Vnukovo-3 [the terminal that accepts business jets], but the president does not fly over the conflict-gripped neighboring country.

“Putin has only one jet – Board One, he does not fly other planes. This plane always takes off from Vnukovo-3, but the presidential plane have not been flying over Ukraine for a while,” the source at Vnukovo-3 terminal said.

President Putin was on his way from Brazil, where he attended the BRICS summit, to Moscow.

‘Tragedy would’t have taken place if there was peace in Ukraine’

Ukraine should bear responsibility for Malaysian airliner tragedy, said the head of the Russian state at a meeting on economic issues, which he proposed to start with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the disaster.

“Obviously, the state over whose territory it happened bears responsibility for this terrible tragedy,” he said late on Thursday.

“This tragedy would not have happened if there was peace on this land, if military action in the southeast of Ukraine had not been resumed,” Putin said, adding that he has asked the appropriate Russian authorities to do everything to investigate the matter.

“We must do everything in our power that an objective picture of what happened goes public in our community, in Ukraine and all over the world,” Putin said as he expressed his condolences to the families of victims.

Flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and was carrying 298 people. The passenger Boeing-777 was expected to enter Russian airspace at 5:20pm local time, but never did, a Russian aviation industry source said.“The plane crashed 60km away from the border,” Itar-Tass cited its source.

Evidence presented by Ukraine to implicate Russia in the shoot down of the Malaysian Airlines plane appears to have been fabricated.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71

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US military, government (including law enforcement), and millions of Americans (including all California public employees) have Oaths to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It’s hard to imagine a worse domestic enemy than those who knowingly lie for unlawful attack on foreign countries, resulting in millions of war-deaths. These lies include Israel’s easily-proved lies that Iran threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” (more on Iran) while Israel actually wipes Palestine off the map.

The US/UK/Israel wars of the present are Orwellian unlawful because they violate two treaties renouncing armed attack as a foreign policy option, and allowing military use only in a narrow definition of self-defense when attacked by another nation’s government (full explanation/documentation here).

Article Six of the US Constitution defines a treaty as US “supreme Law of the Land;” meaning that US policy may only complement an active treaty, and never violate it.

Therefore, all “reasons” for US/UK/Israel armed attacks are criminal propaganda; constant BS to say whatever required to keep these War Crimes unrecognized (with corporate media complicity).

I recommend demanding immediate arrests because war law is so clear with US/UK/Israel violations so “Emperor’s New Clothes” and “Big Lie” obvious, the importance to remove these people from power of literally life-and-death urgency, and because Wars of Aggression is the Orwellian opposite of upholding the US Constitution. In addition:

No wonder that people around the world view the US as the greatest threat to peace; voted three times more dangerous than any other country.

Importantly, current wars by the so-called “developed nations” has a history that exposes never-ending resource pillaging/colonialism. This history should be familiar to all high school graduates:

  • Colonialism whereby nations with guns stole everything they could around the world.
  • World War 1 whereby these same nations fought each other after almost all Earth was colonized. The war’s winners stole and kept the losers’ colonies, in abject lie of promises “to keep the world safe for democracy” and a “war to end all wars.”
  • World War 2 whereby the winners of the previous war failed to contain the principal loser (Germany) as a competitor.
  • The Cold War whereby former colonies were controlled through “friendly dictators” for resources and financial predation.
  • The so-called “War on Terror” whereby the Cold War winners continue resource and financial predation through false flag attacks, fear, and ongoing propaganda.

These invading nations created the United Nations to promise peace, but have failed to stop the ongoing Wars of Aggression by war victors (again, since WW2, Earth has had 248 armed conflicts. The US started 201 of them). Therefore, anyone waiting for the criminals’ creation to act against their creators seems foolish.

What’s required to end these unlawful Wars of Aggression is being as confident in war law as what “stop sign law” means while driving. The nations blowing past war law to attack, harm, and kill is as obvious as a driver speeding past a stop sign. Both have clear laws to stop, egregious violations are obvious in both cases, and both cases demand voice and action to stop such reckless driving.

American Founders literally pledged their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” to gift our nation’s ideals and rights to today’s Americans after their own government rejected all reasonable efforts to uphold promises and guarantees for liberty and justice.

What will you think, say, and do to defend liberty and justice?

Current events seem to communicate that our choices are to either act now, or even the darkest satire cannot capture the future planned for us by current “leaders.”

Update: The later part of this article refers to information provided by the Kiev Spanish air controller. Since posting this article, we have received reports to the effect that the twitter report of the Spanish Air controller at Kiev Borisol airport is “fake” and that the twitter message were sent out of London. 

Upon further investigation, the Spanish Air Controller conducted several media interviews in the last 2-3 months, including  RT: See his May interview in Spanish http://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/view/127516-amenazar-controlador-espanol-ucrania-crisis

*  *  *

A division of Buk missile systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was, according to Pravda, deployed to the Donetsk Oblast on July 15, two days before the downing of the Malaysian airlines MH17 flight. The Buk missile system has the capabilities of downing an aircraft flying at 35,000 feet. 

While the Pravda report remains to be confirmed, Russian Defense sources confirm the presence of several missile batteries in the Donesk oblast operated by the Ukraine armed forces:

‘The Ukrainian military has several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed, Russian Defense Ministry said”(RT, July 17, 2014)

Of significance, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Vitaliy Yarema confirmed that the Donesk rebels do not have Buk or S 300 ground to air missiles which could have downed the plane.

According to the Kiev Post report: “Ukrainian prosecutor general says militants did not seize Ukrainian air defense launchers”

Members of illegal armed units have not seized air defense launchers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Donetsk, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema said. (Kiev Post)

Yarema also confirmed that according to military sources:

“After the passenger airliner was downed, the military reported to the president that terrorists do not have our air defense missile systems Buk and S-300,” (quoted by Itar-Tass).

This disclaimer is pro forma. It comes from official sources and can easily be reversed at a later date as part of the propaganda campaign directed against the Donbass rebels.

Yet what appears to be contradictory in these various statements is that immediately after the downing of MH17, an adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. Anton Gerashchenko stated categorically that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 MH17:

“had been downed by an air defense missile system Buk” (without however mentioning who was behind the missile operation)

According to the Ukraine Interfax News Agency Anton Gerashchenko, “said on Facebook that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.” According to the Strait Times:

Mr Gerashchenko was quoted as saying: “A civilian airliner travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has just been shot down by a Buk anti-aircraft system… 280 passengers and 15 crew have been killed.”

How could he have known what type of missile system had brought down the plane?  His statement contradicts that of the Ukrainian military.

Gerashchenko runs a ministry of interior propaganda program at the  www.stopterror.in.ua website. See also http://uacrisis.org/anton-gerashhenko/

How could he have been privy to this information of a military nature prior to the conduct of an investigation on the ground? Unless the Ministry of the Interior  was directly involved.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Interior, largely under the control of  the two Neo-Nazi parties Svoboda and Right Sector is responsible for “internal” military operations directed against rebel forces in Lugansk and Donbass, in coordination with the Armed Forces. The Ministry oversees both The Interior Troops of Ukraine (Внутрішні війська України, Vnutrisni Viys’ka Ukrayiny (VVU )) as well the National Guard (integrated by Right Sector militia).

The Spanish Air Controller’s Report at Kiev Borisol Airport

According to the controversial report of the Spanish air controller at Kiev Borisol airport  there was an unexplained change of course of the Malaysian MH17 flight which took the aircraft directly over the Eastern Ukraine warzone.

The Spanish air controller intimates that the order to down the aircraft came from the Ministry of the Interior (Ministry of Internal Affairs) and not from the Military.

He also said that the MH17 flight was escorted by Ukrainian fighter jets minutes before it was downed.

“The fighters flew close to 777, up to 3 minutes before disappearing from the radar, just 3 minutes”

It is worth noting that the presence of the Ukraine fighter jets reported by the Spanish air traffic controller was confirmed by eyewitness reports in the Donetsk region.

What is of significance is that the announcement of the downing of the aircraft (by a missile) by Kiev was almost immediate.

According to the Spanish air controller, the air control tower was informed of the downing of the aircraft at 12.00 hours, approximately ten minutes after it disappeared from the radar screen (11.50 hours). How could they have known unless they had concrete details on how it was shot down?

“Malaysia Airlines B777 plane just disappeared [from the radar] and Kiev military authority informed us of the downing, How they knew?”

According to air traffic controller, the information did not emanate from the Ministry of Defense:

“Interior Minister knew what the fighters were doing in the area, the defense minister didn’t.”

“Members of the Military confirm. It was Ukraine, but still do not know where the order came from”

“For those who do not know, Let’s say, there are military under the orders of the defense minister and military under the orders of Interior Minister”

The Spanish air traffic controller intimates that there were members of the military who were taking orders from the Ministry of the Interior:

“The military under the orders of Interior Minister knew what happened all the time .”

“Military commanders here (ATC) control tower, confirm that the missile is from the Ukrainian army,”

Despite Washington’s accusations, pointing a finger at Russia and the “pro-Russian rebels”, the facts point to The Ministry of Interior’s VVU.

From official statements one has the distinct impression that there are profound divisions both within the government and the Ukraine Armed Forces as well as between various factions within the military.

The truth is being suppressed.  The Spanish Air Traffic Controller has the object of death threats. He and his family were deported from Ukraine on orders of the Kiev regime.

Below we indicate relevant sections of the Spanish Air Traffic Controller’s Twitter messages:

11:48 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El avión B 777 voló escoltado por 2 cazas de ukraine hasta minutos antes, de desaparecer de los radares,

The B777 plane flew escorted by Ukraine jet fighter until 2 minutes before disappearing from the radar,

11:54 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Sí las autoridades de kiev, quieren decir la verdad, esta recogido 2 cazas volaron muy cerca minutos antes , no lo derribo un caza

“If kiev authorities want to tell the truth, It´s gathered, 2 jet fighters flew very close minutes before, wasn’t downed by a fighter”

12:00 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Nada más desaparecer el avión B 777 de Malaysia Airlines la autoridad militar de kiev nos informo del derribo, como lo sabían?

“Malaysia Airlines B777 plane just disappeared and Kiev military authority informed us of the downing, How they knew?”

12:00 – 17 de jul. de 2014 A los 7:00 minutos se notificó el derribo, más tarde se tomó la torre nuestra con personal extranjero q siguen aquí

“7:00 minutes after [plane disappeared], the downing was notified, later our tower was taken with foreigner staff, they still here ”

12:01 – 17 de jul. de 2014 En los radares esta todo recogido, para los incrédulos, derribado por kiev, aquí lo sabemos y control aéreo militar también

“all this is gathered in radars, to the unbelieving, shot down by kiev, here we know it and military air traffic control also”

13:15 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Aquí los mandos militares manejan y admiten que militares a otras órdenes, pudieron ser, pero no, los pro-rusos

“Here the military commanders are in control and admit that the military could be following other orders , but not the pro-Russians”

13:29 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El ministro del interior si conocía que, hacían los cazas en la zona, el ministro de defensa no, .

“Interior Minister knew what the fighters were doing in the area, the defense minister didn’t.”

13:31 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Militares confirman que fue ukraine, pero se sigue sin saber de donde vino la orden

“Members of the Military confirm It was Ukraine, but still does not know where the order came from”

13:36 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Hace dias lo dije aquí, militares de kiev querían alzarse contra el actual presidente, esto puede ser una forma, a las órdenes de timoshenko

“Days ago I said here, kiev military wanted to rise against the current president, this may be a way, ordered by timoshenko [following timishenko orders]”

13:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Los cazas volaron cerca del 777, hasta 3 minutos antes de desaparecer de los radares, solo 3 minutos

“The fighters flew close to 777, up to 3 minutes before disappearing from the radar, just 3 minutes”

13:43 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Se cierra el espacio aéreo

“Airspace closed”

13:45 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Se cierra el espacio aéreo, por miedo a más derribos

“Airspace is closed, more downings feared”

15:17 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Control militar entrega ahora mismo de forma oficial que el avión fue derribado por misil

“military control now officially [say] the plane was shot down by missile”

15:23 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El informe oficial firmado por las autoridades militares de control de kiev ya lo tiene el gobierno,,,, , derribado

“Government has the official report signed by the control military authorities in Kiev,,,, [plane] shot down”

15:26 – 17 de jul. de 2014 En el informe se indica de donde abría salido el misil, y se especifica que no proviene de las autodefensa en las zonas rebeldes

“The report indicates where the missile had come out [from], and specified is not from the selfdefence in rebel areas”

15:34 – 17 de jul. de 2014Los radares militares si recogieron los datos del misil lanzado al avión, los radares civiles no

“Military radar collected data from missile fired to the plane, civilian radars didn’t”

15:36 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Los altos mandos militares no ordenaron el lanzamiento del misil, ,,alguien se le fue la mano en nombre de ukraine

“military high command did not gave the order to fire the missile, someone screw it ine the name of ukraine”

15:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Para el que no lo sepa, digamos así, hay militares a las órdenes del ministro de defensa y militares a las órdenes del ministro del interior

“For those who do not know, Let’s say, there are military under the orders of the defense minister and military under the orders of Interior Minister”

15:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Los militares a las órdenes del ministro del interior conocían en cada momento lo que sucedió, .

“The military under the orders of Interior Minister knew what happened all the time .”

16:06 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Mandos militares aquí (ATC) torre de control, confirman que el misil es del ejercito de ukraine,

“Military commanders here (ATC) control tower, confirm that the missile is from the ukranian army,”

[we are informed that the Spanish Air controller's Twitter account has been suspended]

Who Shot Down the Malaysian Jet Over Ukraine?

July 18th, 2014 by Oriental Review

On July 17, 2014 the madness of three-month-long Ukrainian military conflict in the East has brought the first shocking international consequence.  At 3.20PM GMT the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 jet flight #MH-17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala-Lumpur disappeared inside the Ukrainian airspace right above the area of intense military combat in Donetsk region and crushed near Grabovo village, around 60 km to the east from Donetsk. All 285 passengers and 15 crew members have reportedly died.

According to data available the airliner “was moving at the altitude of 10,600 meters on the 350th flight level”. This flight level was opened for international transit flights, despite since July 8, 2014 the Ukrainian aviation authorities “did not recommend” international transit flights in the area below 302th level i.e. 9600 meters due to the “anti-terrorist operation” unleashed in the area involving Ukrainian pursuit aviation and air-defense capabilities in action. So formally the Malaysian company complied with the ruling of Ukrainian civil aviation authority although the security risk for the flight was evident.

The area of the catastrophe is indeed the epicentre of the ongoing fierce fighting between regular Ukrainian army units and rebellious armed militias of Novorossia opposing anti-constitutional February coup d’etat in Kiev. An informed source monitoring operational situation in the area has revealed earlier on Wednesday that a battery of Buk antiaircraft missile systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was deployed near Donetsk. At present, another battery of the same missile systems is being loaded in Kharkiv. The aircraft flying at the altitude of more than 10 thousand meters might be hit only with weapons like S-300 or Buk. The militias don’t have such weapons, and cannot afford them as it was acknowledged even by the Ukrainian Defense minister Valery Galetey in a statement on another issue two days before the Flight MH-17 tragedy:

“…a “powerful weapon” must have been used to down the plane flying at 6,500 meters, an altitude the shoulder-fired missiles used by the separatists can’t reach.”

Bswi_mLCYAAq_xdThe Russian military expert Igor Korotchenko argues that the catastrophe in Donetsk was most likely caused by the incompetence and non-professionalism of the Ukrainian operators of the Buk systems during its testing after the battery was deployed in the new location. He said that the Ukrainian antiaircraft unit did not have any kind of proper training for the last 23 years since the collapse of Soviet Union.

What happened today is hardly the first case of “errant shooting” of the Ukrainian military on civilian air targets. On October 4, 2001 the Russian Siberia Airline flight #1812 Tel-Aviv-Novosibirsk carrying 66 passengers and 12 crew members was erroneously hit by a Ukrainian missile over the Black Sea during military exercises, which was eventually admitted by the Ukrainian side. No one on board survived.

So regardless the MH-17 incident was caused by the criminal negligence and incompetence of the Ukrainian military or deliberate (and reckless) Kiev’s provocation to put blame on Russia, the strong international commitment to make Kiev immediately halt its punitive actions in Novorossia until all the circumstances of the tragedy are thoroughly investigated is urgently needed.

Location map of the point (marked in red) of the air strike against Flight MH-17 according to the flight tracking data.

Location map of the point (marked in red) of the air strike against Flight MH-17 according to the flight tracking data.

UPDATE #1 (4PM MSK)

The fact of unmotivated change of the transit route over Ukraine of the notorious flight #MH-17 on the day of tragedy should be carefully considered by the investigation commission:

Flight route MH-17 on July 14, 2014 (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 14, 2014 (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 15, 2014 (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 15, 2014 (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 16, 2014 (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 16, 2014 (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 17, 2014 was notably redirected from the standard line (Source: flightaware.com)

Flight route MH-17 on July 17, 2014 was notably redirected from the standard line (Source: flightaware.com)

According to the reports, the deviation of the flight MH-17 leading to the passage over the combat area was carried out on the request of the Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk Air Space Control Centre. The key question is whether it was a tragic coincidence or deliberate provocative act…

Almost immediately after the news began to spread that a Malaysian Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine, Western media and politicians blamed Russia for the event, claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be directly responsible, despite complete lack of concrete evidence about who is to blame. This event is being used by the United States and its Western allies to further isolate Russia, after they failed to achieve this objective by provoking Russia in Ukraine.

Unjustified blame on Russia

While Putin took the right approach by stating that the plane crash in eastern Ukraine must be investigated thoroughly and objectively, Western politicians used the disaster for their own political agenda of isolating Russia. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has stated that the crisis should “wake Europe up to the threat posed by Putin”.  In fact, this event is very beneficial to the United States, who have been unsuccessfully trying to persuade its European allies to slap heavy sanctions on Russia. NATO and the US have been provoking Russia to intervene in Ukraine by allowing Western-backed Ukrainian President Poroshenko to kill ethnic Russian civilians in Ukraine and even shelling Russian territory, killing a Russian national. Putin rightly did not fall for these provocations. The United States, therefore, wasted no time in using this plane crash for their own political gains, pressuring Europe to escalate sanctions against Moscow. Clinton has already called for the EU to increase sanctions on Russia, while the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called on Russia to explain the disaster as it “now seems certain it’s been brought down by a Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile”, despite complete lack of strong evidence for such a claim.

Ukrainian military could be responsible for the crash

While western media and politicians have unilaterally blamed Russia for the disaster, they have failed to mention the other side of the story that suggests that the Ukrainian military may have been responsible.

The Russian Defense Ministry has said that when a Malaysian Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine, a Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational in the region. The ministry said that the battery was deployed at a site from which it could have fired a missile at the airliner. The Defense Ministry also added that the Ukrainian military has several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed. Furthermore, hours after the crash of the Boeing 777 was reported, Kiev published what it called intercepted communications between militia officers and their Russian handler to apparently discuss the take-down of a civilian aircraft by the militia. However, as was noted in this video, the alleged intercepted conversation was created before the plane crashed, suggesting that not only is the conversation fake, but whoever created it was aware about the impending disaster.

Ultimately, right now it is very difficult to confirm who was responsible for the crash, but it is imperative to know that there is some evidence that the Ukrainian military may have been involved, thus nullifying the unjustified claims that Russia is definitely to blame.

“Arming the rebels” hypocrisy

The United States and its Western allies have claimed that Russia should take the blame for the plane crash as it allegedly supplies heavy weaponry to the rebels in Ukraine. What has not been discussed in the mainstream media is the fact that the United States supplies Israel with weapons that are currently being used to slaughter civilians in Gaza. On the same day as the Malaysian plane crash, Israeli tanks, infantry and engineering units launched a broad assault on Gaza. Eleven Palestinians have been killed since the ground invasion, adding to at least 240 Palestinians that have already been killed in Israeli air strikes since 8 July, many of them children. This number is just a small proportion of the Palestinians that have been killed over the years by Israeli weapons supplied by the United States. Yet, America has not faced any repercussions for supplying deadly military equipment to a state that slaughters civilians and illegally occupies foreign land. It is completely hypocritical of the West to criticise Russia for allegedly supplying Ukrainian rebels (who are being aggressively shelled by the Ukrainian army) with weapons, while at the same time helping Israel to kill Palestinian civilians by supplying it with deadly military armaments.

One rule for the West, another rule for the rest

It is also worth remembering that on 3 July 1998, Iran Air Flight 655, a civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai, was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, died. Despite receiving ample criticism, the United States was allowed to get away with this crime, despite concrete evidence that it was responsible for the disaster. The United States agreed to pay US$61.8 million to Iran, but never apologised or admitted responsibility. Meanwhile, while there is no evidence whatsoever that Russia was responsible for the Malaysian plane crash is likely to face heave sanctions and isolation. This is just another example of the West ganging up on countries that refuse to follow Washington’s sinister agenda.

Alexander Clackson is the founder of Global Political Insight, a political media and research organisation. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations. Alexander works as a political consultant and frequently contributes to think-tank and media outlets.

Update:

Since posting this article, we have received reports to the effect the Spanish Air controller is fake and that the twitter message were sent out of London.

Upon further investigation, the Spanish Air Controller conducted several media interviews in the last 2-3 months, see his interview with RT: http://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/view/127516-amenazar-controlador-espanol-ucrania-crisis

The Spanish Air Controller’s twitter account was closed down.

*     *

The Boeing-777 of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur “disappeared from the radars and crashed on Thursday evening near Grabovo in Ukraine’s Donetsk oblast

We bring to the attention of GR readers, the following timeline Tweets by the Spanish Air controller at Kiev Borisopol Airport.

This report has yet to be fully corroborated and should be read with caution. We have highlighted relevant sections. 

There was an unexplained change of course of the Malaysian MH17 flight which took the aircraft directly over the Eastern Ukraine warzone.

The Spanish air controller confirms a conflict between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior intimating that the order concerning the  downing of the aircraft came from the Ministry of the Interior, which is dominated by Svoboda and Right Sector. 

He also said that the MH17 flight was escorted by Ukrainian fighter jets minutes before it was downed. It is worth noting that the presence of the Ukraine fighter jets reported by the Spanish air traffic controller was confirmed by eyewitness reports in the Donetsk region:

“eyewitnesses in the Donetsk region saw Ukrainian warplanes near the passenger jet. They say they heard sounds of powerful blasts and saw a Ukraine warplane shortly before the crash. (ITAR Tass)

(M.Ch. Global Research Editor)

UPDATE:

We are informed that the twitter account of the Spanish air controller  has been closed down. Following his statements, he and is family have been threatened by the Kiev regime, including death threats.

He has been deported from Ukraine. He is a man of courage and determination committed to the truth.

See his TV interview on RT Spanish

http://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/view/127516-amenazar-controlador-espanol-ucrania-crisis

Forward this article far and wide.

Translated from Spanish by Luis Lopez
Source: Tweets by Spanish Air Controller - @spainbuca

10:21 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Autoridades de kiev, intentan hacer que pueda parecer un ataque de los pro-rusos

“Kiev Authorities, trying to make it look like an attack by pro-Russians”

10:24 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Ojo! Que puede ser un derribo B777 Malaysia Airlines en ukraine, 280 pasajeros

“warning! It can be a downing, Malaysia Airlines B777 in ukraine, 280 passengers”

10:25 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Cuidado! Kiev tiene lo que buscaba

“Warning! Kiev have what they wanted”

10:25 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Vuelven a tomar la torre de control en Kiev

“[Miitary] has taken control of ATC in Kiev”

10:27 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El avión B777 de Malaysia Airlines desapareció del radar, no hubo comunicación de ninguna anomalia, confirmado

“The Malaysia Airlines B777 plane disappeared from the radar, there was no communication of any anomaly, confirmed”

10:30 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Avión derribado, derribados, derribado no accidente

“Plane shot down, shot down, shot down, no accident”

10:31 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Kiev, tiene lo que buscaba, lo dije en los primeros tw, kiev es responsable @ActualidadRT

“Kiev have what they wanted, I said in the first tw [Tweets], Kiev is responsible @ ActualidadRT”

10:35 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Un accidente muy normal no es, no están amenazando en la misma torre del aeropuerto de kiev,

“An accident that is not quite normal, they are threatening us in the same tower of Kiev airport”

10:35 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Nos van a quitar, nuestros tlf y demás de un momento a otro

“they will take from our phones and others stuff at any moment”

10:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Antes de que me quiten el tlf o me rompan la cabeza, derribado por Kiev

“Before They remove my phone or they break my head, shot down by Kiev”

11:12 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Nosotros tenemos la confirmación. Avión derribado, la autoridad de kiev, ya tiene la información, derribado, estamos tranquilos ahora

“We have confirmation. Plane downed, Kiev authorities already have the information, downed, we are calm now”

11:13 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Que hace personal extranjero con autoridades de kiev en la torre? Recopilando toda la información

“What are doing foreigners with kiev authorities in the tower? Gathering all the information”

11:15 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Cuando sea posible sigo escribiendo

“When possible I´ll keep writing”

11:48 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El avión B 777 voló escoltado por 2 cazas de ukraine hasta minutos antes, de desaparecer de los radares,

The B777 plane flew escorted by Ukraine jet fighter until 2 minutes before disappearing from the radar,

11:54 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Sí las autoridades de kiev, quieren decir la verdad, esta recogido 2 cazas volaron muy cerca minutos antes , no lo derribo un caza

“If kiev authorities want to tell the truth, It´s gathered, 2 jet fighters flew very close minutes before, wasn’t downed by a fighter”

12:00 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Nada más desaparecer el avión B 777 de Malaysia Airlines la autoridad militar de kiev nos informo del derribo, como lo sabían?

“Malaysia Airlines B777 plane just disappeared and Kiev military authority informed us of the downing, How they knew?”

12:00 – 17 de jul. de 2014 A los 7:00 minutos se notificó el derribo, más tarde se tomó la torre nuestra con personal extranjero q siguen aquí

“7:00 minutes after [plane disappeared], the downing was notified, later our tower was taken with foreigner staff, they still here ”

12:01 – 17 de jul. de 2014 En los radares esta todo recogido, para los incrédulos, derribado por kiev, aquí lo sabemos y control aéreo militar también

“all this is gathered in radars, to the unbelieving, shot down by kiev, here we know it and military air traffic control also”

13:15 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Aquí los mandos militares manejan y admiten que militares a otras órdenes, pudieron ser, pero no, los pro-rusos

“Here the military commanders are in control and admit that the military could be following other orders , but no, the pro-Russian”

13:29 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El ministro del interior si conocía que, hacían los cazas en la zona, el ministro de defensa no, .

“Interior Minister knew what the fighters were doing in the area, the defense minister didn’t.”

13:31 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Militares confirman que fue ukraine, pero se sigue sin saber de donde vino la orden

“Military confirm It was Ukraine, but still does not know where the order came from”

13:36 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Hace dias lo dije aquí, militares de kiev querían alzarse contra el actual presidente, esto puede ser una forma, a las órdenes de timoshenko

“Days ago I said here, kiev military wanted to rise against the current president, this may be a way, ordered by timoshenko [following timishenko orders]”

13:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Los cazas volaron cerca del 777, hasta 3 minutos antes de desaparecer de los radares, solo 3 minutos

“The fighters flew close to 777, up to 3 minutes before disappearing from the radar, just 3 minutes”

13:43 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Se cierra el espacio aéreo

“Airspace closed”

13:45 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Se cierra el espacio aéreo, por miedo a más derribos

“Airspace is closed, more downings feared”

15:17 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Control militar entrega ahora mismo de forma oficial que el avión fue derribado por misil

“military control now officially [say] the plane was shot down by missile”

15:23 – 17 de jul. de 2014 El informe oficial firmado por las autoridades militares de control de kiev ya lo tiene el gobierno,,,, , derribado

“Government has the official report signed by the control military authorities in Kiev,,,, [plane] shot down”

15:26 – 17 de jul. de 2014 En el informe se indica de donde abría salido el misil, y se especifica que no proviene de las autodefensa en las zonas rebeldes

“The report indicates where the missile had come out [from], and specified is not from the selfdefence in rebel areas”

15:34 – 17 de jul. de 2014Los radares militares si recogieron los datos del misil lanzado al avión, los radares civiles no

“Military radar collected data from missile fired to the plane, civilian radars didn’t”

15:36 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Los altos mandos militares no ordenaron el lanzamiento del misil, ,,alguien se le fue la mano en nombre de ukraine

“military high command did not gave the order to fire the missile, someone screw it ine the name of ukraine”

15:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Para el que no lo sepa, digamos así, hay militares a las órdenes del ministro de defensa y militares a las órdenes del ministro del interior

“For those who do not know, Let’s say, there are military under the orders of the defense minister and military under the orders of Interior Minister”

15:38 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Los militares a las órdenes del ministro del interior conocían en cada momento lo que sucedió, .

“The military under the orders of Interior Minister knew what happened all the time .”

16:06 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Mandos militares aquí (ATC) torre de control, confirman que el misil es del ejercito de ukraine,

“Military commanders here (ATC) control tower, confirm that the missile is from the ukranian army,”

16:07 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Mandos militares que si lo sabían y otros mandos que no,

“military commanders that knew it and others didn´t ,”

16:08 – 17 de jul. de 2014 290 personas inocentes muertas, . Por una guerra inútil, donde el patriotismo se compra con dinero

“290 dead innocent people. What a useless war, where patriotism is bought with money”

16:09 – 17 de jul. de 2014 La forma de tomar la torre de control minutos después sabiendo todo los detalles, rápido nos hizo pensar que habían sido ellos

“The way the control tower was taken minutes after & knowing all the details, made us think that they [made it]”

16:10 – 17 de jul. de 2014 La cara de los militares que llegaron más tarde diciendo pero que habéis echo, no dejo dudas

“The face of the soldiers who came later saying [what you just did], no chance for doubts”

16:12 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Es tal la decadencia que los militares acompañados de extranjeros que llegaron primero nos llegaron a pedir que dijéramos su versión

“Such is the decline that military who came first accompanied by foreigners came to us asking us to tell their version”

16:13 – 17 de jul. de 2014 Nuestra respuesta, fue, estos radares no recogen el lanzamiento de misiles, los militares si, ya no quedaban dudas

“Our response was, these radars do not collect the launching of missiles, the military ones does, there were no doubts”

On July 15, a division of Buk missile systems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was deployed in the area of Donetsk. The firing range of the Buk missile system reaches 43 kilometers. The Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines was flying at the height of 10,600 kilometers. Representatives of the breakaway republics of Ukraine said that the militias had neither such weapons, nor skills for such an attack.

An aircraft flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters [33,ooo feet] can be destroyed only with S-300 or Buk type of weapon. Militias do not can and can not have such systems at their disposal.

The leadership of the People’s Republic of Donetsk did not exclude that the Boeing-777 of Malaysia Airlines could be shot down by the Ukrainian military. The fighting in the area, where the Boeing crashed, is very serious.

On board the crashed Boeing 777, there were 295 people. All of them were killed in the crash. The plane crashed in Ukraine, 60 kilometers from the Russian border.

Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, announced that it was closing the airspace above Ukraine.

On board the crashed airliner, there were no Russian citizens. The passengers on board the MA Boeing 777 were US, British and Dutch nationals. There were 80 children on board, but the information about the citizenship of the killed passengers is unconfirmed and needs to be verified.

On Thursday, July 17, Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines en route Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur, crashed in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. There were 280 passengers and 15 crew members on board. The crash left no survivors.

Malaysia Airlines has confirmed [July 17] that plane “Kuala Lumpur -Amsterdam” went off the radar in Donetsk oblast, possibly shot down

First it was MH-370. Now, it appears tragedy has struck again, this time on Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17, on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which disappeared from radar moments ago and was reportedly shot down over Ukraine. While there is nothing yet officially confirmed by the carrier, the radar tracked path of the airplane is shown below.

 

And from a second source:

 

Last reported position log was at 1:20 pm UTC:

While public attention has been distracted by the ISIS uprising in Iraq with the return of American ”troops on the ground,” the horrific devastation occurring in Ukraine continues with no real recognition by the US media of the role of self-motivated oligarch-funded militias in the use of heavy artillery, white phosphorous and cluster bombs against a civilian population.

Given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s impressive patience and test of his maturity during the weeks of US-instigated provocations by the Kiev government, its increased violent escalation of deadly military assaults on ethnic Russian civilians in east Ukraine, all aimed at luring the Russian army to “invade’ Ukraine, it was only a matter of time before the Kiev government and its allies with its reliance on US backing, created a sweet spot of escalation which even the strategically-minded Putin would find difficult to ignore.

The goal, of course, has been to entice Putin into an aggressive military response so that the US could wrap itself in the righteous flag as defenders of the peace and small children; then allege that Russia had committed assorted international, criminal and human rights violations. But early on Putin recognized the game for what it was.

While not the first cross border incident but perhaps the most flagrant violation of Russia’s sovereign border, a Ukrainian Air force plane crossed into Russian air space on Sunday along with an attack of up to six mortar shells in Doentsk (same name as the Ukraine city) in Russia’s Rostov province which killed its first civilian:

“I heard a scream, it was my younger brother, I grabbed him and ran towards the exit. Then I heard my father’s scream,” the girl said. “When my brother and I ran up to the door, glass from the windows shattered again. We stopped. When we went out to the porch, we saw my father lying there. He was without an arm. I was in shock, I thought it was a dream, I came back into the house, then went out again to see him lying there without an arm. He was screaming. My brother was screaming. We were bombed.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry in citing that Russia reserves the right to protect its citizens and territory promised that this “action will not be left without a corresponding reaction” called the shelling an “obviously aggressive act” and warned of ‘irreversible consequences’ and of a potential ‘dangerous escalation ..that puts our citizens in higher danger.”

However, for Putin to initiate even a measured retaliatory response, regardless of its merit, is to invite a direct, perhaps a ‘shock and awe’ assault from the United States on the civilian Russian population which is exactly what Obama has been hoping for.

After several weeks of persistent checkpoint attacks aimed, in part, at hindering what has now become a large-scale exodus of refugees from Ukraine, on July 12th a vehicle of Russian border guards came under fire from the Ukrainian side at Kuibyshev border crossing while the Novoshakhtinsk and Dolzhansky checkpoints, all in Rostov province in Russia, were shelled by mortars on June 20th. The Gukuvo checkpoint was under fire on June 28th and the villages of Vasetsky Khutor and Shakhta experienced shell explosions as assorted incidents of sniper fire were reported on civilian vehicles at the Izvarivo border checkpoint.

As the rebels were driven out of their base in Slyvansk, the Ukraine army predicts a ‘nasty surprise,” a plan, its security force says will crush the heavily urbanized city of Donetsk (Ukraine) rebels, a city of one million with a suburban population of two million. Cited by Forbes in 2012 as Ukraine’s best city for business, Donetsk is of major economic importance to the country. Home to a heavy industry base of steel plants, coal mines, a metallurgy, chemical and engineering industry and a skilled workforce explains why the financially struggling Kiev government is in a desperate brutal fight to control Donetsk and its economy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has suggested that “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko would like to ease tension and go on with the truce, there are other forces” including the “battalions of Igor Kolomoysky who do not obey Ukraine’s Central Command and the Commander-in-Chief.”

Lavrov’s mention of Kolomoysky, a Ukrainian oligarch with Israeli citizenship who is worth an estimated $6.3 billion according to Forbes, reveals the existence of a bank tycoon who continues to play an extraordinary role in turning the tide of war on behalf of the Kiev government. Of Jewish descent, Kolomoysky, who lives in Switzerland returned to Ukraine to accept appointment as Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk in March, 2014 in no small part to protect his investments and to benefit from bank ‘reform’ under the recently signed European Trade Association Agreement (ETAA). In Dnipropetrovsk, an area of heavy industry second only to the Donetsk province, Kolomoysky is known for his aggressive take-over of businesses using armed guards when necessary. The ETAA is essentially the same document that exiled President Yankovych refused to sign in February in opposition to acquiescing political control of Ukraine to the EU in return for complying with strict trade and austerity requirements.

Since April, Kolomoysky has reportedly spent more than $10 million to create the 2,000 battle-ready Dnipro Battalion (with 20,000 reserve troops) which is not limited to military engagement within the Dnipropetrovsk province. Considered a terrorist group by the Putin government for its role in the deadly arson attack in Odessa and the massacre of Mariupol civilians, Dnipro has also been cited as responsible for the shelling of Slovyansk, Kramatorsk and Donetsk which has driven 50,000 from their homes. Dnipro was also implicated in storming the Krasnoarmeick city hall in May to stop the balloting.

Ukraine authorities reportedly support other oligarch-funded militias like the Donbass and Azov Battalions, none of which are limited to their local regions, and a very interesting clandestine group referred to as the black men, all considered more reliable than the Ukrainian military.

Offering a $10,000 bounty for the capture of any pro-Russian separatist, former Presidential candidate and local member of Parliament Oleg Tsarev became a prime target after receiving a threatening phone call from Kolomoysky. Informed that a Jewish solider from the Dnipro Battalion had been killed in fighting and that members of the Jewish community had put a reward of one million dollars on his head, Tsarev withdrew from the Presidential race after being beaten by a mob in Kiev and after his home was burnt to the ground. Tsarev then moved his family to Moscow but has been sighted recently in Kramatorsk.

While the merging of Ukraine’s anti-semitic fascists and Israeli Zionists may appear to be a clash of contradictory interests but in reality represents a comfortably militant philosophic union on the benefits of war, Kolomoysky has said he will not be governed by Poroshenko, has challenged the Kiev government’s legitimacy, declared himself to be a ‘separatist’ and has promised to continue military operations until all the Moskal (Russians) are killed.

The shark aquarium in Kolomoysky’s office may reveal more about the man than he would like especially with the recent controversy surrounding his effort to establish the European Jewish Union in 2011 after being denied a leadership position in other European Jewish organizations. The EJU then went on to establish a European Jewish Parliament modeled on the Knesset which met for the first time in February, 2012. Created to represent the concerns of Europe’s Jewish community to the European Union, the Jewish Parliament got off to a shaky start when soccer star David Beckham, filmmaker Roman Polanski, comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen, Pee Wee Herman and fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg among other surprised nominees were announced as candidates for election to the Jewish Parliament.

While Poroshenko talks tough promising that the “militants will pay tens and even hundreds of their own lives for the life of each of our soldiers” as if he and his government are in charge, the fact is that the irrational Kolomoysky and his Battalion, in what otherwise would be considered insubordination and treason, are encouraged to behave like international outlaws, reminiscent of how Israel deals with the Palestinians. They owe no loyalty to the Kiev government and are totally unaccountable to any one including the Ukraine Army’s military authority – and given the US delusional foreign policy of attempting to box Putin in, the possibility of a demented out-of-control oligarch triggering a nuclear crisis is too horrendous to consider.

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

Following an intensive bombing and shelling operation resulting in more than 200 civilian deaths, the Netanyahu government has announced a full-scale invasion.

A new round of attacks against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip has begun. With it comes the loss of lives and the further destabilization of the Middle East. The Palestinians are not only fighting for their survival, but they are also fighting against a gigantic corporate media machine that sits on Israel’s side. Israel has the advantage of having the support of the mainstream media in many places in the world, where the news is filtered and skewed to give a distorted picture of events on the ground.

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Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.  MH17 had 295 people on board — 280 passengers and 15 crew members.  Western media has gone into overdrive mode in reporting that the plane was deliberately shot down.  Salivating over the story, self-acclaimed pundits are putting the blame on anti-coup Ukrainians and even pointing the finger at Russia even as the crash has not been investigated yet.

So-called experts, among them Richard Quest dubbed as an aviation expert, is hard at work convincing CNN viewers that it would be “extremely unusual” for an airliner at 32,000 feet to be shot down. From the ground, one could simply look up and tell whether a plane was a commercial aircraft.

“It looks like a commercial aircraft, it squawks a commercial aircraft. So something is absolutely appalling that’s gone on here,”.

A Ukrainian official, Anton Gerashchenko even knew what kind of missile had brought down the plane.  He “wrote on his Facebook page  that a Buk missile system was used to shoot down the plane, not an on-the-shoulder missile launcher, and it’s unlikely pro-Russian rebels have access to that type of sophisticated weaponry. “  He accused Putin of sponsoring terrorism.

Whatever (or whomever) was behind the crash, investigations have just started.  But as far as the court of public opinion is concerned, CNN, Fox , et al, this is a deliberate act of terrorism, pointing to “Pro-Russian Separatists.”  Well, it would have to be if a passenger plane is so readily recognizable – even from the ground, and missiles fired at it, right?

Well, that depends.

On July 3, 1988, in an unprovoked move, US carrier USS Vincennes fired two missiles at an Iranian passenger plane, Iran Air flight 655 that was on route to Dubai.

All 290 innocent civilians perished.   The passenger airliner, so recognizable even from the ground was “mistaken” for a jet fighter (jetfighter is two-thirds smaller than a passenger plane).  The United States called its own act of terrorism “a regrettable accident”.

In short, the Malaysian airliner is easily recognizable from the ground, according to reports, but the Iran Air plane was ‘mistaken’ for a much smaller jetfighter.

Listening to the media news surrounding the ML 17 incident, one cannot help but conclude that the USS Vincennes captain, Will Rogers III was too dumb and blind not to see the easily recognizable passenger plane, or else, he was/is a terrorist.

In spite of this stark reality, in 1990, President Bush Sr.  awarded Capt. Rogers the Legion of Merit decoration “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer … from April 1987 to May 1989.”

In a Truthout and TomDispatch collaboration, Truthout staff reporter Dahr Jamail has written a searing analysis covering the ongoing disaster in Iraq. Jamail has covered the story extensively for both Truthout and TomDispatch since 2005, and now provides this current perspective on how the legacy of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq continues to destroy lives.

For Americans, it was like the news from nowhere. Years had passed since reporters bothered to head for the country we invaded and blew a hole through back in 2003, the country once known as Iraq that our occupation drove into a never-ending sectarian nightmare. In 2011, the last US combat troops slipped out of the country, their heads “held high,” as President Obama proclaimed at the time, and Iraq ceased to be news for Americans.

So the headlines of recent weeks – Iraq army collapses! Iraq’s second largest city falls to insurgents! Terrorist caliphate established in Middle East! – couldn’t have seemed more shockingly out of the blue. Suddenly, reporters flooded back in, the Bush-era neocons who had planned and supported the invasion and occupation were writing op-eds as if it were yesterday, and Iraq was again the story of the moment as the post-post-mortems began to appear and commentators began asking: How in the world could this be happening?

Iraqis, of course, lacked the luxury of ignoring what had been going on in their land since 2011. For them, whether Sunnis or Shiites, the recent unraveling of the army, the spread of a series of revolts across the Sunni parts of Iraq, the advance of an extremist insurgency on the country’s capital, Baghdad, and the embattled nature of the autocratic government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were, if not predictable, at least expectable. And as the killings ratcheted up, caught in the middle were the vast majority of Iraqis, people who were neither fighters nor directly involved in the corrupt politics of their country, but found themselves, as always, caught in the vice grip of the violence again engulfing it.

An Iraqi friend I’ve known since 2003, living in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad, emailed me recently. He had made it through the sectarian bloodletting of 2006 to 2007 in which many of his Sunni compatriots were killed or driven from the capital, and this is the picture he painted of what life is now like for him, his wife and their small children:

All the dangers faced by Iraqis from the occupation – arrests, torture, car bombs, and sectarian violence – those killings have become like a toy in comparison to what we are facing these days. Fighting has spread in all directions from the north, east, and west of Baghdad. Much of the fighting is between the government and Sunni insurgents who have suffered a lot from the injustice of Maliki’s sectarian government.

As for his daily life, he described it this way:

As a result of this fighting, we can’t sleep because of our fear of the uncertainty of the situation, and because of the random arrests of innocent Sunni people. Each day I awake and find myself in a very hard and bad situation and now am trying to think of any way I can to leave here and save my family. Most of my neighbors left back when it was easier to leave. Now, we have both the US and Iran helping the Iraqi government, and this will only make the fighting that is going on across Iraq much worse.

Life in Iraq has become impossible, and even more dangerous, and there is now no way to leave here. To the north, west, and east of Baghdad there is fighting, and with so many groups of Shiite militias in the south, it is not safe for us to go there because of the sectarianism that was never here before the invasion. The price for bus tickets has become very expensive and they are all booked up for months. So many Iraqi families and I are trapped in the middle now.

Every day, the Iraqi army is raiding homes and arresting many innocent people. So many dead bodies are to be found at the Baghdad morgue in the days following the mass arrests in Sunni areas.

He concluded his email on a stark note, reminiscent of the sorts of things I regularly heard when I was in Iraq covering the brutal results of the US occupation. “Horror, fear, arbitrary arrests, indiscriminate bombing, killing, an uncertain future – this is the new democratic Iraq.”

And don’t for a second think that this summer it’s just Sunni communities who are living in fear. Claims of massacres and other atrocities being carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group spearheading the Sunni revolt across the northern and western parts of the country, abound along with well-documented accounts of their brutal tactics against Shiites.

In one incident, according to witnesses, ISIS forces kidnapped at least 40 Shia Turkmen, blew up three Shia mosques and another Shia shrine, and raided homes and farms in two Shia villages near the city of Mosul. And that’s just to start down a long list of horrors. Meanwhile, the sectarianism shredding the social fabric is being stoked further by the posting of images online that show at least 10 ancient Shiite shrines and mosques destroyed by ISIS fighters.

The Disintegration of Iraq

As for myself, I can’t claim to be surprised by the events of recent weeks. Back in March 2013, on a visit to the embattled Sunni city of Fallujah (twice besieged and largely destroyed by US troops in the occupation years), I saw many signs of the genesis of what was to come. I was at one point on a stage there alongside half a dozen tribal and religious leaders from the area. Tens of thousands of enraged men, mostly young, filled the street below us, holding up signs expressing their anger toward US-backed Prime Minister Maliki.

Having written about the myriad human rights abuses and violations Maliki’s regime was responsible for, I was intimately familiar with the way the bodies, dignity and rights of much of the Sunni population in Fallujah’s province, al-Anbar, had been abused. That same month, I had, for instance, interviewed a woman who used the alias Heba al-Shamary and had just been released from an Iraqi prison after four grim years.

“I was tortured and raped repeatedly by the Iraqi security forces,” she told me. “I want to tell the world what I and other Iraqi women in prison have had to go through these last years. It has been a hell . . . I was raped over and over again. I was kicked and beaten and insulted and spit upon.” Heba, like so many Sunnis the Maliki regime decided to detain, torture and sometimes execute, had been charged with “terrorism.”

That very month, Amnesty International released a report that highlighted what it called “a grim cycle of human rights abuses” in Iraq. When I was in Baghdad, it was common to hear Maliki referred to in many areas as “worse than Saddam [Hussein].”

In late 2012, the young among the politically disenfranchised Sunni population began to organize peaceful Arab Spring-style rallies against the government. These were met with brute force and more than a dozen demonstrators were killed by government security forces. Videos of this went viral on the web stirring the already boiling tempers of youths desperate to take the fight for their rights to Baghdad.

“We demand an end to checkpoints surrounding Fallujah. We demand they allow in the press [to cover the situation]. We demand they end their unlawful home raids and detentions. We demand an end to federalism and gangsters and secret prisons.” This was what Sheikh Khaled Hamoud Al-Jumaili, a leader of the demonstrations, told me just before I went on stage that day. As we spoke, he clutched a photograph of one of his nephews killed by Maliki’s forces while demonstrating in the nearby city of Ramadi. “Losing our history and dividing Iraqis is wrong, but that and kidnapping and conspiracies and displacing people is what Maliki is doing.”

As I wrote at the time, the sheikh went on to assure me thatmany people in Anbar Province had stopped demanding changes in the Maliki government because they had lost hope. After years of waiting, no such demands were ever met. ”Now, we demand a change in the regime instead and a change in the constitution. We will not stop these demonstrations. This one we have labeled ‘last chance Friday’ because it is the government’s last chance to listen to us.”

“What comes next,” I asked him, “if they don’t listen to you?”

“Maybe armed struggle comes next,” he replied without a pause.

Maliki’s response to the Fallujah protests would, in fact, ensure that the sheikh’s prediction became the region’s future.

The adrenaline-pumping energy on stage and in the crowd that day mixed electric anticipation and anxiety with fear. All of this energy had to go somewhere. Even then, local religious and tribal leaders were already lagging behind their supporters. Keeping a lid on the seething cauldron of Sunni feeling was always unlikely. When a tribal sheikh asked the crowd for a little more time for further “diplomacy” in Baghdad, the crowd erupted in angry shouts, rushed the stage, and began pelting the sheikhs with water bottles and rocks.

In pockets of that crowd, now a mob, the ominous black flags of ISIS were already waving vigorously alongside signs that read “Iraqis did not vote for an Iranian dictatorship.” Enraged shouts of “We will now fight!” and “No more Maliki!” swept over us as we fled the stage, lest we be hit by those projectiles that caught the rage of the young, a rage desperate for a target, and open to recruitment into a movement that would take the fight to the Maliki regime.

Enter ISIS

Funded by Arabian Gulf petrodollars from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among other places, and for a long while supported, at least implicitly, by the Obama administration, radical Islamist fighters in Syria opposing Bashar al-Assad have been expanding in strength, numbers and lethality for the last three years. This winter, they and their branches in Iraq converged, first taking Fallujah, then moving on to the spring and summer debacles across Sunni Iraq and the establishment of a “caliphate” in the territories they control in both countries.

It was hardly news that ISIS, a group even the original al-Qaeda rejected, had a strong presence in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of the situation defensively last fall in attempting to explain Washington’s increasingly controversial and confused policy on Syria, the rebels and the regime of Bashar al-Assad they were trying to fell. He described the “bad guys” as radical fighters belonging to ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, calling them the lesser part of the opposition in that country, a statement that even then was beyond inaccurate. He went on to describe those “bad guys” as having “proven themselves to be probably the best fighters . . . the most trained and aggressive on the ground.”

Of course, Kerry claimed that the United States was only supporting the “good guys,” another convenient fiction of the moment.

Fast forward to late June: in a meeting with Syrian opposition leader Ahmad al-Jarba, Kerry proposed arming and training supposedly well-vetted “moderate” Syrian rebels to help take the battle to ISIS in Syria but also in Iraq. “Obviously, in light of what has happened in Iraq,” he said, “we have even more to talk about in terms of the moderate opposition in Syria, which has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against [ISIS's] presence and to have them not just in Syria, but also in Iraq.”

The confusion of this policy remains stunning: Washington hopes to use “moderate” Syrian rebels, in practice almost impossible to separate from the extreme Islamists, “in pushing back against” those very Islamists, while striking against the Assad regime which is supporting – with airstrikes, among other things – the Maliki government which Washington has been arming and supporting in Iraq. The United States has already invested more than $25 billion in support for Maliki – at least $17 billion of which was poured into the Iraqi military. Clearly that was money not well spent as that military promptly collapsed, surrendering a string of cities and towns, including Tal Afar and Mosul, when ISIS and other Sunni insurgents came knocking.

More aid and personnel are now on the way from Washington. The Obama administration already admits to sending at least an extra 750 Marines and Special Operations troops into Iraq, along with missile-armed drones and Apache helicopters. It is now pushing hard to sell Iraq another 4,000 Hellfire missiles. The Pentagon insists its troops in Baghdad are either guarding the huge US embassy or serving in an “advisory” capacity to the Iraqis, but is also claiming that its forces need “flexibility” in order to carry out their missions. As a result, there are already plans for US pilots to fly those Apache attack helicopters there.

While Washington might be at odds with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the crisis in Ukraine, the Obama administration is undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief that Russian military aid, including fighter planes, is now flowing into Baghdad. Blurring opaque political alliances further, Iran has supplied Iraq with ground attack jets, has drones carrying out reconnaissance missions over the country, and Iranian Kurds could be joining the fight on the ground.

Considering all these twists and turns of the Iraqi situation, political analyst Maki al-Nazzal shared these thoughts with me, which are increasingly typical of Sunni opinion: “Iraq is still suffering from the US occupation’s sins and now self-operating to remove the cancer the US planted in its body. Iraqi nationalists and Sunni Islamists have had enough of being wasted through 11 years of direct and indirect occupation and so revolted to correct by guns what was corrupted by wrongful politics.”

Meanwhile, the ongoing crisis has sent the government in Baghdad into free fall just as the opportunistic Kurds of northern Iraq have called for a referendum in the next two months to address a long-fostered desire to become an independent country. Given all of this, hopes for any kind of Sunni-Shia-Kurdish “unity” government that could save the country from collapse have been repeatedly dashed. Making matters worse, with thousands of Iraqis being slaughtered every month and the country coming apart at the seams, even the Shiites in the country’s parliament seem deadlocked. “Things are moving faster than the politicians can make decisions,” a senior Shiite member of parliament told a reporter.

No wonder the Iraqi army won’t stand its ground when facing ISIS fighters, who are more than willing to die for their cause. What exactly is it to die defending? And it’s not just army troops who are refusing to put their lives on the line for Nouri al-Maliki. Powerful Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq’s volatile Anbar Province are also refusing to fight for Maliki. In a recent interview, Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman, head of the Dulaimi tribe, insisted that Maliki was more dangerous than the ISIS fighters, adding, “I believe that Maliki is responsible for ISIS coming to Iraq.”

Washington’s man in Baghdad for so long, Maliki himself now adds to the crisis by refusing to budge, no matter the pressure from his former patrons and Shiite religious leaders.

The Nightmare of Ordinary Iraqis 

The disintegration of Iraq is the result of US policies that, since 2003, have been strikingly devoid of coherence or any real comprehension when it comes to the forces at play in the country or the region. They have had about them an aura of puerility, of “good guys” versus “bad guys,” that will leave future historians stunned. Worst of all, they have generated a modern-day Middle Eastern Catch-22 in which all sides are armed, funded and supported directly or indirectly by Washington or its allies.

Meanwhile, ISIS and other Sunni insurgent groups have effectively tapped into the tens of thousands of angry young men I saw in Fallujah last year and are reportedly enjoying significant popular support (as, in some cases, the best of a series of terrible options) in many of the towns and cities where they have set up shop.

In all of this, the nightmare for ordinary Iraqis has only been accentuated. I recently received an email from a friend in Fallujah, a city now occupied by ISIS after having been brutally shelled by the Iraqi military earlier in the year. At that time, hundreds were killed and even Fallujah’s main hospital was hit. Tens of thousands of people in the city, including my friend, had to flee for their lives. He has now been a refugee for months and summed up his life this way:

Words cannot explain what we are suffering now. I do not believe what is happening to us. Imagine a life lived in permanent fear, with shortages of all-important services like electricity, water supply, fuel, and food in the very hot Iraqi summer and during the fasting month of Ramadan.

The most important part of the whole story is that all of these tragedies are happening – and let me say with sadness, are happening while we are now refugees and deprived of our houses and belongings. Fleeing Maliki’s bombardment, we travelled to Anah City [northwest of Fallujah and closer to the Syrian border] seeking safety, but now Anah has become unsafe and was attacked twice by Syrian helicopters, which killed five Fallujan civilian refugees. Everything in our life is sad and difficult. We are under the control of senseless criminals.

As Iraq’s disintegration into darkness progresses, it sickens me to think of all the Iraqis I met and became friends with, who have since been killed, disappeared or have become refugees. What is left of Iraq, this mess that is no longer a country, should be considered the legacy of decades of US policy there, dating back to the moment when Saddam Hussein was in power and enjoyed Washington’s support. With Maliki, it has simply been a different dictator, enjoying even more such support (until these last weeks), and using similarly barbaric tactics against Iraqis.

Today, Washington’s policies continue in the same mindless way as more fuel is rushed to the bonfire that is incinerating Iraq.

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

Flying over warzone Ukraine, The probable and Convenient Happens

At no juncture during the Ukrainian crisis could the downing of Malaysian Boeing 777 flight MH17 have been more convenient for NATO and its proxy regime in Kiev.

Kiev’s forces were being picked apart in eastern Ukraine with several units encircled and destroyed. In the west of the country, dissent was growing by Ukrainians unwilling to march off to fight in the east. NATO’s attempts to bait Russia into moving into Ukrainian territory and shift global opinion against Moscow had repeatedly failed.

Image: Yet another Malaysia Boeing 777 is lost under extraordinary circumstances this year.

The final card to be played by the US was another round of sanctions that almost immediately was ridiculed as ineffective and impotent. Even US corporate-financier interests condemned the latest round of sanctions claiming they were “unilateral” in nature and thus limited US enterprise from interacting with Russia while leaving European competitors free to move into the void.  An effective US policy of confronting, containing, and undermining Russia would require multilateral sanctions with almost universal support – but the impetus for such sweeping sanctions did not exist – until now.

The US FAA Declared Ukrainian Airspace Off-Limits 3 Months Ago 

Indeed, the stars have aligned for NATO. While the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared Ukrainian airspace off limits to all aircraft under its jurisdiction, it appears other airlines continued flying over what has been a warzone for months. The Atlantic in a report titled, “The FAA’s Notice Prohibiting Airline Flights Over Ukraine,” stated clearly that:

Did aviation authorities know that this was a dangerous area? 

Yes, they most certainly did. Nearly three months ago, on the “Special Rules” section of its site, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration put out an order prohibiting American pilots, airlines, charter carriers, and everyone else over whom the FAA has direct jurisdiction, from flying over parts of Ukraine.

Fighters Use Man-Portable Air Defense Systems That Can’t Reach 33,000 Feet

Image: Igla man-portable air defense missiles.

For months fighters in eastern Ukraine have been downing Ukrainian military helicopters, warplanes, and even a military transport aircraft – all using various formsof man-portable anti-air missiles - all of which are incapable of downing the Malaysian 777 which was flying at approximately 33,000 feet – well above the effective range of man-portable air defense systems.

The system cited as responsible for the downing of flight MH17, was the sophisticated Buk radar guided, tracked-vehicle mounted, anti-aircraft missile system. The New York Daily News reported in an article titled, “Malaysia Airlines plane feared shot down in Ukraine near Russian border,” that:

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, said on Facebook that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, reported Interfax, a Ukranian news agency.

Image: Buk anti-air missile system.

It is not clear if fighters in eastern Ukraine obtained any Buk systems – and if they did, it is unclear whether they had the ability to maintain and operate them.

If they did have any Buk systems, they would be few. Kiev claims that the systems were passed along by Russia – apparently denying that any of their own systems had gone missing. Unfortunately, even if Russia was arming fighters in eastern Ukraine, it would not be with Buk systems that would be traced directly back to Moscow during their first use regardless of what they fired at.

Cui Bono? 

Russia’s strongest card thus far has been its restraint and NATO’s inability to implicate it in the chaos NATO itself started by backing armed Neo-Nazis during the “Euromaidan” of late 2013-early 2014. Russia surely would not throw that card away to pass along weapon systems to fighters that were already successfully downing Ukrainian military aircraft with man-portable missiles.

Russia and the fighters operating in eastern Ukraine have nothing to gain by downing a civilian airliner, but absolutely everything to lose – thus pointing the finger in another direction – that of NATO and their proxy regime in Kiev. That the downed aircraft is yet another Malaysian Boeing 777 – the second one this year to be lost under extraordinary circumstances – has serendipitously gained maximum attention for propagandists across the West. They have the world’s full and undivided attention with which to pin the blame on Russia and anti-Kiev fighters in eastern Ukraine.

The impetus necessary to unite Europe and other Western allies behind NATO and the US for a more direct intervention in Ukraine where the West is currently floundering is now consuming headlines around the world. If the downing of MH17 was not a case of tragic misidentification, then answering the first question of any investigation, cui bono – or to whose benefit – is answered resoundingly with, “NATO.”

Reuters/Chris Helgren

A subversive website has been launched to keep track of news and other webpages Google has “censored” from the search engine’s index, following the European Court of Justice’s controversial Right to be Forgotten ruling.

The tech giant has reportedly been inundated with 70,000 requests to remove sensitive information from its search results in the aftermath of the ECJ’s decision. While this data may be accurate, it is considered “irrelevant” and possibly defamatory under the EU policy shift.

In a mark of protest against online censorship, a new site ‘Hidden From Google’ has begun archiving links censored by search engines intent on complying with ECJ demands. The site was set up by US web developer and transparency advocate, Afaq Tariq.

The New Jersey developer asserts the removal of links from a search engine’s index amounts to censorship. So in an effort to preserve transparency in Europe’s online realm, he invites visitors to log data that has been removed from Google on the site.

“This list is a way of archiving the actions of censorship on the Internet,” Tariq states on the site’s about page. “It is up to the reader to decide whether our liberties are being upheld or violated by the recent rulings by the EU.”

Following the ECJ’s ruling in May, Google allows European users to request the deletion of data referencing them if they consider it irrelevant or outdated. Implementing the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling has proven difficult for Google, however, despite the firm’s creation of a special advisory committee to assist in the process.

Ironically searches conducted in Europe for information the tech firm has censored are returning links to Tariq’s site.

 

Image from GoogleImage from Google

 

Google says that when evaluating users’ requests, it checks “whether the results include outdated information” and if the data relates to the public interest. Thus far, requests tendered to the tech company for consideration under the EU ruling relate to financial fraud, violent crime, child pornography arrests and more.

Google retains the power to reject data removal applications in cases where the public interest is deemed to trump individuals’ right to privacy. But such a position of power is arguably more appropriate for a state body than a mammoth commercial firm.

“Here state power is being exercised without the involvement of the state: Google decides how to handle redaction requests”, Johnathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard University, recently told the Financial Times.

“If a search engine declines to alter its results, the claimant might appeal to a national data protection authority. Under the court’s decision, the public’s right to know is to be balanced against a claimant’s right to privacy – but there is no easy way for the public to remonstrate against poor balancing”, he said.

While Tariq’s site creates a degree of transparency, independent and comprehensive scrutiny of how this new EU right operates in practice is warranted. Zittrain proposes Google and its peers should contribute to “an independent database of takedowns”. But such a move is far from EU-wide implementation.

All of the Chairs of the 9/11 Commission and the Congressional Investigation Into 9/11 Say It’s “Implausible” that the 9/11 Hijackers Acted Without Government Backing

Congressman Thomas Massie read the 28 classified pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry into 9/11 (the joint Senate and House investigation into 9/11) and immediately called for them to be released to the public:

By way of background, the former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, outside adviser to the CIA, and Co-Chair of the congressional investigation into 9/11 – Bob Graham – says:

I have personally talked to the other cochair of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, a man who was a very distinguished congressman and, later, director of the CIA [Porter Goss], I have talked to the two chairs of the … 9/11 Commission, asking them, what do you think were the prospects of these 19 people being able to plan, practice, and execute the complicated plot that was 9/11 without any external support?

All three of them used almost the same word: “Implausible”. That it is implausible that that could have been the case.

Yet that has now become the conventional wisdom to the aggressive exclusion of other alternatives.

Indeed, it is pretty clear that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror … although people argue about which state or states were responsible (we personally believe that at least two allied governments were involved).

Indeed, Graham – along with 9/11 Commissioner and former Senator Bob Kerrey – said in sworn declarations that the Saudi government is linked to the 9/11 attacks. They’re calling for either a “permanent 9/11 commission” or a new 9/11 investigation to get to the bottom of it.

An FBI report implicates the Saudi government.

And many other top U.S. counter-terrorism officials say that the government’s explanation of the 9/11 hijackers being “lone wolves” connected only to Al Qaeda is ridiculous. See this and this.

If this sounds implausible, remember that Saudi Prince Bandar – the recently-fired head of Saudi intelligence – helped to arm the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, and is now arming Al Qaeda in Syria. (Background). Respected financial writer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that Prince Bandar admitted that Saudi Arabia carries out false flag terror.

Indeed, the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 found that the Saudi government supported the 9/11 attacks, but the Bush administration classified the 28 pages of the report which discussed the Saudis.

Bipartisan Bill to Publicly Release Report on Saudi Involvement In 9/11

A bipartisan bill – introduced by congressmen Walter B. Jones (Republican from North Carolina) and Stephen Lynch (Democrat from Massachusetts) would declassify the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry which implicate the Saudi government.

Sadly, both the Bush and Obama administrations have gone to great lengths to keep Saudi involvement under wraps for more than 10 years.

Remember, the U.S. government allowed members of Bin Laden’s family – and other suspicious Saudis – to hop on airplanes and leave the country right after 9/11 without even interviewing them, even though air traffic was grounded for everyone else.

Additionally, a Saudi FBI informant hosted and rented a room to Mihdhar and another 9/11 hijacker in 2000.

Investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House.

As the New York Times notes:

Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence ….The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.

In his book “Intelligence Matters,” Mr. Graham, the co-chairman of the Congressional inquiry with Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, said an F.B.I. official wrote them in November 2002 and said “the administration would not sanction a staff interview with the source.” On Tuesday, Mr. Graham called the letter “a smoking gun” and said, “The reason for this cover-up goes right to the White House.”

The government obstructed the 9/11 Commission in every way possible. During both the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and the 9/11 Commission investigation, government “minders” intimidated witnesses and obstructed the investigation.

Obama has been no better.  Obama’s Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the lawsuit brought by the families of victims killed in the 9/11 attacks against Saudi Arabia should be thrown out of court (it was; but the Supreme Court reversed that decision).

Graham said that he’s lobbied Obama for years to release the 28 pages and to reopen the investigation, but Obama has refused. The former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and 9/11 investigator has even resorted to filing Freedom of Information requests to obtain information, but the Obama administration is still stonewalling:

Graham said that like the 28 pages in the 9/11 inquiry, the Sarasota case is being “covered up” by U.S. intelligence. Graham has been fighting to get the FBI to release the details of this investigation with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and litigation. But so far the bureau has stalled and stonewalled, he said.

And a former U.S. congressman for 6 years, who is now a talking head on MSNBC (Joe Scarborough) says that – even if the Saudi government backed the 9/11 attacks – Saudi oil is too important to do anything about it:

 

Still Urgent Today

Ancient history, you say?

Graham notes:

Although it’s been more than a decade ago when this horrific event occurred, I think [the questions of who supported the attacks] have real consequences to U.S. actions today.

For example, the U.S. might not want to support – let alone launch joint military adventure alongside – a regime which supported the 9/11 hijackers.

As Graham told told PBS:

[Question]: Senator Graham, are there elements in this report, which are classified that Americans should know about but can’t?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: Yes … I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign governments involved in facilitating the activities of at least some of the terrorists in the United States.

I am stunned that we have not done a better job of pursuing that to determine if other terrorists received similar support and, even more important, if the infrastructure of a foreign government assisting terrorists still exists for the current generation of terrorists who are here planning the next plots.

To me that is an extremely significant issue and most of that information is classified, I think overly-classified. I believe the American people should know the extent of the challenge that we face in terms of foreign government involvement. That would motivate the government to take action.

[Question]: Are you suggesting that you are convinced that there was a state sponsor behind 9/11?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted not just in financing — although that was part of it — by a sovereign foreign government and that we have been derelict in our duty to track that down, make the further case, or find the evidence that would indicate that that is not true and we can look for other reasons why the terrorists were able to function so effectively in the United States.

[Question]: Do you think that will ever become public, which countries you’re talking about?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM: It will become public at some point when it’s turned over to the archives, but that’s 20 or 30 years from now. And, we need to have this information now because it’s relevant to the threat that the people of the United States are facing today.

Postscript: Ironically, the U.S. government has in the past alleged state sponsorship of 9/11 when it suited its purposes. Specifically, people may not remember now, but – at the time – the supposed Iraqi state sponsorship of 9/11 was at least as important a justification for the Iraq war as the alleged weapons of mass destruction. This claim that Iraq is linked to 9/11 has since been debunked by the 9/11 Commission, top government officials, and even – long after they alleged such a link – Bush and Cheney themselves. But 70% of the American public believed it at the time, and 85% of U.S. troops believed the U.S. mission in Iraq was “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks.”

See this for a contrary view.

A Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing-777 with over 280 passengers on board has crashed in Ukraine, close to the border with Russia. Both Kiev and the opposition deny involvement in the incident.

LIVE UPDATES:Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane crash in Ukraine

The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Geraschenko said the plane carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members fell.

Malaysian Airlines has confirmed that it has lost contact with the plane when it was flying over Ukrainian soil.

Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.

The passenger plane was expected to enter Russian airspace at 5:20pm local time, but never did, a Russian aviation industry source was cited by Reuters.

“The plane crashed 60km away from the border, the plane had an emergency beacon,” ITAR-TASS cited its source.

A man works at putting out a fire at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.(Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev )

A man works at putting out a fire at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.(Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev )

Residents have reported finding debris from a plane, which they say could belong to the Malaysian Boeing. They said that several dozen dead passengers have been found, RIA Novosti reports.

Groups that are fighting Kiev’s forces in eastern Ukraine have rejected any involvement in the incident, as there are reports that the plane was shot down.

The Donetsk People’s Republic claims its self-defense forces simply don’t have such military equipment.

Donetsk People’s Republic PM Aleksandr Boroday has called the incident a “provocation by the Ukrainian military”.

“We confirm that the plane crashed not far from Donetsk,” Boroday said. “Representatives of Donetsk People’s Republic have headed to the scene of the plane search.”

“Self-defense forces have no air-defense, which could target transport aircraft at that height,” he told Interfax.

“We have only MANPADs (portable anti-aircraft missile complex) which hit targets at 3-4 kilometers,” Sergey Kavtaradze, representative for Donetsk People’s Republic PM, also told journalists.

Russia’s military also says none of its military planes have been flying close to the Russia-Ukraine border on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported citing a military official.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has not ruled out that a Malaysian plane has been shot down.

“We don’t rule out that this plane was shot down and stress that Ukrainian forces did not fulfill any actions targeting in the air,” Poroshenko said. He added that an investigation commission will be launched.

At the same time, Anton Geraschenko said on his Facebook page that the plane was targeted from the air defense missile complex “Buk”.

RIA Novosti is citing its source who said that Kiev indeed deployed “Buk” in the Donetsk region.

“According to the system of objective control, “Buk” division of the armed forces of Ukraine was relocated to Donetsk region on Wednesday. Now in Kharkov another division is being prepared,” the source said.

The sources stressed that aircraft flying at an altitude of over 10 kilometers can only be targeted by C-300 class weapons or ‘Buk”.

A source in Russia’s federal air traffic agency Rosaviatsia has said that three days ago Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council closed the airspace over eastern Ukraine because of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” that Kiev conducts in the region.

Earlier a representative of Donetsk People’s Republic said that civil aviation planes could not fly over Donetsk and Lugansk regions. He added that all necessary traffic control and navigation equipment was damaged.

“Dispatching support of all passenger flights is being conducted from Kiev. How this plane could be there – is not clear,” a representative of Donetsk People’s Republic said.

The Boeing-777, whose maiden commercial flight was almost exactly two decades ago, had previously suffered ten serious incidents, according to the Aviation Safety Database.

The most notorious of these involved another route performed by the same company, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, during which the US-made aircraft disappeared off the radars between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, in March this year. Despite an international search effort costing tens of millions of dollars, the plane, the reasons for whose disappearance have still not been definitively established, has not yet been recovered.

Another widely-covered incident occurred last year, when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 pilot crashed into the seawall just short of the landing strip at San Fransisco International Airport, prompting the fuselage to drag across the runway as it disintegrated in a fire. Three people died as a result of the incident – the first fatalities in the history of the model, which is regarded as very safe in the industry.

Currently, about 1200 modifications of Boeing-777 are operated worldwide.

“A Boeing-777 is an extremely reliable piece of machinery. Modern planes don’t just crash with no reason,” pilot and aviation expert Yury Karash told RT. “Let us recall how a Ukrainian missile downed a Russian TU-154 aircraft ten years ago. I can’t completely exclude the possibility the Boeing-777 was also hit by a missile.”

“I don’t know who could’ve shot it down. But I can allege that it most likely was the Ukrainian armed forces: simply because its military – anti-aircraft defense, in particular – are, unfortunately, unqualified. As judging by the overall state of the Ukrainian armed forces, insufficient attention has been paid to their training,” he added.

The following article first published ten years in June 2004 pertains to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the legendary leader and founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

The name of this mysterious jihadist organization was later renamed the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and in 2013 it became the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), largely involved  in terrorist attacks inside Syria, 

In June 2014, the ISIL became The Islamic State (IS). The present leader and cleric of the Islamic State’s Caliphate is another mysterious figure called Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, formerly also known as Dr. Ibrahim and Abu Du’a

Both Al-Zarqawi and Al-Bagdhadi are fabricated bogeymen.

While Al Qaeda leaders are routinely presented to World public opinion as “terrorist masterminds” threatening the “Free World”,  what the media invariably fails to mention is that they were recruited and trained by the CIA, Mossad, Britain’s MI6 and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) acting in liaison with its Western counterparts.

Al Zarqawi had been recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan war.  This was confirmed by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his historic presentation to the UN Security Council on 5 February 2003. 

Our concern is not just about these illicit weapons [WMDs]; it’s the way that these illicit weapons can be connected to terrorists and terrorist organizations…

But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants.

Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan War more than a decade ago [recruited by the CIA]. Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp. One of his specialties and one of the specialties of this camp is poisons.

When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in Northeastern Iraq. You see a picture of this camp. Graphic, above. [there were no WMDS at this camp according to ABC report, see below] Colin Powell, UN Security Council, February 5, 20o3)

And now a new legendary terrorist leader of the Islamic State has emerged: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who allegedly ordered the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Israeli teenagers (which served as a pretext to bomb Gaza) was trained by Mossad:   “[He] took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.” (Gulf News, July 15, 2014)

The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.

NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.

According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders”. (Gulf News, July 15, 2015)

Let us be under no illusions, the Islamic State is a CIA-Mossad creation. It is an intelligence asset. 

The incursion of IS brigades into Iraq in June was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel. In Syria, the ISIL is said to be part of “opposition” fighting government forces. The Israeli military is directly supporting the ISIL out of bases in the occupied Golan Heights.

It is worth noting that the same strategy of using jihadist death squads to destabilize and foment violence in Iraq (including the numerous suicide attacks) was implemented by Washington from the outset of the US led occupation. 

 George W. Bush (June 2004 press Conference) candidly admits that the purpose of Al-Zarqawi’s “operational plan” was to sow “cold blooded killing”:

You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi, an al Qaeda associate — who was in Baghdad, by the way, prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein — is still at large in Iraq. And as you might remember, part of his operational plan was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold- blooded killing. And we need to help find Zarqawi so that the people of Iraq can have a more bright — bright future. (George W. Bush, Press Conference, 1 June 2004, emphasis added)

originalWhat GWB does not mention is that Al Zarqawi is not “this guy”, he is “our guy”.

Paraphrasing president Bush, “[our] guy Zarqawi, [a CIA sponsored intelligence asset]… his operational plan, [acting on our behalf], was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold- blooded killing.”

In 2004, the aggressor nations, namely the US and Britain “came to the rescue of the people of Iraq” “so that they can have a brighter future” under a counter-terrorism mandate at “the request” of the Iraqi interim government, in an agreement sanctioned by the UN. What is rarely mentioned by the media is that the US led military alliance has been supporting the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists.

Washington’s unspoken objective remains “to sow violence and discord by cold blooded killing”.

And in late June 2014, the same scenario has emerged: the Islamic State (IS) has “invaded Iraq” and America –which is covertly supporting the Islamic State– is called to rescue.

The Islamic State rebels are America’s foot soldiers, generously funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia:

The “War on Terrorism” consists in creating Al Qaeda terrorist entities as part of an intelligence operation, as well as also coming to the rescue of governments which are the target of  the terrorist insurgency. This process is carried out under the banner of counter-terrorism. It creates the pretext to intervene.

ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which is broadly committed to secular forms of government. The caliphate project is part of a US intelligence agenda.

In response to the advance of the ISIS rebels, Washington is envisaging the use of aerial bombings as well as drone attacks in support of the Baghdad government as part of a counter-terrorism operation.  It is all for a good cause: to fight the terrorists, without of course acknowledging that these terrorists are the “foot soldiers” of the Western military alliance. Michel Chossudovsky, The Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq, Global Research, July 01, 2014

Al Qaeda is “Made in America” … lest we forget with the support of Israel. And this includes the entire network of Al Qaeda affiliates in a large number of countries. 

Surely the revelations concerning the links of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi to the Mossad, not to mention the overt support of ISIL by the Israeli military and the Netanyahu government should serve to refute once and for all the absurd proposition that Al Qaeda (including its affiliates)  is an “independent entity” which threatens America and the Western World.

A revised version of the June 2004 article below was incorporated as a chapter in my book, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, 2005.

Michel Chossudovsky, July 17, 2014


Who is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, June 11,  2004

The US intelligence apparatus has created it own terrorist organizations. And at the same time, it creates its own terrorist warnings concerning the terrorist organizations which it has itself created. In turn, it has developed a cohesive multibillion dollar counterterrorism program “to go after” these terrorist organizations.

Counterterrorism and war propaganda  are intertwined. The propaganda apparatus feeds disinformation into the news chain. The terror warnings must appear to be “genuine”. The objective is to present the terror groups as “enemies of America.”

The underlying objective is to galvanize public opinion in support of America’s war agenda.

The “war on terrorism” requires a humanitarian mandate. The war on terrorism is presented as a “Just War”, which is to be fought on moral grounds “to redress a wrong suffered.”

The Just War theory defines “good” and “evil.” It concretely portrays and personifies the terrorist leaders as “evil individuals”.

Several prominent American intellectuals and antiwar activists, who stand firmly opposed to the Bush administration, are nonetheless supporters of the Just War theory: “We are against war in all its forms but we support the campaign against international terrorism.”

To reach its foreign policy objectives, the images of terrorism must remain vivid in the minds of the citizens, who are constantly reminded of the terrorist threat.

The propaganda campaign presents the portraits of the leaders behind the terror network. In other words, at the level of what constitutes an  “advertising”  campaign, “it gives a face to terror.” The “war on terrorism” rests on the creation of one or more evil bogeymen, the terror leaders, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, et al, whose names and photos are presented ad nauseam in daily news reports.

Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi is presented to World public opinion, as the upcoming terrorist mastermind, overshadowing “Enemy Number One”,  Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. State Department has increased the reward for his arrest from $10 million to $25 million, which puts his “market value” at par with that of Osama. Ironically, Al Zarqawi is not on the FBI most wanted fugitives list. (http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/topten/fugitives/fugitives.htm )

Al Zarqawi’s Links to Al Qaeda

Al Zarqawi is often described as an “Osama associate”, the bogyman, allegedly responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in several countries.  In other reports, often emanating from the same sources, it is stated that he has no links to Al Qaeda and operates quite independently. He is often presented as an individual who is challenging the leadership of bin Laden.

His name crops up on numerous occasions in press reports and official statements. Since early 2004, he is in the news almost on a daily basis.

Osama belongs to the powerful bin Laden family, which historically had business ties to the Bushes and prominent members of the Texas oil establishment. Bin Laden was recruited by the CIA during the Soviet-Afghan war and fought as a Mujahideen. In other words, there is a longstanding documented history of bin Laden-CIA and bin Laden-Bush family links, which are an obvious source of embarrassment to the US government.

In contrast to bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi has no family history. He comes from an impoverished Palestinian family in Jordan. His parents are dead. He emerges out of the blue.

He is described by CNN as “a lone wolf” who is said to act quite independently of the Al Qaeda network. Yet surprisingly, this lone wolf is present in several countries, in Iraq, which is now his base, but also in Western Europe. He is also suspected of preparing  a terrorist attack on American soil.

He seems to be in several places at the same time. He is described as “the chief U.S. enemy”, “a master of disguise and bogus identification papers”. We are led to believe that this “lone wolf”  manages to outwit the most astute US intelligence operatives.

According to The Weekly Standard –which is known to have a close relationship to the Neocons in the Bush administration:

“Abu Musab al Zarqawi is hot right now. He masterminded not only Berg’s murder but also the Madrid carnage on March 11, the bombardment of Shia worshippers in Iraq the same month, and the April 24 suicide attack on the port of Basra. But he is far from a newcomer to slaughter. Well before 9/11, he had already concocted a plot to kill Israeli and American tourists in Jordan. His label is on terrorist groups and attacks on four continents.”  (Weekly Standard, 24 May 2004)

Al-Zarqawi’s profile “is mounting a challenge to bin Laden’s leadership of the global jihad.”

In Iraq, he is said to be determined to “ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites”. But is that not precisely what US intelligence is aiming at ( “divide and rule”) as confirmed by several analysts of the US led war? Pitting one group against the other with a view to weakening the resistance movement. (See Michel Collon,  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/COL312A.html , See also http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/RAD308A.html )

The CIA, with its $30 billion plus budget, pleads ignorance: they say they know nothing about him, they have a photograph, but, according to the Weekly Standard (24 May 2004), they apparently do not know his weight or height.

There is an aura of mystery surrounding this individual which is part of the propaganda ploy. Zarqawi is described as “so secretive even some operatives who work with him do not know his identity.”

Consistent Pattern

What is the role of this new mastermind in the Pentagon’s disinformation campaign, in which CNN seems to be playing a central role?

In previous propaganda ploys, the CIA hired PR firms to organize core disinformation campaigns, including the Rendon Group. The latter worked closely with its British partner Hill and Knowlton, which was responsible for the 1990 Kuwaiti incubator media scam, where Kuwaiti babies were allegedly removed from incubators in a totally fabricated news story, which was then used to get Congressional approval for the 1991 Gulf War.

What is the pattern?

Almost immediately in the wake of a terrorist event or warning, CNN announces (in substance): we think this mysterious individual Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi is behind it, invariably without supporting evidence and prior to the conduct of an investigation by the relevant police and intelligence authorities.

In some cases, upon the immediate occurrence of the terrorist event, there is an initial report which mentions Al-Zarqawi as the possible mastermind. The report will often say (in substance):  yes we think he did it, but it is not yet confirmed and there is some doubt on the identity of those behind the attack. One or two days later, CNN may come up with a definitive statement, quoting official police, military and/or intelligence sources.

Often the CNN report is based on information published on an Islamic website or a mysterious Video or Audio tape. The authenticity of the website and/or the tapes is not the object of discussion or detailed investigation.

Bear in mind that the news reports never mention that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA and that Al Zarqawi had been recruited to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war (This is in fact confirmed by Sec. Colin Powell in his presentation to the UN Security Council on 5 February 2003) (see details below). Both Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi are creations of the US intelligence apparatus. The recruitment of foreign fighters was under the auspices of the CIA.

The press usually present the terrorist warnings emanating from the CIA as genuine, without acknowledging the fact that US intelligence, has provided covert support to the Islamic militant network consistently for more than 20 years.

Amply documented, the training camps in Afghanistan established during the Reagan Administration had been set up with the support of the CIA. In fact, several members of the current Bush administration including Richard Armitage and Colin Powell were directly involved in channeling support to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, where bin Laden and Al Zarqawi received specialized training. (See Michel Chossudovsky,  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO109C.html and http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303D.html )

History of Al Zarqawi

The first time Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s name is mentioned was in relation to the thwarted attack on the Radisson SAS Hotel in Amman, Jordan,  during the millennium celebrations (December 1999). According to press reports, he had previously gone under another name: Ahmed Fadil Al-Khalayleh, (apparently among other aliases).

According to the New York Times, Al Zarqawi fled Afghanistan to Iran in late 2001, following the entry of US troops. Official US reports suggest that he was protected at the highest levels of the Tehran government.

“United States intelligence officials say they are increasingly concerned by the mounting evidence of Tehran’s renewed interest in terrorism [and support to Al Zarqawi], including covert surveillance by Iranian agents of possible American targets abroad. American officials said Iran appeared to view terrorism as deterrent against possible attack by the United States.

Since the surprise election of reformer Mohammad Khatami as president of Iran in 1997 and his wide public support, Washington has been counting on a new moderate political majority to emerge. But the hard-line faction has maintained its grip on Iran’s security apparatus, frustrating American efforts to ease tensions with Tehran.

Now, Iranian actions to destabilize the new interim government in Afghanistan, its willingness to assist Al Qaeda members and its fueling of the Palestinian uprising are prompting a reassessment in Washington, officials say.” (NYT, 24 March 2002)

In 2002, his presence in Tehran, allegedly “collaborating with hardliners” in the Iranian military and intelligence apparatus, is part of an evolving disinformation campaign which consists in presenting Iran as a sponsor of the “Islamic terror network”:

In February 2002, he was allegedly involved in planning terror attacks inside Israel.

Colin Powell’s Address to the UN Security Council

In the months leading up to the war on Iraq, Al Zarqawi’s name reemerges, this time almost on daily basis, with reports focusing on his sinister relationship to Saddam Hussein.

A major turning point in the propaganda campaign occurs on February 5, 2003. Al-Zarqawi was in the spot light following Colin Powell’s flopped WMD report to the UN Security Council. Powell’s speech presented “documentation” on the ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, while focusing on the central role of Al-Zarqawi: (emphasis added):

Our concern is not just about these illicit weapons; it’s the way that these illicit weapons can be connected to terrorists and terrorist organizations…

But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network, headed by Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda lieutenants.

Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, fought in the Afghan War more than a decade ago. Returning to Afghanistan in 2000, he oversaw a terrorist training camp. One of his specialties and one of the specialties of this camp is poisons.

When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in Northeastern Iraq. You see a picture of this camp. Graphic, above. [there were no WMDS at this camp according to ABC report, see below]

The network is teaching its operative how to produce ricin and other poisons. Let me remind you how ricin works. Less than a pinch — imagine a pinch of salt — less than a pinch of ricin, eating just this amount in your food would cause shock, followed by circulatory failure. Death comes within 72 hours and there is no antidote. There is no cure. It is fatal.

Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein’s controlled Iraq, but Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization Ansar al-Islam, that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000, this agent offered Al Qaeda safe haven in the region. After we swept Al Qaeda from Afghanistan, some of its members accepted this safe haven. They remain there today.

….

We know these affiliates are connected to Zarqawi because they remain, even today, in regular contact with his direct subordinates, including the poison cell plotters. And they are involved in moving more than money and materiel. Last year, two suspected Al Qaeda operatives were arrested crossing from Iraq into Saudi Arabia. They were linked to associates of the Baghdad cell, and one of them received training in Afghanistan on how to use cyanide.

From his terrorist network in Iraq, Zarqawi can direct his network in the Middle East and beyond. [Note he is present in several countries at the same time]

….

According to detainees, Abu Atiya, who graduated from Zarqawi’s terrorist camp in Afghanistan, tasked at least nine North African extremists in 2001 to travel to Europe to conduct poison and explosive attacks. Since last year, members of this network have been apprehended in France, Britain, Spain and Italy. By our last count, 116 operatives connected to this global web have been arrested. The chart you are seeing shows the network in Europe.

We know about this European network, and we know about its links to Zarqawi, because the detainee who provided the information about the targets also provided the names of members of the network.

We also know that Zarqawi’s colleagues have been active in the Pankisi Gorge, Georgia, and in Chechnya, Russia. The plotting to which they are linked is not mere chatter. Members of Zarqawi’s network say their goal was to kill Russians with toxins.

We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his subordinates. This understanding builds on decades-long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.

….

As I said at the outset, none of this should come as a surprise to any of us. Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades. Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a name, and this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new; the nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal.

With this track record, Iraqi denials of supporting terrorism take their place alongside the other Iraqi denials of weapons of mass destruction. It is all a web of lies. When we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction, and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future.”

(US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN Security Council, Excerpts, 5 February 2003)

The statement of Secretary Powell regarding Al-Zarqawi consisted in linking the secular Baathist regime to the “Islamic terror network,” with a view to justifying the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The Alleged Al-Zarqawi Sponsored Chemical and Biological Attacks

Powell’s UN statement with regard to Al Zarqawi rested on the existence of a chemical-biological weapons plant in Northern Iraq producing ricin, sarin and other biological weapons, allegedly to be used in terror attacks on the US and Western Europe.

With reference to the North Iraqi facility where the ricin was allegedly produced, The London Observer’s correspondent in Northern Iraq (9 February 2003) blatantly refutes Colin Powell’s statement:

” There is no sign of chemical weapons anywhere – only the smell of paraffin and vegetable butter used for cooking. In the kitchen, I discovered some chopped up tomatoes but not much else. The cook had left his Kalashnikov propped neatly against the wall. Ansar al-Islam – the Islamic group that uses the compound identified as a military HQ by Powell – yesterday invited me and several other foreign journalists into their territory for the first time. ‘We are just a group of Muslims trying to do our duty,’ Mohammad Hasan, spokes-man for Ansar al-Islam, explained. ‘We don’t have any drugs for our fighters. We don’t even have any aspirin. How can we produce any chemicals or weapons of mass destruction?’”

Barely a few weeks later, at the height of the military campaign, US Special Forces, together with their “embedded” journalists, entered the alleged chemical biological weapons facility in Northern Iraq:

“What they found was a camp devastated by cruise missile strikes during the first days of the war. A specialized biochemical team scoured the rubble for samples. They wore protective masks as they entered a building they suspected was a weapons lab. Inside they found mortar shells, medical supplies, and grim prison cells, but no immediate proof of chemical or biological agents. For this unit, such evidence would have been a so-called smoking gun, proof that it has banned weapons. But instead, this was a disappointing day for these troops on the front line of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction here. Jim Sciutto, ABC News, with US Special Forces in Northern Iraq ” (ABC News, 29 March 2003)

The Ricin Threat

On February 8th 2003, three days after Colin Powell’s UN speech, the ricin threat remerges this time in the US. Al Zaqwari was said to be responsible for “the suspicious white powder found in a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist which contained the [same] deadly poison ricin.”

In a CIA report which was apparently “leaked” to Newsweek, a group of CIA analysts predicted that there was

“a 59 percent probability that an attack on the U.S. homeland involving WMD would occur before 31 March 2003″… It all seems so precise and frightening: a better than 90 percent chance that Saddam will succeed in hitting America with a weapon spewing radiation, germs or poison. But it is important to remember that the odds are determined by averaging a bunch of guesses, informed perhaps, but from experts whose careers can only be ruined by underestimating the threat.” (Newsweek, 24 February 2003, http://newsmine.org/archive/propoganda/terror-threats/2003/terror-alert-assumptions-hints.txt)

The picture of Al Zarqawi, the mastermind is featured prominently in the Newsweek feature article.

In the National Review (February 18, 2003), Al Zarqawi was described as Al Qaeda’s “chief biochemical engineer”:

“It is widely known [from where, what evidence] that Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s chief biochemical engineer, was at the safe house in Afghanistan where traces of Ricin and other poisons were originally found. What is not widely known-but was briefly alluded to in Sec. Powell’s U.N. address-is that starting in the mid-1990s, Iraq’s embassy in Islamabad routinely played host to Saddam’s biochemical scientists, some of whom interacted with al Qaeda operatives, including Zarqawi and his lab technicians, under the diplomatic cover of the Taliban embassy nearby to teach them the art of mixing poisons from home grown and readily available raw materials.”

Radioactive Dirty Bombs

There were rumors of attacks within the US also using ricin, sarin and other poisonous gases. In the immediate aftermath of Powell’s speech, there was an orange code alert. Official statements also pointed to the dangers of a dirty radioactive bomb attack in the US.

Again Al Zarqawi was identified as the number one suspect.

The various ricin and dirty bomb terror alerts proved to be fabricated. A fabricated story emanating from the CIA on so-called ‘radioactive dirty bombs’ had been planted in the news chain (ABC News, 13 Feb 2003). A few days following his address to the UN, Sec. Powell warned that:

“it would be easy for terrorists to cook up radioactive ‘dirty’ bombs to explode inside the U.S. … ‘How likely it is, I can’t say… But I think it is wise for us to at least let the American people know of this possibility.’”(ABC This Week quoted in Daily News (New York), 10 Feb. 2003).

Meanwhile, network TV had warned that “American hotels, shopping malls or apartment buildings could be al Qaeda’s targets as soon as next week…”. Following the announcement, tens of thousands of Americans rushed to purchase duct tape, plastic sheets and gas-masks.

It later transpired that the terrorist alert was fabricated by the CIA, in all likelihood in consultation with the State Department (ABC News, 13 Feb. 2003). The FBI, for the first time had pointed its finger at the CIA. While tacitly acknowledging that the alert was a fake, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge decided to maintain the ‘Orange Code’ alert:

“Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted.” ( ABC News, 13 Feb. 2003 ).

A few days later, in another failed propaganda initiative, a mysterious Osama bin Laden audio tape was presented by Sec. Colin Powell to the US Congress as ‘evidence’ that the Islamic terrorists “are making common cause with a brutal dictator”. (US official quoted in The Toronto Star, 12 Feb. 2003). Curiously, the audio tape was in Colin Powell’s possession prior to its broadcast by the Al Jazeera TV Network. (Ibid.)

Meanwhile, Al Zarqawi had been identified as the mastermind behind the (thwarted) ricin attacks in several European countries including Britain and Spain.

In London, in January 2003, there was a ricin terror alert, which had apparently also been ordered by Al Zarqawi. The ricin had allegedly been discovered in a London apartment. It was to be used in a terror attack in the London subway.

British press reports, quoting official statements claimed that the terrorists had learnt to produce the ricin at the camp in Northern Iraq. Yet when US Special Forces in March 2003 raided the camp in Northern Iraq, nothing resembling biological or chemical weapons was found (see ABC report quoted above).

It is worth mentioning, in this regard, that news stories on the chemical weapons plant in Northern Iraq, have continued to be churned out, despite the fact that US Forces said that it did not exist. In a recent story in the Washington Times:

Zarqawi stands as stark evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein’s autocratic regime and bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network. Zarqawi, 38, operated a terrorist camp in northern Iraq that specialized in developing poisons and chemical weapons.(Washington Times, 8 June 2004)

The Spanish Connection

Meanwhile in Spain, Bush’s coalition partner, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar had initiated his own disinformation campaign, no doubt in liaison with US officials.

Perfect timing! While Colin Powell was presenting the Al-Zarqawi dossier to the UN, on the very same day, February 5, 2003, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was busy briefing the Spanish parliament on an alleged chemical terror attack in Spain.

According to Aznar, Al Zarqawi was apparently linked to a number of European  Islamic “collaborators” including Merouane Ben Ahmed, “an expert in chemistry and explosives who visited Barcelona” (reported in El Pais, February 6 2003).

Prime Minister Aznar’s speech to the Chamber of Deputies (Camera de diputados) intimated that the 16 alleged Al Qaeda suspects, who apparently were in possession of explosives and lethal chemicals, had been working hand in glove with Al Zarqawi.

The information had been fabricated. The Spanish Ministry of Defense report confirmed that the “lethal chemicals” turned out to be “harmless and some were household detergent… ” (quoted in Irish News, 27 February 2003, emphasis added):

A defence ministry lab outside Madrid tested the substances – a bag containing more than half a pound of powder and several bottles or containers with liquids or residues- for the easy-to-make biological poison ricin…The Spanish defence ministry, which carried out the tests, and the lab itself declined to comment ” (Ibid)

The Link to Ansar al-Islam

Following Powell’s February 2003 presentation to the UNSC, Al-Zarqawi immediately gained in public notoriety.

Since early 2004, his name appears almost daily in CNN reports. All in all,  his name is linked to some 25 “terrorist attacks” in Iraq, not to mention numerous terrorist warnings, threats or alerts. Already before the war in Iraq, he was presented in media reports as an ally of Saddam Hussein.

The press reports, which quoted Colin Powell’s UNSC 5 Feb 2003 speech, confirmed that Al Zarqawi was back in Iraq, working hand in glove with Ansar Al-Islam, which was held responsible for the attack on the UN in Baghdad. In August 2003, Zarqawi was identified, without supporting evidence, as having played a role in the attack on the UN, which led to the death of the UN head of mission and 24 other people.

Bear in mind Ansar was also said to be behind the alleged ricin plant in Northern Iraq, which was confirmed to be a fake.

It is useful to recall that Ansar al-Islam, which constituted a pre-existing Islamist group, developed into a paramilitary organisation, only after the 9/11 attacks. Ironically, it was allowed to develop in a region of Iraq, which was already under US military control, namely Kurdish held Northern Iraq.

Ansar was largely involved in terrorist attacks directed against the secular institutions of the Kurdish regional governments. It was also involved in assassinations of members of the Kurdish PUK. And the US military and intelligence were present in the region.

In other words, prior to the war, Northern Iraq -which was in “the no fly zone”– was already a US protectorate. According to one report  «Al Qaida affiliates coordinating the movement of people, money and supplies for Ansar al-Islam have been operating freely in the [regional] capital.” (Midland Independent, 6 February 2003).

Responding to Colin Powell’s February 2003 UN address, an Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman had stated at the time that:

 ”the Iraqi government helped the [PUK] Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani against the Ansar al-Islam group. He [the spokesman] accused Ansar al-Islam of carrying out acts of sabotage inside Iraq…[and] that the United States had turned down an Iraqi offer to cooperate on the issue of terrorism.” (News Conference by Lieutenant-General Amir al-Sa’di, adviser at the Iraqi Presidency; Dr Sa’id al-Musawi, head of the Organizations’ Department at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry; and Major-General Husam Muhammad Amin, head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate. BBC Monitoring Service, 6 February 2003).

The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

Was it a coincidence? At the very outset of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, there were rumors of an Al Zarqawi terrorist attack on American Soil, in Jordan as well as in Iraq.

Al Zarqawi  identified by CNN as “the lone wolf” was, according to these reports, planning terrorist attacks simultaneously in several countries. Then there was the mysterious video on the Nicholas Berg execution.

The Attacks in Jordan

A mysterious tape released by CNN pointed to Al Zarqawi’s plan to attack the Jordanian intelligence headquarters in an attack using chemical weapons which could have been more deadly than 9/11. Again the evidence is based on a mysterious tape.

CNN 27 APRIL 2004

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jordanian special forces raiding an apartment house in Amman in the hunt for an al Qaeda cell. Some of the suspects are killed, others arrested, ending what Jordanian intelligence says was a bold plan to use chemical weapons and truck bombs in their capital; targets including Jordanian intelligence headquarters, the prime minister’s office and the U.S. embassy. The Jordanian government fears the death toll could have run into the thousands, more deadly even than 9/11.

For the first time the alleged plotters were interviewed on videotape, aired on Jordanian TV. CNN obtained copies of the tapes from the Jordanians. This man revealing his orders came from a man named Azme Jayoussi, the cell’s alleged ringleader.

HUSSEIN SHARIF (through translator): The aim of this operation was to strike Jordan and the Hashemite royal family, a war against the crusaders and infidels. Azme told me that this would be the first chemical suicide attack that al Qaeda would execute.

VAUSE: Also appearing on the tape, Azme Jayoussi, who says his orders came from this man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the same man the U.S. says is behind many of the violent attacks in Iraq.

AZME JAYOUSSI, ACCUSED PLOTTER (through translator): I took advanced explosives course, poisons, high level, then I pledged allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to obey him without any questioning, to be on his side. After this Afghanistan fell. I met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

VAUSE: Al Jayoussi was only shown in profile. He had marks on his hand, neck and face. The Jordanians who taped the confessions say the suspect suffered the injuries during the arrest. CNN was not allowed access to any of those arrested. The Jordanian government says this plot is only the latest attempt by al Qaeda to destabilize this country.

ASMA KHADER, JORDANIAN MINISTER OF STATE: Jordan was fighting this type of plans years now, and the security forces were able to confront them.

VAUSE (on camera): The Jordanians say the alleged terrorist plot was just days away from execution. If successful, Jordan’s King Abdullah told a U.S. newspaper it could have decapitated his government.

John Vause, CNN, Amman, Jordan.

The press reports which followed the original CNN report, often quote CNN as the sole source for their information.

Al-Zarqawi’s plans for Amman scale the heights of horror. CNN quoted Jordanian authorities as saying that the attack involved a combination of 71 lethal chemicals, including blistering agents to cause third-degree burns, nerve gas and choking agents, which would have formed a lethal toxic cloud over a square mile of the capital, Amman. Many thousands would have died in what would have been al-Qaida’s deadliest terrorist attack.

The Associated Press reported Monday that four of the men arrested said on Jordanian television that they had been recruited by al-Zarqawi to carry out “the first suicide attack to be launched by al-Qaida using chemicals … striking at Jordan, its Hashemite (royal family) and launching war on the Crusaders and nonbelievers.” One of the conspirators, Azmi al-Jayousi, said he received about $170,000 from al-Zarqawi to finance the plot and used part of it to buy 20 tons of chemicals. Images of vans packed with chemicals and explosives were shown on television. (Charleston Post Courier, 28 April 2004)

Alleged Al Zarqawi “Attack on America”

Two days later, following the alleged terrorist threat on Jordanian intelligence, the State Department announced that Al Zarqawi was planning an attack on America (29 April 2003, CNN Report). Note that the rumours of an attack on America and the attack in Jordan took place virtually at the same time.

The State Department today said the number of terrorists attacks around the world declined last year, but the government’s annual report on terrorism includes a chilling warning about the year ahead.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The State Department says terrorists are planning an attack on U.S. soil. High on their anxiety list, terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

AMB. COFER BLACK, COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM: He is representative of a very real and credible threat. His operatives are planning and attempting now to attack American targets, and we are after them with a vengeance.

Bear in mind that the Attack on America report, focusing on “We are after them with a vengeance”, was published on day following the CBS 60 minutes program on torture at the Abu Ghraib prison. (Complete transcript at http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CBS405A.html ).

The Nicholas Berg Video

Barely a couple of weeks later (11 May 2004), Al Zarqawi is reported as being the mastermind behind the execution of Nicholas Berg on May 11, 2004.

Again perfect timing! The report coincided with calls by US Senators for Defense Sec Donald Rumsfeld to resign over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. It occurs a few days after President Bush’s “apology” for the Abu Ghraib prison “abuses” on May 6.

The Nicholas Berg video  served to create “a useful wave of indignation” which served to distract and soften up public opinion, following the release of the pictures of torture of Iraqi prisoners. (See the intelligence assumptions underlying Operation Northwoods, a secret Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to kill civilians in the Cuban community in Florida, and blame it on Fidel Castro. (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR111A.html ) .

CNN coverage of the Nicholas Berg execution was based on a mysterious report on an Islamic website, which CNN upholds as providing “evidence” of Al-Zarqawi’s involvement:

ENSOR: The Web site claims that the killing was done by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist whose al Qaeda affiliated group is held responsible by U.S. intelligence for a string of bombings in Iraq and for the killing of an American diplomat in Amman. CNN Arab linguists say, however, that the voice on the tape has the wrong accent. They do not believe it is Zarqawi. U.S. officials said the killers tried to take advantage of the prison abuse controversy to gain attention.

BROWN: So, the administration said today we’ll track these people down. We will get them beyond, I guess, this belief that Zarqawi somehow was involved. Are there any clues out there that we heard about?

ENSOR: This is going to be very, very difficult. They’ve been looking for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for several years now. There’s a large price on his head. He’s been blowing up a lot of things in Iraq according to him and according to U.S. intelligence. They don’t know where he is, so it’s — I don’t think they have any clues right now, at least none that I know of — Aaron.

A subsequent more definitive report by CNN was aired 2 days later on 13 May 2004

The CIA confirms that Nicholas Berg’s killer was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; The CIA acknowledges sticking to strict rules in tough interrogations of top al Qaeda prisoners.” (CNN)

BLITZER Because originally our own linguists here at CNN suspected that — they listened to this audiotape and they didn’t think the it sounded, the sounded like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But now definitively, the experts at the CIA say it almost certainly is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?

ENSOR: They say it almost certainly is. There’s just a disagreement between the CNN linguists and the CIA linguists. The U.S. Government now believes that the person speaking on that tape and killing Nick Berg on that tape is the actual man, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi.

Did the US officials check the mysterious website or was it CNN?

The video footage published on the website was called «Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi shows killing of an American». ” Then the CIA experts released a statement saying that Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was the man in the mask who beheaded the US citizen Nick Berg in front of a camera.” (See  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/SAT405A.html ). Yet several reports question the authenticity of the video. (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CAR405A.html ).

Al Zarqawi is Jordanian. Yet the man in the video “posing as Jordanian native Zarqawi does not speak the Jordanian dialect. Zarqawi has an artificial leg, but none of these murderers did. The man presented as Zarqawi had a yellow ring, presumably a golden one, which Muslim men are banned from wearing, especially so-called fundamentalists.” (See Was Nick Berg killed by US intelligence? by Sirajin Sattayev, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/SAT405A.html

Another report states that Zarqawi was dead.

Immediately when the issue of his artificial leg was mentioned in relation to the video, US officials revised their story, stating they were not sure whether he actually lost a leg:  “U.S. intelligence officials, who used to believe that Zarqawi had lost a leg in Afghanistan, recently revised that assessment, concluding that he still has both legs.” (News and World Report, 24 May 2004).

There were a number of other aspects of the video, which suggest that it was a fraud: there was no blood when Nicholas Berg was beheaded. The audio was not in synchrony with the video, indicating that the film might have been manipulated.

3/11 The Madrid 11 March 2004 Train Bombing

While the press dispatches provide no evidence of of Al Zarqawi’s involvement in the Madrid 3/11 bombing, several of the reports implied, without supporting evidence, that he was involved. According to the CIA, the Moroccan group which allegedly “supervised the bombings in Madrid, [were] acting as a link between al- Zarqawi and a cell of mostly Moroccan al-Qaeda members.” (The Australian, 27 May 2004)

A CNN statement two days after the 3/11 Madrid bombing states that Al Zarqawi may be planning attacks on “soft targets” in Western Europe:

LISOVICZ: And Jonathan, specifically, Abu Musaab al Zarqawi is someone you have described as al Qaeda 2.0, which is pretty scary.

SCHANZER: Yes. Abu Musaab al Zarqawi is the man we caught; we intercepted his memo last month. U.S. intelligence officials found this memo. It indicated that he was trying to continue to carry out attacks against the United States. He was seeking help from the larger al Qaeda network and was seeking to foment internecine violence inside Iraq. This is a man dangerous; he’s been linked to attacks in Riyadh, Istanbul and Morocco. This is essentially a freelancer. This is a lone wolf, someone that’s acting alone in the name of al Qaeda.

CAFFERTY: Where do we stand in your opinion on this war on terrorism? We have got this terrible situation in Madrid. We’ve got this fellow, Zarqawi, you are talking about, the lone Wolf that is active, some think inside Iraq. We have got terrorist attacks happening there. There is discussion all over Western Europe of fear of terrorism, possibly being about to increase there. Are we winning this war or are we losing it? What is your read?

SCHANZER: I think we’re winning it. We’ve certainly — I mean counterterrorism at its core is just restricting the terrorist environment. So we’ve cut down on the amount of finances moving around in the terrorist world. We have arrested a number of key figures. So we are doing a good job.(CNN,13 March 2004)

For details on the Madrid bombing see, Madrid ‘blueprint’: a dodgy document by Brendan O’Neill at  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ONE404A.html

Extending the War on Terrorism

Are “we winning or loosing”  the war on terrorism.  These statements are used to justify enhanced military operations against this illusive individual, who is confronting US military might, all over the World. Al Zarqawi is used profusely in Bush’s press conferences and speeches in an obvious public relations ploy.

You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi, an al Qaeda associate — who was in Baghdad, by the way, prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein — is still at large in Iraq. And as you might remember, part of his operational plan was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold- blooded killing. And we need to help find Zarqawi so that the people of Iraq can have a more bright — bright future. (George W. Bush, Press Conference, 1 June 2004, emphasis added)

And with a new interim Iraqi government, US and British troops would be in Iraq at “the request” of the interim government, in an agreement sanctioned by the UN.

“The terrorists are still at large”: The tasks of the so-called “multinational force” would include “preventing and deterring terrorism”, namely going after Al Zarqawi, as a means to “establishing democracy” under G-8′s “political and economic reform in the Middle East and North Africa.”


Annex:

Selected Alleged Al Zarqawi Terrorist events

Assassination of Iraqi Governing Council President Izz-al-Din Salim (17 May 2004)

According to a mysterious website the Islamic Renewal Organization’s (IRO) forum at www.tajdeed.net and www.lajnah22.co.uk , Salim was executed by a Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi affiliated group, the so-called  “Military Wing of the Jama’ah al-Tawhid wa-al-Jihad,”. (quoted in BBC Monitoring, May 19 2004)

Bomb Attacks in Baghdad (6 May 2004)

Well, coalition officials say that this car bomb, which went off at about 7:30 in the morning, bears all the hallmarks of Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, that Jordanian national who, coalition officials have consistently said, they believe is behind many of the car bombs that have rocked this country in recent months.

He also has ties, it is believed, with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network.

Now this bomb, as I said, went off at a time when many workers were headed towards the Green Zone. That’s the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition.

Went off at a checkpoint. And when that happened, five Iraqi civilians were killed. A U.S. soldier, as well as the suicide bomber. Now, his nationality is not clear.

A claim of responsibility for the bombing has been put on a web site by a rather shadowy group that claims Zarqawi is its amir or its leader. The statement indicated that the bomber was from Saudi Arabia and that the car was packed with 600 kilograms or about 1,300 pounds of TNT

The Attack on the Basra Oil Facility (27 April 2004)

Responsibility for this attack by Zarqawi was based on information from the same mysterious website. No substantiating evidence based on police reports was presented:

BLITZER: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is now being blamed for the attack against the oil facilities near Basra. He’s being blamed for what happened , the near terrorist attack in Amman, Jordan. Dan Senor, first to you, then I’ll bring General Kimmitt in. Is he to blame for all of this?

SENOR: Well, it certainly looks to be that way, Wolf. But it’s too early to tell. He is a very bad guy. He’s an international terrorist. Zarqawi has very direct ties to al Qaeda. He’s been involved with al Qaeda for a number of years. Several months ago, we discovered a document that was drafted by Mr. Zarqawi, headed for the senior al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan that outlined his battle plan for Iraq. And in there were very specific operations that he had taken credit for that occurred in the past and he described the sorts of operations that he would like to be involved with going forward.

Another CNN report on the 27th of April 2004 states without evidence that Zarqawi was responsible for the bombing of an oil facility in Basra.

BLITZER: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is now being blamed for the attack against the oil facilities near Basra. He’s being blamed for what happened , the near terrorist attack in Amman, Jordan. Dan Senor, first to you, then I’ll bring General Kimmitt in. Is he to blame for all of this?

SENOR: Well, it certainly looks to be that way, Wolf. But it’s too early to tell. He is a very bad guy. He’s an international terrorist. Zarqawi has very direct ties to al Qaeda. He’s been involved with al Qaeda for a number of years. Several months ago, we discovered a document that was drafted by Mr. Zarqawi, headed for the senior al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan that outlined his battle plan for Iraq. And in there were very specific operations that he had taken credit for that occurred in the past and he described the sorts of operations that he would like to be involved with going forward.

Suicide bombing in Baghdad

Bombings in Baghdad and Basra, March 17-18 , 2004

Basra’s car bomb attack has remarkable similarities to what happened here in Baghdad last night. The Basra bombing, the target was a Alzeiten (ph), a small residential hotel out of the way. Again, the modus operandi, the way of delivering the bomb was a vehicle.

The attack took place just a little over an hour ago. Basra is in the British sector of Iraq and we’re told British troops rushed to the scene immediately. Again, similarities between what happened in Baghdad last night, where the target was the Mount Lebanon Hotel. Now it’s the Alzeiten in Basra. The Iraqi police are saying, in the context of the Basra attack, that anywhere between three and five people were killed. Always the early indications of casualties and fatalities will fluctuate. You can be sure of that — Soledad.

O’BRIEN: Walt, you know, you just mentioned, you said specifically remarkable similarities. Right now there is a suspect in the Baghdad bombing. Al- Zarqawi has been named as a suspect.

I know it’s early yet in the Basra bombing, but is there anything so far that is connecting this man to the bombing in Basra?

RODGERS: Yes, there is. But remember, what the U.S. military is saying at this point is that they believe this bombing here in Baghdad and the one in Basra will have the same hallmarks, which is to say, it’s an Islamist group. The car bomb, the way of detonating it, when the forensic experts go through what they’re expecting to find is similarities between what happened here in Baghdad last night and what happened last August 19th, when the United Nations compound was attacked here, killing 22 people.

What they are saying is that Abu Musab Al- Zarqawi is one of the leading suspects in the war on terror here in Iraq. They believe he’s spearheading the attacks here. But they’re also saying another Islamist group, Ansar al-Islam, could be responsible. In truth, what they’re saying is they’re not really sure who did it, but they just have a hunch — Soledad.

The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people, is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.

If you are an Israeli academic, working in Israel, and would like to sign this statement, please send an email to Prof. Rachel Giora [email protected] with your name, title and affiliation.

Academics in Israeli universities who have signed the statement above:

Prof. Rachel Giora, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Emmanuel Farjoun, Hebrew University
Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Hebrew University
Dr. Kobi Snitz, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Dr. Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University
Dr Efrat Ben-Zeev, Ruppin Academic Center
Prof. As’ad Ghanem, Haifa University
Prof. Anat Biletzki, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Adi Ophir, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Ovadia Ezra, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Zvi Tauber, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Vered Kraus, Haifa University
Dr. Yuval Yonay, Haifa University
Prof. Oded Goldreich, Weizman Institute
Prof. Dana Ron, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Gadi Algazi, Tel Aviv University
Professor Mira Ariel, Tel Aviv University
Professor Idan Landau, Ben Gurion University
Professor As’ad Ghanem, Haifa University
Dr. Ayelet Ben-Yishai, Haifa University
Prof. Micah Leshem, Haifa University
Dr. Ilan Saban, University of Haifa
Dr. Avishai Ehrlich, TAU
Dr. Ivy Sichel, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Prof. Yehuda Shenhav, TAU
Dr. Hannah Safran, The Academic College for Society and the Arts
Dr. Yael Ben-zvi, Ben-Gurion University
Prof. Dudy Tzfati, Hebrew University
Dr. Tikva Honig-Parnass, Jerusalem
Professor David Blanc, University
Dr. Haim Yacobi Bezalel, Ben Gurion University
Elizabeth Ritter, Ben-Gurion University
Paul Wexler, Professor Emeritus, Tel-Aviv University
Prof. Tal Siloni, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Amatzia Weisel, Tel Aviv University (retired)
Prof. Tamar Katriel, Haifa University
Dr. Haim Deuelle Luski, Tel Aviv University & Bezalel Academy of Art
Prof. Matania Ben-Artzi, Hebrew University
Dr. Roy Wagner, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Professor Uri Hadar, Tel Aviv University
Professor Shlomo Sand, Tel Aviv University
Professor Yuri Pines, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Amira Katz, Hebrew University Jerusalem
Prof. Julia Horvath, Tel-Aviv University
Dr. Arie M. Dubnov, University of Haifa
Dr. Raz Chen-Morris, Bar Ilan University
Dr. Amalia Sa’ar, University of Haifa

Manila, Philippines – Groups demanding the cancellation of Philippine debts delivered luggage full of questionable loan contracts and conditionalities to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who is visiting the country from July 14 to 15.

“Goodbye, Mr. Kim, and take your oppressive loans with you,” chanted members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Focus on the Global South during a staged send-off for “nuisance visitor” Mr. Kim.

The groups, denouncing new World Bank loans for recovery efforts in typhoon-devastated areas, said that the Philippines needs grants, not enlargement of its debts, to recover from the death and destruction caused by super-typhoon Yolanda.

“We are now almost a billion dollars deeper in debt with the World Bank, and another billion with the Asian Development Bank. These so-called development banks have shamelessly lent to a country devastated by the effects of climate change while still hell-bent on collecting interest payments and principal amortization for Philippines debts, including those that did not benefit the people. These new loans should be revoked,” said Sammy Gamboa, FDC Secretary-General.

According to FDC and FGS, conditionalities attached to World Bank loans have denied the Filipinos access to their resources for decades. These policies have compelled the Philippines to prioritize debt service over spending for essential services. This is why the Marcos legacy of automatic appropriations for debt payments has been kept by the 1987 Administrative Code.

“Debt payments have drained the public purse resulting in the privatization, deregulation and liberalization of key industries and service sectors because the government, as dictated by international financial institutions, needed to mobilize private investors. But look at where we are now. Not only are we facing corruption by public officials, but also corporate pillage as prices of goods and services unjustly skyrocket,” said Mary Ann Manahan of Focus on the Global South.

The groups added that the World Bank does not only impose growth-stunting policies on the nation, it is also financing the destruction of the country’s natural resources, thus contributing to the Philippines’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

The World Bank lobbied for the passage of the 1995 Mining Act and has provided loans and investments to private mining explorations, such as infusing $9.4 million to Mindoro Resources Ltd. for the company’s exploration for and extraction of nickel, copper and gold in Agusan del Norte, Mindanao Island.

Contact: Mary Ann Manahan, Focus on the Global South Program Officer // Sammy Gamboa, FDC Secretary-General, +63932 872 6169

GMO Myths and Truths

July 17th, 2014 by Global Research News

Genetically modified (GM) crops are promoted on the basis of a range of far-reaching claims from the GM crop industry and its supporters.

They say that GM crops:

  • Are an extension of natural breeding and do not pose different risks from naturally bred crops
  • Are safe to eat and can be more nutritious than naturally bred crops
  • Are strictly regulated for safety
  • Increase crop yields
  • Reduce pesticide use
  • Benefit farmers and make their lives easier
  • Bring economic benefits
  • Benefit the environment
  • Can help solve problems caused by climate change
  • Reduce energy use
  • Will help feed the world.

canola plants and tractorHowever, a large and growing body of scientific and other authoritative evidence shows that these claims are not true. On the contrary, evidence presented in this report indicates that GM crops:

  • Are laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural breeding methods, and pose different risks from non-GM crops
  • Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • Are not adequately regulated to ensure safety
  • Do not increase yield potential
  • Do not reduce pesticide use but increase it
  • Create serious problems for farmers, including herbicide-tolerant “superweeds”, compromised soil quality, and increased disease susceptibility in crops
  • Have mixed economic effects
  • Harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity
  • Do not offer effective solutions to climate change
  • Are as energy-hungry as any other chemically-farmed crops
  • Cannot solve the problem of world hunger but distract from its real causes – poverty, lack of access to food and, increasingly, lack of access to land to grow it on.

Gmo myth report coverBased on the evidence presented in this report, there is no need to take risks with GM crops when effective, readily available, and sustainable solutions to the problems that GM technology is claimed to address already exist.

Conventional plant breeding, in some cases helped by safe modern technologies like gene mapping and marker assisted selection, continues to outperform GM in producing high-yield, drought-tolerant, and pest- and disease-resistant crops that can meet our present and future food needs.

Download a PDF of the full GMO Myths and Truths report

A pro-Palestinian protester shouts anti-Israeli slogans in a massive street march in Paris, Sunday, July 13, 2014.

French authorities have forbidden pro-Palestinian protests in some cities, citing potential tension between the opponents of the Israeli atrocities and the backers of the Tel Aviv regime.

A police official said Wednesday that a protest march against the recent Israeli military attacks against the Gaza Strip planned for Saturday in Paris is banned because of “the serious risk of disruption of public order that such a protest could engender, in a context of heightened tension,” AP reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the official spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to be publicly identified.

Authorities have also banned protests in the cities of Nice and Lille, the report added.

After several thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched peacefully Sunday through Paris, clashes reportedly broke out among small groups, prompted by attacks from the radical pro-Israeli group known as the Jewish Defense League on some of the protesters.

The Zionist group, which is most active in the US and Western Europe, is fiercely anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim and has engaged in several terror attacks against Arab and Palestinian figures.

This is while local reports have blamed a recent attack at a Paris Synagogue on the anti-Israeli protesters, an allegation that local observers view as yet another anti-Muslim publicity effort.

France has Western Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish populations.

Since the Beginning of the Israeli Offensive on Gaza:

221 Palestinians Killed, of Whom 179 Are Civilians, Including 45 Children and 32 Women, and 1,458 Others Wounded, Mostly Civilians, Including 432 Children and 298 Women;

312 Houses Targeted and Destroyed and Hundreds of Others Extensively Damaged

Thousands of Palestinian Civilians Forcibly Displaced

Israeli occupation forces have continued their brutal and immoral offensive on the Gaza Strip for the 8th consecutive day, and have continued the policy of collective punishment in disregard for the international law and humanitarian law, which ensure protection for civilians in times of war, and in violation of the principles of necessity, proportionality and distinction. Israeli forces have continued their aerial, ground and sea attacks throughout the Gaza Strip, causing more civilian casualties and damaging civilian facilities, including houses and mosques.  In disregard for the lives of children, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian children while they were playing at the beach in Gaza City.  At night, Israeli forces accepted a truce suggested by the United Nations for 6 hours on Thursday, 17 July 2014.  PCHR is concerned that Israeli forces may attack Palestinian civilians during this truce, like what happened during “Operation Cast Lead” (2008-2009).

From 10:00 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 to 10:00 on Thursday, 17 July 2014, 26 Palestinians, 21 of whom are civilians including 9 children and 3 women, were killed.  Additionally, 119 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were wounded – this number includes 31 children and 52 women.  Israeli warplanes also targeted and destroyed 26 houses.

The latest developments since the press release issued by PCHR yesterday noon have been as follows:

The Northern Gaza Strip:

Israeli warplanes launched 48 airstrikes and Israeli tanks and gunboats fired dozens of shells targeting houses, agricultural plots, open areas and a mosque.  As a result of these attacks, a Palestinian child and a member of an armed group were killed, and 23 others, including 9 children and 5 women, were wounded. Additionally, Israeli warplanes targeted 5 houses and destroyed 3 of them.

The most significant attacks were as follows:

-       At approximately 16:00 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at Othman Bin ‘Affan Mosque in Be’r al-Na’ja area.  As a result, 5-year-old Ra’ed Mohammed Sari was killed, and 3 civilians, including the child’s father, were wounded.

-       At approximately 20:50, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 4-storey house belonging to the al-Madhoun family in Beit Lahia.  The house was damaged.

-       At approximately 21:15, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belong to Mohammed Wirsh Agha in Beit Lahia.  The house was completely destroyed.

-       At approximately 23:50, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 5-storey house belonging to Fathi Hammad, former Minister of Interior, in Beit Lahia.  The house was damaged.

-       At approximately 00:45 on Thursday, 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to ‘Omar Hassan al-Far in Jabalya.  Soon after, an Israeli warplanes launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 04:20, an Israeli drone fired a missile at members of a Palestinian armed groups in al-’Atatra area in Beit Lahia, killing one of them, Ahmed Rajab Raihan, 23, and wounded 3 others.

-       At approximately 06:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to Sah’ban Mohammed Dakka in Jabalya. Soon after, an Israeli warplanes launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

Gaza City:

Israeli warplanes launched 20 airstrikes and Israeli gunboats and tanks fired shells targeting houses, civilians, agricultural lands and open areas. As a result of these attacks, 7 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were killed, and 45 others, including 8 children and 8 women, were wounded.  Additionally, 9 houses were targeted and 8 of them and a money exchange shop were destroyed.

The most significant attacks were as follows:

-       At approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, Israeli drone fired 2 missiles at a 5-storey house belonging to Rafiq Ismail al-Nu’aizi, in which 40 people live, in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  Soon after, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.  Before the attack, Israeli forces had phoned the owner and order evacuation of the house.

-       At approximately 11:30, Israeli drone fired 2 missiles at a 3-storey house belonging to Sa’id Ramadan Haddad, in which 25 people live, in al-Sha’af neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  Soon after, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.  Before the attack, Israeli forces had phoned the owner and order evacuation of the house.

-       At approximately 12:30, Israeli drone fired 2 missiles at a 3-storey house belonging to Jaber Jabr Jundiya, in which 20 people live, in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  The house was extensively damaged.

-       At approximately 13:00, Israeli drone fired 2 missiles at a 4-storey house belonging to Khaled Mustafa Harara, in which 4 families live, in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  Soon after, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 14:00, Israeli drone fired 2 missiles at a 3-storey house belonging to ‘Aahed Mohammed Habib, in which 12 people live, in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  Soon after, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 15:00, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at ‘Abdul Rahman Ibrahim Khalil al-Serji, 37, and his child, 16-year-old ‘Omar, who were on an agricultural plot belonging to the family in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the southeast of Gaza City.  As a result, the father was killed and the child was seriously wounded.

-       At approximately 16:10, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a number of Palestinian children who were playing at Gaza beach.  As a result, 4 children were killed: Zakaria ‘Aahed Bakr, 10; Ismail Mohammed Subhi Bakr, 10; Mohammed Ramez ‘Ezzat Bakr, 11; and ‘Aahed ‘Aattaf ‘Aahed Bakr, 10.  A fifth child, 8-year-old Hamada Khamis Bakr, was seriously wounded.

17-7-2

The children of the Bakr family run away from an Israeli attack at the beach

17-07-3

The place where the children were attacked

-       At approximately 18:00, an Israeli drone fired a missile at 3 Palestinian civilians who were sitting near the debris of a house that had been destroyed by Israeli warplane in Sheikh ‘Ejlin neighborhood in the southwest of Gaza City.  Two civilians were killed: Hussam Jamal Hassouna Shamallakh, 30; and Mohammed Kamel Mohammed ‘Abdul Rahman, 32.  The third civilian was wounded.

 

-       At approximately 00:30 on Thursday, 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to Maher Saleh Farawana, in which 17 people live, in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       Also at approximately 00:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 6-storey house belonging to Amal Yousef Muhanna, in which 43 people live, in al-Nafaq Street in Gaza City.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 01:30, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a currency exchange shop belonging to Maher Musbah Abu Ghanima in al-Jalaa’ Street in the center of Gaza City.  The shop was destroyed. Abu Ghanima’s house had been also attacked on 15 July 2014.

-       At approximately 03:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to Hamza Subhi al-Yazji, in which 35 people live, in al-Yarmouk Street in Gaza City.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 09:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 2-storey house belonging to Arafat Mohammed al-Minawi, a university lecturer, in which 23 people live, in al-Shuja’iya  neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it

The Central Gaza Strip:

Israeli warplanes launched 14 airstrikes targeting houses, agricultural lands and open areas.  As a result of these attacks, 2 Palestinians, including a civilians, were killed, and 14 others, including 6 women and 2 children, were wounded.  Six houses and a store were also destroyed.

The most significant attacks were as follows:

-       At approximately 17:30 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 3-storey house belonging to Shihda ‘Abed Rabbu Abu Dahrouj, in which 15 people live, in al-Zawaida village.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 18:30, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a store under a house belonging to Kamel ‘Eid al-Hawajari in al-Nussairat refugee camp.  The store was destroyed.

-       At approximately 19:00, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to ‘Alaa’ Mahmoud al-Danaf, in which 8 people live, in Deir al-Balah.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 19:10, an Israeli drone fired a missile at an inhabited house belonging to Hatem Yousef al-Roubi in al-Boreij refugee camp.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 19:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 2-storey house belonging to the heirs of Waleed Jaber Abu Hain, in which 8 people live, in Gaza Valley village.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 21:40, an Israeli drone fired a missiles at members of a Palestinian armed group in Wadi al-Salqa village, east of Deir al-Balah, wounding 2 of them.  One of them, Mohammed Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Qaddem, 22, died of his wound later.

-       At approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to Ma’awia Mahmoud Basheer, in which 8 people live, in Deir al-Balah.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 06:00, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a house belonging to Salem Saleh ‘Olayan Fayad in Deir al-Balah. As a result Fayad was killed, and another two residents of the house were wounded.

Khan Yunis:

Israeli warplanes launched 30 airstrikes targeting houses, agricultural plots and open areas in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis.  Israeli tanks and gunboats also fired dozens of shells at agricultural and open areas.  As a result, 10 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 3 women, were killed, and 22 others, including 3 children and 6 women, were wounded.  Israeli warplanes also targeted 4 houses and destroyed 2 of them.  They also bombarded a flat and damaged it.

The most significant attacks were as follows:

-       At approximately 11:15, Israeli tanks positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired a number of shells at Abu Tu’aima area in the east of ‘Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis.  As a result 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded: Mo’men Mohammed Abu Tu’aima, 30; and Siraj Tariq Abu Tu’aima, 12.

-       At approximately 11:25, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at a civilian car that was traveling in Bani Suhila village, east of Khan Yunis.  As a result, 3 civilian passengers were killed: Khadra al-’Aabed Salama Abu Daqqa, 65; ‘Omar Ramdan Hassan Abu Daqqa; and Ibrahim Ramdan Hassan Abu Daqqa, 10.  Additionally, 3 members of the family who were also traveling in the car were also wounded.  Additionally, 7 passing civilians, including 4 women, were wounded.

-       At approximately 16:25, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a shed on an agricultural plot in al-Satar al-Gharbi area in the north of Khan Yunis, destroying it and wounded 3 Palestinian civilians.

-       At approximately 17:20, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a flat belonging to the ‘Abdul ‘Aati family in the Austrain neighborhood in the west of Khan Yunis. The flat was damaged and fired broke out in it.

-       At approximately 17:35, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at two Palestinians brothers were sitting in the yard of their house in ‘Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis.  The two civilians were killed: Akram and Kamal Mohammed Abu ‘Aamer, 32 39 respectively.

-       At approximately 18:55, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians who were sitting in the year of a house belonging to Kawthar Hussein al-Astal, 58, in al-Katiba neighborhood in Khan Yunis.  As a result, she and 3 of her relatives, including 2 children, were killed: Ussama and Yasmeen Mahmoud Hussein al-Atal, 8 and 4 respectively; and Hussein ‘Abdul Nasser Hussein al-Astal, 23.

-       At approximately 20:45, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to te al-Hajj family in Khan Yunis refugee camp.  About 15 minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at a nearby 3-storey house belonging to Su’ad ‘Ali al-Zayani, in which 21 people live, and destroyed it.

-       At approximately 22:30, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at a 3-storey house belonging to the sons of Kamel Sleem al-Saqqa, and a house belonging to their mother, Zainab Sa’id Mohammed al-’Abadla, 73.  As a result, the woman was seriously wounded.  She died of her wound on the following day morning.

-       At approximately 22:00, Israeli drones fired a 2 missiles at a house belonging to Fu’ad Furaij Abu Ma’rouf in Jourat al-Lout area in the south of Khan Yunis.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at the house, damaging it extensively.

-       At approximately 22:50, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the vicinity of al-Iman Mosque in Bani Suhaila village, east of Khan Yunis. The mosque was damaged, but no casualties were reported.

-       At approximately 01:15 on Thursday, 17 July 2014, Israeli tanks positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired a number of shells at Palestinian communities in the east of Khan Yunis.  As a result, a water tank, agricultural plots, a minaret and a mosque were damaged, and 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded.

-       Also at approximately 01:15, Israeli gunboats shelled Khan Yunis beach.  No casualties were reported.

-       At approximately 04:10, Israeli warplane launched 7 airstrikes on agricultural plots in al-Manara, Ma’an, al-Satar al-Gharbi and al-Qarara areas.  No casualties were reported.

-       At approximately 05:30, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at a house belonging to Qais ‘Adnan al-’Assar in al-Manara neighborhood in the south of Khan Yunis.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed.

Rafah:

Israeli warplanes launched 35 airstrikes targeting houses, agricultural lands and open areas in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.  As a result, 5 Palestinians, including 2 civilians, were killed, and 15 others, including 5 children and 4 women, were wounded.  Two houses were destroyed.

The most significant attacks were as follows:

-       At approximately 19:10 on Wednesday, 16 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to Ahmed Najem al-Masri, in which 7 people live, near Saladin Date in the south of Rafah without a prior warning. Twenty minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.  A number of nearby houses were damaged.

-       At approximately 21:15, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a motorbike in Musabbeh neighborhood in the north of Rafah.  As a result, Mohammed ‘Abdul Hadi al-Masri, 27, a nurse, who was riding the motorbike was seriously wounded.

-       At approximately 01:00 on Thursday, 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a house belonging to ‘Aadel ‘Abdul Hamid al-’Attar, in which 11 people live, in Yebna refugee camp in the south of Rafah.  A few minutes later, an Israeli warplane launched a missile at the house and destroyed it.  Before the attack, Israeli forces phoned a neighbor ordering evacuation of the house.

-       At approximately 04:20, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians who were on their way to a mosque in al-Junaina neighborhood in Rafah for the Dawn Prayer.  As a result, Mohammed ‘Abdul Rahman Hassouna, 70, was killed, and Mohammed Ahmed al-Hout, 35, was seriously wounded.  He died a few hours later.

-       At approximately 09:30, Israeli drones fired 2 missiles at 3 members of a Palestinian armed group in al-Nasser village, north of Rafah, killing them instantly: Mohammed Nabil Ghanem, 27; ‘Abdullah Salem al-Akhras, 30; and Basheer Mohammed ‘Abdul ‘Aal, 19.

PCHR reiterates condemnation, expresses utmost concern for these crimes, and:

1)   Warns of deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of this continuous Israeli military escalation, threats to expand military operations, and the continued tightened closure of the Gaza Strip;

2)   Calls upon the international community to act immediately to stop these crimes, and renews the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure that it is respected at all times, and their responsibilities under Article 146 to pursue perpetrators of serious violations of the Convention, which are determined in Article 147, which lists violations of the Convention amounting to war crimes; and

3)   Calls for establishing a UN fact-finding mission to investigate suspected war crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and take necessary steps to prosecute responsible for them.

The United States is manipulating politics and attempting to exercise “19th century classical imperialism” in Afghanistan because it wants a “client regime” in Kabul, says an American antiwar activist.

In a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday, Rick Rozoff, with the Stop NATO International Network, said Afghanistan “since 1918 had a rich history of parliamentary democracy, in many ways even currently, much more diverse than the situation that obtains in the United States where, as is infamously known, there are two major political parties that have a monopoly on both houses of Congress and the White House.”

And now, Rozoff added, we see “the US stepped in and claimed to be the defender of representative government, of parliamentary democracy; that is a bitter irony.”

“What is painfully obvious is that the US and NATO want to maintain a client regime in Kabul,” Rozoff said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry held meetings with Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani and incumbent President Hamid Karzai on Friday and Saturday, trying to strike a deal ending the deadlock over the June 14 election run-off between the leading contenders.

On Saturday, Kerry said the Afghan presidential rivals have agreed to a full audit of ballots. In a joint meeting with Ghani and Abdullah, Kerry said both candidates have accepted to stand by the eventual result of the audit.

Rozoff says Washington is only interested in securing a “bilateral security agreement or status of forces agreement that permits the United States and its Western military allies to maintain not only a longstanding but ultimately an indefinite military presence in the country.”

The Periodic Slaughter of Palestinians

July 17th, 2014 by Prof. Lawrence Davidson

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with President Obama on Sept. 1, 2010. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

To the Israeli government, the periodic slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza is called “mowing the grass,” a chore that frequently needs repeating. But this violence is wearing on the world’s conscience, including moral objections from more and more Jews.

As the Israelis once more inflict collective punishment in Gaza (a tactic which happens to constitute a war crime), it is time to consider the mind-set behind their repeated violent and sadistic behavior. One way to do so is to listen to the rationalizations they use, also repeatedly, to justify their actions.

Among the many rationalizations offered by Israeli leaders for their violent behavior is the assertion that the Arabs, and Palestinians in particular, “only understand force.” If you do not use force against them they interpret its absence as a sign of weakness and this only encourages them to stand against the Zionist state.

This notion that the Arabs only understand force is one of the holdover stereotypes of a mostly, but obviously not completely, bygone age of imperialism.When it comes to the Israelis, this persistent myth about the need to employ force against the Arabs is mixed up with their own post-Holocaust determination to “never again” react to a threat passively. They believe that sort of reaction is what killed millions of European Jews, and so it is no longer psychologically acceptable.

The core problem with these lines of thought is that they are seriously misleading – both in terms of Arab/Palestinian perceptions and European Jewish behavior.

Since coming into existence in 1948, Israel has attacked Palestinian individuals and infrastructure thousands of times. Israeli conventional wisdom would claim that this has been done in self-defense and to dissuade the Palestinians from future attacks.

The self-defense rationale is misleading because Israelis have, from the beginning, been acting offensively: most of what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories was taken violently and then ethnically cleansed of most of its Arab inhabitants with the ongoing goal of setting up a religiously exclusive state. Palestinian violence has always been a reaction to Israeli aggression.

The argument that harsh retaliation against Palestinian acts of resistance would dissuade them from further resistance (that is, the Palestinians “only understand force”) proved long ago to be false. It has never worked, and yet too many Israelis have clung tenaciously to this lie (a small minority, such as the Israeli journalist Gordon Levy, know the lie for what it is and bravely keep proclaiming the truth).

Why has the lie persisted so long? Well, there is the old adage that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a form of insanity, but perhaps that is a bit too superficial for the case at hand.

One reason for Israel’s repetitive violence is that if Israelis admit it is a tactical failure and desist, they might have to negotiate a genuine peace treaty with the Palestinians. Many will immediately say that they have, repeatedly, tried to negotiate while always coming up against Palestinian intransigence.

However, if one takes a close and objective look at these efforts at negotiation, one finds that they are facades or false fronts behind which we find Israeli intransigence. As the liberal Zionist M. J. Rosenberg has pointed out, the Israelis have never negotiated in good faith.

When the Palestinians react to Israel’s bad faith, the Israelis break off negotiations and blame the Palestinians. Israel then returns to its pattern of repetitive violence.

In truth, negotiating in good faith means compromising Israel’s ambition to settle all of the land of Palestine, and that is something the hard-core Zionists will not do. As a consequence it is not the Israelis, but the Palestinians who have lacked a partner who will negotiate responsibly.

Engrained Racism

Another reason for the repetitive violence is that once Israel has raised several generations of citizens to believe that the Palestinians are implacable enemies who “only understand force,” it becomes politically difficult to change the message despite its elemental falseness.

The myth of the impossibility of negotiating with the Palestinians is believed by so many Israelis that if a politician started advocating a genuine compromise, he or she would be marginalized or worse. Remember the fate of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who almost certainly was not operating in wholehearted good faith toward the Palestinians but was assassinated anyway because of the fear that he was moving in that direction.

Finally, there is the connection the Israelis make between giving up their violence and appearing weak. Yet given their overwhelming superiority in weaponry and the fact that its repeated use has destroyed Palestinian society without stopping Palestinian attacks, why be concerned that switching to non-violent tactics, such as good faith negotiating, would signal weakness?

My guess is that the Israelis aren’t really afraid that the Palestinians would interpret things this way. The Israelis are concerned that they themselves would feel that they would be replicating the alleged passivity of European Jews in the face of the Nazi onslaught.

In other words, the Israeli fear of showing weakness is not an attitude that references outside groups. It references only the Israeli concern for their own self-image. It is the fear of seeing themselves as akin to European Jews passively going to the gas chambers that stands as the greatest psychological barrier to an Israeli decision to halt their repetitive violence.

As noted above, this is so despite the fact that their interpretation of European Jewish behavior is historically misleading. For hundreds of years Europe’s Jews faced discrimination and persecution that periodically turned violent. These episodes of violence, known as pogroms, were murderous but short-lived.

The Jewish communities learned that if they kept their heads down and allowed the storm to wash over them, their casualties were less. They learned this not just by being passive, but by comparing such behavior with the consequences of active resistance.

When in the Twentieth Century the Nazis’ anti-Semitism emerged, most of the Jewish leadership interpreted it as yet another episode of pogroms, and they reacted to it in the manner that history had taught them would result in the least harm. Of course, they were wrong. The Nazis were a qualitatively different sort of enemy. But the Jews of Europe only discovered this when it was too late.

Still, there were plenty of episodes of active Jewish resistance ranging from concentration camp revolts to the battle of the Warsaw ghetto. Unfortunately, the Israelis and most other Zionists forget about this history and condemn Europe’s Jews for being shamefully passive in the face of mortal danger.

Thus was born the slogan “never again.” This state of mind also encouraged the Zionists to see the Palestinians, and indeed all Arabs, as latter-day Nazis to be repeatedly vanquished with repetitive violence.

The Future

The Israelis would expel or kill a majority of the Palestinians left in their homeland if the world let them. Israel would do so not only because it would clear the way for Jewish settlement of all of Palestine, but also because it would allow the Israelis to feel psychologically redeemed – redeemed from the allegedly sinful passivity displayed by the victims of the Holocaust.

The consequences of this state of mind are, of course, catastrophic – first and foremost for the Palestinians, who suffer death and destruction for their justified resistance to oppression. The Zionists see them as latter-day Nazis but in truth they resemble the resisters in the Warsaw ghetto. And, if that rings true, then who do the Israelis now resemble?

That point leads us to ask what are the consequences of Israeli behavior for the Jews and Judaism? After all, Israel claims to represent world Jewry. So, the consequences of persecuting the Palestinians have been, are and will continue to be disastrous to the reputation of Jews and Judaism.

In relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are now three categories of Jews: a) those who have publicly taken a stand opposing Israel’s behavior; b) those who publicly support Israel’s behavior and its rationalizations; and c) those who stand aside, try to ignore what is going on, and just carry on with their lives.

Whatever the people or situation, this last category is usually the largest. It is also the category that concerns me the most for, unbeknownst to many of these Jews, their wellbeing is being used falsely to justify the policies of a habitually violent state and its racist ambitions.

But there are intimations that this largest group of Jews is becoming conscious of Israel’s crimes and this is a welcome and necessary beginning. The next question is what actions, if any, will consciousness bring?

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

All In With Chris Hayes had the most ethnically diverse guestlist we found on cable news.

A survey of major cable news discussion programs shows a stunning lack of diversity among the guests.

FAIR surveyed five weeks of broadcasts of the interview/discussion segments on several leading one-hour cable shows: CNN‘s Anderson Cooper 360° and OutFront With Erin BurnettAll In With Chris Hayes and the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, and Fox News Channel‘s O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.

Guests were coded by gender, race/ethnicity and occupation, as well as the affiliations of partisan guests-those who are identified with a party as current or former government officials or campaign professionals.

Data was collected during the first two weeks of February, the first week of March and the first two weeks of April. (Fewer weeks were monitored in March to limit the distorting effects of the singular focus on the missing Malaysian plane story.) Guests who appeared in interview or roundtable segments were the only appearances that were included; taped segments, which normally include a correspondent and soundbites from various guests, were excluded.

In total, there were 1,015 guests in the five-week period. Maddow was an outlier with only 49 guests during the study period; the other shows ranged from All In with 164 to AC360 and OutFront, both with 212.

Among guests with a partisan affiliation, Democrats outnumbered Republicans, 104 to 84. That is almost entirely due to the lopsided nature of partisan-identified guests on MSNBCAll In With Chris Hayes had a 35-7 advantage for Democrats, while Rachel Maddow had 12 Democrats to two Republicans.

Fox News Channel, as you might expect, featured more Republicans than Democrats, but the GOP enjoyed a more modest advantage: 24-15 on theO’Reilly Factor and 29-21 on Hannity. Many of the Democrats appearing on Fox News are what one might call “Fox News Democrats” (Extra!3/12), people like Kirsten Powers, Bob Beckel and Lanny Davis, who often represent a center-right faction of the party and are called on to bash more progressive Democrats.

The largest category of guests were other members of the media: 55 percent of the guests were either journalists (400) or pundits (159). Current and former government officials were the next largest category, accounting for almost 10 percent of guests (107). There were 37 military guests (current and former), 35 representatives of think tanks and 32 academics. Other prominent guest categories were lawyers (21) and business representatives (17).

Some patterns were a function of the study period. Fifteen guests were affiliated with the Bundy ranch standoff, when a conservative rancher decided to protest having to pay to graze his cattle on federal land. All of those guests appeared on the Hannity show. CNN’s obsessive coverage of the disappeared Malaysian airplane was evident in their programming in March, which featured pilots, aviation experts and scientists who would normally not appear on cable chat shows.

Eighty-four percent of guests were white (848). The most and least diverse shows in terms of ethnicity were both on MSNBC: People of color were 27 percent of guests on All In and only 6 percent on Maddow. Just three ofMaddow’s guests were people of color; none of these were women.

Hayes’ previous show, the weekend Up With Chris Hayes, had been credited for presenting more diverse discussions than other programs, particularly the Sunday morning chat shows (Media Matters3/14/13). Hayes explained (CJR.org3/28/13) that it was simply a matter of monitoring the show’s guest list: “A general rule is if there are four people sitting at table, only two of them can be white men.”

The Fox News shows were also mostly white, with people of color constituting 10 percent of the guests on O’Reilly and 15 percent on Hannity. On CNN,AC360‘s guest list was 14 percent people of color, and OutFront (19 percent) was slightly better.

Media diversity demographics

People of color constitute about 36 percent of the US population. On All In, the show that came closest to parity, there were 76 percent as many people of color as there would have been if the sources had matched the nation’s demographics. By comparison, people of color appeared 53 percent as much as their demographic proportion on OutFront, 39 percent on AC360, 42 percent on Hannity and 29 percent on O’Reilly. On Maddow, people of color were represented just 17 percent as often as they occur in the general public.

Latinos—who make up 16 percent of the US population—were particularly underrepresented on cable, with only 31 appearances (3 percent of sources) in the study. Eight of these appearances, more than a quarter of the total, were byCNN contributor Sunny Hostin on AC360; only four other Latino women appeared across all six shows. The diversity of Latino voices was even further diminished on Fox, where five of the seven Latino guest appearances were made by Fox personality Geraldo Rivera.

Male guests widely outnumbered women on every show (730 to 285), making up 72 percent of the guest lists. Just 5 percent (46) of cable news guests were women of color.

The show closest to gender parity was the O’Reilly Factor, where women were 36 percent of guests, followed by Hannity, also on Fox, with 35 percent women. However, all but one of O’Reilly’s female guests were white; Hannity had only four women of color on his show. This pattern is related to the phenomenon of the “Fox News blonde,” the young, attractive female guests who are regulars on both shows; they’re not actually all blonde, but they are almost uniformly white  (SteveDennie.com1/26/12).

CNN‘s Erin Burnett had the most male-dominated guest list, with only 19 percent female guests. All In was 28 percent female, while Maddow andAC360‘s guests were both 25 percent women.

With women making up about 51 percent of the US population, they got 72 percent of their demographic share on the O’Reilly Factor, 69 percent onHannity, 55 percent on All In, 48 percent on both Maddow and AC360, and only 37 percent on OutFront.

Women of color (about 18 percent of the US public) were strikingly underrepresented on most shows, getting 34 percent of their demographic share on AC360, 26 percent on OutFront, 11 percent on Hannity and 3 percent on the O’Reilly FactorMaddow, again, had no women of color as guests during the study period. All In came closest to parity, with women of color at 60 percent of their demographic share.

Non-Latino white men, on the other hand, were overrepresented on every show. The Fox News shows had the least overrepresentation, with white men appearing 162 percent as much as they do in the general public on Hannity, and 167 percent on the O’Reilly Factor. Next came All In, where white men had 175 percent of their proportion of the public. White men appeared a little more than twice as often as their demographic share on Out Front (209 percent), AC360 (210 percent) and Maddow (213 percent).

Research assistance by Sara Qureshi and Aldo Guerrero.

Demographic Representation on Cable News

SIDEBAR:

Alternative Media: How Alternative Is It?

FAIR thought it would be interesting to contrast the elite dominance of these cable shows with an independent outlet: Democracy Now!, the daily TV/radio broadcast heard on hundreds of affiliate stations. The structure of the show is in some respects very similar to cable news programming, with long-form interviews, debates and panel discussions. But the show is perhaps best known for featuring experts and analysis that are rarely heard in the corporate media.

Democracy NowSo how did Democracy Now!stack up against corporate-owned cable news? The show interviewed only two former or current government officials, and featured far more guests who were activists—27 percent. The most common category of guests, as on cable, was journalists, but many of these were drawn from independent/alternative media, a type of reporter seldom seen on cable news.

The guest list during the study period was 79 percent white—66 of the 84 guests—better than the cable average, but still bested by All In. Latinos were 8 percent of the guests (seven appearances), African-Americans 6 percent (five guests). Overall, people of color were represented 67 percent as much as they appear in the general public.

Women were 40 percent of the show’s guests, making DN! closer to parity than any of the cable shows studied. This was 79 percent of their proportion of the public.

White men were overrepresented on Democracy Now!, but at a lower rate—148 percent of their demographic share—than on any of the cable news shows we looked at. Women of color were underrepresented, appearing 53 percent as often as their proportion of the public—more than most of the cable shows, but behind All In.

We also looked at the diversity of the guestlist on FAIR’s CounterSpin radio program. Because it’s a weekly show with usually only two guests per episode, we looked at a longer time frame: the first five months of 2014, during which the show featured 41 guests.

CounterSpin‘s 20 female guests gave it 95 percent parity with women in the general public, and the 14 people of color interviewed represented 93 percent of their demographic share. Women of color, with six guests, were 86 percent of demographic parity. The 13 white men the show featured exactly matched the white male proportion of the population. -P.H.

Dr. Basman al-’Ashi, Director of al-Wafa Hospital and two of the patients | Anne Pak, ActiveStills, 15 July 2014.

B’Tselem has discovered that the Israeli military included the al-Wafaa rehabilitative hospital in a-Shuja’iyeh neighborhood in the demand it issued to residents of the a-Shuja’iyeh and a-Zeitun neighborhoods to evacuate their homes by today, July 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM. Hospital Director Basman al-‘Ashi told B’Tselem over the phone that the hospital received a recorded message last night at around 11:10 PM, saying that a-Shuja’iyeh residents must leave the area and move north to the city center. Shortly thereafter, at around 11:30 PM, the hospital received another phone call from a person saying he was from the military who repeated the demand to evacuate the hospital specifically.

According to al-‘Ashi, the hospital currently has 17 patients, between the ages of 14 and 95, all suffering from different degrees of paralysis. There are also some thirty staff members in the hospital at this time and a number of international activists. Al-‘Ashi clarified that there is no intention to evacuate the hospital, noting that this was one of the only hospitals in Gaza to offer rehabilitative treatment for patients in these conditions.

The military’s demand to evacuate the hospital is unlawful. A hospital is not a military target and the military may not target it even after it is evacuated. The information B’Tselem has indicates that the hospital was ordered to evacuate as part of the sweeping demand to evacuate the entire neighborhood, in blatant disregard for the fact that evacuating a rehabilitation institution is a complicated task which may put lives at risk. There is no other rehabilitative institute in the area where patients can be transferred. These patients require special conditions that cannot be recreated. Transferring hospital patients is complicated and dangerous at the best of times. Under the current conditions in Gaza, the danger is mortal.

As the Western-backed regime in Kiev assaults pro-Russian militias in the major cities of eastern Ukraine, mass graves are coming to light in Slavyansk, the former opposition stronghold recently captured by Kiev. The government offensive is unfolding with the support of Washington and the European Union (EU), which yesterday imposed more sanctions to compel Moscow to abandon any support for opposition militias in Ukraine.

Andriy Lysenko, the spokesman for the Kiev regime’s Defense and Security Council, said yesterday that “hundreds of bodies of rebel fighters” had been found in shallow graves. Lysenko claimed some of the graves “have been mined by the terrorists”—apparently implying that some of the dead were killed during the siege of Slavyansk and buried by fellow opposition fighters before Kiev’s forces captured the town. Lysenko refused to give further details.

While the Kiev regime’s bombardment of Slavyansk doubtless caused hundreds of casualties, its own accounts show that the far-right Ukrainian nationalist militias it has mobilized are carrying out a campaign of political terror and murder in Slavyansk. Upon capturing the city, they detained all men between the ages of 25 and 35 on suspicion of supporting or giving aid, including medical aid, to the opposition militias.

On Tuesday, Interior Ministry official Anton Gerashchenko confirmed that two Slavyansk priests had been murdered for supporting opposition forces. “We found a grave of two priests from Slavyansk, who were tortured and killed by the Ukrainian nationalists,” Gerashchenko said. The bodies of two sons of one of the priests were discovered in the same grave as the priests’ mutilated remains.

The Odessa diocese confirmed that Ukrainian nationalists have threatened, beaten or kidnapped several Orthodox priests, many of whom they consider too close to Moscow. The Odessa diocese secretary, Archpriest Andrei Novikov, who has fled to Moscow fearing arrest by Ukrainian nationalist groups, said, “I’m sure if the government keeps its position, it will handle the physical liquidation of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.”

Statements by top Kiev officials during the siege of Slavyansk amounted to a blank check for its far-right forces—including fascist militias such as the Right Sector and Azov Battalion and the newly formed National Guard—to murder civilians.

President Petro Poroshenko pledged that his forces would “liquidate” opposition fighters. Adopting the tactics the Nazis used against resistance fighters in occupied Europe during World War II, Poroshenko called for disproportionate killings in retaliation for losses suffered by his regime, saying: “For every soldier’s life, the militants will pay with dozens and hundreds of their own.”

A BBC report on the Azov Battalion makes clear the type of fascist trash the Ukrainian regime and its backers in Washington and the European Union are unleashing on the population of eastern Ukraine. It interviewed Mikael Skillt, a white supremacist and former Swedish Army sniper now fighting with the Azov Battalion. Skillt said the unit includes “national socialists” who wear swastikas, but there is “even one liberal, though I don’t know how he got there.”

The Azov Battalion, which is financed by billionaire oligarch Igor Kolomoisky and has recruiters traveling internationally, is led by Andriy Biletsky, the head of the Social National Assembly (SNA). The SNA’s online mission statement specifies that its goals are to “punish severely” interracial sexual relations and “to prepare Ukraine for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital.”

Contacted by the BBC, the Kiev regime defended the Azov Battalion. Gerashchenko said, “The Social National Assembly is not a neo-Nazi organization.” He claimed the only non-Ukrainians in the Azov Battalion were “journalists from Sweden, Spain and Italy who have come to report on the heroic achievements of the fighters in their struggle against terrorism.”

The fascist atrocities in Ukraine are an indictment of Washington and the European powers, which publicly encouraged pro-EU demonstrations in Kiev led by far-right forces in order to topple pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Having built up the Right Sector and other fascist militias to crush Yanukovych’s riot police and install a pro-Western regime in the February 22 putsch, the Western governments and media are now concealing the fascists’ crimes.

The atrocities in Slavyansk further expose the hypocrisy of the advocates of “human rights” imperialism who praised Western intervention in support of the Kiev protests and the February 22 putsch, portraying the right-wing, pro-EU opposition to Yanukovych as a movement for democracy (see: “In the service of imperialism: Right-wing “intellectuals” gather in Kiev”). Their silence on the crimes of the Kiev regime highlights their role as agents of imperialism and fascist reaction.

The Western imperialist powers are stepping up their support for the Kiev regime as it intensifies its civil war and political terror in eastern Ukraine. Yesterday, US President Barack Obama announced new sanctions against Russia at a White House press conference.

The measures target firms including Rosneft, the world’s largest oil company; Gazprombank, the banking subsidiary of natural gas giant Gazprom; independent natural gas producer Novatek; and development lender Vnesheconombank. They are also directed against separatist groups in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. The sanctions restrict these entities’ access to US lending and the American financial system.

Obama said, “These sanctions are significant, but they are also targeted,” adding that they were designed to limit “spillover” effects for US companies.

Although Ukrainian government forces have repeatedly and provocatively shelled Russian border areas, Obama cynically placed responsibility for the crisis in Ukraine on Moscow. “We have to see concrete actions, and not just words that Russia in fact is committed to trying to end this conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border,” he said (see: “Moscow threatens response after Ukraine forces shell Russian border town”).

Meeting in Brussels yesterday, EU authorities imposed sanctions on “individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine.” These sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes affecting 72 Russian persons and entities.

“The situation in Ukraine is unacceptable,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said. “The territorial integrity of that country is not being properly respected by Russia.”

EU authorities proceeded with the new sanctions against Russia even though the economies of the EU and Russia are closely linked. With the two economies doing over $300 billion in yearly trade, broader sanctions risk triggering an economic collapse across the region.

The Ukraine crisis has already had a serious impact on the European economy, according to figures released by the European statistics agency Eurostat, which found that EU exports to Russia have fallen 11 percent and Russian exports to the EU have declined by 9 percent.

The Israeli government intensified its barbaric nine-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip yesterday, as senior ministers issued new warnings of a full-scale ground assault that would send the Palestinian death toll—already exceeding 220—soaring further.

They did so confident of Washington’s full support. Speaking at the White House yesterday, President Barack Obama declared, once again, that Israel had a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. Cynically, he blamed the Hamas-led government in Gaza for the “heartbreaking” deaths and injuries of “so many innocent civilians.”

“There’s no country on Earth that can be expected to live under a daily barrage of rockets,” Obama said, effectively giving a green light for an Israeli escalation. “Now, yesterday Israel did agree to a ceasefire. Unfortunately, Hamas continued to fire rockets at civilians, thereby prolonging the conflict.”

While he claimed that the US government was working intensively for a truce, Obama’s comments pointed to the real purpose of the supposed ceasefire proposal cooked up earlier in the week by the US-backed military regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Issued to Hamas as an ultimatum, without any consultation, the Sisi-Netanyahu pact was nothing but a pretext for Israel to unleash a new, even deadlier, phase of its military onslaught.

According to media reports, Hamas had proposed its own truce, offering ten years of calm in exchange for a complete lifting of Israel’s crippling siege of Gaza and the release of dozens of prisoners detained over the past month. The Sisi-Netanyahu plan, drawn up with US backing, met none of these demands, beyond a vague promise to ease the economic and supply blockade of Gaza “once the security situation stabilises.”

Today, under the cover of a five-hour ceasefire requested by the UN, supposedly for “humanitarian” purposes to allow food supplies into Gaza, preparations are being made for an invasion. Its goal would be to pulverise Gaza and destroy the Hamas leadership that has governed Gaza since winning elections in 2006.

Eight thousand more Israel Defence Force (IDF) reservists were called up yesterday in readiness for a ground blitzkrieg, taking the total to 50,000. More than 100,000 Gaza residents were again barraged with automated phone messages and air-borne leaflets ordering them to evacuate their homes.

Yesterday’s bombing targeted both the homes of prominent Hamas leaders and innocent children, in a bid to further terrorise the entire 1.7 million population of the tiny overcrowded enclave.

Israeli missiles hit the residences of Hamas leaders—including Mahmoud al-Zahar, an international spokesman; Fathi Hamad, a former interior minister; Ismail al-Ashqar, an ex-member of parliament; and Bassem Naim, an adviser to the former prime minister, Ismail Haniya.

While striking these homes with pinpoint precision, missiles also slaughtered four boys, aged between 8 and 11, on a Gaza beach in full view of international journalists.

Witnessing the atrocity first hand, Guardian reporter Peter Beaumont noted that after an initial missile hit the sea wall of Gaza City’s small harbour, “four figures could be seen running, ragged silhouettes, legs pumping furiously along the wall. Even from a distance of 200 metres, it was obvious that three of them were children.”

Minutes later, “the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: ‘They are only children’.”

When relatives gathered to bury the four dead boys, their uncle, Abdel Kareem Baker, 41, told reporters: “It’s a cold-blooded massacre. It’s a shame they didn’t identify them as kids with all of the advanced technology they claim they’re using.”

In a dismissive statement, Israel’s military said the deaths appeared to be the “tragic outcome” of an Israeli strike targeting Hamas “terrorist operatives.”

Mark Regev, spokesman for Netanyahu, said yesterday that an invasion of Gaza was “definitely an option.” Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, a frequent Netanyahu mouthpiece, urged a takeover of Gaza for a few weeks to “demilitarise” it, topple Hamas and pave the way to “something else.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his call for an invasion. “[I]t is not possible to ensure summer vacation, a normal summer for our kids, without a ground operation in Gaza,” he said. “We expect the international community to back Israel diplomatically as we act to ensure our citizens will live in peace.”

Speaking to international journalists at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters, an unnamed senior Israeli military official said the likelihood of an invasion was “very high.” An Israeli takeover of Gaza would take “a matter of days or weeks,” but could require an occupation “of many months.”

The official said the military had a variety of operational plans, including a full re-occupation of Gaza, which Israel seized in the 1967 war, withdrawing its settlers and soldiers only in 2005.

By yesterday, Israel had struck more than 1,800 sites in Gaza, exceeding the 1,500 targets of its eight-day assault in November 2012. More than 220 people have been killed and 1,500 injured. The Israeli army stated yesterday that “about half” of those killed have been civilians. However, the UN put the figure much higher, closer to 80 percent.

The Israeli leaflets dropped yesterday in northern Gaza and some neighbourhoods of Gaza City warned: “Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”

It was unclear how many residents were heeding the call. Hamas urged people to stay put, calling the warnings “psychological warfare.” In the densely populated and poor neighborhoods of Zeitoun and Shejaya in Gaza City, journalists said many people appeared confused, with some seeking shelter in friends’ homes deeper inside the neighborhoods rather than leaving.

“We got leaflets and calls to evacuate,” Um Mohammed Rahmi, 56, who was fleeing in a donkey-drawn cart with six of her neighbours, told Al Jazeera. “We don’t know where we are going. We don’t know where we should go … We are just going aimlessly.”

Hundreds of residents were seen walking in the streets, carrying small bags with belongings. “We don’t want to leave our homes, but we do this because of the children. There are many bombings and they get terrified,” Um Ramez said, as she and her grandchildren packed a car with clothes bags and food.

Meanwhile, on the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority regime of President Mahmoud Abbas blocked and suppressed protests against the Israeli offensive. Abbas was in Cairo yesterday to meet with Sisi, underscoring his complicity with the Egyptian and US administrations.

The Losers From U.S. Sanctions: AMERICAN Businesses

Who are the losers from U.S. sanctions?  American companies.

Two giant U.S. business groups – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers – ran ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post protesting sanctions against Russia.  These are not do-good political groups … they are conservative, hard-nosed pro-business groups.

The New York Times reports today:

American business groups have objected to unilateral sanctions, arguing that they would only hurt domestic businesses while their European competitors swooped in.

The National Association of Manufacturers said it “is disappointed that the U.S. is fundamentally extending sanctions in increasingly unilateral ways that will undermine U.S. commercial engagement and reduce the effectiveness of the measures imposed.”

Zero Hedge notes that the sanctions don’t seem to have hurt Russia much:

[The U.S. has] underperformed Russia by almost 20% since unleashing the first set of sanctions and sell recommendations ….

U.S. News and World Report pointed out in April:

Sanctioning Russia’s energy sector is a bad idea that will only marginally hurt Russia ….

Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer, and U.S. or E.U. sanctions against Russia will dramatically lower the global supply, thus raising global prices.

Bloomberg also reports that American power plants are “desperately” turning to Russia for their coal.

And sanctioning Russia has also pushed Russia to bypass US-controlled oil and gas systems altogether, and pushed Russia, China and Iran closer together.

The Wall Street Journal reports that – according to a new study – sanctions against Iran cost the U.S. as much as $175.3 billion in lost export opportunities over 18 years

In other words, by demonizing countries instead of peacefully trading with them, the U.S. is shooting itself in the foot economically.

This is not an isolated problem …

Ron Paul says that sanctions against Russia and Iran are acts of war.   Some analysis agree and others disagree.

But it has become clear that hawkish, imperialistic policies no longer benefit the American economy:

Similarly, NSA’s mass surveillance is destroying the economy  … but making a handful of people

 The first two days this week gold was subjected to a series of computer HFT-driven “flash crashes” that were aimed at cooling off the big move higher gold has made since the beginning of June. During this move higher, the hedge funds, who typically “chase” the momentum of gold up or down, built up hefty long positions in gold futures over the last 6 weeks. In order to disrupt the upward momentum in the price of gold, the bullion banks short gold in the futures market by dumping large contracts that drive down the price and make money for the banks in the process.

As we explained in previous articles on this subject, the price of gold is not determined in markets where physical gold is bought and sold but in the paper futures market where contracts trade and speculators place bets on the price of gold. Most of the contracts traded on the Comex futures market are settled in cash. The value of the contracts used to short gold and drive down the price is well in excess of the actual amount of physical gold that is kept on the Comex and available for delivery. One might think that regulators would pay attention to a market in which the value of contracts outstanding exceeds by several multiples the amount of physical gold available for delivery.

The Comex gold futures market trades 23 hours per day on a global computer system called Globex and on the NYC trading floor from 8:20 a.m. EST to 1:30p.m. EST (the 8:30 a.m. opening time on the face of the graph below is a draftsman’s error). The Comex floor trading session is the highest volume trading period during any 23 hour trading period because that is when most of the large U.S. financial institutions and other users of Comex futures (jewelry manufactures and gold mining companies) are open for business and therefore transact their Comex business during Comex floor hours in order to achieve the best trading execution at the lowest cost.

The big hedge funds primarily trade gold futures using computers and algorithm programs. When they buy, they set stop-loss orders which are used to protect their trading positions on the downside. A “stop-loss” order is an order to sell at a pre-specified price by a trader. A stop-loss order is automatically triggered and the position is sold when the market trades at the price which was pre-set with the stop-order.

The bullion banks who are members and directors of Comex have access to the computers used to clear Comex trades, which means they can see where the stop-loss orders are set. When they decide to short the market, they start selling Comex futures in large amounts to force the market low enough to trigger the stop-loss orders being used by the hedge fund computers. For instance, huge short-sell orders at 2:20 a.m. Monday morning triggered an avalanche of stop-loss selling, as shown in this graph of Monday’s (July 14) action (click on graph to enlarge):

Graph1

In the graph above, the first circled red bar shows the flash crash that was engineered at 2:20 a.m. EST, a typically low-volume, quiet period for gold trading. 13.5 tonnes of short-sales were unloaded into the Comex computer trading system. The second circled red bar shows a second engineered flash-crash right before the Comex floor opened at 8:20 a.m. EST. This was triggered by sales of futures contracts representing 27.5 tonnes of gold. A third hit (not shown) occurred at 9:01 a.m. This time contracts representing 40 tonnes of gold hit the market.

The banks use the selling from the hedge funds to cover the short positions they’ve amassed and book trading profits as they cover their short positions at price levels that are below the prices at which their short positions were established. This is insider trading and unrestrained financial terrorism at its finest.

As shown on the graph below, on Tuesday, July 15, another flash-crash in gold was engineered in the middle of Janet Yellen’s very “dovish” Humphrey-Hawkins testimony. Contracts representing 45 tonnes of gold were sold in 3 minutes, which took gold down over $13 and below the key $1300 price level. There were no apparent news triggers or specific comments from Yellen that would have triggered a sudden sell-off in gold — just a massive dumping of gold futures contracts. No other related market (stocks, commodities) registered any unusual movement up or down when this occurred:

Graph2

Between July 14 and July 15, contracts representing 126 tonnes of gold was sold in a 14-minute time window which took the price of gold down $43 dollars. No other market showed any unusual or extraordinary movement during this period.

To put contracts for 126 tonnes of gold into perspective, the Comex is currently reporting that 27 tonnes of actual physical gold are classified as being available for deliver should the buyers of futures contracts want delivery. But the buyers are the banks themselves who won’t be taking delivery.

One motive of the manipulation is to operate and control Comex trading in a manner that helps the Fed contain the price of gold, thereby preventing its rise from signaling to the markets that problems festering in the U.S. financial system are growing worse by the day. This is an act of financial terrorism supported by federal regulatory authorities. Another motive is to help support the relative trading level of the U.S. dollar, as we’ve described in previous articles on this topic. And, of course, the banks make money from the manipulation of the futures market.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the branch of government which was established to oversee the Comex and enforce long-established trading regulations, has been presented with the evidence of manipulation several times. Its near-automatic response is to disregard the evidence and look the other way. The only explanation for this is that the Government is complicit in the price suppression and manipulation of gold and silver and welcomes the insider trading that helps to achieve this result. The conclusion is inescapable: if illegality benefits the machinations of the US government, the US government is all for illegality.

President Xi Jinping arrived in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Monday for a summit of the BRICS countries. Before embarking on the trip, he gave a joint written interview to the major media organizations from Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.

During his ongoing Latin America tour, Xi will also pay state visits to the four countries above and attend the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit in Brazil.

The media organizations include Brazil’s Valor Economico, Argentina’s La Nacion, Venezuela’s Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, and Cuba’s Agencia Informativa Latino Americana.

The following is the full text of the interview:

1. How do you evaluate BRICS cooperation in the past five years since its inception and how would it be strengthened in the future? What is your expectation of the upcoming BRICS Summit in Fortaleza? Given the slowdown or even stagnation of the developed economies, great hopes are placed on the BRICS countries. How could the BRICS countries overcome their diversity to become the engine of the global economy?

Over the past five years, BRICS has formed a pattern of multi-tiered and wide-ranging cooperation that is led by the leaders’ meeting. Among BRICS countries, there has been growing political mutual trust, expanding practical cooperation in economy, finance, trade, development and many other areas as well as increasing communication and coordination on important international affairs.

What has happened has proved that when BRICS countries, which account for 42.6% of the world population, enjoy economic growth and social stability and work together for common development, it conforms with the call of the times for peace, development and win-win cooperation and will thus facilitate a more balanced world economy, more effective global governance and more democratic international relations.

The Brazilian author Paulo Coelho once said, “The world is in the hands of those who have the courage to live their dreams with their talent.” Today, the international landscape continues to undergo intricate changes. The world economy is recovering steadily, but still faces many risks and challenges. Against this backdrop, the Fortaleza summit has great significance in advancing BRICS cooperation as it will take stock of past progress and plan for the future. I hope that the summit could deepen cooperation, display inclusiveness and convey confidence.

To deepen cooperation means we need to make strategic planning for BRICS’ future development. At the Durban summit last year, I proposed that “BRICS should move toward the goal of integrated markets, multi-tiered network, connectivity by land, air and sea, and greater cultural exchanges”. This is my keen expectation for closer economic partnership among BRICS. I hope that all the members could make full use of the beginning summit of a new cycle to come up with new vision, find new dynamism, and solidify BRICS cooperation through better institutions, more mature policy coordination and more substantive practical cooperation.

To display inclusiveness means that BRICS countries should learn from and complement each other while opening up further to the rest of the world in pursuit of win-win outcome. Given the different national conditions and culture, the BRICS countries may have different views on certain issues. But such diversity and differences should and can motivate rather than impede complementary and inclusive BRICS cooperation. BRICS cooperation is not solely aimed at self improvement. It is intended to bring about common development through concerted efforts with all other countries. On the sidelines of the Fortaleza summit, the BRICS leaders will have a dialogue with leaders of South American countries. It is hoped that the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, enhance mutual understanding and collaboration, and explore practical cooperation in the economic, trade, people-to-people and cultural areas.

To convey confidence means we should have full confidence in the solidarity and mutual trust among the BRICS countries and in the prospect of BRICS, and also boost the confidence of the market and people in the BRICS economies. It is important to take a long-term perspective. The BRICS countries have the need to pursue economic restructuring and innovative development. We also share the desire to safeguard international justice and equity and uphold the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries. As long as the BRICS countries continue to build political mutual trust and strategic consensus, make our voice heard and propose more solutions, we will contribute more positive energy to world economic growth, better global economic governance and world peace and development.

Brazil plays an active role in BRICS cooperation and has done a great deal of work to make the Fortaleza summit possible. I am confident that with Brazil as the chair, the Fortaleza summit will become another success in the history of BRICS cooperation.

2. What is your view of the China-Brazil global strategic partnership? In which areas will China cooperate with Brazil? Will China increase investment in Brazil?

The Chinese side and I myself attach great importance to growing the global strategic partnership with Brazil. I am delighted to see that, thanks to joint efforts, our political and strategic trust has reached an unprecedented level, and bilateral practical cooperation has reached such a depth and breadth as never seen before.

Last year, President Rousseff and I had two bilateral meetings on multilateral occasions. We also stayed in contact through phone calls. We have had in-depth discussion on China-Brazil relations and issues of shared interest, and reached important agreement on enhancing our mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

Two-way trade volume exceeded US$90 billion last year. China remains Brazil’s largest trading partner, and Brazil has become China’s ninth largest trading partner. The two sides have conducted win-win, fruitful cooperation in energy, resources, manufacturing, finance and agriculture. The practical cooperation between China and Brazil has not only generated more and more real benefits for our two peoples, but also brought our two countries more closely together in the course of development.

As major emerging markets and developing countries, China and Brazil have been engaged in effective strategic coordination on major global issues. We are both committed to making the international order more just and equitable and upholding common interests of developing countries.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Brazil diplomatic ties. Confucius once said, “One should have no more doubts when he is 40.” I am looking forward to my state visit to Brazil. During the visit, the Brazilian leaders and I will sum up the experience of growing our bilateral relations, discuss concrete steps to build closer cooperation and exchanges in all fields and upgrade our bilateral relations. Our two countries should continue to see each other as important partners. China is ready to work with Brazil under the principle of mutual benefit to promote sustained growth of two-way trade. At the same time, we could, bearing in mind our respective plans of development, carry out industrial investment cooperation and keep exploring new areas of cooperation so as to contribute more to economic and social development of our two countries.

3. How do you assess the current China-Argentina strategic partnership? What do you think are the major areas in which the two countries will be able to work together?

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago, our bilateral ties have moved forward rapidly thanks to the joint efforts of the two sides. As a line from the Argentine epic Martin Fierro goes, “Brothers have to be united, because this is the first law.” China and Argentina have become trustworthy friends and equal partners in win-win cooperation.

Last year, President Cristina and I met at the G20 St. Petersburg Summit. We had an in-depth exchange of views on increasing exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in all fields. The meeting is still vivid in my memory. China appreciates Argentina’s commitment to the one-China principle and supports Argentina’s claim on the sovereignty of the Malvinas.

In 2013, bilateral trade reached US$14.8 billion, more than 2,400 times of the amount in the early days of our diplomatic ties. China has become Argentina’s second largest trading partner and a major source of investment. Argentina has become China’s fifth largest trading partner in Latin America. The two sides have had productive cooperation in energy, resources, agriculture, infrastructure development and finance, bringing real benefits to the two peoples. Thanks to the rich programs of people-to-people exchanges, mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Argentine people have deepened. On major international and regional affairs, China and Argentina have maintained close and sound strategic coordination, effectively upholding common interests of developing countries.

My country and I personally attach great importance to China-Argentina strategic partnership. I look forward to having an in-depth exchange of views with President Cristina on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest to chart the course for the growth of bilateral relations, forge closer exchanges and cooperation in all fields, promote balanced and steady growth of bilateral trade and upgrade mutually beneficial cooperation in industrial investment and infrastructure development so as to bring China-Argentina strategic partnership to a new level.

4. How do you evaluate the contribution by President Hugo Chavez to Venezuela-China relations? What is China’s expectation of enhancing cooperation and growing strategic partnership for common development with Venezuela under the leadership of President Maduro?

President Chavez was a great friend of the Chinese people. He was deeply committed to growing relations with China and personally involved in advancing practical cooperation between the two countries. The Chinese people will always remember him for his tremendous dedication and enormous contribution to the establishment and development of China-Venezuela strategic partnership for common development.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Venezuela. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, especially the establishment of strategic partnership for common development in 2001, China-Venezuela relations have witnessed comprehensive, sustained and rapid growth. The two countries enjoy close high-level exchanges and ever-deepening political mutual trust. Our practical cooperation in energy, finance, infrastructure development, agriculture and hi-tech has been productive. Bilateral trade volume grew to US$19.2 billion last year from only US$1.4 million in the early days of diplomatic relations. China has become Venezuela’s second largest trading partner. Venezuela is China’s fourth largest trading partner in Latin America, an important partner for energy cooperation and a major market of contracted projects. The ever-closer people-to-people exchange has cemented popular support for the friendly relations between the two countries. Last September, President Maduro paid a successful state visit to China, giving a strong boost to China-Venezuela relations. Recently, the two sides have jointly organized a series of activities in celebration of the 40th anniversary, which have enhanced the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

The relationship between China and Venezuela is at an important stage from which it will move to a new era based on past achievements. China highly values its relations with Venezuela and stands ready to work with Venezuela, taking the 40th anniversary as an opportunity, to upgrade bilateral relations, step up mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields and promote greater development of bilateral relations in the new era. I look forward to visiting Venezuela to have an in-depth exchange of views with President Maduro on all-dimensional cooperation between the two countries, draw plans for the future of bilateral relations, take our relations to a new level and bring more benefits to our two peoples.

5. How do you view the friendly and cooperative relationship between China and Cuba and its future development?

I visited Cuba in June 2011. During that visit, I had open and in-depth exchange of views with President Raul Castro and was deeply impressed by the warmth and hospitality of the Cuban people.

In 1960, Cuba took the lead among countries in the Western Hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with New China, opening a new chapter for the growth of China’ s relations with Cuba and with Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past half a century and more, the friendly relationship between China and Cuba has increasingly matured and our cooperation has been steadily enriched. Our two countries have progressed hand in hand along the path of socialism with our respective characteristics, supported each other on issues concerning our respective core interests and coordinated closely on major regional and international issues. This relationship has stood the test of constant changes in the international landscape and set an example of unity and cooperation between developing countries.

Cuban national hero Jose Marti said, “To be united: this is the word of the world.” China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades and good brothers who share the same visions and beliefs. Both countries have now come to a critical juncture in our development when opportunities must be seized for common development. We should maintain close high-level exchanges, share experience in governance, speed up cooperation in priority areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, energy and mineral resources, tourism, renewable energy and biotechnology, enhance people-to-people and local exchanges and conduct close coordination on multilateral arenas. I believe that with concerted efforts of the two sides, our high-level political relations will be translated into rich results in practical cooperation, and our mutually-beneficial and friendly cooperation will be lifted to new levels.

I look forward to meeting President Raul Castro during my visit to Cuba to take stock of experience in growing the bilateral relationship and chart the course for its future development.

6. How would you comment on the current level of relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean? What are your plans and visions for the growth of the overall relationship between the two sides?

“Bosom friends make distance disappear.” This line from an ancient Chinese poem well captures the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. China and Latin American and the Caribbean states are all developing countries in about the same development stage and face the same task of striving for development. We support each other in pursuing development paths that suit our respective national conditions and are committed to making the international order more just and equitable. These are the fundamental reasons which enable us to seek common ground while shelving differences and stand by each other’s side in our joint pursuit of development.

Since the beginning of the new century, China and Latin American and the Caribbean states, focusing on the theme of common development, have deepened mutual trust in the political field, expanded cooperation in economy and trade, learned from each other in cultural and people-to-people exchanges and coordinated closely in international affairs. This has made it possible for us to make big strides in our relations and set a model for South-South cooperation.

Practical cooperation in economy and trade is an important pillar for relations between the two sides. In recent years, two-way trade has continued to rise and reached a record high of US$261.6 billion in 2013. China has become the second largest trading partner and the third largest source of investment of Latin America and the Caribbean. Our cooperation in energy and resources, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and high-tech has produced rich results for mutual benefit, giving a strong boost to economic growth and improvement in people’ s wellbeing on both sides.

Now, we are presented with important opportunities and blessed with better conditions and a more solid basis to further grow our relations. China always views its relations with Latin American and the Caribbean states from a strategic height and long-term perspective, and stands ready to work together with them to advance the comprehensive and cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development between the two sides to a higher level, so as to better benefit the people of China, Latin American and the Caribbean states, and the rest of the world.

To establish a forum between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for stronger cooperation between China and the region is consistent with the trend of regional and interregional cooperation. It is also the shared aspiration of China and Latin American and the Caribbean states.

At the second CELAC Summit held in Havana, Cuba in January this year, a special statement on the establishment of a China-CELAC forum was adopted, which laid an important foundation for promoting the overall cooperation and uplifting the relationship between the two sides. Cuba has played an important role in this regard, which is highly appreciated by China.

Now, conditions are ripe for the establishment of the China-CELAC forum. China is ready to work with CELAC to make good use of the platform for overall cooperation provided by the forum in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, conduct dialogue and cooperation across the board, and strive for mutual complementarity and common development, so as to contribute to upholding the common interests of the two sides, advancing South-South cooperation, and promoting regional and world peace, stability and development.

7. Bolivarian Revolution advocates upholding and promoting a multi-polar world. How do you view the issue of democracy in international relations?

The international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes. The trend toward a multi-polar world is gathering momentum, multiple growth centers are emerging in various regions of the world, the overall strength of emerging markets and developing countries is rising, and the international balance of power is more favorable to maintaining world peace.

“When the great way is followed, all under the heaven will be equal.” Equality and justice is the noble goal pursued by people around the world in international relations. China resolutely upholds international justice and equality, and is committed to promoting a multi-polar world and democracy in international relations. We maintain that the destiny of the world must be taken into the hands of peoples of all countries and that world affairs can only be handled through consultation by governments and peoples around the world. All countries, regardless of their size, strength or wealth, are equal members of the international community and should work together for greater democracy in international relations.

The growth of China-Venezuela relations will help enhance the overall strength of developing countries and promote democracy in international relations. The two sides should step up coordination on the international stage and work with other developing countries to jointly uphold the overall interests of developing countries.

8. How would China further deepen reform? What is the significance of China’s development for its foreign policy? What kind of role does China hope to play in the world?

Despite the enormous achievements in its development, China remains a big developing country with a population of more than 1.3 billion. It remains and will continue to be at the primary stage of socialism for a long time. The Chinese people are striving to realize modernization, a great undertaking unprecedented in human history that requires painstaking efforts.

“Just as jade needs to be polished, one needs to go through trials and tribulations to be strong.” In the past 30 years and more, over 600 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, accounting for 70% of the global achievement in poverty reduction. The share of the Chinese economy in the world economy has risen from 1% to 12%, and China’s economic growth now contributes to nearly 30% of global growth. The most important reason for the tremendous accomplishments in China’s development is that we are committed to reform and opening-up in light of China’s national conditions and have embarked on a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Chinese people have long had a strong inclination towards innovation. As ancient Chinese sayings go, “Even an established nation like Zhou still regards self-renewal as its mission;” and “As heaven maintains vigor through movements, a gentleman should constantly strive for self-perfection.” What has happened shows that without reform and opening-up, China could not have come to where it is today, nor can it have a future. Over the past 30 years and more, we have resolved a series of major issues through reform. Going forward, we will continue to meet the various difficulties and challenges through reform.

We have put forward “two centenary goals”, namely, to double the 2010 GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents and complete the building of a society of moderate prosperity in all respects by 2020; and to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious and realize the Chinese dream of great national renewal by the middle of this century. We are now comprehensively deepening reform, improving and developing the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing the state governance system and capacity. We will promote reform of the economic, political, cultural, social and ecological systems and the Party’s development system in a balanced way.

We will advance reform with the political courage and wisdom of “venturing into the mountain despite the fact there might be tigers there”. When we step onto the stone, we will leave our footprints on it; and when we clutch a piece of iron, we will leave our handprints on it. This is the spirit we will uphold in pushing forward reform. By so doing, we strive to provide a stronger driving force for China’s modernization, bring more and greater benefits to the Chinese people and create new development opportunities for the world.

China’s basic national conditions and status as the most populous developing country remain unchanged and development is still our top priority. The purpose of China’s foreign policy is to uphold world peace, promote common development and foster a sound external environment for deepening reform and realizing the “two centenary goals” within China. The Chinese people love peace. It is not in the genes of the Chinese nation to invade other countries or seek world hegemony. China does not subscribe to the outdated logic that “a strong country is bound to seek hegemony”. Committed to the path of peaceful development, China actively seeks a peaceful international environment for its development and also promotes world peace through its own development. By committing itself to peaceful development, China will make a better use of the opportunities in the world and also enable the world to better share in the opportunities brought by China, so as to promote sound interactions and mutual benefits between China and other countries in the world.

As China develops, it will better play its role as a major responsible country. We will be more active in working to uphold world peace, advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and commit ourselves to peacefully resolving disputes through consultation and negotiation. We will firmly uphold the UN-centered post-war international order and actively participate in UN peacekeeping missions and regional security dialogue and cooperation.

We will play a more active role in international affairs, commit ourselves to improving international governance system, and make vigorous efforts to increase the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs. We will offer more Chinese solutions, contribute Chinese wisdom and provide the international community with more public goods.

We will more actively promote common development, uphold the right approach to justice and interests with a priority to justice, and promote North-South dialogue and South-South cooperation. In particular, we will help other developing countries achieve self and sustainable development.

Today, not only the Russian mass media has raised the issue of the investigation of war crimes in Ukraine, but delegates of European media as well. Journalistic investigation led me to the Russian refugee camp, located not far from the place of military events. There is another world, though the planet is the same – the Earth. Water, food, light, absence of firing, a manifestation of humanity in everyday life allow people to feel safe again and with gratitude to accept the help and care in the neighboring state. All that they have lost overnight, continuing to remain citizens of Ukraine.

Before me there are those, who saw the war in the XXI century with their own eyes. I’m listening to them and internally I shudder at the thought that all this is experienced by the people whom 23 years ago we were unified with.

- For three days the relatives who remained in Lugansk haven’t slept. Happily you can still sleep at night as the sleep is impossible. Now there is a tank battle and a grenade attack. My mother called, crying.

Correspondent: Tell me, please, if the civilians tried to hang out any identification marks – the red cross flag or any flags so that they were not being bombed or shot.

-  It`s useless! We tried it many times. The grandfather took a white flag when he went with children.  They were all shot. They do not respond to any signs. The most terrible thing for those whose homes are near the mines is that they are destroyed. In settlements and in the city there are tipper-offs who orient mercenaries of the Kiev junta to bomb certain objects – shops, mines, hospitals. Snitches deliberately spread the rumors that the Chechens are located elsewhere. Since June 16, at 8 pm there have been bombed a military sports camp “Forest Dawns”, where there were only two watchmen and a granddaughter of one of the guards. I saw it with my own eyes how the aircraft dropped cluster bombs.

Correspondent: How did the armistice announced by Poroshenko go? Did the representatives of the National Guard suggest to hand over the weapon?

- There was armistice those days, they were shooting us as well. The weapon was never suggested to be handed over.  Informants were waiting at places for the representatives of the National Guard and when they arrived, they only pointed the finger at those who had a different opinion and who participated in the defense of the territory. At schools at the Farewell Bell the children of such informers threatened our children: “I`ll shoot you and I`ll kill you”. It was the feeling that this was a zombie uttering. In the village Novoukrainka, of Luhansk region my acquaintances were talking in the company of neighbors and one of them said that they are leaving to Russia with the family the following morning. At night they were found dead. Only a 5-year-old child got to the intensive care, but I don’t know at all, whether he survived. After canceling the truce the bombing became more fierce. In the village Makarovo the locals asked the volunteers to remove a checkpoint to pass up. As soon as militants departed, the civilians were opened fire at. They rushed back crying “militants, help.” They were fleeing with children. But the soldiers of the National Guard were shooting them ruthlessly. The houses of my relatives from the settlement were completely destroyed.  Now, being here, I don’t know what happened to my house at all.

Correspondent: How often do you communicate with your relatives who remain in Ukraine?

- Often, every day. But our calls are suppressed, the talk is permanently interrupted. When I call my relatives, they ask: “Don’t tell anything superfluous, talks are being monitored”. We try to communicate very quickly.

Correspondent: Tell me, what the relations between you, who are in favour of  the declaration of  the independence and those who are for the present Ukrainian power are?

- When we come across each other and have to communicate, everyone expresses their opinion. We treat them normally and quietly. They’ve got a completely different reaction. They are ready, figuratively speaking, “to scratch our eyes” and avoid any communication.

Correspondent: What do you think causes such aggression?

- First and foremost, they are defiantly against communicating in Russian. And second, after the referendum, when Poroshenko refused to recognize our voluntary decision.

Correspondent: Hasn’t the Ukrainian language become the national language for you during the years of independence of the republic?

- No. As many years as we have lived in our land for so many years we have been speaking only Russian. Someone on the outskirts of villages knows and can speak Ukrainian too, but it doesn’t cause any anger in us or desire to kill. Earlier the Ukrainian language was taught as a subject in schools, and now Russian is established as a separate subject, and all the lessons should be conducted in Ukrainian. It`s hard for children to study, they didn’t get used to it, many of them don’t understand the language. English is taught through Ukrainian. Children have to translate from English into Russian at first, and then into Ukrainian.  Why is there such a complexity?

Correspondent: How is the higher education organised?

–  The same.  Students must address the professors only in Ukrainian. All the subjects are taught only in Ukrainian.  The Russian groups of training aren’t present.  Though it is more convenient to many professors to teach in Russian, they are obliged to teach in Ukrainian.

Correspondent: Does the majority of people run to Russia?

- Yes. Where else can we go? Those who have relatives in other regions of Ukraine, go there. We have no one there. But our children can’t go, for example, to Western Ukraine even to study. The daughter of my sister after leaving school wanted to enter a Medical Academy to study to study to be a pharmacist. In Lugansk, it was also possible to study, but it`s considered that this specialization is better taught in Lviv university. The girl called Lviv to find out what documents were necessary for the admission. She was immediately asked where she was from. As soon as they heard that she was from Lugansk region, they responded:  “Prepare coffins.” And one more my acquaintance took out his wife to Ternopol to live at her aunt’s. At first, the wife was going shopping all by herself, but now she is afraid. Our dialect is different. You can hear the way we speak now.

Correspondent: It turns out, once defining your specific dialect, a feeling of hatred towards you is immediately erupted?

–  It turns out so. Therefore, we have nowhere to run. I used to have friends earlier in Lviv and Lviv region. Now none of them keeps in touch with me.

Correspondent: Do you think you will be able to return to the territory of Ukraine soon?

– Where to return now when the power station and the railroad are blown up? There is no light, no gas, no food. Children are deprived of lives to sell their organs. The Russian journalists and television operators are killed to get rid of the proofs of the criminal actions. It`s awfully to see the torn bodies and guts. If the National Guard want to take away the corpses of the soldiers, the militants always give them such an opportunity. As soon as the militants try to carry away the soldiers from the battlefield, the National Guard open fire straightaway. They even shot the grandfather Ostap who asked to take away the perished militants: “Sonny, in fact you are the same people as we are. Give them away. I will bury the guys”. He was walking with a stick, he had his hair and beard all gray, whom could he do any harm? For what? Do they want to starve us because of the slate gas? It is necessary to America to have it by the means of such bloodshed?

Correspondent: What TV channels are broadcast at your place? Which of the things you have told about above are shown on the Ukrainian television?

– The Ukrainian channels didn’t show the truth, the actual state of things. We stopped watching them. We watch Russia 24 and Lifenews.

Correspondent: How are you accepted in Russia?

– Oh, in Russia we were met very well. Here in the camp for refugees the staff is remarkable and the volunteers help us absolutely free of charge. They provide us with the humanitarian assistance. Each time they are carrying heavy packets, we see how their hands almost come off, they come every day. We have meals here three times a day. The food is nutritious. We were starving back in Ukraine, we really had nothing to eat. We shared a meal among all in small piece. Here a sponsor who would not give his name, gave the gifts to 217 people last week, not only some delicious surprises for children, but also for all the adults. You know, we are given everything: washing powder, clothes pegs, blankets, and clothes. People come and ask: “Tell us what is it exactly that you need? We will go and will buy everything! Just tell what is necessary for you.” I never expected that there would be such a warm attitude at the moment of grief in my life.

Correspondent: So do you really feel that you have met brothers and sisters here?

– Yes, that’s this very feeling! My car broke down on the way here. It was impossible to be towed by a bus, so the volunteers have towed it here. Now they’re helping with the repair. You can’t imagine how greatly I have been dressed here, I wasn’t wearing such things back at home. I was walking around in one shirt and a pair of trousers which already 5-6 years old, and here I was presented with everything new. I strongly ask to forgive us if we happen to be a little slow or if we say something wrong. Don’t take offense to us. Do understand that we are the same people as you are, we have children. We didn’t “horde”, we haven`t got anywhere to run!

” We haven`t got anywhere to run! ” This is the phrase I heard most often when, interrupting each other, people were sharing their pain with me. I could hardly fight back tears. There was a huge desire to embrace them. When the people have suffered such a severe psychological shock, you are afraid to show a lot of emotions, you are trying to be calm and to hand a feeling of peace over to them. I think I managed to do it a bit. I was delighted with the professional work of psychologists in Voronezh who for a short period of time managed to help the people recover from the shock.  If upon arrival, they feared the drone of the aircraft and hunched their shoulders, the children cried, ran to parents and hid themselves, on day of my conversation, little three-year-old Ksyusha was not at all scared of an aircraft flying over us. I asked the beautiful blue-eyed girl: “Ksyusha, are you afraid of the airplane?” The child looked up in the sky and said: “No. The plane is big and Ksyusha is already big.”

Looking round at a small group of people passing Ksyusha and me, I was surprised to know that the camp was visited by Zelmira Sinclair, Senior Legal Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It turned out that Zelmira Sinclair was not invited but given a task of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to visit the border regions of Ukraine and to look at the conditions of the placement of the refugees. I managed to ask the Senior Adviser a few questions. Despite the fact that the massive influx of the refugees from South-Eastern Ukraine in Russia has increased significantly during the exacerbation of fighting between the supporters of pro-independence Donbass and Kiev`s security officers,  Zelmira Sinclair calmly reacted to this piece of news.  She believes that it won`t lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, as Russia is quite successfully coping with this problem. The Russian authorities take appropriate measures to ensure good conditions for the citizens of Ukraine, so no humanitarian catastrophe is expected in her opinion. Answering the question what measures the top management is going to take to reduce the number of the refugees in need the Senior Adviser responded that the assistance can only be provided in case of the official appeal of the Russian authorities. The issue of political matter – what other evidence of war crimes has still to be submitted to start an immediate investigation – appeared not to be in the competence of the UN representative. I heard hackneyed phrases: it is necessary to sit down at a negotiating table and to decide.

How long is it possible to carry on negotiations, solving nothing and taking no steps?

In Donbass region there is obviously a humanitarian catastrophe: medicines, essentials and food are not enough.  Refugees en masse have begun to arrive in Voronezh region which borders Lugansk region of Ukraine, since June, 8. According only to data of July, 3, the day  Zelmira Sinclair was visiting the refugee camps, in the region of Voronezh there came 1369 people. Generally they are inhabitants of Lugansk and Donetsk areas. On July, 1 there arrived over 150,000 refugees from Ukraine, who were adopted by 48 regions. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, there are almost 18,000 Ukrainian refugees in 252 centers of temporary accommodation in the Russian Federation. FMS reports that more than 14 thousand Ukrainians asked for a temporary shelter and a refugee status.

I don`t know what Zelmira Sinclair has reported to the top management after the completing her task. Perhaps communicating with the citizens of Ukraine, being in camp, she took them for tourists. On the day of the meeting with the adviser people were looking rested. It`s a pity that a Senior Legal Adviser did not visit the camp on the first day of their settlement and didn`t see the frightened, screaming, half-naked children whose parents didn`t have time to dress them when there started the bombing of their homes.

I want to believe that the mission of the UN representative is fundamentally different from the aims of the employees of the U.S. Department of State. America persistently continues to call the people running to Russia tourists, allegedly without knowing they were all threatened so much, that the people are afraid to ask for a status of refugees as they still have relatives as hostages. Their nearest and dearest were promised to be repressed if the people ask the status of refugees – this is the fact the USA doesn’t wish to notice and take into consideration. All this clearly demonstrates how the actions of the present authorities and power structures of Ukraine are coordinated by the intelligence services of the USA which gave them a task at any cost to achieve the state when the international organizations wouldn’t get to know the real number of people – namely of refugees, while tourists don’t need to be taken into consideration at all. After all, if the person is too intimidated to seek shelter in Russia, then the statistics of the war crimes won’t be challenged…

I express special gratitude to all the staff of Voronezh Children’s Health Camp “Bonfire”, on the basis of which the camp for refugees has been formed. The Russian children who were to spend their holiday there, refused to have rest there so that the brothers and sisters from relative Ukraine could be rescued. I’m proud of the people of Voronezh, among which there are also my parents. Here, in Voronezh land, I’ve met amazing sympathy, nobleness and true patriotism.

Lana Zoricheva is a Correspondent for Radio Bergen in Russia and the CIS

“Much of what passes today for diplomacy is not diplomacy at all; its propaganda … We are trying to use diplomacy for a task for which it has never been designed: propaganda and psychological warfare.”   - Theodore Sands

On December 8, 1953, President Eisenhower delivered a speech to the UN that was described as ‘a splendid piece of political theater’. President Eisenhower, Lewis L. Strauss, C.D. Jackson and John Foster Dulles worked on the final draft of the speech on a plane home from the Bermuda conference. Jackson had even kept the plane circling so that the finished document could be handed to the press as soon as they landed[i].

The speech was intended to make the atom ‘friendly’ and highlight its peaceful benefits, though it had a far more sinister intent. The speech was intended to counter the Soviet peace initiative. Washington was fearful that Moscow’s cooperation and its propensity for peace would underscore Washington’s baseless accusations that had painted the Soviet Union as the greatest threat to the world. With the Soviet peace initiative, Washington would risk losing reluctant allies or neutrals to an unthreatening USSR. The Atoms for Peace speech was intended to invalidate Soviet’s peace initiative[ii].

With this in mind, America proposed that Soviets and Americans contribute fissionable materials to the International Atomic Energy for peaceful uses, was a peace counteroffensive calculated on a Soviets decline. At the same time, the United States needed to appear eager to secure Soviet cooperation so as to place the failure of the negotiations on Soviet intransigence. But the Soviets upped the ante.

In response to the fissile pool, the official Soviet response stressed the “unconditional banning of atom and hydrogen weapons” – in other words, atomic disarmament. The United States found itself in an awkward position. Eisenhower’s speech was not a call to disarmament. It was a counter-peace initiative. In response, it resorted to the monopolization of  ‘atoms for peace’ by ensuring that the U.S. would be the first to establish nuclear presence in various countries that would make them dependent on the U.S. for every aspect of the nuclear program from design, construction, initial operation, educational material and so forth.

In this vein, Iran’s nuclear program was initiated under the former Shah of Iran. For as long as the Shah was a poster boy for General Electric nuclear reactors, America encouraged Iran’s civilian nuclear program.  In fact,  in 1975, according to National Security Decision Memorandum 292, the United States gave permission [emphasis added] for “U. S. material to be fabricated into fuel in Iran for use in its own reactors and for pass-through to third countries with whom we have Agreements. “

All changed with the Iranian revolution that ousted the Shah. In other words, the United States appointed itself interpreter and executioner of international laws and treaties, doling out favors to ‘allies’ and punishing nations that valued sovereignty. Iran was punished, and painted as a threat for pursuing its rights within the framework of international law and the NPT.

President Obama opted for ‘diplomacy’ taking a leaf from Eisenhower’s book. Disguising propaganda and psychological warfare as diplomacy, he feigned an interest in ‘negotiating’ Iran’s nuclear program as discussed with AIPAC. During his presidential campaign in 2008, he reassured AIPAC of his intentions, stating:

“Our willingness to pursue diplomacy will make it easier to join our cause.  If Iran fails to change course when presented with this choice by the United States it will be clear to the people of Iran and to the world that the Iranian regime is the author of its own isolation and that will strengthen our hand with Russia and China as we insist on stronger sanctions in the Security Council.” (See Geneva 3, Iran Nuclear Negotiations for Dummies).

In spite of the numerous obstacles placed in its path, Iran has demonstrated to the world that it wishes to pursue peace and transparency. It exercised ‘heroic flexibility’ to cooperate with the P5+1 and consistently and tirelessly demonstrated its goodwill, transparency, and cooperation. But as with the Eisenhower era, Iran’s cooperation has demonstrated to the world that it is not a threat. Its peaceful agenda is the greatest threat to Washington’s agenda.

For 34 years, Washington has been engaged in covert and overt operation to overthrow the government of the Iranian people. It has been complicit in war and war crimes. It has violated bilateral treaties, international laws, and even customary laws. For decades, Washington has demonized Iran in order to persuade friend and foe to forgo billions of dollars in trade and profit.  Its fear mongering has enabled it to recycle petrodollars and its expansion.  It has even committed acts of terror and has supported terrorism with the justification that Iran is the threat.

In light of Iran’s full cooperation, how can Washington explain its actions?  How can Washington live in peace? As Sun Tzu said, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

Notes:

[i] Cull, Nicholas, “The Cold War and the United States Information Agency  (FRUS 1952-1954, Vol. 2, part 2, Memo of discussion at NSC, 30 July 1953, pp. 1184-1185; Memo by Robert Cutler, 10 September 1953; Chronology, Atoms for Peace project, 30 September 1954).

[ii] Osgood, Kenneth. “Total Cold War; Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home andAbroad”, University Press of Kansas, 2006 Pp 153-161

 How can I monitor what I need to monitor while still providing enough of a backstage for the ones who need it, enabling the alliances we want? John Neiditz, Big Data Tech Law, Jul 12, 2014

 A post by John Neiditz in Big Data Tech Law (Jul 12)[1] makes use of a pertinent concept to relations in the workplace. He draws on the work of sociologist Erving Goffman, who suggests that individuals need a “backstage” to ready themselves for interaction with each other.  The point about the latter hinges on performance, something of a theatrical display between thespians; the point on the former is inspired preparation, something that takes place privately, away from prying eyes, however judgmental they might be.

As Neiditz explains, “In some ways, what we have done by not (in the US) extending employee privacy rights from the private physical spaces (eg. lockers) to the employer-sponsored electronic media on which many employees live is to get rid of the backstage, and social media intensifies the self-expression.”  The less anthropologically minded might resort to plain legal terms: to what extent does workplace surveillance intrude, violate, and remove privacy?

The organisational language about the US workplace and performance is astonishingly Stakhanovite in its manner. The tone is heavy with performance credentials, units, “outputs” and that ridiculous notion of “feedback”, giving the impression that the worker is merely a computer processor keen to process, happy to be programmed.  Such a treatment, by its manner, has no room for private realms and creative “backstages” other than as pragmatic imports. You only care about a backstage if it has utility; you ignore it if the workers in question can work effectively with dozens of other working ants in the same, refrigerated room.

This is not the human value but the product value that matters.  A deeper understanding of such behaviour is likely to send us all to the British Library to become Marxists and contemplate the alienation of the individual with respect to labour. Battalions of consultants, dark suited human resource managers, and work plan fetishists have been busy eliminating the human in the equation while always talking about it.

In the workplace, there is every sense that the employee is treated as moveable and malleable commodity.  Another aspect of the same problem is whether such workers can be socialised into an appropriate regime.  Through new technological means, writes the New York Times (Jun 21), “companies have found, for example, that workers are more productive if they have more social interaction.” Examples include the introduction of a shared 15-minute coffee break by a bank’s call centre. More socialising leads to greater sales. Bravo!

Records of emails are stored. Conduct is monitored with needling obsessiveness. Behaviour can be filmed, recorded, and retained.  There is also a sense in legislation that supposedly regulates such environments that workers need monitoring.  A legal outline by the Australian lawyer firm Gilbert & Tobin[2] speaks of “a significant benefit to employers” in the area of monitoring emails.  One of these is noting, and intervening, in cases of harassment, where the playground supervisor separates and punishes the children. Another is that of standard criminal impropriety.

The cunning nature of such highly tuned surveillance is that it is turned on its head to make employees like it, or at the very least, endure it.  Jim Sullivan[3], manager of a Dallas restaurant, is a firm advocate of digital monitoring.  He wasn’t “stupid”, knowing it was there.  He simply learned to love it.  Such techniques noted his productivity, and padded out the resume for promotion. “When people know they are being watched, I believe that productivity improves” (New York Times, Jun 21).

Companies like Sociometric Solutions focus on what are termed “sensor-rich ID badges” that have microphones, location sensors, and accelerometers.  Sociometric Solutions’ Ben Waber is keen to suggest that he is on the side of the angels – well, the workers – noting that privacy is important, provided that the worker is given a choice about data collection.  The omission here is that workers who choose to opt out of the arrangement are bound to find themselves left behind in the vicious rat race.  Career suffers for the privacy vultures, even if, as some researchers[4] note, privacy might actually be more productive than open slather monitoring.

Such a vision, and rapidly emerging reality, resembles less the Orwellian notion of police state surveillance imposed by ruthless management and cruel repression. It resides more in the area of benign seduction akin to the Brave New World, one where pleasure is used as weapon and incentive.

When it comes to monitoring employees in the private sphere, Huxley’s pneumatic chair takes first place, a suggestion that people want that world, or at the very least, are persuaded to.  Controller Mustapha Mond has that exalted role. Operations can be “undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months’ salary.”  The world is accordingly divided into “frightfully clever” Alphas, middle-of-the-road Betas and stupid Gammas – and the list goes on.  The world is your oyster, as long as you get into it.

Huxley is the animating spirit behind Waber’s policies.  He, and his employees, encourage pharmaceutical companies to readjust their social spaces and get in the furniture specialists.  The data gathered is thrilling, not merely for the number addicts – a café area, for instance, where workers congregate at large tables – is suggested.  Small tables involve fewer minds, and enthusiasts. Bigger tables, well, entails more minds, more chatter, and more dosh.

Every adduced ground is bound to have some merit if it is emphasised with robotic repetitiveness. There is always some “good” plastered across a catchy slogan or a justifying brief.  The principle that still sustains a battering here is that of private domains, and where standard relationships can be formed between employee and employer.

One thing is clear in this: the purses of consultants are being lined with gold, suggesting how that balance is struck. And their work remits usually open with the same dead wording: the employer’s expectation of sound performance and the employee’s right “that every sneeze or trip to the water cooler isn’t being recorded.”[5]  Hardly matters, if you are Jim Sullivan.

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

Notes

Obama’s Influence Abroad is Evaporating

July 17th, 2014 by Shamus Cooke

There was once a time, not too long ago, when the U.S. government’s ability to steer the policies of other nations was near absolute. A U.S. president needed only to make a public statement denouncing another nation’s economic or military policy, and the effects would be instant.

The countries that refused U.S. instructions were labeled pariahs, or enemies, and lumped together under the crosshairs of U.S. foreign policy, liable to attract economic sanctions or military invasion; the leaders of these “bad” governments were inevitably likened to Hitler.

These “axis of evil” type nations were once exceptions, but now appear like trendsetters. The world’s “policeman” is seeing its instructions increasingly ignored, while other nations defiantly spit in the cop’s face.

But like any officer with a long track record of brutality, the U.S. government will not quietly accept its fate as a second rate power, while the re-shuffling of the new international order will exacerbate global tensions as rising nations compete for influence over poorer countries once loyal to the U.S.

The most palpable sign of U.S. weakness is its policy toward Russia. Obama’s State Department promised “painful” sanctions for Russia’s policy on Ukraine, but the U.S. hasn’t even managed to inflict a bruise. To really “hurt” Russia economically, the U.S. needs its European allies to obey, and they are turning their backs to Obama’s anti-Russia plans.

The New York Times reports:

“Not only were they [the G7 nations] unwilling to snub the Russian leader entirely, as Mr. Obama sought, they were also reluctant to go along with other efforts to isolate the Kremlin. Most notably, the French government repeated that it would go ahead with the $1.6 billion sale of powerful warships to Moscow along with plans to train 400 Russian sailors in France this month. And other European leaders were cautious about setting further red lines threatening additional sanctions against Russia.”

The Obama administration was especially vexed by France. After France didn’t back down from the arms deal with Russia, the U.S. government fined France’s biggest bank $10 billion, ostensibly for money laundering.

 The Bush-like arrogance it takes for the U.S. to fine an overseas French bank has outraged the French government and public alike, and likely won’t make Obama more friends in Europe. But U.S. global domination of the global financial system — because of the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency — is one of the last forms of U.S. foreign power, and it too is shrinking.

 As France was cursing Obama, another strong European ally, Germany, lashed out, too, by doing the unthinkable and expelling the head of U.S. intelligence (CIA) in Germany. The Huffington Post commented:

 “The scandal has chilled relations with Washington to levels not seen since Merkel’s predecessor opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.”

 Obama’s power has shrunk to such depths that he can’t politically control Afghanistan, even under the tremendous weight of U.S. military occupation. The recent Afghan election was marred by allegations of fraud — yet again — that threatened to tear the country into even tinier shreds, by ripping the patchwork alliances Obama had sewn together to maintain a semblance of “democracy” within strict pro-U.S. boundaries.

 The New York Times gave a timid explanation of events:

 “…the United States has far less leverage than it did in 2009. After years of watching American officials fold after being rebuffed by Mr. Karzai, few here give much credence to American threats to pull out troops and cut aid. And each successive crisis over election fraud — this year’s is the third in five years, including the parliamentary elections in 2010 — has diminished the faith of many Afghans in the government erected by the United States.”

In Iraq the vibrant failure of U.S. policy is blinding, itself the partial result of equally brilliant mistakes in Syria. Obama’s influence in Iraq is so weak that the U.S. establishment seems to be leaning towards a complete fragmentation of Iraq, which was their “solution” in Yugoslavia — create smaller, ethnically based nations that are easier to control. Vice President Joe Biden’s Iraq plan is a huge step in this direction, which Obama seems to be attempting to implement, even though he doesn’t say it out loud.

Obama’s biggest mistake in Syria was perhaps more damaging to U.S. power than his consorting with Gulf state dictators to fund and arm Sunni extremist groups.

When Obama drew a “red line” and told the world that Syria crossed it —itself a WMD-size lie — but yet did nothing in response, the world took note. A bully is powerful only as long as its threats are backed with consequences, and Obama was unable to “punish” Syria in the same way that it failed to discipline Russia. All of the “allies” Obama summoned to punish Syria realized that Obama wasn’t going to follow through, and thus future alliances will be harder to organize, as is happening now against Russia.

 It now seems that Obama is facing an avalanche of impudence where even tiny Bahrain is openly defying the U.S.

The New York Times article on the subject was “Bahrain’s Bad Decision”:

“Bahrain would seem an unlikely country to expel a senior American diplomat on a trumped-up complaint, since the Persian Gulf state is home to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet and depends on America for its defense, especially against Iran. Yet the government did just that…

“These outrageous moves call into question Bahrain’s commitment to its alliance with the United States…So far, the Obama administration, which has worked to maintain ties with the monarchy despite human rights concerns, has responded weakly. It must go further to show that such behavior is unacceptable.”

As more nations question U.S. authority, they’ll gravitate towards other countries — Russia and China, etc. — that have more to offer than threats, spying, and weapons sales. It’s inevitable that the above process of deteriorating U.S. power will continue, but what’s questionable is how far the U.S. government will go in response. Super powers do not relinquish their status — which is extremely profitable for the big U.S. corporations — without a fight.

As the U.S. government resorts to its trump card of military intervention to maintain its foreign power, working people in the U.S. will raise increased demands to use the hundreds of billions of annual tax payer dollars to instead fund schools, health care, infrastructural projects, and the rest of long-neglected U.S. civil society.

 Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at [email protected]

President Bashar al-Assad was sworn in Wednesday before the members of the People’s Assembly.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, the President delivered a speech in which he first saluted the Syrian people.

Below is the full text of the President’s speech following the swearing-in ceremony:

President al-Assad sworn in 1

Honourable Syrians, Free Syrian Revolutionaries,

Three years and four months have passed since some declared, on your behalf: “The People want.” Yes, The People wanted…. The People decided…The People took action.

A few years ago, some called for freedom – your response was to remain free in the age of subservience, to be masters in the age of slaves.  They patronised you with their calls for democracy – your response was to show your will in the most democratic manner possible and refuse foreign intervention in your national affairs; you chose your constitution, you chose your parliament, you chose your president.  Throughout, the decision was yours and your will has created our democracy.

They chanted: “The Syrian people are united”– your response was to facetheir storm of sedition, never allowing the winds of division to poison your hearts and minds;you were truly one people with one heart.

1

They preached: “They bow only before Allah”–your response was to never bow before their masters, to never surrender, to never give up.  You stood fast and held fast to your homeland, always believing in one God, a God who doesn’t share His powers with super-nations and who can never be substituted for oil or dollars. And when they said; “Allahu Akbar” – God was greater than them and their supporters, because God is always on the side of justice and justice is on the side of the people.

During these years, whilst they were talking, you were doing; they sank in their illusions, whilst you made today a reality.  They called for a revolution and you rose to be the true revolutionaries; so, congratulations to you all on your revolution and your victories and congratulations to Syria for her great people and their steadfastness.

Congratulations to Syria whose people defied all forms of hegemony and aggression with all the means available to them: with their reason, their intellect and patriotic consciousness. There are those who fought with weapons in their hands, others who fought by speaking the truth and others still who fought with their resilient hearts despite all the threats.

Congratulations to Syria whose people defied all forms of fear and terrorism and voted under fire in the referendum and the elections, thwarting the aggression, the aggressors and their machinery.  This steadfastness altered all expectations, circumstances and facts; positions changed, players withdrew, terminology dropped, alliances vanished, councils divided and other bodies disintegrated.  Many who were blinded to the truth, either out of ignorance or deception, regained their sense of direction.  True motives were revealed when their masks of freedom and revolution fell and they drove their fangs into Syrian flesh; killing, beheading and cannibalizing hearts and livers.  Every dirty trick was used; they left no perverse or deviant path untrodden. And still they failed.

2

They failed to assure you of their concern for the rights and interests of the people. They failed to convince you that you needed guardians to manage your own affairs and the affairs of your country.  And finally, they absolutely failed to brainwash you or break your will.

You defied the storm with your bear chests; you stood like spears in the face of treachery. You achieved your goal; you raised the voice of justice above all the lies, hypocrisy, distortion and deception.  You forced the whole world to see the truth, a truth they tried so hard, for three years, to bury and eradicate; by ensuring its survival this truth emerged to destroy, within hours, empires – political, oil and media.  Yes, the few hours in which you expressed your views and showed your determination were enough to erase all the falsifications and the psychological and moral terrorism exercised against Syria for years. These elections were not just a political procedure as in other parts of the world; they constituted a multi-dimensional battle for which they tried to do everything possible to ensure our defeat.

For the enemies of our homeland, these elections were the instruments they had been waiting for to deligitimise the state and to show the Syrian people as weak, disunited and unable to rule themselves or make independent decisions; all of this to create a justification for foreign intervention which they could legitimize under several pretexts.

For us citizens, these elections were a true declaration of belonging to our homeland that transcended far beyond an identity card or a passport. They were a battle to defend our sovereignty, legitimacy, national decision-making and the dignity of our people. The huge turnout was a referendum in favor of sovereignty against all forms of terrorism; for many people, what was important was not so much who won, but rather who fell as a result.  With your votes, you have brought down both the terrorists and the Syrian agents who gave them political cover. You have brought down their masters – the orchestrators, including superpowers and their satellite states, and decision makers and their obedient executors.

The results of the elections also brought down all the opportunists who used the crisis for personal gain at the expense of others, it brought down all those who distanced themselves from the battle waiting to see where the balance of power will settle; it brought down all those who stood against the will of the people by abstaining from this most important national duty or calling for abstaining or for its postponement, adopting – knowingly or ignorantly, the same line as those enemies of the people.

4

As for the elections that took place abroad and were of actual and symbolic importance, they constituted a slap in the face to the hostile media outlets that exerted their efforts to position all those who left Syria as being against the state and their homeland.  By expressing their views, Syrian expatriates and refugees astonished the world. They embodied the patriotic image of Syrians and their tenacity when it comes to upholding the independence of their decisions and the protection of their sovereignty. Their circumstances as expatriates or refugees did not hinder them from carrying out this crucial national duty.

They participated in huge numbers despite their physical and moral pains.  Some, despite their dire need, risked their livelihood and their residency and faced threats aimed at preventing them from participating.  Those against us could not imagine Syrians carrying their passports and choosing their candidate through the ballot box.  These simple steps panicked them because they knew and understood that these elections represented a stand to defend the homeland, its sovereignty and dignity. This is why they prevented the elections from taking place in their countries and other Arab states.  And here lies the hypocrisy of the West: they claim to defend the same people that they prevented from expressing their views, when it became apparent to them that these views contradict what they had been working so hard for three years to achieve.  Nevertheless, we thank them for preventing the elections from taking place in their countries because through their ignorance they have enhanced the legitimacy of the elections rather than undermined them.

Our fellow countrymen living outside Syria’s borders declared that they are Syrians – heart and soul, and validated our position from the beginning that they left their country because of the brutality and terrorism of the armed groups.  Otherwise, how can any reasonable person accept that the same citizens who had supposedly been attacked by the state and fled its oppression, would then support it with the enthusiasm and defiance of the Syrian expatriates that took part in the elections?  How could a citizen with such hate for his country – as some assumed, switch from being a dagger in the back of his homeland and a burden to it – as they tried to project, to the strong supporters we have seen them to be.

I would like to extend my best regards and appreciation to all those citizens and I want to stress that I am more optimistic than ever that the situation will be restored to a state where all the honorable and faithful Syrians can return. I am confident that they will be the first to return in order to support the country from the inside, as soon as the conditions that caused them to leave the country disappear.

Fellow citizens, you have proven throughout your history, that you do not fear challenges but rather embrace them, no matter who the challenger is. You have insured the failure of our foes and proved their artificiality and ignorance. Research and study centers will be busy for years looking for answers to questions about what happened, in order to identify their mistakes, miscalculations and bad judgments. They will never find real answers because they depended on lackeys and agents. They did not know or understand how to deal with masters and honorable and patriotic people, and that is why they are more capable of understanding the terms of subservience, humiliation and dependence. They are unable to interpret the true meaning of honor, sovereignty and freedom.  Those who want to predict the behavior and reaction of an ancient and civilized people should have the same historical and civilizational depth in order to fathom a great people’s strength and tenacity; this shows itself only in great national crises and at crucial historical junctures.

Today, you are more capable of teaching the subservient people in our Arab region concepts they do not know, like sovereignty, perseverance, defiance and dignity. You are more capable of teaching them lessons in democracy, in how people should take part in decision making and determining national destiny, and consequently make them aware of things they have not heard of previously like elections, freedom, rights, the state and civilization; they have only known suppression, extremism, subservience, dependence and exporting terrorism. The presidential elections have been, to many Syrians, a bullet fired at the hearts of terrorists and those who stood behind them. Millions of bullets were fired and hit their sick hearts and minds and settled in the ballot boxes. These bullets proved that all the empires of politics, oil and the media amount to nothing when faced with a true patriotic position; they proved that all their words and statements over the years, disintegrate within hours in front of an honorable and unified people. These bullets declared that all those enemies, with their terror, their terrorism and shells have no value or weight; they may be capable of inflicting harm and damage, but they are incapable of winning, they may threaten, but they cannot frighten us.

I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Dr Hassan al-Nouri and Mr Maher Hajjar, who by running in the elections, expressed Syrians’ culture and maturity in exercising democracy and the rights of citizens, and in implementing the constitution.  Upholding the constitution is the surest way to protect our homeland, its unity and stability. I would like to thank them, because regardless of who won, the mere fact that they stood as candidates in these circumstances was a triumph for the people and the country.

I would also like to express my appreciation to every Syrian citizen who defied the shelling, the threats and the fear and went to a polling station; to that proud woman who stood from five o’clock in the morning carrying the photo of her martyred son and cast her vote, speaking on behalf of all the martyrs of the homeland; to the injured soldier who insisted on going to the polling station in a wheelchair despite his wounds; to the one hundred year-old woman who did not let her ailing body prevent her from casting her vote; to a whole people who carried their pains, hopes and aspirations and participated so that the world could hear their voice.

This victory would not have been possible without the blood of our martyrs, our wounded soldiers and their patient and steadfast families; without them we would not have been able to protect the country, the constitution, the law, the institutions and consequently Syria’s sovereignty. Without all of them, we would not be here today. They have taught us, and will continue to teach us the meaning of heroism, sacrifice and standing our ground. From them, we take strength and determination; our homeland was resilient because of their greatness and patriotism. They have fortified the whole country with their blood, and unified the pains and hopes of Syrians with their wounds. With their heroism, they have given the greatest meaning to power and tenacity and for that we will be forever grateful and will spare no effort to return even a small part of the debt we owe to these soldiers, their families and children.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The war waged against the Syrian people is a dirty war. Despite all the injustice and the pain inflicted on every Syrian household, and despite all the blood and destruction, Syrians didn’t give up or give in.  In fact, the exact opposite, as a people, we derive strength from adversity; the increased pressures drive us to be more defiant. We face attempts to humiliate us with more pride, dignity and self-confidence.

Here weare today, looking forward to the future and moving towards it with the determination and confidence that this future belongs to the people and nobody else. This country that has faced invaders since the dawn of history – the last of whom were the French colonizers who left less than seven decades ago – is still alive and capable of standing fast, building and regenerating life from the throes of catastrophes. This is how nations display their greatness, their history and their civilization. Countries are not measured by the size of their surface area or population, their wealth or their oil; they are measured by their culture and civilization, the role their people played in history, and by their will and their sovereignty in facing the challenges of the present and building the future.

Because of this role, Syria has always been targeted and continues to be so.  The aggression we face is not aimed at individuals or governments – as it appeared to some in the beginning, but rather at the structure of the country and its role, and conditioning the way people think in the long-term, to mere cattle driven by remote control. This aggression aims to preoccupy our people with never ending conflicts that last for generations rather than focusing on our national aspirations and greater prosperity, and strengthening our society and state. It was never intended to rid people of their problems, as was claimed and believed by the naïve. On the contrary, they rejoice in the weaknesses of any Arab society because they want to see these societies remain backward and dependent on them. The clearest evidence of this is that their allies in the region are the most backward, corrupt and oppressive countries. They didn’t target our weaknesses to help us overcome them, but rather our strengths to destroy them: our unique patriotism and sovereignty, our pan-Arab identity and the harmony and congruence between our true Islam and Christianity.

The colonialist West is still colonialist;the means may change, but its essence is still the same. If the West and its Arab flunkies have failed in executing their plans so far, this does not mean that they have stopped their destruction of Syria as an alternative goal.  This will achieve the same objective over the long term, but unfortunately with the help of those Syrians who have no honour and so sold their homeland.

Things were clear to us from the early days of the aggression. We all remember the reactions of those who did not believe or were not convinced of what I said at the beginning of the crisis. At the time, many people rejected terms like ‘plot’ and ‘aggression’. They were not convinced – until it was too late – that what was happening in the country had nothing to do with the legitimate demands of an oppressed people; nor were the demonstrations calling for freedom and democracy. It was a sinister plot for the whole region, which will not stop at our borders.

This spectacle started to unravel during the invasion of Iraq. Our position at the time was neither based on an irrational desire for confrontation nor on having an adversarial position to be applauded.

We rejected the invasion of Iraq because we saw it as the beginning of division and sectarianism. It was a real concern towards a dangerous situation we were convinced was inevitable. Today, we can see that it has become a reality and we are the ones paying its hefty price. We also warned, from the very beginning, all those we engaged with that what was happening would not stop at Syria’s borders. It would spread because terrorism doesn’t recognize national borders; at the time, I was accused of threatening the international community.

Isn’t what we are seeing today in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and all the countries that have been struck by the malady of the fake spring tangible evidence of the credibility of our repeated warnings?  Soon we shall see Arab and regional countries that have supported terrorism also paying a painful price. Many of them will understand, though too late, that the battles fought by the Syrian people in defense of their homeland transcend our national borders.  It is actually in defense of many other nations that, sooner or later, will suffer from the same terrorism, either as a result of the shortsightedness of their leaders and their absolute ignorance of the real interests of their nations, or due to their lack of understanding of our region and how to deal with it’s people.

The question here is: if the West and their allies do not learn, until too late, from the mistakes of their past experiences, are we also going to be late in our understanding of the events and issues which concern us in our region?  Did we need to wait three years and pay for the shortsightedness of some, by sacrificing our children’s blood, our lives, our economy, security and reputation in order to realize that what was happening was in fact a plot against our homeland, and not the so called ‘spring’ for freedom or democracy?  Did we need to pay such a hefty price, and still continue to do so, for those people to realize that as a result of their ignorance we now have incubators for terrorism and a springboard for aggression?  Did we need to wait twelve years to understand that invading Iraq would only bring terrorism and division to our region?  Wasn’t our experience with the criminal Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980’s enough for us to learn our lesson, or did we have to wait thirty years for the arrival of executioners and cannibals, to realize that terrorism and exploiting religion are two sides of the same coin?

If our current situation and the experiences from our recent history have not been enough to teach us, then we are not likely to learn anything and will not be able to protect our country, today or in the future; and those who do not protect their country, who do not defend it and preserve it, neither deserve it nor deserve to live in it.

8

In light of the above, and based on our clear understanding of the scheme designed for Syria from the early days of the aggression, we took the decision to proceed on two parallel tracks: striking terrorism mercilessly on the one hand, and facilitating local reconciliations for those who were misled and wanted to abandon their wrong path on the other. We were convinced, from the very beginning, that effective solutions would have to be purely Syrian without any role for foreigners unless they were genuine supporters. All those who returned to the right path found the state to bea compassionate mother: angry with her ungrateful children, but forgiving when they genuinely repent. Today, I repeat my call to all those who have been misled to lay down their arms, because we will not stop fighting terrorism and striking at it until we restore safety and security to every inch of Syria.

Those who left as traitors, agents or corrupt individuals are of little concern; the country has been cleansed of those individuals and they no longer have a place or status among Syrians. Those who are waiting or a foreign solution to end the war are living in an illusion because the ‘political solution’, as it is called, can only be based on internal reconciliations, which have proven to be very effective on more than one occasion.  I stress that we will continue to proceed on this course because it saves Syrian blood, restores security, leads to the return of the displaced, the reconstruction of those are as and to thwarting any foreign schemes designed around internal shortcomings.

National reconciliations are not contradictory with, neither do they replace, the national dialogue, which the state has started with various political forces and social actors.  We will continue with this dialogue and remain open to all ideas, opinions and perspectives especially since this dialogue should not be limited to the current circumstances. It needs to be a dialogue about the future of the country, the structure of the state and all aspects of our society related or unrelated to the crisis, and regardless of whether they preceded it or are a consequence of it.

If the state had extended on open hand to all from the beginning of the crisis; today, and after this tough and highly costly national test, the dialogue will not include those who have proven their lack of patriotism by evading dialogue. Neither will it include those who bet on a change of the balance of power and when they lost, changed direction in the hope of not missing the train, nor will it include those who claimed concern for the country whilst giving, through their positions, cover to terrorists in exchange for favors or bribes received from abroad. As for the declared client forces, we do not engage in dialogue with them as Syrians but as representatives of the countries they swore allegiance to and became spokesmen for.

The crisis has validated the strong social cohesion among Syrians and refuted the malicious claims about a civil war, which they tried to promote as a political cover for their foreign aggression with internal tools. The term ‘civil war’ today is used as a political cover to legitimize the terrorists as one side in a Syrian – Syrian conflict rather than despicable instruments in the hands of external powers. A civil war has its clear geographical fault lines between sects, ethnicities and other warring factions; these fault lines manifest themselves in the division between various components of society resulting in a complete collapse of the state and society. Is this what we are seeing in Syria or rather what they tried to convince us of?

Today, I see the reality on the ground as being the exact opposite; we have surpassed the concepts of common or shared living, which prevailed before the events to a stage of full integration and social cohesion among Syrians.  This was abundantly clear from the scenes of Syrians across the national spectrum at the polling stations, and the popular consensus and high turnout during the elections.  The rich colours and different sectors of our society are all members of the same body: whilst they differ in shape, function and task, they are fully integrated in the service of each other and the body to which they belong. Today, there is no coexistence or tolerance, but full integration and harmony.

Moving forward towards the future cannot happen if we do not deal in all truthfulness and transparency with the root causes of the present situation. In as much as we have proudly witnessed a patriotic people, it has been equally painful and disgraceful that there are parts of our population -albeit a small portion -that were the foundation upon which this war was based, who made it possible for foreign terrorists to enter the country and who facilitated foreign economic, political and military intervention in Syria thus impinging on our sovereignty.

If the external factors are easy to recognize in what the aggressors say and in the instruments they use, the internal factors must remain the focus of every assessment or decision we make, not only to deal with the challenges today but also to protect ourselves for the future.  There is a near consensus among Syrians that the main reason for those who immersed themselves in the destruction of the country – directly or indirectly – is ignorance.  The bigger danger, which provided the foundation for the crisis and its different aspects, was the lack of morals by distorting religions, undermining honour, and selling out the homeland.  It is the greatest obstacle to the development of societies; development is not only dependent on laws and regulations, important as they are, but rather it is dependent on a culture based on morals. There can be no development without morals; they are inseparable. Good morals may ensure better enforcement of the law; good laws can help develop good morals but they cannot sow their seeds.

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Without morals, there will be no patriotic feeling in our consciousness and public service loses its meaning. Without morals, we become a society of selfish individuals each working for their own interests at the expense of others; and we saw this happening on a large scale during this crisis.There are many in this crisis that did not carry arms but they nonetheless damaged people’s livelihoods and manipulated their future; they stole, blackmailed, ransacked and were as dangerous as the terrorists themselves. Without morals we are wasting our time trying to reach objectives we do not have the necessary tools to achieve.

Talking about morals, in this speech, is not an alternative to developing laws and regulations nor is it an excuse for exonerating the state of its responsibility. If our morals and culture provide the foundation, state administration and institutions constitute the building; and any building without a solid foundation will always remain fragile.

Building on the above, we also need to address corruption, which is the greatest challenge for any society or state. Financial and administrative corruption is based on moral corruption, both of which produce a more dangerous form: national corruption that creates people who sell their homeland and the blood of its children to the highest bidder.

Fighting corruption requires action on a number of parallel tracks. Punishment comes at the top of the corruption fighting strategy.  Striking with an iron fist every proven and convicted corrupt person is the most important element; however, when you punish a corrupt individual, society might produce tens of other corrupt and more devious individuals skilled at evading the law in a manner that cannot be detected or punished. In this case, time will play in favour of corruption and the corrupt.

Accountability is at the top of the corruption fighting strategy. In the middle comes administrative reform of state institutions, a process that has been on-going for a number of years.  Additionally, we need to focus on developing educational curricula in a manner that goes beyond education per se to include instilling moral values and appropriate conduct.

These components constitute the role of the state in the shortest and fastest form, i.e. fighting corruption, administrative reform and the role of the competent institutions.  However, the more important and sustainable role, which constitutes the base of the corruption-fighting pyramid, is the role of society and the family in particular. In order to produce an uncorrupt society, we all need to, as mothers and fathers, provide our children with a good upbringing.

Let us ask ourselves, would we have witnessed the corruption we have seen – the robbery, the exploitation, the kidnaping, treason and other horrendous crimes, had the parents of those deviant people given their children a sound upbringing?  On the other side of the horizon, what about the millions of honourable people working in state institutions and other entities? What about the hundreds of thousands of young people who took up arms to defend their country and were martyred? What about those citizens who decided to carry on with their national duties despite the threats, and the resilient families who remained rooted in the soil of the homeland despite their difficult circumstances?  All of these actions were not due to administrative directives, but rather because these people were given a sound upbringing which produced honest and patriotic citizens.

This foundation creates the difference between citizens who abide by the law out of conviction rather than fear of punishment, between the civil servant who serves the public for the benefit of society rather than for personal gain, and between the merchant who realizes that whilst a thief can steal from an individual, by not paying his taxes he is in fact stealing from twenty three million people.  This upbringing creates the difference between a citizen supporting his family and community in times of crisis rather than exploiting them and it prevents citizens becoming mercenaries to be used against their nation by conspirators or foreigners.

Let us make fighting corruption our priority in the next period, in state institutions and across society as a whole;let’s make it a priority not only for state officials, but also for every individual. Let every one of us move from talking about corruption fighting to actively working to confront it, to strike at its roots instead of wasting time pruning its branches.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The states that continue to support terrorism in Syria have tried to destroy all aspects of life within it.  The killing, which targeted Syrians from all walks of life without discrimination or exception was concurrent with the systematic destruction of our infrastructure, which took decades to build and consumed the efforts, money, sweat and blood of generations of Syrians.  There is no doubt that this widespread destruction, which has affected the entire nation, has also affected every individual, particularly in terms of people’s livelihood.

Since the greatest damage to our economy was inflicted on the vital material structures of economic growth and sustainability, our economic recovery should start from the same point by focusing on rebuilding these material structures: the buildings, houses, factories, roads, and all other forms of infrastructure that was destroyed or sabotaged.This in itself is a very wide sector that will benefit the different strata of society without exception, and will influence positively and strongly the other economic sectors, which will not recover fully without a comprehensive reconstruction.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, reconstruction is the title of the economy for the coming period. We need to concentrate our collective efforts on this area and should work, in parallel, to restore all other sectors that will be complementary to reconstruction especially craftsmen and the small and medium-sized industries that can grow and expand very quickly, creating jobs in a short period of time.  We will continue our strategic support of the public and agricultural sectors, which constitute the main lever of the Syrian economy and had a significant role in our resilience during the current crisis.  The reconstruction process and the associated economic recovery should not be linked in timing to the end of the crisis.  In fact, the state has already started to create the necessary legislations and regulatory framework that will facilitate and encourage investment in this area.

Let us all start, hand in hand, the process of rebuilding Syria in order to be worthy of her. Let our race against time be in favour of building not destruction; and let us continue to prove, as we have done during the past three years, that the will of Syrians is many folds stronger than the will and acts of terrorists and traitors.

Brothers and sisters,

Today, together, we start a new stage that is characterised by a consensus to protect our nation and to rebuild it morally, psychologically and materially and a consensus on eradicating terrorism and bringing back into the fold all those who have lost their direction

Today, we start a new stage having overcome dangerous and critical challenges, thanks to the steadfastness of our people in the face of a terrorist and psychological war, until we reached the presidential elections – the elections that expressed Syria’s full and unified independence.

Looking forward to the future, we need to address the large gaps that have appeared in our national fabric. This requires our concerted efforts and our standing shoulder to shoulder in the next stage, which means an interactive relationship between the people, their leadership and their government.  The role of a leadership does not eliminate the role and contribution of the people; similarly the presence of a leadership or a government should not imply total reliance upon it.  This interactive relationship means that we move forward together towards the desired future, if we mean to succeed in our endeavour.

Hence the word ‘Sawa’ or ‘together,’ which focuses on enhancing the sense of responsibility in every one of us ensuring we move forward as one nation. It means that we shall rebuild Syria together, that we shall continue to strike terrorism whilst concluding reconciliations so that no Syrian remains in temporary housing or refugee camps. It means that together we shall fight corruption with the necessary laws and morals, and strengthen our institutions by focusing on equal opportunities and eradicating nepotism.

There should be no excuse for negative thinking and negative attitudes in dealing with our national challenges; and we must acknowledge that many of the negative aspects in our society are the product of a common culture that has become ingrained in our minds, making it difficult to replace; the only way to do so is to build a proactive, cooperative and altruistic culture. Some people might be asking how possible this is when officials do not respond to initiatives and ideas. It is a legitimate question, but we cannot generalize; there are always those who listen and are interested. We must not tire or give up; we must continue to try every possible way to make our voice heard and contribute to the process of rebuilding, development and correcting our mistakes.

I know that expectations from this speech are very high; and many of these expectations are logical and legitimate and the areas that need to be addressed are far more than can be covered in one speech.  But wars impose their reality on the ground and we need to prioritize. There is a heroic army defending the country with many martyrs; on a daily basis, there are innocent victims because of terrorism in different parts of the country; there are those kidnapped and missing who have left behind families living on the hope that they will return; there are also those who have been displaced from their houses and become homeless; and there are those who have paid the price of this war with their livelihoods and are no longer able to provide the essentials for a decent living. No priority can be higher than dealing with these challenges at present. For overlooking these facts is tantamount to being separated from reality.

Brothers and sisters,

Your resilience constituted the official obituary of what was falsely called ‘the Arab spring’ and reset the course. Had this ‘spring’ been genuine, it should have started in the backward Arab countries. Had it been a revolution for more freedom, democracy and justice, it should have started in the most oppressive and tyrannical countries: the countries behind every catastrophe that befell this nation, behind every war against it, behind the intellectual and religious deviation and moral degradation.  The existence of these countries is the West’s most important achievement and the most significant cause for Israel’s successes and continued existence. There is no clearer evidence than their current stand regarding the Israeli aggression against Gaza. Where is the ‘alleged’ zeal and ardour that they showed towards Syria or the Syrian people? Why haven’t they supported Gaza with arms and money? Where are their jihadists; and why haven’t they sent them to defend our people in Palestine?

In order to know the answer, we should know that what is happening today in Gaza, ladies and gentlemen, is not a separate or passing event. It is an integrated chain of events: from the occupation of Palestine, to the invasion of Iraq and trying to divide it now and the division of the Sudan all planned by Israel and the West and always executed by the states of tyranny and backwardness in our Arab world.

Was it not Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman al-Faisal who conceded to Britain that he does not object to giving Palestine to the ‘poor’ Jews in 1915?Did those states not incite the 1967 war, whose price we are still paying today, in order to get rid of the Abul Naser ‘phenomenon’? Did those states not support Iran under the Shah, only to stand against it when it decided to support the Palestinian people and turn the Israeli embassy into a Palestinian embassy after the revolution?

Those are the countries which made the ‘King Fahed Peace Initiative’ in 1981 and threatened the Palestinians with rivers of blood if they don’t accept it. When the Palestinian factions rejected it, and in less than a year, there was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the ejection of the PLO from Lebanon, not out of concern for Lebanon, but for Israel.

Those same states surprised us in 2002 with their greatest concession: ‘normalization in return for peace,’which was later modified to become the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’in the Beirut summit.

When Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, it was those same countries that encouraged Israel and the West not to accept a cease-fire until the Lebanese resistance was destroyed, describing them as ‘adventurous.’  Because these satellite countries succeeded in their tasks, they were charged with funding chaos under the name of the ‘Arab spring,’ and with leading the Arab League after other Arab countries abandoned their roles.  The Arab League itself was reduced to summoning NATO and imposing a siege on the Arab states that refused to comply.

All of these events constitute a strongly linked chain aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause; all the money spent by those countries since their creation has been for this purpose. And here they are today playing the same role: in Gaza through Israeli terrorism, and in Syria through terrorism belonging to 83 nationalities. The methods may differ but their objective is the same.

This leads meto another important issue. Some have expressed indifference towards Gaza, on the premise that we have our fair share of national problems; others have gloated at the Israeli aggression,asa reaction to the ingratitude and disloyalty of some Palestinians towards Syria and everything we have offered for decades.  Both cases however, reflect naïve thinking; what is happening in Syria and the region as a whole is strongly linked to what is happening in Palestine. Dissociating ourselves from these events would be like watching a neighbour’s house burning and not offering to help.

That is why those who believe that we can live in safety and distance ourselves from the Palestinian cause are illusioned. It will remain the central cause based on principles and the reality that links what is happening in Palestine with what is happening in Syria.  We need to distinguish between the resistant Palestinian people and the ungrateful Palestinians, between true resistance fighters – who we should support – and the amateurs who mask themselves in the mantle of resistance to serve their interests, improve their image or strengthen their authority;otherwise, we will be – consciously or unconsciously, serving Israel’s objectives of dividing us even further and making us believe that our crisis is local and isolated.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A people like you, who have fought, resisted and stood fast in a country which has been exposed to an aggression unparalleled in its ferocity, is worthy of respect and appreciation, worthy of their homeland, history and civilization. You have restored the true meaning of the word revolution and proved that Syrians live honourably and die as martyrs honourably, that their dignity is more important than life itself and that their faith in God is fully intertwined with their faith in the nation, its land and people.

Although we have made great achievements in our war against terrorism in the past period, we have not forgotten and will not forget our beloved ‘Raqqa,’ which, God willing, we will soon rid of the terrorists.  As to the resilient Aleppo and its heroic people, we will not rest until it restores its safety and security. The daily military operations and the martyrs from all over Syria, who have fallen for the sake of Aleppo, are clear and tangible evidence that Aleppo will remain in the heart of every Syrian.

I salute the Syrian Arab Army: officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, who have spared nothing in defence of our homeland, including their lives and the families they left behind.  I salute all our National Defence Groups and the young men and women who carried arms in defence of their country, its dignity and honour, and who have provided a strong parallel support force to the Syrian Army in many regions. My biggest salute is to the great people; your embrace of our armed forces and their achievements has been at the core of their victory.

We should not forget to thank members of the faithful and heroic Lebanese resistance who stood shoulder to shoulder with the heroes in our army, fought honourable battles together on both sides of the border and provided martyrs in defence of the axis of resistance. I salute them and the families of every martyr who reciprocated our loyalty with loyalty and considered defending Syria a national duty like defending southern Lebanon.

We also thank Iran, Russia and China, these states that have respected the decision and will of the Syrian people over the course of three years and have truly upheld the UN charter in respecting States’ sovereignty and non-interference in their domestic affairs.

Honourable Syrians,

The challenges are huge and the tasks are burdensome. Our success in dealing with our difficulties and our self-confidence should not make us complacent. Our enemies are treacherous but our will is strong, and with this will we shall turn this ordeal into an opportunity. As long as we have the will to act, let our achievements in the future be of the same scale – and even greater – of the price we have paid.

The new stage has begun, and we are fully prepared for it. Syria deserves all our effort, sweat and work; we shall spare nothing in the same way that our heroes have not spared their blood or their lives. I will always beone of you, living amongst you, guided by your opinions and inspired by your awareness. Together, hand in hand, Syria will remain strong, proud, resilient and inviolable to any foreigner; and we Syrians shall remain the strongest fortification for Syria and her dignity.

Thank you.

#1 – 12:00 – July 16, 2014 – Briefing from the LPR Militia for the First Half of July 16, 2014

The past evening and night in the Lugansk region were relatively calm. Suffering substantial losses, the enemy continued its retreat from Provalye and Marinovka, heading toward Biryukovo, where it was also met by LPR units and sustained losses. Near Lugansk, the aggressor, on the one hand, continued to retreat from its positions near the settlements of Aleksandrovka, Yubileyniy and Ekaterinovka and, on the other hand, started to grow its grouping in the vicinity of Shchastye. In particular, at about 08:00, an enemy column, noted to include 6 Grad installations, passed through the Shchastye checkpoint. At night and in the morning, enemy fighter aircrafts ascended into the sky on several occasions. They flew at a substantial elevation, no less than 6,000 metres. The previous evening a Su-25 ground attack craft conducted an airstrike at the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergency base nominally controlled by Kiev, in the process destroying special equipment necessary in the event if a chemical leak were to affect the territory. At about 11:00, a saboteur group, operating from the territory of the Milam enterprise, conducted mortar strikes, presumably at the location where Battalion Zarya is quartered. However, the shells fell on the territory of a trolley depot.


Graphic: Marinovka has been taken by the Militia. The punitive forces have been totally encircled. The southern cauldron has been firmly sealed (courtesy of The Saker at The Vineyard of the Saker)

MAP

Graphic: Junta Defeat on LPR Territory - by Colonel Cassad @ Colonel Cassad in English

 


#2 – 15:06 – July 16, 2014 - Information from the Militia

Local resident of Avdeevka observed a small group of scruffy men in green camouflage in the Vinogradniki district. The men were inquiring about safe passage out of DPR. Clearly, they were the inmates of the airport and yet another group of deserters. Regarding how they manage to make it out, allow me to explain: the perimeter of the airport is fairly large and the boundaries of the airport area are directly adjacent to a wilderness area that contains a nearby forested zone. With respect to the destruction of the radio-location station – indeed, we conducted an operation to destroy communications on the tower (the tower itself will still be useful to us after victory), rather than to destroy the construction itself. Electrical power cables were taken out of commission. Ukies will not be able to restore them because the territory in the area, and not only there, is wide open to easy shelling. To ensure the safety of the Militia personnel, we are implementing preventive measures aimed at upsetting the enemy’s state of combat and psychological readiness.


#3 – 15:50 – July 16, 2014 – Briefing from the Militia

Marinovka has been taken by the Militia. The punitive forces have been totally encircled. The southern cauldron has been firmly sealed. The Ukrainian forces have only one chance to survive – to surrender to the Militia or to be interned on the territory of Russia.

On other areas of the southern front, the Militia also continues an active offensive. Artillery attacks on the Junta columns are being conducted. The Militia periodically uses Grad systems.


#4 - 17:05 – July 16, 2014 - Briefing from the Militia

We did a bit of damage to a Su jet over Gorlovka. It left in the direction of Mirgorod garnished with a thick black tail of smoke. Don’t think it will make it to the airfield with damage like that.

Near the Marinovka border checkpoint on the former Russian-Ukrainian border, a battle clash between the punitive forces and our assault group is ongoing.

The border checkpoint, controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was attacked with 10 tanks, 5 BTRs and 200 militiamen. Two Ukies soldiers were killed in the very first minutes of the battle.


#5 – 17:16 – July 16, 2014 – Infromation from Militiaman Prokhorov

I would like to inform you that the retreat of Ukie 72nd and 79th aeromobile and the 24th mechanized brigades from the Izvarino area is gradually turning into a flight. Officers and soldiers alike are spreading panic over their telephones and other means of communication. You should be soon expecting a tsunami of calls from their relatives to the mass media.

Thus, the Ukie “air force offensive” is simply a loud fart into a puddle.

On the Ukrainian side of the Izvarino border checkpoint, the word “Ukraine” has been refashioned into “Ruin”. LPR and USSR flags are flying over the buildings.

14:40 (MSK) – Fighting has commenced in the Metallist area (the suburb of Lugansk).

The Nazi bastards withdrew out most of their armoured vehicles from Shchastye, transferring them to Noviy Aidar.

A new wave is coming at Saur-Mogila. When will Ukies will finally exhaust their supply of Su-24s? PZRKs (Personal Anti-Aircraft Complex) in Snezhnoye already have already fired off their salvos at the Ukrainian aircraft. At least one Su gained serious health problems during the previous air assaults.

The claim that an assassination attempt was made on the life of Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov is disinformation. He is Slavyansk, healthy as ever. Pure disinfo to distract the citizens from the Khokhlo-army’s defeats in the southern “intestine”.


#6 – 17:49 – July 16, 2014 – Briefing From the Militia

The DPR Militia claim two more Ukrainian jets near Saur-Mogila. The head of the DPR Militia Press-Service, Vladislav Brig, posted on his Facebook account:

“Two more Su jets were shot down. They were engaged in airstrikes at Saur-Mogila.”


#7 – 19:17 – July 16, 2014 – Information from Eyewitnesses

On the hottest parts of the front, Ukies have been observed throwing away their weapons, taking off their military markings, with some even removing their uniforms and changing into civilian clothes, and running toward the Russian border. Those who have no civilian clothes with them run with peeled-off epaulets. Some, and, in particular, members of the punitive battalions and Praviy Sector militants, have been seen stripping to their underwear.


#8 - 19:42 – July 16, 2014 - Briefing from Igor Strelkov

Heavy fighting continues near Marinovka. The village was twice bombed from high elevation. The enemy is concentrating its artillery and tanks against our grouping from the south and from the west. Battles are also continuing in the area south of Dmitrievka, where the enemy has concentrated an artillery grouping near Kozhevnya.

We lost 1 BTR (destroyed with a shot from an ATGM); the enemy suffered losses of 1 BTR and 1 BMP destroyed and 1 BMP-2 captured in working condition.


#9 – 19:34 – July 16, 2014 – Briefing from the Militia HQ

The enemy has been continuing its retreat from Provalye Marinovka (LPR), suffering substantial losses, heading in the direction of Biryukovo, where it was ambushed by LPR militiamen.

In the first half of the day, the enemy continued to increase its grouping on the approaches to Shchastye. MLRS Grad were pulled up to the location. Right now there is a withdrawal of Ukie forces to Novoaidar.


#10 – Good News from Donbass – Blog Entry by Colonel Cassad @ Colonel Cassad in English

From reliable sources in the DPR:

  • The junta military today rolled back from Izvarino and Krasnodon (a bit earlier the information arrived that the enemy is retreating from Alexandrovka and Schastye), without solving the main problem of blockading the former state border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation. After suffering large losses and having problems with supplies, on the 15-th day of the offensive the junta military retreated by about 30-40 km from Izvarino, south of which lies the self-styled “road of life”. This way, together with the growing defeat of the South punitive group and the failed attempt to unblock the Luhansk airport, the LPR militia won the strategic defensive operation which continued for more than two weeks, and the junta suffered its largest defeat since the start of the war. In essence, the charge of the mechanized forces to the rescue of the airport was a gamble by which they were trying to turn the failing operation around. In order to renew the offensive operation the junta urgently needs an operational pause, because the situation continues to get worse for it, which is why requests of cease-fire cannot be excluded in the nearest time, which of course will be rejected by the militia.
  • The story with Mr. Khodakovsky continues. Somewhat earlier he was stripped of the direct command of the “Vostok” battalion (which was reformed into a brigade, so it has to be called now the “Vostok” brigade), which was operationally reassigned to Strelkov and his headquarters that rely on the conceal of the commanders. Over Khodakovsky, who used to be the minister of the state security of the DPR, a representative of the “Bloody Gebnya” (i.e., KGB) emerged, lieutenant-general Antyufeev who is currently cleansing the consequences of the work of those who were involved with the attempts to surrender Donetsk. A few days ago Mr. Khodakovsky was explicitly offered to determine with whom he is – either with Akhmetov or with the DPR. Because no agreement in good faith was apparently reached, then according to the data of the source, Mr. Khodakovsky today scribbled a paper about resigning from all positions in the security block of the DPR, which was dropped on the table of the political leadership of the DPR. Will it be given motion is not yet clear, but it is quite probable that in the nearest time Mr. Khodakovsky may depart from the deck of the military and political leaders of the DPR, similarly to how recently the former Mayor of Donetsk Mr. Lukyanchenko fell out of it and ran into Kiev.
  • UPD: Mr. Strelkov already confirmed the fact of the resignation of Mr. Khodakovsky from the position of the Minister of State Security of the DPR, so the source once again confirmed its high degree of privity.
  • Strelkov: Indeed, Mr. Khodakovsky resigned from the position of the minister. But he continues to command “Vostok” and nobody is going to remove him.
  • This way Mr. Khodakovsky now remains just a field commander and dropped out of the political deck of the top of the DPR. One more consequence of the retreat from Slavyansk.
  • Restrained optimism reigns in the military leadership of the DPR and the LPR after the successes of the recent days. So things are moving.

#11 - Junta Defeat on LPR Territory - by Colonel Cassad @ Colonel Cassad in English

Continue Reading: Junta Defeat on LPR Territory - by Colonel Cassad @ Colonel Cassad in English


#12 – July 16, 2014 – Information from LifeNews

Sixteen wounded Ukrainian executioners were delivered across the border into Russia. The border guards and Junta servicemen wounded in the fighting are being treated at hospital of the Gukovo village in the Rostov region.

The number of Ukrainian soldier being attended to by Russian doctors has grown to 16 men. Three Ukrainian border guards are in intensive care; the all received wounds of various degrees of severity. The character of wounds varies – caused by shells, frags and shrapnel, as well as fractures and burns.

A source in the Militia provided information that the battle on the LPR territory is occurring only 10 kilometres away from the Russian village of Gukovo.


July 16, 2014 – Situation Report from the Militia 

An accumulation of disparate parts of Ukie forces can be observed in the area of Amvrosievka – this is the outcome of our morning liberation of Marinovka (DPR). In the corse of a haphazard retreat in the direction of Mariupol, significant numbers of armoured vehicles in disrepair is being abandoned “on the march” (in quotations, as it is difficult to equate this flight to a march). The evacuation of non-military personnel has been substantially hampered.

We have information that separate units of the Junta forces, in an attempt to breakout from the Saurovsk cauldron, are running, stripping of their camouflage and dropping personal arms, almost naked to their underwear. Those who have civilian clothes are hastily changing, hoping to get lost among the civilian population. In Lugansk, the situation remains tense. We have radio located and now are tracking an enemy fire corrector.

20:00 (MSK) – We have received and now are confirming information about the shooting down of a transport aircraft (An-26) over Lugansk. An intensive battle has ensued at the Lugansk airport. A KPVT can be heard working, there are explosions. Near the square adjacent to the airport terminal there is thick black smoke.

For more half a century, Israel has gotten away with breaking every international law and covenant in its treatment of Palestinians. “The material basis of the Israeli colonial project is dependent on the continued expansion and expropriation of Palestinian land and the subordination of Palestinian people.”

“Protective Edge,” the cartoonish name given to the latest Israeli military offensive against the occupied people of Palestine, is representative of the inverted reality whereby the 1.7 million captive and largely defenseless Palestinians in Gaza are the vicious aggressors against the peace-loving settlers of Israel. Similar to the inverted reality in the U.S., where the myth of the innocent settler was created to justify the systematic slaughter of Indigenous peoples, the genocidal policies of Israel are camouflaged by the transformation of its position from an armed colonial invader to one of victim.

This repositioning is aided and abetted in the U.S. by a corporate media whose worldview and angle of reporting is framed by the innocent settler narrative. This narrative simultaneously liquidates and normalizes the colonial relationship between the colonizer and the colonized so that the occupied territories are not occupied but transformed into “disputed” territories and all forms of resistance on the part of Palestinians becomes terroristic.

Informed by this imperial vision, the corporate media not only parrot Israel’s victim narrative but go even further with the creation of the two-equal-sides fiction. Mainstream coverage laments how both sides are locked in battle or a spiral of violence, giving the absurd impression that the violence in the occupied territories is a conflict between two forces with similar power and equal moral standing.

It should be clear that attempting to conceptually equate the force of the state of Israel, one of the most powerful militaries in the world, with a resistance movement of a captive people trapped by land and sea in an open-air concentration camp on one of the most densely populated strips of land on the planet is a position that is fundamentally immoral. Yet for most editors and reporters in the U.S., pro-Zionist liberals and their counterparts in the Christian Zionist movement as well as some elements of the European press and public, the conceptual blinders of white supremacist colonial consciousness makes it impossible to see the immorality inherent in this construction of the so-called conflict.

The position for most of the world is that the latest assault on the Palestinian people is a war crime and an ongoing crime against humanity. That position was affirmed by the international Court of Justice, which ruled that as an occupying military power Israel has an obligation under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to protect the rights of civilians under military occupation. i

Within this legal framework, the killing of civilians under occupation, indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian communities, collective punishments, house demolitions, arbitrary imprisonment, the theft of water and other natural resources and the building of settlements in occupied territories are all considered war crimes and crimes against humanity.ii

That is the real story that should be communicated to the general public in the U.S. But instead, the public is being led to believe that the Israeli military assault is a legally and morally justified response to aggression from Hamas. From this perspective there is no special responsibility on the part of the Israeli authorities to protect the rights of Palestinians under military occupation, and the actions of the Israeli government in response to the killings of the three Israeli teenagers is seen as a measured and rational response.

Only the most naive believe the current military assault has anything to do with “defense” issues related to the symbolic resistance offered from Hamas via the firing of rockets into Israel. Honest commentators on this issue know that Israel provoked the response from the Palestinian resistance with the mass repression it launched in Gaza after the killings of the three Israeli teenagers in order to use the response to justify its attack on Hamas. An attack meant to destroy the newly established unity government of the Palestinians.

The colonialist mentality sees any resistance, no matter the form, as illegitimate, punishable by death and unrelenting terror. That message is clear for Palestinians as their homes are reduced to dust and the people dig out the bodies of their children, spouses, fathers and grandmothers. The other message communicated to Palestinians, once again, and which they understand all too well, is that compared to the lives of the settlers their lives are worthless and there is no “responsibility to protect” for them.

The assault on the people and the institutions of Gaza has as its objective the eradication of the people of Gaza – not necessarily in the physical sense, only because at this stage in global consciousness any such attempt would galvanize universal opposition, but to erase Gaza as a functioning society, to destroy it politically, culturally, spiritually and psychologically. A process that IIan Pappe refers to as “incremental genocide,iii that whatever the label is terroristic in its’ most naked, brutal and devastating effect.

When genocide or systematic ethnic cleansing is not a viable option, reducing the indigenous population to a weak, terrorized and dependent condition is the next best thing for settler policy. The targeting of the civilian infrastructure and governing institutions by the Israeli military makes it clear that this is the objective of the current attack on Gaza.

The international community has failed to hold the Israeli state accountable for war crimes and other serious violations of international law over the last four decades. Human rights organizations and United Nations special procedures have produced detailed reports on the crimes committed by Israel over the last four decades without the perpetrators being brought to justice.iv And when it comes to Israel, humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect is exposed as the imperialist ideological construct that it is.

Images of Palestinian children being dug out of bombed-out residential buildings have not resulted in calls for humanitarian intervention to save a population that may be the most brutalized on the planet today. Instead, weak and pathetic calls are made for “both sides” to show restraint and protect “civilians” as though a distinction can be made or is ever made between combatants and non-combatants when it is the whole people who are seen as the enemy by Israeli authorities.

Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights points out the hypocrisy of the West when it comes to Israel.

“…instead of condemning such recourse to massive violence as ‘aggression’ that violates the UN Charter and fundamental international law principles, the reaction of Western diplomats and mainstream media has perversely sided with Israel. From the UN Secretary-General to the president of the United States, the main insistence has been that Hamas must stop all rocket attacks while Israel is requested ever so politely to show ‘maximum restraint’”.v

What is the future for Palestine? Is reconciliation possible within the context of an ongoing colonial relationship? Is a two-state solution still viable with more than 500,000 settlers occupying almost half of the land that was supposed to be the Palestinian state, a land base that is just 22 percent of original Palestine before the establishment of Israel?

Frantz Fanon argues that:

“One world, either that of the settler or that of the native, must be destroyed to bring the colonial system to an end. Not simply a military defeat or a political deal – the total destruction of the other mode of living.”

As the Israelis continue to steal Palestinian land, murder, degrade and humiliate Palestinian people, and create “facts on the ground” that make it impossible to establish a viable, independent Palestinian state, it is becoming clear that the only solution to the original sin of the Zionist project is authentic decolonization where the presence, humanity and sovereignty of the colonized is restored.

Authentic decolonization is the only solution because the inner logic of the colonial/capitalist process suggests that Fanon’s assertion is correct – that there can be no reconciliation of Palestinian self-determination and independent development with the continuation of the Israeli state as a settler state. Because even within the framework of the so-called two state solution, the material basis of the Israeli colonial project is dependent on the continued expansion and expropriation of Palestinian land and the subordination of Palestinian people.

So while some Palestinians and their supporters still hope for a two-state solution, Israeli rulers also understand Fanon’s position that “only one mode of living will survive” and are moving to destroy Palestinian resistance. This is the real story of Gaza and all of the occupied territories – an ongoing crime that degrades all of us who are forced to witness it.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. His latest publications include contributions to two recently published books “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and “Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral.” He can be reached at [email protected] and www.AjamuBaraka.com

Notes:

i See “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1677.pdf

ii For a summation of the relevant articles of the convention related to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, see Francis Boyld, “The International Laws of Belligerent Occupation,” http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/boyle.html

iii http://electronicintifada.net/content/genocide-gaza/6397

iv The reports on Israeli violations are too numerous to detail here but the comprehensive UN examination of Israeli violations reflected here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf is an example of detailed violations without any effective follow-up.

v Tormenting Gaza, Aljazeera, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/07/tormenting-gaza-201471362221821466.html

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti on Jul. 14-15 in an effort to resuscitate a stalled $2.2 billion UN plan to eliminate cholera from Haiti over the next decade.

Launched in December 2012, the UN “initiative” was really nothing more than the repackaging of the “Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola” launched by the Haitian and Dominican governments in January 2012, as Jonathon Katz and Tom Murphy pointed out in a scathing “Foreign Policy” article.

Since the UN rebranded the plan, it has been unable in over 18 months to raise even the $400 million needed to fund the project for its first two years. Meanwhile, the UN spent some $609 million to deploy about 7,000 UN soldiers in Haiti during FY 2013/2014 as part of the thoroughly despised and almost weekly protested decade-old UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH).

It was, in fact, MINUSTAH soldiers from Nepal who imported cholera into Haiti by allowing sewage from their outhouses to flow into the headwaters of Haiti’s largest river in October 2010, at least ten scientific studies, including one commissioned by the UN itself, agree.

However, the UN has refused to accept legal responsibility for causing what is now the world’s worst cholera epidemic, which has killed over 8,500 and sickened over 704,000 Haitians. Three lawsuits have been filed in New York courts demanding reparations and an apology from the UN for its negligence in Haiti. The UN has claimed it has immunity, and UN officials have been hiding from court officers trying to serve them with papers, although one server caught up with Ban Ki-moon at The Asia Society in late June.

In Haiti, Ban Ki-moon and his wife, joined by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, engaged in an extended photo-op to deflect criticism and say that the UN had a “moral duty” to help stop the spread of cholera in Haiti.

“This is a necessary pilgrimage for me,” Ban told villagers in a church in Los Palmas on Haiti’s Central Plateau near where the epidemic started. “My wife and I have come here to grieve with you. As a father and grandfather, and as a mother and grandmother, we feel tremendous anguish at the pain you have had to endure.”

Along with Lamothe, Ban also helped launch the Haitian government’s “Total Sanitation Campaign,” a five-year plan, already funded with $14 million from Canada and Japan, which aims to improve sanitation for 3.8 million Haitians in 20 cholera-plagued rural communes.

The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Port-au-Prince-based Office of International Lawyers (BAI) were the first lawyers to bring a lawsuit in the New York courts on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims in October 2013. The lawsuit came after the UN claimed immunity after the IJDH/BAI lawyers attempted to seek redress through the UN’s own grievance system in November 2011.

On Jul. 7, the U.S. Justice Department wrote to the Judge J. Paul Oetken in the New York case to say that the “United States has consistently asserted the absolute immunity of the UN to lawsuits filed against it in U.S. courts” and “urges the Court to dismiss this action.”

The IJDH/BAI lawyers are trying to have the case litigated as a class-action lawsuit.

“Secretary-General Ban’s visit demonstrates why Haiti needs justice, not charity,” IJDH lawyer Brian Concannon, Jr. told Haïti Liberté.

His talk of ‘moral duty’ and new programs on this visit just add to his other empty gestures, such as the 2012 launch of the Cholera Free Hispaniola Initiative that has not started almost two years later. Haitians are dying of the UN cholera epidemic, the UN has a legal responsibility to stop that killing, and has the resources to do so. It is time for all of us to join with Haitian grassroots activists and make sure that the UN obeys the law.”

Ban also met with President Michel Martelly as well as the presidents of Haiti’s House of Deputies and Senate to discuss the political impasse over Haiti’s unconstitutional electoral council, which Martelly has sought to unilaterally impose.

On Jul. 15, about 50 protestors gathered outside a stadium being constructed on Route Neuf outside Cité Soleil, in which Ban, Martelly, and Lamothe took pictures with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach. The protestors sang chants and held signs which said: “MINUSTAH = Cholera”, “Ban Ki-Moon Go Home”, and “Down with the UN Occupation of Haiti.”

“We are outraged that Ban Ki-Moon comes here to hypocritically say he cares about our plight while at the same time he refuses to take responsibility for unleashing cholera in Haiti,” said Oxygène David of the party Dessalines Coordination (KOD), whose militants made up more than half of the demonstrators at Route Neuf.

“We demand that UN troops to leave Haiti, and Ban is deaf. We ask for cholera reparations, and Ban is deaf. Through massacres carried out by their soldiers and the importation of cholera, the UN is responsible for thousands upon thousands of Haitian deaths. So don’t try to tell us that you’re the solution to the problems you’ve created.”

After Haiti, Ban Ki-moon travels to the Dominican Republic, where he will meet with President Danilo Medina.

Haiti: Despite Flawed Electoral Process, International Community Support Continues Unabated

July 16th, 2014 by Center for Economic and Policy Research

While Haitian President Michel Martelly has unilaterally scheduled long-delayed elections for October 26, 2014, the composition of the electoral council continues to cause controversy in Haiti. The current problems stem from the deeply flawed electoral process in 2010 that saw Martelly emerge victorious after the intervention of the international community. There have yet to be elections since then, with one-third of the 30 member Senate having their terms expire in 2011 while some 130 local mayors have been replaced by Martelly appointments. Another one-third of the Senate and the entire lower house will see their terms expire in January 2015 if elections are not held. In a “frequently asked questions” document released last week, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) provides a legal analysis of the reasons behind the delays and why the current electoral council is unconstitutional. In an accompanying press release, IJDH notes:

According to Mario Joseph, managing lawyer for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, “Prompt elections are much needed, but elections will only remedy Haiti’s political crisis if they are run fairly by a constitutionally-mandated electoral council. President Michel Martelly has delayed elections for three years because he does not want to lose the political control he has enjoyed without full parliamentary oversight.”

Joseph explains that “The current Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) put into place by President Martelly per the El Rancho Accord is unconstitutional.” The El Rancho Accord, which rules the government’s plan for elections, has not been approved by Parliament and the procedure for selecting a CEP conflicts with the Haitian Constitution. The CEP only has seven of the required nine members due to these legitimacy concerns. Parliamentarians and political opposition call the El Rancho Accord a political coup d’état.

Despite the problems associated with the “El Rancho Accord,” the international community has been supportive of the process. After praising the accord in March, the U.N. issued a statement in early May, co-signed with the “Friends of Haiti” grouping of countries, warning “that certain important decisions to advance toward the holding of the elections have yet to be made.” Days later Martelly announced the formation of the electoral council, unilaterally. In early June, the date of October 26 was announced by the government, even though the electoral body is tasked with scheduling elections. Last week, after meeting with Martelly, the Secretary General of the OAS committed “to back the holding of free and fair elections, in a process planned for October.” The OAS also said they would send an electoral observation mission.

The international community is also providing the lion’s share of the funds for the election. IJDH, for its part, has called on the U.S. and other members of the international community to “support rule of law and democracy by conditioning election funding on a lawful and independent electoral council that can run fair and inclusive elections.” Haiti’s last several elections have been criticized for not being inclusive, as several political parties – including the most popular, Fanmi Lavalas – have been arbitrarily kept off the ballot under various pretexts.

The U.S. has pledged $10 million toward the elections, but a review of contract spending shows that a significant portion of this has already been allocated and spent in coordination with a previous electoral body that no longer exists. In April of 2013, USAID awarded $2.3 million to the International Federation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for “electoral process support.” In April 2014, the award was raised to $3.4 million. An IFES press release from October 2013, well before elections had been scheduled, notes that the organization had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Transitional College of the Permanent Electoral Council (CTCEP) to provide technical assistance. The CTCEP has since been replaced by the electoral body that emerged from the controversial “El Rancho Accord.” Repeated requests for comment to clarify IFES’s support have yet to be answered.

Additionally, a USAID factsheet reports that $6.5 million will go toward “pre-election planning and capacity building for the” CTCEP. Those funds are part of a multi-donor project run by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Previously called “Support to Electoral Process in Haiti: 2012-2013”, the only recent update to the project’s webpage has been to change to dates to “2013-2014.” Overall, the UNDP project will have a budget of $32 million and had already spent over a $1 million as of October 2013. It remains unclear if the donors – the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the EU – have already deposited their contributions with the UNDP.