The US state sanctions racist violence against the African American people and the White House has not made any effort to curtail it, a civil rights activist and journalist in Detroit says.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday, commenting on the outbreak of unrest in the US state of Missouri over the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager by a police officer.

“I believe very strongly that the protests and rebellions surrounding the police killing of young 18-year-old Michael Brown is a reflection of the growing anger against state-sanctioned racist violence inside the United States,” Azikiwe said.

“The president, Barack Obama, said yesterday that the death of Michael Brown was heartbreaking.  But he never mentioned any effort on part of the administration to curtail this type of violence being carried out against African Americans by law enforcement agencies across the United States,” he added.

“Also we just had the case of Ted Wafer, the white man from Dearborn Heights, a suburb outside of Detroit, who killed young 19-year-old Renisha McBride, who was a college student, in Detroit,” Azikiwe stated.

“She entered his porch and knocked on the door, asking for assistance, after she had been involved in an automobile accident. She was shot dead, and the jury did not believe his story, which changed. Initially, he said that he shot her by mistake and later on… he said that he was fighting because he thought she was there to break into his home,” he further stated.

On Thursday, Detroit’s Wayne County Circuit Court found Theodore Wafer guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of McBride, according to the Associated Press.

Wafer, 55, was on trial for killing McBride on his porch in November. McBride appeared at Wafer’s house at around 4:30 a.m. on November 2, 2013. She crashed her car nearby earlier that night. She knocked on Wafer’s door, unarmed and looking for help. Wafer came to the door with a loaded shotgun and shot her in the face.

“So the verdict in the Renisha McBride case indicates that there is a growing awareness in regard to the violence that’s being perpetuated against African Americans and other oppressed nations here in the United States,” Azikiwe said.

“This is something that must be directed to the US Congress, which has failed as well to speak directly to the pain and the hurt of the African American community, and also to the White House, which has not focused at all on the ongoing racism and racist violence being perpetuated against the African American people,” he noted.

“So, hopefully, these outbreaks in Ferguson, Missouri, and other developments around the United States will in fact focus more attention on the need to eliminate racist violence in the United States,” he concluded.

In an interview with Press TV on April 16, 2012, Malcolm X’s grandson, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, said that blacks are murdered with impunity in the US because the system is unjust.

“There are hundreds of black Americans who are being murdered in the United States every year with impunity. And police officers serve no time. They always get off,” Shabazz stated.

He said this occurs because there is institutionalized racism in the US.

Shabazz was beaten to death in Mexico City on May 9, 2013. An autopsy found that the 28-year-old died of deadly blows to the head, face and torso.

The Militarization of Law Enforcement in America: Blowback in Ferguson

August 15th, 2014 by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager and the ensuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri has rocked America. Even the mainstream media with its aversion to the truth, has been forced to address the militarization of the police in America – albeit years too late.

This is a short call from informing the mainstream media that the country has been living under pseudo martial law for decades.

On April 13, 2013,  the ACLU (Shasta Chapter) invited me to be their keynote speaker to talk about government secrecy, drones and militarization of America.    The Ferguson shooting and its coverage it the media prompted me to highlight some of the points made during that talk as they relate to today’s events.

Historians and political scientists have warned about dangerous war fever sweeping the United States.  America’s entanglements overseas, its imperial ambitions, and the more recent “global war on terror”, a war of indefinite duration against an ill-defined shifting enemy, with no specific definition of victory,  poses a grave danger to the very character of American government and society, unraveling the fabric of the Constitution.

The framers of the Constitution recognized such dangers when they carefully subordinated the military to civilian authority and attempted to limit the power of the President to initiate war.  Gregory Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington said that the principle of civilian control of the military—an early building block of American democracy-  has been reversed and become the  civilian subjugation to the military.

Over half a century ago,  Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson concluded   “by giving way to the passion, intolerance and suspicions  of wartime, it is easy to reduce our liberties to a shadow, often in answer to exaggerated claims of security.”

That day is here.   Aside from constant surveillance, and the notorious “kill list”, war has been internalized and the militarization of the police force has put every American in danger.  The biggest threat to Americans now comes from those who are paid to protect them.  A threat which has been building for decades.

During the Clinton administration  Congress passed what’s now known as the “1033 Program.   The 1033 Progam formalized  Reagan administration’s directive to the Pentagon to share surplus military gear with domestic police agencies. Since then, millions of pieces of military equipment designed for use on a battlefield have been transferred to local cops — SWAT teams and others — including machine guns, tanks, and armored personnel carriers.   The Pentagon’s 1033 program has exploded under Obama.

Clinton also created the “Troops to Cops” program, which offered grants to police departments who hired soldiers returning from battle, contributing even further to the militarization of the police force. But what is most alarming about the militarize police their training.

Althuogh the role of the police is to ‘protect and to serve’,  they are being taught to kill.  Lt. Col David Grossman (retired U.S. Army) is one such teacher.  Grossman, unapologitacally, told Front Line:

“Prior preparation is the heart of what I do. I teach law enforcement. Today I just came from a conference where I trained 700 SWAT cops. And most of what I do is I train military and law enforcement in what I call the bulletproof mind. Just as today we have body armor that the guys in World War II didn’t have, the same way we can have mental preparation that they didn’t have. And this bulletproof mind is vital. Prior preparation is that one variable in the equation that we can control ahead of time, and one of the key things is embracing the responsibility to kill.”

“I tell my soldiers, I tell my cops: “You’ve got the most difficult decision any human being will ever face. You have to decide whether or not to kill another human being.”

Well equipped, trained, and encouraged by the likes of [now former] Mayor Michael Bloombergand New York City police commissioner Raymond Kel who proudly brag of “hav(ing) my own army in the NYPD” and who used that army to spy on peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors.”, it should come as no surprise that a SWAT team should blow a hole in a 2-year old, or the police kill an unarmed teenager, and all other horrific acts of violence we witness every day being committed by the cops.

So why has the media been silent on the militarization of police up to this point?  Well,  they are the watchdogs of acceptable ideological messages, responsible for manufacturing consent – Their goal is to control the news and information available to society by using censorship and propaganda.  Big media is not designed to serve the welfare of the public.

So why break the silence now? The internet has made it virtually impossible to hide facts, and quite possibly,  mainstream media has decided to do some damage control and take over the reins in order to control the flow of information.  Regardless of what big media wants us to believe,  what we witness is a blowback.  Our wars have come home to roost.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar and  Independent Researcher.

Groups on the ground in St. Louis are calling for nationwide solidarity actions in support of Justice for Mike Brown and the end of police and extrajudicial killings everywhere.”

As they should. And we should all join in.

But “nationwide” and “everywhere” are odd terms to equate when discussing police militarization. Are we against extrajudicial killings (otherwise known as murder) by U.S. government employees and U.S. weapons in Pakistan? Yemen? Iraq? Gaza? And literallyeverywhere they occur? The militarization of local police in the United States is related to the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, which has now reached the point that bombing and “doing nothing” are generally conceived as the only two choices available. Local police are being militarized as a result of these factors:

  • A culture glorifying militarization and justifying it as global policing.
  • A federal government that directs roughly $1 trillion every year into the U.S. military, depriving virtually everything else of needed resources.
  • A federal government that still manages to find resources to offer free military weapons to local police in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Weapons profiteers that eat up local subsidies as well as federal contracts while funding election campaigns, threatening job elimination in Congressional districts, and pushing for the unloading of weapons by the U.S. military on local police as one means of creating the demand for more.
  • The use of permanent wartime fears to justify the removal of citizens’ rights, gradually allowing local police to begin viewing the people they were supposed to protect as low-level threats, potential terrorists, and enemies of law and order in particular when they exercise their former rights to speech and assembly. Police “excesses” like war “excesses” are not apologized for, as one does not apologize to an enemy.
  • The further funding of abusive policing through asset forfeitures and SWAT raids.
  • The further conflation of military and police through the militarization of borders, especially the Mexican border, the combined efforts of federal and local forces in fusion centers, the military’s engagement in “exercises” in the U.S., and the growth of the drone industry with the military, among others, flying drones in U.S. skies and piloting drones abroad from U.S. land.
  • The growth of the profit-driven prison industry and mass incarceration, which dehumanize people in the minds of participants just as boot camp and the nightly news do to war targets.
  • Economically driven disproportionate participation in, and therefore identification with, the military by the very communities most suffering from its destruction of resources, rights, and lives.

But policing is not the only thing militarized by what President Eisenhower called the “total influence — economic, political, even spiritual” of the military industrial complex. Our morality is militarized, our entertainment is militarized, our natural world is militarized, and our education system is militarized. “Unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex” is not easily opposed while maintaining the military industrial complex. When Congress Members lend their support to a new war in Iraq while proposing that the U.S. Post Office and a dozen other decent things not be defunded, they are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. The United States cannot live like other wealthy nations while dumping $1 trillion a year into a killing machine.

The way out of this cycle of madness in which we spend more just on recruiting someone into the military or on locking them up behind bars than we spend on educating them is to confront in a unified and coherent manner what Martin Luther King Jr. called the evils of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. Not racism, extreme materialism, and what the military does to the local police. Not racism, extreme materialism, and what the military does to weapons testing sites. Not racism, extreme materialism, and what the military does to the people of Honduras causing them to flee to a land that then welcomes them with an attitude of militarism. Not any of these partial steps alone, but the whole package of interlocking evils of attitude and mindset.

There is a no-fly-zone over Ferguson, Missouri, because people in the U.S. government view the people of the United States increasingly as they view the people of other countries: as best controlled from the air. Notes the War Resister League,

“Vigils and protests in Ferguson – a community facing persistent racist profiling and police brutality – have been attacked by tear gas, rubber bullets, police in fully-armored SWAT gear, and tank-like personnel carriers. This underscores not only the dangers of being young, Black, and male in the US, but also the fear of mobilization and rebellion from within racialized communities facing the violence of austerity and criminalization.

“The parallels between the Israeli Defense Forces in Palestine, the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro, the Indian police in Kashmir, the array of oppressive armed forces in Iraq, and the LAPD in Skid Row could not be any clearer. . . .

“This is not happening by accident. What is growing the capacity of local police agencies to exercise this force are police militarization programs explicitly designed to do so. As St. Louis writer Jamala Rogers wrote in an article on the militarization of St. Louis Police this past April, ‘It became clear that SWAT was designed as a response to the social unrest of the 1960s, particularly the anti-war and black liberation movements.’ Federal programs such as DoD 1033 and 1122, and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), in which St. Louis Police are active participants, provide weapons and training to police departments across the country, directly from the Pentagon. Commenting on the ominous growth of the phenomenon, Rogers continues: ‘and now, Police Chief [of St. Louis Police] Sam Dotson wants to add drones to his arsenal.’

“The events in Ferguson over these last few days demonstrate that the violence of policing and militarism are inextricably bound. To realize justice and freedom as a condition for peace, we must work together to end police militarization and violence.”

The War Resisters League is organizing against Urban Shield, an expo of military weapons for police and training event planned for Oakland, Calif., this September 4-8. The Week of Education and Action will take place in Oakland from August 30-September 5. Read all about it here.

David Swanson is a member of the National Committee of the War Resisters League and wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter:@davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

The Ukraine, Corrupted Journalism, and the Atlanticist Faith

August 15th, 2014 by Karel van Wolferen

The European Union is not (anymore) guided by politicians with a grasp of history, a sober assessment of global reality, or simple common sense connected with the long term interests of what they are guiding. If any more evidence was needed, it has certainly been supplied by the sanctions they have agreed on last week aimed at punishing Russia.

One way to fathom their foolishness is to start with the media, since whatever understanding or concern these politicians may have personally they must be seen to be doing the right thing, which is taken care of by TV and newspapers.

In much of the European Union the general understanding of global reality since the horrible fate of the people on board the Malaysian Airliner comes from mainstream newspapers and TV which have copied the approach of Anglo-American mainstream media, and have presented ‘news’ in which insinuation and vilification substitute for proper reporting. Respected publications, like the Financial Times or the once respected NRC Handelsblad of the Netherlands for which I worked sixteen years as East Asia Correspondent, not only joined in with this corrupted journalism but helped guide it to mad conclusions. The punditry and editorials that have grown out of this have gone further than anything among earlier examples of sustained media hysteria stoked for political purposes that I can remember. The most flagrant example I have come across, an anti-Putin leader in the (July 26) Economist Magazine, had the tone of Shakespeare’s Henry V exhorting his troops before the battle of Agincourt as he invaded France.

One should keep in mind that there are no European-wide newspapers or publications to sustain a European public sphere, in the sense of a means for politically interested Europeans to ponder and debate with each other big international developments. Because those interested in world affairs usually read the international edition of the New York Times or the Financial Times, questions and answers on geopolitical matters are routinely shaped or strongly influenced by what editors in New York and London have determined as being important. Thinking that may deviate significantly as can now be found in Der Spiegel, the Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungDie Zeit and Handelsblatt, does not travel across German borders. Hence we do not see anything like a European opinion evolving on global affairs, even when these have a direct impact on the interests of the European Union itself.

The Dutch population was rudely shaken out of a general complacency with respect to world events that could affect it, through the death of 193 fellow nationals (along with a 105 people of other nationalities) in the downed plane, and its media were hasty in following the American-initiated finger-pointing at Moscow. Explanations that did not in some way involve culpability of the Russian president seemed to be out of bounds. This was at odds right away with statements of a sober Dutch prime minister, who was under considerable pressure to join the fingerpointing but who insisted on waiting for a thorough examination of what precisely had happened.

The TV news programs I saw in the days immediately afterwards had invited, among other anti–Russian expositors, American neocon-linked talking heads to do the disclosing to a puzzled and truly shaken up audience. A Dutch foreign policy specialist explained that the foreign minister or his deputy could not go to the site of the crash (as Malaysian officials did) to recover the remains of Dutch citizens, because that would amount to an implicit recognition of diplomatic status for the “separatists”. When the European Union en bloc recognizes a regime that has come into existence through an American initiated coup d’état, you are diplomatically stuck with it.

The inhabitants and anti-Kiev fighters at the crash site were portrayed, with images from youtube, as uncooperative criminals, which for many viewers amounted to a confirmation of their guilt. This changed when later reports from actual journalists showed shocked and deeply concerned villagers, but the discrepancy was not explained, and earlier assumptions of villainy did not make way for any objective analysis of why these people might be fighting at all. Tendentious twitter and youtube ‘news’ had become the basis for official Dutch indignation with the East Ukrainians, and a general opinion arose that something had to be set straight, which was, again in general opinion, accomplished by a grand nationally televised reception of the human remains (released through Malaysian mediation) in a dignified sober martial ceremony.

Nothing that I have seen or read even intimated that the Ukraine crisis – which led to coup and civil war – was created by neoconservatives and a few R2P (“Responsibility to Protect”) fanatics in the State Department and the White House, apparently given a free hand by President Obama. The Dutch media also appeared unaware that the catastrophe was immediately turned into a political football for White House and State Department purposes. The likelihood that Putin was right when he said that the catastrophe would not have happened if his insistence on a cease-fire had been accepted, was not entertained.

As it was, Kiev broke the cease-fire – on the 10th of June – in its civil war against Russian speaking East Ukrainians who do not wish to be governed by a collection of thugs, progeny of Ukrainian nazis, and oligarchs enamored of the IMF and the European Union. The supposed ‘rebels’ have been responding to the beginnings of ethnic cleansing operations (systematic terror bombing and atrocities – 30 or more Ukrainians burned alive) committed by Kiev forces, of which little or nothing has penetrated into European news reports.

It is unlikely that the American NGOs, which by official admission spent 5 billion dollars in political destabilization efforts prior to the February putsch in Kiev, have suddenly disappeared from the Ukraine, or that America’s military advisors and specialized troops have sat idly by as Kiev’s military and militias mapped their civil war strategy; after all, the new thugs are as a regime on financial life-support provided by Washington, the European Union and IMF. What we know is that Washington is encouraging the ongoing killing in the civil war it helped trigger.

But Washington has constantly had the winning hand in a propaganda war against, entirely contrary to what mainstream media would have us believe, an essentially unwilling opponent. Waves of propaganda come from Washington and are made to fit assumptions of a Putin, driven and assisted by a nationalism heightened by the loss of the Soviet empire, who is trying to expand the Russian Federation up to the borders of that defunct empire. The more adventurous punditry, infected by neocon fever, has Russia threatening to envelop the West. Hence Europeans are made to believe that Putin refuses diplomacy, while he has been urging this all along. Hence prevailing propaganda has had the effect that not Washington’s but Putin’s actions are seen as dangerous and extreme. Anyone with a personal story that places Putin or Russia in a bad light must move right now; Dutch editors seem insatiable at the moment.

There is no doubt that the frequently referred to Moscow propaganda exists. But there are ways for serious journalists to weigh competing propaganda and discern how much veracity or lies and bullshit they contain. Within my field of vision this has only taken place a bit in Germany. For the rest we must piece political reality together relying on the now more than ever indispensable American websites hospitable to whistleblowers and old-fashioned investigative journalism, which especially since the onset of the ‘war on terrorism’ and the Iraq invasion have formed a steady form of samizdatpublishing.

In the Netherlands almost anything that comes from the State Department is taken at face value. America’s history, since the demise of the Soviet Union, of truly breathtaking lies: on Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, Libya and North Korea; its record of overthrown governments; its black-op and false flag operations; and its stealthily garrisoning of the planet with some thousand military bases, is conveniently left out of consideration. The near hysteria throughout a week following the downed airliner prevented people with some knowledge of relevant history from opening their mouths. Job security in the current world of journalism is quite shaky, and going against the tide would be almost akin to siding with the devil, as it would damage one’s journalistic ‘credibility’.

What strikes an older generation of serious journalists as questionable about the mainstream media’s credibility is editorial indifference to potential clues that would undermine or destroy the official story line; a story line that has already permeated popular culture as is evident in throwaway remarks embellishing book and film reviews along with much else. In the Netherlands the official story is already carved in stone, which is to be expected when it is repeated ten-thousand times. It cannot be discounted, of course, but it is based on not a shred of evidence.

The presence of two Ukrainian fighter planes near the Malaysian airliner on Russian radar would be a potential clue I would be very interested in if I were investigating either as journalist or member of the investigation team that the Netherlands officially leads. This appeared to be corroborated by a BBC Report with eyewitness accounts from the ground by villagers who clearly saw another plane, a fighter, close to the airliner, near the time of its crash, and heard explosions coming from the sky. This report has recently drawn attention because it was removed from the BBC’s archive. I would want to talk with Michael Bociurkiw, one of the first inspectors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to reach the crash site who spent more than a week examining the wreckage and has described on CBC World News two or three “really pock-marked” pieces of fuselage. “It almost looks like machine gun fire; very, very strong machine gun fire that has left these unique marks that we haven’t seen anywhere else.”

I would certainly also want to have a look at the allegedly confiscated radar and voice records of the Kiev Air Control Tower to understand why the Malaysian pilot veered off course and rapidly descended shortly before his plane crashed, and find out whether foreign air controllers in Kiev were indeed sent packing immediately after the crash. Like the “Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity”, I would certainly urge the American authorities with access to satellite images to show the evidence they claim to have of BUK missile batteries in ‘rebel’ hands as well as of Russian involvement, and ask them why they have not done so already. Until now Washington has acted like a driver who refuses a breathalyzer test. Since intelligence officials have leaked to some American newspapers their lesser certainty about the American certainties as brought to the world by the Secretary of State, my curiosity would be unrelenting.

To place European media loyalty to Washington in the Ukraine case as well as the slavish conduct of European politicians in perspective, we must know about and understand Atlanticism. It is a European faith. It has not given rise to an official doctrine, of course, but it functions like one. It is well summed up by the Dutch slogan at the time of the Iraq invasion: “zonder Amerika gaat het niet” (without the United States [things] [it] won’t work). Needless to say, the Cold War gave birth to Atlanticism. Ironically, it gained strength as the threat from the Soviet Union became less persuasive for increasing numbers among European political elites. That probably was a matter of generational change: the farther away from World War II, the less European governments remembered what it means to have an independent foreign policy on global-sized issues. Current heads of government of the European Union are unfamiliar with practical strategic deliberations. Routine thought on international relations and global politics is deeply entrenched in Cold War epistemology.

This inevitably also informs ‘responsible’ editorial policies. Atlanticism is now a terrible affliction for Europe: it fosters historical amnesia, willful blindness and dangerously misconceived political anger. But it thrives on a mixture of lingering unquestioned Cold War era certainties about protection, Cold War loyalties embedded in popular culture, sheer European ignorance, and an understandable reluctance to concede that one has even for a little bit been brainwashed. Washington can do outrageous things while leaving Atlanticism intact because of everyone’s forgetfulness, which the media do little or nothing to cure. I know Dutch people who have become disgusted with the villification of Putin, but the idea that in the context of Ukraine the fingerpointing should be toward Washington is well-nigh unacceptable. Hence, Dutch publications, along with many others in Europe, cannot bring themselves to place the Ukraine crisis in proper perspective by acknowledging that Washington started it all, and that Washington rather than Putin has the key to its solution. It would impel a renunciation of Atlanticism.

Atlanticism derives much of its strength through NATO, its institutional embodiment. The reason for NATO’s existence, which disappeard with the demise of the Soviet Union, has been largely forgotten. Formed in 1949, it was based on the idea that transatlantic cooperation for security and defense had become necessary after World War II in the face of a communism, orchestrated by Moscow, intent on taking over the entire planet. Much less talked about was European internal distrust, as the Europeans set off on their first moves towards economic integration. NATO constituted a kind of American guarantee that no power in Europe would ever try to dominate the others.

NATO has for some time now been a liability for the European Union, as it prevents development of concerted European foreign and defense policies, and has forced the member states to become instruments serving American militarism. It is also a moral liability because the governments participating in the ‘coalition of the willing’ have had to sell the lie to their citizens that European soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a necessary sacrifice to keep Europe safe from terrorists. Governments that have supplied troops to areas occupied by the United States have generally done this with considerable reluctance, earning the reproach from a succession of American officials that Europeans do too little for the collective purpose of defending democracy and freedom.

As is the mark of an ideology, Atlanticism is ahistorical. As horse medicine against the torment of fundamental political ambiguity it supplies its own history: one that may be rewritten by American mainstream media as they assist in spreading the word from Washington.

There could hardly be a better demonstration of this than the Dutch experience at the moment. In conversations these past three weeks I have encountered genuine surprise when reminding friends that the Cold War ended through diplomacy with a deal made on Malta between Gorbachev and the elder Bush in December 1989, in which James Baker got Gorbachev to accept the reunification of Germany and withdrawal of Warsaw Pact troops with a promise that NATO would not be extended even one inch to the East. Gorbachev pledged not to use force in Eastern Europe where the Russians had some 350,000 troops in East Germany alone, in return for Bush’s promise that Washington would not take advantage of a Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe. Bill Clinton reneged on those American promises when, for purely electoral reasons, he boasted about an enlargement of NATO and in 1999 made the Czech Republic and Hungary full members. Ten years later another nine countries became members, at which point the number of NATO countries was double the number during the Cold War. The famous American specialist on Russia, Ambassador George Kennan, originator of Cold War containment policy, called Clinton’s move “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era.”

Historical ignorance abetted by Atlanticism is poignantly on display in the contention that the ultimate proof in the case against Vladimir Putin is his invasion of Crimea. Again, political reality here was created by America’s mainstream media. There was no invasion, as the Russian sailors and soldiers were already there since it is home to the ‘warm water’ Black Sea base for the Russian navy. Crimea has been a part of Russia for as long as the United States has existed. In 1954 Khrushchev, who himself came from the Ukraine, gave it to the Ukrainian Socialist Republic, which came down to moving a region to a different province, since Russia and Ukraine still belonged to the same country. The Russian speaking Crimean population was happy enough, as it voted in a referendum first for independence from the Kiev regime that resulted from the coup d’état, and subsequently for reunification with Russia.

Those who maintain that Putin had no right to do such a thing are unaware of another strand of history in which the United States has been moving (Star Wars) missile defense systems ever closer to Russian borders, supposedly to intercept hostile missiles from Iran, which do not exist. Sanctimonious talk about territorial integrity and sovereignty makes no sense under these circumstances, and coming from a Washington that has done away with the concept of sovereignty in its own foreign policy it is downright ludicrous.

A detestable Atlanticist move was the exclusion of Putin from the meetings and other events connected with the commemoration of the Normandy landings, for the first time in 17 years. The G8 became the G7 as a result. Amnesia and ignorance have made the Dutch blind to a history that directly concerned them, since the Soviet Union took the heart out of the Nazi war machine (that occupied the Netherlands) at a cost of incomparable and unimaginable numbers of military dead; without that there would not have been a Normandy invasion.

Not so long ago, the complete military disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan appeared to be moving NATO to a point where its inevitable demise could not to be too far off. But the Ukraine crisis and Putin’s decisiveness in preventing the Crimea with its Russian Navy base from possibly falling into the hands of the American-owned alliance, has been a godsend to this earlier faltering institution.

NATO leadership has already been moving troops to strengthen their presence in the Baltic states, sending missiles and attack aircraft to Poland and Lithuania, and since the downing of the Malaysian airliner it has been preparing further military moves that may turn into dangerous provocations of Russia. It has become clear that the Polish foreign minister together with the Baltic countries, none of which partook in NATO when its reason for being could still be defended, have become a strong driving force behind it. A mood of mobilization has spread in the past week. The ventriloquist dummies Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer can be relied upon to take to TV screens inveighing against NATO member-state backsliding. Rasmussen, the current Secretary General, declared on August 7 in Kiev that NATO’s “support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is unwavering” and that he is looking to strengthen partnership with the country at the Alliance’s summit in Wales in September. That partnership is already strong, so he said, “and in response to Russia’s aggression, NATO is working even more closely with Ukraine to reform its armed forces and defense institutions.”

In the meantime, in the American Congress 23 Senate Republicans have sponsored legislation, the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, which is meant to allow Washington to make the Ukraine a non-NATO ally and could set the stage for a direct military conflict with Russia. We will probably have to wait until after America’s midterm elections to see what will become of it, but it already helps provide a political excuse for those in Washington who want to take next steps in the Ukraine.

In September last year Putin helped Obama by making it possible for him to stop a bombing campaign against Syria pushed by the neocons, and had also helped in defusing the nuclear dispute with Iran, another neocon project. This led to a neocon commitment to break the Putin-Obama link. It is hardly a secret that the neoconservatives desire the overthrow of Putin and eventual dismemberment of the Russian Federation. Less known in Europe is the existence of numerous NGOs at work in Russia, which will help them with this. Vladimir Putin could strike now or soon, to preempt NATO and the American Congress, by taking Eastern Ukraine, something he probably should have done right after the Crimean referendum. That would, of course, be proof of his evil intentions in European editorial eyes.

In the light of all this, one of the most fateful questions to ask in current global affairs is: what has to happen for Europeans to wake up to the fact that Washington is playing with fire and has ceased being the protector they counted on, and is instead now endangering their security? Will the moment come when it becomes clear that the Ukraine crisis is, most of all, about placing Star Wars missile batteries along an extensive stretch of Russian border, which gives Washington – in the insane lingo of nuclear strategists – ‘first strike’ capacity?

It is beginning to sink in among older Europeans that the United States has enemies who are not Europe’s enemies because it needs them for domestic political reasons; to keep an economically hugely important war industry going and to test by shorthand the political bona fides of contenders for public office. But while using rogue states and terrorists as targets for ‘just wars’ has never been convincing, Putin’s Russia as demonized by a militaristic NATO could help prolong the transatlantic status quo. The truth behind the fate of the Malaysian airliner, I thought from the moment that I heard about it, would be politically determined. Its black boxes are in London. In NATO hands?

Other hindrances to an awakening remain huge; financialization and neoliberal policies have produced an intimate transatlantic entwining of plutocratic interests. Together with the Atlanticist faith these have helped stymie the political development of the European Union, and with that Europe’s ability to proceed with independent political decisions. Since Tony Blair, Great Britain has been in Washington’s pocket, and since Nicolas Sarkozy one can say more or less the same of France.

That leaves Germany. Angela Merkel was clearly unhappy with the sanctions, but in the end went along because she wants to remain on the good side of the American president, and the United States as the conqueror in World War II does still have leverage through a variety of agreements. Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, quoted in newspapers and appearing on TV, repudiated the sanctions and points at Iraq and Libya as examples of the results brought by escalation and ultimatums, yet he too swings round and in the end goes along with them.

Der Spiegel is one of the German publications that offer hope. One of its columnists, Jakob Augstein, attacks the “sleepwalkers” who have agreed to sanctions, and censures his colleagues’ finger-pointing at Moscow. Gabor Steingart, who publishes Handelsblatt, inveighs against the “American tendency to verbal and then to military escalation, the isolation, demonization, and attacking of enemies” and concludes that also German journalism “has switched from level-headed to agitated in a matter of weeks. The spectrum of opinions has been narrowed to the field of vision of a sniper scope.” There must be more journalists in other parts of Europe who say things like this, but their voices do not carry through the din of vilification.

History is being made, once again. What may well determine Europe’s fate is that also outside the defenders of the Atlanticist faith, decent Europeans cannot bring themselves to believe in the dysfunction and utter irresponsibility of the American state.

Karel van Wolferen is a Dutch journalist and retired professor at the University of Amsterdam. Since 1969, he has published over twenty books on public policy issues, which have been translated into eleven languages and sold over a million copies worldwide. As a foreign correspondent for NRC Handelsblad , one of Holland’s leading newspapers, he received the highest Dutch award for journalism, and over the years his articles have appeared in The New York Times The Washington Post The New Republic The National Interest Le Monde , and numerous other newspapers and magazines.

Last year I published Our American Pravda, making the case for the utter corruption and unreliability of the mainstream American media, both in the past and especially in recent years. The enormous lacunae I daily noticed in the pages of The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other leading media outlets were a major motivation behind my creation of The Review, whose readership has grown enormously in recent weeks.

A perfect example of this dangerous MSM “conspiracy of silence” may be found in the growing confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, greatly accelerated by the death of almost 300 passengers aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, shot down last month over Eastern Ukraine. The American media and its Western counterparts have almost unanimously placed the blame on anti-government rebels backed by Russia, and darkly insinuate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has the blood of those hundreds of innocent lives on his hands. London’s once-respected Economist magazine has repeatedly run shrill covers promoting the great threat of Putin and Russia to world peace, even featuring a photo of the former under the stark title “A Web of Lies.” There is the serious likelihood of a renewed Cold War against Russia and with the neoconized Republicans in Congress proposing legislation to incorporate Ukraine as an American military ally and deploy American forces there, the actual possibility of a military clash near the Russian border.

As readers know, I have been overwhelmingly consumed with my own software work in recent months and aside from closely reading the NYT and WSJ every morning, have devoted little time or effort to following the disastrous Ukraine situation. But just carefully reading between the lines of our elite MSM outlets and glancing at a few contrary perspectives presented on alternative websites have left me highly suspicious of our media narrative, leading me to wonder where the finger of guilt actually points.

For example, according to the official American story, MH17 was downed by rebels armed with a BUK anti-aircraft missile battery. As it happens, the pro-American Ukraine government possesses a large inventory of exactly those weapons, while it is far from clear that the rebels have a single unit, let alone the expertise to operate such sophisticated devices. Furthermore, there apparently exists radar evidence demonstrating that Ukraine fighter planes were in the immediate vicinity of MH17 just before it was shot down and there are firsthand reports from investigators on the ground that portions of the crashed fuselage showed strong evidence of having been hit the sort of heavy machine-gun fire employed in air combat. I find it extremely suspicious that the American government has repeatedly refused to release the evidence supporting its narrative, while the Russian government has released copious evidence supporting its contrary perspective.

We must bear in mind that the downing of MH17 and the deaths of the hundreds of mostly European passengers came as a fortuitous stroke of fortune for the embattled Kiev government and its neoconservative American backers, given that Germany and most of the other major European governments had just balked at approving the harsh anti-Russian economic sanctions being proposed by the White House. Cui bono?

Furthermore, this terrible suspicion that 300 innocent lives may have been sacrificed in a ghastly false-flag operation by an American-supported government is somewhat buttressed by earlier events. Consider that the overthrow of the democratically-elected and neutralist Ukrainian government was sparked by the massive bloodshed that erupted between riot police and pro-American demonstrators in the Kievan capital, as many hundreds on both sides were suddenly killed or wounded by an outbreak of heavy gunfire over a couple of nights. I found it very intriguing that soon afterward an intercepted telephone call between the pro-Western foreign minister of Estonia and European High Commissioner Catherine Ashton, later confirmed to be genuine, revealed that the bullets found in the bodies of both government police and anti-government demonstrators had apparently come from the same guns. The most plausible explanation of this strange detail is that the snipers responsible were professionals brought in to cause the massive bloodshed necessary to overthrow the government, which is exactly what soon followed. Again cui bono?

Am I certain about these facts, let alone the analysis built upon them? Absolutely not! As emphasized, I’ve been entirely preoccupied with other matters over the last few months. But if such obvious suspicions are apparent to someone who occasionally glances at the news reports out of the corner of his mind’s eye, the total silence of the American media and its huge corps of full-time professional journalists constitutes a very telling indictment. Personally, I think there’s a high likelihood that forces aligned with current pro-Western regime were responsible for the massacre in Kiev’s Maidan Square and a better than fifty-fifty chance they more recently shot down MH17, but I really can’t be sure about either of these things. However, I am absolutely 100% certain that the American MSM has been revealed as a totally worthless source of information on these crucial world events, although it can be relied upon to provide every last detail of Robin Williams’ troubled life or the endless foibles of the Kardashians.

In the interests of providing our readers at least some access to alternate accounts of why we may now be heading into a new Cold War against Russia—or even a hot one— I’ve recently republished a couple of Mike Whitney’s fine Counterpunch columns on the mysteries of Flight MH17, which cautiously raised questions rather than claimed to answer them, as well as those of the redoubtable Paul Craig Roberts.

Aside from attracting considerable debate from our website’s often “excitable” commenters, whose views range from the sensible to the deranged, our Whitney columns regarding MH17 had a far more important consequence. One of our left-liberal readers was shocked to read facts totally absent from the pages of The Nation, the Huffington Post, or any of the other left-liberal sites she visits. Out of curiosity, she contacted a very prominent left-liberal American academic, someone with special expertise in exactly that area of Europe. To her considerable surprise, he largely confirmed the outlandish “conspiracy theory,” saying that the evidence increasingly indicated that the American-backed Kiev government had shot down Flight MH17, either accidentally or otherwise.

Based on his remarks, it sounded like he and his friends had devoted 100x the time and effort that I had to investigating the incident, thereby reassuring me that my casual conclusions were at least not wholly ridiculous. Yet it also appeared that neither he or any of the other American experts in his circle who apparently share his views had seen fit to publish their opinions in any of the numerous media outlets to which they have easy access, presumably for fear of being denounced and stigmatized as “conspiracy nuts.” They may regard the possibility of an American military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia as a terrible danger, but it pales compared to the horrifying risk that the 22-year-old bookers at MSNBC chat shows might decide to put a black mark down next to their names.

The following day I lamented this cowardice of our intelligentsia to another prominent liberal academic with whom I’m friendly, and he immediately sent me the draft by a friend of his on that very topic that I am now greatly honored to publish. Most of the dead on MH17 were Dutch citizens and Karel van Wolferen ranks as one of the world’s most prominent Dutch journalists, winner of major awards and someone whose numerous books that have sold well over a million copies worldwide. His article describes the evidence regarding MH17, but more importantly focuses on the totally corrupted worlds of journalism and politics that have enabled this dangerous situation to develop.

I urge everyone to read van Wolferen’s long and thoughtful piece and ask themselves why such basic facts and simple analysis appear nowhere within the mainstream American media. Given his standing and his credibility, the New York Times should have long since featured his byline on a major opinion piece, and the absence constitutes powerful evidence. During our disastrous Iraq War the American media applied exactly the same boycott to the views of my old friend Bill Odom, the three-star general who had run the NSA for President Ronald Reagan and ranked as one of Washington’s leading experts on national security issues. Our totally incompetent ruling elites refuse to let discordant voices puncture their bubble of unreality.

For those readers who refuse to admit the possibility that our vaunted MSM might conceal such vital facts, consider the important point I made at the beginning of my 2013 article. In recent years, leading scholars have conclusively established that for a decade or two during the 1930s and 1940s, a small network of Communist spies quietly gained substantial control of our national government in Washington, DC, successfully diverting the actions of the United States to their own nefarious ends. If our mainstream media had failed to notice or report that situation at the time and then spent the next half century ridiculing anyone who suggested this possibility, why should anyone believe that the media can be trusted on the question of who actually shot down Flight MH17 in Ukraine? Our American Pravda indeed.

On 7 February 2014, Oriental Review posted “What about apologizing to Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?” including a link to the recordings of two successive phone-conversations, uploaded to the Internet the day before, one (up through 04:10) with Obama’s Victoria Nuland telling the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine whom to appoint (“Yats”) to run the Ukrainian Government after the coup (which would occur two weeks later) and including her subsequently famous line, “F–k the EU,” because the EU’s leaders wouldn’t like to be publicly associated with such boldly nazi (i.e., racist-fascist) people as Obama’s representative was now choosing to run that country; and the other (after 04:10 and spoken in German) between Helga Maria Schmid the EU’s Political Director (also titled the Deputy Director of the EU’s Diplomatic Corps), and Jan Tombinsky the EU’s Ambassador to Ukraine; and this portion of the tape being translated into English at that Oriental Review link, in the printed transcript they were providing of the entire tape.

Schmid told Tombinsky there: “The Americans are beating about the bush and saying that our stand is too soft. They believe we should be stronger and apply sanctions [against Russia]. I talked to Cathy [Catherine Ashton, the EU's Foreign Affairs chief] and she agrees with us on the matter we were discussing last time. We will do it but we must arrange everything in a clever way [i.e., so as to fool the European public into believing that their leaders care about democracy]. … I want you to know that it would be detrimental to our interests if we see in the newspapers that «The European Union does not support  freedom» [by its supporting coup-installed nazis to rule in Ukraine]. Cathy will not like it [to be exposed].”

The rot, at the top, is so dangerous, it must stop.

But who will even let the public know about it?

Then, ten days later, on 17 February 2014, Paul Craig Roberts blogged, “US and EU Are Paying Ukrainian Rioters and Protesters,” and he reported that:

A number of confirmations have come in from readers that Washington is fueling the violent protests in Ukraine with our taxpayer dollars. Washington has no money for food stamps or to prevent home foreclosures, but it has plenty of money with which to subvert Ukraine.

One reader wrote: “My wife, who is of Ukrainian nationality, has weekly contact to her parents and friends in Zhytomyr [NW Ukraine]. According to them, most protesters get an average payment of 200-300 grivna, corresponding to about 15-25 euro. As I additionally heard, one of the most active agencies and ‘payment outlets’ on EU side is the German ‘Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’, being closely connected to the CDU, i.e. Mrs. Merkel’s party.”

Johannes Loew of the Internet site elynitthria.net/ writes: “I am just back from Ukraine (I live in Munich/Germany) and I was a lot at the Maidan. Most of those people get only 100 grivna. 300 is for Students.”

As I reported on February 12, “Washington Orchestrated Protests Are Destabilizing Ukraine,” http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/02/12/washington-orchestrated-protests-destabilizing-ukraine/

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a rabid Russophobe and neoconservative warmonger, told the National Press Club last December that the US has “invested” $5 billion in organizing a network to achieve US goals in Ukraine in order to give “Ukraine the future it deserves.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37599.htm

Nuland is the Obama regime official who was caught red-handed naming the members of the Ukrainian government Washington intends to impose on the Ukrainian people once the paid protesters have unseated the current elected and independent government.

How many Americans managed to know about this Obama rot via the U.S. “news” media such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, NYT,  WP, PBS, NPR, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Salon, Slate, HuffingtonPost, Alternet, CommonDreams, etc.? Since this is the Republican Obama that’s being displayed, even the overtly Republican “news” media such as Fox have hidden it. And the “liberal” press also do, because they don’t want the public to know that Obama is a closeted Republican. (For example, The Progressive  is published by Lisa Graves with money from one of the investors in Obama’s nazi takeover of Ukraine.)

How can the American people vote intelligently if the aristocracy who own the “news” media won’t even let them know what’s really being done by the leaders they elect? How can democracy survive a deceived public?

If congressional Democrats want to restore democracy to this country, they’ll have to introduce the first impeachment resolution against Barack Obama. If they don’t do that, then the entire political class in this country is complicit in the termination of American democracy — it’s not just the Republicans who are fascists.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Back In Iraq: We Only Want To Save You

August 15th, 2014 by Danny Schechter

New York, New York: Welcome back to Iraq—complete with our ever present WMD’s — Weapons of Mass deception.

Suddenly, the country we never wanted to have to think about again is back in the news and on our military agenda. So, after a few denials that troops would not, never, and no way be sent, sure’nuff, U.S, boots are back on the ground, but to play a very different “mission.”

Of course, it’s not combat, assures Secretary of Defense Hagel who was wearing his tennis clothes when he met with GIs. That is, no doubt, why we are pounding that country with bombs again.

To signal that we are not back in the days of the war for Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon announced its latest humanitarian effort with a tweet, that, in the media world we are now part of, maybe the equivalent of a whimper not a neocon bark.

Once again, we are the good guys charging in to protect and defend, save and rescue. You saw the alarmist stories.

This report was on RTE in Ireland:

“Islamic State militants have killed hundreds of Iraq’s minority Yazidis. 
They buried some alive and took women as slaves, as US warplanes again bombed the insurgents.

Human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani accused the Sunni Muslim insurgents of celebrating what he called a “a vicious atrocity.”

But, then, predictably, there was this coda that put the story in question: “No independent confirmation was available of an event that could increase pressure on Western powers to do more to help.”

It sounded like the story a few weeks back that had ISIS vowing to impose female genital mutilation on every woman they met. Happily, it was later repudiated.

This is not to say that ISIS is not brutal says Edmund Ghareeb of the Center for Global Peace at American University.

“Where have people been? Certainly some of the recent reporting of the carnage by IS is sensationalized, but their brutality is all too real. But critically, it’s been happening for years in both Iraq and in Syria, where is should have been confronted. In Syria, ancient Christian churches were destroyed, nuns and bishops were kidnapped and priests were killed. In Syria and Iraq, many belonging to different religions, sects and nationalities were killed or forced to flee at the hands of extremists and criminals. This was widely ignored in large part because many in the region and in the west were so focused on attacking the Assad government.

“As for U.S. intervention, the danger is that it may further hurt the Iraqi people and fragment Iraq altogether in the name of this humanitarian intervention.”

Now, we have US troops flying into the mountain that we were told was packed to overflowing with 40,000 desperate refugees facing starvation.

What happened when their savors finally arrived?

Here’s USA Today:

“WASHINGTON — A review by U.S. special operations troops of conditions on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar on Wednesday has determined that the conditions of a religious minority seeking refuge there are better than believed and may not require a U.S.-led evacuation, the Pentagon said…

“Based on this assessment the interagency has determined that an evacuation mission is far less likely. Additionally, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as needed and will protect U.S. personnel and facilities.”

Comments Jason Ditz on anti-war.com: “The Pentagon is trying to manage the narrative by simply saying the rescue mission “appears unnecessary,” but the fact that it was used to start a US war remains, and the State Department is doubling down, trying to spin the lack of a crisis as vindication of the war.”

Of course, protecting Americans was the first reason cited for this intervention.

So noted the political scientist Michael Brenner, without first noting that the City of Ebril is a major center for U.S. Oil companies and their employees:

“The first thing to say is that we should not confuse purpose with justification. Thursday night, Obama explicitly stated that protection of Americans in Irbil (and implicitly Kurdistan) was the reason for acting against advancing IS forces.

This is not entirely convincing; evacuation could be a logical alternative. Obviously, there are other aims, inter alia in the immediate, securing access to the air and support facilities we have established at the airport that are crucial to any future operations — including supplying the Peshmerga, e.g. keeping open your military options; to shore up Kurdish morale; to send a message to IS and its allies that any future campaigns in that direction that they contemplate would not be a cakewalk. The President said none of this due to his anxieties about making about making implicit commitments that he is not sure that he could meet.”

What they are doing, says Brenner, is dipping into an old playbook “trying to lay the groundwork for revival of the Sawah Awakening movement among Sunni tribes that had suppressed al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia in 2006-2008.” That effort was based on a vicious counter-insurgency campaign with plenty of pay-offs to our robed “allies.”

Clearly, in the aftermath of the ISIS victories, this maneuver decisively failed.

No matter, for Obama, it was soon back to the golf course on Martha’s Vineyard, the Kennedy and then Clinton vacation playground he has made his own. Maybe he feels like he can relax because the British and French are shipping in weapons to the US trained Peshmerga, whether they need them or not. After all, they, too, have to promote their “humanitarian” cred.

What’s missing from the media narratives that focus on these forever changing daily incidents, is the deeper reality, that US intervention has not saved Iraq but destroyed it, with more than a million dead, unrepresentative and unaccountable governments and enough war crimes to keep international courts busy for decades.

To understand the depths of the destruction and Iraqi despair, you need the perspective of long time Iraq watchers like The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn whose new book is titled, “The end of a country, and the start of a new dark age.”

He writes:

“Iraq has disintegrated. Little is exchanged between its three great communities – Shia, Sunni and Kurd – except gunfire. The outside world hopes that a more inclusive government will change this but it is probably too late.

The main victor in the new war in Iraq is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) which wants to kill Shia rather than negotiate with them. Iraq is facing a civil war that could be as bloody as anything that we have seen in Syria and could go on for years.”

Who is ultimately responsible for this? We can blame Saddam Hussein, but he’s long gone, or Osama bin Laden who is swimming with the fishes.

More likely, as is most often the case, blame the victims for the crimes, but accepting responsibility is not something that Washington is ever willing or able to do. It seems like we would rather keep arming the “rebels” in Syria, the Israeli army or the Ferguson Mo. Police.

Perhaps that’s why all we hear on TV news shows us a chorus for more killing, to save “civilization” from “those People, “the heathens, of course. Never mind that Iraq was the original home of civilization.

It is summer time and the living is easy. Besides, we have dead celebrities to mourn in these dog days of August.

News Dissector Danny Schechter made the film WMD about deceptive media in Iraq and wrote “When News Lies” about U.S. media war coverage. (Select Books, 2006.) He blogs at Newsdissector.net and edits the media issues site, Mediachannel.org. Comments to [email protected].

Military Occupation of Ferguson, Missouri: War Comes Home

August 15th, 2014 by Joseph Kishore

On Wednesday, the people of the United States and the world were shocked by the images coming out of Ferguson, Missouri.

In response to the eruption of anger over the police murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the suburb of St. Louis was transformed into a war zone. SWAT teams decked out in battle fatigues and goggles descended on the city, wielding high-power shotguns and automatic rifles and driving armored attack vehicles. Peaceful protesters and journalists were confronted at gunpoint and attacked with tear gas, rubber bullets, rifle-fired bean bags and flash-bang grenades. The police imposed arbitrary curfews and issued dispersal orders without any legal basis.

The forces involved may technically be local police, but what they are engaged in is essentially a military occupation. They look like the military, act like the military and have close ties to the military. Not only have police been armed with military equipment, they have been given a new set of rules. They are being trained to employ the methods used by the US and its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and Ukraine.

The turning of Ferguson into an armed camp is not just about Ferguson. It is about the character of social and political relations in the United States as a whole. The veneer of democracy has been ripped away. This is what martial law looks like.

The events in one relatively small suburb of St. Louis have suddenly exposed the reality of what has taken shape in the United States over the past 15 years. Following the stolen election of 2000, the ruling class used the September 11, 2001 attacks and the “war on terror” as a pretext to eviscerate every basic democratic right.

The president declares the right to detain and even assassinate US citizens without due process. US spy agencies, in cooperation with the FBI and local police forces, monitor the political and social relations of every American.

These measures have been accompanied by the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the US Northern Command. The latter was set up in 2002 as the first ever command overseeing military operations within the US.

Planning for military operations within the United States are far advanced. As noted on the World Socialist Web Site Thursday, Pentagon strategy briefs on urban warfare include case studies for intervention in New York City. The principal “driver of instability” cited by the military is “radical income disparity,” a trigger for class conflict. Behind closed doors, there have been many discussions about the forms and mechanisms for full-scale military rule.

The United States is presided over by a vast and unaccountable military-intelligence-police apparatus that functions as the guardian of the social and political interests of a new aristocracy. The official political institutions are hollowed out shells without any mass social base.

All of this is overseen by a president who serves as a front-man for powerful corporate and financial interests. Five days after the murder of Brown, Obama was brought forward to deliver perfunctory remarks from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is vacationing. He had doubtless been warned by his supporters in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and by political fixers such as Al Sharpton that the situation on the ground in Ferguson was spiraling out of their control and threatening to trigger social protests in other parts of the country.

Declaring that “Now’s the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson,” Obama equated protests over the execution-style killing of an unarmed youth with a wave of police repression that has already resulted in the arrest of scores of people.

With the limitless hypocrisy that defines his administration, Obama urged everyone to “remember that we’re all part of one American family.” He continued: “We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest, a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us, and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.”

The reality of American life exposed by the events in Ferguson cannot be covered over by Obama’s honeyed phrases. There is not “one American family,” but a society riven by class divisions. There is no “equality under the law,” but rather one law for the rich and another for the poor.

Obama’s pretense of reverence for “the right to peaceful public protest” is belied by his expansion of the Pentagon’s multi-billion-dollar programs to militarize local police forces, including those in the metropolitan St. Louis region. The Ferguson police department is a participant in a federal program called 1033 that distributed $450 million in equipment to local police forces in 2013 alone.

As for government “accountability,” Obama heads a government that has carried out countless illegal activities—from wars of aggression to domestic spying and torture. There is no accountability for these crimes, nor for the looting of the economy carried out by the banks and major corporations.

Obama’s comments betrayed a high level of nervousness over the state of social relations in America. Nevertheless, he did not make a single reference to the desperate economic conditions that underlie the anger in Ferguson and throughout the country. Neither he nor any other representative of the American ruling class has anything to propose to address the growth of poverty, hunger and economic insecurity—except more repression.

America is on a knife-edge. Social tensions, long repressed, are beginning to take open and explosive forms, and the ruling class has taken off its gloves.

When the city of Boston was placed under virtual martial law following the Boston Marathon bombings last year, the World Socialist Web Site warnedthat a historical threshold had been crossed. The lockdown of the city “laid bare the modus operandi for the establishment of dictatorial forms of rule in the US,” the WSWS wrote.

There were perhaps some who thought this evaluation was an overreaction. Had things really gone so far? What has been demonstrated on the streets of Ferguson is that yes, indeed, they have.

The events of the past week must be seen as another sharp warning. Democratic forms of rule are incompatible with the continued existence of the capitalist system and its inevitable products—war and social inequality. The choice before the working class is socialism or dictatorship.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian army expanded its attacks on the regions in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The city of Donetsk, where a million people lived prior to the conflict, came under heavy fire.

The Ukrainian army also deployed heavy artillery, likely including grenade and missile launchers, according to reports. Several residential districts were fired upon. For the first time, the city centre was attacked. The city’s famous polytechnic university was hit by grenades; two people were killed and twelve wounded.

Der Spiegel reported heavy attacks on two shopping centres, Green Plaza and Planeta. “Three people lay on the crossroads, an elderly woman with both legs covered in blood, and opposite two younger men, one of whom was instantly killed,” the reporter described the scene.

According to the regional administration, at least five civilians were killed in the fighting. In recent days, 74 civilians have been killed in the fighting in the Donetsk region, and a further 116 injured. The authorities in Luhansk reported 22 residents killed on Thursday within 24 hours. The city had come under sustained artillery fire for hours. Almost two weeks ago, the electricity and water supplies in the city collapsed.

The Ukrainian armed forces are also apparently making it difficult for civilians to flee. Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian defence ministry, stated on his Facebook page on Thursday that army posts surrounding the rebel areas had been equipped with video cameras in order to identify every single refugee. In addition, soldiers also had to record the number plate of each vehicle and the name of the driver in a database.

A spokeswoman for the separatists in Luhansk told Russian news agency Ria Novosti that Ukrainian snipers in the Izvarino border region were firing on vehicles with refugees driving towards Russia.

The UN reported at the beginning of the week that 700,000 refugees have already fled from the Kiev regime’s military onslaught to Russia. According to Russian authorities, 80,000 of these have applied for asylum.

It remains unclear whether the Ukrainian government will allow a humanitarian convoy from Russia over the border. The 287 lorries, which according to government sources are laden with 2,000 tons of foodstuffs, medication and generators, continued towards the Ukrainian border after a one-day halt in the Russian city of Voronezh. They are to supply the population of Luhansk with basic necessities.

It is also unclear where the convoy will cross in to Ukraine. At first, Moscow and Kiev had agreed that the lorries would be inspected by Ukrainian customs officials in the city of Kharkiv before being brought to Luhansk by the Red Cross.

However, the government in Kiev has repeatedly threatened to refuse to allow the convoy to enter the country. In addition, this option would mean the convoy would have to travel 300 kilometers (over 180 miles) inside Ukraine. There were fears of attacks on the lorries by far right-wing forces that have been deployed throughout the country by the Ukrainian regime against the separatists.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that diplomats anticipate the trucks will use a border crossing at the Ukrainian city of Izvaryne. This section of the border is mainly controlled by the separatists.

One of the newspaper’s reporters stated that the convoy had already turned off the main north-south highway and was now driving towards Izvaryne. According to an agency photographer, the lorries had since left the highway and were parked in a field near the Russian city of Donetsk. From there it is around 50 kilometers to the Ukrainian border.

Unconfirmed reports last night alleged that two dozen Russian supply trucks, escorted by armored personnel carriers, had crossed the border into Ukraine.

It is not clear if arrangements for the Russian aid convoy to cross the border near the Russian city of Donetsk have been agreed between Russia and Ukraine. The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for Europe and Asia, Laurent Corbaz, stated that he would visit Moscow and Kiev on Thursday to discuss the supply of humanitarian aid

Chairman of the Ukrainian security and defence council (SNBO), Andrej Lysenko, stated that the convoy would be immediately halted if the Kiev government’s conditions for crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border were not met.

“In such a case, the column of vehicles would be stopped. Their further passage would be prevented with all force,” Lysenko said.

To divert attention from these threats, the Ukrainian government sent 15 lorries carrying aid to Luhansk. The Red Cross will take over control of the convoy in the town of Starobilsk and distribute the 240 tons of humanitarian supplies among the civilian population, a government official said.

The Ukrainian parliament also adopted stronger measures against Russia. The Verkhovna Rada passed the second reading of a bill containing a list of 65 firms and 172 individuals from Russia and other countries against whom sanctions could be imposed by the Ukrainian President.

“Our country will defend itself against the aggressor,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk wrote on Twitter.

Until now, Yatsenyuk has kept the list secret. If the sanctions impact energy firms Gazprom and Tranzneft, this would be met with a swift end to the transportation of Russian gas.

Representatives of the German government and European Union have warned the Ukrainian government over such a step for some time, because it could endanger the supply of gas to Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke out in very restrained terms about the conflict at a meeting of parliamentary deputies and Russian government representatives. The meeting took place on the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in March in response to the fascist coup.

He would “do everything that we can, in order to resolve this conflict as soon as possible,” Putin said. In spite of economic sanctions from the other side, he did not want to break “relations with our partners.” At the same time, it would be unacceptable if “we were treated contemptuously or in a moralising manner,” said the President.

Putin also announced the establishment of an independent military command in Crimea. In addition, Russia also reported a minor military manoeuvre by its armed forces on the border of Estonia, a NATO member state, in which 2,600 soldiers and 20 helicopters participated.

The drums for war are being loudly beaten in Washington, European capitals, and the presstitute Western media.  A headline in the Asia Times is “NATO Is Desperate For War.”  This time the target is Russia, a major nuclear power.

The deadly consequences of such a war would extend beyond Russia, Europe, and the US to the entire world.  The Western use of lies to demonize Russia endangers life on earth and reveals the West to be both reckless and irresponsible.  Yet, few voices are raised against this recklessness and irresponsibility.

Ron Unz brings to our attention the important voice of a distinguished Dutch journalist, Karel Van Wolferen. Wolferen and Unz himself  are important offsets to what Unz regards, correctly in my opinion, as “the utter corruption and unreliability of the mainstream American media.”

Wolferen’s article is long but very important. Readers will see analysis akin to my own.

Wolferen shows how the Washington hegemon has captured Europe within an Atlanticist ideology that forecloses any independent thinking or foreign policy on the part of Europeans who are reduced to a state of vassalage.  Wolferen concludes that as

Washington drives Europe toward war, “Europeans cannot bring themselves to believe in the dysfunction and utter irresponsibility of the American state.”

With no internal checks on Washington’s recklessness from allies, the media, and US Senators, the only brake on Washington’s drive to war is Russian, Chinese, Indian, and South American diplomacy.  If this diplomacy fails, Fukushima, as bad as it is, becomes a mere raindrop in the ocean.

The slaughter by Washington, Washington’s Kiev stooges and Washington’s EU vassals of civilians in the former Russian territories that comprise the southern and eastern borders of present-day Ukraine is not only largely unreported in the Western media, but also denied or blamed on Russia.  

The crimes that Washington is perpetrating while blaming Russia has aroused a high level of anger among the Russian people.  Such anger is dangerous as it could force Putin, who continues to emphasize non-confrontation, to turn away from diplomacy to violence.

Egor Prosvirnin, the chief editor of a Russian news site, shows us the extent of the anger in Russia caused by the dangerous mixture of Washington’s broken promises with the vicious propaganda war against Russia and the German government’s complicity.

Prosvirnin expresses anger that is white hot: “Germans have failed their test. When Evil has returned again to Europe, you do not even attempt to resist it, and immediately fall prostrate at its feet like a slave.”  As Russians see it, all of Europe is a slave to the evil emanating from Washington.

Why did Merkel allow Washington to force Germany into a conflict with Russia that has produced enormous Russian anger toward Germany?  What accounts for Merkel’s total failure as a leader?

The Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes have set the world on the path to the final war.

How is it possible for their evil to go unrecognized?

The two murderous states are the US and Israel.  By tolerating their endless slaughters and endless lies, the world prepares its own demise.

The only hope for life and truth is that the world unite against these two criminal governments, isolate them diplomatically and economically, and make it impossible for their government officials to travel abroad without being arrested and placed on trial.  

Why does the world need Washington and Israel?  Unless the world has a death wish, the world does not need Washington and Israel.   

Eyewitness: Ferguson Cops ‘Allowed Everybody to Loot’

August 14th, 2014 by Paul Joseph Watson

This past Sunday, police cordoned off an area in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., and stood idly by allowing people to destroy commercial property and loot retail establishments, an eyewitness told Infowars.

The witness, whom Infowars reporter Joe Biggs interviewed briefly, said he had been out on Sunday when most of the looting happened and that police let people have a free-for-all after establishing blockades around the community.

“The thing about it is they allowed everybody to loot Sunday,” the Ferguson resident told Biggs.

“That’s what I heard,” Biggs corroborated. “One of the guys we spoke to earlier said the cops were blocking an area and literally letting the masses drive by and go into the shopping centers.”

“They surrounded the entire community at each end and let everybody loot and do everything they wanted to do,” the man continued.

Riot police have been out in full force in Ferguson after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who witnesses say had his hands up when police shot him.

The man asserted that police were purposely allowing the looting and agitating protesters “so they can put martial law down.”

“When it comes down to it, this is all deployed basically to make sure that everybody begins a war with the police, even though they’re rioting for a reason, for a cause, but of course they’re gonna try to use militia… The facade version of America just sees people running around hectic and just wanting to destroy their community and that’s not what’s going on right now.

“Basically they just want to wage war on the people, just so they can put martial law down.”

Watch: Paul Joseph Watson explains why police want riots and martial law.

Police teargas community, arrest journalists and declares virtual martial law amid protests after killing of Michael Brown.

For a sixth-straight day African Americans and their supporters have remained in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri protesting the blatant police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.  The student was gunned-down on Aug. 9 by an unnamed law-enforcement officer who the authorities are more concerned about protecting than the community under siege.

On the night of Aug. 13-14, police in militarized “riot gear” teargased, pepper-sprayed and fired bean bags and rubber bullets into sections of the African American community forcing people off the streets. Journalists and their camera crews from the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera and many others were gassed and even arrested by St. Louis County SWAT teams.

Military equipment utilized in war zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen was deployed against the African American people in Ferguson. Humvees and anti-mining devices were very much in evidence when SWAT units swept through the affected neighborhoods which have refused to end their demonstrations.

The Pentagon through federal law-enforcement assistance projects have turned over these deadly weapons to local agencies principally in anticipation of mass protests and unrest within national oppressed communities. CNN reported on Aug. 14 that at least $450 million in military equipment has been transferred to local law-enforcement agencies over the last year from the Defense Department.

Claims that Molotov cocktails were thrown at police thus necessitating such military tactics has been refuted by journalists and eyewitnesses. Similar assertions that Brown was threatening the white police officer who gunned him down were also denied by several onlookers.

Numerous people attest to the shooting death of Michael Brown while he stood with his hands up before the police and was then struck several times at close range. Demonstrators have raised the slogan “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” during protests that have continued daily in Ferguson, a majority African American suburb of St. Louis, where white politicians and police dominate the social and political culture of the city.

The Mayor James Knowles III of Ferguson told CNN that the county police had control of the situation in the unrest areas. He defended the refusal of the powers that be not to release the name of the officer who killed Brown, as was supposed to be done on Aug. 13.

Official Response Reveals Ongoing Racist Character of Domestic Policy

All of the public statements from officials in Ferguson have sought to apportion blame for the unrest on the African American people, mainly youth, who have defiantly refused to leave the streets since the killing of Brown. The militarization of the police in the city represents the current approach to the burgeoning social and political problems so widespread among African Americans and other oppressed communities in the U.S.

Incidents of racist violence have increased since the ascendancy of the presidency of Barack Obama. Nonetheless, the president’s approach to urban problems of growing unemployment, underemployment, poverty, disenfranchisement and repression, has been one of “benign neglect” and even hostility, rather than objective assessment and programmatic engagement.

Since Obama took office in 2009, he has gone out of his way not to address the rising phenomenon of poverty and alienation among large sections of the population in the U.S., including African Americans and Latinos, but not necessarily exclusive to these communities. The president’s response to the crisis in Ferguson is indicative of his lack of commitment to seriously address the conditions of the African American people by maintaining that there are no fundamental structural deficiencies within the U.S. system.

Obama in a press conference during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Aug. 14, reiterated the call for law and order saying that “there was no excuse for violence.” Yet it was the police who gunned down Michael Brown that initiated the mass demonstrations by the people of the area and placing these developments on news pages throughout the world.

Although speaking of the arrests of journalists, he never mentioned the additional state-violence carried out by the police against African American youth and other demonstrators. There was no condemnation of the systematic use of teargas, pepper spray, concussion bombs, bean bags and rubber bullets perpetuated against the African American people who are forced to live under a white-dominated political landscape on a daily basis.

There was also two other African Americans critically wounded since the unrest began. One man was allegedly shot by the police who claimed he was armed. However, how can the public honestly belief the allegations of the police when they have refused to even release the name of the assailant who killed Michael Brown?

Later Obama said that we are “one American family with common values.” This is perhaps the most preposterous of all of his statements because any informed person would know that the overall socioeconomic conditions facing African Americans across the U.S. indicate clearly that there is national oppression enforced by the armed apparatuses of the state.

Rates of joblessness, underemployment, incarceration and victimization by the police in disproportionate numbers in relationship to African Americans, are well documented. Nonetheless, Obama, Congress and the owners of multinational corporations ignore these realities when making such utterances to the general public.

Obama’s suggestion that there should be “peace, calm and transparency” in Ferguson is insulting to not only the people of the region but to the national and international communities in general. Peace under the circumstances of protected racist state-violence is unsustainable. Obama’s failure to speak directly to the concerns of the oppressed is contributing even further to the unpopularity and policy failures of his administration.

Interestingly enough, prior to Obama making his statements on the rebellion in Ferguson, he discussed the latest U.S. military bombing and ground interventions in Iraq. This same candidate that pledged to end the Iraq occupation in 2008, not only continued the war and enhanced the conflict in Afghanistan for years, but is re-entering the Iraqi theater under the guise of protecting civilians and U.S. interests.

What civilians and U.S. interests are at stake? Obviously not those of the African American community in Ferguson and other urban areas throughout the country, but those of the multi-national oil and mining firms along with the international financial institutions.

Corporate Rule and Political Repression

The city of Ferguson has a two-third African American majority but the mayor is white and obviously out of touch with the aspirations of the predominant population in the town. Statistics reveal that only three African American police officers are employed out of 50 for the suburb.

Therefore, what exist in Ferguson is white-minority rule on behalf of private property and the state. This is a model that exists and is spreading across the U.S.

In the city of Detroit, formerly a bastion of labor and Black political power, has now gone the way of Ferguson. A right-wing multimillionaire venture capitalist Rick Snyder acting as governor has appointed a lackey, Kevyn Orr, to do his bidding in the form of dictatorial emergency management.

A white mayor, Mike Duggan, has been imposed on Detroit from Livonia. This political official embodies secondary authority to the governor and his emergency manager and serves merely as an agent of multinational and finance capital. Consequently, the majority population in Detroit remains under occupation where thousands are subjected to healthcare cuts, water shut-offs and monetary liability for the failures of generations of economic policies directed from Wall Street and the Pentagon.

This is what corporate America has in store for its burgeoning people of color communities and impoverished working class in general. The militarized police units are being activated to maintain the dictatorship of capital utilizing racism as a rationale for further repression and outright expropriation of the people’s wealth and maintenance of their political subordination.

Obama’s cabinet meetings on Iraq and Ferguson at Martha’s Vineyard can only result in more of the same. Putting a new face on super-exploitation and national oppression is futile.

Change must be fundamental in re-directing wealth and authority from the minority of the ruling class to the majority of the people. Only when these policies are implemented will there be any hope for a peaceful future within American society.

After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer IbBorup Pedersen was alarmed at the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his newborn piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed– which had been grown with glyphosate–that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear; there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology,[2]

Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and consumers that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all existing independent evidence to the contrary.

While there are an increasing number of studies in the scientific literature identifying the health risks associated with GMO consumption and glyphosate independently, no research has yet been conducted to assess the combined synergistic adverse effects of GMOs and pesticides in animal models and humans. The original foundation of agricultural biotechnology was to advance sales of pesticides by engineering crops to become immune to toxic spraying. While weeds and insect pests would be eradicated, targeted crop would be spared, thereby allowing farmers to spray massive amounts of chemicals on soy, corn, cotton, sugar beets and other agricultural foods without injury. This was the assumption that led to the agro-genetic revolution. Only during the past decade with more and more GM products in our diets, and more and more farm acreage being sprayed with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides and herbicides, are the long term health risks to animals, humans and the environment being more fully recognized within the scientific community.

Annual runoffs of pesticides into rivers, streams and reservoirs have complicated the extent to which humans are being exposed to life threatening chemicals on a daily basis. It was never the mission of Monsanto and the cartel of agro-chemical seed companies to increase yields and produce drought resilient crops. The evidence of higher GM crop yields was an aftereffect. However, data are now coming in from independent agro-science community showing that the years of higher GM yields are short lived and drop dramatically thereafter to levels far below those yields harvested from traditional, organic farming methods.

Glyphosate’s adverse effects on Pedersen’s piglets is only one example of the pesticide’s health risks. In a major paper published by Earth Open Source, “GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops,” Kings College molecular geneticist Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist John Fagan and GM Watch’s Claire Robinson outline the known health risks now shown to be associated with glyphosate:

  • DNA damage
  • Premature births and miscarriages
  • Birth defects including neural tube defects and anencephaly (absence of large parts of the brain and skull
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Disruption of neurobehavioral development in children, including attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder[3]

Since the release of the study in the journal Entropy, a researcher at MIT has discovered that glyphosate is in fact taken up by plants from the soil and found in our food—an accusation Monsanto continues to deny. The study says that the negative impact of glyphosate accumulation “is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” In addition to being linked with problems ranging from cancer to infertility, a connection may also be made to the rising number of adults acquiring Parkinson’s Disease.[4] A couple earlier studies on individual cases found a correspondence between glyphosate exposure and the onset of Parkinson’s.[5] There are now growing concerns that glyphosate consumed by mothers and infants in GM tainted foods might be giving rise to the autism epidemic that continues to worsen each year and now stands at almost 1 in 50 children.

With each passing year, the body of scientific data challenging the safety of glyphosate expands. In several peer-reviewed studies conducted by researcher Andres Carrasco of the University of Buenos Aires, glyphosate was observed to cause teratogenic impairment of neural signaling and microcephaly, leading to craniofacial malformations.[6]

In early 2014, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study linking glyphosate runoff in Sri Lanka’s water systems to an epidemic rise in a fatal unknown chronic kidney disease or CKDu. Until recently scientists were unable to offer up evidence of what has been causing this new form of illness affecting the kidneys. Similar observations have been made in El Salvador and Nicaragua where more men die of CKDu than AIDS, diabetes and leukemia. However, in each regional population studied, Roundup exposure is rampant. Sri Lankan scientists hypothesize that glyphosate, originally discovered to act as a chelating chemical in 1964, takes up toxic heavy metals and binds them in the kidney without the body’s detection. According to the researchers, the buildup of these heavy metals ultimately leads to kidney failure and death.[7]

In early 2014, the Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina noted a dramatic rise in deaths from cancerous tumors– twice the national average. It just so happens that the elevated rates of malignancies were being reported in those regions where GM crops and toxic agrochemicals are most readily used.[8]

GMOs’ health risks to animals and humans are also being reported more frequently in the scientific literature. Corporate agro studies claiming GMOs are safe will generally rely upon a research methodology that employs a variety of so-called “reference” diets to the animals under investigation. These convoluted studies are designed intentionally to produce an abundance of data without any standard reference control group. This enables corporate scientists to conflate and distort results. This common industry practice was recently exposed by Claire Robinson at GM Watch regarding a published DuPont study on the safety of its Roundup Ready canola. Robinson points out that “poor experimental design” is intentionally utilized to cover over toxic effects.

A new study in rats conducted by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen identified changes in gene expression in sperm cells capable of altering androgen and estrogen sex hormones. The study suggests that glyphosate may be altering human reproduction. The rate of male fertility in the US has been dropping steadily since GM foods started to saturate the average American diet. Today, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 out of every 6 men in couples is infertile.[9]

Another major blow against Monsanto has been the republication of Dr. Seralini’s earlier paper showing a correlation between severe kidney and liver damage, advanced tumors and pre-mature death in rats fed Monsanto’s NK603 maize in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe. Seralini’s paper has undergone more scientific review and scrutiny than any other study either proving or disproving GMO safety. With its republication, the paper should officially replace Monsanto’s flawed safety study purporting the health safety of its NK603 corn.[10]

Monsanto must rely on a veil of secrecy, claiming to protect its proprietary information, in order to avoid revealing to the public its actual data about GMO safety. In the absence of credible science to engage in an honest debate with the scientific community opposing the proliferation of GMOs, the company must resort to the lowest and most vicious tactics. Attacking the integrity of scientists, launching smear campaigns against GMO labeling advocates, organic farmers, cyber attacks on anti-GMO organizations, and threats of lawsuits against state governments and media outlets advocating or even suggesting mandatory labeling are becoming more frequent. For example, supporters of GMOs have recently pressured Reuters to fire veteran journalist Carey Gillam for reporting fairly on GMOs.[11] With approximately 50% of its revenues generated from the sale of GM seeds, it is highly unlikely that Monsanto will ever admit defeat. Rather it will use whatever means necessary, except acknowledging scientific evidence, to silence its enemies. Today Monsanto is scared to death over its future. Like any psychopathological madman or Wall Street banker, it will use whatever means available to preserve and expand its revenue markets, even if it means inflicting pain, suffering and even death upon Indian and Filipino farmers, rather than acknowledge its technology is a curse to humanity and the environment.

Fortunately during the past six months there has been a dramatic turning of the tide against Monsanto and other GM seed companies. Around the world the Big Ag giant is recognized as the most dangerous, most-hated corporation on the planet. The good news is that Big Agriculture’s imperial strategy for global food domination has been hit with setback after setback as national and local governments realize that genetically modified foods pose serious dangers to human and environmental health as well as national food security. Local populations and farmers who switched to GM seeds are becoming more vocal about the failure of GM promises and want to hold these private companies accountable. Already ninety percent of UN member nations, including most of Europe, either require GM labeling or have banned GM crops. Hungary officially prohibits GMOs in its national Constitution. In Brazil, the world’s largest producer of GM soy, the country’s leading conglomerate of soy traders, the Association of Vegetable Oil Industries, will no longer accept Monsanto’s Itacta soybeans.[12] Without having the blessing from the US government and the WTO, Monsanto’s sphere of markets would dry up. Therefore, the GMO industry, in collusion with the US State Department, has had to focus its attention on Africa and South and Southeast Asia, those regions that appear to be the most susceptible to accepting GMO myths.

As nations take a step back and reconsider the threats of climate change and global warning to future food supplies, GMOs are steadily failing to hold up to their promises of higher yields and drought resistance. To the contrary, study after study lean towards the conclusion that GMO-based agriculture may be the most dismal failure since humans first started sowing seeds and harvesting crops. In June, the Guardian reported that the introduction of Monsanto’s Roundup Btbrinjal eggplant into Bangladesh is facing widespread collapse, with a failure rate of four out of five farms.[13] GMO soy and corn are rapidly losing their pest resistance. Bugs and weeds are turning into mega-threats to the future of yields of staple crops, which the industrial makers of processed foods depend on. Farmers in Latin America are demanding compensation from Big AG companies such as Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow for unexpected financial duress and being forced to purchase larger quantities of pesticides in order to sustain their harvests. In Brazil, after only three years of GM Bt cultivation, pest resistance has been observed. Similar observations are being reported in Btmaize in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Philippines, South Africa and US, and in Bt cotton in Australia, China, India and the US. Last month American scientists confirmed that rootworms destroying corn fields are no longer resistant to GMO corn.[14]

An article in India’s Hindustani Times states that “There are over 500 research publications by scientists of indisputable integrity, who have no conflict of interest, that establish harmful effects of GMO crops to human, animal and plant health, and on the environment and biodiversity… On the other hand, virtually every paper supporting GM crops is by scientists who have declared conflict of interest or whose credibility and integrity can be doubted.[15] Monsanto’s Bt cotton in India has been particularly disastrous to hundreds of thousands of farmers. Aside from the oft-reported epidemic of farmer suicides who fall into debt and poverty after buying into Monsanto’s GM cotton—farmer suicides have now reached over 270,000—pest resistance is rampant, further weakening the natural immunity of GM plants and predisposing them to less serious pests. India is also witnessing record numbers of cattle die-offs after grazing on post-harvest cotton plants. Regions with higher proportions of Bt cotton farming are confronting grim water futures because GM agriculture requires more irrigation than traditional farming methods. Last March the Indian state of Karnataka banned Bt cotton seeds following pervasive crop failures.[16]

One of the most massive GMO failures, spanning a decade, has been the deplorable collapse of the introduction of GM corn in the Philippines. The decimation of Filipino corn farmers came to world attention following the release of the film “Ten Years of Failure” which follows the lives of farmers whose families fell into debt and poverty after the introduction of GM corn by the Philippine government in cooperation with the US government and Monsanto.[17] Intent on avoiding a similar fate to Brazilian corn farmers, a Brazilian court banned the release of Bayer’s GM corn. The ruling now establishes a new precedent that will make the approval of future GMOs in that country more difficult.[18] And China’s recent rejection of GMO corn importation has agro-giants further worried as one of their largest potential markets takes a step back to reevaluate the safety and environmental impact of GMOs.

An association between the rapid demise of bee populations and the neonicotinoid class of pesticides has already been proven in the scientific literature. European nations are now banning the use of neonicotinoids to protect domestic bee and other pollinator populations. Recent studies reveal that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicideis likewise are contributing to the decline of honeybee populations. During the first week of August, Mexican beekeepers in the state of Yucatan won a victory to halt Monsanto’s plans to plant thousands of acres of Roundup ready soybeans. After a careful review of the science, a Mexican judge ruled that GMO soy agriculture is an economic threat and incompatible with the state’s honey production, home for 25,000 families involved in producing 40% of Mexico’s honey exports. The ruling is having a rippling affect across other Mexican states involved in honey production.[19]

Big Ag’s only response to the failures of its genetic experimentation has been to increase the development new GM seeds to compensate for the failures of the old ones. In addition to genetically engineering seeds to withstand every higher levels of pesticides, new traits are being genetically engineered to withstand other toxic chemicals. In the US, millions of acres of farmland growing GM corn, cotton and soy are experiencing invasions of super weeds resistant to over-pesticide use. As pesticide use increases, soil quality is further depleted and yield per acre drops dramatically. The economic costs to farmers are becoming unsustainable as expenditures to fight pests and weeds increase and harvests diminish. A recent trend among farmers to revert back to traditional or organic methods is gradually taking hold. This aligns well with the last UN Commission on Trade and Development report warning against corporate dominated monoculture farming methods and promoting farm diversity and small scale organic farming as the most sustainable way to feed to the world’s population.[20]

Aside from glyphosate, other pesticides are being genetically engineered into new lines of GM Seeds. New varieties of GM cotton and soy are in Monsanto’s pipeline and will likely pass with minimal review through the USDA and FDA. These new GM strains now include resistant genes to the pesticide dicamba. In addition to glyphosate’s long list of human health risks, dicamba, a known neurotoxin, has been linked to adverse reproductive and mental development effects. Against strong public opposition, the US government will also likely approve Dow Agroscience’s new Enlist corn and soy strains, a toxic cocktail of glyphosate and the herbicide 2-4 D, best known as a major toxic ingredient in Agent Orange that “has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney/liver damage and birth and developmental effects.”[21] Agent Orange contamination has resulted in genetic abnormalities and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Its use as a bioweapon in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is a sad reminder of the extremes the US willing to take at the cost of innocent lives to reach its foreign policy objectives. And now, out of desperation to preserve agro-chemical agriculture and the GM corporations revenues, the US government will resurrect one of the most toxic agrochemicals known and introduce it into America’s food supply.

American acceptance of GMOs has been based upon unproven hypothesis of “substantial equivalence” for over two decades. This ruling by the USDA during the early years of the Clinton White House gave GM seed companies a free pass to avoid submitting evidence provingGM food safety. Since the ruling claims that GMOs are identical to non-GMOs no compliance of safety regulations would apply. Therefore Big Ag firms do not have to worry over strict regulatory hurdles, which otherwise apply to other products such as pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, pesticides, cosmetics and chemical additives. However, a recent flurry of research is now showing “substantial equivalence” is patently false. Alexandria University in Egypt, the Permaculture Research Institute and the Norwegian Center for Biosafety each found GMO crops to be fundamentally different to their natural counterpart. In addition, new studies are also showing that nutrient levels in traditional and organically raised crops are substantially higher than GM varieties.

Aside from the scientific evidence and popular blowback condemning GMOs, the agro-chemical industry is facing other challenges. If the US government is unable to assume a leading role in the endeavor to save American agriculture from a major systemic collapse, nor support the agricultural sustainability and food security in other regions of the world, perhaps other nations will.

In recent months, Russia has assumed an international leadership role to confront the remaining uncertainties in the debate over GMO safety. Russia has already placed a 3-year moratorium ban on GMO imports. Prime Minister Medvedev is on record stating that Russia can be “self sufficient” with only organic farming. The government is now requesting the UN General Assembly to create an international GMO watchdog organization to monitor Big Agriculture’s activities to influence other nations to accept GM seeds and support independent research into the long term impacts of GMOs. Unlike the US, the Russian government values the voice of its people with over 75% of Russians preferring organic produce.[22] On the other hand, over 90% of Americans support GMO-labeling, yet Washington prefers to protect corporate interests.

However, the most important initiative Russia plans to undertake is the creation of an international and independent team of researchers from the US, UK, France, China and Russia to conduct long term studies to determine once and for all GMO risks to human health, and whether or not GMO crops might be used as genetically engineered bioweapons to destroy ecosystems and threaten the lives of populations. The project is being launched by a Russian NGO, Genetic Safety Public Association, after it noted that a 2004 meeting of the NATO Committee on the Challenges to Modern Society discussed the topic ofGMOs’ potential use as “genetic weapons.” If properly funded, this would be the most thorough international effort, without support from Big Ag corporations, to provide transparent, publicly available data to settle the question over GM safety.[23]

In conclusion, the good news is that GMO propaganda is increasingly being exposed as fallacious. As time passes, more and more research will inevitably emerge to further damn Monsanto and the GM experiment. It is only a matter of time before the false promises of GMOs will be exposed as orchestrated by Big Ag and the US government to control the world’s food supply.

This is not to suggest that GM foods will disappear. Rather we can expect an increase in a new volley of propaganda coming from private industry and the US government tclaiming GM industrial agriculture is an urgent solution to combat climate change and global warming, a global threat worrying national economies throughout the world. We can expect to hear more scientific denialism and junk science promulgated by the White House, the small gangs of scientific determinists funded by Big Ag and the pharmaceutical industry, and major media presstitutes. We can expect to hear ever wilder and more irrational claims about how GMO-based agriculture might reduce CO2 greenhouse pollution and save humanity. In fact this was Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent drivel at the US-African Leaders Summit in early August, urging African nations to “concentrate on existing farmlands to make them more productive” rather than expanding and developing new lands for agriculture. Kerry, who has repeatedly proven to be a worthy successor to Monsanto’s former mouthpiece Hillary Clinton, frequently regurgitates Monsanto propaganda during his foreign policy circus roadshows. And expect new trade agreements, written by corporations such as Monsanto to be rammed through the international community by the US and its allies that espouse the Washington Consensus to enforce international acceptance of GMOs.

In short, out of desperation to reach global food dominance, the agro-chemical industry and the US government will be declaring a full food war against the peoples of the world.

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries.

Gary Null PhD is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, which is available for free viewing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUd9rRSLY4A#t=24

Notes

[1] Jeff Ritterman, One Little Piggy Had Birth Defects: Is Monsanto’s Roundup to Blame? Truthout.org August 8, 2014

[2] Monika Krüger1, Wieland Schrödl1, Ib Pedersen2 and Awad A Shehata Detection of Glyphosate in Malformed Piglets J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014, 4:5 2014 http://omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-in-malformed-piglets-2161-0525.1000230.pdf

[3] M Antoniou, J Fagan, C Robinson “GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops,” Earth Open Source. June 2012 p. 66

[4] “Roundup, An Herbicide, Could be Linked to Parkinson’s, Cancer and Other Health Issues, Study Shows” Reuters. April 25, 2013

[5] Gang Wang, Xiao-Ning Fan, Yu-Yan Tan, Qi Cheng, Sheng-Di Chen Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. Parkinsonism RelatDisord. 2011 Jul;17(6):486-7. Epub 2011 Mar 2

[6] Alejandra Paganelli , Victoria Gnazzo , Helena Acosta , Silvia L. López , and Andrés E. CarrascoGlyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2010, 23 (10), pp 1586–1595

[7] ChannaJayasumana, SarathGunatilakeand PriyanthaSenanayake Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(2), 2125-2147

[8] Dario Aranda “Cancer Danger in the GMO Fields” Pagina 12 (Argentina), June 23, 2014

[9] http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/maleinfertility.html

[10] Claire Robinson. “Republication of the Seralini Study: Science Speaks for Itself.” GMOSeralini.org June 24, 2014 http://www.gmoseralini.org/republication-seralini-study-science-speaks/

[11] Ken Roseboro. “Biotech’s Assault on Balanced Journalism” Huffington Post, June 4, 2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ken-roseboro/biotechs-assault-on-balan_b_5432699.html

[12] ABIOVE, 30 July 2014 
http://www.abiove.org.br/site/_FILES/Portugues/30072014-154637-30_07_2014_release_soja_intacta.pdf

[13] Guardian Newspaper Report Admits Widespread Failure of GM Btbrinjal” GMWatch June 5, 2014

[14] Deirdre Fulton, GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs Common Dreams 30 July 14

[15] Pushpa M Bhargava
 US is trying to control our food production Hindustan Times, August 7, 2014
http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/us-is-trying-to-control-our-food-production/article1-1249456.aspx

[16] “Karnataka bans Mahyco’s Cotton Seeds” Business Standard (india) March 28, 2014

[17] “Ten Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM Corn” MASIPAG (Philippines) October 16, 2013

[18] “In Historic Ruling, Brazilian Court Prevents the Release of Transgenic Corn from Bayer” Terra de Direitos (Brazil) March 13, 2014

[19] Sweet victory for Mexico beekeepers as Monsanto loses GM permit” The Guardian, August 8, 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/08/sweet-victory-beekeepers-monsanto-gm-soybeans

[20] UN Report Says Small Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World.” Technology Water. December 14, 2013 http://www.technologywater.com/post/69995394390/un-report-says-small-scale-organic-farming-only-way-to

[21] New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval eNews Park Forest August 8, 2014 http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54647-new-wave-of-herbicide-tolerant-crops-awaiting-likely-u-s-approval.html

[22] “World Needs UN GMO Watchdog – Russia” RT June 5, 2014 http://rt.com/news/163852-russia-un-gmo-watchdog/

[23] Christina Sarich. “Russian Activists Conduct Independent Studies Proving GMOs Could be Genetic Weapons.” Natural Society 2014

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF)recently said it would proceed withplans to increase speeds for oil-by-railunit trains in Devil’s Lake, N.D. to 60MPH from 30 MPH, despite opposition from local officials.

BNSF’s announcement came merely a week after the Obama Administration announced its proposed regulations for trains carrying oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin.

The rail industry’s position on speed limits for “bomb trains” is simple: they continuously claim velocity has nothing to do with oil-by-rail accidents or safety.

For example, Big Rail — as revealed by DeSmogBlog — lobbied against all proposed oil train speed reductions in its dozen or so private meetings at the Obama White House before the unveiling of the proposed oil-by-rail regulations.

Recent statements by rail industry CEOs during investor calls put the heads of many companies on record opposing oil-by-rail speed limits for the first time.

Time is Money

The position of the rail companies regarding speed and safety on their recent quarterly investor calls was consistent, coming just before the release of the new oil-by-rail regulations.

“I don’t know of any incidents with crude that’s being caused by speed. We keep slowing down in this North American network over the years. We don’t get better with speed. We get worse,” E. Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canadian Pacific,stated during the company’s investor call.


E. Hunter Harrison; Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot

“Now you can’t get growing the country for example, growing the economy, growing the population, and continue to move stuff on rail, cutting the speed back, but don’t want to add any infrastructure. That doesn’t work. That’s a timetable to disaster.”

Charles “Wick” Moorman, CEO of Norfolk Southern and also on Chevron’s Board of Directors, sang a similar tune in response to a query about excessive train speeds potentially causing crude-by-rail accidents.

The question about whether that was the case came from analyst Jason Seidlof Cowen and Company.

“None to my knowledge,” Moorman stated bluntly.


Charles “Wick” Moorman; Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot

Moorman also argued on the call for a much higher speed limit.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion with the regulators and I believe that we’ll be able to make our case that a minimum speed in the 40 to 45 mile an hour range is…safe,” Moorman continued. “[A]ny significant speed restriction would be in fact disruptive to the point of almost shutting down the North American rail network.”

CSX Corporation — whose oil-by-rail train exploded in Lynchburg, Va. in April — stood in solidarity with its rail industry colleagues on its recent investor call.

“We think [30 MPH speed limits] would…severely limit our ability to provide reliable freight service to our customers,” Michael Ward, chairman, president and CEO of CSX, stated on the company’s call.


Michael Ward; Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot

“I would hope as we look at this with the federal government, we can show them the modeling of how disastrous that could be to the entire fluidity of theU.S. rail system as well as the adverse impact that will have as trucks deliver on to the highway system. So our view is that it would be very bad, but our view is also that cooler heads will prevail when they see the facts behind it.”

Unmentioned by Ward: CSX’s oil train that exploded in Lynchburg and spilled into the James River was rolling along at 24 MPH, below the 30 MPH limit he advocated against on the call.


April 2014 Lynchburg, Va. oil-by-rail explosion; Photo Credit: Erin Ferrell - ABC 13 News | Twitter

Spokespeople from CSX, Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern did not respond to repeated requests for comment from DeSmogBlog.

“Will Cooler Heads Prevail”?

Ward is not the only insider who thinks “cooler heads will prevail” on the issue of oil-by-rail speed limits going forward.

Cowen and Company’s Jason Seidl — also a contributing editor at Railway Age— recently hosted a conference call on the new proposed oil-by-rail regulations. The highlights of that call showed up in an August 7 Railway Age editorial titled, “Will Cooler Heads Prevail?”

“We believe that the final draft of the [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on High-Hazard Flammable Trains and DOT 111 tank cars] could be more friendly to shippers than the first proposal,” Seidl said in that call, according to Railway Age.

“Dwell Time”

In addition to expectations that the new final regulations will be watered down to make them industry friendly, Seidl introduced the term “dwell time” as the proposed new focus for the rail industry regarding oil train speeds near populated areas.

“The consensus opinion seemed to be that enforcing broad speed restrictions may not be the right approach,” Seidl also stated on the call.


Jason Seidl; Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot

“The panelists indicated that emphasis should be placed on reducing the total time that High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs) spend in populated areas, and slower trains do just the opposite. Additionally, reduced train speeds would require more cars and detrimentally impact the supply chain, potentially resulting in higher dwell times in populated areas.”

Paraphrased then, speed is not the issue for Big Rail, but the time it takes for the oil train to pass through a community.

“Unsafe at Any Speed”?

However, as previously reported on DeSmogBlog, even rail industry insiders admit speed limits are a major factor for improving rail safety.

Gregory Saxton, chief engineer for rail tank manufacturer Greenbriar, made this clear at a National Transportation Safety Board conference on oil-by-rail safety in April.

“Kinetic energy is related to the square of velocity. So if you double the speed, you have four times as much energy to deal with,” argued Saxton. “Speed is a big deal.”


Cover of “Unsafe at Any Speed”; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

But the CSX oil train explosion in Lynchburg, which involved “safer” CPC-1232 rail cars going only 24 MPH, begs the question asked by Ralph Nader about the auto industry decades ago: is oil-by-rail “unsafe at any speed”?

By analyzing CIA documents from earlier days, we can understand the programs of the Agency and its government cousins.

Given the fact that the CIA’s umbrella research program, MKULTRA, went completely dark in 1962, and given the technological advances that have been made in the intervening years, we can draw inferences about present-day covert ops.

Document: May 20, 1975; sent by CIA Inspector General, Donald F. Chamberlain, to the Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby.

Subject: CIA activities at Fort Detrick, Maryland [in the 1952 period].

Fort Detrick was the center of US government chem/bio warfare research.

Here is the opening quote from the document:

“In early 1952, CIA effected an agreement with the Army Chemical Corp for the performance of certain research and development work by the Army Chemical Corp at the laboratory facilities of Special Operations Division, Army Biological Laboratories, Frederick, Maryland.”

And here is a key quote about a research project:

“Adaptation and testing of a non-discernible microbioinoculator (device for clandestine inoculation with BW/CW [biowarfare/chemicalwarfare] agents) to determine compatibility with various materials to assure that the microbioinoculator cannot be identified structurally or easily detected upon a detailed autopsy…”

Translation: The CIA would test a tiny device for injecting chemical and biological agents into people, killing them—and the fact of an injection would be difficult to prove during subsequent autopsy of the victims.

Death would appear to be from other causes or vectors.

Aside from the obvious use of this method for assassinations, there is the further possibility of “epidemic fabrication.”

The application would be fairly simple. Covertly inject a few people with a germ—and later identify those people as “patient zeroes” or “carriers.”

From there, through the use of propaganda, initiate the idea that the disease is rapidly spreading.

By falsifying diagnostic tests on others—a simple matter since routine tests register many false positives—and claiming a list of common symptoms are indicators of the epidemic-disease (cough, fever, muscle ache, weakness, fatigue), the appearance of a pandemic can be created. (re: “many false positives”,… see, for example, The Massive Fraud Behind HIV Tests)

From that follow the usual steps: the government is rushing a vaccine into production; everyone should be vaccinated; people should avoid large gatherings; suspected carriers can be quarantined.

Staged reality.

The mass-vaccination campaign “against the rising epidemic” inflicts harm. Chemicals (e.g., aluminum, formaldehyde, mercury) and germs ordinarily found in vaccines are toxic and destructive.

So without even covertly placing “unusual” materials in vaccines, people are going to suffer consequences.

You might ask, what about using the CIA method to cause a real epidemic? It’s possible, but the amount of injected (or aerosolized) virus would have to be quite large, for each person, in order to create illness. (For “virus concentration”, see the discussion on “titer” inthis article). (For another way they could stage a “real epidemic”, see this article).

Secret ops like this one are funded, go underground, morph, are sometimes shifted to other departments, and develop, over the years.

The public does not hear of them, and does not suspect that its government is devising ways to inflict damage abroad and at home.

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

The Dumbing Down of America – By Design

August 14th, 2014 by Joachim Hagopian

This presentation focuses on the myriad ways in which the powers-that-be in the United States have been systematically dumbing down Americans as a society for a very long time – all by meticulously calculated design. Originally the term dumbing down was used as a slang expression in 1933 by film screenwriters to mean “revising [the script] so as to appeal to those of lower education or intelligence.”
 
The most obvious example of how Americans have been dumbed down is through this nation’s failed public education system. At one time not that long ago America reigned supreme as a leading model for the rest of the world providing the best quality free public K-12 education system on the planet. But over the last many decades while much of the rest of the world has been passing us by, it seems an insidious federal agenda has been implemented to condition and brainwash a population of mindless, robotic citizenry that simply does what it’s told, and of course the brainwashing commences early in America’s schools. 
 
But prior to delving into the many ways we’ve been duped and dumbed down through the years, a cold hard look at the devastating result seems very much in order here. With doom and gloom warnings of impending collapse, the US economy is floundering still mired in recession, emaciated and cut off from life support, as a consequence of waging too many wars around the world (be they the longest running costly defeats in US history or the fast rising dirty little Special Ops wars secretly raging on every corner of the globe or Obama’s personal favorite, state sponsored terrorism from drone-filled skies). As a pawn to the military industrial complex, the US government has chosen permanent war over its own people. This treasonous decision has decimated the middle class and created a college educated indentured class struggling in heavy debt to find any means to stay afloat. With an outsourced, now vanished manufacturing base, upward mobility and the American dream have become tragic casualties of modern life, now a sad, nostalgic bygone reminder of the once greatness of America. 
 
With the US the biggest debtor nation on earth, Americans are drowning in debt as hopelessly trapped collateral damage from a rapidly sinking, overextended Empire desperate to remain the sole global superpower even if it means death to the whole human race. At home the hapless American population has become increasingly the victim of its own government’s tyranny and oppression under the constant roving eyeball of criminal surveillance and a brutal militarized security state, leaving its citizens defenseless without any security, liberty, freedom or place to hide. After centuries of carefully orchestrated design, oligarchs of the banking cabal have finally gotten what they’ve been plotting and scheming, globally enforced austerity and impoverishment reducing life in America and around the world to near Third World status, and absolute control. The oligarchs are counting on a dumbed down population too busy addicted to their video games or watching sports or Kim Kardashian’s latest wardrobe malfunction to even notice that a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway.
 
But this dismal outcome has long been in the making on many fronts. Over numerous decades a grand experiment engaging in social engineering with America’s youth has been steadily working to homogenize a lowest common denominator product of sub par mediocrity, creating generations of young Americans who can neither read nor write, nor think for themselves in any critical manner. According to a study last year by the US Department of Education, 19% of US high school graduates cannot read, 21% of adults read below 5th grade level and that these alarming rates have not changed in the last ten years. 
 
The international test results from the 2012 PISA indicate American students are lagging behind virtually all developed nations even more than in the past. China topped all 65 nations while US teenagers again scored at or below average in math, reading and science. That is because the current educational system is no longer about learning the basic A-B-C’s but simply cranking out a subclass of work force laborers. This tragic fall from grace of America’s once great educational system has education researcher Cynthia Weatherly referring to America’s current education system as “limited learning for lifelong labor.” 
 
But this planned system of a New World Order (NOW) featuring a planned global economy and a planned global education system has been promoted for well over a century. The Carnegie Foundation outlined its explicit roadmap for absolute oligarch control way back in the 1930’s. Department of Education whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt exposes the conspired downfall of America’s educational system in her well documented chronicle The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.
 
It turns out that America’s “father of modern education” John Dewey, an unabashed admirer of Stalin and his educational system, proclaimed his NWO agenda in 1947:

 

“… establishment of a genuine world order, an order in which national sovereignty is subordinate to world authority…”

As the first elected UNESCO Director-General British ProfessorJulian Huxley (brother of Brave New World’s Aldous), in 1949 had the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization pumping out pamphlets expounding the importance that children be educated devoid of any national allegiance, patriotism or family loyalties identified as the biggest barriers to their demonic ambitions:
 
      “As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can only produce precarious results.” 
 
Based on my personal experience working with America’s broken child welfare system, several weeks ago I wrotean article on the current child welfare system’s assault on the modern American family. That assault is but part of a wider, across-the-boards assault by the entire US government. The federalist fascists in Washington have been busily mounting an assault on the American family through the state run public education system as well. Like the separation of church and state, the Constitution explicitly calls for specific delineation between the federal government to stay out of the business of education, traditionally leaving it within the sovereignty of the states and local communities to govern. However, just as the US Constitution has been under assault, Washington is now unlawfully dictating mandates to the 1600 US school districts that they must comply with in order to avoid the cutoff of federal dollars. Thus, local school districts throughout this nation are presently under a subversive assault from the long arm of our authoritarian totalitarian government.

As with all of America’s most powerful institutions, privatization has reared its ugly head in public education as well. Second only to the Department of Defense in its annual budget, more US taxpayer dollars are funneled into the Department of Education than any other public sector. The discretionary budget for Education as of 2015 is $68.6 billion. And these days most of those dollars are being squandered to bankroll the privatization of an already failed educational system. Through privately run charter schools and federally mandated programs like Common Core, control has been snatched away from parents, teachers and elected local school boards. 
 
In the Orwellian double speak deception of “school choice,” public tax funded privatized programs like Common Core have been sold as answering the need for higher educational standards. Should a school district accept even $1 from the federal government, it automatically relinquishes control to the feds, thus providing no choice to the locals. With 43 out of the 50 states already signed up for Common Core, public education run by local communities and states is clearly under siege. The federal agenda is to abolish local run school boards, abandon the letter grade system of A through F’s and seize control over the curriculum. Concealed in the fine print is the not so thinly veiled Trojan Horse promoting that same New World Order that Dewey and Huxley were driving at nearly seven decades earlier. Like it or not, even the nation’s home schoolers, private schools and students in the seven states not adopting Common Core are being impacted as textbook companies have rushed to align their books according to the dogma of the Common Core standards.
 
The embedded Common Core doctrine handed down from Dewey’s Progressive Education is designed to program and prepare children’s impressionable minds toward accepting the notion of collectivism. The group mind is deemed far more important than the individual mind to the extent that a child’s value is only as good as the value the child can bring to the group. As an individual one carries little intrinsic value as a human life without the greater context as the worker bee sacrificing for the maintenance of the group.
 
The heavy focus of public education today is primarily limited to standardized test performance and the proliferation of privatized charter schools complete with private contractors teaching the tests, usurping the authority at all levels from state, to local communities, to individual teacher’s lesson plans, to home schooling parents, largely replaced by instructional software programs.

Little thought or consideration by today’s education top down policymakers is ever given to those students who happen to score low on all these tests. To make matters worse scores are being made public access now which will only traumatize those children and schools scoring far below average. Being branded as less than carries stigmatizing effects of shame and low self-esteem that can both hurt and haunt a person their entire life. Test scores determine placement and too often those scoring lower in the youngest grades again can easily be branded for the remainder of their public education years and beyond for life. Tests always possess limitations on what they mean and measure. Many super intelligent individuals experience test anxiety and perform poorly. Yet with so much riding on test scores today, and the damaging baggage that results from lower scores and lower placements, this current system appears to be doing far more harm than good. But then that is rarely if ever taken into account when the powerful few control the lives of so many. 
 
The New World Order educational system of the twenty-first century has been ushered in by the likes of former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program as a transparent corporatized privatization takeover. Bush’s younger brother Neil after being banned from the banking industry after his savings and loan scandal in the late 1980’s has been making a killing with his educational software company Ignite that promises higher test scores. Behind the double speak deceit of No Child Left Behind, Washington began blackmailing school districts across America with the threat of cutting off federal funds should their test scores fail to make the cut. 
 
This governmental design for public education to move away from actual academic learning to becoming a mere pipeline for training a docile and obedient future workforce has only accelerated on steroids during the Obama regime. With Obama’s current Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago public schools Arne Duncan, and current Chicago Mayor’s Rahm Emmanuel as both Obama and Duncan’s strong-arm enforcer, the scenario being played out in the murderous mean streets of Chicago is igniting the growing national debate. 
 
The federal government busily ramrods its agenda pushing standardized tests and test performance as the packaged panacea in the form of Common Core standards and privatized charter schools under the guise of tax paid public education. Of course school privatization in many districts around this Christian nation also means Creationism is now being taught instead of evolution. Of course this systemic dumbing down of our educational system also permeates a parallel process in the dumbing down of textbooks sold to the schools. The omission of truth and inclusion of false disinformation and propaganda in school textbooks are just another form of indoctrinated mind control. This lopsided war between fascist run propaganda schools brainwashing a Brave New World youth and the local school boards, teachers and parents battling for their lives to maintain what little choice they still have left with their children is yet another pathetic cautionary tale of what the oligarch agenda is doing to destroy America today. 
 
When those who are endowed with optimal energy and often become restless and bored with the dullard tedium of their common denominator factory education, and especially if they freely exercise an individual mind or will of their own in the classroom, they are customarily misdiagnosed and branded with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and given drug lobotomies for control purposes so the school staff can manage the herd more easily, something is diabolically wrong with the system. When teachers are burdened with overcrowding in their classrooms with 30 or more students as is extremely common today, it is a setup for failure to provide an enriching learning environment and typically leads to the above scenario of a false ADHD-drug pushing classroom culture. Yet this is typically what happens to children and young people who are generally sharper in intellect and creativity, and are inadequately engaged, stimulated and challenged in the classroom.

Instead of encouraging the gifted by teaching to their strengths, too often they are responded to punitively by either overly frustrated and/or rigid, authoritarian adults bent on maintaining some semblance of control. As a longtime therapist of children and adolescents, I have repeatedly observed this over-reactivity by adults in our educational system often caused by the fatally flawed system more than the overloaded teacher entrusted to educate and develop the intellectual capacity of our young people. Instead they too frequently squelch, impede and destroy it. The one size fits all cookie cutter system stifles learning, cognitive and intellectual development and creativity, rewarding those who acquiesce and simply do what they are told as good little boys and girls on their way to being good little employees and citizens who are so easily manipulated, controlled and subdued. They become the lifeless, walking dead who merely go through the daily motions on autopilot, too beaten down, numb and/or fearful.
 
A substantive quality education should teach the curious developing mind to be critical and discriminating, willing to ask questions, challenging the status quo of preconceived suppositions and accepted dogma. But then when we have a leader like President Obama telling the graduating seniors last year at Ohio State University to “reject” what they may hear about their government’s tyranny, in effect dictating how they as college educated adults should think, especially when it’s a complete and utter lie, again another disturbing warning sign that there is something extremely wrong with both the educational as well as political system. And again, more overwhelming evidence of the systematic and relentless dumbing down of America. 
 
With an educational system that purposely misinforms and indoctrinates young people to respond as Skinnerian rats to a positive reinforcement schedule of operant conditioning, children as future adults are being shaped and programmed to become little robots easily controlled by their oligarch masters. 
 
It is worth mentioning that the world wide web offers people around the globe much needed access to important information and knowledge. Though there is much on the internet that also is of little value regarding enrichment of website users’ minds and lives, with some effort and discriminative appraisal, people can increase their awareness and understanding by leaps and bounds if tapping the best that the internet can provide. Yet as much as it can be a valuable disseminator of truth and knowledge, the internet can also potentially empower individuals and groups of individuals to greater heights of achievement for the collective good of all humanity with its instantaneous capacity to share and communicate vital, even life saving information. The old expression that “information is power” is true. 
 
Because of this fact that information is power, the last thing the elite wants is an informed, empowered public mobilizing any grassroots movement to oppose government tyranny. Thus, the net neutrality that Obama had promised in his campaign was met with yet more betrayal of the American people when he appointed high powered telecom exec Thomas Wheeler as head of the FCC. And in no time at all as the next predictable move, the internet is now in process of both censoring sites and charging internet consumers additional fees for individual site access.

With so many people struggling financially just to survive, pending changes to the internet would hamper and block access to whatever potential good the internet offers the public. However, in case of an emergency or crisis under martial law conditions, Obama has already stipulated that in the interest of national security, the buzzword deception used ever since 9/11 to justify all constitutional violations of civil liberties and privacy rights, access to theinternet will be cut off. This obviously would instantly sabotage and likely reverse any progress that people, groups and a potential worldwide movement might make through the vital connection network that computers provide. And with the US government planning and preparing long in advance of such an emergency, it will deploy all security apparatus and resources using police and armed forces to quell any political, social and economic unrest or revolt against the government. This power to deny internet access is also the ultimate strategy to ensure that the American public stays deaf and dumbed and powerless.
 
Another primary means of dumbing down America is through mass media. If the public is busily preoccupied with the superficial garbage spoon-fed to the masses every single day via television, movies, music, internet, video games that all act just as effective as the most potent drug dulling the senses and the brain, again an enormous control over the population is achieved and maintained. With so much entertainment as the modern day opiate to the masses to divert people’s attention, these weapons of mass distraction easily render people oblivious to see what is really happening in the world. Compound that with the lowest common denominator appealing to the most prurient interests such as pornography, crass materialism (using mind control techniques to manipulate consumers into spending money on false promises of sex, status and happiness), entertainment that dually serves as propaganda along with the mesmerizing effects captivated by sports that also draw enormous amounts of money, and the oligarchs have us right where they want us – numbed and dumbed.
 
Even the flicker rates of televisions, videos, computers and cinema by design are all programmed to contain hidden properties that physically resonate and alter the human brain’s alpha wave state to induce a hypnotic, mesmerizing, trancelike state of mind. This literally drugs and distorts the cognitive processes of the mass audience being subliminally fed input that modify and shape values, moral and ethical messages and multiple autosuggestions that carry powerful binding effects on people’s unconscious minds and future behavior. This too is another form of calculated brainwashing, mind control as well as behavior control that the media as vehicles of propaganda and disinformation constantly utilize. The constant 24/7 sensory bombardment that media puts on humans is one highly effective means of control over both culture and population. 
 
With the consolidation of mass media in recent years limited now to just a handful of transnational giant media corporations merging with national governments, a monopoly of thought, beliefs, perceptions of reality and core values are instilled into the masses and covertly maintained. Thus, entire populations of countries and regions of the earth are easily influenced and controlled by the elite through powerful mass media outlets. Add the outright lies spewing forth nonstop from the government and mainstream media as state sponsored propaganda and mind control and the oligarchs have absolute control over a deluded, impotent and hopelessly oblivious population. With the homogenizing effects of mass media these days possessing a global outreach that is unprecedented in recorded human history and people on this planet fast become programmed sheeple and unthinking automatons under complete power and control of the oligarchs.

Along with war criminal Henry Kissinger, perhaps the most emboldened globalist associated with a prominent role in a US president’s innermost circle is Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. For years he has regularly come out with very matter-of-fact yet incredibly astute and even prophetic observations about the oligarch agenda. Way back in 1970 in his book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era, Brzezinski envisioned:

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

Welcome to the twenty-first century. Brzezinski goes on to conclude that the American people will become brainwashed in giving up control of their lives to the elite that they will reach a point when they are so dumbed down and confused, they are unable to even think individually for themselves. So they can only repeat that which is downloaded into them by the constant repetition of what is driven into their heads by the mainstream media outlets. In effect, people defer the task of cognitive assessment and analysis of what is most important and real to what is simply communicated and propagated to them by the media. 
 
Mentioned earlier in describing the addictive properties of the enticing media outlets, all drugs whether illicit or legal by their very nature dumb down people’s minds and impair their brain functioning. Yet both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are commonly addictive, always smothering symptoms be they physical, mental or emotional, acting as a quick escape or quick fix for whatever ails you. Currently an incredible near 70% of all Americans are taking at least one prescription drug. Between the multibillion dollar alcohol and tobacco industries and the multibillion dollar Big Pharma industry, these corporate entities wield colossal amounts of power in America, buying off politicians, spending billions on advertising, often times killing people whose addiction overpowers them. To a considerable extent, so called lesser drugs like caffeine and sugar also possess addictive features that also impair and endanger the mind and health if excessively consumed. 
 
And though alcohol consumption around the world does far more damage than any and all of the so called illegal substances combined, obviously all of them create a widespread culture and practice of extremely high rates of addiction in North America and globally that both dumb users down as well as destroy their health and lives. The fact that the oligarchs, banking cabal of the West and US government working hand in hand with the drug cartels virtually control the entire international drug smuggling market, making billions if not trillions of dollars off of drugging and dumbing the masses down to easily ensure that those incapacitated pose little threat to the power elite. Rampant drug addiction in US society becomes yet another very effective means of control over millions of humans who struggle daily with their very real demons. The number of deaths related to drug overdose has jumped 540% since 1980. And whatever collateral damage results from those who die as well as those who engage in criminal activity to support their habit, with both a privatized prison industrial complex and privatized medical system, again the only profiteers feeding off the misfortunes of the afflicted are that same power elite. It’s another win-win for them.
 
The same damage and dumbing down effects are only added on when considering the detrimental and often lethal effects that chemically processed foods, chemical and hormone injected meat products, genetically altered organisms (GMO’s) and pesticide-ridden foods that virtually the entire American population consumes on a daily basis. The masses are poisoning themselves to death with built up toxins in their bodies. Yet because they have little choice about what they eat due most often to an inability to afford purchasing higher priced organic food, of course exacerbated by Monsanto willfully, maliciously obstructing their access to information when profit is deemed far more valuable than human life. Thus far, despite Vermont’s passage of law as the first state requiring GMO labeling in 2016, Monsanto has had its way bribing the Food and Drug Administration and court system to maintain its impunity in its monumental damage to the health and well being of humans, a dying bee population and a multitude of life forms on the planet.
 
The same can be said for the known toxin fluoride that is added to America’s drinking water from the tap. One of the most researched side effects is diminished intelligence. The list goes on and on how the power elite continue to endanger and harm the public. Vaccines loaded with mercury and other known toxic metals cause major health problems that also kill people. Chemtrails of more toxic metals raining down everyday for decades on defenseless people from military planes cannot possibly have a positive impact on human health. Manmade as well as the earth’s electromagnetic waves can also have the capacity to alter the electromagnetic activityin the human brain which in turn can alter thoughts, emotions and behavior. For years “black ops” have been experimenting to fine tune and harness this phenomenon as a military weapon. Yet unsurprisingly the powers-that-be continue denying and lying to the public maintaining that no ill effects from any of these controversial sources pose any real danger. Yet many even among the dumbed down US population can discern and suspect that all these actions committed by the powerful do in fact cause harm. Due to the government’s ultra-secrecy, the extent of that harm is still largely unknown. 
 
The totality of destructive damage that transnational corporations have perpetrated against all forms of planetary life has destroyed the eco-systems of thousands upon thousands of animal and plant species. Of the five times that life on earth has become massively extinct in the past, we humans are rapidly causing the sixth great cycle of mass extinction and the first and fastest due to manmade effects in the form of rising global air and water temperatures and over-polluted water, air and soil. The dead zones across the planet are spreading faster rates of extinction amongst plant and animal life than at any prior time in the earth’s known history. Destruction of our living habitat and eco-system carries perhaps the most damning, ultimate dumbing down effect that the oligarchs have caused. But then they no doubt have laid out their own contingency plan utilizing a hidden technology that can save them when the lights go out on mother earth for the rest of us lowly expendables. 
 
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing.

Trade Is Not Meant to Boost Economies

August 14th, 2014 by John Kozy

There was free trade in Africa . . . before the colonialists came.”—George Ayittey

Most everyone believes that trade is an unqualified good, but no one can identify any solid, concrete benefits it has produced in spite of the fact that it has been going on for at least five millennia. Throughout most of those years, it was all free trade, so trade agreements are not a necessary condition for trade. These agreements must have some other purpose.

When anyone asks, what’s wrong with expanding trade?, the answer is, the people doing the trading. In fact, trade has always been a nefarious activity that people are given a laundered version of, a version washed clean of its malevolent nature. But its evil nature is not difficult to identify..

The view of trade most people are familiar with is the Marco Polo version. Marco Polo loaded some European made goods on boats and then camels, I suppose, and trekked across Asia Minor to China where he swapped those goods for goods like fine silk and rare spices and hauled them back to Europe where they were sold for a huge profit. Other traders did similar things. But that is the sanitized tale. In truth, trading was dangerous and vicious. Traders often were subjected to extortion by the peoples whose lands had to be traversed. Other times these traders were merely robbed. And I suspect they did their share of cheating themselves whenever they had opportunities to. Honesty was not a word in a trader’s vocabulary! It still isn’t.

All this led to a search for safer trade routes. Routes by sea was an obvious possibility. Portuguese navigators sailed around the tip of Africa. Then Columbus tried sailing west from Spain and the world changed. He ran into an unknown continent where he found silver and valuable crops. A new age was awakened. Colonization was born.

It was a brutal age. Aboriginal tribes were exterminated and enslaved. Trade no longer involved swapping goods for goods, it became kill, conquer, and pillage. The word ‘trade’ came to mean plunder.

In the newly claimed colonies, plantation agriculture was developed to grow and harvest the newly found crops. But that farming required labor. So the “traders” went right to work. The British developed the procedure known as triangular trade. Ships laden with goods made in England sailed to Western Africa where they were swapped for human beings who were kidnapped in central Africa. The ships, when laden with people, sailed to America where the people were sold into slavery. Slavery in America was a consequence of trade. What a benign economic activity! It’s still going on today. Ask a garment worker in Bangladesh. To many, free trade has come to mean free labor.

Those principally responsible for this abominable practice were Western Europeans, the people who resided in what was often called Christendom. These are the very same peoples who inflicted the holocaust on Europe’s Jews in the twentieth century. Now, with the United States leading the way, they are trying once again to enslave the world. Free trade is the principal policy in the pursuit of internationalism. As Henry Charles Carey has said, “By adopting the ‘free trade,’ or British, system, we place ourselves side by side with the men who have ruined Ireland and India, and are now poisoning and enslaving the Chinese people.”

Free trade agreements are always sold to the public with promises of an increase in exports and jobs. But they never deliver those promised results. Since 1985, the United States has entered into 20 free trade agreements. Instead of being boosted, the American economy since then has declined. Why haven’t exports increased dramatically? Why haven’t the jobs materialized? Part of the answer lies in the countries with which the agreements have been made. Eleven have been made with poor Latin American nations who were never likely to buy many American exports. Four are with small Muslim nations who are also unlikely to ever be large buyers of American made products. Why then has America sought trade agreements with them? What beside trinkets do they make that Americans want and what beside agriculture do American hope to sell them? In selling these nations agricultural products, whom are we creating jobs for? Migrant workers? That’s not the kind of job creation Americans need!

An examination of what the US exports to Canada and Mexico demonstrates why NAFTA has never fulfilled its promise of increasing exports and jobs.

Motor vehicles, spare parts, and accessories are exported to both countries, but are offset by imports. The exports of these countries are a legacy of the policies which American car companies set up plants in Canada and Mexico whose products are shipped back and forth across the border, These policies not only did not create American jobs, they created Canadian and Mexican jobs instead. Aside from automotive related produces, the US exports industrial and electrical machinery, plastics, and chemicals which are not products that ordinary consumers are ever likely to buy.

The US. exports of agricultural products to Mexico constitute the 3rd largest US agriculture export market. Just imagine the number of jobs for migrant laborers that has created. But wait! Those exports also put the small Mexican farmer out of business. What do you believe he did? His choices were stark. He could join a drug carted or migrate to America as an illegal alien. Isn’t that a boon to America? Come to think of it, the cross border drug trade is the largest free trade market America participates in. It involves no subsidies or tariffs. Any supporter of free trade must admire it!

As Michael Badnarik has says, “NAFTA and GATT have about as much to do with free trade as the Patriot Act has to do with liberty.” Trade is an instrument of control. Mayer Rothschild is reputed to have said, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws.” Give one country control of another country’s trade, and the country whose trade is controlled will do whatever the controlling country wants. Such countries are ripe for extortion. Now that Mexico’s small farmers have been eliminated, Mexico’s supply of food is dependent on its relations with the United States. Tell it to fight our war on drugs inside its borders and it will regardless of how many innocent Mexicans are killed. America doesn’t care about the murder of Mexicans! Or the murder of Muslims, Iraqis, Pakistani, Ukrainians, Libyans, Afghans, Palestinians or anybody else. America wants control.

Even Adam Smith knew that much good was never done by those who affected to trade for the public good. Free trade is the principal behind internationalism. The establishment of free trade agreements is a critical and progressive step towards greater economic integration and the creation of a world government. Then that government comprised of Edi Amins, Pol Pots, George Bushes, Tony Blairs, and others will rule over a world enveloped in a new Dark Age. But the existence of such a government does not guarantee peace or prosperity, for killing, as it is now, will be the predominant problem solving device. Murder is not a solution to any problem; it exacerbates it.

Truth is like nature. It can’t be altered without consequence. Like pollution, any lie is an affront to nature. Human beings cannot escape the consequences of their lies. Hitler told the Germans they were the master race. They mastered nothing. The Jews call themselves God’s chosen, but what they have been chosen for is yet to be determined. America calls itself exceptional. Exceptional at what? Seeing wrong, being wrong, and doing wrong?

The nefarious nature that trade has exhibited throughout history has not abated. J. P. Singh writes,

“Since the foundation of GATT, the U.S. and Western Europe have manipulated the developing world on most trade measures. They have made lofty promises while creating imperial preferences for cheap products from the developing world in the 1950s, instituted quotas on manufactured imports like textiles that would have increased jobs and growth since the 1960s, provided tariff-free access in exchange for quantitative restrictions since the 1970s, ignored or side-stepped dispute settlements that went against their interests since the 1990s, enforced draconian provisions on intellectual property in this century, and hardly made any progress on the ‘Doha Development Agenda’ that was launched in 2001.”

You see, the cheating continues.

Marco Polo did not travel to China to boost the economy of Venice or create Venetian jobs; he did it just to get rich. When Apple imports its cellular phones from China, it doesn’t care about creating American jobs; it cares only about profits. When Monsanto wants French farmers to sow genetically modified seeds, it does not seek to boost French jobs; it seeks only to sell seeds. All traders everywhere merely seek profits. As Adam Smith says, ” I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

Traders want profits and empires want control. That’s all there is to it, and it’s called capitalistic free enterprise and has no patriotic, national, or social motives. It is not meant to boost economies or increase jobs. It never was.

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

Ukraine: This Time, West Sides With Nazis

August 14th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Russian aid convoy consisting of nearly 300 white trailer trucks carrying 2,000 tons of supplies for besieged Ukrainians in the eastern province of Luhansk is being blocked by the regime in Kiev. The Guardian in its article, “Russian aid convoy ‘will not be admitted into Ukraine’,” stated:

A Ukrainian security spokesman has said that a humanitarian convoy Russia has dispatched to eastern Ukraine will not be admitted into the country.

The Guardian would also admit:

Thousands of people are said to be short of water, electricity and medical aid because of the fighting. The US president, Barack Obama, has said any Russian intervention without Kiev’s consent would be unacceptable and violate international law.

Despite both the regime in Kiev and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) already having agreed in principle to the aid mission, current dithering now seeks to delay the supplies from reaching desperate civilian populations encircled and bombarded by regime forces. Absent is the howling indignation that was voiced in Syria when Damascus leveled similar restrictions to international aid sent to terrorists now revealed to be Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra franchise and its founding organization, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) currently ravaging both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border in a rampage of unprecedented brutality and scale.

Demanding Aid in Syria, Blocking Aid in Ukraine 

The West struck a much different tone when Damascus, not Kiev, was blocking aid being sent across its borders. In the Associated Press article, “Syrian Government ‘Punishing’ Civilians By Blocking Aid: Human Rights Watch,” it stated:

An international rights group said Friday that Syria’s government was obstructing aid to war-torn areas by denying aid agencies permission to use rebel-held border crossings, affecting the lives of some 3 million Syrians living in tough-to-reach places.  

Human Rights Watch said Syria only allowed aid organizations to use the one border crossing with Turkey that remains in government hands near the far northern city of Qamishli. The crossing was opened to aid supplies earlier this month.

Kiev has likewise demanded that aid crosses only through regime held border checkpoints. The BBC would report in its article, “Ukraine may block Russian humanitarian aid convoy,” that:

Ukrainian officials have set conditions for receiving Russian aid in the east, after a huge convoy of food and medicine set off from outside Moscow.

Security council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said aid should pass through a government-controlled border post and be accompanied by Red Cross officials.

And while US President Obama claims, “any Russian intervention without Kiev’s consent would be unacceptable and violate international law,” it should be noted that NATO and several Persian Gulf regimes did the “unacceptable,” in violation of “international law,” and sent supplies to terrorist-held territory in Syria without Damascus’ approval.

AP’s article, “Nine aid trucks enter Syria from Turkey without government approval,” stated:

Nine trucks carrying food and other supplies crossed into Syria through a Turkish checkpoint Thursday — the first to do so under a UN resolution authorizing cross-border aid deliveries without Syrian government approval.

The article would also state:

The council unanimously approved a resolution on July 14 authorizing cross-border delivery of aid to Syrians in rebel-held areas without government approval through four crossings — two in Turkey, one in Jordan and one in Iraq.

Despite circumstances in Ukraine favoring the circumvention of Kiev’s approval more so than in Syria where it is now confirmed foreign terrorists, not “Syrian rebels,” were waging war against Damascus, it is unlikely that the United Nations will approve of doing so and will instead back the hypocritical dithering and denial of aid to civilians it itself admits are in desperate need.

The UN’s concerns were reported in a RIA Novosti article titled, “UN Voices Concern About Trapped Civilians in Ukraine, Calls for Political Solution,” which stated:

United Nations is deeply concerned with the situation in eastern Ukraine, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said. 

“Innocent civilians trapped in the fighting continue to lose their lives,” he said Friday. 

Ban added that “restoring vital infrastructure, not least for water and sanitation, is essential for a return to normal life” and that “the number of those who are fleeing the area continues to grow.”

UN humanitarian official John Ging said on august 5 at an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, that in Donetsk and Luhansk “the water supply is reduced to a few hours a day. Health supplies are running low, and an estimated 70% of health personnel have fled.”

WW2 in Reverse 

Compounding the humanitarian crisis is the fact that Kiev’s punitive operations in eastern Ukraine are headed by literal Nazi militants raised by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry itself. The Azov Battalion is reportedly engaged in combat operations in civilian areas – a group of Nazis admittedly spearheading many of Kiev’s most crucial operations.

The London Telegraph would report in its article titled, “Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists,” that:

As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle.

The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mounted a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donetsk, striking deep into the suburbs of a city under siege.

The article would also admit:

Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming.

The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.

Far from a “fringe group,” Azov was raised by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry itself, its directorates issued by Kiev. Russia attempting to send humanitarian relief to civilians encircled and terrorized by literal Nazis could not be a clearer cut case of a necessary humanitarian intervention and was in fact the underpinnings of the Allies in World War 2. That the West is actively attempting to block such an intervention shows that some of the Allies have clearly shifted ideologically, descending into previously unplumbed depths of human depravity.

Essentially WW2 in reverse - the West finds itself harboring the scourge of Nazism, not confronting it. Russia, as it did decades ago, finds itself once again confronting the horrors of bigotry, racism, and fascism menacing its borders and brutalizing people it considers “subhuman.”

A Win For Russia Regardless 

Hypocrisy in the West more breathtaking could not be invented by the Kremlin. Indeed the US will claim that sending humanitarian aid into communities besieged by literal Nazis where the regime in Kiev has intentionally destroyed infrastructure to break the populations’ will is unacceptable and a violation of international law, while sidestepping Damascus in Syria and sending weapons, cash, equipment, and supplies to terrorists now at the center of a regional conflagration.

While the civilians Russian aid is destined for may never receive it, Russia’s attempts to intervene with unarmed convoys of aid instead of airstrikes and terrorist proxies as NATO did in Libya in 2011, exposes once again the astounding hypocrisy of the West and the double standards that constitute the unifying principle of all its says and does on the global stage.

The continued denial of aid will only justify more drastic measures from Moscow, while further undermining the legitimacy of both the regime in Kiev, and its NATO sponsors. While the US claims authority to conduct airstrikes in Iraq, thousands of miles from its own shores in a nation that has no common thread, history, or relevance to America, it denies Russia the right to exhibit concern for a nation directly on its border, for a people who speak Russian, share a common history and culture, and at many points throughout history, shared common borders.

It will only become increasingly difficult for the US to hide what is naked imperialism as it wears down the tenuous pretexts its hides its otherwise illegitimate intentions behind. Russia, as it has continued to do, has committed to a less confrontation strategy. Sending an “invasion” of humanitarian supplies instead of the military invasion NATO has attempted to bait Russia into could not have been a bolder and strategically superior move. The ball is in the West’s court – and the West has decidedly dropped it once again.

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

Image by William Banzai

Fukushima Spews Radiation World-Wide

Preface: we’ve written thousands of articles on Fukushima and radiation. But this post will spotlight recent articles from EneNews … with which we have no affiliation of any nature whatsoever.

The American media hasn’t covered Fukushima for a long time. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any news. It just means that the  U.S. and Japanese governments have worked hard to cover it up.

Here’s a roundup of recent news (links to EneNews; click through to see original source material … that’s how the internet works):

Radiation

Coincidental Wildlife Death and Injury?

  • Alaska: “Scientists alarmed by new mystery disease” — Pacific Northwest: “Alarming changes” — “Couldn’t believe my eyes” — “Scientists really stumped… It’s kind of an alien thing” — “Gotten much, much worse… a horror show… could wreak havoc on entire ecosystems from Mexico to Alaska” (VIDEO)
  • AP: Marine birds disappearing in Pacific Northwest — Significant ecological shift, crashes in many species — “Something’s happening on a big level, but what is it” — Herring problem may be far worse than revealed… result of contamination? Mexico suddenly bans bluefin tuna fishing, US may be next
  • Gov’t reports “big, big decline” in Alaska caribou — “Mortality very high” after Fukushima releases began — “Low survival rate” for calves also in 2011 and 2012 — Official: “Worrisome” how quickly this happened… In truth, we don’t have an answer why (AUDIO)
  • Report: “Worst he’s ever seen” says Alaska boat captain — Fishermen “talking about Fukushima… convinced it has something to do with it” — Salmon “not showing up… many have lesions or worms and parasites” — Crabs “more easily damaged… a lot of dead catch” — Herring, cod, halibut, pollock catches “dropping off cliff”

Impacts On Human Health?

  • Japan Doctor: “Tokyo should no longer be inhabited” — Everyone here is a victim of Fukushima — People truly suffering — Bleeding under skin, urinary hemorrhaging — Children’s blood tests started changing last year — Time running short… up to physicians to save our citizens and future generations

How Israel targeted the children of Gaza

August 14th, 2014 by Bayan Abdel Wahad

These stories are not fiction. They are the gruesome reality created by the Israeli war machine. The streets of Gaza tell the stories of hundreds of children. Family members who have escaped death have not been able to escape the trauma of it all. These are some of their stories.

Gaza – Who in the world would believe that Israeli warplanes would pursue a child who had survived their initial bombing only to kill him 10 days later? This is the reality of the war on Gaza and the story of nine-year-old Ibrahim al-Dawawsa, who lived with his family in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood north of Gaza City. Last Friday around noon, a drone dropped a missile that blew his head off, killing him immediately.

Ibrahim went out to perform the Friday prayers for what turned out to be the last time ever after he heard the call to prayer at al-Nour al-Mohammedi Mosque near his home. He had showered and worn his new clothes, as if he sensed that his moment of death is near and wanted to die pure.

This is the Israeli war machine that has no regard for children or humanity. Very simply, it dropped its bombs over the heads of people flocking to the mosque. When a missile hit Ibrahim, worshippers rushed to where he was only to find him drowning in his own blood.

As soon as Ibrahim’s mother heard the sound of bombing, she screamed putting her hand on her heart, and called after him: “Ibrahim, where are you my son?” As though a mother is destined to feel the loss of her child before anyone delivers the news to her.

She ran, as she told Al-Akhbar, to the window to look for a sign of her son who had gone out seconds ago, only to see him carried by the neighbors. She screamed: “Ibrahim is gone!”

Ibrahim’s father, Abu Jamal, went to the hospital to see his son’s corpse. He found him on a bed with his skull broken, half of it gone. He started to scream in front of the cameras: “Shame on you, what did the children do to you to kill them like this. Oh God!”

The grieving father told Al-Akhbar that Ibrahim is the oldest of three sons. He also said that Ibrahim was hit in his left arm about 10 days before his death, when Israeli warplanes fired at children in al-Shati refugee camp on the morning of Eid al-Fitr.

“That day, Ibrahim survived miraculously and we thanked God so much for his safety,” his father added.

The 50-something-year-old father said that after Ibrahim was wounded the first time, he became very worried about his children’s safety, especially Ibrahim. He made them stay at home and prevented them from going out unless it was absolutely necessary. “But he was destined to die a martyr 10 days after his initial injury.”

Eyewitnesses said the missile hit Ibrahim directly and next to him was his friend Ahmed who suffered serious injuries. They were hit after the initial attempt to reach a truce that was supposed to last three days failed.

From the beginning of the war, it was obvious that the children were paying a heavy price because they were being targeted directly. Casualty statistics indicate that the number of children killed by Israel in Gaza is over 430, in addition to thousands more injured.

In another story, Israel hit another nine-year-old child in the face, making him blind in a split second, without regards to his young age. He is Mohammed Badran from al-Nusairat refugee camp in central Gaza. He now lies in an intensive care unit in al-Shifa Hospital in the hope that doctors might be able to restore his beautiful face that had been mangled by an Israeli bomb.

Mohammed’s nine-member family went to sleep on the night of July 30 after having dinner to the sound of continuous shelling. A missile interrupted the stillness of their home, hitting the room holding seven children, and destroying it over their heads.

All seven of them were wounded but Mohammed’s injury was the worst, in terms of the kind of injury he endured and how serious it was. According to the head of the Reception and Emergency Department at al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Ayman al-Sahbani, Mohammed is having difficulty breathing. He is still on a respirator, “in addition to the fact that he lost his eyesight and the ability to speak.”

Sahbani said the child is waiting for a permit for treatment abroad given the critical condition he is in. The doctor said Badran’s case is one of the worst that they’ve had to deal with during the war.

Mohammed lost his right eye because the shrapnel hit his eyes. But his mother is hoping he will regain sight in his left eye even though the doctors informed her of the seriousness of his condition and the impossibility of treating him inside Gaza due to their modest capabilities.

When medical staff brought his 17-year-old sister Imane to stay by her brother’s side in one room, she held his hand and started crying. He could not see her but he held her fingers tightly.

After searching for Nidal Badran, Mohammed’s father, they found out that he was hit too and had to undergo several surgeries. The doctors said his condition was very critical but hours later, they announced his death. And so Mohammed lost his father too, the man who loved him and cared for him the most in this life.

As for his mother, she is busy caring for her seven wounded children whose injuries range from lacerations to the nerves to breaks and burns. She told Al-Akhbar: “The children were dreaming of Eid al-Fitr, instead they woke up to death. Why all this barbarity?”

An eyewitness recounted the story of another child who was killed in al-Shati refugee camp. He was struck while in front of a swing-set on the day of Eid al-Fitr and then brought to hospital. The doctors noticed that his fingers were tightly shut. When they opened his hand, a small coin appeared. According to his friends, he had intended to use it to pay the swing-set owner when his turn came.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Iranian scientist Maryam Mirzakhani has become the first-ever woman to receive the prestigious Fields Medal, often described as the “Nobel Prize in Mathematics.”

Mirzakhani, 37, a professor at Stanford University in California, is among the four 2014 awardees of the world’s top math prize. She is the first female winner of the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, also known as the Fields Medal, which has been awarded every four years since 1936.

Mirzakhani received her medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea, from the country’s first-ever female president, Park Geun-hye.

This is a great honor,” Mirzakhani said, according to Stanford University’s website. “I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians. I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in the coming years.

Mirzakhani was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran. As a child she was more fascinated by the world of literature than by numbers and geometry, dreaming of becoming a writer. In her later years at school, however, she discovered a particular pleasure and exceptional skill in solving math problems.

It is fun – it’s like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case,” she said. “I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path.”

While still a teenager, she won gold medals at both the 1994 and 1995 International Math Olympiads.

Mirzakhani got her bachelor’s degree from Sharif University of Technology in 1999. After that she began her doctorate work at Harvard University under the guidance of another Fields medalist, Curt McMullen.

In 2008, she became a professor of mathematics at Stanford, where she lives with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

The Fields Medal Mirzakhani received recognizes “her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces,” the International Mathematical Union said in a statement.

Markhazani’s work is described as pure mathematics, investigating entirely abstract concepts. Despite being mostly theoretical, it can still find application in physics and quantum field theory.

While grasping what Mirzakhani’s work is all about could be hard for someone outside the scientific community, the researcher who once considered a writer’s career for herself seems to be never short of picturesque comparisons to what she’s doing. Developing new proofs to mathematical theories is a most exciting adventure, according to her.

I don’t have any particular recipe,” Mirzakhani says. “It is the reason why doing research is challenging as well as attractive. It is like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.

The other three 2014 Fields Medal winners are Artur Avila, of the National Center for Scientific Research in France, and Brazil’s National Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics; Manjul Bhargava, of Princeton University, and Martin Hairer, of Warwick University in the UK.

Gaza, Ukraine and US Preparations for Urban Warfare

August 14th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

For more than a month, the world has watched in horror as the Israeli military has pounded the densely populated and impoverished territory of Gaza with bombs, missiles and shells, while deploying tens of thousands of troops against a trapped population. This sustained onslaught has killed nearly 2,000, wounded over 10,000 more and left nearly half a million people displaced by the massive destruction of homes and basic infrastructure.

While receiving far less media coverage, similar atrocities are unfolding in eastern Ukraine, where the US-backed Kiev regime has launched its military, with key support from autonomous fascist militias, in a savage siege of the major cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. The death toll there has doubled in the last two weeks, pegged by Wednesday’s exceedingly conservative United Nations estimate at 2,086, with at least 5,000 more confirmed wounded.

Here too hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes in what is emerging as a deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing by the right-wing nationalists in Kiev. And, as in Gaza, hospitals and schools have been shelled, killing patients and children.

Images from both Gaza and Ukraine of the lifeless and maimed bodies of children, of older men and women weeping beside the ruins of homes and apartment blocks, and of innocent men and women cut down by shrapnel while leaving their homes or going to find food or water for their families, have shocked and appalled working people all over the globe.

In other quarters, however, these events are being closely watched with dispassionate and professional interest.

This is the case in the offices of senior political and military figures in Berlin and other European capitals, which have backed the Kiev regime’s “anti-terrorist” campaign against the population of eastern Ukraine.

The governments of Europe have remained silent even as the media has been forced to admit that virtually the entire ground offensive in this war of repression is being carried out by far right and neo-Nazi militias. These include the Azov Battalion, which, as the Sunday Times of London notes “has as its symbol the wolf’s hook that was used by Nazi storm troopers and is now banned in Germany.”

By their own admission, these fascist militias have attracted neo-Nazi and white supremacist recruits from a number of other countries, including Sweden, Italy, France, Canada and Greece. While there has been a hue and cry about the alleged danger of European Islamists going to fight in Syria and then returning to Europe, no such concerns have been raised about those gaining combat experience in eastern Ukraine. Under conditions of rising social tensions on the continent, there is undoubtedly among some layers of Europe’s ruling elite a feeling that battle-hardened fascist thugs may prove useful in the not too distant future.

The closest attention to the events in Gaza and Ukraine, however, is being paid by the Pentagon, which is up to its elbows in blood in both of these wars. The US military has the closest relations with the Israel Defense Forces, which Washington funds to the tune of $3 billion annually.

The Pentagon recently asked Congress for another $19 million—on top of $23 million already allocated—to train and equip Ukrainian National Guard units. In the midst of the “anti-terror” offensive in the east of the country, the US military last month rushed a team of specialists in “strategy and policy” to Kiev to evaluate this bloody campaign.

Both of these conflicts provide real-life laboratories for what is increasingly a top priority of the Pentagon—the preparation of US forces for urban warfare.

As far as Israel goes, this is nothing new. In 2001, the US built an Urban Warfare Training facility for the IDF in the Negev desert at the cost of $266 million. The 7.4-square-mile simulated city is used for joint training exercises involving Israeli and US special forces units, who share techniques that they have learned, respectively, in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, and in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Donetsk and Luhansk, the Pentagon is overseeing something that it views with even greater interest—a full-scale siege of a modern city and a center of the industrial working class of over a million people.

Combat in large cities is central to the military doctrine that is being developed by the US armed forces. This is spelled out in a document entitled “Megacities and the United States Army: Preparing for a complex and uncertain future,” which was released in June by the Army’s Strategic Studies Group and endorsed by its chief of staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno.

Predicting that it is “highly likely that megacities [described as metropolitan areas with populations of more than 10 million] will be the strategic key terrain in any future crisis that requires U.S. military intervention,” the report reveals that the Pentagon has conducted “case studies” and “field work” in preparation for such interventions in: Dhaka, Bangladesh; Lagos, Nigeria; Bangkok, Thailand; Mexico City, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil … and New York City.

Describing the conditions that it anticipates will require US military intervention, the report warns, “As inequality between rich and poor increases … Stagnation will coexist with unprecedented development, as slums and shanty towns rapidly expand alongside modern high-rises. This is the urban future.”

“Radical income disparity,” is further described as the foremost “driver of instability” in these far-flung urban areas.

In other words, the Pentagon brass is seeking to prepare the US military for directly counterrevolutionary interventions aimed at quelling popular revolts that it sees as the inevitable consequence of the unprecedented social inequality created by world capitalism in crisis.

The inclusion of New York City in its “case studies” serves to make explicit that these preparations are directed at revolutionary developments not only in Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Latin America, but most critically within the United States itself.

This goal of preparing the US military to suppress popular rebellion inside the US has also been pursued with a series of provocative “urban warfare training” exercises conducted in major US cities in recent years. There was also the opening earlier this year in Virginia of a US Army Asymmetric Warfare Group training center that consists of a mock American town, replete with office buildings, a church, a sports stadium, a subway stop and a train station. The Army said that the $96 million center is designed to realistically “replicate complex operational environments and develop solutions.”

The Pentagon’s preparations go hand-in-hand with the militarization of supposedly civilian police forces, which are almost universally outfitted with SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) squads armed to the teeth for modern warfare, like those deployed against St. Louis residents protesting the police murder of Michael Brown.

The slaughter in Gaza and Ukraine represents a warning to the working class in the US and all over the world. The same financial and corporate oligarchy that supports these wars is prepared to employ murderous violence to defend its system against a revolutionary challenge from the working class.

It is clear that the ruling classes and their military commands are getting ready for such an eventuality. The working class must prepare itself accordingly.

US Combat Troops Return to Iraq

August 14th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

Some 130 US Special Forces soldiers landed on Mt. Sinjar in northern Iraq Wednesday, as part of the preparation for what Pentagon officials described as a larger mission to supposedly rescue Yazidi refugees fleeing the advance of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamist group that now controls much of eastern Syria and western Iraq.

In announcing the operation to an audience of Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declared, “This is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation.” However, he went on qualify this statement so heavily as to transform its meaning to the opposite.

“We’re not going back into Iraq in any of the same combat mission dimensions that we once were in Iraq,” he added, a statement that would be true of any troop deployment short of the full-scale invasion by 160,000 troops undertaken by President George W. Bush in 2003.

In comments Wednesday afternoon, a top White House official, deputy National Security Council director Ben Rhodes, reduced Obama’s pledge to send combat troops to Iraq to a verbal quibble. He claimed that the deployment of ground troops for the purposes of rescuing the Yazidis was “different than reintroducing US forces in a combat role to take the fight” against ISIS.

“There are dangers involved in any military operation,” Rhodes continued, but added that Obama was “confident that we can have a limited military objective.”

Press accounts made little effort to distinguish between the reconnaissance mission carried by the 130 soldiers from US Special Forces and actual combat. US soldiers deployed on Mt. Sinjar may well be fired on by ISIS fighters, and would be expected to return fire. A larger force, sent in for the nominal purpose of rescuing trapped Yazidis, would be even more likely to engage in firefights with ISIS.

At least one helicopter bringing supplies of food and water to Mt. Sinjar has crashed, killing the pilot and injuring several passengers, including a New York Times reporter. The cause of the crash—either weather conditions or hostile fire—was not clear.

The 130 Special Forces troops brings the total deployment of US soldiers in Iraq ordered by Obama over the past month to just over 1,000. This includes 160 at operations centers in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital Irbil, another 90 military advisers in Baghdad, and a sizeable reinforcement of the Marine unit guarding the US embassy in Baghdad’s “Green Zone.”

US warplanes and drones have attack ISIS positions near Mt. Sinjar and south of Irbil for six consecutive days, targeting artillery positions and convoys of armored vehicles. In effect, the US military is destroying part of the stockpile it left behind in the hands of the Iraqi army, which was captured by ISIS in June with the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

The real purpose of the US intervention is neither the “humanitarian” pretext enunciated by Obama last week, or the need to safeguard US government personnel in Baghdad and Irbil (who could, of course, be evacuated). It is to reestablish the dominant position of US imperialism in the region which is threatened by the near-collapse of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the ISIS offensive.

For that reason, Obama received a hearty endorsement of his actions by one of the most notorious and discredited warmongers in US politics, former Democratic senator and vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman. In a column published Wednesday in the Washington Post, Lieberman praised Obama’s decision to intervene, and particularly his declaration that the new operations in Iraq will not be time-limited. He concluded: “In other words, even after we successfully provide protection and relief to threatened Yazidis, Christians and Americans, a longer-term fight must be waged.”

The US military effort in Iraq is backed by at least two European imperialist powers. British Prime Minister David Cameron has sent Chinook helicopters to help in the supply operations on Mt. Sinjar, as well as reconnaissance planes to assist in aerial surveillance. British military cargo planes are transporting aid to the Yazidis and Kurds made available by other European countries.

More politically significant is the intervention by France, which under the presidency of conservative Jacques Chirac opposed the 2003 US decision to invade and occupy Iraq. The current president, Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party, announced Tuesday that his government would send arms to the Kurdish peshmerga troops fighting ISIS in northern Iraq.

“In order to respond to the urgent needs expressed by the Kurdistan regional authorities, the president has decided, in agreement with Baghdad, to deliver arms in the coming hours,” said a statement from his office. “France intends to play an active role by providing, along with its partners and in liaison with the new Iraqi authorities, all the assistance required.”

French imperialism has pursued a far more aggressive foreign policy over the past four years, with then-president Nicolas Sarkozy sending troops into Ivory Coast in 2011, then leading the campaign for the US-NATO war against Libya. Since taking office in 2012, Hollande has escalated still further, with French intervention in Mali and the Central African Republic, both former French colonies, and now reversing course on Iraq.

France has considerable commercial interests in the Kurdish region, mainly in the oil industry, where the French firm Total announced discovery last October of new oil and gas fields about 60 miles from Irbil. (See: “France backs renewed US war in Iraq”).

While stepping up its military intervention, the Obama administration has also pushed ahead with a settling of accounts in Baghdad with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been designated to take the fall for the debacle facing the puppet regime established by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Under intense US pressure, the newly elected president Fouad Musam named a Shiite politician from Maliki’s own Dawa Party to replace Maliki as Prime Minister. Haider al-Abadi was elected last month as a deputy prime minister, making him the highest-ranking Shiite officeholder under Maliki. He will now have 30 days to form a new cabinet.

After initially mobilizing military forces on the streets of Baghdad and encouraging demonstrations by political supporters, Maliki backed off Wednesday. He conceded that the struggle over the position of prime minister would be settled through the courts, which have already ruled against him on several constitutional challenges, and not by force of arms.

Maliki’s televised speech Wednesday was defiant in tone, denouncing President Massoum for carrying out “a coup against the constitution and the political process,” and even claiming that his own removal would do more damage to the country than the Sunni uprising led by ISIS.

But the now lame-duck prime minister has told military units not to intervene, after he received direct threats from Washington that all US aid would be cut off in the event of a pro-Maliki coup.

Secretary of State John Kerry made the starkest warning, declaring, “There should be no use of force, no introduction of troops or militias into this moment of democracy for Iraq.” He added, “There will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitutional process that is in place and being worked on now.”

The cynicism here is breathtaking. The US government routinely ignores the “legitimate constitutional process” of any country where it wants to oust an uncooperative government—see Ukraine, Syria, Honduras and Thailand, just in the recent period—or seeks a rapprochement with an important ally, like the Egyptian military, which rules by the bloodiest methods.

The apparent coup de grace for Maliki came Tuesday, with the declaration by Iran, his principal ally, that it was satisfied with the choice of al-Abadi as a replacement. Several powerful pro-Iranian militias in Baghdad, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Badr Brigade, have already declared their support for al-Abadi.

Maliki is now reportedly discussing the terms of his own removal, including possible positions in a government headed by al-Abadi, as well as guarantees against prosecution and for his physical safety.

Spain’s most notable actors, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz may be soon unemployed, well at least in Hollywood. The Guardian reported that the “The couple were among 100 film professionals to sign the open Spanish letter calling on the European Union to end Israel’s military operation in Gaza, along with director Pedro Almodovar in July.”

Now since they signed the letter to end Israel’s operation, they will face the consequences. “But their actions have sparked anger in top Hollywood executives, which has reportedly called their careers in to question. One top exec told the Hollywood Reporter that he was “furious at Javier and Penelope” and queried whether he would want to work with the couple again” the report said. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz could be blacklisted from ever working again with major movie studios. The article called ‘Stars Face Hollywood Backlash in War of Words over Israel’ stated how major studios felt towards the actors’ position towards Israel’s war crimes which they considered “Genocide”:

When the latest battle in Gaza finally is over, as someday it will be, hard feelings could linger in the corner offices of Hollywood toward the stars who have voiced anti-Israel sentiments. But will the artists who criticize Israel military strikes — particularly married Spaniards Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, who accused the country of “genocide” in a widely circulated July 25 letter — suffer career backlash in a town whose power brokers tend to be strong supporters of Israel?

Bardem and Cruz are not the only actors that faced a backlash in recent years. Lethal Weapon’s franchise stars Mel Gibson who was stopped by police in Malibu, California for drinking while intoxicated in 2006. The media also reported that he made anti-Semitic remarks in the process. Gibson was quoted as saying “”F*****g Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world… Are you a Jew?”

I do not agree with Gibson’s first part because as we all know, not all Jews are bad people, in fact there is a great division among Jews that are anti-Zionist and those that are pro-Zionist. But many wars were started by Israel since it’s’ creation. Israel has been involved in at least 7 major wars in the Middle East including its War of Independence in 1948, The Six-Day War, The War of Attrition, The Yom Kippur War, 1982 Lebanon War, The Gaza War of 2008 and now Operation Protective Edge that has claimed the lives of more than 1900 Palestinians and close to 70 Israelis. Not mentioning Israel’s covert operations with its Western allies. Mel Gibson did express some truth, although he was intoxicated. Gibson’s partner in the films, Danny Glover, has publicly called for boycotting Israel. According to mondoweiss.com, The Electronic Intifada website, which was one of the first news organizations to publish the statement detailing why Danny Glover along with activist Grace Lee Boggs supported the action:

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel,” Glover, Boggs and ten others said in a statement first published by the Electronic Intifada. “We immediately took action to have the film withdrawn from the festival. The festival organizers and film producers informed us that this was not possible and they would move forward with the screening, over our objections. This film uplifts the life work and legacy of Grace Lee Boggs. She has explicitly stated her support of the boycott and believes this screening is in direct contradiction to her legacy and ongoing work as a revolutionary

According to the statement, ‘Call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’ put the spotlight on Hollywood:

Whereas Israel’s colonial oppression of the Palestinian people, which is based on Zionist ideology, comprises the following:

Denial of its responsibility for the Nakba — in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession that created the Palestinian refugee problem — and therefore refusal to accept the inalienable rights of the refugees and displaced stipulated in and protected by international law;

Military occupation and colonization of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza since 1967, in violation of international law and UN resolutions;

The entrenched system of racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa.

Being called an anti-Semite labels you in Hollywood, sort of like an omen. Bardem released a statement to rebuff accounts of him being an anti-Semite by the MSM:

Bardem wrote:

My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction.

While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses. I am now being labeled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife [Penélope Cruz] – which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings. We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war.

The Hollywood Reporter also said that numerous pro-Israel celebrities had supported Israel’s operation in Gaza and even long-time actor Jon Voight expressed anger over what Bardem and Cruz had said about Israel:

Among Hollywood figures, the typically outspoken Howard Stern, Joan Rivers and Bill Maher have expressed support for Israel in the conflict, which has killed more than 1,800 people, mostly Palestinians. And Ray Donovan actor Jon Voight penned an open letter Aug. 2 demanding that Cruz, 40, and Bardem, 45, “hang your heads in shame.” Voight wrote: “I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?”

A conflict of interest also has hit the entertainment industry, concerning actor George Clooney and his Fiancée Amal Alamuddin. The London-based international law and human rights lawyer turned down an offer from the United Nations to investigate Israel’s war crimes in Gaza regarding Operation Protective Edge. If you remember, George Clooney was one of the celebrities that supported a movement called ‘Save Darfur’ that started in 2004. It was founded by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and American Jewish World Service in an event called the ‘Darfur Emergency Summit in New York City’ that was held at the CUNY Graduate Center. Keith Harmon Snow wrote an article for Global Research in 2007 summarized the truth about Hollywood’s hypocritical concerns about Africans called ‘Darfurism, Uganda and the U.S. War in Africa’ and said:

Hollywood personalities dubbed “actorvists,” including Mia Farrow, Don Cheadle and George Clooney, have helped to whip up the “Save Darfur” hysteria. From Elie Wiesel to Barak Obama, people are “outraged” by genocide that the Bush Administration, we are told, is reluctant to stop. And it is hysteria, in the true definition of the word, but it did not simply rise out of a sudden concern for a bunch of Africans in some far-off God-forsaken place (as it is portrayed).

Save Darfur was a campaign backed by Military-Industrial Complex and religious Jewish and Christian organizations according to Snow’s article:

Debunking the claims of a “genocide against blacks” or an “Islamic holy-war” against Christians, Darfur’s Arab and black African tribes have intermarried for centuries, and nearly everyone is Muslim. The “Save Darfur” campaign is deeply aligned with Jewish and Christian faith-based organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel. These groups have relentlessly campaigned for Western military action, demonizing both Sudan and China, but they have never addressed Western military involvement—backing factions on all sides.

The point here is that actors working in Hollywood do not want to upset the establishment. Many actors and actresses are careful not to criticize Israeli actions against the Palestinians; in fact many had visited Israel regardless of the numerous war crimes it has committed.

Will Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz’s comments destroy their careers? According to the Hollywood Reporter, movie executives always look for the bottom-line and that is how much money they can make? For Bardem and Cruz, if they do not have any major Hollywood roles in the years to come, then it is most likely that they have been put on the blacklist:

One top producer who has worked with Cruz says he privately has vowed not to hire her again. Still, even Kavanaugh doesn’t foresee the letter hurting either of their careers as long as the audience for their work doesn’t turn. Or, as another producer points out: “I think the thing any executive or producer will try to calculate before working with Penelope Cruz or Javier Bardem in the near future is what their value is in the all-important international marketplace. And what territories they might have alienated people in by what they said. It might not be that many. But it’s really all about business.”

Kavanaugh is correct to point out that it is about business after all. What happens to Bardem and Cruz’s acting careers although they are quite popular worldwide still remains to be seen. The power brokers in Hollywood are pro-Israel and if you want to remain in the celebrity spotlight, you must be politically correct. Zionist Jews do run Hollywood just ask Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times when he wrote an article called ‘Who runs Hollywood? C’mon’ and said the following:

I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

Hollywood has an agenda, and it is called propaganda. It has demonized various groups based on ethnicity, race, religion and even political beliefs since it exists. One book that is worth reading is Jack Shaheen’s ‘Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People’, which explores how Hollywood operates.

Hollywood has produced great films throughout its history, some have had some positive messages.  However, most of Hollywood’s films are based on Washington’s war agenda or sell an idea or a product.  The world should support more independent films, why not? The world has already made a pivotal move towards independent media.

“The Russian Threat”: Washington Chokes Truth With Lies

August 13th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

 Are Western propagandists fooling anyone but themselves?

The latest absurdity coming out of Ukraine, the EU and Washington is that the humanitarian aid that Russia and the Red Cross are trucking into the former Russian territories that comprise eastern Ukraine is a trick, a deception, a pretext for Russia’s invasion forces.  Such a preposterous lie tells us that Western propagandists have no respect whatsoever for the intelligence of Western peoples. 

Even a moron should understand that if Russia wants to send military forces into Ukraine, Russia doesn’t need any pretext, much less a joint humanitarian venture with the Red Cross.  The eastern Ukraine, following Crimea’s lead, has already voted both independence from Kiev and in favor of rejoining Russia.  If Russia needed an excuse  the decisions by the eastern Ukrainians made months ago suffice.  But Russia needs no excuse to rescue Russians from being slaughtered by Washington’s stooges like Palestinians in Gaza.

By its inaction, the Russian government is providing Washington’s vassal states in Europe time to comprehend that Washington, not Russia, is the problem, and that Washington intends for the cost of its conflict with Russia to fall on Europeans.

The opposition from Washington, Washington’s EU vassals, and Washington’s stooges in Kiev to the inflow of humanitarian aid is due to the West’s desperate attempt to keep the world from knowing about the massive destruction by Washington and its stooges of civilian lives, housing, and infrastructure in those former Russian territories who aredirectly threatened by the Russophobic extremists that Washington has installed in power in Kiev.

The Western presstitute media has added yet another failure to its long inglorious history by failing to report the atrocities inflicted on a people who see no future for themselves in a country ruled by murderous Russophobic criminals installed in power by Washington.

The demented NATO generals, Pentagon chief, and US senators are spreading hysteria about a looming Russian invasion not only of Ukraine but also of the Baltics, Poland, indeed, all of Europe.

This hysteria is engulfing the West despite the total evidence of any sign whatsoever of Russian preparations or motives for such invasions. The lie is being spread by Washington that Putin intends to reconstitute the Soviet Empire. This is the same Putin who had the former Russian province of Georgia in his hands and let it go.

Washington’s  propaganda is working.  Polls reveal that a majority of Americans, who should be awake by now after being lied to about Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Iran, have again, in their infinite gullibility, fallen victim to the propaganda and regard Russia as a threat.

Among the misinformed and propagandized American population, the question of the day is:  “How are we going to stop the Russians?”  Thus has the corrupt and deceitful Obama regime again prepared Americans for war.

The hope for peace is that the Russian counter-sanctions, a response to the sanctions against Russia that Washington forced its European vassals to implement, will end up falling on the deluded American taxpayers.  The Polish government has demanded that Washington purchase the apples and agricultural products that Washington has made impossible for Poland to sell to Russia.  As Poland is Washington’s choice for the US missile base directed at Russia, the Polish government has leverage.  Once Washington gives in to Poland, Washington will be faced with similar demands from hard-hit Greece and Austria and from the rest of Europe to compensate Europeans for the costs that Washington’s sanctions have imposed on its vassal populations.

The fraud perpetuated on the world by the United States in the 21st century is extraordinary.  Nothing comparable has ever been witnessed in history.

Not only are there the frauds of the numerous wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, almost Iran and Washington’s illegal military actions within the borders of Pakistan and Yemen, but also the vast financial frauds perpetuated on the world.  Among the costs of Wall Street’s frauds are the European debt crisis, the infringements of national sovereignty of European countries by the IMF bailouts of sovereign debt,  and the impoverishment of “rescued” Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, along with Eastern Europe.   

One day the Europeans will wake up.

When they do, they will realize that Washington does nothing for them except to protect them from a non-existent “Russian threat,” while imposing dramatic costs upon them by employing Europeans as levies in Washington’s war for hegemony over the world.  Sooner or later Europeans must realize that this role assigned to them by Washington is not in their interest and leads directly to World War III in which Europeans will be the first casualties.

America’s “War on Terrorism”: The Truth will Prevail

August 13th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

To understand the complex web of deceit aimed at luring the American people and the rest of the world into accepting a military solution which threatens the future of humanity, get your copy of the international bestseller:

America’s “War on Terrorism”
by Michel Chossudovsky

“The livelihood of millions of people throughout the World is at stake. It is my sincere hope that the truth will prevail and that the understanding provided in this detailed study will serve the cause of World peace. This objective, however, can only be reached by revealing the falsehoods behind America’s “War on Terrorism” and questioning the legitimacy of the main political and military actors responsible for extensive war crimes.”
–Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

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SYNOPSIS: America’s “War on Terrorism”

America's War on TerrorismIn this expanded edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s 2002 bestseller, the author blows away the smokescreen put up by the mainstream media, that 9/11 was an attack on America by “Islamic terrorists”. Through meticulous research, the author uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration.

The this special edition, which includes twelve additional chapters focuses on the use of 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarization of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy.

According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalization is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.

Reviews

“Chossudovsky starts by dispelling the fiction that the US and Al Qaeda have been long-term adversaries. [He] also probes US oil policy, which is obviously of particular concern to George W. Bush. Chossudovsky argues that the US has a much different relationship between Russia and China than is ever indicated in the mainstream (or progressive) press. Simply put, the US is moving into the countries which neighbor Russia and China in order to plunder natural resources and expand the reach of the US Empire. Pakistan?s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been playing a key role in destabilizing the region as well as offering support in other intelligence matters… War and Globalization is full of surprises, even for those of us who consider ourselves well-informed. Chossudovsky is examining the true nature of US foreign policy and arguing that the terrible events of 9/11/01 have changed little of it… Material this provocative and well-researched is ignored by the left at great peril.”
- Scott Loughrey, The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel

“Canadian professor of economics Michel Chossudovsky contains that rare gift of a writer who can compile massive documentary evidence, then propound it in a succinct, lucid manner. In this illuminating work the host of the critically acclaimed Global Research website takes widely acclaimed and often repeated media assumptions and sharply refutes them, providing a chronology and road map behind 9-11 and related events… A large part of the book involves a necessary topic area that has been nervously glossed over by conventional American media sources for good reason; it hits too close to home and indicts the largest international energy conglomerates. The author spends much time examining the link between big oil and public policy. In terms of providing vital information, this compact volume provides more valuable information in one chapter than so many contemporary volumes do with many pages on 9-11 and related events… Chossudovsky demonstrates that the frequently repeated and fallacious Bushie shibboleths of getting Saddam before he gets us are rhetorical sallies designed to inflame public opinion by skirting around the important truths that only a few courageous authors such as himself dare reveal… Its bullseye clarity cuts through the morass of Bush verbage, daring readers to examine the pure, unvarnished truth of a nation using its military and intelligence capabilities to control the global oil market on the pretext of making the world a safer place.”
- William Hare, Florida United States

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Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers

August 13th, 2014 by Robert Parry

The Wolfsangel symbol of Adolf Hitler’s SS on a banner in Ukraine.

You might think a story about modern-day Nazi storm troopers attacking a European city without mercy would merit front-page coverage in the U.S. press, but not when the Nazi paramilitaries are fighting for the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government and are killing ethnic Russians.

The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is knowingly sending neo-Nazi paramilitaries into eastern Ukrainian neighborhoods to attack ethnic Russians who are regarded by some of these storm troopers as “Untermenschen” or subhuman, according to Western press reports.

Recently, one eastern Ukrainian town, Marinka, fell to Ukraine’s Azov battalion as it waved the Wolfsangel flag, a symbol used by Adolf Hitler’s SS divisions in World War II. The Azov paramilitaries also attacked Donetsk, one of the remaining strongholds of ethnic Russians opposed to the Kiev regime that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

Yet, despite this extraordinary reality – modern-day Nazi storm troopers slaughtering Slavic people in eastern Ukraine – the Obama administration continues to concentrate its criticism on Russia for sending a convoy of humanitarian supplies to the embattled region. Suddenly, the administration’s rhetoric about a “responsibility to protect” civilians has gone silent.

This same hypocrisy has permeated nearly everything said by the U.S. State Department and reported by the mainstream U.S. news media since the Ukraine crisis began last year. There was fawning coverage of the Maidan protesters who sought to overthrow Yanukovych and then an immediate embrace of the “legitimacy” of the regime that followed the Feb. 22 coup. As part of this one-sided U.S. narrative, reports about the key roles played by neo-Nazi activists and militias were dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”

But the ugly reality has occasionally broken through the blinders of the Western press. For instance, on Sunday, in the last three paragraphs of a long article about the Ukraine conflict, the New York Times reported that the Ukrainian military strategy has been to pound rebel-held cities from afar and then turn loose paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults.”

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

Actually, the Azov fighters do more than wave a Swastika-like flag; they favor the Wolfsangel flag of Hitler’s SS divisions, much as some of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis still honor Hitler’s Ukrainian SS auxiliary, the Galician SS. A Ukrainian hero hailed during the Maidan protests was Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera whose paramilitary forces helped exterminate Jews and Poles.

Yet, this dark side of the Kiev regime generally gets ignored by the mainstream U.S. media despite the fact that the idea of modern-day Nazi storm troopers wreaking havoc on Slavic “Untermenschen” would seem like a very juicy story.

But it would destroy the white-hat/black-hat narrative that the State Department and the MSM have built around the Ukraine crisis, with the Kiev regime in the white hats and the ethnic Russian rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing the black hats. It might be hard to sell the American people on the notion that neo-Nazis waving an SS flag and ranting about “Untermenschen” deserve white hats.

Kiev’s Tolerance of Neo-Nazis

More details about the Azov battalion’s role in the fighting were reported in the conservative London Telegraph. In a somewhat sympathetic article, Telegraph correspondent Tom Parfitt wrote that “In Marinka, on the western outskirts, the [Azov] battalion was sent forward ahead of tanks and armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian army’s 51st Mechanised Brigade. …

“[Despite some casualties] Andriy Biletsky, the battalion’s commander, told the Telegraph the operation had been a ‘100% success’. …’Most important of all, we established a bridgehead for the attack on Donetsk. And when that comes we will be leading the way.’”

The Telegraph then added: ”But Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’, proclaimed in eastern Ukraine in March, should send a shiver down Europe’s spine. Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”

In interviews, some of the fighters questioned the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis, a fact also known by Kiev authorities.

Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a recent commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

The battalion itself is founded on right-wing views, Biletsky acknowledged, adding that Nazi allegiances are not grounds for exclusion. “The most important thing is being a good fighter and a good brother so that we can trust each other,” he said.

The Ukrainian offensive against the ethnic Russian rebels also has attracted neo-Nazis from around Europe. “Mr Biletsky says he has men from Ireland, Italy, Greece and Scandinavia,” the Telegraph reported.

These foreign recruits include Mikael Skillt, a former sniper with the Swedish Army and National Guard who leads and trains a reconnaissance unit. Skillt identified himself as a National Socialist who has been active in the extreme right-wing Party of the Swedes. “Now I’m fighting for the freedom of Ukraine against Putin’s imperialist front,” he said.

The Kiev government is aware of the Nazi sympathies among the fighters that it has sent into eastern Ukraine to crush the ethnic Russian resistance. “Ukraine’s government is unrepentant about using the neo-Nazis,” the Telegraph reported, quoting Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, as saying:

“The most important thing is their spirit and their desire to make Ukraine free and independent. …A person who takes a weapon in his hands and goes to defend his motherland is a hero. And his political views are his own affair.”

President Petro Poroshenko even hailed one of the militiamen who died in fighting on Sunday as a hero, the Telegraph reported.

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

The CIA’s activities in Africa go and in hand with the huge U.S. military offensive on the continent. The agency “has maintained a continuing presence on the African continent into the 21st Century, engaging in various nefarious activities, including supporting foes of the Gadhafi government in Libya.”

The impact of the agency’s activities on the African continent must not escape notice.”

Revelations contained in an unreleased nearly 7,000 page Senate Intelligence Committee report about CIA torture of purported terrorism suspects should come as no surprise to those with even a passing acquaintance with the agency’s long history of international crimes. Among other things, the study reportedly details the CIA’s systematic use of slapping, humiliation, sleep-deprivation, freezing and waterboarding. While this may not be news to informed observers, some might be a bit shocked by the candid reactions to the report by the Obama administration. A leaked White House document says of the report: “This report tells a story of which no American is proud.” President Obama himself said: “…we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values.”

Everything connected with the torture program is unseemly and unconscionable, and is intolerable everywhere. Africa in particular, with all of its many challenges has no need for any part of it. But as the CIA comes under renewed scrutiny, the impact of the agency’s activities on the African continent must not escape notice. Last year Crofton Black, an investigator for Reprieve, a London-based human rights organization, produced a collection of documents that he claims demonstrates that Africa has been used by the CIA as part of its extraordinary rendition program – the forced transportation of terror suspects to countries where the use of torture is tolerated. In a sworn statement he alleges that a group of private companies acting in concert on behalf of the U.S. government organized five rendition trips between Djibouti and Kabul, Afghanistan.

Black said: “The U.S. CIA rendition program operated by chartering aircraft from private companies to move detainees, in part in order to avoid the notification and authorization requirements of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.” He also said: “…this group of contracts [involving the companies in question] was set up and authorized to carry out missions for the U.S. government. This group of contracts and associated trips have been demonstrably linked to the U.S. rendition program via investigations and evidence filed in litigation in the U.S. and the European Court of Human Rights.” Black’s statement was offered in support of a complaint filed by Mohammed al-Assad, a Yemeni national who alleges he was abducted in Tanzania and held by the CIA in Djibouti and Afghanistan.

Patrice Lumumba, the assassinated Prime Minister of Congo, found his way into the agency’s cross-hairs in 1961.”

U.S. intelligence operations in Africa are apparently broader than a few discrete CIA extraordinary rendition missions. A couple of years ago, the Washington Post reported: “The CIA has expanded its counterterrorism and intelligence-gathering operations in Africa, but its manpower and resources pale in comparison with those of the military.” The Post further explained:

“Under a classified surveillance program code-named Creek Sand, dozens of U.S. personnel and contractors have come to Ouagadougou [in Burkina Faso] in recent months to establish a small air base on the military side of the international airport. The unarmed U.S. spy planes fly hundreds of miles north to Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara, where they search for fighters from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a regional network that kidnaps Westerners for ransom.” The Post further reported that drones are used by intelligence personnel in Africa, and they are: “…Predator and Reaper drones, the original and upgraded models, respectively, of the remotely piloted aircraft that the Obama administration has used to kill al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and Yemen.”

The CIA is no stranger to Africa. Patrice Lumumba, the assassinated Prime Minister of Congo, found his way into the agency’s cross-hairs in 1961. In his book about the assassination, author Ludo De Witte said: “…[T]he CIA scientist [Sidney] Gottlieb said he had been sent to the Congo with a box of poison to ‘mount an operation…to either seriously incapacitate or eliminate Lumumba’…” Although Larry Devlin, the CIA’s station chief in Congo, has insisted the CIA did not kill Lumumba, in his own book he admitted: “CIA covert political action and military operations did, however, contribute to the removal of Lumumba from power…” CIA meddling in Africa continued into the 1970s. In his book In Search of Enemies, former CIA agent John Stockwell detailed the agency’s involvement in Angola’s war for liberation. The agency has maintained a continuing presence on the African continent into the 21st Century, engaging in various nefarious activities, including supporting foes of the Gadhafi government in Libya.

As the release of the Senate torture report became an imminent reality, the CIA apparently could not restrain its criminal impulses and allegedly broke into Senate Intelligence Committee computers. They also allegedly attempted to have the committee’s staff members prosecuted on the basis of false information. Senator Dianne Feinstein then announced that the report cannot yet be released because of the CIA’s efforts to redact portions of the document and “eliminate or obscure key facts that support the report’s findings and conclusions.”

With these and other actions, the CIA may have gone a bit too far, because some in both government and the mainstream media have begun to attack the agency with a vengeance for its recent conduct. The gathering storm of anger may ultimately prove the late Kwame Ture to have been prophetic. He said that even though his organization, the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party was working to “smash” the CIA, it will ultimately be mainstream “democratic forces” that will one day join the campaign against the agency and deliver the knockout punch.

Mark P. Fancher is an attorney who writes frequently about the U.S. military presence in Africa. He can be contacted at [email protected]

The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam, Douglas Valentine, 1990. Reissued by Open Roads as e-book in the new series “Forbidden Bookshelf” curated by Mark Crispin Miler, 2014

The CIA’s infamous program to crush the resistance to U.S. occupation of South Vietnam is largely remembered as a gigantic campaign of assassination that claimed tens of thousands of lives. However, the Phoenix Program is best understood as an extension of U.S. propaganda.

“The CIA and other covert action agencies (over which the CIA has ultimate control) were founded to protect Business.”

Douglas Valentine explained the purpose or at least the subject of his study of the Vietnam Phoenix Program as “terror and its role in political warfare”. He is generous, like most Americans—even critical ones—when he writes “It will show how, as successive American governments sink deeper and deeper into the vortex of covert operations—ostensibly to combat terrorism and Communist insurgencies—the American people gradually lose touch with the democratic ideals that once defined their national self-concept. This book asks what happens when Phoenix comes home to roost?”1 Valentine is generous to his readers since he ascribes to them ideals which while attributed to the US regime and naively held by many, in fact bear little resemblance to the political reality in the USA. Valentine is not ironic. His book is written with sincerity to readers in a frustrating appeal to transcend their sentimental illusions and look honestly at the real political praxis of their country in a war it just happened to lose. In this sense it is also a polemic—although no way polemical in style—to learn the right lessons from the US invasion, occupation and genocidal war against the people of Vietnam.

The Phoenix Program was first published 24 years ago, fourteen years after the Congressional investigations that exposed and swiftly washed it from public memory. After successful attempts to bury this book, e.g. Morley Safer’s attack in the New York Times, this essential study of US political warfare has been reissued as an e-book.2 One can only hope that the reign of terror in and by the US that expanded vastly with the election of Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan will finally reach the consciousness of the white “Left” and those whose sentimental attachment to the American creation myth is sincere enough to rebel against the two-plus centuries of imperial hypocrisy which engendered this bureaucratic terror system under the Stars and Stripes.

To place the Phoenix Program in its proper historical perspective however it is necessary to grasp the genealogy of the regime responsible for its inception. This regime predates Vietnam. This author has reiterated elsewhere that it is scarcely possible to understand the role of political warfare in the US without returning to 1776, to the moral turpitude of the Founding Fathers.3 These leading lights of the nascent American empire began their journey to Vietnam when they declared independence from the British Empire in order to preserve that peculiar institution known as chattel slavery that the mother country was being forced to abolish in the rest of its colonies.

The fundamental structures created by the Constitution were in fact designed to prevent majority rule and protect the political terror apparatus maintained by the elite for that purpose.”

Although the official history claims that this separation was intended to secure liberty in the face of British tyranny, the fact was that the liberty to be secured was deliberately withheld from the majority of the country’s inhabitants, Native Americans, African slaves, and European indentured servants (white slaves). The liberties enumerated in the unilateral declaration of independence and later in the Constitution were—and generally recognised as such at the time—those deemed consonant with free trade for the Anglo-American settler elite, both merchants in the North and latifundista in the South.

The fundamental structures created by the Constitution were in fact designed to prevent majority rule and protect the political terror apparatus maintained by the elite for that purpose. For example, the system of indirect election, the gerrymandering of electoral districts to favour slaveholders and the maintenance of the infamous slave patrols.4 Under the banner of “Indian Removal”—an early form of what would later be called “pacification”—the Anglo-American settler elite proceeded to seize the entire North American continent. This later became known inter alia as the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny. In fact this was nothing less than the annihilation and/ or enslavement of non-whites from sea to shining sea. Largely oblivious to this constant commercial adventure, wave after wave of European immigrants were deliberately co-opted while serving as arrow or cannon fodder until with the annexation of California only British Canada and Mexico south of the Rio Bravo had not been conquered. The wide Pacific was opened to further invasion and exploitation.

However it was not until the war against Spain garnished Cuba, the Philippines and sundry islands in the Caribbean and Pacific basins that official American discourse began to admit imperial designs. Apparently this admission was only deemed necessary once the US began to seize territory from other European powers.

One of the consequences of this century of North American conquest was the physical and ideological isolation of the emergent “white” settler majority paired with the extermination of the indigenous and chronic incarceration of the terrorised ex-slave African-Americans. In the prelude to the next campaign of Anglo-American conquest, World War I, the still Southern-dominated regime in Washington, together with the merchant-industrial class in New York and Boston, launched what might be called the greatest international corporate advertising campaign since the hegemony of the medieval Roman Catholic Church—presaging today’s so-called “social media”: the Committee on Public Information aka the Creel Committee.

Although primarily instituted to propagate the US regime’s aims for entering the European Great War of 1914, the central message, both at home and abroad, was the fabrication of American history as the fulfilment of Enlightenment humanism. Applying the combined resources of the US industrial and banking cartels, every available mass medium was harnessed to create and disseminate stories about the virtues of the US and the “American way of life”—of course, without Native Americans, Blacks, Chinese or Mexicans and other non-whites. This enormously successful campaign not only persuaded ordinary Americans to work, fight and die for the speculative advantage of the US war machine. It also succeeded in creating the myths which have deceived the peoples of European colonial empires into believing that the US was indeed exceptional, a potential ally in the fight for freedom and dignity being waged from Ireland to India.

Without acknowledgement of this campaign and its combination of propaganda and terror (the “five minute men”, “the war to make the world safe for democracy”, the Palmer raids, and the Klan), no one can begin to comprehend how something like Phoenix could arise.5 Nor is it possible to grasp how, despite revelations in the Church and Pike committees of the 1970s,6 this vicious system not only remained in tact but has been growing exponentially, largely unknown and unchecked to this day.

Propaganda and terror: the business of America is business7

The greatest mystery—or better said, mystification—to be overcome is the apparent contradiction between America’s proclaimed principles and the intensity of its covert operations practices. Philip Agee once called the CIA, “capitalism’s invisible army.” He recalled that one of his first tasks as a junior CIA officer had been to conduct background checks on Venezuelan applicants for jobs at the local subsidiary of a major US oil company.8 In fact, his conclusion after quitting the “Company” was that capitalism could never be maintained without an extensive military and secret police force to suppress opposition to it.

Officially, US national security means the protection of its territory, fundamental “freedoms” and the interests of the US abroad, including certain allies who are deemed necessary for the aforementioned protection. In practice US national security means guaranteeing the conditions suitable for what US President Calvin Coolidge defined as “America’s business.” Smedley Butler put it more bluntly when describing his career as a member of the US Marine Corps.9 The CIA and other covert action agencies (over which the CIA has ultimate control) were founded to protect Business. In the US the collective term for opposition to US Business was “communism”.10 However this translation of the “Cold War” slogans does not suffice to explain what the US, in particular the CIA, was doing in Vietnam.

The answer has to be sought in the Korean War—one of the best-concealed periods of US history.11When the US conquered Japan in 1945, the military government under General Douglas MacArthur set about rebuilding Japan as an industrial bridgehead by which the US could pursue its domination of the Asia-Pacific basin, including China. When China was “lost” to the People’s Liberation Army under Mao Tse Tung in 1949, the US lost its business bases on the mainland, concentrated in Shanghai. Their fascist ally Chiang Kai-shek was forced to retreat to Formosa. At the same time Korea, which had become a Japanese colony, with US blessing at the beginning of the 20th century, was dominated in the South by US Forces (USMGK)12. The US regime had invaded in 1945 in order to preserve it as a strategic resource for the reconstruction of Japan under its suzerainty.

Korea and Vietnam were considered strategic—for Business—because they could both deliver the cheap food (rice) and mineral resources needed to feed Japan’s workers and factories. The defeat of Japan only meant that the US assumed the burden of sustaining the Japanese industrial economy. It immediately aligned itself with the feudal landlord class of both countries as a means of continuing the flow of resources to Japan. In Korea, this provoked massive peasant uprisings, which the USMGK helped to subdue together with fascist gangs under the tutelage of American mission-educated Syngman Rhee.

“The Vietnamese had a strong and heavily armed resistance with mass support, successful in battle against the Japanese and the French.”

However, both Korea and Vietnam had developed strong independence movements, aimed at ending colonialism and battle-hardened in their resistance to the Japanese. These independence movements were committed to land reform for the masses of peasantry, concentrated in the southern parts of each country. Both the Korean and Vietnamese independence movements enjoyed mass support, for economic as well as nationalist motives. Essentially the Korean War was fought by the US to retain the status quo ante while the armies under Kim Il-Sung fought to reunite an independent Korea.13

Unlike in Korea however—where war scuttled diplomatic agreement to unite Korea under one national government—the Vietnamese under Hồ Chí Minh had succeeded in forcing France to withdraw and agree to formal reunification processes in Geneva. The US had forced the French government to negotiate by ending its support for the colonial regime. Hence it was diplomatically obliged to proceed with the plans for elections agreed in the Geneva Accords. Nonetheless Vietnam had been an important food supplier to Japan that the US needed to control along with Korea. To maintain this flow of cheap resources from Indochina, it was necessary—as in Korea—to protect the post-colonial elite in Saigon and enforce the land and tax system upon which the hyper-exploitation was based. In that sense Vietnam was no different in the eyes of the US regime than any of its Latin American banana republics.

Unlike Latin America, however, the Vietnamese had a strong and heavily armed resistance with mass support, successful in battle against the Japanese and the French. The challenge of US policy was to suppress the resistance in the South and establish a client regime capable of policing the extractive structures installed by the French and Japanese.

The Geneva Accords constituted a major obstacle since, unlike Korea, where the US was able to prevent international agreement on reunification; the US was legally compelled to permit Vietnamese independence. Hence the necessity for covert operations—enter the CIA. In order to create, stabilise and defend a permanent partition of the country, it was necessary to establish a regime in the South that would be permanently recognised as a separate country. As in Korea the US was faced with an elite compromised by its collaboration with the French and Japanese. Covert action, the deployment of “advisors”, was intended to select and have elected people who would enjoy some credibility as nationalists while complying with the needs of US Asia-Pacific corporate strategy. It is necessary here to recall that the American public was told that South Vietnam was a democracy threatened by “communism” because this is the general term used in the West to define any and all opposition to Western capital. It was impossible to tell the American public that the US was defending the “American Way of Life” in Southeast Asia: a) because endemic US racism did not admit Asians to be entitled to the same life as “white” Americans14 and b) unlike Europe and Latin America, there were no widely held assumptions justifying US control over Asian territory.15 In fact until the faked Tonkin Gulf incident, Vietnam remained largely invisible within the United States.

As resistance to the perpetuation of the neo-colonial regime in Saigon increased, along with diplomatic demands from Hanoi for compliance with the Geneva Accords, “advisory” activity was intensified. Meanwhile it had become clear that were elections to be held the government in Hanoi would win and the Saigon regime would collapse. Despite this certainty and the intelligence showing that there was absolutely no popular support for the elite in Saigon, the decision was made to have Ngô Đình Diệm deposed in favour of a regime whose leader might be more marketable. The assassination of Diệm in 1963 only aggravated the crisis on the ground.16 The US President, Lyndon Johnson, ordered pacification of the peasantry to be intensified. That was and remains the CIA’s remit. However, it became clear that the CIA could not do the job alone. Any day the Hanoi government could decide to oppose Southern (US) procrastination and rightly claim that the Geneva Accords had been breached. In order to pre-empt Hanoi’s actions, Johnson used the Tonkin Gulf incident in August 1964 as a pretext to invade the South and bomb the North.

As Nelson Brickham, the architect of the Phoenix Program, explained in an interview with Valentine, the US military was brought in to “shield” the covert pacification campaign until a stable government could be established permanently with the capacity to rigorously police the peasantry. Brickham’s preferred instrument was the Special Branch of the National Police.17 The CIA had already been in Vietnam since 1954. But now time was of the essence.

From ashes to ashes

Valentine’s autopsy of the Vietnamese Phoenix Program starts by recognising that the CIA was (and is) central to US corporate policy. In Vietnam the Company developed ICEX aka Phoenix as an intensive corporate management and public relations campaign for what is called “nation-building”.18The overall aim of “nation-building” is to destroy the indigenous and nationalist infrastructure—what Americans would consider to be their state and local government together with all the social organisations and networks by which communities are organised and maintained—and replace it with one that operates on the same basis as US corporate infrastructure. In a sense the CIA was developing what would later be called—also euphemistically—private-public partnerships. The idea the US regime could install systems like the ones with which it had traditionally controlled local governments and economies in Latin America for the benefit of US corporations. 19 Like other CIA operations, there was to be a multi-faceted campaign to paint the Hanoi government as puppets of Russia or China, invent a regime in Saigon that would embody “real Vietnamese independence” and create the machinery by which that regime could preserve itself. At the same time this effort had to be sold both in the USA and abroad within the dominant post-war decolonisation discourse. Here the central elements were “revolution” and “development”. Part of the reason for this marketing strategy was a belief fostered in academia, esp. in area studies, that any post-war dispensation would have to take the steam out of revolutionary socialist/ nationalist movements by packaging modernisation as a revolutionary process. Initially the US could benefit from widely held beliefs about the creation of the US as a non-Marxist (pre-Marxist) revolutionary success story, complete with a healthy national spirit. On the other hand it was impossible to retain the rhetoric of the pre-war European colonial powers given the UN Charter and its promise of national self-determination. The US regime was also able to market itself as the ideal development agent. Unscathed by World War II, it had already devoted substantial efforts to “rebuild” Europe and supply food and other economic aid to countries left in distress after the war. US “free trade” policy was sufficiently ambiguous to be sold as a realistic alternative to the constraints imposed by Britain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium on their colonial possessions. In other words, capitalising on the hugely successful propaganda campaigns since 1914, the US was able to profit from good will abroad and naiveté at home to launch what would become Phoenix.

In fact, free trade meant that US corporations deliberately avoided the costs of governing economically profitable territories. Instead, what has been called “an archipelago of empire” was preferred.20 This meant expanding the British principle of indirect rule by creating and supporting nominally independent regimes that bear all the social costs through extortionate taxation, while assuring that labour and natural resources are freely accessible to US corporations—in Vietnam’s case, particularly those operating in Japan.

“The US regime was also able to market itself as the ideal development agent.”

Unlike industrial economies, peasant economies, such as those prevailing in southern Korea and Vietnam, are still structured around land ownership and use. Industrialised populations such as those of Europe and the US already have structures easily manipulated by corporations: employment, housing, entertainment, and mass consumption. Conflicts are reduced largely to issues like wages and working hours, healthcare and pensions—essentially monetary problems. In rural economies conflicts focus on land ownership and access, availability of agricultural inputs, and the maintenance of family and village structures.

Thus the CIA was confronted with a peasantry for whom land reform and peaceful cultivation in villages within families were paramount. In Latin America, the US regime had inherited the colonial latifundia systems imposed by the Spanish centuries ago. Southeast Asia was completely different. Of course this did not prevent the CIA from taking action. Drawing on what they thought were the lessons of US counter-insurgency in the Philippines and Sir Robert Thompson’s model Malayan campaign, a variety of tools were developed on the assumption that there are in essence two Vietnams south of the DMZ.21 The task of the CIA was to disaggregate them. The term that emerged was “VCI” or Viet Cong Infrastructure (Vietnamese communist infrastructure). The “real” Vietnamese were to be corralled and branded while the “communists” were to be culled from the herd.

Since this distinction was an ideological fiction—albeit an indispensible one—two processes were needed: one which would create the real herd of South Vietnamese, identifiable at least by demonstrated loyalty or dependence on the Saigon regime; and one which would continuously cull the “enemy” from the herd. This loyal herd could be led to the elections that would validate the Republic of Vietnam (South). The rest could be “captured, turned, or killed”. This is essentially the way corporations create markets for superfluous products. There was no need for the Saigon government since most Vietnamese were justified in believing that when the French withdrew it was only a matter of time before the country would be unified under one government. However, to create a viable client regime the CIA had to create a market for it.

The term “infrastructure” denoted the fact that Vietnamese society, esp. in the rural areas where the Saigon regime was scarcely present, functioned without any need for the US clients. Although the term is also used as a euphemism for “cadre”, members of the Vietnamese Communist Party in the South, this limited use obscures the strategy underlying Phoenix and the US regime’s presence. In order to create the “Saigon product” so to speak, there had to be a need for it—namely an administrative apparatus reaching into the village level which could make demands on the population and at least nominally satisfy local wishes. It is fair to say that no one who had spent any time in the country believed that there was any demand for “Saigon product” among the peasantry. Hence the only way to create and stimulate that demand was to reach into the depths of rural life and do everything possible to destroy the indigenous structures, both economically and socially. Ideally this vacuum would be filled speedily by US-subsidised Saigon infrastructure. This was the underlying theory of the strategic hamlet program and all the USAID activities.22 Due to the fact that the Saigon regime was and remained unable and unwilling to provide the substitute infrastructure, the nation building (counter-insurgency) programs never acquired the varnish of acceptability that they enjoyed among the middle classes in the West.

“The Company drew on its vast repertoire of propaganda and terror methods, tried and tested throughout the world, and concentrated them in Southeast Asia.”

Of course this did not mean that the programs bundled under ICEX/ Phoenix were to be abandoned. Quite the contrary they were to be refined. Just like corporate marketing and design departments in seemingly innocuous sectors like automobile and electronics are dedicated to producing anything—if there is a promise of reportable profits or increased market share—the corporate propaganda and terror campaign introduced to Vietnam by the CIA became a self-perpetuating system. To meet the need to show that the herd and the culls were being managed effectively—profitably— measurement and reporting systems were borrowed from the leading edge of management and organisational theory. General William Westmoreland was discredited for “accounting fraud” while waging the military side of the campaign.23 However such fraud was inherent in the overall strategy, both covert and overt. As there were not two Vietnams but only one, it was absurd to try to measure the numbers of the phantom herd, “real Vietnam minus VC”. The only thing that could be measured was the number of victims and no one had an interest in honest reporting there.

In order to invent South Vietnam, it was necessary to fabricate a South Vietnamese population, complete with features that ought to distinguish it from North Vietnam. The US attempt to do this in Korea had failed; leaving it with only one choice—permanent military occupation. The CIA, certainly guided by its numerous successes in Iran, Latin America, and Africa, undertook the ambitious task of manufacturing not only a client regime, but a whole country. The Company drew on its vast repertoire of propaganda and terror methods, tried and tested throughout the world, and concentrated them in Southeast Asia. When it found itself unable to work alone, it brought in massive military cover. It was hoped that MACV would prevent the NVA from attacking and ejecting the Saigon regime and at the same time prevent the “enemy” below the DMZ from deposing the US clients on their own or rendering the South ungovernable from Saigon.24 Meanwhile Saigon’s incompetent, corrupt and generally useless police and civilian administration were to be indoctrinated and trained to maintain this invented herd of South Vietnamese, needed to maintain the fiction of a separate Vietnamese state—a state that was to continue the hyper-exploitation of the South within the overall US Asia-Pacific imperial archipelago.

Douglas Valentine shows in lucid detail how this campaign emerged, who was responsible—both for policy and operations—what actually was done and with what consequences. The Phoenix Program is not a theoretical work but it is more than a case study in the US propaganda-terror system. By carefully refraining from opinions about the actors or actions, he forces the reader to weigh the preponderance of evidence as to the nature of this purely CIA—and hence purely American form of political warfare. He also forces the critical reader to transcend revulsion and examine a complex bureaucratic system, created by the same people who create the management systems used to organise and discipline workers and consumers—short of killing them. The reader needs to pay careful attention to what seem to be technical details such as nomenclature or reporting structures. These details have survived in US political and economic warfare systems to this day. One could say that they were first systematically applied in Vietnam, only to be revised and tapered for future targets of the US regime. Not least the dramatis personae should be studied carefully. Phoenix, like any elite club, produced many alumni who have gone on to make and guide policy and wage political warfare against the targets of the US regime.25 In Western mythology it is not the end of the phoenix that counts but its rebirth from the ashes.

Dr. T P Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket in Heinrich Heine’s birthplace, Düsseldorf. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa (Maisonneuve Press, 2003). 

Notes

1 Valentine alludes here to Malcolm X’s notorious reaction to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This is by no means hyperbole since meanwhile a wide range of historical literature asserts that Kennedy’s assassination was integrally related to the policies pursued by the US regime in Vietnam.

2 Morley Safer, “Body Count was their most important product”, New York Times, 21 October 1990. Morley Safer was probably one of the most well known TV correspondents in US homes during the war. It was not what he said about Valentine’s book that counted but the fact that this “face” of the Vietnam War said anything at all.

3 T. P. Wilkinson, inter alia “The Moral Equivalence of the Founding Fathers”, Review of Gerald Horne’s The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, May 2014.

4 Much confusion and consternation arises as to why the Second Amendment to the US Constitutionproclaimed, “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In fact, the amendment was justified by James Madison to prevent the federal government from passing laws to restrict the slave patrols raised by the governments of the Southern states to maintain slavery. See also Thom Hartmann, “The Second Amendment was ratified to preserve slavery”, Truth Out, 15 January 2013.

5 The „five minute men“ were propagandists trained by the Committee of Public Information to be able to render a seemingly spontaneous speech „within 5 minutes“ at any venue in order to agitate for US war aims. Woodrow Wilson pronounced that the US was entering WWI for this purpose. Wilson’s attorney general A. Mitchell Palmer led the sweeping police raids against political dissidents between 1919-1920. The Ku Klux Klan was re-founded in Georgia in 1915 and became a notorious paramilitary terror organisation directed mainly but not exclusively against African-Americans. With membership reaching to the highest realms of US government, it operated throughout the South and Midwest with impunity for most of the 20th century. It was glorified in D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film, The Clansman. Although occasionally members have been charged and convicted of serious crimes, the organisation has never been outlawed.

6 Two special committees of the US Congress, named after their respective chairmen, Sen. Frank Church and Rep. Otis Pike. These select committees investigated the illegal activities of the CIA, FBI, and NSA between 1975 and 1976.

7 Calvin Coolidge, “After all, the chief business of the American people is business…” Reported in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 25 January 1925.

8 Philip Agee, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, 1975, see also John Stockwell, In Search of Enemies, 1984.

9 Smedley Butler, War is a Racket, 1935.

10 On 11 September 1973 it was still communism but since 1989 and ultimately since 11 September 2001, the ultimate threat has been renamed “global terrorism”.

11 Prior to the Korean War (1950 – ), it was the OSS, with its strong links to the so-called “China Lobby”, that managed US covert action in Asia. For a detailed discussion of this major US war, to date only subject to a ceasefire from 1953, see Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, Vol. 1 (1981), Vol. II (1992). For a summary of its relevance to US imperial history see T. P. Wilkinson, “Is a New Cold War Coming?”, Lobster, (Winter 2014).

12 USMGK = US Military Government in Korea, established ostensibly to disarm the Japanese forces, the military government became the backbone of the Rhee regime.

13 Food and natural resources, esp. Korea’s enormous tungsten reserves, were both deemed essential for US heavy industry, whether in Japan or at home.

14 Any doubt as to this can be removed by examining the history of US laws against Asians as well as the notorious mass internment of Japanese-American citizens from 1942 until 1946. This was not only a landmark for “white” abuse of Asians but, generated windfall profits for those who acquired the homes and property of the incarcerated.

15 The US had finally recognised Philippines independence in 1946 and made Hawai’i a state in 1959, ending formal colonial rule in the Pacific—for the most part.

16 Diệm was assassinated on 2 November 1963. John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963, leaving Lyndon Johnson with the consequences.

17 Special Branch is the name given to the political police/ intelligence branch of the regular (usually) civilian force in Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth countries. First organised as the Special Irish Branch of the Metropolitan Police in 1883, this form became the model for British secret police units throughout the empire, e.g. in India (1888) and Palestine (1937), the security branch in South Africa. The Malaysian Special Branch was a preferred instrument of Sir Robert Thompson in his successful efforts to suppress the Malayan insurgency (1948 – 1960). The importance of Special Branch cannot be overestimated. Brickham felt it essential that civilian policing, not military repression, be used to maintain control in Vietnam.

18 ICEX = Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation, the name first given to the project to coordinate all the CIA and other covert activities in Vietnam, also called ICEX-SIDE. “Nation-building” is a term in US imperial vernacular used to imply that there are peoples in the world who occupy territory but have no mature political, social and economic institutions with which to live (like the US wants them to live, that is). It is a descendent of the “white man’s burden” and the British myth about educating peoples for self-rule. The term survives today in US foreign policy language. Its real meaning is the creation of Phoenix-like structures, often with the support of NGOs and so-called “civil society” organisations in places where the US has or is attempting to destroy indigenous institutions, e.g. in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is why it has been rightly said that the US National Endowment for Democracy has simply absorbed a range of functions and technologies developed in the CIA.

19 In 1954, the CIA had very successfully returned Guatemala to United Fruit. Its unsuccessful campaign against Cuba notwithstanding, the Company was confident in its capacity to create and manage Business-friendly regimes.

20 Bruce Cumings, Dominion from Sea to Sea, 2009.

21 DMZ = demilitarised zone, created under the Geneva Accords of 1954 to separate North and South Vietnam. The most frequently cited source for Thompson’s campaign is his Defeating Communist Insurgency: Experiences in Malaya and Vietnam, 1966.

22 US Agency for International Development, an organisation under the US State Department with the mission to execute “development aid” type projects around the world. In Vietnam it was responsible for “revolutionary development” programs, mainly through CORDS, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support. This was also part of what was called euphemistically “winning hearts and minds” (WHAM) or civic action in rural areas. In addition, USIS, the US Information Service, was the State Department psychological operations arm, also active in Vietnam during the war.

23 General William Westmoreland filed a libel suit in 1982 against CBS News for alleging that he had manipulated intelligence and estimates of enemy strength, in part contributing to near military disaster during the surprise Tet Offensive in 1968. The case was settled out of court.

24 MACV= Military Assistance Command Vietnam, the unified command structure for the US military invasion of Vietnam. NVA = North Vietnamese Army, the regular land forces of the government in Hanoi.

25 The late Richard Holbrooke began his “foreign service” career at USAID in “rural pacification” in Vietnam, spending his formative years in the Phoenix program. It should not surprise anyone therefore that he was assigned to help bring Serbia to submission or that his last assignment was coordination of the US wars in South Central Asia. Before John Negroponte acquired his Honduran notoriety, he had also served in Vietnam with Holbrooke.

Former Marine Paul Szoldra warns that events in Ferguson, Missouri illustrate the “terrifying” result of the militarization of police, with the American people now being treated like insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an article for Business Insider, Szoldra questions why police in Ferguson are wearing combat gear such as desert camouflage which is normally reserved for troops fighting in foreign war zones.

“We looked intimidating, but all of our vehicles and equipment had a clear purpose for combat against enemy forces. So why is this same gear being used on our city streets?” asks Szoldra, adding, “When did this become OK?”

The former Marine notes how police in Ferguson are armed with military-style rifles with scopes as well as body armor.

“Their uniform would be mistaken for a soldier’s if it weren’t for their “Police” patches,” writes Szoldra. “They wear green tops, and pants fashioned after the U.S. Marine Corps MARPAT camouflage pattern. And they stand in front of a massive armored truck called a Bearcat, similar in look to a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or as the troops who rode in them call it, the MRAP.”

Szoldra cites conversations he had with other former military personnel who pointed out that some of the police in Ferguson are more heavily armed than U.S. troops in an “actual warzone.”

“When did “protect and serve” turn into “us versus them”? asks Szoldra, asserting that the sight of police in militarized combat gear is not helping the situation.

“In Afghanistan, we patrolled in big, armored trucks. We wore uniforms that conveyed the message, “We are a military force and we are in control right now.” Many Afghans saw us as occupiers. And now we see some of our police officers in this same way,” writes Szoldra, concluding, “If there’s one thing I learned in Afghanistan, it’s this: You can’t win someone’s heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at their chest.”

While the initial looting in Ferguson was deplorable, it’s clear the town is now the victim of a huge militarized police state exercise.

The unrest was first sparked by the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday night, who was unarmed when police gunned him down. Law enforcement authorities claim Brown was involved in a physical altercation with an officer although eyewitnesses said he was shot for no reason.

Peaceful demonstrations continued last night, with around 250 protesters marching down the main road into Ferguson where they were met with a heavy militarized police presence.

“Officers in military-style uniforms, some carrying high-powered rifles and wearing balaclavas, formed a line at least two men deep and blocking the entire width of Florrisant Street,” reports the Guardian.

One man had a red police gun laser pointed at his chest while another drove a car at high speed stopping just short of the police line.

A second man in the city was shot by police last night while another woman was struck in the head with a rubber bullet as police again used tear gas to disperse a small crowd.

“We have a right to assemble, a right to freedom,” said Paul Muhammad. “But here we are facing what looks like a military imposing martial law. It is not acceptable.”

Infowars reporters Joe Biggs and Jakari Jackson are on the ground in Ferguson, St. Louis. Last night they witnessed police pointing sniper rifles at protesters while cops also threatened to arrest demonstrators.

 

 

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

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Last month Time Magazine posted an article refuting the claim ISIS — now the fully militarized Islamic State — is an intelligence operation.

The article by war propagandist Aryn Baker states “conspiracy theories are nothing new in the Middle East.” Baker squarely places responsibility for the declared conspiracy theory on Iran. According to Baker, the Iranians claim the ISIS offensive currently underway in Iraq is “part of a U.S.-backed plot to destabilize the region and protect Israel.”

Baker reports IRNA and the Tehran Times believe NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was responsible for uncovering details about operation Beehive, also translated as Hornet’s Nest, which is described as a joint U.S., British and Israeli effort to “create a terrorist organization capable of centralizing all extremist actions across the world.”

Baker concludes there is no evidence within the Snowden trove of any such plot. She chalks the accusation up to another baseless internet rumor. “Yet Iranian government officials and independent analysts in Iran alike cited IRNA’s report as definitive proof of ISIS’s American and Israeli origins,” she writes.

Evidence of IRNA and the Tehran Times, however, making the claim is suspiciously absent. “Regrettably, not knowing the date of IRNA’s scoop, or being able to view its text online, complicates investigation,” writes Alan Kurtz.

Kurtz traces responsibility for the “Snowden Hoax” to a German website, www.shababek.de, and Kareem al-Baidani. A photo of al-Baidani is used on the Facebook page of Abosamir Albaidani, identified by Kurtz as “an Iraqi Shiite writer based in Munich, Germany” who may or may not be associated with an al-Alam television show, Iraq Today. Al-Alam is an Arabic news channel broadcasting from Iran by the state-owned media corporation Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

The story was picked up by Iran’s Fars New Agency (FNA) and subsequently posted across the internet. It was also cited in a story posted by Infowars.com.

Glenn Greenwald and others state there is no evidence in the Snowden cache that ISIS is linked to the CIA, Mossad or any other intelligence agency.

Greenwald posted the following on his Twitter account today:

Greenwald points to Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the ACLU, who retweets spy novelist Jeremy Duns. Duns provides a link to the Kurtz blog post claiming to document the “Snowden Hoax” and a lack of definitive evidence connecting ISIS to the CIA or Mossad and pointing back to Iranian propaganda.


 

“The validity of the document,” we wrote on July 19, “cannot be verified due to the exclusivity of the Snowden cache. Cryptome sent a letter to various sources in possession of the documents, including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Barton Gellman, Laura Poitrias, Glenn Greenwald, ACLU, EFF and others demanding an accounting. The allegation about ISIS and al-Baghdadi, however, pairs up with other information demonstrating ISIS is an intelligence asset.”

The remainder of our July 19 article lays out broad strokes demonstrating that ISIS is indeed a military and intelligence asset.

The putative (and mercurial) leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly a “civilian internee” at Camp Bucca, a U.S. military detention facility near Umm Qasr, Iraq. James Skylar Gerrond, a former U.S. Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, said the camp “created a pressure cooker for extremism.”

“Circumstantial evidence suggests that al-Baghdadi may have been mind-controlled while held prisoner by the US military in Iraq,” writes Dr. Kevin Barrett.

In July Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Islamic Democratic Jihad Party and former top al-Qaeda commander, told the Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station al-Maydeen all current al-Qaeda affiliates, including ISIS, work for the CIA.

In June a Jordanian official told Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily ISIS members were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan. In 2012 it was reported the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi.

“Key members of ISIS it now emerges were trained by US CIA and Special Forces command at a secret camp in Jordan in 2012, according to informed Jordanian officials,” writes William Engdahl. “The US, Turkish and Jordanian intelligence were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, conveniently near the borders to both Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two Gulf monarchies most involved in funding the war against Syria’s Assad, financed the Jordan ISIS training.”

A scripted “geopolitical struggle between the US and Russia” is “the objective of leading neo-conservatives in the CIA, Pentagon and State Department all along,” Engdahl continues. “The CIA transported hundreds of Mujahideen Saudis and other foreign veterans of the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviets in Afghanistan into Chechnya to disrupt the struggling Russia in the early 1990s, particularly to sabotage the Russian oil pipeline running directly from Baku on the Caspian Sea into Russia. James Baker III and his friends in Anglo-American Big Oil had other plans. It was called the BTC pipeline, owned by a BP-US oil consortium and running through Tbilisi into NATO-member Turkey, free of Russian territory.”

The history of the CIA’s involvement in terrorist activities — in Bosnia as well as Chechnya and other former Soviet states — is well-known to historians. It is however ignored by Time Magazine and its groomed propagandists. The Snowden cache may indeed not contain a reference to the CIA, Mossad and ISIS. On the other hand, because the documents are closely held, as Cryptome argues, we will not know this for sure until they are made public.

Simply attributing the linkage to perennial enemy Iran and media pariah Infowars.com — and dismissing a possible linkage out of hand as a hoax — will not hide the fact the CIA, Mossad, British intelligence, et al, have all specialized in creating terror groups and have used these to gain geopolitical advantage, as they are now attempting to do with a putative ISIS domestic terror threat and renewed military activity in Iraq.

While the world of conventional medicine lines up to profit from the Ebola panic, there is no mention anywhere in the mainstream media of the criminal corporation behind the Ebola vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline, now being celebrated by the pro-pharma press, is the same company that also has a proven criminal record of bribing physicians and knowingly distributing misleading information about the safety of their drug products.

Just two years ago, GSK plead guilty to felony crimes in the United States and was forced to pay an historical $3 billion fine for committing those crimes. After paying the fine, GSK was then exempted from normal rules regarding criminal enterprise, allowing it to continue conducting business with the federal government.

“Global health care giant GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GSK) agreed to plead guilty and to pay $3 billion to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from the company’s unlawful promotion of certain prescription drugs, its failure to report certain safety data, and its civil liability for alleged false price reporting practices, the Justice Department announced today,” says a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

It goes on to explain, “GSK agreed to plead guilty to a three-count criminal information, including two counts of introducing misbranded drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin, into interstate commerce and one count of failing to report safety data about the drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

As Natural News reported in 2012:

A roughly nine-year federal investigation has exposed GSK’s rampant abuse of the law by illegally marketing drugs, forging drug safety data, bribing doctors to promote dangerous and expensive drugs, ripping off Medicare and Medicaid, and lying about the effectiveness and safety of drugs. And all this deception has generated tens of billions of dollars in profits for GSK over the years, while thousands of patients who used the drug products involved have suffered horrific side effects and even death.

Criminal drug company to spearhead Ebola vaccine with U.S. scientists

Now this same company that admitted committing multiple felony crimes is going to lead the development of the Ebola vaccine.

As CNBC reports: (1)

“A clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus is set to start shortly, according to British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which is co-developing the product with U.S. scientists.”

Vaccine to be “rushed through” with very little safety testing

We also know that the vaccine will not be tested for anything other than short-term side effects. This is all part of the “rush to market” for Big Pharma to profit from Ebola as quickly as possible.

As CNBC says:

A company spokeswoman said on Sunday that the trial should get underway “later this year”, while GSK’s partner the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said in a statement on its website it would start “as early as fall 2014″, implying a potential September launch of testing.

A headline in the Daily Mail declares “World Health Organisation says vaccine could be ‘rushed through’ for 2015.” (2)

That same story goes on to report, “the WHO said a potential vaccine for the Ebola virus is being tested on humans and could be ready for widespread use by early 2015.”

Doing the math here, if the Ebola vaccine clinical trials start in September of 2014 and the vaccine is manufactured and distributed to the public by “early 2015,” this leaves virtually zero time for observing vaccine side effects.

Manufacturing the vaccine in large quantities, after all, takes many months. If this vaccine is to be available to the public in early 2015, they will have to start manufacturing it as early as October 2014, roughly just one month after the vaccine trials begin.

Zero liability; total immunity for faulty products

Keep in mind that in the United States, vaccine manufacturers have zero liability for the damage and death caused by their products. Due to a literal Act of Congress, all vaccine manufacturers are able to abandon all safety testing and knowingly sell faulty, deadly products with zero risk of liability.

This was all set up by design to make sure vaccine manufacturers could enjoy record profits while having zero liability for producing faulty products that harm children and adults. This is the reason why mercury is still used in flu vaccines which are injected into children — a fact which I have scientifically proven in the Natural News Forensic Food Labs using ICP-MS instrumentation.

This total immunity means there is no incentive for adequate safety testing of an Ebola vaccine. The company has the same liability (zero) whether they test the vaccine or not. Their goal is to SELL the vaccine, not to make sure it’s safe and effective. Time spent on conducting rigorous clinical trials with long-term observations simply isn’t part of the “Sell! Sell! Sell!” business plan of today’s vaccine manufacturers. Their current business slogan? “Every pandemic is an opportunity for profit.” And with blanket immunity from all product liability, who needs safety testing?

Vaccine manufacturers routinely rely on scientific fraud

Here’s additional information you need to know about vaccine fraud, originally published in this article on Natural News:

According to two Merck scientists who filed a False Claims Act complaint in 2010 — a complaint which has just now been unsealed — vaccine manufacturer Merck knowingly falsified its mumps vaccine test data, spiked blood samples with animal antibodies, sold a vaccine that actually promoted mumps and measles outbreaks, and ripped off governments and consumers who bought the vaccine thinking it was “95% effective.”

See that False Claims Act document at:
http://www.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents…

According to Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, both former Merck virologists, the Merck company engaged in all the following behavior:

• Merck knowingly falsified its mumps vaccine test results to fabricate a “95% efficacy rate.”

• In order to do this, Merck spiked the blood test with animal antibodies in order to artificially inflate the appearance of immune system antibodies. As reported in CourthouseNews.com:

Merck also added animal antibodies to blood samples to achieve more favorable test results, though it knew that the human immune system would never produce such antibodies, and that the antibodies created a laboratory testing scenario that “did not in any way correspond to, correlate with, or represent real life … virus neutralization in vaccinated people,” according to the complaint.

• Merck then used the falsified trial results to swindle the U.S. government out of “hundreds of millions of dollars for a vaccine that does not provide adequate immunization.”

• Merck’s vaccine fraud has actually contributed to the continuation of mumps across America, causing more children to become infected with mumps.

• Merck used its false claims of “95 percent effectiveness” to monopolize the vaccine market and eliminate possible competitors.

• The Merck vaccine fraud has been going on since the late 1990′s, say the Merck virologists.

• Testing of Merck’s vaccine was never done against “real-world” mumps viruses in the wild. Instead, test results were simply falsified to achieve the desired outcome.

• This entire fraud took place “with the knowledge, authority and approval of Merck’s senior management.”

• Merck scientists “witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings,” according to court documents.

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.cnbc.com/id/101909486

(2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2721…

(3) http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/July/12-c…

The War on Terrorism Provides the Basis for Demonizing the Muslims

August 13th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

TEHRAN (FNA)- A world-renowned Canadian scholar says that the project of War on Terror was launched with a view to demonize the Muslim nations and then dominate their vast oil reserves.

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky is of the opinion that the United States created the terrorist cult Al-Qaeda and is now pretending to be fighting and eradicating it while in effect funding and assisting it. He also believes that the United States has been responsible for the demise of democracy in several Asian and Latin American nations through waging unprompted wars and coups against the democratic governments in such countries as Chile, Argentine, Guatemala and Brazil.

According to Prof. Chossudovsky, the Western mainstream media uphold the United States as committed to democracy and human rights, “when in fact the United States in its various military interventions around the world, not to mention the numerous coup d’états in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere has been involved in crimes against humanity on a very large scale.”

Michel Chossudovsky is a Canadian economist and a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Ottawa. He is the founder and director of the Montreal-based Centre for Research on Globalisation. He has extensively written on the US foreign policy, the War on Terror, human rights, the rights of ethnic minorities and nuclear proliferation.

Prof. Chossudovsky has authored several books the latest of which entitled “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” was published in 2012. His articles and writings have usually been featured in the Project Censored’s “Top 25 Most Censored Stories of the Year.”

In an in-depth interview with Fars News Agency, Prof. Chossudovsky explained his viewpoints on the decline of the American democracy, the violation of human rights in the United States and the War on Terror scenario. The following is the text of the interview.

Q: Do you believe that the political establishment in the United States has been formed on the basis of liberal values? Is the US government committed to liberalism?

A: I think we have to distinguish between the doctrine of liberalism and democracy which is entrenched in the US Constitution and the actual practice of liberalism. In effect, the US state system even from the very outset was based on oppression. It was characterized initially by slave labor economy and subsequently, it led also to a process which some authors characterize as genocide directed against the indigenous people of North America also known as the First Nation. If we look at more recent history, particularly in the post-9/11 period, we see a clear evolution toward a police state apparatus whereby fundamental civil rights are being derogated upon; we see the militarization of justice and law enforcement, and if we look at the economic dimensions, we see the adoption of policies which tend to violate the fundamental notions of liberalism namely the so-called neo-liberal reforms, which have been applied worldwide and are also applied in the United States and are now leading to the elimination of essential social services, health, education and impoverishment of the American population.

Q: So, you believe that the United States has failed to realize the ambitions of its Founding Fathers who wanted to create a democratic state in which people could determine their own fate in a free and liberal way and take part in the major decision-making process?

A: I think that those principles which were announced by the Founding Fathers, may have served to protect the rights of individuals and the cause of the human beings in certain regards, but essentially they constitute a smokescreen because the US government does not function in accordance with the principles laid out in the constitution, and I don’t think they’ve ever functioned that way. When dealing essentially with what we might call authoritarian democracy, institutions of the US Congress, the judiciary and the executive branch with its various departments constitute the façade of the representative government, but in actuality, there’s no representative government and we know that in the present context, most of the members of the US Congress, the Senate are there because they have been supported by powerful corporate lobby groups.

The same is true for the President of the United States. The US President doesn’t actually take decisions, he obeys orders. He is doomed to serve the interests of the corporate establishment. So, there’s no avenue whereby only citizens can be represented by the US government. Of course as a functioning of the political system, the head of state has to be very careful to serve or at least to appear to be serving the broad interests of the public, so it is what might be described as the populist elements that enter into the discourse, but essentially what I’m saying is that if you take President Obama, he doesn’t decide on anything. He is the head of state, he is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, but the policies are decided elsewhere; they’re decided in corporate boardrooms, in Wall Street, they’re decided by what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex which are the large defense contractors.

These defense conglomerates ultimately also have a voice in the formulation of the US foreign policy and US foreign policy pertaining to military operations. So we have a political system that is overshadowed by very powerful corporate interests. We see in the area of finance how appointments to the Treasury or the Federal Reserve boards are from major financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase or Goldman Sachs; we see how politicians in essence of serving of those interests, overlap with the economic interests, and I would say that in essence, we have the fiction of democracy and at the same time, we have a camouflage whereby the media primarily continue to portray the workings of the democratic system when in fact the choices offered by the so-called democratic system are extremely limited, whether it’s a Republican president or it’s a Democrat. And, in that regard, the media serve those as instruments of internal propaganda, which oppose the fiction of the American dream of equality and social responsibility, and internationally those media are instruments of war propaganda.

It upholds the United States as committed to democracy and human rights when in fact the United States in its various military interventions around the world, not to mention the numerous coup d’états in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere has been involved in crimes against humanity on a very large scale, if we look at the history of the post-World War II period starting with the Korean War, not to mention the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima, the Vietnam War, the mass killings in Indonesia which was ordered by CIA, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and not to mention Syria, all these wars are parts of the foreign policy agenda of the US government and they are presented as being projects of democratization whereby the US in essence is responding to the notion of “responsibility to protect” which is a pretext for military intervention. We saw how that notion was adopted in relation to NATO’s intervention in Libya.

Q: You know that the US Presidents usually use the term “the beacon of freedom” to refer to their country and to say that the United States is a promoter of human rights, democracy, freedom and liberal values across the world. Has the United States been successful in exporting these values which it deems belong to it?

A: The Presidents claim that the United States is expanding democracy across the world. But if you look at the history, you see exactly the opposite. As a fact that that idea still sustained in people’s minds, it’s because the media have camouflaged the actual undertakings of US foreign policy around the world, including its various military operations. Now, we don’t need to go back too far in history; we could refer to the Korean War. 30% of the population of North Korea was killed during the Korean War. We could mention the Vietnam War. But we can also mention the numerous coup d’états which were implemented in different countries, especially in Latin America and Central America, whereby democratic governments were displaced as a result of CIA-sponsored military coups.

In effect, you could look at Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, etc. In all these countries, the United States intervened to install what vividly were non-democratic forms of government, or in other words, military governments. And that should provide an indication of what the United States is actually doing. It’s not supporting democracy; it’s intervening to actually crush democracy and crush any sovereign government which might emerge. And this is the systematic modus operandi throughout the world which has been implemented either through military interventions or through covert means by attempting to overthrow a government and replace it with a proxy government which would obey all the orders of the United States.

Chile in 1973 is a good example of a democracy which was overthrown and a military regime was installed under President Augusto Pinochet. I’m familiar with that period and how the events unfolded. I can also mention that in the immediate coup on September 11, 1973, the price of bread went up from 11 to 40 as a result of the implementation of new liberal reforms, namely strong economic medicine, and so there’s always an economic counterpart to these regime changes.

In Argentina, in 1976, when I was also teaching in a northern city, in the immediate wake of the coup, the wages were frozen, the people were impoverished and fundamental human rights were violated. This was a US-sponsored coup and in the wake of the coup, we had the launching of what was called the “Dirty War” which consisted of assassinating people who were against the dictatorship, especially people on the left, and that was described as the process of disappearing which took place in several Latin American countries under the CIA operation called Operation Condor. Now, if we acknowledge the history of US interventionism, we can see the criminal nature of this agenda.

The issue is that, the United States had never shown its face directly in the military coup. In the military coups in Argentina and Chile, the United States officially had nothing to do with them, but its intelligence agencies have been involved and they would also establish links with the new government as occurred in many Latin American countries. Then you have the killings in Indonesia which led to a regime change and the demise of the Sukarno government at a time when many examples in the history showed that the United States had supported non-democratic forms of government, and that the United States has been involved in illegal forms of violation of international law leading to the destruction of the entire country which is certainly true in Afghanistan and Iraq and that it has also been conducting and supporting devastating economic measures which have led to the impoverishment of millions of people. I’m talking about the so-called IMF and World Bank reforms which have been spearheaded by the US and also through the links to Wall Street, and the fact that the creditors have imposed devastating reforms on those countries which have served essentially to destroy those countries. Now if we look at Africa, we may have democracies in name, but in fact we have a whole continent which is impoverished. I should mention that as of 1980s and 1990s, the United States ceased to install dictatorships as it has been the case in an earlier period, and started to install so-called democracies that in effect have only been a façade. It was called regime change, and subsequently called color revolution, including intervening in the election process; you co-op the candidate, you have the right candidate elected and essentially, what the United States was doing was installing the contours of a new colonial form of government whereby countries would be integrated into the US sphere of influence, and the heads of state of these countries would obey orders from Washington.

And if we look at the world today, with a few exceptions, most countries of the world, particularly in the developing world, have lost their sovereignty. They’ve lost their political sovereignty but also their economic sovereignty, because they have to obey the orders of the creditors and have to implement the reforms which are proposed to them by the IMF and the World Bank.

Q: You mentioned the history of the US military interventions in other countries and that it has planned several revolutions and coups across the world; however, the US statesmen usually justify these interventions with the idea of “humanitarian intervention”, that is to launch a military strike against a country at war in order to prevent it from “killing its own people.” This is what happened in Syria, Libya and other places in the recent history. What do you think about this notion, its basis, legality and justifiability?

A: There’s absolutely no legality in intervening militarily in a sovereign country, irrespective of the conduct of the governments in relation to their own people. That’s a basic tenet of international law. But I should mention that the United States intervened in Libya, with a view to destabilizing Libya as a nation-state and steal its oil reserves. Libya has 3.5% of global oil and gas reserves while the United States has barely 2%. Their objective was ultimately to establish a proxy regime using the so-called Islamist forces but in effect the so-called rebels were trained by CIA. They are presented as Al-Qaeda affiliated entities but actually we know that Al-Qaeda is a creation of the US intelligence going back to the Soviet-Afghan War.

So, in effect what has been done was to initiate an insurgency which was backed by Western Special Forces, bomb the country and then present it as a humanitarian endeavor. The only way we can portray this as a humanitarian endeavor is through the Western corporate media to present it that way and convey the idea that killing people is a humanitarian undertaking. And that’s precisely what happened. The Western media and main corporate news outlets including print press and television presented and demonized the head of state, in this case Muammar Gaddafi, and upheld the terrorists as freedom fighters and they then presented the transition as a move toward democracy when in fact everything in Libya indicated that this was a move toward the destruction of an entire country, its institutions and in other words, its transformation from a country into a territory and then into an object of investment as well as looting its natural resources, which in this special case is oil. That’s the background.

In Syria, the United States and its allies have supported an insurgency right from the day one. In Daraa, middle of March 2011, this was not a protest movement, it was not the case that they were opposition groups within Syria; this was an insurrection. The mercenaries were trained and recruited in the Persian Gulf states, financed by the Western military alliance and were involved in countless atrocities which were casually blamed on the government. That, in essence, has been the modus operandi of the United States. It supports these Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels, sends them in, they kill people, and then the government is blamed and the actual architects of this military operation and intelligence operations are never identified.

The Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels, who committed atrocities in Syria, are not responsible for those acts. They are hired-killers; I think we have to understand that very carefully. Previously, they wouldn’t say that they were responsible. They would simply say that it was the government that is responsible for the killings. Now, they will acknowledge because the information is getting out that it is the rebels who are responsible. I would say that the rebels are the instruments of the Western military alliance; who is behind the rebels is the United States and its allies, operating through various complex channels? But essentially the notion conveyed by the US government, which is picked up by the media, that the United States is intervening with a view to restoring democracy to save the people’s lives is an absolute fallacy. It’s a big lie, because those lies have been lost as a result of the failure of the US interventionism; in the case of Syria, the objective is not only to destabilize the government; it’s to destroy the country, to destabilize the whole country and then take it as a territory. That’s what is stated.

If we go back to the liberal doctrine of the United States of America and its commitment to democracy, we find it a fallacy and a fig democracy. In fact the tendency, in America and many Western countries, is toward the militarization of justice and derogation of fundamental human rights, both nationally and internationally. That is something which has emerged now and it’s a motif and an object of debate in the United States, when the decision taken by the US Congress to the effect that the head of state, President Obama, can actually order the assassination of US citizens. In other words, the process of extrajudicial killings is allowed by the US Congress under the guise of the so-called War on Terrorism. So, the War on Terrorism which in effect constitutes an ideological construct to justify all these actions permits the head of state to designate individuals who can be killed. And we see that the United States is now involved in drone assassinations in north of Pakistan under the pretext that this is a War on Terrorism while in effect it’s killing the civilians.

So in effect, for the US Congress to actually allow the head of state to order the extrajudicial assassination of American citizens means that we are in effect within the contours of a police state where literally the more fundamental issues of law, justice and human rights have been scrapped.

Q: What do you think about the rights and civil liberties of the ethnic and religious minorities in the United States especially the Muslims and the African Americans? What’s your assessment of the way the government treats them? Are they enjoying equal rights with the other strata of the society?

A: First of all, the rights of the African American population have historical roots. There’s of course discrimination in the workplace, but there’s fundamentally discrimination in the sense that the African Americans don’t have access to the same education and healthcare as the white population has. I think that is one issue.

The issue of discrimination directed against Muslims, not only in the United States, but in different parts of the Western world, is another thing. I think the logic there is somewhat different. Because we are, first of all, dealing with an imperial agenda which consists of conquering the world’s oil and gas reserves. Now it just so happens that more than 60% of the oil and gas reserves lies in the Muslim lands. If we look at the geography, we have 60% of these reserves in the Middle East which spans from the tip of Saudi Arabia to the Caspian Sea basin where major producers are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, UAE and Qatar. There are oil and gas resources which are very large compared to those of the Western countries combined. That reaches more than 30 times the conventional oil reserves of the United States.

Now let me get back to the issue of discrimination against Muslims in the United States. That discrimination is based on a foreign policy objective, that is, to demonize the inhabitants of the countries where the oil happens to be. If those countries were inhabited by Buddhists instead of Muslims, they would demonize the Buddhists. The demonization of the Muslims is to essentially present Muslims as enemies of the States, and as enemies of the world. It’s also to convey the notion that Muslims are terrorists, and that notion has been firmly ingrained into the Western thought while in fact terrorism is a creation of US intelligence. As I mentioned, Al-Qaeda which has its roots in Salafist and Wahhabi thought, in essence is a creation of intelligence operations and doesn’t emanate from Muslim world. The War on Terrorism provides the basis for demonizing the Muslim population and we’ve gone through a period of transition in that regard because initially, the demonization applies to heads of state and government of the Muslim countries, and now it has become much more generalized where Western governments are in effect targeting Muslims in their respective countries with a view to demonizing them and portraying them as terrorists and so on, and all this is all a war propaganda.

This propaganda is there to divide people in these countries and create divisions within the United States. But secondly, it’s to portray the notion that Muslims somehow are people who are committed to non-Western values, committed to dictatorship, don’t accept democracy, are linked to extremists including terrorists; that is not directed against the heads of state of Muslim countries; it’s directed against Muslims in general; that in turn serves as an ideological underpinning to which these wars against terrorists in different parts of the world are underway. And I just like to clarify in that regard, that wherever the United States has intervened, in the context of War Terrorism, whether in Somalia, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, they have intervened under the mandate of the War on Terrorism where in fact all those Al-Qaeda affiliated entities are the creations of the US intelligence, without exception. They create Al-Qaeda entities and then they proclaim that they have to intervene when these Al-Qaeda affiliated entities commit atrocities against the civilian population.

So, in effect, they’re on both sides. They support the rebels, and fight the rebels, as well. They support Al-Qaeda covertly with a view to destabilize the sovereign countries, and then they intervene under the pretext that they have a mandate to fight the terrorists. All of this is now leading to the re-colonization of African continent, establishment of proxy regimes and destruction of entire countries.

Q: So, my final question for you; we discussed the decline of the liberal values in the United States, including democracy, human rights and ethnic equality and concluded that the United States hasn’t succeeded in promoting these values. Do you think that liberalism will have the same fate and destiny as Communism? Will it fade away as Communism did?

A: I don’t think the two things are comparable, because Communism was a movement. It took on different forms, but was essentially a movement which emanated from the grassroots against the capitalist order. Neo-liberalism is an ideological construct to justify the capitalist world order, and I don’t think that it’s an ideological construct which determined the course of history. We can replace that ideological construct by something else. I think what has happened in post-World War II history is that in the course of the Cold War, the United States has heralded the battle or the war against communism. In effect, as a holy war, it was a confrontation between competing economic and social systems, but from the US standpoint, it was presented as an ideology of spreading Western democracy. But it was spreading Western democracy while also spreading American capitalism. In the post-Cold War era, a new doctrine was unfolded which is the War on Terrorism, and it is used as a pretext to wage war against countries for economic and geopolitical reasons.

I would suspect that the doctrine of neo-liberalism may be replaced by some other concepts, because these are in effect labels; the labels to justify a world order, and the world order has to be camouflaged. The nature of capitalism is its devastating impacts both from an economic and a social point of view, as well as its various wars that underlie the capitalist system; they have to be camouflaged. And the world capitalism system has to be presented as a viable humanitarian undertaking, and I think what is now happening is that this capitalist system has entered a period of advanced crisis whereby the so-called welfare state which developed in the post World War period in the Western countries is now being replaced by the most brutal forms of economic management whereby austerity measures are being presented as a solution to crises where in fact they are the cause of the crisis. They will to further impoverishment of the population.

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

Radiation makes people invisible. We know that exposure to radiation can be deleterious to one’s health; can cause sickness and even death when received in high doses. But it does more. People who have been exposed to radiation, or even those who suspect that they have been exposed to radiation, including those who never experience radiation-related illnesses, may find that their lives are forever changed – that they have assumed a kind of second class citizenship. They may find that their relationships to their families, to their communities, to their hometowns, to their traditional diets and even traditional knowledge systems have been broken. They often spend the remainder of their lives wishing that they could go back, that things would become normal. They slowly realize that they have become expendable and that their government and even their society is no longer invested in their wellbeing.

As a historian of the social and cultural aspects of nuclear technologies, I have spent years working in radiation-affected communities around the world. Many of these people have experienced exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons testing, from nuclear weapons production, from nuclear power plant accidents, from nuclear power production or storage, or, like the people in the community where I live, Hiroshima, from being subjected to direct nuclear attack. For the last five years I have been working with Dr. Mick Broderick of Murdoch University in Perth, Australia on the Global Hibakusha Project. We have been working with victims in radiation-affected communities all around the world. Our research has revealed a powerful continuity to the experience of radiation exposure across a broad range of cultures, geographies, and populations. About half way between beginning this study and today the triple disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant occurred in Japan. One of the most distressing things (among so many) since this crisis began is to hear people, often people in positions of political power and influence, say that the future for those affected by the nuclear disaster is uncertain. I wish that it were so, but actually, deep historical precedents suggest that the future for the people who lived near the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns is predictable.

A child from Rongelap showing health effects from radiation exposure after Bravo

Radiation burns on the scalp of a Daigo Fukuryu Maru crewmember

Here I will outline some continuities in the experiences of radiation-affected people. Most of the following also holds true for people who merely suspect that they have been exposed to radiation, even if they never suffer any health effects. Many have already become a part of the experiences of those affected by the Fukushima disaster. There are, of course, many differences and specificities to each community, but there is also profound continuity.

Sickness and mortality– Sickness and even death are the results of exposure to high levels of radiation that people have come to expect. It is important to recognize that there are many different ways that people can become ill after exposure to radiation. Those exposed to high levels of gamma radiation can suffer from acute radiation sickness and death can come in a matter of days, weeks or months. Tens of thousands of people died of acute radiation sickness in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after surviving the nuclear attacks. Kuboyama Aikichi, the radioman of the Japanese tuna fishing boat the Daigo Fukuryuu Maru, died six and a half months after his exposure to high levels of gamma radiation from the Bravo nuclear weapon test conducted over 100 km from where the boat was anchored in the Marshall Islands (all other crew members suffered radiation sickness). A nuclear weapon gives off a very large burst of gamma radiation that lasts a very short time, but if the body is exposed to high levels, it can cause illness and death relatively quickly. High levels of radioactive fallout from a nuclear detonation can also create significant gamma exposures at distances far from the explosion, as was the case for the crew of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru.

For those who were not close to the detonation of a nuclear weapon, or within a short distance of a disaster like the Chernobyl or Fukushima disasters, illness is often the result of internalized alpha-emitting particles. With nuclear detonations this comes down with the fallout. In the case of Chernobyl and Fukushima,the two greatest civilian nuclear power plant accidents to date, these came down over large areas as the plumes of the explosions settled back to Earth (in Fukushima the plumes came down over 100 km from the plant, while in the case of Chernobyl the plumes came down primarily across the border to the north in Belarus, but also contaminated areas as far away as the UK and Sweden). Alpha emitting particles cannot penetrate the skin as gamma radiation can, but they are internalized through inhalation or swallowing or through cuts in the skin (a basic primer on the differences between alpha, beta and gamma radiation can be found here).

These particles don’t give off a large amount of radiation, but if they lodge in the body they continue to expose a small number of cells to radiation 24 hours a day, often for the rest of a person’s life. This can result in cancers and immune disorders that develop later, sometimes after a few years, sometimes after one or more decades. Since the plumes of the three explosions at Fukushima deposited large amounts of alpha emitters across a large area, this poses a significant danger to those living in the contaminated areas, especially to children who are affected more significantly by radiation exposures than adults since their bodies are growing rapidly.

It is disingenuous for nuclear industry apologists to say things like “no one died at Fukushima” since they are well aware that for most of the people who will eventually get sick this process will take time. We are currently in the latency period for these illnesses, a point well understood, but suppressed by nuclear industry and government spokespersons. Recent studies have also shown that more people have died from stress, lack of appropriate health care and suicide in Fukushima Prefecture since the 311 disaster than died in the prefecture from the tsunami.1

Map showing both the ground gamma and cesium-137 depositions from the plumes of the Fukushima Daiichi explosions

A mural made of peace cranes in Bikini Atoll City Hall (photo by author)Losses of homes, community and identity–Areas that experience radioactive contamination often have to be abandoned by those who live there. The levels of radiation may be so high that continued habitation could be dangerous to health. In these cases people lose their homes, often permanently.

For communities that have to be abandoned, the bonds that have been built up and that sustain the wellbeing of the community disintegrate. Friends are separated, extended families are often separated, and schools are closed. People who have lived in the same place all of their lives have to make a fresh start, sometimes in old age, sometimes as children. The communal structures that sustained them are destroyed: shopkeepers who know them, neighbors who can be relied on, the simple familiarity of communities. What is lost when a person is no longer able to eat an apple from a tree planted by a parent or grandparent? Tony Hood, a former uranium miner from Gallup, New Mexico, spoke of the sense of loss when contemplating the necessity for his Navajo community to abandon their homes because of uranium contamination, “Our umbilical cords are buried here, our children’s umbilical cords are buried here. It’s like a homing device.”

With the loss of community, many people lose their livelihood. This is especially true in places where many have been farmers, fishers or herders for generations. When someone who has only known farming is taken from the land they have tended, when fishers can no longer fish in areas where they understand the natural rhythms and habits of the fish, it can be impossible to start over. Often such people are forced to enter service positions or become dependent on state subsidies, further eroding their sense of self and wellbeing. Usually, those removed from their land because of contamination are placed into temporary housing. In Fukushima this has been the case for 100,000 who remain in temporary housing while hundreds of thousands of others who are not housed by the government have fled the area. In almost all cases the public housing provided to officially recognized victims proves not to be temporary, but becomes permanent.

“Temporary housing” for those evacuated from Bikini Atoll (above) and Fukushima (below) Agricultural test plot on contaminated land near the Polygon (test site) in Kazakhstan (photo by author)

Frequently, multigenerational families that have been living together for decades, find it impossible to remain together. This can remove care for the elderly, childcare for young families and further erodes the continuity of family identity, knowledge and support. Removal from land also is accompanied by the loss of a traditional diet. Those without access to the land and seas that have provided food for their families often begin a journey of dislocation and ill health. In some communities such as the small villages around the former Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, many people simply continue to live in dangerously contaminated homes. The state responsible for their exposures (the Soviet Union) no longer exists and neither the Russian nor Kazakh governments feel the responsibility to evacuate them or to provide health care for those with disabilities. Many live very traditional lives deriving most of their food from their own gardens and from livestock raised on their contaminated land. Many long-lived radionuclides simply cycle through this ecosystem and residents can be contaminated and recontaminated over generations.4

In Fukushima Prefecture the Japanese government proclaimed a 20km mandatory evacuation zone, while also designating a “suggested” evacuation zone from 20km to 30km. These zones do not directly reflect the dangers from radiation levels. In some of the mandatory evacuation areas the gamma levels are below those in parts of the suggested evacuation areas. Some areas where the plumes came down 50-80km away have even higher levels. The limits to mandatory evacuation areas reflect efforts to limit the direct liability of the government. Even today children live in areas where the radiation levels are too high for them to be allowed to play or spend significant time outdoors.

Fukushima school children play in an indoor sandbox (photo: Toru Hanai)

Loss of traditional knowledge– In some remote places survival is dependent on centuries old understandings of the land. In Maralinga, Australia the areas where the British conducted nuclear tests between 1956 and 1963 are very difficult places to live. Traditional communities in these areas often have songs that hold and transmit essential knowledge about how to survive in such a harsh environment, such as where to find water, when to hunt specific animals, when to move to various locations. But can knowledge gathered over millennia be effectively applied to radiation disasters?

When the British relocated entire communities to areas hundreds of kilometers from their homes, the local knowledge chain was broken. It became impossible for the refugees to sustain a traditional life in areas where they had no knowledge of the rhythms of the land and animals. This removal from their lands led to ever increasing dependence on governmental assistance and severed what had been millennia of self-reliance. While self-reliance had been dramatically impacted by the brutal rule of the Australian government and its policies towards aboriginal peoples, the people living near the test site were still living on the land in the 1950s. Relocation led to the further erosion of community, familial and personal wellbeing.

Discrimination– People who may have been exposed to radiation often experience discrimination in their new homes and may become social pariahs. We first saw this dynamic with the hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who found it very difficult to find marriage partners, since prospective spouses feared they would have malformed children, and found it difficult to find jobs since employers assumed that they would be chronically sick. Hibakusha children, moreover, often become the targets of bullying. It became very common to attempt to hide the fact that one’s family had been among those exposed to radiation.6

Many people are familiar with the story of Sadako who died at the age of twelve after being exposed to radiation from the nuclear attack on Hiroshima ten years earlier. Sasaki Sadako folded paper cranes in accordance with a Japanese tradition that someone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish. Sadako’s story has become well known and children around the world fold paper cranes when they learn her story, many of which are sent to Hiroshima. While Sadako has become a symbol of the innocence of so many hibakusha, her father tried to hide this fact so that his family would not suffer discrimination and was upset that his daughter had become so famously afflicted.

Children whose families evacuated from Fukushima prefecture after the triple meltdowns at Tepco’s nuclear power plant frequently became victims of bullying at their new schools. Cars with Fukushima license plates were scratched when parked in other prefectures. Often this is the result of the natural fear of contamination that is associated with people exposed to a poison. In the Marshall Islands those who were evacuated from Rongelap and other atolls that became unlivable after being blanketed with radioactive fallout from the US Bravo test in 1954 have had to live as refugees on other atolls for several generations now, with no prospect of return home. The Marshall Islands have a very small amount of livable land and so being moved to atolls that traditionally belonged to others left them with no access to good soil and good locations for fishing and storing boats. They have had to live by the good graces of their new hosts, and endure being seen as interlopers.

Becoming medical subjects– Many people who have been exposed to radiation then become the subjects of medical studies, often with no information about the medical tests to which they are subjected, and frequently without provision of treatment by those conducting the tests. Hibakusha of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki became medical subjects of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission during the American occupation of Japan after World War Two. This study has continued to this day under the now jointly administered US-Japan Radiation Effects Research Foundation. In the early days of the study Japanese hibakusha had no choice about being subjected to the medical exams. An American military jeep would appear in front of their homes and they had to go in for an examination, whether it was a good time or not. Not only did they receive no information about the results of their tests but the US government provided no treatment. This has happened in many radiation-affected communities.

 US doctor examines a young Rongelapese affected by Bravo radiation

 A child from Fukushima is checked for radiation during the evacuation (photo by Christoph Bangert)

Young hibakusha in Hiroshima suffering from radiation sickness photographed at the ABCC

In 1966 a US nuclear bomber blew up in midair and the debris fell on the small village of Palomares, Spain. Four H-bombs fell from the plane, one into the sea, and three onto the small village. None exploded but two broke open and contaminated part of the town with plutonium and other radionuclides. To this day some of the residents of Palomares are taken to Madrid each year for a medical examination as the effects of exposure on their health is tracked. They have never been given any of the results of the tests nor informed if any illnesses they develop were related to their exposures. They are subjects, not participants in the gathering and assessing of the effects of radiation on their bodies. There is no doubt that such studies contribute data to scientific understanding of the health consequences of radiation exposures (the data itself is contentious for reasons cited below)8, however for those from whom the information is gathered, being studied but not informed reduces one’s sense of integrity and agency in one’s health maintenance. Many Pacific islanders exposed to radiation by the nuclear tests of the US, the UK and France had such experiences where they were examined and then sent off with no access to the results and no medical follow-up. Many report feeling as if the data had been harvested from them and at their expense.

Anxiety– Often those exposed to radiation are told that they have nothing to worry about. Their anxieties are belittled. Radiation is a very abstract and difficult thing to understand. It is imperceptible – tasteless, odorless, invisible – adding to uncertainty that people feel about whether they were exposed, how much they were exposed to, and whether they and their loved ones will suffer any health effects. The dismissal of their anxieties by medical and governmental authorities only compounds their anxiety. When other members of their community develop health problems, such as thyroid cancer and other illnesses years later it can cast a pall over their own sense of wellbeing for the rest of their lives.

Every time that they run a fever, every time that they experience stomach pains, nosebleeds, and other common ailments, this anxiety rears up and they think – this is it, it’s finally got me. These fears extend to their parents, their children and other loved ones. Every fever that a child runs triggers fears that one’s child will die. Sadako was healthy for nine years following her exposure to radiation when she was two years old in Hiroshima, then one day her neck suddenly began to swell and she was soon diagnosed with leukemia. This is the nightmare world that the parents of children exposed to radiation, or who even simply suspect radiation exposure, experience on a daily basis. Every ailment can rip them apart.

Radiophobia and blaming the victim– Since it is often the case that who is and isn’t exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, especially to internalized alpha emitting particles, is unknown, large numbers of people near a radiological incident of some kind worry about their health and the health of loved ones. Among this group, some have been exposed and some have not. The uncertainty is part of the trauma. Often, as is currently the case for the people of FukushimaNorthern Japan, all of these people are dismissed as having undue fear of radiation, and are often told that their health problems are simply the result of their own anxieties. In some cases that may be true, but it is beside the point.

For those who have experienced a nuclear catastrophe, who may have been removed from their homes and communities and lost those bonds and support systems, who are uncertain as to whether each flu or stomach ache is the harbinger of the end, and who cannot be certain that contamination from hard to find alpha emitting particles is still possible when their children play in the park, anxiety is the natural response. Regardless of whether it causes acute health problems, forces outside of their control have upended their lives. They now must live a life of uncertainty and often experience discrimination. Of course they are going to suffer from the anxiety that this situation produces. To blame them for this is to blame the victims and is a further form of traumatization.9

The memorial “Stronger than Death” in Semey, Kazakhstan (photo by author)Conclusion–Radiation makes people invisible. It makes them second class citizens who no longer have the expectation of being treated with dignity by their government, by those overseeing nuclear facilities near them, by the military and nuclear industry engaged in practices that expose people to radiation, and often by their new neighbors when they become refugees. People exposed to radiation often lose their homes, at times permanently, either through forced removal or through contamination that makes living in them dangerous. They lose their livelihoods, their diets, their communities, and their traditions. They can lose the knowledge base that connects them to their land and insures their wellbeing.Radiation can cause health problems and death, and even when it doesn’t it can cause anxiety and uncertainty that can become crippling. Often those exposed to radiation are blamed for all of the problems that follow their exposures. After a nuclear disaster we count the victims in terms of those who died but they are only a small fraction of the people who are truly victimized by the event. Countless more suffer the destruction of their communities, their families, and their wellbeing. The full scale of devastation that a nuclear disaster wreaks is unknowable.

The lives of those exposed to radiation, or those in areas affected by radiation but uncertain about their exposure, will never be the same. As Natalia Manzurova, one of the “liquidators” at Chernobyl said in an interview published two months after the Fukushima triple meltdowns: “Their lives will be divided into two parts: before and after Fukushima. They’ll worry about their health and their children’s health. The government will probably say there was not that much radiation and that it didn’t harm them. And the government will probably not compensate them for all that they’ve lost. What they lost can’t be calculated.”10

(This article is expanded from an article originally published on the SimplyInfo website. Original can be seen here)

Robert Jacobs is an associate professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University in Japan and an Asia-Pacific Journal Associate. He is the author of The Dragon’s Tail: Americans Face the Atomic Age (2010), the editor of Filling the Hole in the Nuclear Future: Art and Popular Culture Respond to the Bomb (2010), and co-editor of Images of Rupture in Civilization Between East and West: The Iconography of Auschwitz and Hiroshima in Eastern European Arts and Media (2012). His book, The Dragon’s Tail, is available in a Japanese language edition by Gaifu. He is the principal investigator of the Global Hibakusha Project.

Notes

1 “Fukushima stress deaths top 311 toll,” Japan Times (February 20, 2014) (accessed July 31, 2014).

2 Dan Frosh, “Amid toxic waste, a Navajo village could lose its land,” New York Times (February 19, 2014) (accessed July 31, 2014).

3 “Fukushima 3 Years On,” SimplyInfo (March 11, 2014) (accessed July 31, 2014).

4 Gusev, et al., “The Semipalatinsk nuclear test site: A first analysis of solid cancer incidence (selected sites) due to test site radiation,” Radiation and Environmental Biophysics (1998) 37: 209-214.

5 Toru Hani and Elaine Lies, “The children of Japan’s Fukushima battle an invisible enemy,” Reuters (March 10, 2014) (accessed July 31, 2014).

6 Robert Jacobs, “Social fallout: Marginalization after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Issue 28, Number 4 (July 11, 2011) (accessed July 31, 2014).

7 Many doctors at the ABCC did provide “under the table” medical treatment, but it was the policy of the organization not to provide medical treatment.

8 There are many reasons why activists and scholars challenge the integrity of the data in many of these studies. For example, considering the Life Study at the RERF in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many fault the fact that the study was begun after the deaths of most who passed away from the effects of acute radiation, so they are not included in the statistics, the study does not include the health effects of alpha emitting particles in its data, and it is dependent on a process of dose reconstruction that can be seen as aspirational rather than factual.

9 Robert Jacobs, “Fukushima Victimization 2.0,” Dianuke (March 11, 2012) (accessed July 31, 2014).

10 Dana Kennedy, “Chernobyl cleanup survivor’s message for Japan: “Run away as quickly as possible,” Desdemona Despair (March 23, 2011) (accessed July 31, 2014, originally published by AOL News).

Workers unearth barrels at the Kadena Air Base, January 2014.

More than six months after dozens of rusty chemical barrels were unearthed from former U.S. military land in Okinawa City, their contents have been identified – and they appear to offer conclusive proof that the toxic Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange was buried on the island.

Announced in early July, the results of two separate studies – one conducted by Okinawa City and one by the Okinawa Defense Bureau – both detected the three signature components of Agent Orange: the herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D as well as highly-toxic TCDD dioxin.This is the first time that all three ingredients have been discovered on ex-Pentagon property on Okinawa.

About half of the 61 barrels also bore markings from the Dow Chemical Company – one of the largest manufacturers of Agent Orange for the U.S. military.

Commenting on the results, defoliant expert, Wayne Dwernychuk, stated, “The presence of 2,4,5-T, that portion of Agent Orange containing TCDD and 2,4-D, the other half of the Agent Orange mixture, unequivocally defines at least some of the media sampled as being contaminated with this defoliant. Dow Chemical markers on the drums further contribute to this conclusion that the original contents of some of these drums was Agent Orange.”

Likewise, Honda Katsuhisa, an Ehime University professor specializing in defoliants and dioxins, asserted that the results proved without doubt that defoliants had been buried at the dumpsite.2

The Pentagon denies that Agent Orange was ever present on Okinawa despite testimony from more than 250 U.S. veterans who claim they were sickened by the defoliant on the island during the Vietnam War era.3 A 1971 U.S. government report on Agent Orange cites the presence of a herbicide stockpile at Kadena; the site where the 61 barrels were buried was part of Kadena Air Base, one of the Pentagon’s primary transport hubs for the Vietnam War, until restored to civilian usage in 1987.

According to the data released by Okinawa City, all 61 barrels contained traces of dioxin and standing water near the barrels showed dioxin at levels 64 times the environmental standard. However dioxin readings from the soil were below maximum permitted limits and there was no evidence of contamination of the water table.

Twenty of the barrels also contained traces of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Although the Okinawa Defense Bureau’s tests detected Agent Orange’s three tell-tale ingredients, the department seemed keen to distance itself from conclusions that the barrels had contained the Vietnam War defoliant. Its report – released on July 7 – included statements that the barrels were not labeled as defoliants and that 2,4,5-T was widely-used as a herbicide at the time in Japan.5

Noguni Masaharu, the Mayor of neighboring Chatan Town, told Okinawan journalists, “The Okinawa Defense Bureau says it cannot conclude that these are defoliants but local residents’ worries haven’t been dispelled. There is testimony from U.S. veterans (about Agent Orange on Okinawa). It should investigate the full extent of the toxic substances and remove them.”6

Contacted in July for comment on the test results, USFJ director of public affairs, Lt Col. David Honchul, stated that the U.S. military had not yet received the surveys.

Last year more than 20 other barrels were unearthed from the same area. Those barrels also contained high levels of dioxin – causing concerns among U.S. parents whose children attend two on-base schools adjacent to the dumpsite. In response to their demands, Kadena officials conducted surface soil samples of the school playing fields and concluded that they posed no risk to human health.

However, the new findings reignited parents’ worries.

“In light of the latest test results, I hope Kadena officials might be willing to acknowledge that base and local residents’ concerns about potential exposure (both past and present) to dangerous chemicals are legitimate. We want to know if they are now going to change their stance and do something that will give residents a greater reassurance of their safety,” said Jannine Myers, whose child until recently attended one of the on-base schools.

At a town hall meeting held on Kadena Air Base in January, 18th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. James Hecker reassured parents that he would do all he could to protect the safety of military families and he pledged to be more forthcoming with information. However the USFJ have hampered subsequent attempts under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the documents upon which he – and USFJ spokesperson Honchul – based statements related to prior usage of the land where the barrels were unearthed.

The discovery of the barrels is the latest in a number of incidents this year which have raised doubts about health and safety practices on Kadena Air Base. In March, it was learned that base officials had kept secret a large spill of PCBs in the late 1980s. Meanwhile in May, Air Force officials admitted that drinking fountains in a building used to check children for developmental problems were dispensing water contaminated with lead. The poisoning had continued from 2010 to 2014 and it is unknown how many people have been affected.7

The burial of surplus chemicals – including Agent Orange – was standard operating procedure for the U.S. military on Okinawa according to veterans. Large caches of barrels suspected to have been defoliants were uncovered on MCAS Futenma in 1981 and on former military land in Chatan in 2002.8 In neither case were tests for Agent Orange conducted.

Now Japanese authorities plan to widen the scale of excavation work in Okinawa City to determine whether any other barrels are buried in the area.

Under the U.S.-Japan Statutes of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the U.S. military is not obliged to clean up any pollution created by its bases. However growing public anger over military contamination has prompted Washington and Tokyo to take action. In late June, the fourth round of meetings to discuss supplementing SOFA with environmental clauses was held in the U.S.9

This is a revised and expanded version of an article that appeared in the Japan Times.

Jon Mitchell is a visiting researcher at the International Peace Research Institute of Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo and an Asia-Pacific Journal associate. In 2012, “Defoliated Island: Agent Orange, Okinawa and the Vietnam War” – a Japanese TV documentary based upon his research – was winner of an award for excellence from Japan’s Association of Commercial Broadcasters. A Japanese-language book based upon his research into Agent Orange on Okinawa is scheduled for publication in Tokyo in 2014.

Recommended citation: Jon Mitchell, “All Agent Orange ingredients Unearthed at U.S. military dumpsite on Okinawa,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11

Notes

1 For an account of the discovery of the barrels, see here.

2 Honda’s comments are included in a July 7 interview with Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper available here.

3 See for example Jon Mitchell, “Military Contamination on Okinawa: PCBs and Agent Orange at Kadena Air Base”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 12, No. 1, March 24, 2014. Available here.

4 See Jon Mitchell, “Herbicide Stockpile at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa: 1971 U.S. Army report on Agent Orange,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 1, No. 5, January 14, 2013. Available here.

5 The Okinawa Defense Bureau report is available from its homepage here.

6 汚染ドラム缶:枯れ葉剤成分 高まる不安 調査と除去要求Okinawa Times, July 8, 2014.

7 Matthew Burke, “Water fountains at Kadena Air Base disconnected after new testing reveals traces of lead”, Stars and Stripes, May 30, 2014.

8 Jon Mitchell, “Agent Orange at Okinawa’s Futenma Base in 1980s,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 25, No. 3, June 18, 2012. Available here.

9 For more information, see here.

Almost four years since the disaster on the Deepwater Horizon floating oil drilling unit, at a time when the government is lifting its ban for new oil leases to BP (British Petroleum) in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s important to review what has happened, particularly in light of current events.

When the oil rig the Deepwater Horizon suffered a massive well blowout on April 20, 2010, the public was blissfully unaware of the awful significance for years to come. In fact, a media blackout was imposed, supposedly to calm the public.

In Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout, author Bob Cavnar, an oil industry expert, offers a breathtaking account with real life perspective on the catastrophe which resulted in an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil polluting the Gulf of Mexico over the next four months.

All evidence indicates that the blowout preventer was not working properly, safety systems had been turned off, and due to difficulties in drilling the Macondo well down to 18,000 feet, the BP engineers “decided to run one long string of casing from the bottom of the well all the way to the wellhead” thereby jeopardizing the strength and integrity of the casing under drilling mud and well pressures.

Over 4000 oil and natural gas platforms located in the Gulf of Mexico (ERMA Map & Data from NOAA and University of New Hampshire Coastal Response Research Center)

BP’s engineers took shortcuts in order to ensure that they would expedite the opening of the $100 million well and recoup the $34 million they paid to the Minerals Management Service on its lease. Shortcuts were permitted by the Mineral Management Service (MMS), whose prime responsibility under Bush Administration Executive Order 13212 was “to expedite their review of energy related projects” with a maximum 30-day time limit.

In the Aftermath (Chapter 12), with the conflict of interests laid bare, Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar determined to break the MMS up into three agencies: Office of Natural Resources Revenue (to collect revenue), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)(environmental studies and leasing), and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)(permits and field operations).

This would seem to have had some effect on at least curbing the appearance of those boilerplate reviews, the influence money-driven politics, and revolving door private-public partnerships. However what is really needed is a complete energy overhaul because according to at least one analyst, U.S. war strategy now includes Russia.

Here Cavnar’s book, published in late 2010, (and his lecture circuit) is far less harum-scarum accounts than devoted to some true consciousness-raising, particularly with regard to safety and responsibility owed by the oil industry for the sake of the Law of the Commons–the oceans, wildlife, and fossil fuel supply.

Recent research online by the Examiner reveals the later enactment of the new Drilling Safety Rule, which ensures sectional risers, casing, cementing, installation, monitoring and testing of well bores and blowout preventers are both more properly planned and designed.

But as early as January 2012, President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy assured that Gulf of Mexico oil leases were once again up for sale. According to the notice, the BOEM estimates that the Central Gulf of Mexico contains “close to 31 billion barrels of oil and 134 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that are currently undiscovered and technically recoverable.”

The numbers recoverable sounds huge until one realizes that the United States alone consumes about 20 million barrels a day. Doing the math, 31 billion barrels might only last 1550 days (aproximately 4.24 years).

If the world can’t curb its appetite for oil, then big oil companies must extract every square inch of oil bearing strata in the Gulf of Mexico as soon as possible.

Especially with the U.S. “all of the above” energy policy which sanctions increased oil and gas production, consumers will continue to mimic the tastes of politicians who enjoy being driven in luxurious albeit superannuated motorcades.

My rating for this never-too-late-for-change compelling book is 5-stars.

Former Congressman Ron Paul said the US knows ‘more than it is telling’ about the Malaysian aircraft that crashed in eastern Ukraine last month, killing 298 people on board and seriously damaging US-Russian relations in the process.

In an effort to inject some balance of opinion, not to mention pure sanity, into the ongoing debate over what happened to Malaysian Flight MH17, Ron Paul is convinced the US government is withholding information on the catastrophe.

“The US government has grown strangely quiet on the accusation that it was Russia or her allies that brought down the Malaysian airliner with a Buk anti-aircraft missile,” Paul said on his news website on Thursday.

Ron Paul to Obama: Let’s just leave Ukraine alone!

Paul’s comments are in sharp contrast to the echo chamber of one-sided opinion inside Western mainstream media, which has almost unanimously blamed anti-Kiev militia for bringing down the commercial airline. Incredibly, in many cases Washington had nothing to show as evidence to incriminate pro-Russian rebels aside from tenuous references to social media.

“We’ve seen that there were heavy weapons moved from Russia to Ukraine, that they have moved into the hands of separatist leaders,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “And according to social media reports, those weapons include the SA-11 [Buk missile] system.”

In another instance, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters “the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions.” When veteran AP reporter Matthew Lee asked for proof, he was to be disappointed.

“I can’t get into the sources and methods behind it,” Harf responded. “I can’t tell you what the information is based on.” Lee said the allegations made by the State Department on Ukraine have fallen far short of“definitive proof.”

Just days after US intelligence officials admitted they had no conclusive evidence to prove Russia was behind the downing of the airliner, Kiev published satellite images as ‘proof’ it didn’t deploy anti-aircraft batteries around the MH17 crash site. However, these images have altered time-stamps and are from the days after the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed, fully discrediting the Ukrainian claims.

In yet another inexplicable occurrence, Russian military detected a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet approaching the MH17 Boeing on the day of the catastrophe. No acceptable explanation has ever been given by Kiev as to why this fighter aircraft was so close to the doomed passenger jet moments before it was brought down.

“[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,” Russian Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov demanded days after the crash.

Paul has slammed the Obama administration, despite its arsenal of surveillance technologies at its disposal, for its failure to provide a single grain of evidence to solve the mystery of the Malaysian airliner.

“It’s hard to believe that the US, with all of its spy satellites available for monitoring everything in Ukraine, that precise proof of who did what and when is not available,” the two-time presidential candidate said.

“Too bad we can’t count on our government to just tell us the truth and show us the evidence,” Paul added. ”I’m convinced that it knows a lot more than it’s telling us.”


Although no sufficient evidence has been presented to prove that the anti-Kiev militia was responsible for the downing of the international flight, such an inconvenient oversight has not stopped the United States and Europe from slapping economic sanctions and travel bans against Russia.

Moscow hit back, saying it would place a ban on agricultural imports from the United States and the European Union. Russia’s tit-for-tat ban will certainly be felt, as food and agricultural imports from the US amounted to $1.3 billion last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. In 2013, meanwhile, the EU’s agricultural exports to Russia totaled 11.8 billion euros ($15.8 billion).

After the crash, Ron Paul was one of a few voices calling for calm as US officials were pointing fingers without a shred of evidence to support their claims. Paul has not been afraid to say the painfully obvious things the US media, for any number of reasons, cannot find the courage to articulate.

“They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and US-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych,” Paul said. “Without US-sponsored ‘regime change,’ it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened.”

Paul also found it outrageous that Western media, parroting the government line, has reported that the Malaysian flight must have been downed by “Russian-backed separatists,” because the BUK missile that reportedly brought down the aircraft was Russian made.

“They will not report that the Ukrainian government also uses the exact same Russian-made weapons,” he emphasized.

Racist Violence in America

August 13th, 2014 by Abayomi Azikiwe

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American who had recently graduated from high school, was walking with his friend Dorin Johnson through Ferguson, Missouri on Sat. Aug. 9 when they were accosted leading to Brown being gunned down by local police. Several eyewitness accounts of the killing suggesting that Brown had his hands up when he was shot multiple times quickly turned into outrage as hundreds of his fellow community members went into the streets to condemn the brutal attack.

Immediately mass demonstrations were organized where people entered the streets with their arms up, in the same fashion as Brown when he was killed, shouting “Don’t Shoot Us.” Brown’s mother, Leslie McSpadden, lamented that she had been overjoyed with her first-born son’s graduation from high school. It is a monumental achievement for African American young people who face countless pitfalls within a racist society which degrades their existence daily.

Brown was scheduled to begin classes at a technical college just two days after he was slain by police. People within his age group knew that this could have been anyone of them as well.

The step-father of Brown, Louis Head, stood on the street with a sign saying that the police had executed his son. Anger had reached a fever pitch by Sat. evening and the people were refusing to leave the streets.

By Sun. other demonstrations were planned including a vigil outside the Ferguson police station. Cops on the scene began to push the crowd back from the streets in fear of the growing mass discontent of the young people.

Reports indicate that a section of the demonstration pulled away and began to break windows and trash stores. Police were taken aback and fled from one location to another trying to contain the unrest.

Local corporate media outlets immediately began to describe those who were attacking private property as “opportunists and criminals.” They would find people from Ferguson who would urge the youth to refrain from violent actions and to remain peaceful.

Yet police operations against youth targeted as “looters and arsonists” were by no means peaceful. Dozens were arrested and plums of teargas spread throughout the affected areas in Ferguson.

Back Into the Streets

People were not dissuaded by the media framing of the developments on Sun. Aug. 10. Another demonstration was held on Mon. Aug. 11 where thousands came into the streets.

The community was demanding that the policeman who killed Brown be arrested. The officer’s name was supposed to be disclosed on Aug. 12.

By nightfall on Aug. 11, police were mobilized for waging war against the African American community. People were being contained through roadblocks set up in areas where demonstrations had taken place over the last three days.

Youth in defiance of the police attempted to reassert their democratic rights to assemble and protest against the repressive conditions that lead to the killing of Michael Brown and the atmosphere that has prevailed since then in Ferguson. Law-enforcement agencies from throughout the region have been deployed in the suburb of 21,000 people, most of whom are African Americans.

Soon enough as night fell, the police began to fire teargas, beanbags and rubber bullets into residential neighborhoods trying to force people off the streets and into their homes. More arrests took place raising the total to over 50.

Police claimed that they were fired on by unknown assailants. These reports could not be fully documented but it served to further raise tensions among law-enforcement officers dressed in military gear patrolling Ferguson in armored vehicles.

National Oppression and Militarism

On Aug. 12 the much-anticipated announcement of the name of the officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown was not revealed. Police claim the name was not made public because of fears for his safety.

Nonetheless, the safety of Brown and thousands of other African Americans in Ferguson was not considered on Aug. 9, the day of his killing; or since then with the massive occupation of the community by law-enforcement. Anticipating continuing anger and mass demonstrations, the authorities in Ferguson declared a so-called “no-fly zone” over the suburb on Aug. 12.

A news report on this declaration said that “Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, on Tuesday instituted a no-fly zone over the suburban town where tensions have been high in the wake of the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer. The off-limits airspace, which extends to 3,000 feet over the town north of St. Louis, was requested by the St. Louis County Police Department, which is investigating the killing of Michael Brown, 18, by an unnamed Ferguson Police Department officer.” (nbcnews.com)

In a statement issued by the Ferguson police it says “On Sunday night our police helicopter came under fire on 3 or 4 occasions, so we requested that the FAA put up a no-fly zone for the safety of pilots who would be in the area,” St. Louis County Police Department Officer Brian Schellman said. This “no-fly zone” will be in effect until Monday, Aug. 18.

Although no helicopters or police vehicles were reportedly hit, Schellman said that “We don’t know if it was a long gun or a handgun or what. Many suspected that the live news coverage of the rebellion in Ferguson had proved troublesome for the local authorities where press helicopters have provided aerial views of the unrest.

Interestingly enough, it appears as if the commercial air traffic in and out of St. Louis will not be impacted by the “no-fly zone.” The police sought to deny that these measures were designed to curtail the world spotlight now on Missouri and the racist violence perpetuated by law-enforcement in the U.S. against the African American and other nationally oppressed communities.

In response to the allegations of media censorship, Schellman emphasized “We understand that that’s the perception that’s out there, but it truly is for the safety of pilots. Its scary stuff to them, so that’s the reason the commanders made the call. I understand that it’s nice for media helicopters to get up there, but we have not restricted any media access on the ground.” (nbcnews.com, Aug. 12)

The police killing of Michael Brown is by no means an isolated incident. These shootings take place almost on a daily basis at the hands of the police and racists outside the organized armed wing of the racist state in the U.S.

Marlene Pinnock in Los Angeles County was nearly killed by a California Highway Patrolman on July 1 when she was held down and beaten repeatedly in the face and head. If this blatant violation of civil and human rights had not been caught on videotape it may have gone unnoticed by the world.

Oppression Breeds Resistance

What distinguishes the killing of Brown in Ferguson is that the community rose up immediately in righteous indignation. Whether non-violent or violent, the African American people were justified in striking back against the oppression they face on a daily basis.

U.S. society is built on the oppression of people of color communities and the level of state-sanctioned violence is escalating. President Barack Obama, although of African descent, does nothing to address the special oppression of the African American people.

Despite the massive unemployment, underemployment, incarceration rates and law-enforcement repression facing African Americans, these issues are never addressed by the White House, the Congress or the corporations which dictate government policy. Attacks on private property during anti-racist rebellions represent the alienation of the nationally oppressed from the dominant economic interests that control the U.S. and the world.

Even though the White House and Wall Street will only respond to an African American rebellion with benign neglect and further state repression, it does not hesitate on a foreign policy level to engage in more wars against people throughout the world. Several days prior to the brutal killing of Michael Brown, Obama authorized and carried out aerial bombardments in northern Iraq under the guise of protecting civilians and religious minorities.

Of course most people in the U.S. opposed the Iraq war which Obama promised to end when he ran for office in 2008. Nevertheless, he has re-entered the Iraqi theater again adding to the administration’s wars against Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Somalia and others.

Whether it is the people of Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and the Middle East or those of the oppressed communities of Los Angeles, New York or St. Louis, their lives become worthless in the face of the imperatives of the powerbrokers of Washington and Wall Street. However, these peoples will inevitably respond through rebellion and other forms of resistance against a militarily and economically powerful enemy which acts not out of principle but based upon the continuing mad drive for profits and military supremacy over the vast majority of humanity.

‘Responsible Capitalism’ is Nonsense

August 13th, 2014 by Leo Panitch

Ed Miliband’s challenge to “the manufactured, the polished, the presentational” practice of politics, where democracy is reduced to “showbiz, a game, who is up and who is down,” deserves to be discussed in terms that go beyond the effect this may have on his own electoral prospects. It should open up a larger debate on what’s wrong with the practice of democracy today. For it is indeed the case that “people’s sense of the artificiality, the triviality, the superficiality of politics is more highly tuned than ever,” not only in the UK, but in one country after another.

The clear trend across much of Europe toward lower voter turnout (falling in many countries, including the UK, from percentiles in the high 70s to the low 60s) is a direct reflection of this. One of the main factors that political sociologists traditionally adduced in explaining why voter turnout in the U.S. was so low was the absence of the type of mass socialist parties that galvanized left-right political discourse in terms of their search for an alternative to capitalism, and mobilized working-class people in the UK and elsewhere in Europe into participation in the electoral system. It did not do any electoral damage to Clement Attlee in 1945 that he was hardly from central casting either.

But what was once called American exceptionalism in the comparative study of western democracies is well and truly a thing of the past. As Europe’s formerly socialist parties (whether they have retained the name or not) no longer presented an alternative to capitalism as a possibility, the U.S. political style – and the personalization of elections and low voter turnouts that came with it – became not the exception but the exemplar.

A Contradiction in Terms

It is one thing to recognize this and quite another to be able to do something about it. It is most unlikely that Miliband’s call for “responsible capitalism” will refresh genuine political debate let alone galvanize anew a meaningful left-right discourse at the popular level. The real problem with “responsible capitalism” is not that it sounds clunky on the doorstep but rather that ordinary people know in their gut that it is a contradiction in terms. They can sense how evasive it is in relation to their own experience.

The fact is that the leaders of erstwhile socialist parties have been talking the talk of responsible capitalism for a very long time. It was how they covered their tracks as they retreated from offering people a way out of the rat race of capitalism – rather than compensation for being losers in it – even in the postwar era. Those who imagine that the progressive reforms achieved in that era stand as proof today that a responsible capitalism is possible are sorely mistaken. On the contrary, the undoing of those reforms after just a few decades shows that a responsible capitalism is indeed a contradiction in terms.

In the 1965 Socialist Register, edited by Miliband’s father Ralph MilibandDorothy Wedderburn presciently pointed out that “a social reform won at a particular point of time can become adapted, modified, less effective as a result of market forces acting upon it. We cannot insulate our socialist victories from the complex operations of the capitalist system.” This was already happening to social insurance, she pointed out, where the “wage-relation as a basis for fixing social security benefits,” increasingly involved accepting “the judgment of, and the inequalities in, the market.”

What is today called irresponsible finance was in fact incubated in the postwar decades, and it had outgrown the old boys’ City networks through which postwar state regulations operated long before they were finally removed by Margaret Thatcher’s “big bang.” In fact, the sterling crises that rocked Labour governments in the 1960s took place in the context of the deepening integration between Wall Street and the City. These crises rendered incredible Anthony Crosland’s confident claim just a decade earlier that there had been an irreversible “transformation of capitalism” in terms of the “diminished power of banks and financial markets” amid the overall loss of the “commanding position” of the capitalist class.

Merely blaming Thatcher free-market rhetoric and sheer force of will for the undoing of the Keynesian welfare state ignores the deep crisis it was already in by the time she came along. As the main parties of the left responded to the growing contradictions between capitalist markets and social reforms by trying to cling to the chimera of a responsible capitalism, neoliberalism triumphed everywhere. The misguided attempt to cling to a romanticized image of a stable responsible capitalism in the face of the rise of neoliberalism was recognized as a failure by New Labour. But by embracing so completely a financialized global capitalism centred in the City of London, it further contributed to the growth of this chaotic and increasingly irrational system – as 2008 proved.

Miliband’s attempt to distance himself from this is to his credit, although the architects of New Labour will continually try to contain him by threatening to divide the party in the run up to next year’s election. But the compromise of clinging to the tired old discourse of responsible capitalism is not the way to go. Ordinary people recognize it for the doublespeak it is. And if they are not offered a positive vision and plan for a renewed democratic socialism that embodies cooperation rather than competition as the basis of social life – if they are not offered, that is, any alternative to capitalism – they will increasingly cling to whatever toehold they have within it at the expense of the “others.”

This will in turn only feed further the growing vote for the extreme nationalists of the far right. The stakes involved in reclaiming democracy from “photo-op politics” could not be higher. •

Leo Panitch is editor of the Socialist Register and distinguished research professor at York University, Canada. He is co-author, with Sam Gindin, of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (Verso). This article first published on The Guardianwebsite.

It’s Always Been about Oil and Pipelines

The same issues which drove war and terrorism in the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s are still driving it today

The best way to see this is to start with today, and work backwards …

The U.S. is bombing Iraq again in order to protect the major oil center in Erbil.

The war in Syria is also largely about oil and gas.   International Business Times noted last year:

[Syria] controls one of the largest conventional hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate.

***

Syria also has oil shale resources with estimated reserves that range as high as 50 billion tons, according to a Syrian government source in 2010.

Moreover, Syria is a key chess piece in the pipeline wars:

Syria is an integral part of the proposed 1,200km Arab Gas Pipeline:

Here are some additional graphics courtesy of Adam Curry:

A picture named arabGasPipeline.jpg

A picture named syria-turkey.jpg

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So yes, regime change was planned against Syria (as well as Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran) 20 years ago.

And yes, attacking Syria weakens its close allies Iran and Russia … and indirectly China.

But Syria’s central role in the Arab gas pipeline is also a key to why it is now being targeted.

Just as the Taliban was scheduled for removal after they demanded too much in return for the Unocal pipeline, Syria’s Assad is being targeted because he is not a reliable “player”.

Specifically, Turkey, Israel and their ally the U.S. want an assured flow of gas through Syria, and don’t want a Syrian regime which is not unquestionably loyal to those 3 countries to stand in the way of the pipeline … or which demands too big a cut of the profits.

A deal has also been inked to run a natural gas pipeline from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria (with a possible extension to Lebanon).

And a deal to run petroleum from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil field to the Syrian port of Banias has also been approved:

Turkey and Israel would be cut out of these competing pipelines.

Gail Tverberg- an expert on financial aspects of the oil industry – writes:

One of the limits in ramping up Iraqi oil extraction is the limited amount of infrastructure available for exporting oil from Iraq. If pipelines through Syria could be added, this might alleviate part of the problem in getting oil to international markets.

If you don’t believe that the war in Syria is about access to oil and gas, keep reading …

The architects of the Iraq War (the one which started in 2003) themselves admitted it was about oil.

The Gulf war was also about oil.   Specifically, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait caused oil prices to skyrocket. The U.S. invaded Iraq in order to calm oil markets.

In its August 20, 1990 issue, Time Magazine quoted an anonymous U.S. Official as saying:

Even a dolt understands the principle.  We need the oil. It’s nice to talk about standing up for freedom, but Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are not exactly democracies, and if their principal export were oranges, a mid-level State Department official would have issued a statement and we would have closed Washington down for August.

The Guardian reports that the U.S. and Britain planned regime change in Syria 57 years ago to guarantee the flow of oil:

Nearly 50 years before the war in Iraq, Britain and America sought a secretive “regime change” in another Arab country they accused of spreading terror and threatening thewest’s oil supplies, by planning the invasion of Syria and the assassination of leading figures.

***

The document [was] approved by London and Washington ….

***

Syria also had control of one of the main oil arteries of the Middle East, the pipeline which connected pro-western Iraq’s oilfields to Turkey.

And between 1932 and 1948, the roots for the current wars in Iraq and Syria were planted.  As Wikipedia explains:

File:Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline.svg

The Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline (also known as Mediterranean pipeline) was a crude oil pipeline from the oil fields in Kirkuk, located in north Iraq, through Jordan to Haifa (now on the territory of Israel). The pipeline was operational in 1935–1948. Its length was about 942 kilometres (585 mi), with a diameter of 12 inches (300 mm) (reducing to 10 and 8 inches (250 and 200 mm) in parts), and it took about 10 days for crude oil to travel the full length of the line. The oil arriving in Haifa was distilled in the Haifa refineries, stored in tanks, and then put in tankers for shipment to Europe.

The pipeline was built by the Iraq Petroleum Company between 1932 and 1935, during which period most of the area through which the pipeline passed was under a British mandate approved by the League of Nations. The pipeline was one of two pipelines carrying oil from the Kirkuk oilfield to the Mediterranean coast. The main pipeline split at Haditha with a second line carrying oil to Tripoli, Lebanon, which was then under a French mandate. This line was built primarily to satisfy the demands of the French partner in IPC, Compagnie Française des Pétroles, for a separate line to be built across French mandated territory.

The pipeline and the Haifa refineries were considered strategically important by the British Government, and indeed provided much of the fuel needs of the British and American forces in the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

The pipeline was a target of attacks by Arab gangs during the Great Arab Revolt, and as a result one of the main objectives of a joint British-Jewish Special Night Squads commanded by Captain Orde Wingate was to protect the pipeline against such attacks. Later on, the pipeline was the target of attacks by the Irgun. [Background.]

In 1948, with the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the official operation of the pipeline ended when the Iraqi Government refused to pump any more oil through it.

Why is this relevant today?   Haaretz reported soon after the Iraq war started in 2003:

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a “bonus” the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948.  During the War of Independence [what Jews call the 1948 war to form the state of Israel], the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.

***

National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month.

***

In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.

In other words, the same issues which drove war and terrorism in the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s – oil, gas and pipelines – are still driving it today.

Postscript: There are also huge natural gas reserves off the coast of Gaza.

Detroit Water Shutoffs on Pause, But Is It Enough?

August 13th, 2014 by Abayomi Azikiwe

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica in Baltimore. To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe just click on the following website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR6Yr3Dv6ac

On Monday (July 21), the Detroit water and sewage department announced that it would suspend water shutoffs to residents who had not paid their bills for 15 days. That same day, after a two-month-long voting process, city pension holders, both workers and retirees, voted by a large majority to accept a 4.5 percent pension cut, as well as a loss of cost-of-living increases. This would affect 32,000 current and retired city employees.

To help us unravel and understand the situation in Detroit is our guest, Abayomi Azikiwe. He is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire and cofounder of several Detroit-area organizations, including the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions, and Utility Shutoffs.
Thanks for joining us, Abayomi.

ABAYOMI AZIKIWE, EDITOR, PAN-AFRICAN NEWS WIRE: Thank you for inviting me.

DESVARIEUX: So, Abayomi, let’s start off with addressing the pension cut vote. Most of our viewers know that Detroit filed for bankruptcy and the city financial operations are being overseen by Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr. After the vote, he essentially said, quote, “The voting shows strong support for the city’s plan to adjust its debt and for the investment necessary to provide essential services and put Detroit on secure financial footing.” What’s your response, Abayomi, will this cut put Detroit on secure financial footing?

AZIKIWE: No, it won’t.

But first of all, the city of Detroit did not file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was filed by the emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, who was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder. And Governor Rick Snyder drafted a law which contravened and essentially nullified a November 2012 election, where the overwhelming majority of people in the state of Michigan voted against the Public Act 4, which was the emergency manager law. Over 221,000 people signed petitions to have it placed on the ballot in order for a referendum to be held which rejected emergency management. Yet the right wing dominated legislature and the governor in Michigan enacted another law, Public Act 436, to essentially obliterate the popular will of the voters in the state of Michigan.

The plan of adjustment was crafted by the emergency manager at the aegis of the governor. It favors inherently the banks and the financial institutions and the corporations over and above the residents, the workers, the municipal employees, and the retirees of the city of Detroit. The entire voting process was designed by the emergency management system. The votes were calculated with the ballots being sent out by a firm in California. They were not calculated or tabulated in the city of Detroit. There was no oversight involved in the entire process by those who had opposed and those who had a specific interest in the outcome of the vote.

DESVARIEUX: So, Abayomi, are you saying, essentially, that you’re questioning the validity of the vote? Because the vote itself, many workers supported this plan. At least the official count is saying it. It showed that 82 percent of those eligible for police or fire pension voted in favor of the plan. Roughly 73 percent of other retirees and employees with pension benefits also voted for it. So why did the majority vote for this plan?

AZIKIWE: Well, we have no way of verifying those figures. The Los Angeles Times, in the July 22 edition, reporting on this issue, said that supposedly 32,000 ballots were sent out by this firm in California to those people considered creditors and that particular class involving the retirees.

They claim in the same article that less than 50 percent of the ballots that they claim were sent out were returned to this firm by noon on July 11. So you’re talking about less than 50 percent of the ballots, according to their figures, were returned. They claim 32,000 were sent out, but we have no way of verifying that either.

So there were tremendous outpourings of opposition to this entire plan. The retirees in the city of Detroit have been in the leadership of the opposition to emergency management, to the threatened pension cuts. The retirees had their health care programs cancelled as of March 1 earlier this year. We had literally hundreds of legal objections that were filed which were heard on July 15 in federal bankruptcy court. Over 600 people filed legal objections. We’re not talking about attorneys. We’re talking about rank-and-file retirees, workers, community people who opposed this plan of adjustment. And nearly 80 of them testified after being selected in court on July 15. No one spoke up in favor of these pension cuts and the cancellation of health care, the privatization of public assets. All of the testimony was in opposition. So that’s why we question the entire process, not just the elections, supposed elections that were held, which had no monitoring, which was not conducted in the city of Detroit, and we question the entire process of emergency management and the forced bankruptcy of the people of the city of Detroit.

DESVARIEUX: So let’s switch gears a little bit and discuss the water crisis. We basically saw a massive protest last Friday over the water shutoffs and in the east end across the city. Some people were even arrested, blocking the entrance to the company that basically turned off the water. Now that the water shutoff has been suspended for two weeks, although the department is calling it a pause, not a moratorium, at the end of the day it seems that they’re actually responding to the public pressure. Was this response enough for you?

AZIKIWE: No, it’s not nearly enough. We want everyone’s water who has been shut off should be immediately turned back on. We want the moratorium that was declared in federal court by Darryl Latimer, the deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department acting at the behest of emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, to extend the moratorium indefinitely. The National Nurses United were here last week for the Netroots Nation conference. They declared a public health emergency in the city of Detroit. This organization represents 188,000 health care professionals across the United States. It’s a potential disaster for the city of Detroit, where these massive water shutoffs are taking place.

DESVARIEUX: But, Abayomi, I want to present the counterargument here, because you’re going to have people saying, well, if you don’t pay your bills, then you can’t expect to have water. Is it really that simple?

AZIKIWE: It’s not that simple at all. Many people have paid their bills and their water has still been shut off. Some people owe less than the stated $150 in arrears and their water has been shut off.

This is arbitrary practices that are being carried out at the aegis of the emergency manager to, first of all, intimidate people in the neighborhoods in the city of Detroit as part of a larger program of repression that’s going on here. There are many corporate clients who owe tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands in arrears, and their services have not been shut off.

DESVARIEUX: Who are we talking about here?

AZIKIWE: The Detroit golf course. We’re talking about Ilitch Holdings. We’re talking about even the State of Michigan itself and the City of Detroit. And their services have not been terminated. So what we’re saying is that the working people, the poor people in the city of Detroit should not be victimized by these efforts.

And we know that a request for a proposal was issued earlier this year for the private administration of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, which is publicly owned at this time. There’s no reason, other than a desire for profit, for the DWSD to be either administratively privatized or actually sold to private interests.

DESVARIEUX: I’m so glad you mentioned privatization, because we like to discuss this issue on
The Real News. You’re really not going to see this anywhere else. But who is really behind this? What groups are looking to get rich over this privatization plan?

AZIKIWE: The banks, the financial institutions, bond insurers, corporations which are involved heavily in promoting the privatization of water services, they also are involved in the bottling and further mass commoditization and privatization of water, to promote the notion that bottled water is somehow superior to water coming out of streams and out of taps. So these are the interests, large-scale corporations who have a worldwide strategy for the privatization of water and the privatization of waterways and water services.

And there have been efforts in several cities inside the United States to privatize water, Stockton, California, for example. And it was such an abysmal failure that they had to turn it back over to the city itself. And that city also is in municipal bankruptcy as well as we speak. Also, in Atlanta, Georgia, there was the privatization of the administration of water there, and it was such a disaster that they had to turn it back over to a municipal entity for it to be managed.

We feel very strongly that the same situation would occur here in the city of Detroit. And when you have privatization and commodification, prices, rates go up astronomically. If you just calculate a bottle of water in terms of its unit of production and value on the market, it’s much higher than the current rates for water coming out of a tap. So this is the real agenda, and it’s not just a Detroit problem. It’s a problem that is in existence across the United States, and indeed internationally.

DESVARIEUX: I just want to get your quick take on this, because I know you’re involved in challenging the bankruptcy emergency management and you’ve actually filed a lawsuit in federal bankruptcy court against the shutoffs. Can you just give us a quick update? What’s going on? What’s next for you guys on the ground?

AZIKIWE: Well, we’re going to continue our Freedom Friday demonstrations. Last week was the largest, due to the intervention of the National Nurses United, the Netroots Nation conference, other trade union and social justice organizations from around the country who were here for a conference at Cobo conference center downtown. We’re going to have another demonstration this coming Friday.

At present, we’re demanding the extension, the indefinite extension of the moratorium on water shutoffs. We want everyone whose water has been shut off to be turned back on. We feel water is a human right. And we’re going to continue to organize locally, nationally, and internationally to fight the privatization of the city of Detroit’s water resources, and to fight also this unsustainable restructuring plan, which will not work here in the city of Detroit, because what they’re trying to do is set a dangerous precedent for the theft of pensions, for the theft of health care programs, for the privatization of public assets, for the obliteration of local political control of governments. This is the real agenda, and this agenda is being extended throughout the United States. As I mentioned, there are other cities, such as Stockton; San Bernardino, California; we have Providence, Rhode Island; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Jefferson County, Alabama; the potential for Flint, Michigan; in Illinois, they’re claiming that they’re the worst-funded public pension system in the United States. All of these announcements and exposés in the financial publications across the country indicate a serious move on the part of the corporations, on the part of the financial institutions, to wage massive assaults on public entities, public pensions. We’ve seen what has happened in the public school systems across the country with charterization and privatization of public education. It has not improved educational outcomes. In fact, just the opposite has occurred.

So we feel a national effort is in order to preserve democratic control of municipalities throughout the United States.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Abayomi Azikiwe, thank you so much for joining us.

AZIKIWE: Thank you so much.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

The Rear-Guard Defense of Torture

August 13th, 2014 by Ray McGovern

John Rizzo, the CIA’s former Acting Counsel General, is feeling the heat for his role in blessing what President Barack Obama has now admitted was “torture” during the Bush/Cheney administration. Rizzo went on friendly Fox News to charge that the (still withheld) Senate Intelligence Committee investigation report on torture reflects a “Star Chamber proceeding” and accused some lawmakers of “craven backtracking,” claiming that they had been briefed on the interrogation program years ago.

Rizzo also revealed that he and other former CIA officials implicated in the torture scandal have found an ally of sorts in current CIA Director John Brennan, who was a senior aide to CIA Director George Tenet when the torture practices were implemented and who is now leading the rear-guard defense against the Senate report.

John Rizzo, who was acting General Counsel at the CIA during the first nine years of the "war on terror."

Image: John Rizzo, who was acting General Counsel at the CIA during the first nine years of the “war on terror.”

“He’s been with us ‘formers’ during this period. He has been the honest broker,” Rizzo told Fox News. “He has done the best he can. He is in an extraordinarily difficult position.”

Rizzo’s audacity in defending torture should have prompted some kind of reaction like the one that finally called Sen. Joe McCarthy to account: “Have they no sense of decency, at long last? Have they left no sense of decency?” But Rizzo, like other defenders of the “war on terror” torture policies, have yet to face any meaningful accountability. Rather, some like Rizzo remain respectable figures.

Exhibit A was the fawning reception accorded Rizzo earlier this year at Fordham Law School. After that event, I wrote the following column for “The Catholic Worker,” where people care about public issues of morality:

I could hardly believe my eyes as I read that John Rizzo, the CIA lawyer who got the Justice Department to approve CIA interrogations using “enhanced interrogation techniques,” had been invited to speak at Fordham Law School on Jan. 30, 2014.  Rizzo would be discussing his book,Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA – an unapologetic apologia for his behavior in cooperating with faux lawyers in the White House and the Justice Department who authorized techniques like waterboarding, when he had ample legal precedent to justify his simply saying “No,” and trying to stop the torture. What lessons would aspiring lawyers at Fordham learn from Rizzo?

I traveled up from Washington, DC, because I needed to see for myself how Rizzo would try to defend abhorrent practices now euphemistically labeled “EITs,” but formerly known as torture.  Indeed, the very term “enhanced interrogation techniques” is a literal translation of “verschaerfte Vernehmung” from the Gestapo Handbuch, and most of the specific techniques Rizzo told CIA officers they could legally use were from the Gestapo Hadbuch’s list 75 years ago under the heading “verschaerfte Vernehmung.”

I thought I had somewhat outgrown my outrage at seeing those who gave “legal” justification for torture (not to mention those who ordered it and carried it out), walking free, writing tell-some books, and being invited into otherwise respectable places, when they should be behind bars.

The only difference I can see between those responsible for verschaerfte Vernehmung and those responsible for enhanced interrogation techniques is that Germany lost the war, and German torturers were held accountable. Nazi lawyer, Wilhelm Frick, defended his lawyerly approach to torturing and killing Jews with these words: “I wanted things done legally. After all, I am a lawyer.” Frick was one of the 11 defendants the Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced to death. He was hanged on Oct. 16, 1946.

The thought of Rizzo at Fordham was downright disorienting from a moral, as well as legal point of view. This is my alma mater, Fordham – the Jesuit University of the City of New York – where I spent nine years studying, teaching and earning two degrees. And this was Fordham Law School from which my father graduated in 1933, and where he was a professor of law until 1963, teaching a whole generation of budding lawyers.

Had the catastrophe of 9/11 changed Fordham’s moral assessment of torture, just as it had changed other formerly accepted moral and legal norms? Had torture slid out of the moral category of “intrinsic evil?”

There was no ambiguity on this issue 55 years ago at Fordham College, where we were taught that torture, together with rape and slavery, were “intrinsically evil.” Fordham’s permissive slide on torture was shown in bas-relief two years ago when Fordham President Joseph M. McShane SJ described the morality of torture as a “gray area.”

Succumbing to the “celebrity virus,” McShane had invited kidnapping-torture-and drone aficionado (now CIA director) John Brennan to give the main address at Commencement, and threw in an honorary doctorate – in “humane letters” (sic). It was, I suppose, because Brennan was a Fordham alumnus who worked in the White House. Does it matter what he actually did there?

When a number of graduating seniors objected to this profaning of their graduation, McShane gave a glib gloss on torture and drone killings in these words: “We don’t live in a black and white world; we live in a gray world.”

And so it is with President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, each of whom has said waterboarding is torture but left the CIA torture lawyers and waterboarders in place. Now the country’s two most senior lawyers are winking at another torture practice – force-feeding of men without hope who have chosen death by starvation as their only way out of Guantanamo.

If moral reasoning is a shambles, so is a pitiful legal profession that cannot find its institutional voice amid gross violations of the Constitution and other legal and moral norms. It strikes me that this amounts to a petri dish in which the celebrity virus can grow and flourish – and law students can be given scandal. What was it that Jesus said about giving that kind of scandal? Something to do with millstones and necks, I think.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He served as a CIA analyst for 27 years.

Yet another unarmed young man has been shot to death, execution style, by police on the streets of an American city. In response to demonstrations of popular outrage, riot police have attacked protests with tear gas and rubber bullets and arrested scores of people. A pregnant woman says she was thrown on the ground, maced and held at gunpoint.

The victim this time is 18-year-old Michael Brown, riddled Saturday with a dozen bullets from the gun of a cop in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb of Ferguson.

The anger that has engulfed metropolitan St. Louis is entirely justified. The police put out brazen lies, the standard fare in the string of incidents of homicidal violence against working people and youth. The Ferguson police have chosen to go with the claim, used so often in past killings by police, that Brown “reached for the gun” of the killer cop.

But numerous eyewitnesses describe a wanton and brutal murder. As Brown and a friend walked down the street, they were ordered by a still unnamed police officer to get on the sidewalk.

When the youth failed to respond quickly enough, the cop backed his vehicle into them, grabbed Brown by the neck and shot him. His friend told the media the cop shot again, hitting Brown in the back as he fled for his life. He then shot the youth several times in head and chest as he raised his hands and attempted to kneel to the ground.

The scene of Brown’s lifeless body, left lying in a pool of blood for hours, provoked an outpouring of outraged protest by family members and neighbors. Protests have continued in the face of police repression, reflecting the deep social anger that exists in every American city over police violence, unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Both the killing of Brown and the police response to the ensuing protests shed light on the militarization of American society. The police, armed with the most advanced weaponry, act as a law unto themselves, assuming the power of judge, jury and executioner.

Ferguson has been turned into what one police officer and several media commentators have referred to as a “war zone.” Hundreds of riot police from surrounding cities have laid siege to the neighborhood with armored vehicles, attack dogs, paramilitary weapons and helicopters. At the request of St. Louis County police, the Federal Aviation Administration has imposed airspace restrictions over the town, banning aerial media coverage and limiting the skies to police operations.

The scenes of SWAT teams clad in military fatigues, armed with automatic rifles and tear gas masks, accosting and arresting unarmed residents resembles nothing so much as the lockdown of Boston, Massachusetts following the Boston Marathon bombings last year.

Describing the crackdown Tuesday, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams said it looked like a “police state,” adding that SWAT teams were using the “same tactical get up and same tactical weaponry we’ve come to expect in urban warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Under the direction of the Obama administration, local police forces have been equipped with billions of dollars in equipment transferred from the Defense Department, all but obliterating the line between local police and the military (see: America’s paramilitary police).

The murder of Michael Brown is the latest in a series of unprovoked police killings, including that of Eric Garner, who was choked to death by police in New York City on July 17. With at least 130 people killed by police in the United States since the start of 2014, hardly a week goes by without a video coming to light of some outrage by the police.

In the absence of any policies to address the worsening social crisis in the United States, police repression has become the de facto “urban policy” of both parties.

Austerity measures implemented by the Obama administration and the Democrats and Republicans at every level of government—from the slashing of food stamps and long-term unemployment benefits, to the attacks on health care, public education and retiree benefits—have only exacerbated the social crisis. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve floods the financial markets with unlimited and virtually free money, and corporate profits, buoyed by the lowering of wages and ever-greater exploitation of the working class, set new records.

The instinctive response of the ruling class is to treat working class neighborhoods all across the country as war zones, inhabited by a hostile population that must be suppressed. Democratic rights, including safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures and restrictions on domestic military deployments, have been effectively abolished.

The militarization of the police in America is the flip side of the violent foreign policy of the United States. Both processes stem from the economic decay of American capitalism and the recklessness of a ruling class that hopes to resolve its crisis through violence and plunder.

The war that is being waged is a class war. In this war, the working class as a whole is pitted against the financial aristocracy, the two big business parties, and the institutions of the state that function, with increasing openness and brutality, as guardians of private wealth and the capitalist profit system.

The response to the killing of Brown by local Democrats, the NAACP and the inevitable Al Sharpton should be treated with the contempt it deserves. The calls for federal investigations, appeals to the FBI, the Justice Department and the Obama administration, the attempt to focus anger entirely along racial lines—all of this is aimed at obscuring the basic class issues and channeling social anger back behind the very forces responsible for the social crisis engulfing America.

As for Obama himself, the president broke days of silence on the murder of Brown by taking a momentary break from his vacation at the wealthy retreat of Martha’s Vineyard to issue a perfunctory statement bemoaning the “strong passions” created by the shooting and urging everyone in Ferguson, Missouri and across the country to “remember this young man through reflection and understanding.”

So states the man presiding over the militarization of the police, massive and illegal surveillance of the entire population, torture and war crimes abroad and a class war program of austerity at home.

Kiev Pledges to Block Russian Aid Convoy to Eastern Ukraine

August 13th, 2014 by Christoph Dreier

The Ukrainian army and its allied fascist paramilitary units are creating a humanitarian disaster in eastern Ukraine and the government in Kiev is blocking relief supplies to the population.

The United States and NATO are using the conflict over Russia’s plans to send an aid convoy to the besieged cities of Donetsk and Luhansk to mount new provocations against Moscow.

On Tuesday, 280 white trucks left Moscow carrying relief supplies. The Russian government has stated that the trucks are transporting a total of 2,000 tons of supplies, including 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medical equipment and medicine, 12,000 sleeping bags, and 69 power generators.

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitri Peskov, said the trucks planned to cross the border to Ukraine at a point agreed with Kiev. The aid convoy was arranged following talks with both the Red Cross and the Ukrainian government. This was confirmed by former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, who is functioning as a mediator between the rebels and the Kiev regime.

According to the Associated Press, however, a spokesman for the Russian Emergencies Ministry said it remained unclear when the convoy would set off. He said the convoy could cross the border in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

On Monday, representatives of the US, the European Union, Ukraine and the Red Cross had agreed to allow international aid transports to eastern Ukraine with Russian involvement. According to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti, this arrangement was confirmed in a statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

At the same time, the ICRC requested further information on the aid supplies, declaring, “We are still waiting for crucial information about the quantity and type of goods, as well as how and where they are to be distributed.”

For its part, the Ukrainian government made abundantly clear it will not allow the transport of much-needed relief supplies, despite the agreement struck on Monday. On Tuesday, the spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, Andrei Lysenko, said that its forces would stop the convoy at the border. A week was needed to clarify the need for relief goods in Donetsk and Luhansk, he said, adding, “Only then will the delivery of aid be organized.”

At a press conference in Kiev, Lysenko showed a video featuring the white trucks guarded by Russian military personnel and claimed this was proof that Moscow was using the aid convoy as a ploy to conduct a military operation.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lubkivsky declared that Russia was playing a “completely cynical game.” Humanitarian aid was only a pretext to continue aggression in the Ukraine, he claimed.

In another statement, the deputy head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, Valery Chaly, said the regime intended to stop the trucks at the border and transfer the aid shipment to the Red Cross. He made no reference to any time frame, suggesting that Kiev planned to delay the delivery of aid as long as possible.

At the same time, NATO representatives threatened to reject any relief supplies coming from Moscow. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday that Russia could use the aid convoy to install itself permanently in eastern Ukraine. “We have to be extremely careful,” the minister said.

On Monday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gave an interview to Reuters alleging that a Russian military intervention in Ukraine was now “very likely.” An invasion could take place under the guise of a relief operation, Rasmussen said.

In the interview, Rasmussen announced fresh sanctions as a possible reaction by NATO countries. Last week, Rasmussen promised the Ukrainian regime military aid during a visit to Kiev.

As humanitarian deliveries are being blocked to eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian army is being equipped by NATO countries. On Friday, the Canadian Air Force delivered 32 tons of military equipment worth $5 million to Ukrainian border troops. The German government said an EU police mission in Ukraine agreed in late June could extend to training the army to fight in eastern Ukraine.

It is the Ukrainian regime and its backers in Berlin, Brussels and Washington that are responsible for a stream of provocations directed against Russia. Moscow has been placed under continuous pressure since the EU and the US orchestrated a fascist-led coup in Ukraine in February of this year and replaced President Viktor Yanukovych with a handpicked cabinet favorable to the West.

In April, the Kiev regime began military action against cities in the east of the country, where pro-Russian separatists had occupied town halls and public buildings. Thousands of people, a large majority of them civilians, have already fallen victim to the Kiev-led offensive. Hundreds of thousands have been forced to leave their homes to seek refuge.

In recent weeks, Kiev has deliberately provoked a humanitarian disaster, encircling the two major eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. A spokesman for the separatists, Alexander Karaman, reported that “the water supply system, substations, medical facilities, kindergartens, schools, industrial plants, bridges and roads” had all been bombed in Donetsk.

“Today, Donetsk is virtually encircled,” he said. “There is therefore no way to bring relief supplies. Another problem is the impossibility to evacuate injured people and children. More than 3,500 refugees have assembled in the city, including many children and infants.”

According to local authorities, the electricity and water supply in Luhansk has not been functioning for the past ten days, and food and medicine are scarce. Constant artillery and rocket shelling has also been reported in the city of Gorlovka.

The management of the city’s chemical plant called on the Ukrainian armed forces to stop the bombardment of the plant. The plant contains stores of highly toxic products, which could contaminate a region with a radius of 300 kilometers, affecting Russia as well as Ukraine.

Russia’s attempt to deliver relief supplies to the region is now being used for further provocations. Any blockade of the deliveries, and/or attack on the convoy by Ukrainian forces, would lead to a rapid escalation of tensions and the possible outbreak of a war that could rapidly draw in the US and Western Europe.

A reliably well-informed resident in the area that Obama’s Ukrainian regime is ethnically cleansing (i.e., exterminating and/or expelling) has informed this reporter (and all of this source’s previous reports to me have subsequently turned out to be true):

“Kiev is attempting to blow up a chemical plant that will destroy a 600 KM diameter/ 300KM radius of area — every living thing.

The largest battles of the war are starting today or tomorrow. I may not be able to update you. Lyashko wants to make our area bloody. He said it hasn’t been hit enough to feel it yet.”

The object of the Ukrainian Government’s campaign is to produce as many residents there fleeing into Russia as possible, so that the voting-base that had elected the pro-Russian Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew in February, Viktor Yanukovych, will no longer be Ukrainian voters.

Oleh Lashko, the person my source is referring to, is a convicted embezzler who then became a leading parliamentary member of the “Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko,” led by the woman whom Obama had initially expected would become elected on 25 May 2014 as Ukraine’s new President. She was also known as “the Gas Princess,” due to her having skimmed billions from Russia’s gas-sales to the State. But another oligarch, Petro Poroshenko (‘the Chocolate King,” and also a shipbuilder), became elected President instead, because Tymoshenko was too far to the right even for most of the voters in Ukraine’s northwest. (There were only few people voting in the southeast after Obama’s coup, because the post-coup regime had already begun its campaign to exterminate them by the time of the May 25th election.)

The pro-Hitler portion of Ukraine during World War II was the country’s northwest. Ukraine’s southeast tended to prefer Stalin’s rule instead. After the end of communism, the southeast sought closer ties to Russia, whereas the northwest sought closer ties to “the West,” but came to be led actually by CIA-backed admirers of the pro-Hitler Ukrainian Stepan Bandera, whom Hitler’s forces imprisoned when it became clear that Bandera sought to establish a pro-Nazi independent Ukraine, and Hitler’s forces insisted instead on Ukraine’s total subjugation.

When Obama took over Ukraine in the February 2014 coup, his agent Victoria Nuland placed at the top of the new Ukrainian Government the leaders of Ukraine’s two nazi (or “pro-Nazi”) Parties, Right Sector, and “Freedom” or Svoboda (formerly called the Social Nationalists, but the CIA instructed them to change that name), both being led by Yulia Tymoshenko’s ally Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The exterminations of the residents in the southeast started on May 2nd and are continuing. Obama’s people call the residents there “terrorists,” because those residents overwhelmingly oppose the Obama-installed leaders and seek to establish their own autonomous republics instead, or else to become part of Russia; but, in any case, not to be ruled by Obama’s Ukrainian regime.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

“In 1936, I declared that it was not the Covenant of the League that was at stake, but international morality…The Charter of the United Nations expresses the noblest aspirations of man: abjuration of force in the settlement of disputes between states; the assurance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion; the safeguarding of international peace and security.“ Haile Selassie (1892-1975), address to the United Nations, Oct 6, 1963.

“The beauty of the Glass-Steagall act, after all, was its simplicity: banks should not gamble with government insured money. Even a six-year-old can understand that…” Luigi Zingales (1963- ), (A Capitalism for the People, 2014).

“Today, Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century…This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.” Lawrence H. Summers (1954- ), U.S. Treasury Secretary, November 12, 1999.

“We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.” Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1927- ), the German foreign minister, (February 10, 1990, promising Russia that NATO would not expand to Eastern Europe.)

“I think it is the beginning of a new cold war. I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever…It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are — but this is just wrong.” George F. Kennan, (1904-2005), U.S. diplomat and Russia specialist, (in 1998, after the U. S. Senate voted to extend NATO to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.)

An eye-popping new book has alleged that U.S. President Bill Clinton had his White House phones tapped in real time, for the benefit of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The book also reveals how the Israeli Prime Minister could have used taped conversations of the American president regarding Mr. Clinton’s 1990s sexual scandal in the White House, to exert pressure on him to release from prison a convicted Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard, who had been arrested in 1985, for espionage against the United States. In fact, the Israeli surveillance activities in the United States may be very widespread.

I suspect that such illegal activities and the fact that an American president (and other members of the U.S. administration) could have been placed under electronic surveillance and could have been potentially blackmailed by a foreign country will not go down well with ordinary patriotic Americans, if this becomes widely known. This comes after it has been discovered that theCIA, which works closely in tandem with the Israeli Mossad, has been illegally and unconstitutionally spying on U.S. senators.

These revelations can also encourage us to cast a second look at some crucial decisions made by the Clinton administration, fifteen years ago, because the consequences of such decisions are very much with us today.

Indeed, the fuses of three major crises still smoldering were lit during the U.S. Clinton administration (1992-2000), especially during Clinton’s second term (1996-2000). People tend to forget such matters while they concentrate their attention solely on current events. However, it often happens that what we are witnessing in current times has been years in preparation, long after the initiators have left the political scene. What the George W. Bush administration did and what Barack Obama is doing have been a continuation of policies that the Bill Clinton administration initiated in the first place.

What are these three crises that one can trace back to “innovations” introduced by the Bill Clinton administration in the late 1990s?

1- First, there is the Clinton Kosovo Precedent of wars for “humanitarian” reasons.

The current crisis of multiple wars being waged today around the globe, in direct violation of the United Nations Charter, originates largely in that precedent initiated by Bill Clinton.

The Preamble solemnly establishes the main objective of the 1945 U.N. Charter when it says “We the Peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…” and to this end, “armed force(s) shall not be used, save in the common interest…”

As the current United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon reminded the world last year, according to the U.N. Charter, agreed by all the member countries, “the use of force is only legal when it is in self-defense [against an armed attack] or with a [formal] U.N. Security Council authorization.”

—That is what international law says.

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, indeed, formally prohibits any war that is not to maintain or restore international peace (Article 42) or that is not undertaken in individual or collective self-defense (Article 51). There are no exceptions for “preventive wars”, “so-called humanitarian wars” or any kind of war of aggression.

However, in 1998 and in 1999, the Democratic Clinton administration decided unilaterally to join the on-going Kosovo War in Yugoslavia without an explicit mandate from the U.N. Security Council, instead relying for the first time not on legality but on an extra-judicial arbitrary argument of political legitimacy for “humanitarian” motives to protect “human rights”.

This was done without even a resolution by the U.S. Congress, and with the sole reliance on the NATO alliance as an instrument of military intervention. (In that case, it was NATO air military operations.) The Kosovo War has been described as “the first war for values” and has opened the Pandora Box of wars of choice, outside of the international legal framework of the United Nations Charter.

Since the Kosovo Precedent of unilateral humanitarian intervention, war of aggression has become a matter of political will rather than of strict legality, the intervening countries using different versions of their “national interests”. In other words, the world has gone back to before 1945, before the creation of the United Nations, when powerful countries could go to war whenever they felt that it was in their national interests to do so.

The demise of the United Nations as a legal framework against war was greatly accelerated by the Bill Clinton administration’s decision to sidestep the U.N. Charter in favor of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The world is less secure now that the United Nations has been de facto sidelined in its principal mission of preventing and stopping wars.

2- Then there is the Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999

In the 1990s, super large American banks launched a $300 million campaign of lobbying efforts to have the Roosevelt-era-Glass-Steagall act repealed. That important 1933 law had prevented American banks from gambling with government insured money by merging risky and uninsured investment banks that underwrite securities and commercial banks that take insured deposits.

However, powerful bankers, some of them having important posts within the Clinton administration, such as Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary (1995-1999) and a previous co-chairman from 1990 to 1992 of the large investment bank Goldman Sachs, argued that things had changed and that the limitations imposed by the Glass-Steagall act on their banking activities were hindering their capabilities to “innovate” in the types of financial products they could create and sell to investors, not only in the U.S. but all over the world, thus preventing them from being competitive internationally.

Initially, the Clinton administration was reluctant to gut an act that had prevented the abuses and predatory banking practices that had preceded the Great Depression. However, after some tremendous pressure had been exerted on the Clinton administration, from outside and from within, President Bill Clinton finally signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, on November 12, 1999, as a bill newly renamed the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act under the names of Senate Banking Committee Chair Phil Gramm (R-Texas), House Banking Committee chair James Leach (R-Iowa), and Virginia Representative Thomas Bliley (R-Virginia).

This allowed commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to consolidate, but without giving the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), or any other financial regulatory agency for that matter, the authority to regulate large investment bank holding companies.

Largely unregulated super large banks and large insurance companies used the newly acquired liberty to engage in Ponzi finance practices, as they have often done historically and as it should have been expected.

Indeed, they proceeded with creating new financial derivative products that turned out to be very toxic and which became an important cause of the subprime financial crisis of 2007-09.

What we know, moreover, is that the 2007-2008 financial crisis has resulted in income and wealth losses of trillions of dollars by American families and of subsidies in the trillions of dollars for large banks, thus resulting in a massive wealth transfer anddamaging the U.S. economy for years to come.

3- Thirdly, there is the cancellation of the Bush I-Baker promise to Russian Prime Minister Gorbachev not to expand NATO

As the German foreign minister Genscher’s quote above indicates, it is widely accepted that after the Warsaw Pact, (the Eastern Europe military alliance), was dissolved in the early 1990s, and after the German reunification, it was at the very least implicitly promised that NATO would not take advantage of the situation to encircle Russia militarily by expanding in Eastern Europe. For example, it was reported that U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in the George H. Bush administration and German foreign minister Genscher, after a meeting on February 10, 1990, had agreed that there was to be no NATO expansion to the East.

Moreover, this was also the understanding of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet president at the time, when he said that there was a promise not to expand NATO “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East.” In the past, Jack Matlock, the US ambassador in Moscow at the time, confirmed that Moscow was given a “clear commitment” to that effect. Therefore, Gorbachev’s mistake may have been to have taken the western politicians’ word too much at its face value instead of requesting a formal agreement.

In any case, the informal agreement not to expand NATO to encompass Russia’s former partners in the Warsaw Pact held for a few years, that is until President Bill Clinton, on October 22, 1996, saw it to his advantage during his 1996 reelection campaign to promise to enlarge NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

In other words, in 1996, Clinton stopped enforcing the promise made by his predecessor. The rest is history, and NATO was from then on transformed from a defensive military alliance into an offensive military alliance under American control. It went on to include not only Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, but also countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, and Slovenia, among others, thus pushing its military infrastructure right up to the Russian border. Recent attempts to draw Ukraine into NATO are only a continuation of an aggressive policy of expanding NATO and of isolating Russia, initiated by the Bill Clinton administration in the late 1990s.

Under the influence of American Neocons, Clinton rejected the idea of a peace dividend to be reaped after a reduction in military expenditures due to the lessening of the Soviet threat and the end of the Cold War.

Conclusion

The geopolitical global chaos that the world has been going through in the beginning of this 21st Century, the devastating 2008 financial crisis that imposed such heavy losses on so many people, and the threatening resurgence of the old Cold War with Russia, all have causes that can be traced back to short-sighted and disastrous decisions made by the Clinton administration in the 1990s.

The failed subsequent administrations of George W. Bush and of Barack H. Obama merely followed in the path open during the Clinton era. This is something that future historians will need to consider closely when attempting to understand the thread of events that created the apparent current chaos in many fields today.

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an international economist and author, whose last two books are:

The Code for Global Ethics, Prometheus Books, 2010; and

The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2003.

To read Dr. Tremblay’s blog, please visit:
http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

The author can be reach at: [email protected].

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control owns a patent on a particular strain of Ebola known as “EboBun.” It’s patent No. CA2741523A1 and it was awarded in 2010. You can view it here. (Thanks to Natural News readers who found this and brought it to our attention.)

Patent applicants are clearly described on the patent as including:

The Government Of The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary, Department Of Health & Human Services, Center For Disease Control.

The patent summary says, “The invention provides the isolated human Ebola (hEbola) viruses denoted as Bundibugyo (EboBun) deposited with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”; Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America) on November 26, 2007 and accorded an accession number 200706291.”

It goes on to state, “The present invention is based upon the isolation and identification of a new human Ebola virus species, EboBun. EboBun was isolated from the patients suffering from hemorrhagic fever in a recent outbreak in Uganda.”

It’s worth noting, by the way, that EboBun is not the same variant currently believed to be circulating in West Africa. Clearly, the CDC needs to expand its patent portfolio to include more strains, and that may very well be why American Ebola victims have been brought to the United States in the first place. Read more below and decide for yourself…

Harvesting Ebola from victims to file patents

From the patent description on the EboBun virus, we know that the U.S. government:

1) Extracts Ebola viruses from patients.

2) Claims to have “invented” that virus.

3) Files for monopoly patent protection on the virus.

To understand why this is happening, you have to first understand what a patent really is and why it exists. A patent is a government-enforced monopoly that is exclusively granted to persons or organizations. It allows that person or organization to exclusively profit from the “invention” or deny others the ability to exploit the invention for their own profit.

It brings up the obvious question here: Why would the U.S. government claim to have “invented” Ebola and then claim an exclusively monopoly over its ownership?

U.S. Government claims exclusive ownership over its “invention” of Ebola

The “SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION” section of the patent document also clearly claims that the U.S. government is claiming “ownership” over all Ebola viruses that share as little as 70% similarity with the Ebola it “invented”:

…invention relates to the isolated EboBun virus that morphologically and phylogenetically relates to known members filoviridae… In another aspect, the invention provides an isolated hEbola EboBun virus comprising a nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence selected from the group consisting of: a) a nucleotide sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 1; b) a nucleotide sequence that hybridizes to the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO: 1 under stringent conditions; and c) a nucleotide sequence that has at least 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90%, 95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, or 99% identity to the SEQ ID NO:

1. In another aspect, the invention provides the complete genomic sequence of the hEbola virus EboBun.

Ebola vaccines and propagation

The CDC patent goes on to explain it specifically claims patent protection on a method for propagating the Ebola virus in host cells as well as treating infected hosts with vaccines:

In another aspect, the invention provides a method for propagating the hEbola virus in host cells comprising infecting the host cells with the inventive isolated hEbola virus described above, culturing the host cells to allow the virus to multiply, and harvesting the resulting virions.

In another aspect, the invention provides vaccine preparations, comprising the inventive hEbola virus, including recombinant and chimeric forms of the virus, nucleic acid molecules comprised by the virus, or protein subunits of the virus. The invention also provides a vaccine formulation comprising a therapeutically or prophylactically effective amount of the inventive hEbola virus described above, and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

No medical reason to bring Ebola to the United States

This patent may help explain why Ebola victims are being transported to the United States and put under the medical authority of the CDC. These patients are carrying valuable intellectual property assets in the form of Ebola variants, and the Centers for Disease Control clearly desires to expand its patent portfolio by harvesting, studying and potentially patenting new strains or variants.

Dr. Bob Arnot, an infectious disease specialist who spent time on the ground in developing nations saving lives, recently told Judge Jeanine, “There is no medical reason to bring them here, especially when you see how well Dr. Bradley was.” (2)

There is, however, an entirely different reason to bring Ebola patients to America: so they can be exploited for medical experiments, military bioweapons harvesting or intellectual property claims.

Surely, medical authorities at Emory University and the CDC are working hard to save the lives of the two patients who have been transported to the U.S. But they are also pursuing something else at the same time: an agenda of isolating, identifying and patenting infectious disease agents for reasons that we can only imagine.

Only hoping to save lives?

On one hand, it’s worth pointing out that the CDC’s patent on Ebola is at least partially focused on methods for screening for Ebola and treating Ebola victims with drugs or vaccines. This seems like a worthwhile precaution against an infectious disease that clearly threatens lives.

On the other hand, why the patent? Patenting Ebola seems as odd as trying to patent cancer or diabetes. Why would a government organization claim to have “invented” this infectious disease and then claim a monopoly over its exploitation for commercial use?

Does the CDC hope to collect a royalty on Ebola vaccines? Is it looking to “invent” more variants and patent those too?

Make no mistake that billions of dollars in profits are at stake in all this. Shares of Tekmira surged over 11% last Friday as pressure was placed on the FDA to fast-track Ebola vaccine trials the company has set up. “Health campaigners have started a petition which has already been signed by approximately 15,500 people on change.org pressurizing FDA to approve the drug in the minimum possible time frame,” reports BidnessEtc.com. (3)

Carefully scripted medical theater

With this, we start to see the structure of the elaborate medical theater coming together: A global pandemic panic, a government patent, the importation of Ebola into a major U.S. city, an experimental vaccine, the rise of a little-known pharmaceutical company and a public outcry for the FDA to fast-track the vaccine.

If Act II stays on course, this medical theater might someday involve a “laboratory accident” in a U.S. lab, the “escape” of Ebola into the population, and a mandatory nationwide Ebola vaccination campaign that enriches Tekmira and its investors while positioning the CDC with its virus patents as the “savior of the American people.”

Yes, we’ve heard this music before, but the last time around it was called Swine Flu.

The formula is always the same: create alarm, bring a vaccine to market, then scare governments into buying billions of dollars worth of vaccines they don’t need.

Watch the episode with Judge Jeanine here:

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.google.com/patents/CA2741523A1?cl…

(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHAK6oX-JN4&feature=…

(3) http://www.bidnessetc.com/23519-tekmera-shar…

Information Overload? Don’t Tune Out… Get Informed!

August 12th, 2014 by Global Research

In today’s news: WarPovertyCrimes against humanity

To say that the public has become disillusioned and wary of constant doomsday media reports and news coverage that adhere to corporate agendas is a gross understatement — people see their world changing and they want to understand what is happening, and why. They want to be informed and therefore be prepared. They want the freedom to make educated choices instead of being told what to do by the very individuals and institutions that have led them into chaos.

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Why We’re Bombing to Protect Erbil

Why is Obama now re-committing the U.S. military to Iraq? Why is France strongly backing military action?

Obama says it’s to protect minorities.    That’s nothing new.  Obama is the fourth president in a row to bomb Iraq … while claiming it is for humanitarian purposes.

But the architects of the Iraq War (the one which started in 2003) themselves admitted it was about oil.

But what about now? Why are the U.S. and France deploying military force in Iraq now?

Well, ISIS captured some key oil fields in the Kurdish region of Iraq on August 3rd.

Mere days later, the U.S. started bombing ISIS.

And the strikes were targeted in protecting oil resources. As International Business Times notes:

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby tweeted: “US military aircraft conduct strike on Isil [Islamic State] artillery. Artillery was used against Kurdish forces defending Erbil, near US personnel.”

Two F-18 fighters dropped laser-guided 500-pound bombs on the mobile artillery target. Militants of the Islamic State were using artillery that has been abandoned by the Iraqi army when it fled to shell Kurdish forces defending the regional capital of Kurdistan.

US airstrikes were very small and very targeted and the Peshmerga Kurdistan forces are waiting for more strikes by the US fighter jets, according to reports.

The Military Times reported yesterday:

The Pentagon’s top war planner … Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, the director of operations, or “J-3” for the Joint Staff [said]  “I think in the immediate areas where we have focused our strikes, we have had a very temporary effect … and we may haveblunted some [ISIL] tactical decisions to move in those directions further east toward Erbil,” Mayville said.

“However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL’s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria,” he said.

Obama authorized the airstrikes for two specific purposes. One mission is to prevent an ISIL advance into the city of Erbil where U.S. civilian diplomats and dozens of military advisors are based.

It should be noted, initially, that months of murder, mayhem and brutality by ISIS on Christians and other minorities didn’t cause the U.S. or France to intervene militarily for “humanitarian” reasons.

And notice that the airstrikes were very targeted on protecting Erbil … the regional capital of Kurdistan.

The U.S. and France have never lifted a finger to protect the Kurds.   Indeed, the U.S. has actively betrayed the Kurds and let them be slaughtered.  For example, during the Gulf War, the U.S. called on the Kurds to rise up against Saddam (implying that he would protect them), but then let Saddam slaughter the Kurds en masse.

So why are the U.S. and France moving now to protect Erbil?

Because Erbil has now become a major oil center.  The Kurdish government estimates that the region is the world’s 9th largest oil producer.

Oil companies from around the world operate in Kurdistan, including (major oil companies are indicated in bold, U.S. and French oil companies in italics):

USA

  • Exxon Mobil
  • Chevron
  • Aspect Energy
  • Marathon Oil Corporation
  • Hillwood International Energy
  • Hunt Oil
  • Prime Oil
  • Murphy Oil
  • Hess Corporation
  • HKN Energy
  • Viking International

France

  • Total

Canada

  • Forbes and Manhattan
  • Western Zagros Resources
  • Talisman Energy Inc
  • NIKO Resources
  • Ground Star
  • Shamaran

South Korea

  • Korea National Oil Company (KNOC)

Turkey

  • Genel Energy
  • Petoil
  • Dogan

Britain

  • Gulf Keystone Petroleum
  • Sterling Energy
  • Heritage Oil

Anglo-French

  • Perenco

UAE

  • TAQA
  • Dana Petroleum

Austria

  • OMV

China

  • China acquired a significant presence in Iraqi Kurdistan after Sinopec Group bought Addax Petroleum in 2009.

Hungary

  • MOL

India

  • Reliance Industries

Papua New Guinea

  • Oil Search

Russia

  • Norbest
  • Gazprom Neft

Norway

  • DNO

Iraq

  • Oil Search (Iraq) Limited
  • Kar Group
  • Qaiwan Group

Spain

  • Repsol

Independent

  • AFREN

Yup … with Chevron, Exxon, Marathon, Hess and Total operating major facilities in Erbil, the latest Iraq war is also about oil … as confirmed by the New YorkerNew Republic and Vox.

For those who don’t believe that Iraqi oil is driving foreign policy, take a look at what Brookings wrote in June:

It should be obvious that a key consideration for the United States arising from [the seizure of huge swaths of Iraq by ISIS] is its potential to affect Iraqi oil production.

***

Any significant disruption of current Iraqi oil production or long-term diminution in its expected growth could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy.

Kurdistan also possesses approximately 89% of all Iraqi natural gas reserves.  And so the West – including France – is eager to protect Kurdish hydrocarbons from falling into the hands of ISIS.

Postscript: Indeed, virtually all U.S. wars involve a fight over hydrocarbons.

Gaza: Indiscriminate Israeli War Crimes against Civilians

From July 7 to August 12, 2014

Number of Gazans killed by Israel: 1,943 (with 80 percent  civilian casualties including 437 children and 243 women)

Number of Gazans wounded by Israel: 9,886

Number of Houses Destroyed: 5,622; Damaged: at least 36,700

Number of Mosques Destroyed: 64; Damaged: 152

Number of Churches Damaged: 2

Number of Schools or Educational Facilities Destroyed or Damaged: 189

Number of Hospitals or Medical Facilities Destroyed or Damaged: 24

Number of Structures Destroyed including the only Electric Power Plant: More than 1500

 

Egypt: A Brutal Military Coup To Halt Democracy and Silence Political Dissent

Number of people killed by the coup regime from July 3, 2013 to January 31, 2014: at least 3248 (including 299 students with 289 males and 10 females (table 5 at the bottom); at least 80 died while in custody)

Number of people injured by the coup regime from July 3, 2013 to February 28, 2014: 18,535 (including at least 1400 students)

Number of people arrested by the coup regime from July 3, 2013 to May 31, 2014: 41,163 (By April 2014 only 9,220 have been tried with about 1,260 receiving death sentences in mass trials)

 

Syria: a Bloody Civil War Fueled by Sectarianism and Foreign Interference

Number of people killed in the Syrian civil war between March 2011 and August 2014: 102,082 to 171,509 (between 9,100 to 11,400 are children; and between 5,800 to 7,100 are women)

Number of detainees in the Syrian Civil War: as much as 53,700 (between 617 and 847 died under torture)

Number of Syrian Refugees and Displaced Persons according to the UN by end of July 2014: 2,951,423 (three fourths of which are women and children)

American Military Aid to Israel: Aiding and Abetting Israeli War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Israel GDP per capita: $38,700 (more than Japan)

Gaza GDP per capita: less than $2,000 (164 in the world; less than half of West Bank)

Annual U.S. military aid to Israel: $3.6 Billion ($3.1B in direct military aid and $504 million in subsidies to Israeli military industries)

Daily U.S. military aid to Israel: $10 million

All Time Aid US Aid to Israel: $125 Billion ($160B when adjusted to inflation)

Amount of weapons and munitions US sent to Israel since its 2012 war on Gaza:  $276 million not including exports of military transport equipment and high technologies

Amount of stockpile of ammunition the US military stores in Israel for that country’s use (called War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel): $1 Billion

Amount of rocket launchers, guided missiles, bombs, grenades and munitions of war US sent to Israel between January and May 2014: $37 million

Congressional Vote to give Israel $225 million in emergency military aid in early August 2014:  House of Representatives: 395 to 8; Senate: 100 to 0.

The eight courageous dissenters in the House (four Democrats and four Republicans) are: Keith Ellison (D-MN), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Justin Amash (R-MI), Walter Jones (R-NC), Tom Massie (R-KY), and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

Esam Al-Amin is the author of The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East. He can be contacted at [email protected].

With a series of air strikes beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend, the United States has gone to war again in Iraq. This new imperialist military adventure has been launched in defiance of overwhelming popular opposition and without a shred of legal or constitutional authority.

The decision to launch a new war was made by a handful of strategists of US imperialist policy within the military/intelligence apparatus, in league with the corporate and financial elite. It was made behind the backs of the American people, who have absolutely no say in the policies, including going to war, that impact their lives.

President Obama’s Thursday night announcement authorizing the launching of air strikes and other actions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) came just one day after Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies published an analysis calling for an escalation of US military operations in Iraq. Cordesman and his Washington DC think tank occupy a prominent place within the network of intelligence and military strategists who determine US foreign policy.

Cordesman and his like are involved in a permanent conspiracy against the wishes and interests of the broad mass of the American people, in which the president serves as executor and front-man. Their decisions to launch wars and subvert targeted foreign governments are dutifully approved by the leaders of both big business parties in Congress. The corporate-controlled media is assigned the task of dispensing propaganda and disinformation in support of militarism and war.

Opinion polls show that 71 percent of the American population regards the 2003-2011 Iraq War with hostility. But what the vast majority of the American people think and feel has no bearing on the policies and decisions of the key actors in Washington.

There is no longer even the formality of public hearings, debate or a congressional vote. No explanation is offered as to how and why a country that had no Al Qaeda presence until the 2003 invasion, supposedly carried out to fight Al Qaeda terrorism, has been largely overrun by an Al Qaeda offshoot. There is no explanation for the terrible squandering of Iraqi lives, with over a million killed, and American lives, with tens of thousands killed and wounded, or the waste of trillions of dollars to finance the slaughter.

The politicians and media are silent on the role of the CIA in promoting and aiding ISIS and similar Al Qaeda-linked forces and using them as proxy fighters in the US wars for regime-change in Libya and Syria.

Obama’s speech announcing the decision on Iraq was a demonstration of contempt for the views of the American people. He went on national television at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night, with no advance notice. The timing was determined in part by the need to begin the bombing before he left Saturday morning for his three-week holiday at a millionaire’s estate on Martha’s Vineyard.

Obama made only the most perfunctory arguments on behalf of the resumption of air strikes. Only the most uninformed and naïve can seriously believe that the US government is moved by concern for the fate of innocent civilians—particularly after the month-long spectacle of Israel incinerating the people of Gaza with bombs and missiles supplied by the United States.

The president’s other professed concern, the “lives of American citizens” at risk at the US consulate in Erbil and the embassy in Baghdad, is a formula for unlimited military aggression. The US government has facilities in every major city in the world. In the case of local military clashes, the normal practice is for such outposts to be evacuated, not defended by force. To do otherwise would mean American military intervention in every armed conflict on the planet.

Military officials told McClatchy News Service, “There is probably some gray area” in the new US war in Iraq, indicating that the aims go far beyond the “limited” intervention described by Obama Thursday night. They noted that the most recent “limited” mission undertaken by the Obama administration, in Libya, ended in the overthrow and killing of the country’s longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Obama admitted in his speech that renewing military operations in Iraq was deeply unpopular, particularly among those who voted for him in 2008 as a professed opponent of the war launched by President George W. Bush. He repeated a worthless pledge not to send combat troops, and then argued, “America has been able to make the world a more secure and prosperous place.” This absurd claim applies least of all to Iraq, a country largely destroyed as a functioning society by three decades of US bombing, economic blockade and military occupation.

The White House indicated it would send Congress an official notice under the War Powers Resolution that combat operations have begun in Iraq. But Obama aides said no congressional authorization was required because Obama had legal authority to order the use of force to protect American troops in Iraq—the troops he sent to Iraq less than two months ago to serve as a trip wire to justify further US military action.

Earlier this year, White House aides testified before Congress that the president as commander-in-chief had the power to order US military action anywhere in the world, including the invasion of a country, without any congressional authorization. The renewed bombing in Iraq represents an assertion of this untrammeled and quasi-dictatorial power.

Obama declared Saturday that the intervention in Iraq would go on for months, if not longer. It thus represents an open-ended commitment of the military and financial resources of the US government. Tens of billions of dollars will be thrown into the furnace of war to secure the interests of American imperialism in the vast oil resources of the region.

Who will pay the price? The Iraqi people, through death and devastation, and the American people, who will be told, once again, that there is “no money” for jobs, pay raises, pensions or other social benefits.

The renewed military intervention in Iraq is only one component in a far broader imperialist agenda. Obama’s so-called “pivot” to Asia does not mean shifting the focus of American imperialism from the oil-rich Middle East to a confrontation with China. It means adding the Far East to the Middle East, Central Asia, Ukraine, Libya and countless other areas where US imperialism is preparing to carry out aggression.

The continued control of a cabal of CIA, Pentagon and think tank conspirators, operating in conjunction with the American financial oligarchy, over US political and economic affairs poses a mortal danger to the future of all humanity.

As the Obama administration announced the deepening of its military intervention in Iraq, adding the arming of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia to its campaign of air strikes against Sunni Islamist insurgents, the Iraqi capital of Baghdad was seized by a political crisis largely of Washington’s making.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared on Iraqi state television at approximately midnight Sunday night to denounce the failure of Iraq’s president, Kurdish politician Fuad Masum, to name him as prime minister by the deadline set in the Iraqi constitution. He called this “a coup against the constitution and the political process.”

Even as he spoke, special forces units loyal to Maliki took up positions at key bridges and intersections in Baghdad, while surrounding the presidential palace and the heavily fortified Green Zone, where most government offices, including the parliament as well as foreign embassies, are located. There were some reports that tanks had also been seen in the streets.

“We have noticed suspicious security movements in Baghdad, distribution for forces and tanks which if persist can be considered a coup,” a former senior Kurdish official involved in the negotiations on selecting a new prime minister told the Wall Street Journal. “So far, we haven’t reached that point. It’s only Maliki showing his muscles.”

Within hours, the Iraqi president had tapped a rival from within Maliki’s Islamic Da’wa Party, Haidar al-Abadi, one of two deputy parliamentary speakers, as prime minister, giving him 30 days to form a new government.

The action was hailed by US officials. President Barack Obama, vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, called it a “promising step forward.” In a brief statement to the White House press corps Monday afternoon, Obama revealed that he and Vice President Joe Biden had called Abadi to congratulate him and “pledge support,” even as the power struggle within the Iraqi state remained far from resolved. He said that he had urged Abadi to “form a new cabinet as quickly as possible.”

Obama also claimed that US air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an offshoot of Al Qaeda, conducted over the previous three days had advanced what he claimed were Washington’s “limited military objectives” in Iraq, where he has ordered the first direct US armed intervention since the withdrawal of US troops from the country at the end of 2011.

These objectives, he claimed, were confined to protecting American citizens in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital of Irbil, aiding the Iraqi military and delivering humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority forced to flee ISIS violence.

At least since June, when ISIS—which has been the main fighting force in the US-backed sectarian war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria—overran over one quarter of Iraq’s territory, Washington has been pushing for the ouster of Maliki. Obama administration officials and the US corporate media have relentlessly scapegoated Maliki and his sectarian policies against Iraq’s Sunni minority for a societal breakdown that is the direct product of over eight years of US war and occupation that claimed the lives of some one million Iraqis.

During this occupation, in 2006, Washington installed Maliki—then a little-known former exile and junior official in the Da’wa party—as prime minister after he was hand-picked for the post by then-US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. In 2010 the US Embassy continued to back Maliki as he used his control of the state and the judiciary to essentially steal the election from his opponent, Ayad Allawi, whose Iraqiya bloc won the most seats in the parliament.

Now, while posing as defenders of the Iraqi constitution, US officials are backing a similar operation against Maliki, whose State of Law coalition was the front-runner in parliament elections held last April. Since then, with the country’s disintegration and under mounting US pressure, members of Maliki’s own party and bloc have deserted him. But he is still able to make a constitutional argument—diametrically opposed to the position he took in 2010—that as the head of the party with the most seats in parliament he has the right to attempt to form a government and secure for himself a third term in power.

There is little reason to give credence to Obama’s claims that Abadi’s installation—which has clearly been promoted by Washington—will signal the advent of a government that will “unite Iraq’s different communities” or “address the needs of all the Iraqi people.” There is virtually nothing to distinguish him from Maliki outside of their falling out over positions within the Da’wa Party, a Shiite religious-based formation that, while historically tied to Iran, fully supported the US invasion of 2003.

While Maliki’s bid for a third term is apparently opposed not only by Sunni and Kurdish factions, but also by a majority of the Shiite members of parliament, his departure is not yet an accomplished fact. Having over the past four years assumed direct control of Iraq’s defense, intelligence and interior ministries, he may attempt to prolong his rule by force, potentially unleashing a new armed conflict, even as much of the country has been overrun by ISIS. In his speech Sunday, Maliki appealed directly to the Iraqi military to “defend the constitution.”

Behind the hypocritical claims that the present US intervention is merely directed at protecting American civilians and rescuing besieged Yazidis from an Iraqi desert mountaintop, US imperialism is determined to exploit the present crisis as a means of reasserting its control over Iraq and redrawing the map of the Middle East to suit its own interests.

While as many as 30,000 of the Yazidis have managed to cross through Syria into Iraqi Kurdistan, and others have been left to die, the impact of the US “humanitarian” intervention is far from clear. The British daily Guardian spoke by phone with Khairi Naif, 55, a Yazidi who reported being trapped on Sinjar mountain with his 10 children. “We have been hearing of humanitarian aid that would be dropped on us by the US and British planes for the last two days, but up till the moment we have received absolutely nothing,” he said. “I believe that all the international promises are mere lies and no one cares about our catastrophe.”

The claims that US imperialism is driven by humanitarian considerations is belied by its record during the US war and occupation of Iraq, in which a divide-and-rule policy unleashed a sectarian bloodbath and led to the displacement of millions of Iraqis.

Meanwhile, US officials confirmed Monday that Washington has begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, whose troops are being backed by US close-air support in their battles with ISIS fighters near Irbil. According to US officials, the arms are being funneled to the Peshmerga by the CIA and include stocks of AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition.

There is no attempt by the Obama administration to reconcile this policy, which strengthens a separatist military force that has seized territory formerly controlled by the central government, including the key oil city of Kirkuk, during the present crisis, with US claims to be promoting a government of national unity in Baghdad.

US concerns over the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Irbil are not just over the fate of US civilians, but the profit interests of US oil corporations, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and smaller companies, which have set up lucrative operations there. Their activities have been conducted in defiance of the central government in Baghdad, which insists that it alone can conclude oil deals with foreign corporations.

In June, Abadi, the now newly designated prime minister, made statements demanding US air strikes against ISIS, while warning that if Washington was not forthcoming the Iraqi government would have to seek an Iranian intervention. At the time, US Secretary of State John Kerry had stated that the US launching such air strikes would be “a complete and total act of irresponsibility” given the sharp sectarian divisions inside the country.

It is far from clear that some 20 separate US air strikes carried over the past few days have changed the situation on the ground. While Peshmerga forces claimed to have retaken the northern towns of Gwer and Makhmur from ISIS fighters, ISIS reportedly captured the town of Jalawla, northeast of Baghdad, from the Kurdish fighters.

Argentina has now taken the US to The Hague for blocking the country’s 2005 settlement with the bulk of its creditors. The issue underscores the need for an international mechanism for nations to go bankrupt. Better yet would be a sustainable global monetary scheme that avoids the need for sovereign bankruptcy.

Argentina was the richest country in Latin America before decades of neoliberal and IMF-imposed economic policies drowned it in debt. A severe crisis in 2001 plunged it into the largest sovereign debt default in history. In 2005, it renegotiated its debt with most of its creditors at a 70% “haircut.” But the opportunist “vulture funds,” which had bought Argentine debt at distressed prices, held out for 100 cents on the dollar.

Paul Singer’s Elliott Management has spent over a decade aggressively trying to force Argentina to pay down nearly $1.3 billion in sovereign debt. Elliott would get about $300 million for bonds that Argentina claims it picked up for $48 million. Where most creditors have accepted payment at a 70% loss, Elliott Management would thus get a 600% return.

In June 2014, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a New York court’s order blocking payment to the other creditors until the vulture funds had been paid. That action propelled Argentina into default for the second time in this century – and the eighth time since 1827. On August 7, 2014, Argentina asked the International Court of Justice in the Hague to take action against the United States over the dispute.

Who is at fault? The global financial press blames Argentina’s own fiscal mismanagement, but Argentina maintains that it is willing and able to pay its other creditors. The fault lies rather with the vulture funds and the US court system, which insist on an extortionate payout even if it means jeopardizing the international resolution mechanism for insolvent countries. If creditors know that a few holdout vultures can trigger a default, they are unlikely to settle with other insolvent nations in the future.

Blame has also been laid at the feet of the IMF and the international banking system for failing to come up with a fair resolution mechanism for countries that go bankrupt. And at a more fundamental level, blame lies with a global debt-based monetary scheme that forces bankruptcy on some nations as a mathematical necessity. As in a game of musical chairs, some players must default.

Most money today comes into circulation in the form of bank credit or debt. Debt at interest always grows faster than the money supply, since more is always owed back than was created in the original loan. There is never enough money to go around without adding to the debt burden. As economist Michael Hudson points out, the debt overhang grows exponentially until it becomes impossible to repay. The country is then forced to default.

Fiscal Mismanagement or Odious Debt? 

Besides impossibility of performance, there is another defense Argentina could raise in international court – that of “odious debt.” Also known as illegitimate debt, this legal theory holds that national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation should not be enforceable.

The defense has been used successfully by a number of countries, including Ecuador in December 2008, when President Rafael Correa declared that its debt had been contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. The odious-debt defense allowed Ecuador to reduce the sum owed by 70%.

In a compelling article in Global Research in November 2006, Adrian Salbuchi made a similar case for Argentina. He traced the country’s problems back to 1976, when its foreign debt was just under US$6 billion and represented only a small portion of the country’s GDP. In that year:

An illegal and de facto military-civilian regime ousted the constitutionally elected government of president María Isabel Martínez de Perón [and] named as economy minister, José Martinez de Hoz, who had close ties with, and the respect of, powerful international private banking interests. With the Junta’s full backing, he systematically implemented a series of highly destructive, speculative, illegitimate – even illegal – economic and financial policies and legislation, which increased Public Debt almost eightfold to US$ 46 billion in a few short years. This intimately tied-in to the interests of major international banking and oil circles which, at that time, needed to urgently re-cycle huge volumes of “Petrodollars” generated by the 1973 and 1979 Oil Crises. Those capital in-flows were not invested in industrial production or infrastructure, but rather were used to fuel speculation in local financial markets by local and international banks and traders who were able to take advantage of very high local interest rates in Argentine Pesos tied to stable and unrealistic medium-term US Dollar exchange rates.

Salbuchi detailed Argentina’s fall from there into what became a $200 billion debt trap. Large tranches of this debt, he maintained, were “odious debt” and should not have to be paid:

Making the Argentine State – i.e., the people of Argentina – weather the full brunt of this storm is tantamount to financial genocide and terrorism. . . . The people of Argentina are presently undergoing severe hardship with over 50% of the population submerged in poverty . . . . Basic universal law gives the Argentine people the right to legitimately defend their interests against the various multinational and supranational players which, abusing the huge power that they wield, directly and/or indirectly imposed complex actions and strategies leading to the Public Debt problem.

Of President Nestor Kirchner’s surprise 2006 payment of the full $10 billion owed to the IMF, Salbuchi wrote cynically:

This key institution was instrumental in promoting and auditing the macroeconomic policies of the Argentine Government for decades. . . . Many analysts consider that . . . the IMF was to Argentina what Arthur Andersen was to Enron, the difference being that Andersen was dissolved and closed down, whilst the IMF continues preaching its misconceived doctrines and exerts leverage. . . . [T]he IMF’s primary purpose is to exert political pressure on indebted governments, acting as a veritable coercing agency on behalf of major international banks.

Sovereign Bankruptcy and the “Global Economic Reset”

Needless to say, the IMF was not closed down. Rather, it has gone on to become the international regulator of sovereign debt, which has reached crisis levels globally. Total debt, public and private, has grown by over 40% since 2007, to $100 trillion. The US national debt alone has grown from $10 trillion in 2008 to over $17.6 trillion today.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke of the need for a global economic “reset.”  National debts have to be “reset” or “readjusted” periodically so that creditors can keep collecting on their exponentially growing interest claims, in a global financial scheme based on credit created privately by banks and lent at interest. More interest-bearing debt must continually be incurred, until debt overwhelms the system and it again needs to be reset to keep the usury game going.

Sovereign debt (or national) in particular needs periodic “resets,” because unlike for individuals and corporations, there is no legal mechanism for countries to go bankrupt. Individuals and corporations have assets that can be liquidated by a bankruptcy court and distributed equitably to creditors. But countries cannot be liquidated and sold off – except by IMF-style “structural readjustment,” which can force the sale of national assets at fire sale prices.

A Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism ( SDRM) was proposed by the IMF in the early 2000s, but it was quickly killed by Wall Street and the U.S. Treasury. The IMF is working on a new version of the SDRM, but critics say it could be more destabilizing than the earlier version.

Meanwhile, the IMF has backed collective action clauses (CACs) designed to allow a country to negotiate with most of its creditors in a way that generally brings all of them into the net. But CACs can be challenged, and that is what happened in the case of the latest Argentine bankruptcy. According to Harvard Professor Jeffrey Frankel:

[T]he US court rulings’ indulgence of a parochial instinct to enforce written contracts will undermine the possibility of negotiated restructuring in future debt crises.

We are back, he says, to square one.

Better than redesigning the sovereign bankruptcy mechanism might be to redesign the global monetary scheme in a way that avoids the continual need for a bankruptcy mechanism.  A government does not need to borrow its money supply from private banks that create it as credit on their books. A sovereign government can issue its own currency, debt-free. But that interesting topic must wait for a follow-up article. Stay tuned.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

A cholera outbreak has killed 8,500 Haitians since 2010 and Joe Emmersberger argues that UN “peacekeeping” forces are responsible. Not only that, but they have been playing a role in consolidating the “post coup dictatorship” of Gerard Latortue.

Since 2010 the UN has been dodging responsibility for a cholera outbreak that has killed 8,500 Haitians and sickened more than 700,000. Nepalese soldiers with the UN “peacekeeping” forces caused the outbreak by allowing their sewage to leak into Haiti’s largest river. According to the UN itself, cholera could kill 2,000 more people in 2014. The UN now faces a lawsuit in US courts that was brought by some of the victims. The Obama administration is trying to have the suit dismissed but, this May, AmicusBriefs filed by prominent international law experts refuted the US governments’ arguments for dismissal. Scientific evidence of the UN’s guilt is so conclusive that Bill Clinton, a UN special envoy to Haiti, acknowledged in 2012 that UN soldiers brought cholera to Haiti but he made the UN’s demented excuse that

“…what really caused it is that you don’t have a sanitation system, you don’t have a comprehensive water system.”

By this logic, if I kill a gravely ill person by knocking them off their hospital bed, my defense should be that a healthy person would have survived the fall. In a civilized legal setting, where the victim cannot be dismissed as irrelevant, making such a repulsive argument might provoke a judge to hand down the harshest sentence allowable. Unfortunately, international law has always been the plaything of the most powerful and Haitians have long endured the consequences of that fact. Criminal negligence is one of many crimes in Haiti for which UN officials should answer.

On February 29, 2004 – at about 6:15am – US troops flew Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, out of Haiti. In fact, they flew him out of the Western Hemisphere – all the way to the Central Africa Republic.  According to the Bush administration’s comically implausible story, Aristide simply asked the US to save him from a small group of insurgents led by a convicted death squad leader, Jodel Chamblain. The public face of the insurgents was a crooked ex-police chief named Guy Philippe who had long standing ties with local elites and the U.S.  Chamblain was responsible for thousands of murders and rapes under a military junta that ruled Haiti from 1991 to 1994, after the first coup that ousted Aristide. It made sense to put the far younger Guy Philippe in front of cameras, but nobody with any knowledge of the 1991 coup had any excuse for failing to see what was coming in 2004.

The insurgents had been launching hit and run attacks into Haiti for years (since 2000) from the safe haven offered by the Dominican Republic, a US client. Jeb Sprague’s book “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti” documents how key players among Aristides’ “peaceful opponents” in Haiti, along with military and government officials from the Dominican Republic, closely supported the insurgents who killed dozens of people while the international press (and the human rights industry) ignored it and depicted some of the financiers as victims of a “crackdown on dissent”.  The “crackdown” was one of the excuses the Bush administration used to starve the Aristide government of funds for years with the help of the OAS. US led sanctions, among other things, blocked funds for projects to improve Haiti’s water supply to protect against the spread of diseases like cholera. At the same time, tens of millions of US government dollars flowed to Aristide’s political rivals.

Sprague’s book reveals that, after Aristide was overthrown in 2004, hundreds of former rightist paramilitaries were incorporated into Haiti’s police force under the UN and US Embassy’s close supervision.  Anyone familiar with the 1991 coup will find this as unsurprising as it is disgusting. When the Clinton Administration ordered the Cedras military junta to stand down in 1994 (and permit Aristide to serve out what little was left of his first term in office) it did so only after guaranteeing impunity for the junta’s leaders and arranging for some of its henchmen to remain within Haiti’s security forces. Aristide, to some extent, countered those maneuvers by disbanding the Haitian army over strong US objections. The re-constructed Haitian police remained infiltrated by officers close to the US and local rightwing forces. Nevertheless, the US and its allies were forced to a play a far more direct role in the 2004 coup because Haiti lacked its own army, the force traditionally used by the U.S. to bring down governments it dislikes.

A few months after the 2004 coup, UN troops (known by the French acronym MINUSTAH) took over the task of consolidating Gerard Latortue’s post-coup dictatorship.  Roughly 4,000 of Aristide’s supporters were murdered under Latortue according to a scientific survey published in the Lancet medical journal [1].  Hundreds more, by conservative estimates, became political prisoners. Most of the killing was done by the police and death squads allied with them. MINUSTAH generally provided tactical support but also perpetrated its own atrocities. On July 5, 2005 MINUTAH went on a shooting spree in the shantytown of Cite Soleil that was so murderous (and so well documented) that a MINUSTAH spokesman felt obliged to promptly state that it “deeply regrets any injuries or loss of life during its operation”.  In 2012, MINUSTAH found some of its troops guilty of rape and sexual abuse.  The actual perpetrators, to say nothing their commanding officers, have evaded serious consequences even when found guilty. Over a hundred MINUSTAH troops have been sent out of Haiti to “face justice” at home for sex crimes. Little wonder that abusers have been undeterred.

Thanks to Wikileaks, we need not speculate about exactly what the US government wanted to get out of MINUSTAH in Haiti. In a 2008 cable, the US Ambassador to Haiti predicted that the “security dividend the US reaps from this hemispheric cooperation not only benefits the immediate Caribbean, but also is developing habits of security cooperation in the hemisphere…” She identified “resurgent populist and anti-market economy political forces” in Haiti as a threat to the entire hemisphere. She highlighted the importance of having other countries contribute towards neutralizing the threat:

“This regionally-coordinated Latin American commitment to Haiti would not be possible without the UN umbrella. That same umbrella helps other major donors — led by Canada and followed up by the EU, France, Spain, Japan and others — justify their bilateral assistance domestically.”

It won’t do for allies to explain to their own people that they are doing the USA’s dirty work in Haiti – helping it contain the political threat posed by “populist and anti-market forces” or, in other words, sacrificing Haiti as a pawn on a regional chessboard imagined by US officials.

After two years of terrorizing Aristide’s supporters – murdering, imprisoning and driving them into exile -the US and its allies allowed Haitians to elect a government to replace Latortue’s dictatorship. The presidency was won by Rene Preval – a former president and Aristide protégé who had played no role at all in the 2004 coup.  It was a stunning refutation of the propaganda used to justify the coup. Preval won the election in the first round despite barely being able to campaign. Candidates who had been prominent leaders of the coup (Charles Baker, Guy Philippe) received single digit percentages of the vote.

The cables released by Wikileaks show that Preval worried about being given the Aristide treatment while in office and treaded very carefully around US officials.  Former Brazilian diplomat, Ricardo Seitenfus, says that in 2010 MINUSTAH chief Edmond Mulet explicitly threatened Preval with a coup and exile for opposing US interference with Haitian elections. Preval supposedly responded to Mulet’s threat by saying “I am not Aristide. I am Salvador Allende”.  Preval and Colin Granderson, head of the CARICOM-OAS Electoral Mission in Haiti in 2010-2011, have backed up the claim that Preval had been “asked” to step down.

Seitenfus has also strongly denounced the corruption and hypocrisy of the key governments that sustain MINUSTAH – in particular the infamous “core group”: the USA, Canada, France, Spain and Brazil. Commenting on the impact of the 2010 earthquake that may have killed 200,000 people, Seitenfus remarked, “Traditionally in Haiti, the “goods” such as hospitals, schools and humanitarian aid are delivered by the private sector, while the “bads” — that is, police enforcement — is the state’s responsibility. The earthquake further deepened this terrible dichotomy.”

An “aid” sector made up of foreign NGOs that are not accountable to the vast majority of Haitians, breeds corruption and inefficiency as Timothy Schwartz has also pointed out. It gives many NGOs, with some honorable exceptions, a strong incentive to thwart the development of democratic institutions in Haiti that would hold them accountable and take over many of their functions. 

Brazil stepped up to play a leading role in MINUSTAH. Today, despite various MINUSTAH related scandals, Brazil continues to supply the largest contingent of troops. Uruguay supplies the second largest contingent though President Mujica has pledged to withdraw them. Bolivia and Ecuador also supply troops. Venezuela’s Chavista governments, on the other hand, always recognized the 2004 coup for what it was and never contributed to MINUSTAH. Thankfully, the backlash from Latin American governments was fierce when the USA and Canada maneuvered at the OAS to weaken a strong regional response against the 2009 coup in Honduras. Sanderson’s dream of “hemispheric cooperation” with the US to defeat “populist and anti-market economy political forces” quickly became more of a fantasy.  Edward Snowden’s revelations of extensive US spying on the Brazilian government also poured cold water on the USA’s imperial dreamers. This year’s upper class revolt in Venezuela – an undisguised attempt at “regime change” – was strongly opposed by the OAS, much to the Obama Administration’s dismay.

Rejecting coups and coup attempts is very important step in the right direction. However, Latin American governments should move beyond that. They should call for the prosecution of MINUSTAH officials like Edmond Mulet. Eventually, the prosecution of his bosses in Washington, Ottawa and Paris might become a realistic option.

Note

[1] Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson, “Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households,” The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006

Cold War Two

August 12th, 2014 by William Blum

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.”

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.”

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles.Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned.

Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.

The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …

Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?

One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”

It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting.

The United States and torture

Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.

Thus it is somewhat to the credit of President Obama that at his August 1 press conference he declared “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

And he actually used the word “torture” at that moment, not “enhanced interrogation”, which has been the euphemism of preference the past decade, although two minutes later the president used “extraordinary interrogation techniques”. And “tortured some folks” makes me wince. The man is clearly uncomfortable with the subject.

But all this is minor. Much more important is the fact that for several years Mr. Obama’s supporters have credited him with having put an end to the practice of torture. And they simply have no right to make that claim.

Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.

Moreover, the Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?

The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ – picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”

The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely because they were willing and able to torture them.

No official in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for torture or other war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture they inflicted upon us all beginning in 2008. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning.

In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:

The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.

I’d like at this point to once again remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states:

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity.

The Convention Against Torture has been and remains the supreme law of the land. It is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.

“Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, July 26, 2013

John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in January 2013 to be Director of the CIA, has defended “rendition” as an “absolutely vital tool”; and stated that torture had produced “life saving” intelligence.

Obama had nominated Brennan for the CIA position in 2008, but there was such an outcry in the human-rights community over Brennan’s apparent acceptance of torture, that Brennan withdrew his nomination. Barack Obama evidently learned nothing from this and appointed the man again in 2013.

During Cold War One, a common theme in the rhetoric was that the Soviets tortured people and detained them without cause, extracted phony confessions, and did the unspeakable to detainees who were helpless against the full, heartless weight of the Communist state. As much as any other evil, torture differentiated the bad guys, the Commies, from the good guys, the American people and their government. However imperfect the US system might be – we were all taught – it had civilized standards that the enemy rejected.

Just because you have a right to do something does not make it right.

The city of Detroit in recent months has been shutting off the supply of water to city residents who have not paid their water bills. This action affects more than 40% of the customers of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, bringing great inconvenience and threats to the health and sanitation of between 200 and 300 thousand residents. Protests have of course sprung up in the city, with “Water is a human right!” as a leading theme.

Who can argue with that? Well, neo-conservatives and other true believers in the capitalist system who maintain that if you receive the benefit of a product or service, you pay for it. What could be simpler? What are you, some kind of socialist?

For those of you who have difficulty believing that an American city could be so insensitive, allow me to remind you of some history.

On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that “education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights”. Notice the “proper nourishment”. The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.

A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.

The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There’s no need to tell you who cast the sole “No” vote.

These votes took place under the Reagan administration.

Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a “right to food” could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.

The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another UN-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to “safe and nutritious food”. The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.

I’m waiting for a UN resolution affirming the right to oxygen.

Notes

  1. See various examples at RT.com, such as “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails, most entertaining grillings”, or simply search the site for “Ukraine Jen Psaki”
  2. Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News
  3. “Letter dated 22 July 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General”, released by the UN 24 July, Document No. A/68/954-S/2014/524
  4. “Pre-WWIII German Pilot Shocker, MH17 ‘Not Hit By Missile’”, Before It’s News, July 31 2014
  5. Associated Press, August 4, 2014
  6. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
  7. New York Times, February 6, 2009
  8. Associated Press, November 17, 2008
  9. Associated Press, November 26, 2008
  10. Washington Post, November 18, 1996
  11. Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002

By Women’s Justice Center

Note: Throughout this text the terms Child Protective Services (CPS) and Child Welfare Agencies are used interchangeably.

Introduction

Probably no other public agency leaves victims and advocates more perplexed than Child Protective Services. On the one hand, people think of CPS with appreciation as they envision a selfless agency rescuing innocent children from horrific conditions. Indeed, CPS workers across the country do this routinely. The gratitude is deserved.

At the same time, the agency seems to be perpetually marred by a steady drumbeat of nightmare stories about CPS emanating from the very families CPS is supposed to serve. This text deals with just one of these problems; the CPS practice of removing or threatening to remove children from the nonviolent, non-offending parent in cases of family violence. This guide explains why this happens with such frequency, how to help prevent it from happening in your case, and what to do about it if you’re already caught in its grip. (Since the non-offending, nonviolent parent in these cases is usually the mother, we often refer to this parent as ‘the mother’, though there are certainly cases where the non-offending parent is the father.)

The Situation as it Usually Unfolds

In brief, the particular problem we cover usually unfolds like this. A mother herself seeks help from CPS or becomes involved with CPS through someone else’s report of suspected child abuse. Her child has been physically or sexually abused by a family member, usually by a male family member, or there are concerns the child is living in a home where there is domestic violence. At first, the mother naturally anticipates that CPS will try to help her and her child, and try to punish and stop the perpetrator. So these mothers are stunned when suddenly the CPS/juvenile court system turns its sights on her, even though everyone agrees she didn’t perpetrate the abuse or violence.

Suddenly she is the one under investigation, and the perpetrator is seeming to be all but ignored. And worse, CPS is threatening to take her child from her, or has already done so without warning or notice, and is threatening to keep the child, right at the time that mother and child need each other most. She feels the system turn hostile toward her. Did she, the non-offending parent, protect the child from the violent parent? Did she protect the child from molestation? Did she protect the child from being exposed to domestic violence in the home? Well, no, obviously she did not, or could not, or, in the case of molestation, often didn’t know about it.

Instead of being treated more as a co-victim of a violent perpetrator, with help and guidance provided according to the mother’s expressed needs, she is treated more as a co-perpetrator, with CPS establishing mandated controls over virtually any which aspect of her life CPS chooses, all under threat of losing her child. In addition to court dates at which it is her behavior that’s in question, CPS gives her a mandated, often overwhelming set of programs and goals she must comply with to the satisfaction of the CPS/juvenile court system, in order to – maybe – get the child back – and maybe not. She is also held accountable for maintaining a cooperative attitude throughout, even though she is, in fact, in a profoundly adversarial relationship with CPS (which is why she’s given an attorney at court time). At the same time, she begins to realize that the CPS/juvenile court system isn’t pushing to hold the perpetrator accountable for his violence, nor is CPS even invested with the power to do so.

Most mothers say they would rather be threatened with jail than to be threatened with the loss of her child. Yet as invasive, terrifying, and awesome as this governmental threat is, virtually all the decisions as to her fitness, compliance, and fate are being decided at the lowest judicial standard of evidence, 51% of the evidence, the ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard. This is a far cry from the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard the government must reach before sentencing someone to jail for even the briefest time.

The level of proof against her that CPS is required to put forth is so minimal that it provides the mother little protection against any abusive, prejudiced, or discriminatory exercise of power by CPS. The low evidence burden on CPS also makes it nearly impossible for the mother to defend herself, especially against such vague accusations as ‘failure to protect’, or that ‘she knew or should have known’, things which don’t even constitute a crime in the criminal system. And to top off the injustices, an all too common requirement on her must-do list is that she and/or the child must partake in family conferencing or a family reunification plan in which one or both must meet, mediate, or co-counsel with the perpetrator – the very same perpetrator from whom the mother has been accused of ‘failure to protect’ the child.

The Dawn of Recognition

Unfortunately, such stories are not the result of occasional human errors that are bound to occur in any public agency. They are, instead, inevitable and frequent outcomes stemming from the flawed founding premises and the weak legal underpinnings of the CPS/juvenile court system. The structure of the system drives toward these injustices no matter how well intentioned individual CPS workers may be. Nor is this to say that children should never be removed from the non-offending parent. There are circumstances in which they should. The problem is that the system is so arbitrary, sexist, secret, and outdated, that it tends toward abusive or mistaken results.

In the last decade, there has been growing recognition and discussion of the CPS problem as it pertains to the non-offending parent. In 1999, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges put together the Greenbook Initiative, a set of 67 recommendations aimed at remedying precisely this set of problems. But though the Greenbook gives long overdue recognition to the issue, the recommendations don’t call for installing any firm checks on the system, as will be discussed in more detail in a later section.

And in 2004, in New York state, there was a landmark settlement in a class action lawsuit against that state’s child welfare agencies. The lawsuit, Nicholson v. Scoppetta, had been brought by mothers who had their children removed for no other reason than that the mothers, victims of domestic violence, had failed to protect their children from ‘exposure’ to the domestic violence. The 2004 lawsuit agreement and an earlier injunction prohibited child welfare agencies from using this reason alone to remove children from non-offending parents.

Though the lawsuit put CPS agencies around the country on notice of their wrongdoing and harm done in these cases, to date it has brought only modest change in practice. The vague laws and weak evidence standards governing CPS means that CPS workers need only adjust the language used in their justification for removing a child, offer the usual scant proof, and many juvenile courts continue removing children in these situations as before.

Perhaps the brightest spot on the horizon is the year 2005 resolution passed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in support of presumptively open hearings with discretion of courts to close. Since their founding, most CPS/juvenile court proceedings have been operating in secret, completely off the public record. This secrecy has mushroomed the system’s tendency toward abuse. The judges’ 2005 resolution in support of open hearings is not yet law, but it’s a promising step. It’s highly unlikely any of the system’s abuses will be corrected until this essential public airing and public scrutiny of the system’s proceedings is firmly set into law and practice.

The Oppressive Swath of Danger and Damage

The harm of the widespread CPS practice of removing or threatening to remove children from non-offending parents extends far beyond the dangers and injustices to individual mothers and children. The harm extends to nearly every poor, immigrant, or minority race mother who is trying to deal with family violence. Most have heard first hand stories of CPS removing children from other mothers in their neighborhoods. As a result, they become reluctant to seek help for their own situations for fear that the same thing might happen to them.

Though we include a fair amount of information about the structure and history of CPS, the purpose of this guide isn’t to do policy analysis nor to make recommendations for change. The purpose of this guide is to give family violence victims, advocates, and mandated reporters information and tips that can help you, as best as possible, to understand and avoid the pitfalls and abuses of the CPS/Juvenile Court system as they pertain to the non-offending parent.

The White House attempts to buy goodwill on the continent amid escalation in militarism

A much-anticipated summit at the State Department and White House was held during Aug. 4-8. Dozens of African heads-of-state and the chair of the African Union (AU) Commission attended.

Nonetheless, several leading countries were not invited or chose not to attend including Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea, Chad, Egypt as well as Liberia and Sierra Leone. Although the AU Commission Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was present at the summit, it was not this continental organization that set the terms for participation.

A similar situation occurred earlier in the year when a European Union (EU)-Africa Summit was held in Belgium. Although the AU had met to determine how the meeting would be approached, in the final analysis the EU made the prevailing decisions.

In a public statement during the summit, Dlamini-Zuma suggested that the U.S. was not fully aware of developments in Africa. She warned that if Washington did not engage the continent then they would effectively be losers in the future character of relations.

The AU Commission Chair said that “It’s in their advantage to know what’s happening in Africa because if they don’t come to the party eventually the party will happen without them. Business people really know about Africa from the media and American media is not really kind on Africa. They tend to report what bleeds and leads.” (Sapa, Aug. 7)

In the Southern African state of Zimbabwe, whose leader President Robert Mugabe, was not invited to the summit, an editorial that was published in the government-owned Herald newspaper criticized President Barack Obama for his continuing attempt to blame Africa for its current economic problems. This was a significant theme in his speech before the Republic of Ghana parliament in 2009 after he took office, specifically targeting Zimbabwe claiming that difficulties there where the U.S. carries out sanctions, could not be blamed on the legacy of colonialism.

Mugabe, who is the incoming chairperson of the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC), is disliked by the imperialist countries because he implemented a radical land reform program that returns large portions of the land stolen by the British colonialists during the 19th century to the African people. The Zimbabwe Revolution fought during the 1960s and 1970s, was based on the return of the land to the indigenous people.

The Herald editorial stressed that “President Barack Obama’s recent remarks urging Africa to stop making ‘excuses’ for the continent’s economic doldrums based on the history of colonialism were not only unfortunate and ill-conceived but also insensitive. I’m not sure whether Obama has deliberately developed selective amnesia not to realize that the wealth accumulated by the country he now leads has been through the blood and sweat of those from the cradle of mankind (humanity).” (Aug. 3)

Pointing out the stark contradictions in the Obama administration’s approach to relations with Africa and the Middle East, the Herald goes on to say that “Here is the leader of the free world who has been mum over the unrestrained bombardment and culling of innocent civilians in Gaza yet he wants to walk the moral high ground and lecture the historically and perpetually traumatized Africans on morality and righteousness. Africa’s socio-political and economic problems are a direct consequence of slavery and colonialism.”

In Competition Against China and Others

The U.S. is attempting to buy some goodwill by announcing $33 billion in new investments, yet there was a strong emphasis on the so-called “war on terrorism.”

After the conclusion of the summit it was announced that the U.S. would be subsidizing French military operations in West Africa. Obama is directing $10 million in supposed “foreign aid” to Paris to assist in purported “counterterrorism operations” on the African continent. (The Hill, Aug. 11)

The money from the Pentagon will contribute to French military efforts to fight what they describe as “terrorist groups” in Mali, Niger and Chad, the president wrote in a memorandum to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry. “I hereby determine that an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to France in its efforts to secure Mali, Niger, and Chad from terrorists and violent extremists,” Obama declared.

On the contrary a Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has been existence since 2000, holding five full-fledged summits in both China and Africa. At present China is the number one trading partner with AU member-states. Many African heads-of-state and opinion-makers have stated that the character of investment and trade between Africa and Beijing are more beneficial to the continent than the ongoing neo-colonial relations with the western imperialist states.

AU member-states have also established formal economic and political relations with South American governments through the Africa-South America Summit, having held three meetings in Africa and South America. Many African states are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) incorporating over 100 countries of the Southern hemisphere.

Iran and Japan have also held meetings with AU-member states on improving relations. South Africa was brought into the Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRICS) Summit where the last gathering was held in Durban.

Imperialist Militarism Takes Priority Over Trade

In fact there is nothing the U.S. can offer Africa other than imperialist militarism and enhanced exploitation by the oil, natural gas and mining firms along with the predatory actions of the banks. Much of the discussion surrounding the U.S.-Africa Summit focused on “security issues”, in other words what Washington describes as the “war on terrorism.”

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was initiated by the previous government of President George W. Bush but it has been strengthened and enhanced under his successor. The U.S. currently engages in joint military operations with at least three dozen states on the continent.

Countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria, Niger, Mali and others have substantial U.S. Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) presence through troops on the ground, intelligence field stations and drone operations. Despite this heavy military presence, these states suffer underdevelopment and political instability.

Until Africa moves towards socialism there will not be a general improvement in the living conditions of the majority of workers, farmers and youth. The foreign policy imperatives, including the character of relations with the West, will be determined in the present period not in Addis Ababa and Johannesburg but in Washington and Brussels.

The Big Oil cartels have, for decades, been poisoning the Gulf of Mexico, the Persian Gulf and many other ocean floors with millions of gallons of toxic crude oil via their risky, and very leaky deep water oil wells. It wasn’t just the crime against the planet that British Petroleum and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton perpetrated in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. There are many other things that have contributed to the mortal wounding of the Gulf.

A good example of the damage done to the Gulf by corporate entities includes the Mississippi River delta’s massive dead zone that has been extending rapidly into the Gulf for decades, thanks to the many shoreline polluters that have been dumping toxins into the river all the way back to the headwaters in “environmentally friendly” Minnesota.

 There are hundreds of dead zones at the mouths of many of the world’s major rivers, but the pollution that caused the huge dead zone at the Mississippi’s mouth started with the over-fertilization and over-application of highly toxic herbicides and pesticides on Upper Midwest farmlands. (See.www.geoengineeringwatch.com for more details.)

Carcinogenic corporate waste products that are dumped directly into the river or otherwise seep into the ground water are known to sicken and then kill living creatures downstream. As I was growing up, I fished in the Minnesota River and I witnessed the beginnings of the near-fatal wounding of that river because of massive corporate farm chemical runoff.  The Minnesota went from swimmable and fishable to muddy, smelly, toxic and relatively fishless during the years in which I was coming of age..

So far the corporate criminals in the Big Oil, Big Chemical and Big Agribusiness industries have been making disastrous economic decisions, but they keep getting off with barely a slap on the wrist for heavily contributing to the slow death of our poisoned planet. And all of a sudden, just like Wall Street’s Big Bank predatory lenders, who had controlling power in the Cheney/Bush administration (and who also got off scot-free with the pre-meditated murder of the economy in 2008), are now back to business as usual in the Obama administration, awarding themselves lavish bonuses and getting everything they want from our bribed legislators and co-opted Supreme Court justices.

These sociopaths could just as well be saying to us:

“to hell with the long-term sustainability of Mother Earth. And to hell with you peasants in the lower 99% who depend on Mother Earth’s health. We in the upper 1% have got our politicians, our lawyers, our judges, our gated communities and our body guards, and we dare you to try to take any of it away from us.”

Whatever the highly paid lobbyists from Big Business tell us in their ever-present Big Media staged interviews, the only things that really matter to them and their paymasters is shareholder value, the next quarter’s profit report and today’s share prices (that they hope will not be adversely affected by the rather regular revelations of criminal or unethical activities).

 Big Oil Isn’t the Only Industry that Has Been Polluting the Air and the Water

Of course, the history of petroleum pollution of the once pristine, fertile and life-giving waters of the Gulf of Mexico didn’t just start with Big Oil’s inadvisable deep water drilling.

In 1946, flush with pride at winning WWII, the US Department of the Navy established a base of naval air operations on the shores of the Florida Gulf. For the purpose of recruiting pilots to the Navy and raising unit morale it started performing airshows for the public and the Blue Angels flying team was born. The Gulf has been its base of operations ever since, first at Jacksonville, Florida (until 1950), then at Corpus Christi, Texas (from 1950 to 1954), and finally at its permanent home at Pensacola.

The Angels began petro-poisoning the Gulf when the Navy found it advisable to have its fighter jets dump excess fuel over the Gulf just prior to landing thus decreasing the already remote possibility of a lethal fireball engulfing the pilot in case of a crash landing. No records seem to have been kept to quantify the volume or frequency of such fuel dumps, and, simply out of ignorance or arrogance, no environmental impact study was ever considered.

JP-5 Jet Propellant is Highly Toxic Whether Burned or Dumped

The current Blue Angels F-18s use a highly toxic propellant fuel, the most recent permutation of which is called JP-5. And the many additives do not burn clean, no matter what the Pentagon says.

JP-5 is actually a refined kerosene that also contains a mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which are known carcinogens (cancer-causing) as well as being toxic to liver, kidney and immune systems.

The post-combustion exhaust from jet engines is an equally carcinogenic pollutant of air, water and soil that is poisonous to human and non-human animals as well as plant and aquatic life.

The military personnel who handle the JP-5 fuel are at high risk of being poisoned by inhaling the raw fumes or the engine exhaust. Those exposed can easily develop, in a delayed fashion, chronic illnesses because of the toxicity of the VOCs.

The Sobering Economics of Military Air Shows

The fuel consumption data for the US Navy’s Blue Angel and USAF Thunderbird air shows are generally kept somewhat secret – and for good reason. The alarmingly high fuel consumption would tend to dampen the enthusiasm of all but the most patriotic and thrill-seeking ticket-buyers.

The aviation industry says that JP-5 jet fuel costs 2-3 times more than automotive fuel which has been averaging $4/gallon. Therefore, JP-5 costs the Pentagon between $8 and $12/gallon!

A few years back the Blue Angels were in my hometown of Duluth, MN, headlining the biannual air show. A local journalist was given a publicity ride before the show and wrote in his column that the jet he rode in burned 1,200 gallons (8,000 pounds) of fuel per hour. That number should startle everybody, for 1200 gallons of fuel for a fuel-efficient car that gets 40 mpg would cover 48,000 miles and cost $4,800 if you were paying $4/gallon. If you were driving 10,000 miles per year, the amount of fuel that that Blue Angel jet burns up in one hour would fuel your car for almost 5 years.

1,200 gallons of JP-5 would cost $12,000 at $10/gallon. Multiply that by 6 (the number of jets in each performing team) and you get $72,000 as the actual fuel costs of a one hour show. And that doesn’t factor in the fuel costs for the round trip to Florida for each of the 70 air shows that the Blue Angels do in a typical year. Do the math if you can and you will start to rethink the need for such environmentally-insensitive entertainment events.

Eight USAF Thunderbird F-16 jets were in Duluth on July 14, 2014 (along with the obligatory C-17 cargo plane carrying 30 support staff and spare parts for the jets). They had an important mission to perform the next day. Six of them flew 150 miles to the Major League Baseball All-Star game in Minneapolis to do a10 second flyover that coincided with the last strains of the Star Spangled Banner. Two spare jets were left sitting on the tarmac in Duluth. The News Tribune reporter covering that story wrote that “each of the multi-million dollar fighter jets will consume about 3,000 pounds – or 500 gallons – of fuel to make the (30 minute) round trip” to and from Minneapolis.

We’re talking big bucks here, even if some of the costs are reimbursed by civilian event sponsors.

In 2012 a Duluth News-Tribune reporter covering one of the air shows wrote that the commanding officer of the Blue Angels team is required to fly a minimum of 3,000 training hours (paid for by the US taxpayer) in order to qualify for the role of commander. The other team members had to fly 1350 training hours. The journalist noted in that article that there were a total of 15 pilots in the team, although only 6 perform at a time. The team members, subs as well as prime time flyers, practice their highly technical and dangerous maneuvers virtually every day to keep their skills honed and the air shows safe.

As of 2006, there had reportedly been 230 fighter pilots since the Blue Angels started their stunt-flying for audiences. Since the Angels began flying in 1946, about 25 of their pilots have died in crashes, which means that as many as 25 multimillion-dollar planes went down in the fatal crashes (this figure does not factor in the planes that were demolished while the pilot ejected safely). In 2011, 70 Blue Angel air shows (two shows per weekend) were presented at 35 different sites, with rehearsal flights the day before each performance. When they are not touring, the Angels practice their routines year-round, usually over the Gulf of Mexico at their Pensacola base of operations.

 Now for the really sobering math.

Couldn’t There be a Better Use for the Fuel That is Used up in Air Shows?

  Using the figures that the journalist obtained from the Blue Angels, the 3,000 hours of training for the single Commanding Officer used up as many as 2,400,000 gallons of jet fuel just to qualify (3,000 hours X 800 gallons/hour)! Of course, this training number does not include the equally enormous amounts of fuel consumed during the air shows, the rehearsals or the flights to and from Pensacola.

The 1,350 training hours for the other pilots on the team (at one time there were as many as 15 pilots on the Blue Angels team) consumed as much as 1,080,000 gallons for each pilot’s training (1,350 hours X 800 gallons/hour). Multiply that by 14 non-CO pilots and you get 15,120,000 gallons of fuel just for the hours spent training those pilots.

 Considering the fact that a gallon of today’s JP-5 jet fuel costs around $8 to $12/gallon (average $10/gallon), every new Navy pilot who succeeds at becoming a Blue Angel pilot will cost the US taxpayer approximately $10,080,000 per pilot (1,080,000 gallons X $10/gallon) – just for the fuel used to become a member of the team! And the 10 million dollars is not factoring in the airmen’s salaries, the retirement pensions or the tens of millions of dollars that each jet costs.

I challenge readers to try to estimate in  dollar figures the enormous fuel costs for all of the Blue Angel shows/year, and then try to calculate the fuel used up in the flights to and from Pensacola (or Las Vegas in the case of the Thunderbirds). And then add in the costs of the huge transport plane that carries all the repair parts and the scores of support crew members in supply and maintenance.

Then we must consider the enormous amounts of time, mind and money that is spent producing these shows. Of course, the costs to the American taxpayer are impossible to calculate, but surely it must be billions of dollars per year, admittedly partly offset by ticket sales. Nevertheless, the burning of precious fuel must be taken into account if and when the future of fuel-wasting military air shows is re-considered.

Squandering Increasingly Scarce Fossil Fuel for our Amusement

Next weekend (August 23-24, 2014), the Blue Angels will be headlining the biennial Duluth Air Show. There will be a number of other participants, all using up increasingly scarce petroleum products for purposes of entertainment and the recruitment of starry-eyed, vulnerable young children who have been primed for wanting to join the killing professions because of their extensive experience with first person shooter videogames that make homicidal violence attractive.

America is headed for an over-population, Peak Oil, economic and climate change cliff, so isn’t it about time for people to get serious about the worrisome realities above? We live in a world of rapidly dwindling fossil fuel resources that are cavalierly being squandered by our selfish corporate misleaders on Wall Street, including Big Oil, Big Agribusiness, Big Chemical, Big Food, Big Media and Big Armaments. Each of these industries – in one way or the other – profits from wars and rumors of war, and so the mesmerizing beat goes on.

And then of course we have our equally pro-war political (in both major parties) and military misleaders at both state and federal levels that have mis-led America into our current military misadventures. And none of them has a clue as to how to honorably extract the nation out of any of those quagmires.

The ill-advised decision by the Cheney/Bush administration to go to war in the oil-rich Middle East has resulted in two disastrous, unaffordable wars, in which tens of thousands of service men and women were deceived into believing that they were fighting for America’s freedom rather than for the corporate fat cats that profit from wars. Too many ex-soldiers are now physically, neurologically and/or spiritually dead or dying (way too often at their own hands), not for American “democracy”, but for money-hungry corporations that cunningly waved the flag and wore the patriotic lapel pins but who really never cared about the well-being of their “cannon fodder” warriors who did their dirty work. The flag that the multinationals pledge allegiance to IS NOT the Stars and Stripes.

Millions of dead and dying American veterans from every war over the last century enlisted out of a sense of patriotic duty; but most of them soon found themselves disillusioned by the atrocities they were committing, the exposures to military toxins, the highly processed, malnourishing meals, the post-combat demons, the nightmares and the suicidality – all the while earning less than minimum wage (and usually not even getting the hazardous duty pay they deserved).

America’s soldiers, airmen, seamen and Marines have been, in reality, working not for the US Constitution to which they pledged allegiance, but rather for a whole host of nefarious special interest groups that quickly stopped supporting the troops when the body bags and broken brains came home.

Hopefully, acknowledging these unwelcome realities will someday set us free from the war-mongering, get-rich quick schemers on Wall Street.

One of the purposes of this column is to point out some of the serious downsides of military air shows in order to help others make the connection between America’s unaffordable imperialist, endless war agenda and the on-rushing energy and environmental crises that have been censored out of our consciousness by a feel-good media that chooses vagueness or silence when courageous clarity is what is needed.

So, next weekend, many patriotic Duluthians will be understandably watching in wide-eyed wonder at the highly skilled Blue Angel pilots as they do their breath-taking maneuvers. But some Duluthians will be pondering the many negatives of America’s energy-wasting air shows. Sadly, the Blue Angels and their fans are unconsciously hastening – if nothing is done – America’s inevitable moral and financial bankruptcy by wasting precious non-renewable fossil fuel resources and at the same time permanently poisoning the planet for ourselves and for those that come after us.

Dr Kohls feels a duty to warn others about issues of violence, racism, militarism and economic oppression in his weekly column. His essays are frequently republished on various websites world-wide.

Russia is consistently portrayed in the Western media as the “aggressor” amid the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, however, it is clear through overt moves by NATO’s proxy regime in Kiev, that attempts are being made to intentionally provoke, not defend against Moscow’s ire.

The New York Times, in a recent article admits that the military campaign Kiev is carrying out against its own citizens in eastern Ukraine is overt brutality carried out by literal flag-waving Nazis, with the all but stated goal of provoking a Russian invasion.
Brutal Provocations 

The New York Times in an article titled, “Ukraine Strategy Bets on Restraint by Russia,” states:

Buoyed by successes against the separatists over the past two months — and noting that the Russians have threatened an invasion in the region before without following through — Ukrainian commanders have pressed ahead with an offensive to drive the rebels from their stronghold in Donetsk in the east. 

The army continued to fire artillery into the city nightly, and paramilitary groups raided outlying villages despite warnings from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he could intervene at any time to protect Ukrainians who favor closer ties with his country. And the Ukrainians have flaunted their victories.

Shelling populated centers and raiding villages far from its tenuous base of support, does not appear to be Kiev “defending itself,” nor in line with the “international norms” frequently cited by Washington, London, and Brussels when justifying “humanitarian interventions” elsewhere throughout the world.

The NYT also notes that Russia “threatened” to intervene amid Kiev’s brutality, but never did – calling into question the notion that Russia is being “aggressive.”The NYT continues, with what appears to be language designed to provoke Russia into crossing its border with Ukraine to intervene:

But Western leaders and analysts remain unconvinced Mr. Putin will be willing to be taunted endlessly or to permit extensive deaths of pro-Russian civilians. The United Nations said recently that at least 1,543 civilians and combatants on both sides have died since mid-April.

And in this statement, the NYT admits that indeed the Banderite Nazis NATO is aiding, funding, and soon to be training and arming , are carrying out a campaign of brutality causing “extensive deaths of pro-Russian civilians.”Nazis and Western Complicity  The NYT also explicitly admits that Nazis line the ranks of the “militias” fighting for NATO’s regime in Kiev, and carrying out this campaign of provocation:

Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag. 

While the NYT attempts to cast as an ambiguous light as possible upon the connections Azov has with Nazism, the Azov Battalion does not simply fly a “neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.” The symbol is in fact the Wolfsangel used by Adolf Hitler’s various SS military divisions during World War II and is as good as saluting Hitler himself to affirm allegiance to his toxic ideology and to celebrate the Nazis’ numerous, notorious atrocities.

The BBC would elaborate on the nature of militias like “Azov,” who are undoubtedly the recipients of US, British, and other NATO member states’ aid, cash, and political support, in its article, “Ukraine conflict: ‘White power’ warrior from Sweden.” In it, it profiles a member of Azov Battalion, Mikael Skillt, and states:

“I have at least three purposes in the Azov Battalion: I am a commander of a small reconnaissance unit, I am also a sniper, and sometimes I work as a special coordinator for clearing houses and going into civilian areas.”

As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi.

Dismissed by the West as “Russian propaganda,” it is clear that even the most “Western” media outlets cannot report on the Ukrainian conflict without coming across literal Nazis fighting for Kiev and operating in “civilian areas” in eastern Ukraine. The BBC would admit the Azov Battalion is far from a fringe group and was raised by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry itself. When NATO members announce “aid” to the regime in Kiev, they are also, by default, announcing aid to literal Neo-Nazi militant groups raised by Kiev’s Interior Ministry, like the Azov Battalion.

Using Humanitarian Concerns to Provoke War

It was in 2011 that the US, UK, NATO, and its regional partners carried out a coordinated propaganda campaign including the fabrication of atrocities to justify the military invasion of Libya and Syria. It would later turn out that the “civilians” the Libyan and Syrian governments were fighting were in fact heavily armed terrorists hailing from Al Qaeda. The deceit in Libya unraveled but not before NATO began military operations in support of these terrorists.

In Syria, the deception was exposed and attempts by the West to intervene directly have thus far failed.Conversely, in Ukraine, the West is backing literal Nazis who are admittedly mass murdering civilians in eastern Ukraine, in an attempt to intentionally provoke Russia into war.On one hand, humanitarian catastrophes are fabricated by the West to justify its own military interventions, while on the other, real humanitarian catastrophes are created to provoke military action from the West’s enemies.

While the NYT notes that Russia has thus far not taken the bait, “experts” it interviewed for its story claim such patience is not likely to last. In reality, Moscow has weighed its strengths, weaknesses, and the strategic lay of not only Ukraine, but the region and the world, and has made the decision that will, in the long-term based on reason, produce the best outcome for Russia, the Russian people, and its compatriots beyond its borders.

While the West continues its attempts to manipulate the public and the political circles intersecting amid the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow has already proven it will not take the bait unless it is sure it can swallow the fisherman as well.

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

 As world media attention shifts to another war crime massacre, this time in Northern Iraq, much of Gaza lies in ruins whilst in Israel the IDF soldiers look forward to another day of firing 125mm shells from their Merkava tanks into schools, hospitals and houses and they hear the screams and watch the bloody body parts of men, women and children fly in the air and come to rest among the acrid smoke and the lumps of concrete.

1,938 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the launch of Israel’s military campaign. What kind of men; what kind of soldiers; what kind of army kills 400 children and leaves 3000 other young people injured, maimed and crippled in a bloody war crime that has seen homes, hospitals and schools blown apart with tank shells and aircraft fired missiles upon a predominately civilian population?

What kind of men, claiming to be from a western-style democracy, would commit such an atrocity before the eyes of the world, and then disclaim responsibility for such heinous, hateful killings?

These men are not soldiers in any accepted use of the word. They are conscripts who take the lives of women and children in the same way they would switch-off the ignition in a car before going to the pub for a drink.

 And as the killings continue, the Israeli government remains adamant that it will continue to keep the 1.8 million indigenous people of Gaza in the world’s largest prison camp; under a blockade that is now in its seventh year and which is tacitly condoned by the rest of the world under instructions from the Israel-lobby-controlled US Congress.

It is a travesty of justice that violates every principle not only of the internationally agreed Geneva Conventions but also of the American Bill of Rights and its own Declaration of Independence.

  For how much longer will the world watch and wait as Israel attempts to destroy the largest indigenous people of the region for over a thousand years?