The Battle for Oil

September 17th, 2014 by Eric Waddell

Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers this incisive overview of the US led “battle for oil” by Professor Eric Waddell. The article was first published more than ten years ago in November 2002, during the critical period leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

What is ultimately at stake in Iraq is the intention on the part of the U.S. and its indefectible British ally to establish control over one of the world largest, cheapest and most easily accessible oil reserves.

The war against Iraq is being fought on behalf of the Anglo-American oil giants: BP, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-Texaco, Shell. The first objective is to secure the control by US-UK forces of Iraq’s oil facilities in the Persian Gulf.


The US domestic consumption of oil exceeds 20 million barrels per day, 26% of total World consumption, an amount higher than the yearly consumption for all of Europe and all of Africa combined. U.S. oil imports constitute 56% of total consumption and are expected to reach 66% by 2020.

The U.S. contains only 2.8% of total proven world oil reserves. Two-thirds of the world’s proven oil and natural gas reserves are in the Middle East (notably Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iran and Iraq). Very substantial oil and natural gas reserves are located in the overlapping region of the Caspian Sea basin (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran). Tentative estimates provided by the Energy Information Administration, place total (proven and possible) oil reserves at 243 billion barrels, or in excess of 25% of present global reserves),1 Iraq currently produces 11% of the world’s oil and it ranks only second to Saudi Arabia in the size of its reserves (112 billion barrels). Exploitation costs are less than half those of deep sea drilling. Direct access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean ensures strategically secure oil supply routes. The Anglo-American oil giants (BP, Chevron-Texaco, Shell, Exxon) are all absent from Iran and Iraq, which have signed oil contracts and production sharing agreements with French, Russian and Chinese oil companies. Because of the UN sanctions on Iraq, the agreements signed by Baghdad are not (“officially”) operational.

Hidden Agenda

According to the Washington Post (15 September 2002): “A U.S.-led ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies long banished from Iraq, scuttling oil deals between Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries, and reshuffling world petroleum markets… A proposed $40 billion Iraqi-Russian economic agreement also reportedly includes opportunities for Russian companies to explore for oil in Iraq’s western desert. The French company Total Fina Elf has negotiated for rights to develop the huge Majnoon field, near the Iranian border, which may contain up to 30 billion barrels of oil.” Similarly the Franco-Belgian consortium Total-Fina-Elf, in partnership with Italy’s ENI, also has sizeable investments in Iran. Total had established, together with Russia’s Gazprom and Malaysia’s Petronas, a joint venture with the National Iranian Oil company (NIOC). Washington has on several occasions, attempted to break France’s deal with Tehran on the grounds that it openly contravened the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act.

It is hardly surprising that the recent UN Security Council debates over action to be taken against Iraq have divided the permanent members, with two of the five – USA and UK – demanding immediate military action, two – France and Russia – clearly opposing such an initiative, and the fifth – China – standing equivocally in the sidelines. The resultant “compromise” UN Security Council resolution is a particularly fragile one, with both the US and the UK maintaining their threat to act unilaterally. Indeed both continue to bomb, on a regular basis, the “no-fly zones” established over the northern and southern parts of Iraq, on the increasingly hollow pretext that they are thereby protecting the minority ethnic groups present in these two areas. Moreover, immediately following the adoption of the November 8th UN Security Council resolution, the Pentagon released its plan to invade Iraq, which calls for the deployment of a land, sea and air force of 200,000 to 250,000 troops: “Pentagon planners had considered an approach that would have used 100,000 or fewer troops, but they settled on a much larger force favored by Gen. Tommy Franks, head of the Central Command” (Associated Press, 10 November 2002)

© Map by Eric Waddell, Global Research, 2003.  (click map to enlarge)

Eric Waddell is professor of Geography at Laval University 

1. Energy Information Administration, US Department of the Environment at: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/caspgrph.html#TAB1

-The oil reserves of the U.S. are estimated at a meager 22 billion barrels. The broader region of the Middle East and the Caspian Sea Basin have oil reserves which are more than thirty times those of the U.S, representing more than 70% of the World’s total reserves. Control of this region by the Anglo-American oil giants means control over at least three quarters of the World’s supply of oil and natural gas. -It would also mean control over the Westbound, Eastbound and South bound oil and gas pipeline routes out of the region. – The U.S is responsible for 5850 million metric tons of greenhouse emissions, representing 20 percent of the World total.

O objetivo final dos EUA e da NATO é dividir (balcanizar) e pacificar (finlandizar) o maior país do mundo, a Federação Russa, e estender mesmo um manto de desordem perpétua (somalização) sobre o seu vasto território ou, pelo menos, sobre uma parte da Rússia e do espaço pós-soviético, à semelhança do que está a ser feito no Médio Oriente e no Norte de África.

A futura Rússia ou as muitas futuras Rússias, uma pluralidade de estados enfraquecidos e divididos, que Washington e os seus aliados da NATO prevêem, estará/estarão demograficamente em declínio, desindustrializadas, pobres, sem qualquer capacidade de defesa e sem zonas interiores que possam ser exploradas para obter recursos.

Os planos imperiais de caos para a Rússia

Washington e a NATO não se contentaram com a destruição da União Soviética. O objetivo final dos EUA é impedir que surjam quaisquer alternativas a uma integração euro-atlântica na Europa e na Eurásia. É por isso que a destruição da Rússia é um dos seus objetivos estratégicos.

Os objetivos de Washington estiveram vivos e presentes durante a luta na Chechénia. Também puderam ser vistos na crise que irrompeu em EuroMaidan na Ucrânia. De facto, o primeiro passo para o divórcio entre a Ucrânia e a Rússia foi um catalisador para a dissolução de toda a União Soviética e para quaisquer tentativas de a reorganizar.

O intelectual polaco-americano, Zbigniew Brzezinski, que foi conselheiro de segurança nacional do presidente americano Jimmy Carter e um dos arquitetos por trás da invasão soviética do Afeganistão, defendeu a destruição da Rússia através duma desintegração e devolução graduais. Estipulou que “uma Rússia mais descentralizada seria menos suscetível à mobilização imperialista” [1] Por outras palavras, se os EUA dividissem a Rússia, Moscovo não poderia desafiar Washington. Neste contexto, afirma o seguinte: “Uma Rússia confederada informalmente – formada por uma Rússia europeia, uma república siberiana e uma república do extremo oriente – teria mais facilidade de cultivar regulações económicas mais estreitas com a Europa, com os novos estados da Ásia central e com [a Ásia oriental], acelerando assim o desenvolvimento da Rússia”. [2]

Esta perspetiva não está restrita apenas a qualquer torre de marfim de académicos ou a grupos de pensamento isolados. Tem o apoio de governos e até tem aderentes cultos. Segue-se abaixo uma reflexão sobre ela.

Os media dos EUA prevêem a balcanização da Rússia

Em 8 de Setembro de 2014, Dmytro Sinchenko publicou um artigo sobre a divisão da Rússia. Este artigo intitula-se “À espera da III Guerra Mundial: Como o mundo mudará”. [3] Sinchenko esteve envolvido no EuroMaidan. A sua organização, a iniciativa ucraniana “Movimento de Estadistas”, defende um nacionalismo étnico, a expansão territorial da Ucrânia à custa da maior parte dos países fronteiriços, o reforço da Organização para a Democracia e Desenvolvimento Económico da Geórgia-Ucrânia-Azerbaijão-Moldova (GUAM), pró-EUA, a adesão à NATO e o lançamento de uma ofensiva para derrotar a Rússia, fazendo parte dos seus objetivos de política externa. [4] Em jeito de nota, a inclusão da palavra democracia no GUAM não deve iludir ninguém: o GUAM, como prova a inclusão da República do Azerbaijão, não tem nada a ver com democracia, mas apenas com contrabalançar a Rússia na Comunidade de Países Independentes (CPI).

O artigo de Sinchenko começa por falar sobre a história do “Eixo do Mal”, frase que os EUA têm usado para denegrir os seus inimigos. Fala sobre como George W. Bush Jr. cunhou a frase em 2002, agrupando o Iraque, o Irão e a Coreia do Norte, como John Bolton alargou o Eixo do Mal para incluir Cuba, a Líbia e a Síria, como Condoleezza Rice incluiu a Bielorrússia, o Zimbabué e Myanmar (Birmânia) e, por fim, propõe juntar a Rússia à lista, como o principal estado pária do mundo. Chega a argumentar que o Kremlin está envolvido em todos os conflitos nos Balcãs, no Cáucaso, no Médio Oriente, no Norte de África, na Ucrânia e no sudeste asiático. Prossegue, acusando a Rússia de planear invadir os estados bálticos, o Cáucaso, a Moldova, a Finlândia, a Polónia e, mais ridiculamente ainda, dois dos seus aliados militares e políticos mais próximos, a Bielorrússia e o Cazaquistão. Tal como insinua o título do artigo, chega a afirmar que Moscovo está propositadamente a pressionar para uma terceira guerra mundial.

Esta ficção não é uma coisa que tenha sido noticiada nas redes empresariais alinhadas com os EUA, mas é algo que tem sido publicado diretamente pelos media que são propriedade do governo dos EUA. A previsão foi publicada pelo serviço ucraniano da Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, que tem sido um instrumento de propaganda dos EUA na Europa e no Médio Oriente para ajudar a derrubar governos.

De modo arrepiante, o artigo tenta dourar as possibilidades duma nova guerra mundial. Ignorando de modo revoltante o uso de armas nucleares e a destruição maciça que significaria para a Ucrânia e para o mundo, o artigo pinta mistificatoriamente uma imagem simpática de um mundo que será corrigido por uma grande guerra global. A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty e o autor estão essencialmente a dizer ao povo ucraniano que “a guerra é boa para vocês” e que, depois duma guerra com a Rússia, surgirá um paraíso utópico qualquer.

O artigo também se encaixa perfeitamente nos contornos da previsão de Brzezinski para a Rússia, para a Ucrânia e para o subcontinente eurasiano. Prevê a divisão da Rússia, enquanto a Ucrânia passa a fazer parte duma União Europeia alargada, que inclui a Geórgia, a Arménia, a República do Azerbaijão, a Bielorrússia, Israel, o Líbano e a dependência dinamarquesa da Gronelândia no continente americano. Também controla uma confederação de estados no Cáucaso e no Mar Mediterrâneo – esta última poderá ser a União dos Mediterrânicos, que englobaria a Turquia, a Síria, o Egito, a Líbia, a Tunísia, a Argélia, Marrocos e o território ocupado por Marrocos da República Árabe Saaraui Democrática, ou Saara Ocidental. A Ucrânia é apresentada como um componente integral da União Europeia. Neste aspeto, a Ucrânia aparece situada num corredor franco-alemão-polaco-ucraniano, alinhado com os EUA, e num eixo Paris-Berlim-Varsóvia-Kiev cuja criação Brzezinski defendeu em 1997, e que Washington usaria para desafiar a Federação Russa e os seus aliados no CPI. [5]

Redesenhar a Eurásia: Mapas de Washington de uma Rússia dividida

Com a divisão da Federação Russa, o artigo da Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty afirma que qualquer rivalidade bipolar entre Moscovo e Washington acabará depois da III Guerra Mundial. Numa profunda contradição, afirma que só quando a Rússia for destruída, haverá um mundo multipolar genuíno, mas também sugere que os EUA será a principal potência global dominante apesar de Washington e de a União Europeia saírem enfraquecidos desta grande guerra prevista com os russos.

.Acompanhando o artigo há também dois mapas que sublinham o novo traçado do espaço euroasiático e a forma do mundo após a destruição da Rússia. Além disso, nem o autor nem os seus dois mapas reconhecem a alteração de fronteiras na Península da Crimeia e representam-na como uma parte da Ucrânia e não da Federação Russa. De ocidente para oriente fazem-se as seguintes alterações à geografia da Rússia:

• O oblast russo de Kaliningrado será anexado pela Lituânia, pela Polónia ou pela Alemanha. Seja como for, passará a fazer parte duma União Europeia alargada.

• A Carélia de leste (Carélia russa) e o que é atualmente o súbdito federal da República da Carélia no interior do Distrito Federal Noroeste da Rússia, juntamente com a cidade federal de S. Petersburgo, o oblast de Novgorod, os dois terços do norte do oblast Pskov e o oblast de Murmansk são separados da Rússia para formarem um país alinhado com a Finlândia. Esta área até pode ser absorvida pela Finlândia para criar uma Grande Finlândia. Embora o oblast de Arcangel (Arkhangelsk) esteja listado no artigo como uma parte desta área repartida, não está incluída no mapa (provavelmente devido a um erro no mapa).

• Os distritos administrativos a sul, de Sebezhsky, Pustoshkinsky, Nevelsky, e Usvyatsky no oblast de Pskov do Distrito Federal Noroeste e os distritos administrativos mais ocidentais de Demidovsky, Desnogorsk, Dukhovshchinsky, Kardymovsky, Khislavichsky, Krasninsky, Monastyrshchinsky, Pochinkovsky, Roslavlsky, Rudnyansky, Shumyachsky, Smolensky, Velizhsky, Yartsevsky e Yershichsky, assim como as cidades de Smolensk e Roslavl, no oblast de Smolensk do Distrito Federal Central, são ligados à Bielorrússia. Os distritos de Dorogobuzhsky, Kholm-Zhirkovsky, Safonovsky, Ugransky, e Yelninsky do oblast de Smolensk e os distritos Yelninsky aparecem ainda mais repartidos no mapa, com a nova fronteira entre a Bielorrússia e a Rússia amputada conforme proposto.

• O Distrito Federal do Cáucaso Norte da Rússia, que engloba a República do Daguestão, a República de Inguchétia, a República Cabárdia-Balcária, a República Carachai-Circácia, a República da Ossétia-Alânia do Norte, o Krai de Stavropol, e a Chechénia, fica separado da Rússia como uma confederação caucasiana sob a influência da União Europeia.

• O Distrito Federal Sul da Rússia, que é formado pela República da Adigueia, o oblast de Astracã, o oblast de Volgogrado, a República da Calmúquia, o Krai de Krasnodar e o oblast de Rostov, é totalmente anexado pela Ucrânia; isso leva a uma fronteira partilhada entre a Ucrânia e o Cazaquistão e corta a Rússia do Mar Cáspio, rico em energia, e também a sul a uma fronteira direta com o Irão.

• A Ucrânia também anexa os oblasts de Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk, e Voronej do distrito federal mais densamente povoado e de maior área da Rússia, o Distrito Federal Central.

• A Sibéria e o extremo oriente russo, especificamente o Distrito Federal da Sibéria e o Distrito Federal do Extremo Oriente, são separados da Rússia.

• O texto diz que todo o território da Sibéria e a maior parte do território do extremo oriente russo, que englobam a República do Altai, Altai Krai, o oblast de Amur, a República da Buriácia, Chukotka, o oblast Autónomo Judaico, o oblast de Irkutsk, Kamchatka Krai, o oblast de Kemerovo, Khabarovsk Krai, a República de Cacássia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, o oblast de Magadan, o oblast de Novosibirsk, o oblast de Omsk, Primorsky Krai, a República Iacútia, o oblast Tomsk, a República Tuva e Zabaykalsky Krai, ou passam a ser vários estados independentes dominados pelos chineses ou, juntamente com a Mongólia, passam a ser novos territórios da República Popular da China. O mapa desenha categoricamente a Sibéria, a maior parte do extremo oriente russo e a Mongólia como território chinês. A única exceção é o oblast Sacalina.

• A Rússia perde a Ilha Sacalina (chamada Saharin e Karafuto em japonês) e as Ilhas Curilas, que constituem o oblast Sacalina. Estas ilhas são anexadas pelo Japão.

Na sua página da Internet , Sinchenko publicou o seu artigo da Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, uns dias mais cedo, a 2 de Setembro de 2014. Os mesmos mapas, que são atribuídos à Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, também estão ali presentes. [6] Mas há uma imagem adicional na página da Internet de Sinchenko que vale a pena assinalar. É uma imagem da Rússia a ser alegremente esquartejada para consumo, como uma grande refeição de todos os países fronteiriços. [7]

O banquete às custas da Rússia, segundo Dimitri Sinchenko.

Mapeando uma Nova Ordem Mundial: O mundo depois da III Guerra Mundial?

O segundo mapa é o mundo após a III Guerra Mundial, que fica dividido em vários estados supranacionais. O Japão é a única exceção. O segundo mapa e os seus estados supranacionais podem descrever-se assim:

• Como referido anteriormente, a União Europeia está alargada e controla as suas periferias no Cáucaso, no sudeste asiático e no Norte de África. É a concretização do Diálogo Mediterrâneo e da Parceria para a Paz, da NATO, a nível político e militar e da Associação Oriental e da Parceria Euro-Mediterrânica, da União Europeia (a União do Mediterrâneo) a nível político e económico.

• Os Estados Unidos formam uma entidade supranacional com base na América do Norte, que inclui o Canadá, o México, a Guatemala, o Belize, El Salvador, as Honduras, a Nicarágua, a Costa Rica, o Panamá, a Colômbia, a Venezuela, o Equador, as Guianas (Guiana, Suriname, e Guiana Francesa) e todas as Caraíbas.

• Todos os países que não sejam engolidos pelos EUA na América do Sul formarão a sua entidade supranacional numa América do Sul mais pequena, que será dominada pelo Brasil.

• Formar-se-á uma espécie de bloco ou entidade supranacional no sudoeste asiático, com o Afeganistão, o Paquistão, o Irão, o Iraque, a Jordânia, a Arábia Saudita, o Kuwait, o Bahrain, o Qatar, os Emiratos Árabes Unidos, Omã e o Iémen.

• Formar-se-á uma espécie de entidade supranacional no subcontinente indiano ou sul da Ásia com a Índia, o Sri Lanka (Ceilão), o Nepal, o Butão, o Bangladesh, Myanmar (Birmânia) e a Tailândia.

• Haverá uma entidade supranacional na Australásia e na Oceânia que incluirá as Filipinas, a Malásia, Singapura, o Brunei, a Indonésia, Timor Leste, a Papua Nova-Guiné, a Nova Zelândia e as ilhas do Pacífico. Esta entidade incluirá a Austrália e será dominada por Canberra.
Com exceção do Norte de África, que será controlado pela União Europeia, o resto da África será unificada sob a chefia da África do Sul.

• Uma entidade supranacional do leste da Ásia incluirá a maior parte da Federação Russa, a Indochina, a China, a Península Coreana, a Mongólia e a Ásia Central pós-soviética. Esta entidade será dominada pelos chineses e dominada a partir de Beijing.

Embora o artigo da Radio Free Europe e os dois mapas pós III Guerra Mundial possam ser considerados como noções fantasiosas, temos que fazer algumas perguntas importantes. Primeiro, onde é que o autor foi buscar estas ideias? Foram transmitidas através de quaisquer “workshops” apoiados pelos EUA e pela União Europeia indiretamente? Segundo, o que sustenta a visão do autor duma paisagem política pós III Guerra Mundial?

O autor, essencialmente, segue o traçado de Brzezinski duma Rússia dividida. O texto e os mapas até incluíram as áreas do norte de África, do Médio Oriente e do Cáucaso, que a União Europeia considera como uma segunda periferia ou camada de si mesma. Estas áreas até estão pintadas com um azul mais claro do que o azul mais escuro que identifica a União Europeia.

Mesmo que não se dê importância à Radio Free Europe, ninguém deve esquecer o facto de que o Japão continua a reclamar o oblast de Sacalina e os EUA, a União Europeia, a Turquia e a Arábia Saudita têm apoiado movimentos separatistas tanto no Distrito Federal Sul como no Distrito Caucasiano Norte da Federação Russa.

Ucranianismo

O artigo da Rádio Free/Radio Liberty exibe indícios de ucranianismo, que vale a pena mencionar brevemente.

As nações são construídas porque todas elas são comunidades dinâmicas que, duma forma ou de outra, são construídas e mantidas juntas pelo coletivo dos indivíduos que formam as sociedades. Neste aspeto podem ser chamadas de comunidades imaginadas.

Há maquinações em marcha para desconstruir e reconstruir nações e grupos no espaço pós-soviético e no Médio Oriente. Isto pode chamar-se a manipulação do tribalismo em calão sociológico e antropológico ou, no calão político, a representação do Grande Jogo. Neste contexto, o ucranianismo tem sido especialmente apoiante de elementos anti-governo e dos sentimentos nacionalistas anti-russos na Ucrânia há mais de cem anos, primeiro pelos austríacos e os alemães, depois através dos polacos e dos britânicos, e agora pelos EUA e a NATO.

O ucranianismo é uma ideologia que procura coisificar e impor uma nova imagem coletiva ou uma memória histórica falsa entre o povo ucraniano sobre ele terem sido sempre uma nação e um povo separados é uma projeção política que procura negar a unidade histórica dos eslavos orientais e as raízes geográficas e o contexto histórico por trás da distinção entre ucranianos e russos. Por outras palavras, o ucranianismo procura descontextualizar e esquecer o processo que levou à distinção entre ucranianos e russos.

***

A Rússia sempre ressurgiu das cinzas. A história pode testemunhá-lo. Venha o que vier, a Rússia ficará de pé. Sempre que todos os diversos povos da Rússia se uniram sob uma bandeira pela sua pátria, estilhaçaram impérios. Sobreviveram a guerras e invasões catastróficas e venceram os seus inimigos. Os mapas e as fronteiras podem mudar, mas a Rússia permanecerá.

Tradução de Margarida Ferreira.

O original encontra-se em Stragic Culture Foundation

 

Notas

[1] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geo-strategic Imperatives (NYC: Basic Books, 1997), p.202.
[2] Ibid.
[3] “Waiting for World War III: How the World Will Change” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty], September 8, 2014.
[4] Ukrainian Initiative “Statesmen Movement” Foreign Policy Strategy Statesman Movement: Chasing Dreams/Visions. Accessed September 9, 2014.
[5] Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, op. cit., pp.85-86
[6] Dmytro Sinchenko, “Waiting for World War III: How the World Will Change”, Dmytro Sinchenko {blog}], September 2, 2014, Accessed September 3, 2014: .
[7] Ibid.

Estado Islâmico, a nova estratégia de Washington

September 17th, 2014 by Roberto Castellanos

11 de Setembro de 2014, Damasco – Em Washington e em várias capitais europeias já se esfregam as mãos, pois as amplas zonas do Iraque e da Síria controladas pelo extremista Estado Islâmico (EI) abre as portas ao Ocidente para uma intervenção a grande escala no Oriente Médio.

A ofensiva do EI permite, também, cumprir um velho sonho: a balcanização da região, que possui as principais jazidas de hidrocarbonetos do mundo.

Com dezenas de milhares de homens, armamento sofisticado e abundante financiamento, o Daesh (acrônimo em árabe desse grupo) passou de uma minúscula formação para representar uma verdadeira ameaça para o Iraque e a Síria.

Decapitações, crucificações, violações sexuais, assassinatos em massa e outros crimes nas zonas que controla, fazem desse grupo sinônimo de terror.

O Estado Islâmico e a Frente al Nusra, braço da al-Qaeda na Síria, foram capazes de crescer graças às doações dos aliados da Casa Branca no Golfo Pérsico, disse Andrew Tabler, analista do Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Durante os últimos três anos, Damasco denunciou o apoio vindo do exterior aos grupos armados e advertiu sobre o perigo que representavam para a região e o mundo, mas suas palavras foram ignoradas.

Com o argumento de combater o terrorismo, agora a Casa Branca iniciou bombardeios no Iraque, país que invadiu em 2003, e ameaça com ampliá-los ao país vizinho, na mira há vários anos.

No entanto, muitos poucos falam do jogo de xadrez que Washington e outros atores internacionais e regionais impulsionam como parte do grande jogo geopolítico.

As atuais fronteiras da região (com uma ou outra variação) datam do fim da I Guerra Mundial (1914-1918), quando a Grã-Bretanha e a França aplicaram o acordo secreto de Sykes-Picot para dividir a zona.

Precisamente essas demarcações impostas por potências estrangeiras foram sempre um elemento perturbador e de atritos entre os países árabes durante décadas, incitados convenientemente pelo Ocidente.

A utilização de diferenças políticas, religiosas, fronteiriças e até econômicas propiciaram os planos para balcanizar o Levante.

O objetivo é o que muitos cientistas políticos conhecem como “a teoria do caos construtivo”, que permitiria às antigas metrópoles e aos Estados Unidos remodelar e desenhar novas fronteiras e instaurar governos afins na região.

A Casa Branca desenvolveu nos anos 90 uma nova estratégia chamada Redireção, na qual os takfiries (extremistas sunitas) jogam um papel importante para transformar a região em um barril de pólvora, apontou Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, sociólogo e pesquisador do Centre for Research on Globalization e a Strategic Culture Foundation, de Moscou.

Gostaria de ver a Síria como um país desintegrado e balcanizado com “mais ou menos regiões autônomas”, afirmou recentemente Henry Kissinger, ex-secretário do Estado norte-americano, durante uma intervenção na Escola Gerald R. Ford de Política Pública da Universidade de Michigan.

Pese às afirmações de Washington, a ofensiva do EI sobre amplos territórios no Iraque, não surpreendeu o governo de Obama, que conta com tecnologia de ponta e o mais alto orçamento do mundo para trabalhos de espionagem.

Tivemos essa informação desde o começo do ano, e a passamos para Washington, assegurou ao jornal britânico The Telegraph, Rooz Bahjat, que trabalha para Lahur Talabani, chefe da inteligência do Curdistão iraquiano.

Em um discurso ao Congresso em fevereiro passado, o tenente-general Michael Flynn, então chefe da Agência de Inteligência de Defesa, advertiu que o EI lançaria um ataque em massa em 2014 em ambos os lados da fronteira.

Segundo o Centre for Research on Globalization, membros chave dessa organização terrorista receberam treinamento da Agência Central de Inteligência norte-americana (CIA) em um acampamento secreto nas redondezas da cidade jordaniana de Safawi, em 2012.

“Os campos de treinamento secretos estadunidenses na Jordânia e em outros países treinaram vários milhares de combatentes muçulmanos nas técnicas de guerra irregular, sabotagem e no terror geral”, revelou o ideólogo militar.

Também há numerosas denúncias sobre instalações similares na Turquia e na Líbia, que depois da agressão ocidental se converteu em um viveiro de jihadistas.

O Daesh não tinha o poder para conquistar e ocupar Mosul (a segunda cidado iraquiana) por si só. O que tem ocorrido é o resultado da colaboração com a inteligência de alguns países da região com grupos extremistas dentro do governo iraquiano, disse o jornalista iraniano Sabah Zanganeh.

Uma reportagem do jornal The Wall Street Journal destacou que um comandante militar do EI, o georgiano de origem chechena Tarkhan Batirashvili, fez das guerras no Iraque e na Síria uma luta “geopolítica entre os Estados Unidos e a Rússia”.

A Síria e o Iraque sofrem hoje com as políticas das potências ocidentais que durante anos fecharam os olhos e financiaram as organizações radicais com um objetivo claro: justificar a intervenção com o argumento do combate ao terrorismo.

* Correspondente da Prensa Latina na Síria.

The following interview was conducted on June 4, 2014 in the Syrian capital of Damascus with the pan-Arab news network Al Mayadeen with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for the program From the Inside/Min Al-Dakhel (من الداخل).

The interview was conducted in English and aired by Al Mayadeen on September 14, 2014

Topics covered include the US strategy of encircling Russia and China, NATO’s past sister-alliances, the process of Americanization, and cultural imperialism.


Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO, which can be ordered online directly from Global Research.

Visit the GR Online Store or click here.

original

The Globalization of NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

-

 

To follow Al Mayadeen and Min Al-Dakhel in Arabic, you can go to the following links:

http://www.almayadeen.net/
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http://www.twitter.com/almayadeennews


Caracas, 16 Sep., 2014. AVN – El ministro de Reconciliación Nacional de Siria, Ali Haidar, ratificó la necesidad de buscar una solución política para terminar con la invasión terrorista en esta República Árabe, que ha incentivado, en los últimos tres años, el asesinato de más de 190.000 personas.

Para Haidar la reconciliación y la tolerancia son los principales elementos para alcanzar una salida negociada a esta guerra impulsada por potencias regionales y occidentales.

Añadió que este proceso forma parte de la estrategia para derrotar el terrorismo en Siria y sentar las bases para un diálogo nacional, informó este martes Prensa Latina.

La propuesta para el proceso de pacificación planteada por el gobierno sirio, plantea a los irregulares entregar su armamento y mantener los fusiles en las zonas de reconciliación y realizar patrullajes en conjunto con el ejército.

Diversos sectores de la sociedad siria, como las tribus y líderes de distintas religiones, apoyan este plan para terminar el conflicto, iniciado en 2011.

Días pasados, el vicecanciller de Siria, Faisal al Mekdad, ratificó que esta nación está dispuesta a coordinar con la comunidad internacional una plan para enfrentar el terrorismo, pero exigió respeto a la soberanía e independencia de su país.

Comentó que Siria sufre desde hace más de tres años acciones terroristas cometidas por bandas armadas financiadas desde el exterior y llamó a Estados Unidos así como a sus aliados occidentales a dejar de financiar a los grupos extremistas que agreden a Siria.

La pasada semana, el vicecanciller denunció que las guerras que afectan al Oriente Medio forman parte de un plan occidental para fragmentar la causa árabe y dominar la región.

Para el analista geopolítico canadiense Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, las acciones que llevan a cabo los terroristas de la agrupación Estado Islámico de Iraq y El Levante (EIIL) forman parte de una política de Estados Unidos en el Medio Oriente.

En una entrevista con Press TV, el analista comentó que lo hecho por esta agrupación, que armó Washington para tratar de derrocar al presidente sirio Bashar Al Assad, “es la clara manifestación de lo que Estados Unidos y sus aliados, incluyendo Israel, han estado tratando de hacer en la región por una década”.

De acuerdo con el analista, el EIIL busca unir a Siria con Iraq para desintegrar los Estados existentes en Medio Oriente; y a su vez, crear Estados sectarios y homogéneos, con base en las etnias, que sean principalmente para sunitas, por lo que tendrían que expulsar a chiítas, cristianos y drusos.

Sin embargo, aclaró que esa presunta lucha étnica no es más que un camuflaje de EEUU para lograr su objetivo de desintegrar a los Estados de Oriente Medio.

La decisión del primer ministro de Canadá de no realizar una investigación sobre los casos de mujeres autóctonas asesinadas y desaparecidas genera indignación y preocupación a nivel nacional.

El primer ministro de Canadá, Stephen Harper, declaró que no se creará una comisión de investigación nacional sobre los casos de mujeres autóctonas asesinadas y desaparecidas.

La Asociación de Mujeres Autóctonas de Canadá, partidos de oposición y primeros ministros provinciales deploran esta decisión del Gobierno conservador.

El informe de la Policía Montada de Canadá publicado en mayo pasado dio a conocer la existencia de 1181 casos de mujeres asesinadas y desaparecidas desde 1980.

Jorge Zegarra, Montreal.

29 de Agosto de 2014

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La Corte Superior de Quebec autorizó ocho recursos colectivos contra la ciudad de Montreal, en Canadá, por parte de ciudadanos arrestados en virtud del reglamento P-6. Los 1610 demandantes denuncian los arrestos de masa y detenciones sufridos durante seis manifestaciones entre el 2012 y 2014.

El reglamento P-6 que fue modificado en el 2012 durante las huelgas estudiantiles, declara ilegal toda manifestación que no haya dado previamente su itinerario a las autoridades. Este reglamento prohíbe también portar una máscara o tener el rostro cubierto.

Los representantes de los recursos colectivos subrayan que este reglamento municipal permite al Servicio de Policía de Montreal reprimir las manifestaciones de manera arbitraria, aplicando esta ley a ciertos grupos y causas pero no a todos.

En diciembre de este año, la Corte Superior oirá también una demanda que contesta la constitucionalidad del reglamento P-6.

Jorge Zegarra, Montreal.

1 de setiembre de 2014

 

Operazione Isis, obiettivo Cina

September 17th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Mentre l’Isis diffonde attraverso le compiacenti reti mediatiche mondiali  le immagini della terza decapitazione di un cittadino occidentale, suona un altro campanello di allarme: dopo essersi diffuso in Siria e Iraq, l’Isis sta penetrando nel Sud-Est asiatico. Lo comunica la Muir Analytics, società che fornisce alle multinazionali «intelligence contro terrorismo, violenza politica e insurrezione», facente parte dell’«indotto» della Cia in Virginia, usata spesso dalla casa madre per diffondere «informazioni» utili alle sue operazioni.

Campo in cui la Cia ha una consolidata esperienza. Durante le amministrazioni Carter e Reagan essa finanziò e addestrò, tramite il servizio segreto pachistano, circa 100mila mujaheddin per combattere le forze sovietiche in Afghanistan. Operazione a cui partecipò un ricco saudita, Osama bin Laden, arrivato in Afghanistan nel 1980 con migliaia di combattenti reclutati nel suo paese e grossi finanziamenti.  Finita la guerra nel 1989 con il ritiro delle truppe sovietiche e l’occupazione di Kabul nel 1992 da parte dei mujaheddin, le cui fazioni erano già in lotta l’una con l’altra, nacque nel 1994 l’organizzazione dei taleban indottrinati, addestrati e armati in Pakistan per conquistare il potere in Afghanistan, con una operazione tacitamente approvata da Washington. Nel 1998, in una intervista a Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski, già consigliere per la sicurezza nazionale Usa, spiegò che il presidente Carter aveva firmato la direttiva per la formazione dei mujaheddin non dopo ma prima dell’invasione sovietica dell’Afghanistan per «attirare i  russi nella trappola afghana». Quando nell’intervista gli fu chiesto se non si fosse pentito di ciò, rispose: «Che cosa era più importante per la storia del mondo? I taleban o il collasso dell’impero sovietico?».

Non ci sarebbe quindi da stupirsi se in futuro qualche ex consigliere di Obama ammettesse, a cose fatte, ciò di cui già oggi si hanno le prove, ossia che sono stati gli Usa a favorire la nascita dell’Isis, su un terreno sociale reso «fertile» dalle loro guerre, per lanciare la strategia il cui primo obiettivo è la completa demolizione della Siria, finora impedita dalla mediazione russa in cambio del disarmo chimico di Damasco, e la rioccupazione dell’Iraq che stava distaccandosi da Washington e avvicinandosi a Pechino e Mosca. Il patto di non-aggressione in Siria tra Isis e «ribelli moderati» è funzionale a tale strategia (v. sul manifesto del 10 settembre la foto dell’incontro, nel maggio 2013, tra il senatore Usa McCain e il capo dell’Isis facente parte dell’«Esercito siriano libero»).

In tale quadro, l’allarme sulla penetrazione dell’Isis nelle Filippine, in Indonesia, Malaysia e altri paesi a ridosso della Cina – lanciato dalla Cia attraverso una sua società di comodo – serve a giustificare la strategia già in atto, che vede gli Usa e i loro principali alleati concentrare forze militari nella regione Asia/Pacifico. Là dove, avvertiva il Pentagono nel 2001, «esiste la possibilità che emerga un rivale militare con una formidabile base di risorse, con capacità sufficienti a minacciare la stabilità di una regione cruciale per gli interessi statunitensi».

La «profezia» si è avverata, ma con una variante. La Cina viene temuta oggi a Washington non tanto come potenza militare (anche se non trascurabile), ma soprattutto come potenza economica (al cui rafforzamento contribuiscono le stesse multinazionali Usa fabbricando molti loro prodotti in Cina). Ancora più temibile diventa la Cina per gli Usa in seguito a una serie di accordi economici con la Russia, che vanificano di fatto le sanzioni occidentali contro Mosca, e con l’Iran (sempre nel mirino di Washington), importante fornitore petrolifero della Cina. Vi sono inoltre segnali che la Cina e l’Iran siano disponibili al progetto russo di de-dollarizzazione degli scambi commerciali, che sferrerebbe un colpo mortale alla supremazia statunitense.

Da qui la strategia annunciata dal presidente Obama, basata sul principio (spiegato dal New York Times) che, in Asia, «la potenza americana deve seguire i suoi interessi economici». Gli interessi Usa che seguirà l’Italia partecipando alla coalizione internazionale a guida Usa «contro l’Isis».

Manlio Dinucci 

مهدي داريوس ناظم رعيا – عالم إجتماع كندي – 14/09/2014

التاريخ الأصلي : 4 يونيو 2014

من الداخل
برنامج حواري مدته نصف ساعة مع وجوه سياسية وبحثية غربية، محوره مقاربة القضية أو الشخصية “من الداخل”. باللغة الانكليزية مترجم للعربية.

فكرة، إعداد وتقديم: زينب الصفّار

يتم تحميل الحلقات على اليوتيوب الأحد في المساء

Indígenas australianos visitan Primeras Naciones de Canadá

September 16th, 2014 by Jorge Zegarra

Una delegación de activistas indígenas de Australia viajó a Canadá para reunirse y solidarizarse con los pueblos originarios de este país.

Representantes del Gobierno provisional aborigen de Australia estuvieron de gira en Canadá para dar a conocer sus reivindicaciones. Los 4 delegados intercambiaron experiencias sobre resistencia y soberanía indígena con las Primeras Naciones de Canadá.

El Gobierno provisional aborigen, es una organización creada en 1990, que reivindica el derecho a la identidad, la cultura y la autodeterminación de los pueblos indígenas de Australia.

En 2007, Australia votó contra la Declaración sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas adoptada por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), junto a Estados Unidos, Canadá y Nueva Zelanda. Australia finalmente firmó esta declaración en el 2009.

Jorge Zegarra, Montreal.

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged the UK government to consider military action against Scotland in the event of a vote for independence.

Mr Blair, who was prime minister between 1997 and 2007, broke his silence in the debate over Scottish independence to urge air strikes – including the use of the Trident independent nuclear deterrent – against Scottish strategic targets in the event of a ‘Yes’ victory next Thursday.

Interviewed in Kiev, Mr Blair said on Saturday that he hoped Scots would vote against independence, but warned that if Scotland voted to break up the United Kingdom then military intervention would be inevitable: “Obviously I hope that Scotland votes to stay part of the United Kingdom. But Scotland should prepare itself for a full-scale invasion by ground forces if it doesn’t.”

Mr Blair’s comments came just weeks after the former PM called for NATO leaders to agree a joint campaign of targeted bombings and drone attacks against badgers in support of the UK government’s campaign to control the spread of TB in the British countryside.

Copyright Pride’s Purge 2014

THE YES ANNUAL MEETING IN KIEV

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, former Prime Minister of Britain (1997-2007) Tony Blair and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk participated in the 11th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting in Kiev.

The YES consensus is to refuse regional autonomy for Donbass, deny the results of the referendum.

Meanwhile a new wave of airstrikes targets residential areas in Donesk.  The Yes War is On in Ukraine. And Tony Blair  is tacitly supportive of the Kiev regime’s airstrikes against civilians.

Tony Blair, former British prime minister, speaks at YES conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: YES@2014

 

Petrobras driller. Photo: Nestor Galina. Used under Creative Commons license

Paulo Roberto Costa, former head of Petrobras’ refining and supply unit, has named dozens of politicians who allegedly took bribes from the Brazilian company.Costa claims that Petrobras paid out three percent of the value of new contracts to the politicians in return for favorable votes for the government.

The Brazilian government currently controls roughly two out of three of Petrobras shares. Although the Rio de Janeiro company is is the largest multinational in South America and generates over $141.2 billion in revenues a year, it is also theworld’s most indebted oil company with $114 billion in outstanding obligations.

Brazilian federal authorities arrested Costa on March 20 following a money laundering investigation named “Operation Car Wash.” In the hope of receiving a lighter sentence, Costa named over 60 politicians whom he says were recipients of Petrobras money between 2002 and 2012.

Last week, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, and Veja, a weekly magazine, published the names of the politicians. They included Edison Lobão; the minister for energy and mines; Renan Calheiros, the Senate president; Henrique Eduardo Alves; president of the lower house of Congress; and Eduardo Campos, a former governor.

The scandal has threatened to undermine Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election chances when the country goes to the polls on October 5. “I assure you I will take the necessary action,” Roussef told reporters.” But I will not act based on speculation, I want the details.”

Petrobras is being destroyed through political interference, patronage and corruption,” opposition candidate Marina Silva told the media. Silva, who worked closely with Campos, remains untainted by the scandal and is now tipped to win the election, in some part because Campos was killed in a plane accident last month.

The scandal has pitted the two women – who both have claims to radical political backgrounds- against each other. Silva is a committed environmentalist while Roussef – a former urban guerilla who was arrested and tortured by a previous military dictatorship – calls herself a “developmentalist” promoting policies to exploit Brazil’s vast natural resources.

This is not the first time this year that Roussef has come under fire over Petrobras. In March O. Estado de S. Paulo revealed that Roussef has personally championed a 2006 deal, under which Petrobras paid $1.2 billion to buy Pasadena Refining Systems Inc. in Texas. This was despite the fact that the same facility had been purchased by a Transcor Astra Group SA, Belgian commodities trader, for just $42 5 million in 2005.

For her part Roussef blamed Nestor Cerveró, a Petrobras executive whom she says wrote a flawed report on the refinery. It appears that Astra took advantage of a special clause in the contract that forced the Brazilian company to pay more than it had expected. The two went to arbitration in the U.S. but Petrobras lost, and was forced to pay an even higher bill.

The company is attempting to stay out of the political brouhaha by deflecting blame on to its employees.“It is in the best interests of the company’s management to see the completion of all ongoing investigations,” Petrobras said in a statement released to the media. “Any irregular acts that may have been committed by a person or group of people, whether or not they are company employees, do not represent the conduct of the Petrobras institution and its workforce.”

But Petrobras has been caught in a bribery scandals before. In 2008, company executives were accused of accepting almost a million dollars from Alstom, a French engineering group. The money was allegedly funelled from an Alstom subsidiary in Switzerland to an account in Uruguay in 2002 in order to win a contract to supply turbines worth $550 million dollars at the time.

Argentinean farmers have increased their levels of herbicide spraying of crops, and the results don’t look good. A huge increase in cancer incidence is being reported in Argentina linked directly to areas of heavy GMO crop engineering and high biotech herbicide use.

The Ministry of Health in Córdoba, Argentina, reveals in a report that deaths from cancerous tumors are double the national average in areas where genetically engineered crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used.

As reported, the report has documented five successive years of information on cancer increases in the provinces that are experiencing increased elevated rates. The substantial evidence points to GMO-driven agricultural practices as the main culprit, turning our farm lands into a public health hell.

Areas where the most agro-chemicals are used and the most GMO crops are grown - such as the ‘pampa gringa’ area – experience the highest death rates. This area comprises the entire Eastern region of the Córdoba province and is considered a premier agricultural region.

The average rate of cancer deaths is 158 per 100,000 in most provinces, but in four of the ‘pampa gringa,’ areas, death rates range from 216-230 per 100,000 – about 1.5x greater than the normal range.

Other intensively planted GMO regions in Córdoba have cancer deaths well above the provincial and national average as well – ranging from 180-201 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cancer Multiplying ‘as Never Before’ Through Big Ag Pesticides.

The ‘Report on Cancer in Córdoba 2004-2009‘ is the culmination of an official investigation that was prepared by the Provincial Tumour Registry and the Department of Statistics and Census; it is only its recent publication that has garnered worldwide attention and criticism from doctors and researchers toward the government who has delayed letting the public know its findings until now.

Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health (Reduas) said:

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.”

He is not the only person who feels the cancer-herbicide link is strong. Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, is investigating the effect of agrochemicals on cancer rates as well.

Researchers at Río Cuarto have studied the people of Córdoba for 8 years and have confirmed, in fifteen scientific publications, that people exposed to pesticides suffer genetic damage and are more prone to cancer.

Despite these overwhelming findings, the government and the makers of these agrichemicals refuse to do anything about it.

Damian Verzeñassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, remarks angrily:

“The study of Córdoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas.Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years. . .They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

We all need to be equally adamant that governments everywhere disallow the use of these agrichemicals and GMO crop planting.

Additional Sources:

Pagina12

Listening to President Obama describe his intention to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, he named a number of reasons for launching yet another war in Iraq. Gazing out at the nation through the eye of a camera lens, he intoned, “In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists – Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.”

Forgive me for saying so, but moral indignity usually rings hollow in the mouth of an American president. Unfortunately, ISIS is not unique in its brutality. Saudi Arabia beheaded at least eight people in August, for “crimes” as absurd to the Western mind as the ISIS crime of being an “infidel.” Saudi Arabia’s puritanical Wahhabi legal apparatus ends lives in the same brutal fashion for such offenses as adultery and, by my troth, sorcery. Yet the Saudis are a permanent American ally, and seem nearly incapable of offending Washington.

Even some of the so-called moderates that the U.S. plans to arm and train—once more—have also beheaded many of their ISIS enemies of late. But that’s just the highlight reel. Since the inception of their rebellion, they’ve evidently been shelling Damascus neighborhoods without regard for who lives there. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the citizens of Syria are punished for their errant ways. For bothering to show up at the polls in June. For stupidly choosing to overwhelmingly re-elect Bashar al-Assad. Mortars packed with nails and shards of glass rattle through their cafes and thoroughfares. A proper discipline for a people that don’t pick the right candidate. Just ask the Palestinians that voted for Hamas. Here’s a first-hand look at some of the non-ISIS “moderates” we’re thinking of arming.

That covers Obama’s claim about ISIS’ “unique” form of brutality and the charge of executing prisoners. And this is setting aside the military regime the U.S. backs in Egypt that snuffed out the dying embers of the Arab Spring in Cairo and banned the Muslim Brotherhood with a severity to match the Mubarak regime of which it is a remnant.

The president also noted that, “We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands,” referring to Christians and Yazidis, both religious minorities that are said to have been threatened with genocide. In fact, the Catholic Church has called, “slow motion genocide.” This is a fair statement and ISIS cruelty against infidel minorities is awful enough, but one can’t help but notice the parallel in U.S. support for what Israeli historian Illan Pappe calls the “incremental genocide” of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state. The monopoly of media support for that conflict seemed to finally exhibit cracks of dissent in the margins of the latest IDF savagery in Gaza, in which dozens of families were extinguished entire, and more than 2,000 people died, including women and children, in a chilling display of indiscriminate brutality.

You couldn’t say the U.S. is especially vexed by torture, bombings and extrajudicial killings, or other vile assaults on defenseless populations. After all, we have, in the president’s words, “tortured some folks.” And although this is surely deeply regrettable to the president, it isn’t enough of a crime in his view to prosecute the perpetrators. It may have then come as no surprise when we learned that this is what former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki practiced his entire time in office, backed with little reservation by America. The American insistence on his removal and the formation of the kind of inclusive government Maliki was supposed to form is likely too little, too late to hold the country together, not that a European construct should be forcibly preserved in any event.

And this is not even to mention the general failure of the administration’s much ballyhooed plan to arm and train the Free Syrian Army—even if via the Gulf states—which at one point was said to include a shabby alliance of some 1200 “moderate” groups (swiftly steamrolled by ISIS). It was—and still is—practically impossible for the White House to guarantee that these groups were moderate Muslims, and many are ideologically similar to ISIS or the radical Wahabbism exported from Saudi Arabia. According to sources within Jordan, the U.S. trained dozens of Syrian rebels there that already were or later joined ISIS, thinking they were moderates anxious to unseat the Assad regime and usher in some sort of secular, Western-guided government. Think again.

In the end, freshly minted U.S. arms wound up in ISIS inventories, either sold to them by the moderates themselves, or captured in conquests of Syrian rebels and Iraqi Armies. So why reboot a strategy that proved so utterly bootless in its first iteration? Is it because this time the Pentagon will directly train and arm the rebels? Twenty five billion dollars worth of best practices did little to stanch ISIS’s roll through northern Iraq, where the soldiers who absorbed all that training abandoned their weapons, shed their uniforms, and fled for the hills. The CIA has actually been training rebels in Jordan for some time, apparently to no avail.

However, the White House claims that it has some 40 nations willing to participate to one degree or another in rolling back ISIS. This is a far larger Rolodex of participants than George Bush’s shoddy “coalition of the willing” more than a decade ago. The coalition of the willing that Obama has cobbled together, however robust, may be little more than a headcount of obsequious foreign ministers. Turkey doesn’t want to see dozens of its diplomats slaughtered on YouTube. Sunnis may interpret U.S. intervention as just more support for Shia causes. Qatar and the Kingdom will likely see a degraded ISIS as a boon to the reviled Assad regime. Yet properly ending the ISIS threat would require Turkey to close its border to them, coordinating air strikes with Tehranian foot soldiers in Iraq, and communicating with Assad on countering ISIS in eastern Syria. And convincing Gulf monarchies to quit their Wahhabi evangelism. None of these things is likely to happen, largely because we’ve so dramatically demonized both Iranian and Syrian governments, and seem so beholden to Saudi oil. Such an about face would require more than a series of blandishments from Obama.

In short, the president’s stated reason for renewing American interventionism in the Middle East is what it has always been—terrorism. But surely Obama has observed that terrorist jihadism has metastasized by several orders of magnitude since 9/11, owing not least to American interventions—from Kabul to Baghdad to arming raiders of Aleppo—which have destabilized strong if corrupt governments, unearthed simmering sectarian enmities, and even unwittingly trained and armed the very jihadists that became ISIS.

The United States has other objectives. Terrorism is a useful cover story that posits a righteous cause for American action. To be sure, ISIS is infected by an ideology of puritanical intolerance and hatred, but they are hardly a threat to the might and power of the U.S. What threat there is likely stems from the citizens of some 74 nations that now populate ISIS, many of them American. Repatriating—or not—these radicals will require serious vetting by Homeland Security, but not missiles by the Pentagon. A better, if flawed, argument for war can be made on pure ROI grounds—that the U.S. ought not to stand idly by and watch the dismemberment of a nation it spent the better half of a trillion dollars attempt to cleanse of “insurgents” and usher into a free-market fantasyland.

Not So Ulterior Motives

So, then, what is the president’s underlying motive for another intervention in Iraq? He actually told us in his speech. His reasons were contained in the often-overlooked promise, “to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests.” This has been publicly stated at least since the Clinton administration wrote it into its defense policy. It is surprisingly that more scrutiny hasn’t been given to this regular concession, since it openly implies that we may be fighting for access to natural resources, if not simply to secure the homeland. But it has been privately the guiding light of American foreign policy since its inception, not the “security of the American people”, which Obama disingenuously claims is his first priority as Commander in Chief. Were this his priority, he would have long ago seriously addressed two of the leading instigators of jihadism mentioned above.

To clarify key drivers of U.S. foreign policy, dissidents like Noam Chomsky have repeatedly pointed out that one need only look at post-war planning documents, notably the “Petroleum Policy of the United States.” Drafted in 1944, the barely veiled imperial license which characterizes this policy paper insists on “the preservation of the absolute position presently obtaining, and therefore vigilant protection of existing concessions in United States handscoupled with insistence upon the Open Door principle of equal opportunity for United States companies in new areas” (italics mine).

You could hardly say it more plainly, although Woodrow Wilson did just that a few decades earlier when he articulated the all-encompassing policy of which the petroleum credo is but an article: “Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused” (italics mine). One might merely add that now the tendency is rather for the flag to precede the manufacturer, not follow him.

Moving from strategy to tactics, the administration’s plan may be to use an attempt to blunt the ISIS advance as cover for the overthrow of Assad, an long-lived objective of the U.S. blueprint for the region, memorably shown to a stunned Wesley Clark, who later leaked the plan to the press. Seven countries in five years. You could never fault a neocon for lack of ambition. Obama’s cold feet, Kerry’s gaffe, and Sergey Lavrov’s quick thinking prevented Syrian regime change about a year ago. No matter. The timeline was adjusted. A new pretext would soon emerge. Indeed it has.

All this is not to say that Barack Obama lacks a soul. Unless he is a sociopath of special dimensions, he probably recoils tamely at the sight of a beheading, like the rest of Westerners well trained in stomaching scenes and descriptions of far-flung violence. He probably believes ISIS is an even more lethal incarnation of jihad than al-Qaeda. And he’d be right. But the reasons he, or any U.S. president, for that matter, give for our actions are not the real reasons for those actions. They may be secondary considerations at best. In a democratic society, or one premised on an assumption of democracy, the cynical self-interest of the state must always be cloaked in some noble purpose. Otherwise, the population, not itself thinking in geo-strategic terms, would clamor for peace. Even if the population doesn’t wholly digest the proffered cause, it must be handed that moral palliative by which it might rationalize actions taken in its name. In this sense, the interplay between president and people is a tango, a two-step in which each partner plays a part. And Obama, for his part, is pinioned by forces far greater than himself. Perhaps having seen this political eventuality from afar, he developed his incrementalism early in his career, the perfect rationale for placating vested interests while attempting modest reforms that change little but indicate intent. That tired look in the president’s eyes? He’s tired of being played for the pawn that he is and has agreed to be, and he hasn’t the courage to defy the powers that elected him. Corporate. Networked. Disguised. Ubiquitous. Unsentimental.

Beware the military-industrial complex, cried a post-war Cassandra. But that prophecy came too late. The die was already cast. Now every president feels the pinch of private power. Those of a liberal frame of mind may believe we are much advanced in our sensibilities since the era of shameless colonialism. Yes, our rhetoric has been revised. We now conduct “humanitarian interventions” and are compelled to violence by our high-flown “Responsibility to Protect,” (which may indeed have their proper use in a liberal internationalist policy). Yet, as Patrick Cockburn noted, “…intervention in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 turned out to be very similar to imperial takeover in the 19th century.” The priorities haven’t changed, just their wording. And we have subtly turned the Bretton Woods institutions on their heads, refashioning them as mechanism of control and extraction, rather than the stepladders of independence they were invented to be. This meant the need for boots on the ground was no longer of pre-requisite of colonialism. Debt disciplines a nation better than rifles.

Socialists might suggest that the Wilson quote makes clear the primacy of capitalist priorities in American foreign policy. Doors must be flung open to American capital. And capitalism, if anything, has become even more radicalized since Wilson’s day. We live in an age of extremes, ISIS at one pole and Collateralized Debt Obligations at the other. My money’s on the CDOs. They have better weapons. Financial WMDs. And this radicalism, borne in part by the emergence of Asian rivals—the kind neocon Paul Wolfowitz warned we could not permit—is why well-intentioned calls for diplomacy—and globally broadcast proclamations, like the Pope’s avowal that “war is madness”—will finally fall on deaf ears, rendered mute by the din of an approaching delta of drones. If you live in the Levant, cover your ears. You’re in the path of empire.

Post Script: Neither Syria or Iran attended Monday’s meeting of world leaders in Paris to discuss rolling back ISIS.

Jason Hirthler is a writer, strategist, and 15-year veteran of the communications industry. He has written for many political communities. He lives and works in New York City. He can be reached at: [email protected].

Anthony Freda Art

Considering the large number of times that a false flag attack has occurred at or around the same time as a military drill or a civilian emergency preparation drill in the past, it is understandable that many researchers, activists, and otherwise well-informed observers become concerned whenever such drills are scheduled.

This very reason is perhaps why many are raising their eyebrows at a drill scheduled for today and Wednesday (September 16-17) in Nebraska which simulates a nuclear explosion near I-80 in the vicinity of Scottsbluff.

As reported by the local ABC News affiliate KOTA News, Regional West Medical Center is scheduled to participate in the drill in the capacity of training to decontaminate victims, ensure accurate reporting, and treating injuries.

The drill is part of a larger exercise involving 21 government agencies.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Dave Edwards stated that “Every time we do an exercise, it is to test our plans. Not necessarily how the staff reacts, but are our plans in place correct.”

Last year, the same hospital worked with staff to prepare for a live shooter scenario.

While it is important to stress that this writer is not predicting a false flag event during the time of this scheduled exercise, it is also important to stress the prevalence of such drills in false flag operations.

Without a doubt, the mainstream media and U.S. government has been attempting to reinforce the possibility that ISIS or other terrorists may engage in nuclear attacks here in the United States as a type of predictive programming.

Indeed, one hallmark of the false flag operation is the running of drills shortly before or during the actual attack. Many times, these drills will involve the actual sequence of events that takes place during the real life attack. These drills have been present on large-scale false flags such as 9/11 as well as smaller-scale attacks like the Aurora shooting.

For instance, as Webster Tarpley documents in his book9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made In USA, at least 46 drills were underway in the months leading up to 9/11 and on the morning of the attack. These 46 drills were all directly related to the events which took place on 9/11 in some way or other.[1] Likewise, the 7/7 bombings in London were running drills of exactly the same scenario that was occurring at exactly the same times and locations.

Although one reason may take precedence over the other depending on the nature and purpose of the operation, drills are used by false flag operators for at least two reasons. One such purpose is the creation of intentional confusion if the drill is taking place during the actual attack. The other, more effective aspect, however, is using the drill as a cloak to plan the attack or even “go live” when it comes time to launch the event. Even more so, it gives the individuals who are involved in the planning of the event an element of cover, especially with the military/intelligence agency’s tight chain of command structure and need-to-know basis. If a loyal military officer or intelligence agent stumbles upon the planning of the attack, that individual can always be told that what he has witnessed is nothing more than the planning of a training exercise. This deniability continues all the way through to the actual “going live” of the drill. After the completion of the false flag attack, Coincidence Theory is used to explain away the tragic results.[2]

Notes:

[1] Tarpley, Webster Griffin. 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made In USA. 5th Edition. Progressive Press. 2011.
[2] Tarpley, Webster Griffin. 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made In USA. 5th Edition. Progressive Press. 2011.

The collapse of Liberia’s healthcare system due to the Ebola crisis is spurring as many as 45 new cases of the illness daily, according to new data. Researchers from the UK figure that each patient turned away from already full clinics is inadvertently spreading the disease to 1.5 other people, a rate of reproduction that could result in a full-on “nightmare doomsday scenario.”

According to the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders in English, treatment centers in the Liberian capital of Monrovia are now so overwhelmed with patients that they are having to turn away roughly 30 people daily. Based on a reproduction rate of 1.5, this translates into a daily infection rate of about 45 people.

Joining a chorus of others in the international community, Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says a massive increase in foreign aid is necessary to prevent what he says could have an “apocalyptic” impact on Liberia and its neighbors in the coming months.

Echoing what Liberia’s own president said during a recent press conference, the spread of Ebola throughout West Africa is reaching a point of exponential growth in which it will be nearly impossible to contain it. If more beds aren’t brought to these countries to treat and quarantine infected patients, in other words, the rate of disease spread will skyrocket.

“It could get very bad indeed,” stated Prof. Edmunds. “The doubling time of this epidemic is about two weeks, so if we are overwhelmed with our resources right now, it’s going to be twice as bad in two weeks’ time.”

Scientific calculations predict number of Ebola cases will start doubling every two weeks at current rates

Early on in the outbreak, the number of confirmed cases of Ebola was relatively small, and it appeared that the rate of spread was also small. Charts mapping deaths from the disease showed that it was actually starting to fizzle out in April, only to quickly start picking up in early May and June.

Fast forward a few months and we are now approaching a point of no return where containing the disease will be almost impossible. A recent study out of Arizona State University (ASU) found that the rate of reproduction — that is, the average number of people infected by a single disease source — has increased in both Sierra Leone and Liberia from 1.4 to 1.7 for each existing case.

What this suggests is that the region is teetering on the brink of an Ebola explosion, with the number of disease cases rapidly increasing. The number of cases is doubling every few weeks, which means it is a very real possibility that in just a few months millions of people could become infected.

“Based on the durations of incubation and infectiousness of EVD [Ebola virus disease], it is plausible that the number of cases could therefore double every fortnight [two weeks] if the situation does not change,” explains an editorial published in Eurosurveillance.

“There are currently hundreds of new EVD cases reported each week; with the number of infections increasing exponentially, it could soon be thousands.”

Sources for this article include:

http://www.theguardian.com

http://blogs.channel4.com

http://www.sciencedaily.com

http://www.eurosurveillance.org

http://science.naturalnews.com

Liberal host Cenk Uygur says he would bet money on Rand Paul becoming the next President of the United States, remarking that the Kentucky Senator’s accurate take on ISIS and U.S. involvement in the middle east is going to be crucial when contrasted with HIllary Clinton’s efforts to beat the war drums.

Former MSNBC host Uygur, who left the network after being told he was too combative towards “those in power,” is host of the Young Turks, a liberal-leaning YouTube channel that has received over 2 billion views.

Noting that Paul was a “voice of reason” on the issue of ISIS, Uygur said that the Kentucky Senator’s opposition to bombing Syria, arming so-called moderate rebels and intervening in the region stood in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton “beating the war drums” in line with establishment Republicans.

During an appearance on CBS’ This Morningyesterday, Paul noted that the rebels Obama plans to arm just signed a non-aggression pact with ISIS. As we documented, FSA militants have also defected to, fought alongside and handed weapons to ISIS in numerous different instances.

Underscoring that the bombing of Iraq and subsequent interventions in the middle east led to the rise of ISIS, Uygur slammed Clinton’s foreign policy as, “let’s keep doing the same stupid shit that we were doing before that you hated before campaign,” while predicting that Paul would beat Clinton in a presidential run off.

Asserting that he had “never lost a single political bet” in his life, Uygur stated, “right now I’d lay money on Rand Paul being the next President of the United States, not because he’s gonna be, not because you should mark it down, but because you would get great odds and the reality is he now stands I think about a 25 per cent of winning the whole enchilada because by the time we have the 2016 election the mess in the middle east will be much worse – our bombing will not have worked and we will have unleashed even more hell and more trouble.”

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly floated the erroneous talking point – one echoed by RINO Republicans – that Obama’s failure to arm the Syrian rebels during the first phase of the uprising was what led to the emergence of ISIS.

In reality, ISIS grew in strength as a result of being bankrolled and armed by America’s closest allies in the region – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, countries which all vehemently supported FSA rebel militants from the very beginning of the Syrian conflict.

In addition, many of the weapons that were sent to FSA rebels were also seized by ISIS fighters. In July it emerged that “several factions within the FSA, including Ahl Al Athar, Ibin al-Qa’im” had “handed over its weapons to the Islamic State in large numbers” and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Islamic State fighter Abu Atheer also told Al-Jazeera, “We are buying weapons from the FSA. we bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”

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

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Paris Conference Gives Green Light to New Middle East War

September 16th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

A French-sponsored, US-backed international conference on “peace and security in Iraq,” held in Paris Monday, brought together most of the world’s great powers along with a majority of the Arab states to offer political, economic and military backing to the government in Baghdad.

The conference issued a communiqué that committed all participants to work together to “eradicate” ISIS and support the newly formed Iraqi government “by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance.”

This sweeping agreement was backed by 13 NATO members, including the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Turkey, and 10 Arab states—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar—as well as by Australia and Japan, the two principal Pacific allies of Washington.

The communiqué was also signed by the foreign ministers of Russia and China, which have been at odds with US policy in the region, and particularly with its efforts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

It was to gain the support of Russia and China, as well as several of the NATO countries that might otherwise have balked, that the communiqué made no mention of action against ISIS in Syria. However, the commitment to “eradicate” the group, which controls nearly all of the eastern half of Syria, opens the door to such action.

In a clear signal that the Assad regime remains the central target of the US-led campaign against ISIS, both Syria and its ally Iran were excluded from the Paris conference, even though these two countries have done more to fight ISIS than any of those participating.

Syrian troops have been fighting ISIS forces for three years, a period in which the group received significant aid, directly or indirectly, from Washington, as one of the “rebel” groups seeking to overthrow Assad. Iranian military advisers worked actively with Shiite militia forces in Iraq that retook several towns in Dyala province from ISIS earlier this month.

Iran denounced the US effort to cobble together a Bush-style “coalition of the willing” for a new war in Iraq. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said the US was “planning a war … to dominate the region,” an assessment that is certainly accurate.

Khamenei claimed that US Secretary of State John Kerry had sought to coordinate US and Iranian military actions against ISIS, adding that the US was seeking to turn Iraq and Syria into a country like Pakistan, “where it can commit crimes whenever it wants.”

In an indication of things to come, French fighter jets made their first sorties over Iraq Monday as the conference was meeting in Paris. They flew from the French airbase at Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates, conducting reconnaissance of ISIS positions in Iraq and target-spotting for US warplanes that carried out the actual bomb and missile attacks.

The new Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, told state-run television station al-Iraqiya Sunday that he had given approval for French forces to use Iraqi airspace for actions against ISIS. His first interview since taking office was thus a declaration of Iraq’s subordination to French imperialism, one of the former colonial powers in the region.

This brings to five the number of countries that have committed forces to military operations in Iraq—Britain, France, Canada and Australia, in addition to the United States.

At the Paris conference, French President François Hollande set the tone in an opening address in which he exaggerated the significance and potential reach of ISIS, declaring, “The terrorist threat is global and the response must be global. There is no time to lose.”

A key section of the communiqué commits all of the participating countries to engage in stepped-up repression against their own populations. This is described as “measures to prevent radicalization, coordination between all security services and stricter border control.” Britain, France and Germany have all taken steps to crack down on citizens who visit the Middle East conflict zone and then return, particularly if they are Muslim converts or immigrants from that region.

Despite the efforts to portray ISIS as a vastly powerful and globally dangerous force, the group’s offensive in Iraq has already been halted by US bombing, according to Pentagon officials. The group remains on the march in Syria, using US military equipment captured in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, to push back its rivals among the US-backed “rebels” and overrun isolated units of the Syrian regime’s military.

But crimes such as the beheading of three prisoners, two American journalists and a British aid worker, have been given wide publicity by Western governments and the corporate-controlled media in an effort to neutralize popular opposition to a renewed imperialist war in the Middle East.

While the Paris communiqué made no mention of Syria, many of the participants in the conference spelled the implications of the anti-ISIS campaign. Iraqi President Fuad Masum said in his speech to the group, “We must not allow them to have sanctuaries … We must pursue them wherever they are.”

The State Department announced over the weekend that retired Gen. John R. Allen, a former US commander in Afghanistan and former head of the US Central Command, which supervises operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Mideast, had been named to coordinate with those countries contributing military forces to the campaign against ISIS.

The exact tempo of the air strikes in Iraq and the timetable for extending the attacks into Syria remain unclear, dependent on both the movement of ground forces within Iraq and the level of support provided by NATO and Arab countries. But the New York Times drew attention Monday to the scheduled rotation of the carrier George H. W. Bush, now in the Persian Gulf, and the Carl Vinson, which is to replace it. This means that in October, the Pentagon “could double carrier-based firepower over Iraq and Syria,” the Timesobserved.

On the same day that the Paris conference took place, members of the US House of Representatives assembled in Washington for a brief session before the House recesses for the final month of the congressional election campaign. House Speaker John Boehner announced that the House would vote Wednesday on the resolution requested by the White House to authorize $500 million in funding for the Syrian “rebel” forces being trained by the CIA and Pentagon.

The resolution would be offered as an amendment to a measure providing funding for the entire federal government from the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1 through early December. Both the House and Senate must pass such a “continuing resolution” to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government like the one that took place last year.

The draft submitted by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon limits the purpose of the training of Syrian forces as follows:

(1) Defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition.

(2) Protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria.

(3) Promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.

It is not clear whether the Obama administration will accept this language, which makes no overt reference to training the Syrian rebels to fight against the Assad government, the real goal of the US intervention.

This language appears to be a response to concerns on Capitol Hill over broader, more open-ended language circulating in earlier drafts. One Senate Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, told Politico.com, “If we’re going to do a short-term authorization for action, I would want to limit it to ISIS and strike references to the Syrian regime.”

“We’re essentially talking about a declaration of war here,” she said, “a war against Syria if the language stays as it is, and I think that deserves more than the kind of hasty consideration that the administration is seeking.”

Over 700 refugees from the Middle East and Africa are feared dead in a pair of catastrophic shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea over the past week, the world’s main international migration agency reported Monday.

This tragic loss of life is directly bound up with the series of military interventions carried out by US imperialism and its allies, which have plunged the Middle East and much of Africa into chaos, turning millions into homeless refugees.

The worst of these maritime disasters became known over the weekend from the accounts of two Palestinian refugees who were pulled from the sea after clinging to flotation devices for a day and a half. They reported that their ship, carrying some 500 migrants from the Palestinian territories, Syria, Egypt and Sudan, had gone down last Wednesday after a violent confrontation with human traffickers who deliberately rammed the vessel.

Meanwhile, a boat carrying over 250 other refugees capsized off the coat of Libya on Sunday, with only 36 survivors rescued from the sea. The rest of the passengers are believed to have drowned.

The confrontation that led to the 500 migrant deaths reportedly erupted after the traffickers attempted to force the refugees to abandon the ship that they had embarked upon from the Egyptian port of Damietta for an even less seaworthy boat off the coast of Malta. When the migrants resisted, their ship was rammed and sunk.

The Palestinians were rescued by a Panamanian-registered container ship, while seven other survivors were pulled from the sea by the Maltese navy and other vessels. The same Panamanian-flagged ship that rescued the Palestinians managed to save another 380 refugees whose boat had also sunk in the Mediterranean over the past week.

“If this story, which the police are investigating, should be confirmed, it would be the gravest case of recent years, since it was not an accident, but a mass murder perpetrated by criminals without scruples or respect for human life,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement Monday.

The IOM, however, did not limit itself to denouncing the direct perpetrators of this crime. The agency’s statement added: “The only way to neutralize these criminal organizations is to start opening legal entry channels to Europe for all people, men, women and children, who flee from their countries in search of protection.”

The “Fortress Europe” policy pursued by the member states of the European Union has been aimed at a diametrically opposed objective—namely, the sealing off of the continent from the flood of refugees.

In a statement on the disaster, Amnesty International denounced the EU’s policies as directly responsible for the tragic mass deaths. “The response of EU member states to the refugee crises in the Middle East and North Africa has been shameful,” John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia director, said in a statement released Monday.

He added, “European leaders want to prevent people from reaching Europe at any cost, forcing desperate people to take more hazardous routes.”

“It is without any doubt the deadliest weekend ever in the Mediterranean,” Carlotta Sami, a spokeswoman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said Monday. She added that the UN agency was seeking to confirm as many as five shipwrecks in the region in just the past several days.

These latest disasters have already made 2014 the deadliest year in terms of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, which now approach 3,000, more than four times the number of refugees who lost their lives crossing the sea over all of last year. These figures, which reflect only deaths confirmed by the authorities, undoubtedly represent a considerable underestimation of the real human toll.

The leap in the number of migrants seeking to make the dangerous crossing is directly bound up with the multiple crises unleashed by imperialist interventions in the region.

The sectarian civil war instigated by Washington and its allies in pursuit of regime change in Syria has turned over 3 million Syrians into refugees and another 6.5 million into internally displaced persons.

Millions more have been displaced by the descent of Iraq into civil war in the wake of nearly a decade of US occupation. Libya, from which many of the refugee boats embark, has disintegrated in the aftermath of the 2011 US-NATO war to topple the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, with bloody fighting between rival militias forcing both African refugees in the country and Libyans themselves to flee for their lives.

During the first 10 months of fiscal year 2014, as millions more joined the ranks of Syria’s refugees and displaced persons, Washington admitted a grand total of 63 Syrian refugees into the United States. The European Union has done little better in terms of providing refuge to those fleeing the region’s wars.

There is no doubt that the launching of another major war in the region by the US and its allies under the pretext of combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will only deepen the humanitarian catastrophe, leading to an even greater flow of refugees.

The worst previous tragedy involving migrants attempting to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean took place in October 2013 near the Italian island of Lampedusa off the coast of Sicily. The sinking of a refugee boat there claimed the lives of nearly 400 refugees, in their overwhelming majority from Africa.

In response, Italy mounted an operation dubbed Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), a phrase previously employed by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini to promote Italy’s imperial ambitions. While touted as a humanitarian search-and-rescue mission, the main aim of this militarized naval operation has been to interdict and detain refugees, many of whom are summarily deported back to their home country or to Libya, where they face imprisonment and torture in detention camps.

This Italian operation is slated to be replaced by the end of November by an interdiction program dubbed Frontex Plus, to be run by the EU’s border-control agency Frontex.

Frontex has already participated in the Italian program by providing intelligence gleaned from satellites and drones operated by EUROSUR, the EU’s border surveillance system. This allows the speedy interception of refugee boats, which in many cases are forced to turn back to Libya, or their interdiction, with their passengers relegated to camps on the Italian mainland awaiting immigration processing that most often ends in deportation.

The objectives of the Frontex operation were spelled out earlier this year in new Sea Borders Regulations instituted by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. The regulations grant the border agency the power to block and forcibly send back boats carrying refugees. They constitute a violation of the so-called non-refoulement principle embodied in the Geneva Refugee Convention, which prohibits the return of refugees to countries where they face the threat of human rights abuses.

U.S.-led War games begin in West Ukraine as a fragile truce hangs in the balance in the East.

Meanwhile, US and NATO military advisers and special forces have integrated both the Ukraine military as well as the National Guard. 

Interview with Prof Michel Chossudovsky

-

Ukraine’s ‘Romantic’ Nazi Storm Troopers

September 16th, 2014 by Robert Parry

While most civilized people view the Swastika and other Nazi symbols as abhorrent reminders of unspeakable evil, the Washington Post trotted out a new way of seeing them – as “romantic” – a sign that apologists for Ukraine’s coup regime know no limits.

The U.S. mainstream media’s deeply biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis – endlessly portraying the U.S.-backed  coup regime in Kiev as “the good guys” – reached a new level of absurdity over the weekend as the Washington Post excused the appearance of Swastikas and other Nazi symbols among a Ukrainian government militia as “romantic.”

This curious description of these symbols for unspeakable evil – the human devastation of the Holocaust and World War II — can be found in the last three paragraphs of the lead story in the Post’s Saturday editions, an article about Ukraine’s Azov battalion which has become best known for waging brutal warfare under Nazi and neo-Nazi insignia.

Image, right: Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (Images filmed by a Norwegian camera team and shown on German TV)

However, if you didn’t know that reputation, you would have learned little about that grim feature of the Azov paramilitaries as you wound your way through the long story which began on Page One and covered half an inside page.

Post correspondent Anthony Faiola portrayed the Azov fighters as “battle-scarred patriots” who were nobly resisting “Russian aggression,” so determined to fight for Ukraine’s freedom that they threatened to resort to “guerrilla war.”

The article finds nothing objectionable about Azov’s plans for “sabotage, targeted assassinations and other insurgent tactics” against Russians, although such actions are often regarded as terrorism. Similar threats are directed even at the government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko if he agrees to a peace deal with the ethnic Russian east that is not to the militia’s liking.

“If Kiev reaches a deal with rebels that they don’t support, paramilitary fighters say they could potentially strike pro-Russian targets on their own — or even turn on the government itself,” the article states.

Incorruptible Freedom Fighters

The Post, which has avidly supported a Cold War-style confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, portrays Kiev’s so-called “voluntary battalions” as the true heroes of this international morality play, incorruptible freedom fighters angry about a potential sell-out by Poroshenko and other politicians far from the front lines.

So, you might have been a little unsettled to reach the inside jump of the story and see a photograph of a Swastika festooning one barracks of the Azov brigade. According to a variety of other news accounts, the Azov brigade also marches under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel banner, a slight variant of a symbol used by the Nazi SS.

But the Post offers an excuse for the Swastika in the barracks. In the last three paragraphs, Faiola reported: “One platoon leader, who called himself Kirt, conceded that the group’s far right views had attracted about two dozen foreign fighters from around Europe.

“In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt, a former hospitality worker, dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers — many of them still teenagers — embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of ‘romantic’ idea.

“He insisted the group’s primary goal is defending its country against Russian aggression.”

Yet, whatever excuses the Post and other Western media offer – or how much they try to downplay the key role played by neo-Nazi militias in the U.S.-backed Kiev regime – the ugly reality is that Nazism, deeply rooted in western Ukraine since World War II, has been an integral part of the story since the crisis erupted last winter.

The putsch that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych was spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias trained in western Ukraine, organized in 100-man brigades and dispatched to Kiev where they became the muscle behind the increasingly violent Maidan protests. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

Empowering the Nazis

On Feb. 21, Yanukovych agreed to set early elections (in a deal brokered by three European nations) and pulled back the police (at the request of U.S. officials). The next day, the neo-Nazi bands seized government offices and forced Yanukovych’s loyalists to flee for their lives. Far-right parties were then rewarded with four or more ministries in the new regime, including national security.

Neo-Nazi leader Andriy Parubiy, who was commander of the Maidan “self-defense forces,” was elevated to national security chief and soon announced that the Maidan militia forces would be incorporated into the National Guard and sent to eastern Ukraine to attack ethnic Russians who had refused to accept the coup regime that replaced Yanukovych.

As the U.S. government and media cheered this “anti-terrorist operation,” the neo-Nazi and other right-wing battalions waged brutal street fighting as territory was gradually reclaimed from the Russian ethnic rebels.

Only occasionally did the nasty reality slip into the major U.S. news media, often – as with the Post on Saturday – relegated to the last few paragraphs of long stories. For instance, an Aug. 10 articlein the New York Times mentioned the neo-Nazi paramilitaries at the end of a lengthy story on another topic.

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat,” the Times reported.

“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.”

The conservative London Telegraph offered more details about the Azov battalion in an article by correspondent Tom Parfitt, who wrote: “Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’… 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.”

Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.

Andriy 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.”

Nazis Knowingly Dispatched

In other words, for the first time since World War II, a government had dispatched Nazi storm troopers to attack a European population – and officials in Kiev knew what they were doing.

The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]

But a rebel counteroffensive by ethnic Russians last month reversed many of Kiev’s gains and drove the Azov and other government forces back to the port city of Mariupol, where Foreign Policy’s reporter Alec Luhn also encountered these neo-Nazis. He wrote:

“Blue and yellow Ukrainian flags fly over Mariupol’s burned-out city administration building and at military checkpoints around the city, but at a sport school near a huge metallurgical plant, another symbol is just as prominent: the wolfsangel (‘wolf trap’) symbol that was widely used in the Third Reich and has been adopted by neo-Nazi groups. …

“Pro-Russian forces have said they are fighting against Ukrainian nationalists and ‘fascists’ in the conflict, and in the case of Azov and other battalions, these claims are essentially true.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]

Over the past several days, more evidence emerged about the presence of Nazis in the ranks of Ukrainian government fighters. Germans were shocked to see video of Azov militia soldiers decorating their gear with the Swastika and the “SS rune.”

NBC News reported last week: “Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past on Monday night, when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast.

“The video was shot … in Ukraine by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2. ‘We were filming a report about Ukraine’s AZOV battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,’ Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for the private television station, told NBC News.

“Minutes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesperson whether the battalion had fascist tendencies. ‘The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,’ Bogen said.”

You might think it’s an extraordinary fact that a U.S.-backed government in 2014 has dispatched neo-Nazi storm troopers to lead street fighting in Ukrainian cities where seven decades ago the Nazi SS and its Ukrainian adjunct, the Galician SS, slaughtered Poles, Jews and Russians.

But it’s an unpleasant fact that the U.S. media would prefer to ignore. When it does get mentioned it is typically buried deep in an article or surrounded by excuses, such as the Post’s novel idea that the Nazi Swastika is “romantic.”

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 and barnesandnoble.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.

On the occasion of marking the Centenary since the beginning of World War I, this week Belgrade will be hosting several international events and activities. Within the rich program of marking this anniversary and paying homage to heroes and vast toll in human lives,  (Tuesday, 16 September), the Russian House will host “Serbian-Russian Symposium on World War I”.  The International Conference titled “The Great War and Actual Messages to the Humanity” begins on Wednesday, 17th, and ends on Thursday, 18th September by act of adopting special declaration, in the Sava Center in Belgrade.

Organizers of these events are Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, and two Russian Civic Organizations, “Center of National Glory” and “St. Andrej Firstnamed Fund”.

Topic concerning World War I, also known as the Great War, will be scrutinized from the geopolitical, civilization, system, and project aspects.

Participants of the Conference will include prominent scientists, historians, military experts, diplomats, and public figures from Serbia, Russia, the Republic of Srpska, Montenegro, France, the United Kingdom, the USA, Greece, Belgium, Poland, Italy, Cyprus, Germany, Austria, India, the Czech Republic, and other countries. Among great many foreign participants in the Conference, it is expected to have as a speaker Vladimir I. Jakunjin, President of the Steering Council of Russian organizers, Founder and President of the Global Social Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, and President of Russian Railways, Aleksey J. Meshkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russian Federation, Vaclav Klaus, former President of the Czech Republic, Walter Schwimmer, former Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Zivadin Jovanovic, president of Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals and and other distinguished guests.

Charity Program “The Great War in Historic Remembrance of Generations” includes opening and consecration of the Monument in Kalemegdan Fortres in honor of the Serbian and the Russian soldiers and officers fallen in the defense of Belgrade during the First World War, layin wreths at Russian Necropolis, New   Cemetery, and at the  Monument to Children, Victims of NATO aggression, Tashmajdan Belgrade Park.

On  September 17th , memorial concert will be held the Great Hall of the Sava Center  performed by the Serbian and the Russian artists, directed by Ms. Ivana Žigon, National Theater artist.

The main message of all memorial events will be – not to forget, not to be repeated.

Bogus Trading, Speculation in the Silver Market

September 16th, 2014 by Bill Holter

I wrote an article titled “Kill Switch” a couple of weeks back where I hypothesized the Chinese are the ones behind the very high (and very curious) open interest in COMEX silver, I want to revisit this.  I want to revisit this because of the action this past week and this past Thursday in particular.

Silver dropped almost 50 cents on Thursday and broke through the $19 level to the downside.  Please remember that silver has a global “all in cost” of production somewhere near $25 per ounce so these prices will only augur for much less supply.  “Supply” in this case is REAL supply of raw silver to be used for electronics, solar panels, jewelry, investment etc..  Common sense tells you if you must sell your product for a loss you will either sell less of it, not sell any of it, or sell all that you can for cash flow and go bankrupt …supply will dry up.

I mention “supply” in the above paragraph to give you some perspective of what was wrong with the action in silver on Thursday.  As a reminder, the open interest in gold and silver could not be more opposite.  Gold has very low open interest while silver now has virtually record open interest and at levels last seen 3 years ago while it was trading at nearly $50.  Silver has now dropped in price by more than 60% yet the amount of contracts outstanding is as high or higher.  As a refresher of the laws of supply and demand, price should rise when there is either more demand or less supply, price should drop whenever there is less demand or more supply.  This is simple right?  The answer is “yes, simple” but let me explain what has been and is happening.

The total open interest in silver ROSE on Thursday a whopping 6,268 contracts.  This represents more than 31 million ounces of silver in one day!  Does this “silver” even exist?  I am going to say “no way, not even a chance”, let me explain why in a minute.  The total inventory of silver registered and available to deliver is roughly 60 million ounces.  Do you see the problem here.  The price of silver dropped over 2.5% because there were “more sellers than buyers” …but, the sellers were selling paper “contracts”, not real, touchable and usable silver.  Explaining a little further, if there was a panic to sell real silver the “longs” would sell to “close” their position and open interest would decline.  This clearly did not happen as the open interest rose, the sellers “sold” to OPEN positions…31 million ounces worth of positions!

For a little more perspective, the total open interest in silver is now over 172,000 contracts, this represents over 860 million ounces.  The December contract alone is nearly 140,000 contracts or 700,000,000 ounces… and remember, there are only 60 million ounces currently registered and available for delivery.  First notice day is now only 75 days away and there are more than 10 paper ounces “sold” for every 1 real ounce supposedly available to deliver?  “What if?” these contract owners actually do ask for delivery?

One more point on this from a different angle, in the past whenever there was a major price decline …physical silver became very hard to find.  And especially at the so called “market price” as any and all silver changed hands at a premium above the so called market price.  This is proof that the declines were caused by paper derivative contracts rather than real selling of metal.

Were it real silver that was being sold, it would have been plentiful.  Silver became scarce on every single “dump” in price because the lower price brought out new physical demand which was not offset by any supply other than that of naked contracts.  This is easy to understand, take a desirable food like beef for example.  Let’s say that “XYZ” broker (or central bank) decided they wanted the price of beef to drop and then sold cattle futures to suppress the price.  They sold so many cattle futures that the price dropped so low it was the cheapest of all meats, cheaper than poultry, pork and fish.  What would you expect to happen?  You could probably expect not to find ANY beef as it would be scooped up and hoarded with each new shipment.  This is supply and demand where the “price” acts as the deciding factor …the price went too low and consumers increased their demand without any increase (and probably a decrease by ranchers withholding supply while waiting for higher prices) in supply.  …Thus a shortage.

Harvey Organ and I have a hypothesis that China through proxies are the owners of a large part of these silver contracts.  This makes sense because the open interest has risen for close to a year now, who else would (could) “hang on” and lose billions of dollars on this trade?  Who would (could) have the intestinal fortitude to lose this kind of money?  Who has deep enough pockets to absorb the type of losses that have been incurred?  There is only one answer, China.  First, China is a “silver nation” and have been for over 2,000 years.  We know the U.S. ran out of official silver over 10 years ago …which is about the same time China became a “most favored trade nation”.  Is this a coincidence?  … or a quid pro quo?  Did China lease their silver hoard to the U.S. just after the turn of the century? We believe they did, we also believe this “lease” has run out after 10 years but China did not receive their silver back.  This is not provable one way or the other until there is a force majeure or some sort of default.  This does however “connect” as to why China has been such a voracious buyer of gold over the last 5 years, gold has been held “officially” by Western central banks and thus available to be delivered (pilfered) whereas no large and deliverable silver hoards exist.  The dollar amounts of gold that China has imported over this time completely dwarfs any and all silver hoards and production combined.  Access to cheap gold is the reason we believe China has so far not “rocked the silver boat” as this would have (and will) blow up the gold side of the equation.

For more perspective, the 60 million ounce registered inventory has a dollar value of just over $1 billion.  There are over 1,200 individuals in the world who are worth $1 billion or more.  Think about what $1 billion is today and how often you now hear the term $10 billion, $100 billion or even more …my point is this, $1 billion ain’t what it used to be!

Clearly this past Thursday showed us how blatant the manipulation really is.  Over 30 million “extra” ounces of silver were “created” in just one day… and I would say “magically”.  This is an amount equal to what every silver producer on the planet combined mines in 15 days.  Who could have “produced” 31 million ounces of silver?  For your information, there are only 4 companies in the entire world who produce 30 million silver ounces or more per YEAR!  I capitalized “YEAR” because it takes an entire year for these companies to produce this much silver, NOT one trading day. The apologists will say, “oh, this was just some company hedging their production”.  Really?  Would any company (there are only 4) be so stupid as to hedge their entire year’s production in one day and smash the price they will receive for their product by another 2.5%?  It’s OK, even if you are a paid troll you do know the answer to this one.

My point is this, there are no possible sources anywhere on the planet to have sold an “extra” 31 million ounces of silver on Thursday, they just simply do not exist.  What also does not exist are “the” 31 million ounces that were purportedly sold.  They were paper, pure, simple, logically, and not even much common sense needed to understand and grasp this. But, it is what it is right?  Your “real silver” which you hold for savings and insurance is “worth” less today than it was, right?  Is it really?  “They” say it is, just look at the “price”.  Do you understand my exercise in writing this piece?  I am showing “how” the price is “made”.  With enough (unlimited) cash and no rule of law or regulators doing their job, the “price” can and is being “made”.  Simple!  But why?

I will leave the answer to “but why” for tomorrow’s writing, “why” is just as simple and just as obvious as “how”.  Let me just say I cannot believe there is any sane or logical person on the planet who could look at Thursday’s action and not conclude the trading is outright bogus, not to mention illegal.

Bill Holter, Miles Franklin associate writer.

On Sept. 10 the people of Ferguson, MO and others demanding the indictment and arrest of white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown attempted to block the traffic on Interstate 70.

Police were present in large numbers in an effort to prevent the protest from having the desired impact. Despite the heavy law-enforcement mobilization traffic was still tied up for several hours.

The demonstration illustrated the ongoing discontent of the African American community in this suburb outside of St. Louis which last month witnessed the most significant urban rebellion in several years in the United States. When the youth in Ferguson rose up in mass demonstrations and unrest, it struck a chord among African Americans and other oppressed communities across the U.S.

With specific reference to the Sept. 10 civil disobedience, it was reported by RT that “The protest started at 3 p.m. Central time, with people gathering at the Hanley Road interchange. Police lined the overpass and stood along the street, then surrounded the demonstrators.” (Sept. 10)

“Police on Hanley seem ready for lots of arrest with Department of Corrections bus,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff photographer David Carson wrote on Twitter during the initial stages of the action. Another journalist from the Riverfront Times Danny Wicentowski wrote on twitter that there was a massive reserve force, including over 20 police cars, near the staging area. (Sept. 10)

In an article published by the Blaze on the Sept. 10 demonstration it notes that, “The community appears to be growing impatient as Ferguson officer Darren Wilson waits to find out whether or not he will be indicted by a grand jury in Brown’s death. Some in the community are vowing only a conviction will satisfy protesters. (theblaze.com)

“If (Darren Wilson) doesn’t get a guilty conviction, this whole nation is going to riot.” St. Louis resident Whitman Harris told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Just the day before the first Ferguson City Council meeting was held since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown. The turnout for the meeting was so large that it was moved from City Hall to Greater Grace Church in order to accommodate the audience over 600 people.

Residents expressed their outrage over the failure of the St. Louis County grand jury investigating the killing to deliver an indictment against Officer Wilson. Security guards were used to restrain some speakers who were unsatisfied with the responses given by the officials.

At one point Mayor James Knowles III stated that the City Council would only listen to comments from the public. People began to yell “shut it down” meaning the legislative body.

Criminalization of the People Further Exposed

A series of criminal justice reforms were read into the record at the City Council meeting illustrating the overall criminalization of the majority African American community in Ferguson. It was revealed that some 12,000 people out of a total population of 21,000 were subjected to arrests by local authorities.

Such a large-scale rate of arrest warrants being issued to Ferguson residents sheds light on the efforts to criminalize Brown in the aftermath of his death. Mass demonstrations in opposition to Brown’s killing and the demand for justice were also immediately portrayed as unlawful acts prompting the militarization of the police and the utilization of high-powered rifles, teargas, pepper spray, bean bags and rubber bullets.

The St. Louis Today in an article on the meeting reported that “The overhaul to the municipal court system includes reducing revenue from fines and reforming procedures. Court fine revenue would have to stay at or below 15 percent of the city’s total revenue and any court revenue over that amount be used for special community projects instead of general revenue uses.” (Sept. 9)

Hundreds came to the Ferguson police clerk’s office during the week in order to test the reforms. Those facing imminent arrest were ostensibly given 30 days to make arrangements to pay outstanding fines that could land them in jail.

According to the New York Times, participants “looked around skeptically.” Quoting Katrina Clemons, who owed nearly $800 in fines and penalties from an original $250 traffic ticket, “I don’t know if they are going to lock me up.” (Sept. 12)

During 2013 Ferguson issued over 25,000 arrest warrants averaging about three per household. A review by a non-profit organization operating in the area, the Arch Defenders League, revealed that about half the courtrooms in the city of Ferguson and surrounding areas frequently commit blatant violations of constitutional guarantees leaving residents subjected to detention, job losses and evictions.

A review conducted by the New York Times reports:

“Data from municipal courts across Missouri show that in 2013, the city of Ferguson had the highest number of warrants issued in the state relative to its size. Arrest warrants are often served by municipal courts when someone fails to appear in court to pay fines for traffic or other violations, like shoplifting, assault or disturbance of peace.” (Sept. 12)

Consequently, with such a criminal justice collection and incarceration policy as it exists in Ferguson and surrounding cities, the only real solution must go beyond mere reform but involve a general amnesty for those facing fines and jail sentences for these alleged offenses. Such a gesture by the municipal courts would provide a mechanism for some normalization of relations between the police, the prosecutors and the judicial system on the one hand and the people on the other.

This amnesty and the immediate indictment and arrest of policeman Darren Wilson would go a long ways in meeting a section of the demands being put forward by the people in Ferguson. Additional programs aimed at job creation and educational opportunities would address the gross economic underdevelopment so prevalent in the region.

Somalia Facing Famine Despite U.S. Role and Oil Wealth

September 16th, 2014 by Abayomi Azikiwe

Early in September United States President Barack Obama announced that he had carried out a targeted assassination killing the leader of the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance organization in Somalia which has been fighting against the Federal Government and a regional military force for over six years.

In a matter of days Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for retaliatory attacks against two convoys of African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops operating alongside high-ranking U.S. military intelligence personnel and representatives of a consultancy firm which advises the government in Mogadishu on counterinsurgency methods against Al-Shabaab. These attacks resulted in the deaths of at least twelve people including four from the U.S.

The attacks against AMISOM and the U.S. military personnel did not gain wide press coverage in the western corporate media. The Wall Street Journal carried a story indicating the strategic nature of the imperialist interventions in Somalia where oil and other interests are being exploited.

Amid the existence of the AMISOM forces numbering 22,000, which are funded, trained and coordinated by the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the European Union forces (EUFOR), another famine is looming inside this nation. Leading humanitarian agencies concerned with food security have reported over the last several months that millions of people in Somalia are threatened with starvation.

Other than providing additional weaponry, military training and diplomatic support for the fractured federal government in Mogadishu, the U.S. State Department has no plans aimed at reaching any degree of a political settlement inside the country. AMISOM troops have been operating in Somalia since 2007 and today soldiers are deployed from Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and other states.

Tensions and disputes have developed surrounding the large-scale western-funded occupation of Somalia by the AMISOM forces. In the southern region of the country, forces outside of Al-Shabaab have complained about the dominance of Kenya through its Defense Forces in the internal politics in the area.

Allegations of abuse of women by AMISOM troops have been reported. Although the so-called peacekeeping operation is endorsed by the United Nations, the key players in the occupation are Washington and its NATO allies.

Food Insecurity Reflects Failed U.S. Foreign Policy in East Africa

While providing introductory remarks for the Somalia Food Security Results survey, Phillipe Lazarrini, the United Nations humanitarian director for Somalia, stressed that “It is terrible to think that with almost 2.9 million people in need in Somalia, the aid appeal is only 30 per cent funded with $658 million still needed to end 2014.” (NTV Uganda, Sept. 11)

The Somalian country director for the World Food Program noted that food shortages in the country are expected to become more critical during the next few months principally due to insufficient rains, the burgeoning conflict between the government, AMISOM and Al-Shabaab prompting the rise in food prices. “We have scaled up to meet growing needs, but funding shortages meant the organization risked running short of vital supplies by September, leaving us with no alternative than to reduce food assistance to most vulnerable — IDPs and malnourished children,” Mr Bukera said. (NTV Uganda, Sept. 11)

In fact this problem is not confined to Somalia but is regional throughout the Horn of Africa which encompasses Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and sections of Sudan. Throughout the region of the entire East Africa, there is a strong U.S. military presence and several allied regimes which play an integral role in carrying out Washington’s foreign policy imperatives.

On Sept. 15 the regional dimensions of the crisis was highlighted during a joint press conference between representatives of the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African organization. Fighting has escalated in southern Somalia, South Sudan and unrest has taken place in Kenya as well since 2013.

In the combined statement delivered in Nairobi, UN Assistant Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-Wha Kang, and Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), stressed the need for urgent funding to assist 14 million people facing food insecurity in the region. “Displacement in Horn of Africa stands at an estimated 6.8 million people and 14 million people are food insecure, yet funding has remained at half of the appeal,” Kang said. (Xinhua, Sept. 15)

Somalia Oil and Other Resources Exploited by the West

All of the affected states throughout the Horn of Africa and the entire East Africa region contain oil, natural gas and other strategic resources. Without persistent conflict largely engineered by the U.S. and other imperialist states, the people in these territories would have adequate food and other resources to raise their standard of living.

With specific reference to Somalia, the exploration and drilling of oil is well underway in the breakaway region of Puntland in the North with one of the leading firms being Africa Oil Corp. based in Canada. Prospecting for oil is also taking place in another breakaway region of Somaliland.

Despite these economic projects, the peace and security of Somalia remains elusive. In Somaliland, the government has accused a Norway petroleum firm of deliberately destabilizing the country.

The Somaliland Petroleum ministry said that oil firms are signing multiple contracts and negotiating agreements with regional governments which are only “adding fire to conflicts.

These small companies are destabilizing the country and destroying the international community’s effort to build the peace and the security of the country,” the ministry added.

This same ministry singled out Norway’s DNO, charging the company with “planning to introduce armed militiamen in areas already in conflict and thereby stoking old feuds which resulted in internal displacement and harming the innocent and the most vulnerable people”. (Reuters, Sept. 3)

“We are warning those companies that the Somali government will lodge complaints with their respective countries and the United Nations Security Council,” the ministry added. Leading petroleum firms have claimed interests in Somalia oil resources even prior to the 1991-92 initial interventions by the UN and the U.S.

Somalian governmental officials in August met with representatives of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and BP for the first time since 1991. The federal government said it wanted these firms to propose a scheduled return to Somalia.

Claims otherwise are false. A previous article explained. It said 43 IDF reservists and former army intelligence members published an open letter.

They addressed Netanyahu and top military officials. They denounced Israeli high crimes against peace. They condemned longstanding collective punishment.

They henceforth refuse to serve. They want no part of Israel’s killing machine. They kept their identities secret to avoid recrimination. One of the letter signatories said separately:

“Some of (the things Israel’s 8200 intelligence unit do) are supposed to protect us from violence, but some of it is just destroying Palestinian society, preventing them from improving their lives in any way.”

“We’re not saying this because we read it in some newspapers or blogs, but because that’s what we had to do in the framework of our roles.”

Another signatory said “(a)fter our service, we started seeing a more complex picture of a nondemocratic, oppressive regime that controls the lives of millions of people.”

“There are certain things that we were asked to do that we feel do not deserve the title of self-defense.”

“Some of the things that we did are immoral, and are against the things we believe in, and we’re not willing to do these things anymore.”

The letter stressed oppressive militarized rule for 47 years. Israel denies Palestinians fundamental rights.

It “takes away large portions of land in order to settle Jews who are subject to a different system of laws, justice and enforcement.”

“This reality is not the inevitable result of the state’s efforts to defend itself, but rather it is the result of choice.”

“Settlement expansion has nothing to do with self defense, and the same goes for the limitations on construction and development, economic exploitation of West Bank lands, collective punishment of the residents of Gaza and the route of the separation fence.”

London’s Guardian headlined ” ‘Any Palestinian is exposed to monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother.’ ”

“Testimonies from people who worked in the Israeli Intelligence Corp tell of a system where there are no boundaries.”

Comments made were damning. They included saying:

“Our work has serious impact on the live of many people.”

“(O)ur) database include(s) not only security-related intelligence but also personal and political information.”

“(T)here is no respect for Palestinian privacy.”

“I realized that the job I had done was that of the oppressor.”

“After my discharge…I felt solidarity with the victims, with the oppressed people who were denied such basic rights as I take for granted to be mine.”

“The attitude was ‘Why not? We can, so let’s do it.’ ”

“I assumed a role in which people are called “targets”, and those people who really interest us are in no sense terrorists, but rather generally norma(l) people…”

“We take advantage of the impact we have on their lives.”

“Sometimes it involves truly harming a person’s life, or their soul…It can really screw up their lives. It made me feel omnipotent.”

“If anyone interests us, we’d collect information on his or her economic situation and mental state.”

“Then we would plan how we can perform an operation around this individual, in order to turn them into a collaborator or something of the sort.”

“(W)hat I recall most…are the assassination missions.”

“My job (wasn’t) to ask questions. I was told what was needed and that’s what I did.”

“We knew the detailed medical conditions of some of our targets, and our goals developed around them.”

“(W)e knew exactly who was cheating on their wife, with whom, and how often.”

“All Palestinians are exposed to non-stop monitoring without any legal protection.”

“There is no procedure in place to determine whether the violation of the individual’s rights is necessarily justifiable.”

“The notion of rights for Palestinians does not exist at all. Not even as an idea to be disregarded.”

“Any Palestinian may be targeted and may suffer from sanctions such as the denial of permits, harassment, extortion, or even direct physical injury.”

“If you’re homosexual and know someone who knows a wanted person – and we need to know about it – Israel will make your life miserable.”

“If you need emergency medical treatment in Israel, the West Bank or abroad…Israel will allow you to die before we let you leave for treatment without giving information on your wanted cousin.”

“Any Palestinian is exposed to non-stop monitoring by the Israeli Big Brother, without legal protection, and with no way of knowing when they too would become an objective – targeted for harassment, extortion, or physical injury.”

“The fact that people (are) innocent (is) not at all relevant.”

“The Israeli public thinks that intelligence work is only against terrorism, but a significant part of our objectives are innocent people, not at all connected to any military activity.”

“Something I had a really hard time with was that all kinds of personal data was stored in the unit, such that could be used to extort/blackmail the person and turn them into a collaborator.”

“At the base we were told that if we find out some ‘juicy’ detail about them, that it’s important to document it.”

“Examples of this were a difficult financial situation, sexual preferences, a person’s chronic illness or that of a relative, and necessary medical treatment.”

Netanyahu said “Refusal to serve of any kind should be condemned.” He lied adding:

“The political use that was made recently, including the airing of false accusations, is unacceptable.” The Israeli Defense Forces, including all of its units, is the most moral army in the world.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon compounded Netanyahu’s Big Lie, saying:

Accusations made are a “vile and reprehensible attempt to aid the lies and delegitimization spread around the world against Israel and its soldiers, without any basis.”

Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steintz demanded “punishment (for) an act of subversion.”

Labor party head/former 8200 Unit major Issac Herzog denounced what he called “conscientious objectors,” adding:

“This unit and its activities are essential not just in time of war, but especially in times of peace.”

IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz said reservists voicing criticism no longer will contribute to intelligence gathering on Palestinian society.

According to former military intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit, accusations may cause “serious damage” to Unit 8200′s work.

He advised against severe reprisals. Doing so will publicize accusations made.

“The sooner we stop dealing with this letter, the better,” he said.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said soldier testimonies would be examined. “Ramifications” for refusing to serve include possible criminal prosecution.

In response to accusations made, he lied saying:

“Israel’s intelligence Unit 8200 (places) special emphasis…on the morality and ethics and proper procedures and what we respect”

“We are facing a ruthless enemy that will carry out devastating attacks.”

“As such, our intelligence needs to be, I would say, top of its professional capabilities in order to intercept that suicide bomber, in order to forewarn Israel when there is an attack that’s going to happen, to be able to get to them before they perform their bad deeds.”

Fact check:

Israel has no “ruthless enemy.” Lerner lied claiming otherwise.

Millions of Palestinians are persecuted for not being Jews. For praying to the wrong God.

For wanting to live free on their own land in their own country. For wanting their fundamental human and civil rights respected.

For wanting to live free from fear. For wanting militarized occupation to end.

For wanting long denied self-determination within June 1967 borders. For wanting control of their own lives and resources.

For wanting diaspora Palestinians being able to return. For wanting East Jerusalem as their exclusive capital.

For wanting long denied justice.

In September 2003, 27 Israeli pilots went public on Rosh Hashanah eve. They addressed a letter to Israel’s Air Force commander.

They’ll no longer participate in “targeted killings,” saying:

“We, Air Force pilots who were raised on the values of Zionism, sacrifice, and contributing to the state of Israel, have always served on the front lines, and were always willing to carry out any mission to defend and strengthen the state of Israel.

“We, veteran and active pilots alike, who have served and still serve the state of Israel for long weeks every year, are opposed to carrying out attack orders that are illegal and immoral of the type the state of Israel has been conducting in the territories.”

“We, who were raised to love the state of Israel and contribute to the Zionist enterprise, refuse to take part in Air Force attacks on civilian population centers.”

“We, for whom the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force are an inalienable part of ourselves, refuse to continue to harm innocent civilians.”

“These actions are illegal and immoral, and are a direct result of the ongoing occupation which is corrupting the Israeli society. Perpetuation of the occupation is fatally harming the security of the state of Israel and its moral strength.”

“We who serve as active pilots – fighters, leaders, and instructors of the next generation of pilots — hereby declare that we shall continue to serve in the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force on every mission in defense of the State of Israel.”

In January 2002, Haaretz published a quarter-page letter from 52 Israeli soldiers and officers. They refused to serve in the Occupied Territories, saying:

“The price of occupation is the loss of the Israel Defense Forces’ semblance of humanity and the corruption of all of Israeli society.”

”We will no longer fight beyond the Green Line with the aim of dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people.”

They’ll no longer enforce collective punishment. They urged other IDF members to stand with them.

Eight months after the letter’s publication, 480 Israeli soldiers added their names to the original list.

In February 2002, The New York Times headlined “Protesting Tactics in the West Bank, Israeli Reservists Refuse to Serve,” saying:

“More than 100 Israeli Army reservists signed a statement published today saying they would refuse to continue serving in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because Israel’s policies there involved ‘dominating, expelling, starving and humiliating an entire people.’ “

Since the start of the second Intifada, “at least 400 Israelis, most reservists, have refused service in the Israeli-occupied territorories, and in most cases they were quietly released from duty…”

About 40 got disciplinary hearings and jail for up to 28 days.

“(T)hey reported incidents during their service in which they said that soldiers had fired at Palestinians who did not endanger them, including stone-throwing boys as far as 100 yards away.”

IDF officials didn’t dispute their accusations, said The Times.

According to one squad leader, “(w)e all have limits. You can be the best officer.”

(S)uddenly you’re required to do things that you can’t be asked to do: to shoot at people, stop ambulances, destroy houses when no one knows who lives in them.”

In November 2008, Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah explained how Israel spies on US citizens, saying:

“AT&T and Verizon handed ‘the bugging of their entire networks – carrying billions of American communications every day’ to two companies founded in Israel.”

Verint and Narus…are “superintrusive – conducting mass surveillance on both international and domestic communications 24/7…”

They sift “traffic at ‘key Internet gateways’ around the US. Virtually all US voice and data communications and much from the rest of the world can be remotely accessed by these companies in Israel.”

James Bamford calls the Jewish state “the eavesdropping capital of the world.”

“(T)he greatest potential beneficiaries of this marriage between the Israeli eavesdroppers and America’s increasingly centralized telecom grid are Israel’s intelligence agencies.”

Information collected is used oppressively against Palestinians. It’s done many ways.

It includes pre-dawn community raids, as well as other forms of harassment, intimidation, persecution and arrests.

Israel calls them “training exercises.” Palestinians call them state terror.

Dozens of raids are conducted. Families are terrorized. They’re not militants. They’re not terrorists.

They threaten no one. They’re nonviolent civilians. It doesn’t matter. They victimized for being Palestinians.

According to human rights group Yesh Din’s Emily Schaeffer:

“Yesh Din believes (Israel’s) policy is a violation of basic norms of international humanitarian law, and we don’t see any way the practice can be continued such that it wouldn’t violate those norms.”

Israel operates extrajudicially. International laws, norms and standards don’t matter.

Palestinians are persecuted for not being Jews. Forty-seven years is enough.

Palestinians deserve better. They deserve long denied justice. It’s high time they got it.

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

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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

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

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Hassan Firouzabadi warned the US and its allies to avoid exercising new plots in the region, saying that fighting and bombing the positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group cannot be a pretext for violating the sovereignty of Syria and Iraq.

“Military experts know that aerial bombardment is not the solution in the fight against terrorism and it can only be one in the chain of the military actions needed for a comprehensive fight against terrorism,” Firouzabadi said on Monday, implying the United States’ theatrical moves against terrorism.

He said the experience gained in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq in the last few months shows that effective fight against terrorism should include a simultaneous use of a wide range of tactics and methods, and said, “The experienced Syrian army forces and the country’s popular forces as well as the Iraqi army and popular forces should have the main role in this campaign.”

“Bombing the ISIL terrorists can no way be a permission for violating the sovereignty of the Syrian and Iraqi states,” Firouzabadi added.

He stressed the necessity for the regional countries’ vigilance against the US plots, and expressed the hope that “those Muslim regional states that helped to the creation of the ISIL at the beginning of this game would relinquish this plot”.

His comments came after NATO heads of state convened in the Welsh city of Newport on 4-5 September. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told foreign and defense ministers participating in the NATO summit that the US was forming a broad international coalition against ISIL.

Ministers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark met in Wales to hammer out a strategy for battling ISIL, but the policy was questioned by many regional officials and political leaders.

In relevant remarks, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Saturday questioned the goals pursued by the US-led anti-ISIL coalition, and said Washington sought to violate the regional countries’ sovereignty.”The US attempts to create an anti-terrorism coalition in collaboration with certain states which are themselves the main sponsors and suppliers of the terrorists are suspicious and lack transparency,” Shamkhani said, addressing a gathering of Iranian clerics in the Central city of Qom.

“The US seeks to continue its unilateralism and violate the countries’ sovereignty under the pretext of fighting terrorism,” he added.

Shamkhani underlined that Washington was also attempting to distract the world attention from the pivotal role that the US and its allies had played in the establishment, equipment and development of the terrorist groups under the pretext of overthrowing the legal government in Syria.

He said the United States’ move to form an anti-ISIL coalition was more like a Hollywood scenario to portray the US as a savior of the region.

America’s Deadliest Export and The Endless War on Terror

September 16th, 2014 by William Blum

Praise for America’s Deadliest Export: “Blum concentrates on matters of great current significance, and does not pull his punches” — Noam Chomsky.

A safer world for Americans… if they don’t leave home

Supporters of US foreign policy have been repeating the point ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001: US counterterrorism policy has worked. How do they know? Because there haven’t been any successful terrorist attacks in the United States in all the years since that infamous day.

True, but there weren’t any terrorist attacks in the United States in the six years before September 11, 2001 either, the last one being the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995. The absence of terrorist attacks in the US appears to be the norm, with or without a War on Terror.

More significantly, in the years since 9/11 the United States has been the target of terrorist attacks on scores of occasions, not even counting those in Iraq or Afghanistan — attacks on military, diplomatic, civilian, Christian, and other targets as­sociated with the United States; in the Middle East, South Asia, and the Pacific; more than a dozen times in Pakistan alone. The attacks include the October 2002 bombings of two nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia, which killed more than 200 people, almost all of them Americans and citizens of their Australian and British war allies; the following year brought the heavy bombing of the US-managed Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, the site of diplomatic receptions and 4th of July celebrations held by the American embassy; and other horrendous attacks in later years on US allies in Madrid and London because of the war.

Land of the Free, Home of the War on Terror

David Hicks is a 31-year-old Australian who in a plea-bargain with a US military court served nine months in prison, largely in Australia. That was after five years at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without being charged with a crime, without a trial, without a conviction. Under the deal, Hicks agreed not to talk to reporters for one year (a terrible slap in the face of free speech), to forever waive any profit from telling his story (a slap – mon Dieu! – in the face of free enterprise), to submit to US interrogation and testify at future US trials or international tribunals (an open invitation to the US government to hound the young man for the rest of his life), to renounce any claims of mistreatment or unlawful deten­tion (a requirement which would be unconstitutional in a civilian US court). ‘If the United States were not ashamed of its conduct, it wouldn’t hide behind a gag order,’ said Hicks’s attorney Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Like so many other ‘terrorists’ held by the United States in recent years, Hicks had been ‘sold’ to the American military for a bounty offered by the US, a phenomenon repeated frequently in Afghanistan and Pakistan. US officials had to know that, once they offered payments to a very poor area to turn in bodies, almost anyone was fair game.

Other ‘terrorists’ have been turned in as reprisals for all sorts of personal hatreds and feuds. Many others — abroad and in the United States — have been incarcerated by the United States simply for working for, or merely contributing money to, charitable organizations with alleged or real ties to a ‘terrorist organization,’ as determined by a list kept by the State Depart­ment, a list conspicuously political.

It was recently disclosed that an Iraqi resident of Britain is being released from Guantánamo after four years. His crime? He refused to work as an informer for the CIA and MI5, the British security service. His business partner is still being held in Guantánamo, for the same crime.

Finally, there are those many other poor souls who have been picked up simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. ‘Most of these guys weren’t fighting. They were running,’ General Martin Lucenti, former deputy commander of Guantánamo, has pointed out.

Thousands of people have been thrown into hell on earth for no earthly reason. The world media have been overflowing with their individual tales of horror and sadness for years. Guantá­namo’s former commander, General Jay Hood, said: ‘Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks.’ Not that the torture they were put through would be justified if they were in fact ‘the right folks.’

Hicks was taken into custody in Afghanistan in 2001. He was a convert to Islam and like others from many countries had gone to Afghanistan for religious reasons, had wound up on the side of the Taliban in the civil war that had been going on since the early 1990s, and had received military training at a Taliban camp. The United States has insisted on calling such camps ‘terrorist training camps,’ or ‘anti-American terrorist training camps,’ or ‘al-Qaeda terrorist training camps.’ Almost every individual or group not in love with US foreign policy that Washington wants to stigmatize is charged with being associated with, or being a member of, al-Qaeda, as if there’s a precise and meaningful distinction between people retaliating against the atrocities of American imperialism while being a member of al-Qaeda and retaliating against the atrocities of American imperialism while not being a member of al-Qaeda; as if al-Qaeda gives out membership cards to fit into your wallet, and there are chapters of al-Qaeda that put out a weekly newsletter and hold a potluck on the first Monday of each month.

It should be noted that for nearly half a century much of southern Florida has been one big training camp for anti-Castro terrorists. None of their groups — which have carried out many hundreds of serious terrorist acts in the US as well as abroad, including bombing a passenger airplane in flight — is on the State Department list. Nor were the Contras of Nicaragua in the 1980s, heavily supported by the United States, about whom former CIA director Stansfield Turner testified: ‘I believe it is irrefutable that a number of the Contras’ actions have to be characterized as terrorism, as State-supported terrorism.’

The same applies to groups in Kosovo and Bosnia, with close ties to al-Qaeda, includ­ing Osama bin Laden, in the recent past, but which have allied themselves with Washington’s agenda in the former Yugoslavia since the 1990s. Now we learn of US support for a Pakistani group called Jundullah and led by a Taliban, which has taken responsibility for the kidnappings and deaths and of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials in cross-border attacks. Do not hold your breath waiting for the name Jundullah to appear on the State Department list of terrorist organizations; nor any of the several other ethnic militias being supported by the CIA to carry out terrorist bombing and assassination attacks in Iran.

The same political selectivity applies to many of the groups which are on the list, particularly those opposed to American or Israeli policies.

Amid growing pressure from their home countries and inter­national human rights advocates, scores of Guantánamo detainees have been quietly repatriated in recent years. Now a new analysis by lawyers who have represented detainees at this 21st century Devil’s Island says this policy undermines Washington’s own claims about the threat posed by many of the prison camp’s residents. The report, based on US government case files for Saudi detainees sent home over the past three years, shows inmates being systematically freed from custody within weeks of their return.

In half the cases studied, the detainees had been turned over to US forces by Pakistani police or troops in return for financial rewards. Many others were accused of terror­ism connections in part because their Arab nicknames matched those found in a computer database of al-Qaeda members, docu­ments show. In December, a survey by the Associated Press found that 84 percent of released detainees — 205 out of 245 individuals whose cases could be tracked — were set free after being released to the custody of their native countries.

‘There are certainly bad people in Guantánamo Bay, but there are also other cases where it’s hard to understand why the people are still there,’ said Anant Raut, co-author of the report, who has visited the detention camp three times. ‘We were struggling to find some rationality, something to comfort us that it wasn’t just random. But we didn’t find it.’

The report states that many of the US attempts to link the detainees to terrorist groups were based on evidence the authors describe as circumstantial and ‘highly questionable,’ such as the travel routes the detainees had followed in flying commercially from one Middle Eastern country to another. American officials have associated certain travel routes with al-Qaeda, when in fact, says the report, the routes ‘involve ordinary connecting flights in major international airports.’ With regard to accusations based on similar names, the report states: ‘This accusation appears to be based upon little more than similarities in the transliterations of a detainee’s name and a name found on one of the hard drives.’

Raut said he was most struck by the high percentage of Saudi detainees who had been captured and turned over by Pakistani forces. In effect, he said, for at least half the individuals in his report the United States ‘had no first-hand knowledge of their activities’ in Afghanistan before their capture and imprisonment.

When Michael Scheuer, the former CIA officer who headed the Agency’s Osama bin Laden unit, was told that the largest group in Guantánamo came from custody in Pakistan, he declared: ‘We absolutely got the wrong people.’ Never mind. They were all treated equally: all thrown into solitary confinement; shackled blindfolded, forced to undergo excruciating physical contortions for long periods, denied medicine; sensory deprivation and sleep deprivation were used, along with two dozen other methods of torture which American officials do not call torture. (If you tortured these officials, they might admit that it’s ‘torture lite.’)

‘The idea is to build an anti-terrorist global environment,’ a senior American defense official said in 2003, ‘so that in 20 to 30 years, terrorism will be like slave-trading, completely discredited.’

When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country, without their country attacking or threatening the US, become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs and CIA torture renditions become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld will be too embarrassed to defend?

Australian/British journalist John Pilger has noted that in George Orwell’s 1984 ‘three slogans dominate society: war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. Today’s slogan, war on terrorism, also reverses meaning. The war is terrorism.’

Saved again, thank the Lord, saved again (August 18, 2006)

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor – with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.

– General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

So now we’ve (choke) just been (gasp) saved from the simultane­ous blowing up of as many as ten airplanes headed toward the United States from the UK. Wow, thank you Brits, thank you Homeland Security. And thanks for preventing the destruction of the Sears Tower in Chicago, saving lower Manhattan from a terrorist-unleashed flood, smashing the frightful Canadian ‘terror plot’ with seventeen arrested, ditto the three Toledo terrorists, and squashing the Los Angeles al-Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airliner into a skyscraper.

The Los Angeles plot of 2002 was proudly announced by George W. in 2006. It has since been totally discredited. Declared one senior counterterrorism official: ‘There was no definitive plot. It never materialized or got past the thought stage.’

And the scare about ricin in the UK, which our own Mr Cheney used as part of the build-up for the invasion of Iraq, telling an audience on January 10, 2003: ‘The gravity of the threat we face was underscored in recent days when British police arrested … suspected terrorists in London and discovered a small quantity of ricin, one of the world’s deadliest poisons.’ It turned out there was not only no plot, there was no ricin. The Brits discovered almost immediately that the substance wasn’t ricin but kept that secret for more than two years.

From what is typical in terrorist scares, it is likely that the individuals arrested in the UK on August 10, 2006 were guilty of what George Orwell, in 1984, called ‘thoughtcrimes.’ That is to say, they haven’t actually done anything. At most, they’ve thought about doing something the government would label ‘terrorism.’ Perhaps not even very serious thoughts, perhaps just venting their anger at the exceptionally violent role played by the UK and the US in the Middle East and thinking out loud how nice it would be to throw some of that violence back in the face of Blair and Bush. And then, the fatal moment for them that ruins their lives forever: their angry words are heard by the wrong person, who reports them to the authorities. (In the Manhattan flood case the formidable, dangerous ‘terrorists’ made mention on an Internet chat room about blowing something up.)

Soon a government agent provocateur appears, infiltrates the group, and then actually encourages the individuals to think and talk further about terrorist acts, to develop real plans instead of youthful fantasizing, and even provides the individuals with some of the means for carrying out these terrorist acts, like explosive material and technical know-how, money and trans­portation, whatever is needed to advance the plot. It’s known as ‘entrapment,’ and it’s supposed to be illegal, it’s supposed to be a powerful defense for the accused, but the authorities get away with it all the time; and the accused get put away for a very long time.

And because of the role played by the agent provocateur, we may never know whether any of the accused, on their own, would have gone much further, if at all, like actually making a bomb, or, in the present case, even making transatlantic flight reservations, since many of the accused reportedly did not even have passports. Government infiltrating and monitoring is one thing; encouragement, pushing the plot forward, and scaring the public to make political capital from it are quite something else.

Prosecutors have said that the seven men in Miami charged with conspiring to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and FBI buildings in other cities had sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda. This came after meeting with a confidential government informant who was posing as a representative of the terrorist group. Did they swear or hold such allegiance, one must wonder, before meeting with the informant? ‘In essence,’ reported the Independent, ‘the entire case rests upon conversations between Narseal Batiste, the apparent ringleader of the group, with the informant, who was posing as a member of al-Qaeda but in fact belonged to the [FBI] South Florida Terrorist Task Force.’

Batiste told the informant that ‘he was organizing a mission to build an “Islamic army” in order to wage jihad.’ He provided a list of things he needed: boots, uniforms, machine guns, radios, vehicles, binoculars, bullet-proof vests, firearms, and $50,000 in cash. Oddly enough, one thing that was not asked for was any kind of explosive material. After sweeps of various locations in Miami, government agents found no explosives or weapons. ‘This group was more aspirational than operational,’ said the FBI’s deputy director, while one FBI agent described them as ‘social misfits.’ And, added the New York Times, investigators openly acknowledged that the suspects ‘had only the most preliminary discussions about an attack.’ Yet Cheney later hailed the arrests at a political fundraiser, calling the group a ‘very real threat.’

It was perhaps as great a threat as the suspects in the plot to unleash a catastrophic flood in lower Manhattan by destroying a huge underground wall that holds back the Hudson River. That was the story first released by the authorities; after a while it was replaced by the claim that the suspects were actually plot­ting something aimed at the subway tunnels that run under the river.16 Which is more reliable, one must wonder, information on Internet chat rooms or WMD tips provided by CIA Iraqi informers? Or information obtained, as in the current case in the UK, from Pakistani interrogators of the suspects, none of the interrogators being known to be ardent supporters of Amnesty International.

And the three men arrested in Toledo, Ohio, in February 2006 were accused of — are you ready? — plotting to recruit and train terrorists to attack US and allied troops overseas. For saving us from this horror we have a paid FBI witness to thank. He had been an informer with the FBI for four years, and most likely was paid for each new lead he brought in. In the Sears case, the FBI paid almost $56,000 to two confidential informants, and government officials also granted one of them immigration parole so he could remain in the country.

There must be millions of people in the United States and elsewhere who have thoughts about ‘terrorist acts.’ I might well be one of them when I read about a gathering of Bush, Cheney, and assorted neocons that’s going to take place. Given the daily horror of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine in recent times, little of which would occur if not for the government of the United States of America and its allies, the numbers of people having such thoughts must be multiplying rapidly. If I had been at an American or British airport as the latest scare story unfolded, waiting in an interminable line, having my flight canceled, or being told I can’t have any carry-on luggage, I may have found it irresistible at some point to declare loudly to my fellow suffering passengers: ‘Y’know, folks, this security crap is only gonna get worse and worse as long as the United States and Britain continue to invade, bomb, overthrow, occupy, and torture the world!’ How long would it be before I was pulled out of line and thrown into some kind of custody?

If General MacArthur were alive today, would he dare to pub­licly express the thoughts cited above?

Policymakers and security experts, reports the Associated Press, say that ‘Law enforcers are now willing to act swiftly against al-Qaeda sympathizers, even if it means grabbing wannabe terrorists whose plots may be only pipe dreams.’ The capture of dangerous would-be terrorists has been a growth industry in the United States ever since the events of Sep­tember 11, 2001. Do you remember the ‘shoe bomber’? Richard Reid was his name and he was aboard an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001; he tried to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes, didn’t succeed, and was overpowered by attendants and passengers. It’s because of him that we have to take our shoes off at the airport.

There was also ‘the underwear bomber,’ Umar Farouk Abdul­mutallab, referred to above, who tried to set off plastic explosives sewn into his underwear while aboard a Northwest Airlines flight as the plane approached Detroit airport in 2009. But he failed to detonate them properly, producing only some popping noises and a flame; another passenger jumped him and restrained him as others put out the fire. It’s because of Mr Abdulmutallab that we now virtually have to take our underwear off at airports.

And the reason we have strict rules about carrying liquids and gels aboard an airplane? We can thank some other young clowns in Europe in 2006 with pipe dreams about blowing up ten airliners with liquid explosives; they scarcely made it to step one. Since the ‘bomb made from liquids and gels’ story was foisted upon the public, several chemists and other experts have pointed out the technical near-impossibility of manufacturing such a bomb in a moving airplane, if for no other reason than the necessity of spending at least an hour or two in the airplane bathroom.

Then there was Faisal Shahzad, the ‘Times Square bomber,’ who on May 1, 2010 parked his car in the heart of New York City, tried to detonate various explosive devices in the car, but succeeded in producing only smoke. He then walked away from the car, after which he was arrested. It’s because of him that cars are no longer permitted in Times Square. (No, that’s a joke, but maybe not for long.)

The incompetence of these would-be bombers in being unable to detonate their explosives is remarkable. You’d think they could have easily gotten that critical and relatively simple part of the operation down pat beforehand. What I find even more remark­able is that neither of the two men aboard the airplanes thought of going into the bathroom, closing the door, and then trying to detonate the explosives. An 8-year-old child would have thought of that. Are we supposed to take the ‘threat’ posed by such men seriously?

‘The Department of Homeland Security would like to remind passengers that you may not take any liquids onto the plane. This includes ice cream, as the ice cream will melt and turn into a liquid.’ This was actually heard by one of my readers at Atlanta airport in 2012. He laughed out loud. He informs me that he didn’t know what was more bizarre, that such an announcement was made or that he was the only person that he could see who reacted to its absurdity.

Another example of the frightful terrorist threat was in October 2010 when we were told that two packages addressed to Chicago had been found aboard American cargo planes, one in Dubai, the other in England, containing what might, or might not, be an explosive device; which might, or might not, have exploded. Authorities said it was not known if the intent was to detonate the packages in flight or in Chicago.

Now get this. Terrorists, we are told, are shipping bombs in packages to the United States. They of course would want to make the packages as innocuous looking as can be, right? Nothing that would provoke any suspicion in the mind of an already very suspicious American security establishment, right? So what do we have? The packages were mailed from Yemen… and addressed to Jewish synagogues in Chicago… Well folks, nothing to see here, just keep moving.

A tale of two terrorists

Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person ever charged in the United States in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks, tes­tifying at his 2006 trial in Alexandria, Virginia: the sobbing September 11 survivors and family members who testified against him were ‘disgusting’… He and other Muslims want to ‘extermi­nate’ American Jews… executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was ‘the greatest American.’ Moussaoui expressed his willingness to kill Americans ‘any time, anywhere’… ‘I wish it had happened not only on the 11th, but the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th.’

Orlando Bosch, one of the masterminds behind the October 6, 1976 bombing of a Cuban passenger plane, blown out of the sky with seventy-three people on board, including the entire young Cuban fencing team, interviewed on April 8, 2006 by Juan Manuel Cao of Channel 41 in Miami:

Cao: Did you down that plane in 1976?
Bosch: If I tell you that I was involved, I will be inculpating myself … and if I tell you that I did not participate in that action, you would say that I am lying. I am therefore not going to answer one thing or the other.
Cao: In that action 73 persons were killed…
Bosch: No chico, in a war such as us Cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant [Fidel Castro], you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.
Cao: But don’t you feel a little bit for those who were killed there, for their families?
Bosch: Who was on board that plane? Four members of the Communist Party, five North Koreans, five Guyanese… Who was there? Our enemies.
Cao: And the fencers? The young people on board?
Bosch: I saw the young girls on television. There were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six dedicated their triumph to the tyrant. She gave a speech filled with praise for the tyrant. We had already agreed in Santo Domingo, that everyone who comes from Cuba to glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight alongside the tyranny.
Cao: If you ran into the family members who were killed in that plane, wouldn’t you think it difficult … ?
Bosch: No, because in the end those who were there had to know that they were cooperating with the tyranny in Cuba.

The difference between Zacarias Moussaoui and Orlando Bosch is that one of them was put on trial and sentenced to life in prison while the other walks around Miami a free man, free enough to be interviewed on television. In 1983 the City Commis­sion of Miami declared a ‘Dr Orlando Bosch Day.’

Bosch had a partner in plotting the bombing of the Cuban airliner: Luis Posada, a Cuban-born citizen of Venezuela. He lives as a free man in the United States. His extradition has been requested by Venezuela for several crimes, including the downing of the airliner, part of the plotting having taken place in Venezuela. But the Bush and Obama administrations have refused to send him to Venezuela, for, despite his horrible crime, he’s an ally of the empire; Venezuela and Cuba are not. Nor will Washington try him in the US for the crime. However, the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation (1973), of which the United States is a signatory, gives Washington no discretion. Article 7 says that the state in which ‘the alleged offender is found shall, if it does not extradite him, be obliged, without exception whatsoever and whether or not the offense was committed in its territory, to submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.’

Extradite or prosecute. The United States does neither.

This is an extract from America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy — The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else by William Blum (Zed Books, 2014). Zed Books have just reissued Blum’s three classic books, America’s Deadliest ExportRogue State and Killing Hope in new updated editions.

William Blum is a writer, historian, and renowned critic of US foreign policy. He is the author of Killing HopeRogue State and America’s Deadliest Export. For more information, visit his website.

by Louis Shawcross

Nine years ago this week, the British SAS attempted to plant a car bomb in Basra for the purpose of indiscriminate murder and to stoke sectarian hatred in Iraq.

This was not an isolated case. For example, eyewitness accounts from many Iraqi drivers all describe a similar scenario of having their vehicle confiscated by the American Army and then once back in their possession finding the vehicle packed with explosives and themselves being used unwittingly in a terrorist attack.

The death squads attached to the Minister of the Interior in Iraq which murdered thousands of Iraqis were trained and controlled by the US military under US Colonel James Steele, veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America during the 1980s.

The UK and the US continue their support for anti-Assad terrorists and now the US has started yet another bombing campaign in Iraq. Yet to watch the mainstream news one would think the US is following some noble cause.


UK denies storming Iraqi jail to free soldiers

Reuter, 20 September 2005

British forces have freed two undercover soldiers from jail in Basra after a day of rioting in the Iraqi city that was sparked when the soldiers fired on a police patrol.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official says British forces stormed the jail using six tanks and that dozens of Iraqi prisoners escaped during the raid.

But Britain’s Ministry of Defence says the release of the two soldiers had been negotiated and it did not believe the prison had been stormed.

“We’ve heard nothing to suggest we stormed the prison,” a ministry spokesman said.

“We understand there were negotiations.”

Lisa Glover, spokeswoman for the British embassy in Baghdad, says three people have been wounded in the operation to free the soldiers.

She did not give further details of how the soldiers were freed.

The events in the mainly Shiite city are likely to worsen relations between British forces responsible for security in southern Iraq and the local population.

Police and local officials say the two undercover soldiers were arrested after opening fire on Iraqi police who approached them.

They say the men were wearing traditional Arab headscarves and sitting in an unmarked car.

“They were driving a civilian car and were dressed in civilian clothes when shooting took place between them and Iraqi patrols,” an official in Basra said.

Mohammed al-Abadi, an official in the Basra governorate, says the two men looked suspicious to police.

“A policeman approached them and then one of these guys fired at him. Then the police managed to capture them,” Mr Abadi said.

“They refused to say what their mission was. They said they were British soldiers and (suggested) to ask their commander about their mission.”

Tank ablaze

Furious crowds pelted British armoured vehicles with rocks and petrol bombs after the shooting incident.

A British soldier was engulfed in flames as he scrambled out of a burning tank during the rioting.

He was pelted with stones by the crowd.

The tank tried to reverse away from trouble after it was attacked by Iraqis flinging petrol bombs, burning furniture and tyres.

Iraqis had driven through the streets with loudhailers demanding that the undercover Britons remain in jail.

Basra, capital of the Shiite south, has been relatively stable compared with central Iraq, where Sunni Arab insurgents have killed thousands of Iraqi and US troops, officials and civilians with suicide attacks, roadside bombs and shootings.

But relations remain tense between the British military and some local groups.

British Defence Secretary John Reid confirms in a statement that the two undercover soldiers are back with British forces, but sheds no light on their mission or how they were released.

“The situation in Basra is currently calmer after a day of disturbances,” he said.

“At this stage it is not possible to be certain why these disturbances began.”

The main ally of the United States, Britain said on Sunday it would if necessary increase the number of troops in Iraq, where it has about 8,500 soldiers.

Copyright Reuters 2005

Scotland: A Yes Vote Changes Everything

September 16th, 2014 by Global Research News

It’s Tuesday 16th September, 2 days before the biggest vote of our lives. This is the biggest democratic event we will ever likely experience, not just for us but for generations to come. The vast enormitude of the referendum vote on Thursday simply cannot be overstated – it’s kind of a big deal.

Here at National Collective, we know you don’t really need to be told how momentous this vote is. We’re not seeing a disengaged, demotivated group of campaigners or voters when we’re in the streets. We’ve seen some of the hardest working, innovative, inspiring and just plain awesome people giving every ounce of their spare time, their sweat, and yes, their tears, to show people that a Yes vote isn’t about nationalism or anti-English sentiment – it’s about fairness; it’s about hope; it’s about imagining a better Scotland.

Imagine no more my friends. This is our chance to make a real, permanent difference to the world. A no vote changes nothing, but a yes vote? It changes everything.

We bear an amazing responsibility, this generation who live in Scotland. We have to live with our choice on Thursday and know that we will be asked by our children, our grandchildren and maybe our great grandchildren, which way we voted and what we did during the campaign. You have to look yourselves in the mirror and be comfortable with your vote. There’s the rub.

Will you vote for a radical reformation of democracy in Scotland and the chance to remove nuclear weapons? We’re being offered the chance to transfer sovereign power from the parliament of Westminster to the people of Scotland; to bring the power closer to us and make it more accountable; to say that we believe the Scottish Parliament isn’t perfect but that it can be better, that it can become a model of parliamentary democracy and representation; to say that we still have hope.

Or will you vote for Westminster? A two-stage legislature considered unrepresentative, undemocratic and unaccountable. There are currently no plans being proposed by Westminster parties to reform this system. None. Sure, there’s a few activists and party campaigners who say they can work on it, just give them a chance – but it’s not going to be in any manifestos in 2015. It will still be the Lords, the Oxbridge graduates and the millionaires who hold power in Westminster.

This has been a hard-fought campaign, where we’ve tried to lead with positive action and messages. I’m sure we’ve made mistakes. We’re not perfect and none of us are professional politicians, we’re just a bunch of writers, artists, workers and campaigners who want to make a difference. Just like you.

We’ve faced one of the most negative campaigns in political history, an endless cycle of abuse that would break any normal country. Scotland has had enough. Everytime the No campaign have brought out a scare story, you’ve been there to show us that it’s not true, or it’s exaggerated or that it had been cynically manipulated. Everytime they’ve attacked us, you’ve rallied and inspired those around you to keep going. This isn’t amateur hour we’ve faced, this is the full apparatus of the British State, the political machine of the establishment that has attacked Scotland at every turn, and you’ve held firm. We are truly in awe.

Lovebombs, Project Fear and now even Shock and Awe (the No campaigns latest pet name for their campaign) – all have been shown as manipulative assaults on the democratic process which hold the people of Scotland in contempt. From the widely discussed failings of our media, to the collusion of the banks, corporations and financial institutions who brought the world to its knees (while still pocketing trillions in profits), this has been a campaign that hurt Scotland, that sought to divide and conquer. But after the 18th, none of this matters. We need to forget it all and work together, to rebuild trust and communities. But not quite yet – channel your frustration, your anger and your hope into these last few days of campaigning. There’s a referendum to win and a nation to build.

We at National Collective believe in every one of you, not the politicians. It is the people of Scotland who drive change, reform and the imagination of our society. It is you who will innovate, build and create in an independent Scotland. We believe in you, we trust you and you hold the future of Scotland in your hands.

Copyright National Collective, 2014.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Next Generation Identification System, a biometric database reliant on tens of millions of facial-recognition records, is now fully operational, the agency announced Monday.

The NGI system, after three years of development, is billed by the FBI as a new breakthrough for criminal identification and data-sharing between law enforcement agencies.

“This effort is a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler,” the FBI said in a statement.

The NGI database contains over 100 million individual records that link a person’s fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans and facial-recognition data with personal information like their home address, age, legal status and other potentially compromising details.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the NGI is the facial-recognition information, which civil liberties advocates have said for years is among the most serious future threats to Americans’ privacy. The NGI database is expected to contain 52 million facial-recognition images alone by 2015.

The FBI said Monday that two new features of the database are now complete, capping off the NGI’s “operational capability.”

One feature, the Rap Back, will allow officials to “receive ongoing status notifications of any criminal history reported on individuals holding positions of trust, such as school teachers.”

Additionally, the Interstate Photo System (IPS) facial recognition service “will provide the nation’s law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities.”

But Americans not suspected of any criminal activity could easily be swept up into the NGI, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in any number of ways. An individual who goes through a fingerprint background check for an employment opportunity, for instance, could soon be required to submit a picture of herself as well.

That picture could be stored alongside images of suspected criminals, unlike fingerprints, where a clear differentiation is made between law-abiding citizens and those who have been in trouble with the law before.

According to EFF senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch, there is cause for concern because “the FBI and Congress have thus far failed to enact meaningful restrictions on what types of data can be submitted to the system, who can access the data and how the data can be used.”

“For example, although the FBI has said in these documents that it will not allow non-mug shot photos such as images from social networking sites to be saved from the system, there are no legal or even written FBI policy restrictions in place to prevent this from occurring,” Lynch said.

In June, EFF and other privacy advocates warned that the FBI’s facial-recognition database is in desperate need of more oversight.

“One of the risks here, without assessing the privacy considerations, is the prospect of mission creep with the use of biometric identifiers,” Jeramie Scott of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told National Journal. ”It’s been almost two years since the FBI said they were going to do an updated privacy assessment, and nothing has occurred.”

A 2010 report of the FBI’s facial-recognition technology found that it could fail one in every fiveinstances it was used, a rate higher than fingerprinting or iris scans.

Yet FBI Director James Comey has told Congress that the database would not amass photos of innocent people, and that it is only intended to ”find bad guys by matching pictures to mugshots.”

In a milestone announcement, the FBI said in August that it had tracked down a 14-year fugitive suspected of child abuse using facial-recognition technology.

Meanwhile, US government intelligence researchers are developing the Janus program, which will“radically expand the range of conditions under which automated face recognition can establish identity.”

There are currently no federal restraints on the use of facial-recognition software.

The Southern Cross undersea cable network is extensive, linking Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii to the skeletal framework of the west coast of the United States.  In the ownership stakes, Telecom New Zealand has an even half, with Australia’s second largest telecommunications provider SingTel Optus coming in at 40 percent.  Verizon Business has the rest.

Some weeks ago, rabble rousing cyber activist Kim Dotcom and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept were promising a harvest of revelations on New Zealand’s role in the surveillance fruit salad.[1] The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which sounds like a benign desk shuffling company, is the country’s willing accomplice in the Five Eyes arrangement.  Between 2012 and 2013, a metadata surveillance system was created, centred on the Southern Cross cable network.  Big eyes indeed.

Seeing that the unimaginative were in charge of the operation, or at the very least naming it, the surveillance program obtained the code name “Speargun”, involving the covert installation of tapping equipment on the cable link.  As to be expected, the entire operation took place in stages – the first being the initially seedy point of tapping the cable; and phase two being the use of “metada probes”, the first being ready by mid-2013.

As should be familiar by now, such probes are fundamental to obtaining the data from communications encompassing time, dates, senders, email addresses and phone calls, not to mention the substantive content.

The New Zealand prime minister, John Key, condescended to explain that internet surveillance laws enacted in 2013 were done so for a very simple reason: to amend “an ambiguous legal framework”.  The GCSB legislation had triggered a chorus of “alarmist” calls, but, he said not too reassuringly in parliament, NZ citizens had nothing to concern themselves about.

His third reading speech delivered in August last year says nothing about what is actually to be done, but what has always been done in the spooks business.   The work might reek of intrusive molestation, but all to the good.  What the PM simply reiterates are those swill bucket observations that are second nature in the advertising business – the need to “protect New Zealanders” from “threats” that are “real and ever-present”.[2]

Key has never even felt a need to explain what these threats might be, ignoring the greatest rule of intelligence gathering in a democratic state: Gaps are necessary.  Apertures in the system tend to be their salvation, the cautionary protection for good governance.  But he doesn’t want to give that side of the bargain up.  Just back obstinate paternalism, and hope for the best.  Hence, it was sufficient for him to say that he had “been briefed by intelligence agencies on many issues, some of which have deeply concerned me.”

As paternalism is the greatest incentive to mendacity (parents tend to deceive their children in the name of protecting them), Key has been found wanting, claiming that there has been no instance of mass surveillance in New Zealand.  Greenwald had touched a nerve in appearing with Dotcom ahead of the country’s election on September 20.  “Mr Dotcom’s little henchman will be proved to be incorrect because he is incorrect…. There never has been mass surveillance and there is no mass surveillance.”[3]  But there was Snowden, ever ready with a bucket of numbingly cold water.  “The Prime Minister’s claim to the public, that ‘there is no and there never has been any mass surveillance’, is false.”[4]

The egg on Key’s face seemed to be accumulating, with Snowden explaining that, in the course of his work, he “routinely came across the communications of New Zealanders” connected with “a mass surveillance tool we shared with GCSB, called XKEYSCORE.”  The particular access is “granular” in nature, having little to do with cybersecurity purposes but “used primarily for reading individuals’ private email, text messages, and internet traffic.”

NZ intelligence personnel are not merely involved in the use of XKEYSCORE but also active development of “mass surveillance algorithms for it.”  Suggestions from the Key camp are that such a mass accumulating program might have been flirted with, but never actually embraced. Snowden roundly dismisses it.

The former NSA contractor adds a bit more material here to his previous disclosures.  Analysts, for instance, can make use of a “checkbox” which conceals “the results of mass surveillance in New Zealand”.  In intelligence speak, this is the “Five Eyes Defeat” filter.  The very presence of such a function howls for recognition that Key and company have been rather slap dash with the verite.

Correcting legal frameworks at this end of the business is much like covering the bases of a criminal with the tracks still warm.  That, by definition, is how most intelligence networks function – an extra-legal realm of operation that shirks and hides from the legal net in order to combat illegality.  To allow a state to pursue such conduct does not merely advocate abuse, but the highest logic of inefficiency.

Time for Key, perhaps, to embrace an election slogan aligned with comments from the GCSB.  In the words of a spokesperson, “We don’t comment on matters that may or may not be operational.”

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

“So Planned and Executed That Any US Government Responsibility For Them Is Not Evident To Unauthorized Persons And That If Uncovered The US Government Can Plausibly Disclaim Any Responsibility For Them”

Everyone knows that the CIA spies …

But – from the beginning – the CIA has also carried out black hat covert operations.

Specifically, the CIA was formed in September 1947.

A mere 9 months later, the National Security Council issued a directive to the CIA to engage in covert operations:

As used in this directive, “covert operations” are understood to be all activities (except as noted herein) which are conducted or sponsored by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them. Specifically, such operations shall include any covert activities related to: propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world. Such operations shall not include armed conflict by recognized military forces, espionage, counter-espionage, and cover and deception for military operations.

Since then, the CIA has engaged in a variety of unsavory covert options, including:

  • Running drugs in order to support its covert operations. See thisthisthis and this

Indeed, many top experts – including government officials – say that America is the largest sponsor of terror in the world … largely through the work of the CIA. And see this.

For example:

  • The Washington Post reported in 2010:

The United States has long been an exporter of terrorism, according to a secret CIA analysis released Wednesday by the Web site WikiLeaks.

  • The head and special agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said that most terror attacks are committed by our CIA and FBI.
  • The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom - noted:

Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.

Odom also said:

By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.

(audio here).

image: Foley beheading video

Since mid-August 2014 major news organizations have conveyed videos allegedly found online by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Unsurprisingly the same media have failed to closely interrogate what the private company actually is and whether the material it promotes should be accepted as genuine.

[Image Credit: i24news.tv]

beheading2The Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group (SITE) was co-founded by Rita Katz in 2001.

In 2003 Katz authored a book, Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America, which she published using the pseudonym, “Anonymous.”

In the book Katz explains how she took on the trappings of a Muslim woman to infiltrate the meetings of radical Muslim terrorists. The plot is unlikely, especially when one considers that such secret fundamentalist gatherings are almost always segregated along gender lines and no woman, however elaborate her costume, would be granted entry without her identity being firmly established.

SITE Intelligence Group consists of Katz and two “senior advisers,” one of whom is Bruce Hoffman, the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and former director of the RAND’s Washington DC office.

The SITE Intelligence Group “constantly monitors the Internet and traditional media for material and propaganda released by jihadist groups and their supporters,” the company’s website announces.

“Once obtained, SITE immediately translates the material and provides the intelligence along with a contextual analysis explaining the source of the material and its importance to our subscribers.”[1]

In 2003 and 2004, SITE received financial support from the US government. Also in the early 2000s SITE was on contract providing consulting services to the FBI.[2]

It would appear that SITE has abandoned its non-profit status and now relies on corporate and individual subscriptions for revenue. In 2005 the private mercenary contractor Blackwater hailed SITE as “an invaluable resource.”[3]

The majority of “jihadist groups” operate one or more media outlets that produce and publish “the group’s multimedia, and in some cases, communiqués and magazines,” SITE explains on its website.

“These media units involve production teams and correspondents who report directly from the battlefield, and craft propaganda to indoctrinate and recruit new fighters into the group’s ranks.” SITE provides no direct links to the jihadist groups’ websites or multimedia productions from its own platform.[4]

Katz describes SITE as geared toward international Islamic jihad. “[W]e at SITE for over a decade monitor, search, and study the jihadists online,” she explains.

We have been studying and monitoring the jihadists online, which also as they get more sophisticated, we follow their techniques and study them. And based on that, we could predict where they will be uploading their video.

After all, we have to remember that much of this propaganda is being posted online. Their releases are released online [sic]. So they have to be able to use certain locations to upload their releases before they are published.[5]

Though routinely overlooked in the flurry of front-page coverage corporate media have allotted the three beheading videos–the most recent of which featured Scottish aid worker David Cawthorne Haines–it is common knowledge that SITE uncannily secures terrorist statements and videos well before the US’s wide array of lavishly-funded intelligence services.

For example, as the Washington Post reported in 2007,

[a] small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 … It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release. Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.[6]

The video later proved to be fraudulent.

With the above in mind, one may ask, If parties within a US presidential administration or the State Department sought to bypass the potential scrutiny of a wide-ranging intelligence community concerning such matters, while simultaneously providing itself with the means to effectively propagandize the American public toward a broader end, what better way than to contract the services of an entity such as SITE?

beheadingIf there is some merit in the above appraisal, the arrangement is now being pushed to an extreme by the Obama administration to pave the road toward a long-sought goal: war with Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime. Indeed, services such as SITE’s are a potent and valuable means for moving public opinion, as they have done in recent weeks concerning military action against the Islamic State. Along these lines, a decade ago both John Kerry and George W. Bush credited the latter’s re-election to a surreptitious appearance by Osama bin Laden via video tape several days before the vote.[7]

[Image Credit: ibtimes.co.in]

Playing a role similar to SITE, IntelCenter acts as an intermediary between Al-Qaeda’s supposed media arm, As-Sahab, and major media. In other words, “they acquire the tapes and pass them on to the press, and have occasionally even predicted when tapes would be released beforehand,” Paul Joseph Watson reports.

“IntelCenter is run by Ben Venzke, who used to be the director of intelligence at a company called IDEFENSE, which is a Verisign company. IDEFENSE is a web security company that monitors intelligence from the Middle East conflicts and focuses on cyber threats among other things. It is also heavily populated with long serving ex-military intelligence officials.[8]

As noted, news outlets seldom see fit to closely analyze SITE or Katz concerning their research and function as conduits for terrorist propaganda. A LexisNexis search for SITE Intelligence in the article content of US newspapers and major world publications over the past two years produces 317 items—an admittedly low figure given the prominence of SITE’s recent disclosures. Yet a similar search for “Steven Sotloff” alone yields over 1,000 newspaper stories and 600 broadcast transcripts, suggesting the sensationalistic usage and effect of SITE’s data and how neither SITE nor Katz are called upon to explain their specific methods and findings.

Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in the Washington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.

In a CNN on the heels of the Sotloff beheading, Katz explains how again SITE curiously surpassed the combined capacities of the entire US intelligence community in securing the Sotloff footage.

“The video shows the beheading of Steven Sotloff,” Katz cautiously begins after being queried on the document’s authenticity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aNUm0Z_lXs

The location from where the video was obtained from is the location where ISIS usually uploads their original videos to [sic]. The video shows a clear message from ISIS that follows the same message that it had before. And in fact within a short time after our release, ISIS’ account on social media indicated that within a short time they would be releasing the video, only we actually had that video beforehand and were able to beat them with the release. (emphasis added)

This unusual statement alongside SITE’s remarkable abilities, should put news outlets on guard concerning the reliability of SITE statements.

Undoubtedly this is a great deal to ask from a news media that all too frequently participate in orienting public opinion toward war, a feat it has once again accomplished with the aid of SITE.

The interests and alliances of the transnational entities owning such media make them poised to profit from the very geopolitical designs drawn up by SITE’s corporate and government clients–the most important of which may be those seeking to broaden Middle Eastern conflict. No doubt, the wide-scale acceptance of such propaganda is also the result of the vastly diminished critical capacities of the broader public, now several decades in the making.

Notes

[1] “Services,” SITE Intelligence Group, , accessed September 15, 2014,

[2] Berni McCoy, “So, a ‘Charitable Organization’ Released the bin Laden Video,” Democratic Underground, September 10, 2007, http://journals.democraticunderground.com/berni_

[3] “SITE Institute,” Sourcewatch.org, Center for Media and Democracy, n.d.

[4] “Media Groups,” SITE Intelligence Group, n.d., accessed September 15, 2014.

[5] Karl Penhaul, Pamela Brown, Alisyn Camerota, Don Lemon, Paul Cruickshank, “Joan Rivers on Life Support; Chilling Words From ISIS Terrorist; How to Fight Radical Recruitment” (transcript), CNN, September 2, 2014.

[6] Joby Warrick, “Leak Severed a Link to Al Qaeda Secrets,” Washington Post, October 9, 2007.

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, “Another Dubious Osama Tape Appears When the Neo-Cons Need It Most,” Prisonplanet.com, July 16, 2007.

[8] Ibid. See also, Kurt Nimmo, “Sotloff Video Found by Group Responsible For Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video,” Infowars.com, September 3, 2014.

President Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah movement, which he commands, have unleashed a media campaign against Hamas and the resistance. If pressure from the Palestinian public fails to stop the campaign, Abbas may achieve politically what Israel failed to achieve militarily: forcing the Palestinian presidency to choose “peace with Israel ” over national reconciliation.

It appears that President Abbas has, indeed, prioritised “peace with Israel .” He has devised plans for resuming negotiations, and is still banking on American support for such talks. This is the only explanation for the current anti-Hamas media campaign.

Abbas sent his negotiators — Saeb Erekat, Majed Faraj and Maen Erekat — to Washington, where they met with US Secretary of State John Kerry a week ago last Wednesday. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki described the more than two-hour meeting as “constructive”. Abbas then prepared to obtain an Arab mandate, which seems guaranteed in advance, for his plans from the 142nd session of the Arab foreign ministers conference, held in Cairo this week.

However, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power poured cold water over the Palestinian Authority (PA) president’s bid to obtain US backing for his plan, which he intends to put before the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly. The proposal would end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza within three years, during which period negotiations would resume within three months with the occupying power over its borders with the Palestinian state.

“We don’t think there are shortcuts or unilateral measures that can be taken at the United Nations or anyplace else that will bring about the outcome that the Palestinian people most seek,” Power said in a press conference last week. “To think that you can come to New York and secure what needs to be worked out on the ground is not realistic.”

This clearly translates into an unequivocal US “No.” The Palestinian president’s new plan has run up against the same American wall that Palestinian negotiators have faced since negotiations were adopted as a strategic approach. The Zionist route remains the only way these negotiators can access the White House and the UN Security Council.

There can be only one explanation for this plan. It is in fulfilment of a Palestinian promise not to resist the occupation and to offer the occupying power the opportunity to agree to yet another futile round of negotiations. Such negotiations will give Israel the time it needs to turn the Givaot colony into a major settler city on the 4,000 dunams of Palestinian land that it has just seized by declaring it “state land”.

The purpose of this appropriation is to separate the Hebron and South Bethlehem governorates in the West Bank . It is also a means to deflect international humanitarian pressure in reaction to Israeli war crimes in Gaza , to evade Israel ’s obligations to the truce agreement with the resistance in Gaza , and to fuel internal Palestinian tensions until they reignite once more.

It was not Hamas or the resistance that described Abbas’s new plan as a “spurious process”. It was independent Palestinian figures who expressed their views in a statement read out by Mamdouh Al-Akr, general commissioner of the Independent Organisation of Human Rights, on 2 September in Ramallah. They called for an urgent meeting of the unified leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), in accordance with the Cairo agreement of 2011, so that it can serve as a frame of reference for the Palestinian will and take critical national decisions.

Activating the unified leadership framework of the PLO will put President Abbas’s call for a “single Palestinian central authority”, uniquely empowered to “determine matters of war and peace”, into its concrete national context. Only this context can confer legitimacy on a Palestinian leadership that does not derive its authority from resisting the occupation in all forms.

Moreover, the currently missing “electoral legitimacy” is no longer sufficient in and of itself to allow Palestinian decisions on war and peace to remain in the hands of a leadership that is the product of elections that were held with the approval of the occupation power and in the framework of agreements signed with it.

The Palestinian presidency has dropped the available option of resistance from the lexicon of its negotiating strategy, let alone the option of war, which is not available. The PA, in coordination with the occupation’s security apparatus, has become “the security proxy for the occupying power, rather than an instrument to end the occupation and establish the state,” as Palestinian analyst Hani Al-Masri wrote on 26 August.

As a result, the occupying power, alone, holds the keys to the decision of war, which it continues to repeat, and to the decision of peace, which it still refuses to take.

It appears that President Abbas is working against the tide of Palestinian public opinion, as voiced in a recent survey conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) in Ramallah. According to this poll, only 22 per cent of respondents supported a resumption of negotiations, while 53 per cent said they regarded resistance as “the more effective way” to realise the creation of a Palestinian state.

The results of the PCPSR poll contradict all the charges levelled by the president and Fatah against the resistance and Hamas. Of those polled, 79 per cent believe that the resistance emerged victorious from the recent war, while 86 per cent support the defensive use of rockets.

Respondents gave very low ratings to the performance of the Palestinian president, the PA, the national unity government and the PLO, while the approval rating for Hamas was 88 per cent.

What is the substance of this media campaign against Hamas? It ranges from blaming Hamas for prolonging the war and for the consequent loss of lives and material damage, to adopting the Israeli narrative regarding a Hamas-engineered “coup attempt” against the president in the West Bank and the existence of a “shadow government” in Gaza that prevents the national unity government from functioning.

Then there are the charges of keeping Fatah members under “house arrest”, of “opening fire on civilians”, and of “selling emergency relief on the black market.” On top of these come the accusation that Hamas has violated “the law that defines the colours and dimensions of the flag.”

President Abbas’s instructions to create a “committee to hold a dialogue” with Hamas to discuss the “fate of the national unity government,” as announced by Amin Maqboul, secretary of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, does little to encourage optimism. The national unity government, national reconciliation, the Cairo agreement of 2011, the unified leadership framework that it stipulated, and the reactivation of the PLO, all stand at a crossroads.

This is because of the confrontation stirred by the systematic smear campaign that President Abbas and the Fatah movement are waging against Hamas and the resistance. The campaign has created a media smokescreen behind which the occupation authority can conceal its foot-dragging in carrying out its obligations under the truce agreement, which will probably be echoed in Israeli procrastination on continuing with truce talks due to be held in Cairo.

It should also be stressed that to accuse the resistance and Hamas of prolonging the war is to exonerate the occupation power of responsibility. The Israeli media was quick to capitalise on this, further proof of the extensive coverage the campaign has received.

Indeed, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev virtually reiterated it verbatim when he said that the Egyptian initiative was on the table from 15 July and that while the Arab League and Israel had approved the initiative, Hamas rejected it, only to turn around and agree to it a month later. “If [Hamas] had agreed then to what it agrees to now” it would have been possible “to avoid all that bloodshed,” he said.

The investigatory commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council will most likely cite the president’s charges to strengthen the claims of the occupying power, as these charges would be regarded as “testimony of a witness from the other side.”

Abbas says that while the “final toll” from the most recent war in Gaza was 2,140 dead, “if added to the number of dead in previous wars, and those who died during the period of the Shalit problem, the number would be 10,000 dead and wounded, in addition to the 35,000 homes that were totally or partially destroyed.”

When Abbas says that “it would have been possible” to avert the human and material losses of the recent conflict he is effectively blaming the resistance, not the occupation, for the last war on Gaza and the two wars since 2008 that preceded it.

The spectre of discord once again hovers over Palestinian unity, with Palestinian opinion divided over a programme of negotiations versus a programme of resistance. This is the breach through which Arab and non-Arab “axes” penetrate into the Palestinian interior, deepening rather than mending Palestinian rifts.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories ([email protected]).

This article was first published and translated from Arabic by Al-Ahram Weekly on September 11, 2014.

What Will It Take To Create Climate Justice?

September 15th, 2014 by Margaret Flowers

All of the elements required to create climate justice seem to be in place. The climate movement can put hundreds of thousands on the streets, organize creative civil resistance, get thousands to risk arrest and mobilize blockades of tar sands, fracking, oil pipelines and mountain top removal.

Polls show high levels of public support for taking action on climate change. A 2014 Gallup Poll shows 65% of Americans support emissions controls and a 2014 George Mason-Yale study  found Americans were twice as likely to support a congressional or presidential candidate who strongly supports action to reduce global warming.

There is strong scientific consensus with the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ringing the climate change alarm for two decades. In 2014, IPCC reports and the US National Climate Assessment  show that the climate crisis is here and affecting access to water, food production and health. The planet is in its Sixth Great Extinction ,  this one caused by humans. The World Health Organization estimates  that climate change currently causes 150,000 deaths annually .

Yet, despite all of this, the climate change movement is unable to move US or UN policy or force the economic system to respond adequately to the climate crisis.

The climate crisis is a crisis of democracy  requiring a coordinated global grassroots mobilization to stop harmful policies and practices and build alternative systems that are effective and equitable. The climate crisis affects all of us and touches everything we care about. It will take a mass ‘movement of movements’ to counter the power of money and corruption that prevents the change we need.

The last two decades have been wasted by political misleadership and as a result, immediate action is required. A landmark report last week concluded: “By 2018, no new cars, homes, schools, factories, or electrical power plants should be built anywhere in the world, ever again, unless they’re either replacements for old ones or carbon neutral.” We have a big task before us and need to build a global movement to make it a reality.

Confronting climate change will require major political and economic transformations that will impact how we live our lives. We must transition from the Industrial Revolution to the Sustainable Revolution.

The State of the Climate Movement

The climate movement has made tremendous strides in building the structure of a broader movement of movements over the past decade, and it will develop further via the events being organized around the next set of United Nations climate change meetings in New York this month.

At the global level, the movement of movements was formed outside the UN climate talks in Bali, the COP 13 in 2007. Calling themselves Climate Justice Now, more than thirty non-governmental organizations and social movements signed on to a statement that concluded with “We will take our struggle forward not just in the talks, but on the ground and in the streets.”

Climate Justice Now  continued to meet after the COP 13 and grow. They developed a set of principles, organized alternative events at the COP meetings and published analyses of the UN’s climate negotiations. They participated inside the climate talks and engaged in direct action to protest the negotiations. Their organizing led to large demonstrations of more than 100,000 people  and direct actions at the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 where 3,000 activists  tried to “take over the conference for one day and transform it into a ‘People’s Assembly’” to counter the “false solutions and elitism of the UN climate talks.” At the same time 300 people walked out of the conference and tried to hold an assembly with the protesters outside. The police disrupted them and more than 1,000 people were detained or arrested during COP15.

As we reported in a previous article , the US spied on delegates and sabotaged the COP15. President Obama declared victory when he put forward a failed nonbinding agreement and Big Greens from the US including the Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Federation and Sierra Club all declared victory despite the outcome.

In the United States, a similar body formed during the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit. The Climate Justice Alliance is composed of frontline environmental and social justice organizations that work together to move local and state governments towards renewable energy and a just transition to the green energy economy. Across the country local groups have engaged in acts of resistance   including blocking pipelines and protesting fracking , nuclear energy and mountain top removal  among other forms of extreme energy extraction.

Big Greens vs Fresh Greens

One of the challenges in recent years was the conflict between these “big greens,” the traditional environmental groups, and fresh greens that include frontline groups directly impacted by the excavation and transport of carbon and nuclear fuels. The anger between these groups can be seen in some of the writings of frontline activists who see the big greens as “quelling dissent.”

Tim DeChristopher , the climate justice advocate who went to prison for blocking the leasing of lands for gas in Utah, explained recently how the 2009 ‘cap and trade bill’ was a turning point. Activists believed cap and trade was a false solution but the big greens said it was the only politically realistic possibility. When the bill failed, people realized the big greens not only pushed false solutions but also did not know what was politically realistic.

Part of the problem comes from money. Some major environmental groups, Sierra Club, NRDC and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), took the position that methane gas was a ‘bridge fuel’  from coal. Methane is a greenhouse gas obtained through fracking that has a much greater short term impact than carbon. After Corporate Crime Reporter started asking questions it was revealed that the Sierra Club had taken $25 million from Chesapeake Energy, a firm heavily involved in fracking. Since then, under the direction of Michael Brune, the Sierra Club turned back an additional $30 million in gas donations.

Problems with big green environmental groups working with industries that profit from climate gasses continue. A recent report shows how EDF is supporting efforts for ‘safe fracking ‘ (which is like ‘clean coal,’ it doesn’t exist) through partnerships with gas corporations. Vera Scroggins, an anti-fracking activist, describes how these groups are “pouring money into calming fears and calming objections. They’re basically promoting something that’s been created by the industry.”

In recent years the divide between big greens and frontline activists has shrunk slightly. Research has shown  that blockades and other aggressive actions work in stopping or slowing environmentally destructive actions. The increased use of civil resistance in the climate movement led the Sierra Club, for the first time, to engage in risking arrest with Michael Brune getting arrested at the White House.

There is still a long way to go to stop the division in the movement and get traditional environmental groups to treat climate change as an urgent disaster for which real solutions and not false compromises are needed. Beyond that, the movement needs to be broader than the environmental movement to include all who will be affected by the climate crisis. To achieve climate justice will require building a people-powered movement of movements that can have a significant impact on the tremendous wealth and power of the global financial elites who currently control the system.

Broadening and Sharpening the Climate Justice Movement

In addition to getting the environmental movement to speak with a common voice on climate justice and the policies needed to achieve it, the movement needs to reach beyond environmentalists. Solidarity across issues is essential to creating the movement of movements that can achieve climate justice.

An important step in broadening the US climate justice movement took place this year at the founding meeting of the Global Climate Convergence (GCC) in January. Held in the Workers United Hall in Chicago, the meeting was attended by unions and by advocates for peace, food security, economic rights, civil rights, housing, the environment, renewable energy and ending corporate power. The GCC organized ten days of action from Earth Day to May Day to show that all of our issues are connected and that the climate crisis is the ticking clock that brings urgency to our work. The climate convergence is continuing with the NYC Climate Convergence  being held for the two days before the People’s Climate March.

Labor’s involvement is necessary to achieve climate justice. The Labor Network for Sustainability  criticizes the idea that “labor can focus on jobs, and leave the environment to the environmental movement.”  They describe this silo approach as outdated and ensuring failure for both movements. Their founding president and executive director, Joe Uehlein argues  that labor needs to define and lead the way in a just “transition to a climate-safe economy.”

The new Trade Unions for Energy Democracy  includes 41 institutions from 15 countries. They seek “to advance democratic direction and control of energy in a way that promotes solutions to the climate crisis, energy poverty, the degradation of both land and people, and responds to the attacks on workers’ rights and protections.” Their response to the climate crisis goes beyond the need to reduce emissions and protect workers to creating a world that is more just and equitable.

The People’s Climate March also attempts to bridge this divide between labor and environmentalists; Daniel Adam writes “more than 30 unions presents a ground-breaking opening for labor and the climate movement.” The downside though is that the price for getting broad union involvement was to avoid clear demands that would offend some unions or their allies in the Democratic Party. The tent is so big that “it even includes organizations that support fracking and the tar sands gigaproject,” reports Anne Peterman .   So more work is needed, but progress is being made.

In addition to workers, business owners must understand the necessity of participating in the broad climate justice movement. The climate crisis will bring new challenges to businesses in the acquisition, production and transport of goods. It also brings new opportunities to be part of the solution. Either business will adapt to the changes that the climate crisis brings by adopting climate-friendly practices or they will become the blacksmiths and carriage makers of our time.

There are business groups seeking to confront climate change. For example, BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) made up of 50,000 entrepreneurs and funders have been advocating localism, sustainability and ecological restoration since 2001. Other business groups raise questions, as Chris Hedges writes  “The Climate Group, for example, which endorses the march, includes among its members and sponsors BP, China Mobile, Dow Chemical Co., Duke Energy, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Greenstone.” They do not advocate for “carbon-free, nuclear-free” but support a “prosperous, low-carbon future for all.”

Indigenous groups have taken a strong lead in organizing and action for Indigenous rights and protection of the planet. Idle No More began in Canada as a series of teach-ins on legislation in the Parliament and when grew very rapidly when Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike on Victoria Island across from Parliament Hill in December, 2012. The movement gained international attention and solidarity actions occurred throughout North America.

The Idle No More movement brought greater attention to the challenges that First Nations face throughout North America and the work they’ve done to gain sovereignty and to protect the environment. Indigenous groups have educated about and advocated for protection of the air, land and water, have led marches and rides to raise awareness of critical issues and have organized blockades and other direct action to prevent further exploitation of their rights and destruction of the Earth through extreme energy extraction for oil, gas, uranium and minerals. In Canada, there has been both significant repression of First Nation protests such as the Mi’kmaq faced in New Brunswick and victories such as in the Supreme Court decision that granted land titles to First Nations in British Columbia.

Food and water are two reasons for all people to join the climate justice movement. Food systems produce 19% to 29% of greenhouse gas emissions making agriculture a major sector needing transformation. In, “ Grass, Soil, Hope ,” rancher and environmentalist Courtney White describes agricultural practices that adapt to climate change impacts but also sequester large amounts of carbon in soil and improve both quality and output of food. These are positive solutions that are win-win for agriculture, people and the planet. On the negative side, corporations like Monsanto and Dupont seek to control the world’s food supply through genetically engineered seeds and increased use of chemicals. And private corporations are vying to take over water, meaning scenarios like what is happening in Detroit where water prices are rising and residents are losing access to water will become more common.

Jacqui Patterson, the director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, points out that climate change is a civil rights issue . In the United States, on issues of food, health effects, the cost of fuel or impacts of carbon fuel pollution, African Americans pay a higher price even though they use less carbon fuels. The same is true globally where the poorest nations using the least fuel will be most impacted. These are reasons that people who care about the wealth divide or inequality should be part of the climate justice movement.

Veterans For Peace  has been making the connections between the climate crisis and militarism. The US military is the biggest polluter on the planet and uses tremendous amounts of fossil fuels. Current military conflicts are centered on control of oil and gas. VFP members have joined frontline communities in actions against coal and fracking and to demand clean-up of thousands of abandoned uranium mines left from the Cold War era. There will be a veteran’s contingent and peace roundtable at the People’s Climate March.

Youth are a foundation for climate justice advocacy. They have used the courts to sue for the right to clean air, pressured universities to divest from carbon energy and organized campaigns to stop extreme energy extraction . Informed youth understand that the climate crisis is not something in the future, but shapes their lives.

Realizing Our Power

The ingredients do exist to build the people-powered movement of movements that can organize actions to expose and resist corruption of the political system and economy at all levels and create alternative systems that are based on principles of sustainability, solidarity, equity and justice. On a daily basis we see examples of actions in communities that resist the expansion of fossil and nuclear fuels and build local living economies.

Climate justice is in our reach if we realize that the climate crisis connects all of us and take action to manifest our power. As Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” In this situation, we have a choice to continue on the destructive path towards climate chaos or to come together and build a future that not only addresses the climate crisis but is also healthier, more equitable and prosperous.

In the final article of this series, we will describe a common vision and strategy that can be used for developing clear demands and a positive pathway to the world that is needed and is possible.

This article is part of a series in the lead up to the UN Climate Summit and the activities occurring around that event. It is being produced by Popular Resistance 

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese are organizers with Popular Resistance , which provides daily movement news and resources. Sign up for their daily newsletter ; and follow them on twitter, @PopResistance To march with us at the People’s Climate March or join us at the Global Climate Convergence, click here.

The Recovery Of the Earth’s Ozone Layer

September 15th, 2014 by Marianne de Nazareth

Lets first understand what is Ozone? According to the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Ozone is a special form of oxygen with the chemical formula  O3. And the oxygen we breathe which is totally vital to life on earth is O2.

Ozone constitutes a very small part of our atmosphere, but its presence is nevertheless vital to human well-being. Most ozone resides high up in the atmosphere, between 10 and 40km above Earth’s surface. This region is called the stratosphere and it contains about 90% of all the ozone in the atmosphere.

Image courtesy WMO

So, why do we humans need to care about atmospheric ozone ?

The Ozone in the stratosphere absorbs some of the Sun’s biologically harmful ultraviolet radiation. Because of this beneficial role, stratospheric ozone is considered “good” ozone. In contrast, excess ozone on the Earth’s surface that is formed from pollutants is considered “bad” ozone because it can be harmful to humans, plants, and animals. The ozone that occurs naturally near the surface and in the lower atmosphere is also beneficial because ozone helps remove pollutants from the atmosphere.

 A decade or so ago the world was woken up rudely to the fact that the earth’s protective ozone layer had developed a huge hole through which harmful cancer causing UV rays were being emitted.

Scientists sent alarm bells ringing and countries took steps to help reduce the problem and try to recover or repair the hole. Thankfully the Assessment for Decision-Makers, a summary document of the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014,  a new assessment by 300 scientists, is being published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and is the first comprehensive update in four years on the issue.  The document says that the ozone layer is well on track to recovery in the next few decades thanks to concerted international action against ozone depleting substances.

The stratospheric ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Without the Montreal Protocol and associated agreements, atmospheric levels of ozone depleting substances could have increased tenfold by 2050. According to global models, the Protocol will have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030, averted damage to human eyes and immune systems, and protected wildlife and agriculture, according to UNEP.

The phasing-out of ozone depleting substances has had a positive spin-off for the global climate because many of these substances are also potent greenhouse gases. However, the assessment report cautions that the rapid increase in certain substitutes, which are themselves also potent greenhouse gases, has the potential to undermine these gains. The assessment also notes that there are possible approaches to avoiding the harmful climate effects of these substitutes.

“There are positive indications that the ozone layer is on track to recovery towards the middle of the century. The Montreal Protocol – one of the world’s most successful environmental treaties – has protected the stratospheric ozone layer and avoided enhanced UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

“However, the challenges that we face are still huge. The success of the Montreal Protocol should encourage further action not only on the protection and recovery of the ozone layer but also on climate. On September 23, the UN Secretary General will host Heads of State in New York in an effort to catalyse global action on climate. The Montreal Protocol community, with its tangible achievements, is in a position to provide strong evidence that global cooperation and concerted action are the key ingredients to secure the protection of our global commons,” he added.

“International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

“This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of climate change. This latest assessment provides solid science to policy-makers about the intricate relationship between ozone and climate and the need for mutually-supportive measures to protect life on earth for future generations.”

“Human activities will continue to change the composition of the atmosphere. WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme will therefore continue its crucial monitoring, research and assessment activities to provide scientific data needed to understand and ultimately predict environmental changes, as it has done for the past 25 years” said Mr Jarraud.

The key findings of the report are in brief below:  Actions taken under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are enabling the return of the ozone layer to benchmark 1980 levels.

·        Under full compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 benchmark levels- the time before significant ozone layer depletion- before the middle of the century in mid-latitudes and the Arctic, and somewhat later in the Antarctic.

·        The Montreal Protocol and associated agreements have led to decreases in the atmospheric abundance of gases, such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and halons, once used in products such as refrigerators, spray cans, insulation foam and fire suppression.

·        Total column ozone declined over most of the globe during the 1980s and early 1990s. It has remained relatively unchanged since 2000, but there are recent indications of its future recovery.

·        The Antarctic ozone hole continues to occur each spring and it is expected to continue occurring for the better part of this century given that ozone depleting substances persist in the atmosphere, even though their emissions have ceased.

·        The Arctic stratosphere in winter/spring 2011 was particularly cold, which led to large ozone depletion as expected under these conditions.

The climate benefits of the Montreal Protocol could be significantly offset by projected emissions of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) used to replace ozone depleting substances.

·        The Montreal Protocol has made large contributions toward reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. In 1987, ozone-depleting substances contributed about 10 gigatonnes CO2-equivalent emissions per year. The Montreal Protocol has now reduced these emissions by more than 90 per cent. This decrease is about five times larger than the annual emissions reduction target for the first commitment period (2008–2012) of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

·        Hydrofluorocarbons  (HFCs) do not harm the ozone layer but many of them are potent greenhouse gases. They currently contribute about 0.5 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. These emissions are growing at a rate of about 7 per cent per year. Left unabated, they can be expected to contribute very significantly to climate change in the next decades.
·        Replacements of the current mix of high-GWP HFCs with alternative compounds with low GWPs or not-in-kind technologies would limit this potential problem.

The annual Antarctic ozone hole has caused significant changes in Southern Hemisphere surface climate in the summer.

·        Ozone depletion has contributed to cooling of the lower stratosphere and this is very likely the dominant cause of observed changes in Southern Hemisphere summertime circulation over recent decades, with associated impacts on surface temperature, precipitation, and the oceans.

·        In the Northern Hemisphere, where the ozone depletion is smaller, there is no strong link between stratospheric ozone depletion and tropospheric climate.

CO2, Nitrous Oxide and Methane will have an increasing influence on the ozone layer

·        What happens to the ozone layer in the second half of the 21st century will largely depend on concentrations of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide – the three main long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Overall, CO2 and methane tend to increase global ozone levels. By contrast, nitrous oxide, a by-product of food production, is both a powerful greenhouse gas and an ozone depleting gas, and is likely to become more important in future ozone depletion.

The Scientific Assessment Panel is expected to present the key findings of the new report at the annual Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, to be held in Paris in November 2014. The full body of the report will be issued in early 2015.

The Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2014 was prepared and reviewed by 282 scientists from 36 countries (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Togo, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zimbabwe.)

Co-Chairs of the ozone assessment are: Prof. Ayité Lô Nohende Ajavon, Université de Lomé, Togo; Prof. John Pyle, University of Cambridge and National Centre for Atmospheric Science, UK; Dr. Paul Newman, NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center, USA; Prof. A.R. (Ravi) Ravishankara, Colorado State University, USA.

Marianne de Nazareth is a Freelance science and environment journalist, PhD scholar and adjunct faculty, St Joseph’s College of Media studies, Bangalore, India

The United Nations (UN) has stressed that there are strong links and contacts between the armed terrorist organizations in Syria and the Zionist entity.

The UN remarks came in a report by its Secretary General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) during the period from May 29th to September 3rd 2014.

The report said that members of the so-called “armed opposition” transported 47 of its wounded members through “the ceasefire line” and handed them to the “Israeli army”, indicating that the “Israeli army” handed 43 of the wounded who were treated at the Israeli hospitals to the armed terrorist organizations.

The report talked about the attack of the terrorist organizations including Jabhat al-Nusra against the positions of the UNDOF personnel and how they seized a number of their vehicles and equipment and how they used the UN uniform.

It added that the UNDOF Commander was in constant and regular contact with the Syrian Arab army in the area as the army provided all types of support to guarantee the evacuation of the UNDOF personnel.

The report affirms what Syria has always mentioned about the close relations between the armed terrorist organizations and the Israeli occupation authorities which shows how much the Israeli occupation is participating in the sinister conspiracy hatched against Syria.

The cooperation between the terrorist organization of Jabhat al-Nusra which has been designated as a terrorist group by the UN and the Israeli occupation authorities shows that Israel supports a terrorist organization which requires a response from the international community.

R. al-Jazaeri/ Ghossoun

Someone’s Already Fighting ISIS: The Syrian Arab Army

September 15th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Since 2011, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has waged a relentless war within Syrian territory against what it has said from the very beginning was an invasion of heavily armed, foreign-backed sectarian extremists. In retrospect, the transparently ludicrous nature of articles like the Guardian’s “Syria’s rebels unite to oust Assad and push for democracy” is self-evident. The article would lay out Syria’s claims side by side with the West’s narrative by stating:

In one of the fiercest clashes of the insurrection, Syrian troops finally took control of the town of Rastan after five days of intense fighting with army defectors who sided with protesters. Syrian authorities said they were fighting armed terrorist gangs.

In retrospect, and upon examining the obvious lay of Syria’s battlefields today, it is clear Syrian authorities were right.

Shortly after NATO carried out successful “regime change” in Libya in 2011 under the false pretext of a “humanitarian intervention,” sectarian-driven mercenaries it armed, funded, and provided air cover for in Libya began steadily streaming into Syria via its northern border with NATO-member Turkey.

Terrorists from the US State Department designated terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) officially made contact with terrorists fighting in Syria to offer them weapons, cash, training, and fighters. The London Telegraph would report in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” that:

The meetings came as a sign of a growing ties between Libya’s fledgling government and the Syrian opposition. The Daily Telegraph on Saturday revealed that the new Libyan authorities had offered money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad. 

Mr Belhaj also discussed sending Libyan fighters to train troops, the source said.

Indeed, at the highest levels, even as far back as 2011-2012, the so-called “moderate rebels” were entwined with Al Qaeda, vindicating the Syrian government’s statements regarding its struggle against foreign-backed terrorism, not a “pro-democracy uprising.”

Today, the West has expunged all rhetoric regarding “pro-democracy,” with sectarian extremism clearly driving militancy across both sides of Syria’s borders with Lebanon and Iraq. Instead, the West has been resigned to attempts in differentiating between groups like Al Qaeda’s al Nusra franchise and its Islamic State (ISIS) counterparts – claiming the latter must be addressed more urgently, even at the cost of cooperating with the former - yet another US State Department designated terrorist organization.

Syria’s Long War  

And while the fierce fighting in Syria may have began in 2011, the war on foreign-backed sectarian extremism began a generation ago. From 1976 to 1982, Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, waged war on the heavily militarized Muslim Brotherhood. Upon breaking the back of the organization in Syria, it fled and was later reconstituted by the United States and Saudi Arabia into what would become Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union.

In the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) 2008 report titled, “Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa’ida’s Road In and Out of Iraq,” it stated unequivocally that (emphasis added):

During the first half of the 1980s the role of foreign fighters in Afghanistan was negligible and was largely  un‐noticed by outside observers. The flow of volunteers from the Arab heartland countries was just a trickle in the early 1980s, though there were more significant links between the mujahidin and Central Asian Muslims—especially Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Kazakhs. Individuals like the above‐mentioned Abu’l‐Walid were recruited in the early years via ad hoc outreach campaigns initiated from within Afghanistan, but by 1984, the resources being poured into the conflict by other countries—especially Saudi Arabia and the United States—had become much greater, as had the effectiveness and sophistication of the recruitment efforts. Only then did foreign observers begin to remark on the presence of outside volunteers. 

6464623The repression of Islamist movements in the Middle East contributed to the acceleration of Arab fighters leaving for Afghanistan. One important process was the Syrian regime of Hafez Assad’s brutal campaign against the Jihadi movement in Syria, led by the “Fighting Vanguard” (al‐Tali’a al‐Muqatila) of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The crackdown initiated an exodus of Vanguard militants to neighboring Arab states. By 1984, large numbers of these men began making their way from exile in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan toward southeastern Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

Despite terms like “repression” and “brutal campaign,” it is clear that the CTC is referring to heavily armed, militarized, extremist movements the US itself has allegedly waged “repressive, brutal” campaigns against across the planet, including in neighboring Iraq. It is also clear that Syria has been fighting sectarian extremism for decades, with the current protracted violence simply being the latest chapter. It is also clear that the United States and Saudi Arabia have, admittedly so, been propping up regional extremism in the form of both the Muslim Brotherhood and its various armed factions, as well as Al Qaeda, and now most recently, ISIS.

Syria is battling a long war against proxy imperialism brought upon it through heavily armed terrorists who serve both as a mercenary force, as well as a pretext, if all else fails, for its state-sponsors to intervene directly to stop widespread chaos of their own design.

There is Only One Logical Ally in the War on ISIS 

If the West was truly interested in fighting ISIS, it can find only one ally in the region – the Syrian Arab Army that has fought ISIS and its affiliates fiercely since 2011, and its predecessors for decades.

That the West instead proposes further arming and funding so-called “moderates” from which ISIS, Al Nusra and an innumerable amount of other extremist factions have risen from exposes a lack of sincerity and in fact, utter duplicity amidst its intentions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It is a geopolitical arsonist seeking to extinguish the flames of its crime by emptying a barrel of gasoline directly upon the raging inferno.

Indeed, since 2011, the so-called “moderates” of the “Free Syrian Army” were openly collaborating with LIFG, a US designated terrorist organization. It would also be confirmed that the “Free Syrian Army” was fighting alongside (if not entirely a component of) Al Qaeda’s al Nusra franchise all throughout territory now allegedly held by ISIS. ISIS in fact did not mutate from idealistic moderates – only the narrative covering up the existence and extent of ISIS’ foreign-backed operation in Syria and now in Iraq and Lebanon has changed. From the very beginning, and in fact, proceeding the ongoing war in Syria, a sectarian driven, genocidal mercenary force designed for ravaging the entire region on behalf of the US and its regional partners was the stated plan as early as 2007.

Veteran journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh warned in a prophetic 2007 New Yorker article titled, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” that (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It can no longer be denied that the West is the cause of, not the solution for, the ongoing chaos now slowly burning the entire Middle East and beyond.

It can also not be denied that the only true force in the region fighting Al Qaeda and the myriad of aliases it is operating under, is the Syrian government with the backing of its allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and even as far as Russia. For the West to pose as “fighting” ISIS by creating a coalition consisting of the very nations sponsoring the terrorist organization, illustrates the audacity afforded to the West by its immense unwarranted power and influence – power and influence that must be ultimately reckoned with in order to truly resolve the violence in the Middle East and prevent similar chaos from being instigated elsewhere around the world.

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

Early in 2013 I thought I had reached a low point as I reacted to the way the animal-loving British elite happily slaughtered anything that got in its way.  The most visible sign of its lust for ‘controlling’ wildlife by culling has been the project to kill badgers on the poor excuse that they are responsible for all the bovine TB in cattle.  So the start of the second year of badger culling coinciding with Medway Council trying again to destroy a protected site where nightingales breed forced me to revisit the war we wage on nature.

So far it has not been a good year:

In January roe deer became trapped between two security fences at Sellafield nuclear power station and plans to shoot them caused uproar.  Always shoot rather than rescue is the way to deal with pesky wildlife that has the temerity to get in the way and despite the protests the guns had their way.  In April the cull started.

Also in January after another public uproar, a cull of hares was called off at Cranfield Airport. The cull was “to be undertaken following a crash between a light aircraft and a muntjac deer as the plane was coming in to land”.  Well, if a deer caused an accident, of course you’d go out and shoot hares, wouldn’t you?  Because according to the guns, the hare population was ‘out of control’.  Conservationists begged to differ and Natural England actually plans to try and double the brown hare population by 2020.

Anglers like killing too.  They have called for otters to be culled because of ‘damage’ to fishing lakes.  “If you watch £20,000 worth of stock disappear in just a few days – what are the owners going to do?”  Well, either each fish costs an inordinate amount of money or there is a whole plague of animals that we know nothing about, seeing that most of us are desperate to see just one otter before we die.  The very expensive fish are giant carp, twice the size of otters and like the pheasant, another species imported to provide fun.

And then there are the beavers on the River Otter inDevon, caught on film in February.  Anglers immediately demanded culling – anglers need beavers “like we need a hole in the head”.  Defra announced they would be trapped and removed because they might be ‘diseased’.  Everyone else has sided with the beavers.  Despite Defra’s desire to control all wildlife, they are still there, and have been for quite some years, without trouble.

In March the Scotsman had news of how birds of prey were suffering because of gamekeepers ‘protecting’ game birds that were going to be shot for pleasure.  They are switching from poisoning to shooting, trapping and nest destruction – small comfort there for the birds.  Even worse, the Scottish RSPB reported that “There have been incidents where chicks and eggs of ground-nesting species such as the hen harrier have been stamped on.”

In April the “We’re all in it together” Prime Minister Cameron vetoed  the raising of the firearms licence fee.  It has been frozen at £50 since 2001 – just over a quarter of the £196 that it costs police (and taxpayer) to issue the licence; it now costs us £17m.  Why subsidise people who can afford up to £1000 and more for the gun?  Top of the range guns come at over £60,000, and they only pay £50 a year to licence it.

At the same time the pheasant-and-grouse-shooting government increased the subsidies for grouse moors.  George Monbiot wrote a brilliant resume of how the pheasant constantly switched from ‘livestock’ to ‘wildlife’ in order to make the most use of both subsidies and regulations.  As he said: “Through a series of magnificent legal manoeuvres it becomes whatever the wealthy want it to be.”

The battle to save the endangered hen harrier from the grouse shooters is ongoing.  And its favoured habitat, the moors and uplands, are damaged by ‘management’ undertaken for ‘agricultural purposes’ by the owners.  One only has to look at what such management means to fall into utter despair.  Can these people not see what they do to the land?

The fight goes on to stop the burning of the peatlands inNorthern England.  An RSPB assessment of the scale of burning on England’s upland peatlands “revealed at least 127 separate historic agreements or consents which allow burning of blanket bog habitat on sites recognised as internationally important for birds.”  Not so curiously, all permissions for such burning have been granted to areas managed for grouse shooting.

The practice doesn’t just destroy precious wildlife habitats in defiance of EU law.  The Moorland Association (aka grouse killers) said that a review of the practice would “be a risk to us all”.  As Hazel Hedge commented:

“Which ‘all’ is referred to here?  Not the residents of towns such as HebdenBridge, who rely on healthy upland catchments to reduce the risk of flooding.  Not the averageYorkshiredweller who is paying extra to have their water cleaned after the bog burning.  And not the ‘all’ of us affected by climate change, which is being exacerbated by the release of carbon from moorland which could and should be used as a carbon sink.  No, it must be the ‘all’ of us who have an interest in grouse-shooting…”

A study by Exeter University revealed  just how much we need our green earth.  Even a photograph of a dull rural scene produces a feeling of inner calm, while one of a city (no matter how beautiful), makes our brains disorganised and dysfunctional.  We are not programmed to be “civilised”, to live piled on top of one another in deserts of buildings, with no more comfort for the soul than a dying pot plant or the trees plonked along between the street and the pavement, roots covered in concrete.  We need ‘nature’.

For most of our past, as hunter-gatherers, we never thought about ownership.  Killing for food was a necessity, but life was not about killing or being in control, it was simply about being within and a part of the landscape.  As Douglas Fry argues, we were at peace with ourselves and the earth.

The invention of agriculture damaged us, both physically and mentally.  If Jared Diamond and others are to be believed, our bodies suffered and became diminished because of agriculture.  So did our spirits, souls, hearts – whatever you want to call that ‘other’ side of us.

By growing crops and domesticating animals we came to believe that we owned the food and animals we farmed, and that any other form of life that tried to eat ‘our’ food had to be killed.  It is a short step from trying to protect your source of food to becoming addicted to the thrill of killing.  After living healthily and peacefully with the earth for millennia, we learnt to see the rest of life as alien.  We now see wildlife in two ways:

Something to be controlled or something to be killed for sport.  But now, for a growing number of us, it is something to be protected and left alone.  Which brings me back to the badger cull and another spate of unnecessary killing.

It is hard to accept that the cull is set up and carried out by fellow humans who simply take pleasure in killing; hard to accept that they will do anything to protect that pleasure, whether it is through bullying and intimidation, misusing the law and, utterly to be condemned, by our politicians misusing science in support of the killing.

For all those people walking the lanes and getting in the way of the cullers, I say this.  Keep going.  Somehow you will win this one.  For every badger that is killed, you will save many more.  Sooner rather than later sanity and honest science will win the day.  The fact that you will have to immediately man the barricades to save yet another species from the hungry guns should not deter you.  It should invigorate you – because look at what you have learnt:

Look at how much information you have garnered by using FoI requests.  Look at the tactics you have mastered, the way you can render uninformed MPs speechless with solid, science-based arguments.  Look at how you organise through social media, emails and meetings in pubs.  Look at how you have liaised with the police and made them change their way of thinking and their approach to wildlife “protestors”.

Look at how a passion for wildlife has energised you; how it has brought many more people onto the streets; made so many more people realise just how important the idea of ‘green’, of ‘nature’ and ‘wildlife’ is to our sense of wellbeing.

And look at how many more friends you and I have made because of the badgers – and the buzzards and the hares and nightingales.  We have woken up and seen that it is time to act in defence of life.  Without the natural environment we will become dead – dead in our minds and souls and, eventually, dead in our bodies because we are slowly killing the earth that is our home, our blood and bone and breath.

World War II demonstrated an enormous shift in the technological capability of the United States to bring death and destruction to the civilian populations of its enemies through aerial attack. The American air forces undertook strategic bombing campaigns that pulverized and burned numerous German and Japanese cities, culminating in the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This bombing killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Although the massive killing of noncombatants did not provoke widespread protests or recriminations among Americans at the time, the aftermath was not a simple story of acceptance of the practice as a common and legitimate method of warfare in a new technological age of air power. The experience of the Korean War demonstrated that American moral scruples against targeting civilians did not disappear with the bombing in World War II, as some historians have argued.1 Instead, American norms about bombing civilians followed a more complicated evolution.

Only five years later, the Korean War followed the pattern set by World War II of massive civilian destruction inflicted by bombing. Nevertheless, American leaders continued to claim throughout the war that U.S. air power was being used in a discriminate manner and was avoiding harm to civilians, as they had asserted even during the height of the bombing in World War II. The elasticity of the definition of a “military target” helped make these claims of discrimination more plausible.

The new bombing capabilities contributed to stretching the definitions of military targets because they brought new portions of civilian societies, such as transportation networks, arms factories, and their workers, within reach and under consideration for targeting. However, the American experience during the Korean War suggests that a dynamic of escalation stretched definitions of “military targets” even more. As military crises threatened and the war dragged on, American commanders vastly expanded the portion of the enemy’s society deemed to be a “military target.” While the loose semantics of military targets made it easier to claim publicly that prohibitions on targeting civilians remained, the prohibition found active reinforcement in the United States’ prominent role in the post-World War II war crimes trials of Germans and Japanese. Having held their former enemies accountable for harming civilians, Americans worked to distance themselves from similar practices, and the international competition of the Cold War only increased the stakes for American identity and political interests. In short, the broadly accepted moral prohibition against targeting civilians did not disappear with the bombing in World War II and Korea.

Although the norm against targeting civilians remained robust in the face of the technological transformations surrounding air power, the new bombing capabilities did foster several related changes in thinking about war’s harm to civilians and in international humanitarian law. One of the most significant was the increased importance of intention in rationalizing harm to noncombatants. For Americans, the crucial dividing line between justifiable and unjustifiable violence increasingly became whether their armed forces intentionally harmed civilians. With this reasoning, unintended harm—what later would be called “collateral damage”—became a tragic but acceptable cost of war.

The difficulties of controlling the violence of air power made common and widespread unintended harm plausible. American weapons might inflict massive casualties on civilians, as they had in World War II and Korea, but only intentionally targeting civilians remained a crime. International humanitarian law lagged behind the development of public norms on bombing but did eventually formally incorporate restrictions on bombing and in particular reflected this growing emphasis on intention. While other changes in thinking about bombing civilians are more difficult to assess because of the changing nature of American wars after Korea, and limited access to sources related to more recent conflicts, Americans did come to accept that certain portions of civilian society that directly supported the fighting capabilities of armed forces, such as arms factories and their workers, were justifiable targets for attack although destroying cities as such remained controversial.

THE WORLD WAR II BACKGROUND

On the eve of World War II, American leaders strongly condemned the bombing of civilians. Following Japanese air strikes in China and fascist bombing in Spain, the U.S. Senate issued its own “unqualified condemnation of the inhuman bombing of civilian populations” in 1938. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt urgently appealed to all sides in the hostilities to affirm publicly that their armed forces “shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities.” Alluding to earlier air attacks, he said “ruthless bombing” had killed and maimed thousands of defenseless men, women, and children and had “profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.” Roosevelt feared that hundreds of thousands of “innocent human beings” would be harmed if the belligerent nations sunk to “this form of inhuman barbarism.”2 As the fighting in Europe escalated, the American press contained regular discussion of the bombing of civilians by both the Germans and the British.3 These public expressions of concern suggested that Americans supported a transnational norm against attacks on civilians, from bombing or otherwise, or that, at least, American leaders and journalists thought this norm had widespread support. World War II offered further evidence of this norm’s existence.

Indeed, judged from the perspective of what American leaders said about the bombing of civilians, little changed during World War II, even at the height of the air campaigns against Germany and Japan. They continued to talk as if they were trying to uphold the prohibition against targeting civilians, even though the reality of civilian deaths strained the credibility of their claims. U.S. armed forces described their strategic bombing methods as precision bombing throughout the war.4 When American planes joined the British Royal Air Force in burning Dresden in February 1945, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson assured the public: “We will continue to bomb military targets and . . . there has been no change in the policy against conducting ‘terror bombings’ against civilian populations.” When asked off the record about the burning of Tokyo at a press conference, an Air Force spokesman General Lauris Norstad denied that there had been any change in the Air Force’s basic policy of “pin-point” precision bombing.5 President Harry S. Truman in his initial public statements even described the attack on Hiroshima as a strike against “a Japanese Army base” and said that “we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”6

So even in the face of these gross violations of the custom of actually sparing civilians, American leaders persisted in publicly deferring to a norm against targeting civilians by justifying the bombing as attacks on military targets and rarely claiming that attacking civilians directly was legitimate. There is still much work to be done to answer the question of whether these statements by American leaders reflected wider public sentiments, or political calculation. A better assessment of the breadth and depth of the American public’s attachment to the norm against attacking civilians during World War II is also needed. After all, American reactions to the bombing of civilians seem to have been quite muted during the war, and little protest against the bombing occurred.7 However, several factors could help explain why this apparent quiescence was not proof of Americans abandoning the norm against targeting civilians in war. One was the relative novelty of the extensive killing of civilians through bombing, and the limited information that Americans had about the attacks during the war, especially when official sources were continuing to claim that air power was being used precisely. Another could have been beliefs that the violence in World War II was exceptional even for war, justified as retribution for German or Japanese aggression and atrocities, or because such tactics were a lesser evil than the feared consequences of defeat by the Axis powers.

Although Americans were quiet about the harm to civilians resulting from U.S. bombing, they spoke out loudly against German and Japanese atrocities. Condemnation and prosecution of Axis atrocities after World War II provided the strongest reinforcement of the norm against attacking civilians. The Nuremberg tribunals in Germany and a similar set of war crimes trials of the Japanese focused international attention on the harm that Axis leaders and soldiers had inflicted on civilians and held them criminally accountable for it. This assertive application of international law and the leading role that the United States played in these prosecutions reinforced the impression that Americans remained committed to the norm against attacking civilians. However, conscious of the snares of hypocrisy, none of the tribunals prosecuted any of the defendants for promiscuous bombing of civilians. As U.S. relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated, Americans increasingly sought to distinguish clearly American killing of civilians in the past war and their strategies for fighting future wars in an atomic age from the crimes of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In clashes with the United States, the Soviet Union enthusiastically condemned the American armed forces for relying on barbarous methods of bombing civilians to fight imperialistic wars.8

While the war crimes trials and the Cold War helped to reaffirm the norm against targeting civilians, American postwar discussion of air power did not clearly reflect this at first. Enthusiastic embrace of the American atomic monopoly and awe over the power of nuclear weapons combined with the popularity of the U.S. Air Force to produce much loose talk about bombing cities and civilians in future wars. For four years after World War II, it was difficult to tell from what Americans said publicly that they had not abandoned the custom of sparing civilians in war.9 However, a strand of criticism of strategic bombing was growing as well, and it emerged as a national issue in 1949 when U.S. Navy admirals attacked their Air Force colleagues in a dramatic set of Congressional hearings. During this “Revolt of the Admirals” as the media came to call it, a string of admirals deployed arguments that appealed to the norm against targeting civilians in raising their concerns over military policy and the defense budget. At the hearings, Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie contended that “strategic air warfare, as practiced in the past and as proposed for the future, is militarily unsound and of limited effect, is morally wrong, and is decidedly harmful to the stability of a postwar world.” These charges prompted the Air Force to clarify its stance on bombing civilians. The Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington said bluntly: “It has been stated that the Air Force favors mass bombing of civilians. That is not true. It is inevitable that attacks on industrial targets will kill civilians. That is not an exclusive characteristic of the atomic bomb, but is an unavoidable result of modern total warfare.” 10 Symington distinguished between targeting industry which unavoidably killed civilians, and targeting civilians generally and directly. When confronted starkly with the idea of accepting the targeting of civilians as a legitimate method of war, the Air Force and almost every participate in the 1949 hearings avoided such a course.

THE KOREAN WAR

General MacArthur discusses the military situation with Ambassador John J. Muccio at ROK Army headquarters, 29 June 1950.
(National Archives”)

When the United States intervened in the war on the Korean peninsula in 1950, Americans continued to proclaim a norm against targeting civilians, even though, like World War II, the Korean War would become massively destructive of civilian lives and property. However, the devastation did not come immediately. American leaders explicitly rejected the fire-bombing of North Korean cities in the early days of the war. The Korean War would not begin as World War II had ended. The experiences of 1945 had not made the obliteration of cities and their populations the standard tactic for U.S. air power, only one of a range of options. Firebombing and the widespread harm to Korean civilians would only come after a process of escalation and dramatic setbacks for United Nations forces in the fall of 1950.

Only days after the outbreak of heavy fighting in Korea on June 25, 1950, President Truman ordered U.S. air attacks against North Korea in support of the American led intervention by the United Nations. The instructions from Washington for the U.N. commander General Douglas A. MacArthur specified a narrow range of targets for attack. The message from the Joint Chiefs of Staff read: “You are authorized to extend your operations into Northern Korea against air bases, depots, tank farms, troop columns and other such purely military targets, if and when, in your judgment, this becomes essential for the performance of your missions…or to avoid unnecessary casualties to our forces.” The orders also directed operations in North Korea to “stay well clear of the frontiers of Manchuria or the Soviet Union.”11 MacArthur’s instructions urged discrimination and limitations. Clearly, the new capacity to destroy entire cities from the air had not obliterated the distinction between military and non-military targets from the thinking of American military leaders.

The restraint in the use of U.S. air power appears to have been primarily motivated by a desire to avoid provoking the Soviet Union into a general war, and not out of explicit desires of American leaders to avoid civilian casualties. However, violation of the international norm against attacking civilians seems to have been one of the provocations that Washington wanted to avoid. In the meeting of the National Security Council that had agreed on the wording of MacArthur’s instructions, both President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson expressed their concerns about provoking the Soviet Union. The president insisted that some restrictions were necessary in the instructions. Truman said he only wanted to destroy air bases, gasoline supplies, ammunition dumps, and such places north of the 38th parallel. He was concerned with restoring order below the 38th parallel and did not want to do anything north of the line except that which would “keep the North Koreans from killing the people we are trying to save.” Agreeing with the president, Secretary Acheson said he had no objections to attacks on North Korean airfields and army units but believed no action should be taken outside of North Korea. Acheson had already received an indication of Soviet opposition to a liberal use of American force. The Soviet representative to the United Nations Yakov A. Malik had expressed Soviet displeasure over American planes bombing Korean cities.12 Protests against “the mass annihilation of the peaceful civilian population” of Korea became a regular feature of propaganda from the Soviet Union and its communist allies.13 Apparently Truman and Acheson believed that attacks on targets other than “purely military” ones, in addition to strikes against targets outside of Korea, held a greater risk of provoking the Soviet Union.

MacArthur’s bomber commander General Emmett “Rosy” O’Donnell had no such concerns. O’Donnell led the two groups of B-29 bombers dispatched from U.S. Strategic Air Command to Korea. When O’Donnell first met with MacArthur in Tokyo in early July, he told the U.N. commander that he would like to incinerate the five North Korean cities which contained much of the country’s industries. O’Donnell argued that proper use of his bombers required heavy blows at the “sources of substance” for enemy frontline soldiers. His B-29s were “heavy-handed, clumsy, but powerful,” and they were no good at “playing with tanks, bridges, and Koreans on bicycles.” O’Donnell proposed that MacArthur announce to the world that as U.N. commander he was going to employ, against his wishes, the means which “brought Japan to its knees.” The announcement could ease concerns over harming civilians by serving as a warning, as O’Donnell put it, “to get women and children and other noncombatants the hell out.”

According to O’Donnell, MacArthur listened to the entire proposal and then said, “No, Rosy, I’m not prepared to go that far yet. My instructions are very explicit; however, I want you to know that I have no compunction whatever to your bombing bona fide military objectives, with high explosives, in those five industrial centers. If you miss your target and kill people or destroy other parts of the city, I accept that as a part of war.” MacArthur was not yet ready to destroy entire enemy-held cities, but was willing to accept the risk of unintended harm to civilians.14

After rejecting O’Donnell’s recommendation for incendiary attacks, MacArthur had his commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) General George E. Stratemeyer issue a directive on bombing. It forbade O’Donnell from attacking “urban areas” as targets but authorized strikes against “specific military targets” within urban areas. Two days earlier, Stratemeyer’s director of operations had written a memorandum, approved by the FEAF commander, which said that “reasonable care” should be exercised in air operations “to avoid providing a basis for claims of ‘illegal’ attack against population centers.”15

Accompanying their measures to limit bombing damage to cities, American leaders strongly proclaimed their commitment to avoiding harm to civilians. “The problem of avoiding the killing of innocent civilians and damages to the civilian economy is continually present and given my personal attention,” General MacArthur asserted in his public reports to the U.N.16 In response to a flood of accusations from communists,17 Secretary Acheson denied that U.N. forces were “bombing and killing defenseless civilians.” Acheson said that U.N. air strikes in Korea had been “directed solely at military targets of the invader” and that these targets were “enemy troop concentrations, supply dumps, war plants, and communication lines.” Any harm to civilians, Acheson suggested was the fault of the North Koreans. The Secretary accused the North Koreans of compelling civilians to labor at military sites, using peaceful villages to hide tanks, and disguising their soldiers in civilian clothes.18

As the early months of the fighting demonstrated, the Korean War began as World War II had, with efforts to distinguish between military targets and civilians and public condemnation of attacks against noncombatants. The devastating aerial campaigns of 1945 had not annihilated the norm against targeting civilians nor made indiscriminate destruction inevitable. However, the Korean War, like World War II, would demonstrate a dynamic of escalation that rendered the persisting norm against targeting civilians largely impotent to actually save civilians from harm.19

In early November 1950, when U.N. soldiers first fought with Chinese units, the U.N. Command adopted a policy of the purposeful destruction of cities in enemy hands. The Far East Air Force began incendiary raids against urban areas reminiscent of those of World War II, and MacArthur spoke privately of making the remaining territory held by the North Koreans a “desert.”20 Yet, as they had during World War II, American leaders persisted in describing their escalated aerial attacks as discriminating strikes against military targets. However, as Chinese intervention threatened U.N. forces, U.S. commanders stretched the definition of “military target” far beyond its usual meaning.

This elasticity tied to a dynamic of escalation was visible from the opening of the U.N. fire-bombing campaign. As one of its first objectives, the U.N. command selected for destruction the city of Sinuiju, a provincial capital with an estimated population of over 60,000, that was across the Yalu River from the Manchurian city of Antung. In October, General MacArthur had restrained his FEAF commander General Stratemeyer in bombing the city. Stratemeyer had asked for the authorization of an attack “over the widest area of the city, without warning, by burning and high explosive,” but he was willing to settle for an attack only against “military targets in the city, with high explosive, with warning.” Here Stratemeyer was still distinguishing between specific military targets within a city and attacks on the city as a whole.

Stratemeyer offered no direct military justification for the attack but instead argued that Sinuiju could be used as the capital of North Korea once Pyongyang was evacuated, which would provide more legitimacy to the communist government than if it were a refugee government on foreign soil. He also believed the psychological effect of a “mass attack” would be “salutary” to the Chinese across the Yalu. The closest Stratemeyer came to a military justification for the attack was his observations that the city served as a rail exchange point between Korea and Manchuria and that the city had considerable industrial capacity that could provide “some means” of supporting a North Korean government, but he did not tie either of these points to the fighting then occurring. MacArthur’s headquarters returned a reply to Stratemeyer’s suggestion the next day that read: “The general policy enunciated from Washington negates such an attack unless the military situation clearly requires it. Under present circumstances this is not the case.” MacArthur was still refusing his air commanders’ pleas for incendiary attacks, but this would not last long.21

On November 3, Stratemeyer again asked MacArthur for permission to destroy Sinuiju. That day Stratemeyer forwarded the request of General Earle E. Partridge, commander of the Fifth Air Force, for clearance to “burn Sinuiju” because of heavy antiaircraft fire from the city and from Antung. Later in the afternoon, Stratemeyer met with MacArthur to discuss the request. Their conversation demonstrated the subjectivity of a “military target” for the U.N. commanders, especially when they had motivations for escalating attacks. General MacArthur told Stratemeyer that he did not want to burn Sinuiju because he planned to use the town’s facilities once the 24th Division seized it. MacArthur did grant permission to send fighters to attack the antiaircraft positions in Sinuiju with any weapon desired, including napalm. Stratemeyer then raised the subject of the marshalling yards near the bridge between Sinuiju and Antung, and MacArthur told him to bomb the yards if Stratemeyer considered them a military target.

At the meeting, Sinuiju was spared from burning, but another North Korean city was not so lucky. MacArthur desired an increase in the use of the B-29s which had run short of targets to bomb, and so he was sympathetic to Stratemeyer’s further recommendation to attack the town of Kanggye. The Air Force commander suggested the FEAF could burn several towns in North Korea as a lesson and indicated that Kanggye was a communications center for both rail and road and was occupied, he believed, by enemy troops. MacArthur answered: “Burn it if you so desire. Not only that, Strat, but burn and destroy as a lesson any other of those towns that you consider of military value to the enemy.” MacArthur left the decision to his air commander. Apparently, MacArthur did not feel the towns to be so vitally important to the enemy’s war effort that it was obvious to him that they had to be destroyed, but Stratemeyer’s idea about teaching the communists a lesson appealed to him. After the meeting, Stratemeyer informed Partridge of MacArthur’s decision not to burn Sinuiju but instead only to authorize strikes against the antiaircraft batteries in and around the city.22

MacArthur’s prohibition on burning Sinuiju lasted only a few hours this time. The general may have changed his mind because of the intelligence he was then receiving that more than 850,000 Chinese soldiers had gathered in Manchuria. By the evening, MacArthur’s chief of staff told Stratemeyer that the burning of Sinuiju had been approved. On November 5, MacArthur conveyed his new instructions to his air commander. Stratemeyer wrote in his diary that the “gist” of these instructions was: “Every installation, facility, and village in North Korea now becomes a military and tactical target.” The only exceptions were to be hydroelectric power plants, the destruction of which might provoke further Chinese intervention, and the city of Rashin, which was close to the Soviet border.

Stratemeyer demonstrated a single-mindedness in carrying out MacArthur’s wishes even at the risk of unwanted destruction. Stratemeyer’s staff pointed out to him how reported sites of POW camps, hospitals, and prisons would be vulnerable to incendiary attack. The Air Force commander later wrote in his diary about the danger to these sites, “Whether vulnerable or not, our target was to take out lines of communication and towns.” Stratemeyer sent orders to the Fifth Air Force and Bomber Command “to destroy every means of communications and every installation, factory, city, and village.” In reviewing Stratemeyer’s orders, MacArthur had him add a sentence that explained the rationale for the escalation. Inserted immediately after the phrase about destroying all communications and settlements, the sentence read, “Under present circumstances all such have marked military potential and can only be regarded as military installations.”23

Stratemeyer also evidenced some concern over justifying the new attacks. He was troubled to learn that ten media correspondents would accompany the B-29 raid on Kanggye. After consulting with his vice commanders and his public information officer, he decided on a general statement on the bombing if asked: “That wherever we find hostile troops and equipment that are being utilized to kill U.N. troops, we intend to use every means and weapon at our disposal to destroy them, that facility, or town. This will be the answer to the use of the incendiary-cluster type of bombs.” Stratemeyer included a similar rationale in his cable to the Air Force chief of staff on the attack: “Entire city of Kanggye was virtual arsenal and tremendously important communications center, hence decision to employ incendiaries for first time in Korea.”24

Several points are worth stressing about these remarkable exchanges between MacArthur and his air commander. Before MacArthur decided to escalate, the U.N. commander and Stratemeyer were distinguishing the targeting of specific structures defined as military targets from the targeting of urban areas as such. The anti-aircraft batteries in Sinuiju were the clear example of a “military” target, but even before the decision to escalate, some targets were more ambiguous such as the city’s marshalling yards. The commanders were also tempted to initiate area attacks because of their beliefs in the potential political and psychological effects the strikes might have on the enemy, even though those effects were at best indirectly related to the actual fighting then occurring.


However, it is crucial to note that the generals never explicitly defined civilians as legitimate targets, even though Stratemeyer readily risked the destruction of hospitals, POW camps, and prisons.

Bombs Away regardless of the type of enemy target lying in this rugged, mountainous terrain of Korea, very little would remain after the falling bombs have done their work. This striking photograph (above) of the lead bomber was made from a B-29 “Superfort” of the Far East Air Forces 19th Bomber Group on the 150th combat mission the 19th Bomber Group had flown since the start of the Korean war, ca. 02/1951

The generals escalated the war by targeting the physical infrastructure of cities and sought political and psychological benefits from this destruction, but there is no evidence that they talked, even privately among themselves, about aiming to kill enemy civilians or about gaining benefits from those civilian deaths. It is conceivable that killing civilians could have been their underlying intention and motivation, but it is exceedingly difficult to demonstrate convincingly an individual’s state of mind at a given time, and the historical evidence that has yet come to light does not suggest that the U.N. commanders were thinking specifically about killing civilians.

The episode did demonstrate the instability of the definition of a military target which slid within hours from preventing the burning of Sinuiju to justifying it. Instead of defining anti-aircraft batteries and railroad yards as the only military targets in Sinuiju, MacArthur redefined the entire physical infrastructure of the city as a military target, and showed how quickly structures usually considered civilian became open for attack. With the potential for media attention to the new incendiary raids, Stratemeyer employed new, and possibly disingenuous or muddled, attempts to obscure or justify the escalation. The attack on Kanggye, which he had justified to MacArthur for its potential as a “lesson” and for its transportation capacity and its possible housing of enemy troops, suddenly became necessary because the city was a “virtual arsenal” and a “tremendously important communications center.” While some of these points may sound like the second-guessing of difficult military decisions based on the limited information of historical hindsight, even if one agrees with every decision MacArthur and Stratemeyer made, their conversations suggested that pressures to escalate stretched the definition of military targets well beyond its common usage.

The “fire job,” which General O’Donnell had advocated in July but Washington had forbidden as too provocative, commenced in early November. Unlike the summer retreat of 1950, Washington did not restrain MacArthur, likely because the wider war feared earlier had already broken out, with the Chinese instead of the Soviets. On November 8, the FEAF showered 500 tons of incendiary bombs on more than one square mile of Sinuiju’s built-up area, destroying 60 percent of the city.

In O’Donnell’s report on the work of his bombers, he declared that “the town was gone.” Other towns were to follow. By November 28, Bomber Command reported that 95 percent of the town of Manpojin’s built up area was destroyed, for Hoeryong 90 percent, Namsi 90 percent, Chosan 85 percent, Sakchu 75 percent, Huichon 75 percent, Koindong 90 percent, and Uiju 20 percent. The destruction continued into the winter as Chinese forces compelled the U.N. soldiers to retreat south. As U.N. units withdrew from the major North Korean cities, those cities too became targets. On December 30, the FEAF commander informed his subordinates that they had the authority to “destroy” Pyongyang, Wonsan, Hamhung, and Hungnam, four of North Korea’s largest cities. The FEAF conducted the attacks without warning to the civilian population, and purposefully avoided publicizing the strikes. By the end of the war, eighteen of twenty-two major cities in North Korea had been at least half obliterated according to damage assessments by the U.S. Air Force. The fire-bombing of North Korean communities that commenced in November made meaningless the earlier claims of the FEAF that their bombing operations avoided the destruction of residential areas.25

However, just as during World War II, Americans’ depiction of their fighting as employing discriminating means changed little. Military officers and the press proceeded to discuss the violence in Korea as if its application remained discriminate and as if risks to noncombatants had not increased. The objects of attack were still “military targets” but the implicit definition of the term “military target” had grown to include virtually every human-made structure in enemy-occupied territory. The norm against targeting civilians survived within this definition, in the sense that Americans never came to the point of arguing that the civilian population itself was a “military target” and therefore a legitimate object of attack, but the expanded definition of the term and the acceptance of the destruction it entailed offered meager protection for Korean civilians.

While avoiding direct acknowledgment that U.N. forces were systematically burning North Korean cities, the U.N. Command did admit that it had escalated the air war. U.N. commanders offered new justifications for the expanded destruction that clung to the notion that its airplanes were attacking military targets. The justifications were far distant from the Air Force’s primary vision of how a strategic air offensive should be conducted. As Air Force leaders had been claiming from before World War II and had reiterated during the “Revolt of the Admirals” in 1949, the purpose of strategic air power was to destroy war-supporting industries in order to deprive the enemy’s forces in the field of weapons, ammunition, and supplies. Shortly before he left his post as head of Bomber Command, General Emmett O’Donnell said in an interview that his bombers had been prevented from destroying the enemy’s true sources of supply in China and the Soviet Union and therefore had been prevented from doing the job that they were made to do.26

Instead, the Air Force viewed its escalated bombing in Korea as part of a campaign to interdict the flow of weapons, supplies, and additional men to the communist army in Korea, and explained it to the public as such. But the campaign went beyond precise attacks against transportation and communication systems in North Korea in which bridges, railroad yards, docks, and vehicles were targets. U.N. forces undertook the destruction of entire towns, particularly those along major transportation routes from Manchuria and the Soviet Union, in order to deprive the communists of shelter in which to conceal their supplies and soldiers from the U.N. airplanes. The destruction also stripped the enemy soldiers of protection from the elements during the winter campaign

Nevertheless, the U.N. forces rarely acknowledged that this escalation was destroying entire communities and placing Korean civilians at risk. Public communiques from the U.N. Command avoided discussing or justifying the destruction of Korean towns and villages directly.

Instead, the press releases named “buildings,” often identified as enemy-occupied or as structures for storing, as the usual target of U.N. airplanes, disaggregating the communities into their constituent structures. Besides being regularly mentioned as the object of attack in the daily releases on air operations, buildings destroyed became part of the public and internal measure of progress of the air campaign. A January 2, 1951 release, labeled the six-month “box score,” placed the Navy total for buildings destroyed at 3,905. These buildings were presumably not ammo dumps, command posts, fuel dumps, observation positions, radio stations, roundhouses, power plants, or factories because the tallies listed those categories separately. The Air Force introduced the category of “enemy-held buildings” into their press release target tallies in the fall of 1951 and by that time they were advertising the destruction of more than 4,000 buildings a month and over 145,000 since the beginning of the war. Within the Air Force, the square footage of buildings destroyed eventually became a semi-official measure of progress in the air campaign. Towns and villages divided up into their constituent “buildings” by official press releases proved a much less controversial target for demolition than the blatant admission that American air power was leveling much of the Korean peninsula.27

The tank of napalm dropped by Fifth Air Force B-26 Invader light bombers of the 452nd Bomb Wing (light) on this Red marshalling yard at Masen-ni, North Korea, has blended with a stockpile of supplies on a loading platform to from a fiery inferno, ca. 07/11/1951

The press releases of the U.N. Command also avoided directly acknowledging attacks on entire villages and towns by the use of the term “supply center” and similar phrases such as “communications center,” “military area,” and “build-up area.” MacArthur’s public report to the United Nations on military operations during the first half of November described the escalation in the air war this way: “Command, communication and supply centers of North Korea will be obliterated in order to offset tactically the handicap we have imposed upon ourselves strategically by refraining from attack of Manchurian bases.”28 With the fall escalation, the daily press releases began to make vague references to strikes against supply centers. Sometimes the wording of the releases would use a Korean town name interchangeably with the phrase supply center implying that they were one and the same. More often the releases would report attacks against supply centers “at,” “in,” or “of,” a Korean town or city: “the supply center of Hamhung,” for example. These prepositional phrases could imply either that the entire town was considered by the U.N. forces a supply center or that the town contained within it a supply center. Only rarely would the releases explicitly identify the Korean place names referred to as villages, towns, or cities. With “supply center” identified as a military target, use of the term and similar phrases helped to maintain the perception that U.S. forces were only attacking military targets.29

However, the reliance of the press releases on describing operations as attacks on “buildings” and “supply centers” was not always enough to quiet the U.N. Command’s fears about the American image in Korea. In August 1951, the U.N. Command’s Office of the Chief of Information wrote a memorandum for the Public Information Office of the Far East Air Force. The memo said that General Matthew B. Ridgway, MacArthur’s replacement, had suggested that in news releases of targets destroyed by air attacks, the Air Force publicists might “specify more definite military targets” such as tanks, anti-aircraft guns, or armored vehicles. This would prevent anyone from pointing to the releases as evidence that American forces were “wantonly attacking mass objectives such as cities and towns” in North Korea. The U.N. Command, despite its expanded air attacks, continued to present the war it was waging as a discriminate use of force directed solely against military targets.30

These press relations efforts met with considerable success in the United States. Press coverage of the escalated air assault did not challenge the comforting picture the U.N. Command presented. Newspapers did note the U.N. forces had initiated some of the largest air strikes of the war in November and occasionally acknowledged the burning of entire cities. Nevertheless, the reporting indicated the military usefulness of destroying the physical infrastructure and avoided discussing the impact of the destruction on civilians.31 This picture of a discriminate use of air power in Korea has survived in many of the historical treatments of the war including the official Air Force history32 and a number of popular military histories and cursory scholarly accounts of the air war in Korea.33 Only recently have Americans begun to acknowledge the full extent of the fire bombing campaigns in histories of the Korean War.34

As in World War II, U.S. air power inflicted massive harm on civilians during the Korea War, and diverged from the customary practice of sparing civilians from the violence of war. However, this violence came through a process of escalation during the war. Area bombing did not supplant precision bombing as the standard method of employing air power against an enemy, but it remained an option when the fighting escalated. Even with the undeniable widespread harm Korean civilians suffered from U.S. weapons, Americans clung to the normative value of avoiding direct attacks against noncombatants, a norm buttressed by international humanitarian law and the precedents of Nuremberg. They almost never advocated publicly or privately, within the armed forces or outside them, the purposeful targeting of civilian populations as such. The stunning contradictions between lethal consequences and proclaimed scrupulousness were eased by the elastic definitions of military targets, but other changes in thinking about harming civilians assisted in this tortured reconciliation as well.

One of the most significant changes was the emerging emphasis on intention as the crucial distinction between justifiable and unjustifiable harm to civilians in war. Americans and a broader transnational consensus, which was eventually reflected in international humanitarian law, placed less importance on whether civilians were killed than on whether they were killed intentionally. It was not that intentional killing was identified as a new wrong after World War II, the norm against attacking civilians had all along implied prohibition of intentional attacks. It was rather that the massive expansion of firepower that was difficult to control, as exemplified by American air power, created a novel cultural space for plausible unintentional destruction on a tremendous scale. When wars were fought with spears, or even with cannon or rifles, the relative ease with which these weapons could be directed against a specific target left little room for questions of intent. In face-to-face warfare, warriors attacked individuals that they could identify as combatants or as bystanders. Mistakes could be made, but these occurred under unusual circumstances such as in combat at night or in fog. In most close fighting, intention was manifest in action. Either warriors killed noncombatants purposefully or they spared them. With the introduction of weapons that killed over long distances and devastated great areas, intent no longer clearly followed from action. Common and widespread unintended destruction became plausible. The great acceleration of this trend toward uncontrollable firepower in the twentieth century contributed to making intention crucial to Americans’ thinking about attacking civilians. Americans rationalized harm to noncombatants from violence that they could not control as a tragedy of war but not a crime.

The Korean War clearly illustrated this preoccupation with intention. Americans’ public insistence throughout the war that they discriminated between military targets and civilians sought to demonstrate that Americans did not intend to kill civilians. In addition to their extensive talk about intentions, Americans pointed to their military’s efforts to warn civilians of air attacks and evacuate them from combat areas. U.N. forces regularly broadcast warnings to civilians by radio and loudspeaker, and conducted a number of operations where warning leaflets were dropped on communities.35 These warnings, while of dubious value in actually protecting civilians, were well covered by the American media.36 U.N. forces also tried to assist civilians by conducting several large operations to evacuate them out of harm’s way during the winter retreat. In December 1950 as the Navy was evacuating X Corps from Hungnam, the Americans made room on their ships for 91,000 refugees. The U.N. Command also relocated thousands of refugees, including an airlift of 989 orphans, to the islands off South Korea’s coast during the winter.37 Even though these evacuations assisted only a small fraction of the Koreans who were threatened by the war’s violence, the U.S. press lauded these operations as well as other well-intentioned deeds by American soldiers on behalf of civilians.38

After the war, the U.S. Army’s revised field manual on the law of land warfare introduced a new statement that expressed as doctrine the growing importance of intention. The revised 1956 manual said, “It is a generally recognized rule of international law that civilians must not be made the object of attack directed exclusively against them.”39 Previous army manuals had left this rule unexpressed. As a subculture, military professionals may have placed even more emphasis on their intentions not to harm noncombatants even in the face of widespread civilian deaths. While the sources make it difficult to assess the personal sentiments of officers and soldiers about civilian casualties during the Korean War, it is not hard to believe that many in private did not want to think of themselves as waging war against defenseless civilians.40

This focus on intentions assisted in leaving the vital core of a norm against attacking civilians intact. Americans did not come to accept the targeting of civilians as a legitimate method in the Korean War. Nevertheless, the focus on intentions encouraged by new air power capabilities created a tendency in American thinking that was extremely dangerous to civilians in war. Americans came to condone unintended civilian casualties as an acceptable human cost of war, what would later be called “collateral damage.”41

How many unintended deaths could be justified in pursuing military objectives was a calculation usually absent from the Korean War era discussions of U.S. commanders and from the wider media attention to the suffering of Korean civilians. However, the beginning of a revival in just war thought started to raise these questions of proportionality, at least among theologians and scholars. In the first half of the twentieth century, only a few Catholic theologians had published studies in the United States which considered in any depth the problem of morality and warfare. In the early 1950s, just war reasoning reemerged in the hypothetical discussions of a feared nuclear war,42 and by the late 1950s, the just war tradition was undergoing a scholarly rebirth.43 One obscure principle from just war thought, the principle of double effect, had great relevance to the dilemmas of justifying unintended harm to civilians and gauging proportional harm. Derived from the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, the principle of double effect acknowledged that a given action could have multiple consequences, some of them good and some of them bad. As theologians and moral philosophers formulated the principle in the twentieth century, it held that as long as only the good consequences of an action were intended, the evil results were not a means to the good outcome, and the positive benefits outweighed the negative, such an action was morally justified.44 For example, the Catholic University theologian Father Francis J. Connell argued along these lines in debates during the Korean War over the morality of using nuclear weapons. He argued that a limited killing of noncombatants might be justified by the military advantage gained through the destruction of a crucial military target.45 Others like the British theologian F. H. Drinkwater criticized the use of the principle to rationalize unintended harm. Drinkwater argued that use of an atomic bomb against a city without a warning to the population was certain to kill tens of thousands of civilians. Since this evil was certain, he asserted it was hypocrisy to claim that it was not intended.46 While it is difficult to demonstrate that the dilemmas over justifying unintended harm which the new bombing capabilities raised was a direct spur to the revival of just war thinking, the principle of double effect has since served as a common justification for unintended harm.

International humanitarian law evolved slowly to reflect the changing norms about bombing and attacking civilians and the increased importance of intention, but the laws have lagged far behind broader attitudes. When the 1949 Geneva Conventions were revised following the experiences of World War II, they were almost completely silent on the threat to civilians from bombing. Although negotiators composed an entirely new convention for the protection of civilians in wartime, the protections concerned almost exclusively civilians in occupied territory and not civilians still behind their side’s frontlines who were the people who were most vulnerable to strategic bombing. At the 1949 Geneva conference, the Americans and the British opposed both the inclusion of restrictions on bombing and the Soviet Union’s attempts to use the treaty to outlaw atomic weapons. Two of the American negotiators later wrote, “It is to be emphasized that these ‘grave breaches’ do not constitute restrictions upon the use of modern combat weapons. For example, modern warfare unfortunately and often may involve the killing of civilians in proximity to military objectives, as well as immense destruction of property.”47 The 1949 agreements shielded only hospitals from all forms of attack, including bombing, and otherwise proposed voluntary establishment of safety zones where noncombatants could be sheltered from the effects of war. Although the United States and the U.N. forces agreed to abide by the Geneva Conventions in Korea, the laws provided few impediments to the use of American air power. When the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations raised the idea of the creation of safety zones in Korea to protect women, children, and the elderly from the ravages of war, the United States rejected the proposal out of concern that neutral observers could not be found to ensure that the safety zones in North Korea were not contributing to the war effort.48

LEGACIES

After the Korean War, the ICRC began to circulate draft rules for the protection of civilian populations from the dangers of indiscriminate warfare, but it took years for protections against targeting civilians to be written into international law. In 1968, the U.N. General Assembly affirmed a Red Cross resolution that banned attacks against civilian populations as such. In 1977, an international conference completed the drafting of two additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The first and second protocols, which related to the protection of victims of international and non-international armed conflicts respectively, each included the provision: “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.”49 Only slowly did international law come to embody the increased importance of intention that the norm against targeting civilians had acquired.

Beyond the growing importance of intention in defining legitimate uses of force in war, it is much more challenging to assess the legacy of the rise of bombing after World War II on norms because of the changing nature of conflicts the United States fought after Korea, and the unavailability of crucial sources. Despite these challenges, one normative belief appears to have been firmly established among American military leaders, and to have become noncontroversial among a wider public: that the weapons of war and military supplies before they found their way to soldiers’ hands were a worthy target. Bombing behind the frontlines of battle opened up the possibility of destroying arms and supplies before they could be used by enemy forces, either through attacks on factories or the transportation networks through which this matérial flowed. This disarming strategy was the favorite justification of bombing by commanders and civilian advocates of air power as was clearly shown during the Korean War.50 The U.S. Army’s 1956 field manual on the law of land warfare also incorporated this new understanding into the revisions of the previous manual from 1940. In narrowing the Hague Convention prohibition on the bombardment of undefended places, the manual clarified that this did not preclude strikes against military supply. The new manual said, “Factories producing munitions and military supplies, military camps, warehouses storing munitions and military supplies, ports and railroads being used for the transportation of military supplies, and other places devoted to the support of military operations or the accommodation of troops may also be attacked and bombarded even though they are not defended.”51 These parts of civilian society behind the frontline were deemed a vital component of a war effort, and few during the Korean War or since have challenged the legitimacy of these sources of supply as targets. The distinctions between civilian and military and defended and undefended became less important than the difference between noncombatant and combatant and an individual’s or resource’s relationship to the actual violence of war. Just as a civilian factory could produce supplies for the military, a soldier could become a noncombatant once wounded and incapacitated. An individual’s or resource’s relationship to the actual violence of war became the most important determinant of whether they were legitimate targets for attack.

While Americans embraced the targeting of clearer sources of military supply, bombing entire cities and urban areas has stayed consistently controversial, both on grounds of moral principle and effectiveness, even though a literal distinction could be made between the physical structures of an urban area and the civilian populace, as was often done in the Korean fighting. Military leaders in World War II, Korea, and afterwards have gone to great lengths to avoid openly acknowledging the destruction of cities as such. Although preparations for nuclear war often clearly envisioned targeting cities, this open acknowledgement was a major factor in making nuclear war repugnant.52

Other changes in thinking about bombing civilians are much more difficult to assess. For example, the subjectivity in choosing “military” targets has not necessarily decreased in the wars since Korea. Given the elaborate expressions of official American concern over civilian casualties, it might be tempting to argue that the wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan have encouraged more precise and rigid definitions of military targets. Nevertheless, these definitions have not been tested, as they were in the Korean War. These later wars have been severely asymmetrical conflicts and American forces and commanders were not strained in the ways they were in Korea, let along during World War II. Definitions of military targets may still be elastic but recent wars may not have necessitated the type of escalation that encouraged this flexible thinking.

In other areas where changes in thinking about bombing civilians might seem apparent, a closer examination may reveal their superficiality. Indisputably, the United States has conducted less area bombing in its wars since Korea, but this could simply be because it has fought fewer evenly matched wars and has faced fewer desperate decisions to escalate. It might also be tempting to believe that American commanders in recent wars have resisted the temptations to which MacArthur and his air commanders succumbed of justifying bombing attacks for their political and psychological effects instead of for their directly military impact. However, limited current access to sources and records about these highly classified internal discussions hampers a full assessment.

Finally, more active efforts to avoid civilian casualties in recent American wars such as the expanded role of operational law and military lawyers in targeting may be more a result of the rise of counterinsurgency thinking than evidence of a growing belief among Americans that killing civilians is wrong. Counterinsurgency doctrine has emphasized the importance of winning the support of civilian populations in civil wars as a means to military victory. From Vietnam to Afghanistan, American commanders have tried to limit civilian casualties in order to avoid alienating civilians.53 The rise in counterinsurgency doctrine is an important change in military thought, but one tied more to the changing nature of American wars than to norms about bombing civilians.

In assessing changing norms about bombing after World War II, it is crucial to distinguish among the changes in values, ideas, laws, and behavior that the term “norm” can encompass. These distinctions make it easier to summarize how norms about bombing changed after World War II. The transnational normative value that prohibited attacks on civilians persisted. However, the actual protections it offered to civilians were undermined by the new bombing capabilities. Because of the difficulties with controlling the violence of modern weaponry, the focus on intention gained great significance in moral justification, and this focus helped rationalize, along with the obscure moral principle of double effect, unintended harm and contributed to a complacent stance toward the terrible human cost of collateral damage. On the other hand, normative behavior or customary practice did change, at least temporarily, during both World War II and Korea. As the wars escalated, U.S. armed forces conducted unprecedented fire-bombing and other area attacks against cities and towns that proved deadly to civilians, and the flexibility of the definition of “military targets” facilitated these area attacks. International humanitarian law also evolved to catch up with the growing significance of intentional attacks, but at a relatively slow rate. Finally, while normative beliefs about bombing civilians are the hardest to assess, Americans have come to accept the idea that bombing behind the frontlines with the goal of disarming was an effective and acceptable method of fighting even while they remained hotly divided over attacks on urban areas.

The decade after World War II and the experience of the Korean War laid a foundation for the sensitivity to civilian casualties that became evident in the American wars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This foundation was not built through a recovery of the norm against targeting civilians spurred by the trauma of the Vietnam War after a period when the norm had been abandoned. The role of the Vietnam War in changing American attitudes toward civilian casualties was not so crucial because many of these changes, such as the growing significance of intention, began earlier, and because much about these attitudes has remained relatively constant from the 1930s to the 1970s and has remained so into the twenty-first century. Instead, the Korean War experience demonstrated the durability of the norm against targeting civilians even in the face of mass killing from bombing or otherwise. Adherence to the norm persisted even though the norm provided severely limited protections to civilians when bombing was employed and conventional wars escalated. In avoiding massive killing of civilians in their wars since Vietnam, Americans may not have become more virtuous, but only more fortunate in not having to fight more evenly matched wars.

This article is an expanded and adapted version of the chapter “Bombing Civilians After World War II: The Persistence of Norms Against Targeting Civilians in the Korean War” from Matthew Evangelista and Henry Shue (eds.), The American Way of Bombing: How Ethical and Legal Norms Change, from Flying Fortresses to Drones (Cornell University Press, 2014).

Sahr Conway-Lanz is Senior Archivist for American Diplomacy at the Yale University Library. He is the author of Collateral Damage: Americans, Noncombatant Immunity, and Atrocity After World War II (Routledge, 2006). His article “Beyond No Gun Ri: Refugees and the United States Military in the Korean War” that appeared in Diplomatic History won the Bernath Article Prize in 2006. He has a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University and is currently working on a book project about how Americans have held their own soldiers accountable for harming civilians in war.

Notes

1 For such arguments, see George E. Hopkins, “Bombing and the American Conscience during World War II,” Historian 28, no. 3 (1966): 451–73; Richard Shelly Hartigan, The Forgotten Victim: A History of the Civilian (Chicago: Precedent, 1982), 1–10; Ronald Schaffer, Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 3, 217–18; H. Bruce Franklin, War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 105; Paul Boyer, Fallout: A Historian Reflects on Americas Half-Century Encounter with Nuclear Weapons (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998), 12; John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9–11/Iraq (New York: W.W. Norton and New Press, 2010), 161, 166–70, 192–96. For a contrary view, see Biddle in Matthew Evangelista and Henry Shue (eds.), The American Way of Bombing: Changing Ethical and Legal Norms, from Flying Fortresses to Drones (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014).

2 Congressional Record, 75th Cong., 3rd sess., vol. 83, pt. 8: 9524-9526, 9545; Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, vol. 8 (New York: Macmillan, 1941), 454.

3 See, for example, New York Times, April 29, May 10, 1940.

4 Schaffer, Wings of Judgment, 70; Conrad C. Crane, Bombs, Cities, and Civilians: American Airpower Strategy in World War II (Lawrence, KA: University of Kansas Press, 1993), 31.

5 New York Times, February 25, 1945; Michael S. Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987), 289.

6 Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1945 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1961), 197, 212.

7 Crane, Bombs, Cities, and Civilians, 29-30.

8 For an early example of this, see Conference minutes, July 7, 1949, box 2389, 514.2, Central Decimal Files 1945-1949, Record Group (hereafter RG) 59, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD (hereafter NA).

9 Sahr Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage: Americans, Noncombatant Immunity, and Atrocity after World War II (New York: Routledge, 2006), 23-26.

10 U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, The National Defense Program—Unification and Strategy: Hearings, 81st Cong., 1st sess., 1949, 183-189, 402-403.

11 Message, Joint Chiefs of Staff to MacArthur, June 29, 1950, FRUS 1950, vol. 7, 240-241.

12 Draft notes on June 29, 1950 White House defense meeting, box 71, Elsey Papers, HSTL; memorandum of conversation, Philip C. Jessup, June 29, 1950, box 4263, 795.00, Central Decimal Files 1950-1954, RG 59, NA; message, Warren R. Austin to Acheson, June 27, 1950, FRUS 1950, vol. 7, 208-209.

13 United Nations Security Council Official Records, August 8, 1950, 5th year, 484th mtg., S/PV.484, 20.

14 O’Donnell to LeMay, July 11, 1950, box 65, series B, Curtis E. LeMay Papers, Library of Congress (LC).

15 Stratemeyer to O’Donnell, July 11, 1950, box 103, Series B, LeMay Papers, LC; HQ USAF, An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the United States Air Force in the Korean Campaign (Barcus Report), vol. 5, 2, box 906, Project Decimal Files 1942-1954, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, RG 341, NA.

16 New York Times, September 3, 1950. See also “Report of the United Nations Command Operations in Korea,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, October 2, 1950, 534-540; “Fifth Report of the U.N. Command Operations in Korea,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, October 16, 1950, 603-606.

17 Message, London Embassy to Secretary of State, July 1, 1950, box 4264, 795.00, Central Decimal Files 1950-1954, RG 59, NA.; New York Times, July 4, 11, 12, 14, 18, 26, 1950; message, Moscow Embassy to Secretary of State, July 14, 1950, box 4265, 795.00, Central Decimal Files 1950-1954, RG 59, NA; message, Moscow Embassy to Secretary of State, July 17, 1950, box 4265, 795.00, Central Decimal Files 1950-1954, RG 59, NA; Daily Worker, July 4-6, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 20, 24-28, 31, 1950; United Nations Security Council Official Records, August 8, 1950, 5th year, 484th mtg., S/PV.484, 20. The Soviet Union also led a campaign among communist countries to raise relief funds for the Korean victims of American “terror bombing.” “From Korea Bulletin 1 August 1950,” box 1, Korean War Communiques and Press Releases 1950-1951, Office of the Chief of Information, RG 319, NA; New York Times, August 3, 1950. Seoul City Sue, the English-speaking commentator for North Korean radio broadcasts to U.N. forces, excoriated the U.S. Air Force for promiscuous bombing of schools and the strafing of farmers. Message, CINCFE to UEPC/Department of the Army, August 8, 1950, box 199, 311.5, Classified Decimal File 1950, Office of the Chief of Information, RG 319, NA.

18 ”North Korea Slanders U.N. Forces to Hide Guilt of Aggression,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, September 18, 1950, 454.

19 I want to thank Alexander B. Downes and his work Targeting Civilians in War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008) for helping me to understand the larger significance of this dynamic of escalation.

20 Memorandum of conversation, Muccio, November 17, 1950, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS) 1950, vol. 7, 1175.

21 William T. Y’Blood (ed.), The Three Wars of Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer: His Korean War Diary (Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1999), 236-237.

22 Ibid., 253-255.

23 Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964), 366; Conrad C. Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950-1953 (Lawrence, KA: University of Kansas Press, 2000), 46; Stratemeyer Diary, 258-261.

24 Stratemeyer Diary, 256-257; message, Stratemeyer to Vandenberg, November 5, 1950, box 86, Vandenberg Papers, LC.

25 Robert Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950-1953, rev. ed. (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983), 221-23, 226; New York Times, November 9, 1950; Stratemeyer Diary, 269, 371-72; interview transcript from 98th Bomb Group, November 30, 1950, box 905, Project Decimal File 1942-1954, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, RG 341, NA; Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 63, 168.

26 New York Times, January 16, 1951.

27 ”Korean Release, No. 778,” January 2, 1951, box 3, Korean War Communiques and Press Releases 1950-1951, Office of the Chief of Information, RG 319, NA; “Korean Release Unnumbered,” December 2, 1951, box 5, Korean War Communiques and Press Releases 1950-1951, Office of the Chief of Information, RG 319, NA; memorandum to Schmelz, October 31, 1951, box 15, Formerly Classified General Correspondence, Public Information Division, Office of Information Services, RG 340, NA; Wiley D. Ganey to LeMay, September 7, 1952, series B, box 65, LeMay Papers, LC.

28 ”Ninth Report: For the Period November 1-15, 1950,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, January 8, 1951, 47-50.

29 See the press releases printed daily in the New York Times starting with “Korean Release, No. 627,” November 9, 1950. By spring 1951, references to supply centers or areas as the targets for U.N. air attacks were frequent in the releases. Releases December 1950-December 1951 are also in boxes 2-3, Korean War Communiques and Press Releases 1950-1951, Office of the Chief of Information, RG 319, NA. The terms like supply center were not only used by the military for public consumption. Similar terms were used in internal documents by American officers. Message, G-2, Department of the Army to USCINCEUR et al., November 24, 1952, box 756, Chronological File 1949-June 1954, Office of Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative and Public Affairs, RG 330, NA.

30 Memorandum, Office of the Chief of Information, HQ FEC to Public Information Office, FEAF, August 1, 1951, box 36, Office of the Chief of Information, Office of the Chief of Staff, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, RG 331, NA.

31 Chicago Tribune, November 8, 1950; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 8, 1950; Detroit News, November 8, 1950; Philadelphia Bulletin, November 8, 9, 1950; Los Angeles Times, November 8, 9, 1950; San Francisco Examiner, November 8, 9, 1950; Houston Chronicle, November 8, 9, 1950; Washington Post, November 8-10, 1950; Baltimore Sun, November 8-10, 1950; Boston Post, November 8-11, 1950; New York Times, November 9, 1950; Cleveland Press, November 9, 1950. Of the twelve daily newspapers surveyed, only the Detroit News and Cleveland Press did not label Sinuiju a supply base or similar term. For additional evidence of the wider public embrace of this persisting vision of a war fought with discrimination, see Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage, 114-119.

32 Futrell, United States Air Force in Korea.

33 For example, Max Hastings, The Korean War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987); Crane, Bombs, Cities, and Civilians, 147-150.

34 Bruce Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 1947-1950, vol. 2 of The Origins of the Korean War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990); Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea; Steven Hugh Lee, The Korean War (New York: Longman, 2001).

35 First Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group, “Plan for Psychological Warfare Operations Designed to Support the United Nations Air Force,” June 12, 1952, box 20, General Correspondence 1952, Psychological Warfare Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command, RG 338, NA; “Plan for Psychological Warfare Operations in Support of Air Attack Program,” July 7, 1952, box 7, General Correspondence 1952, Psychological Warfare Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command, RG 338, NA; “Monthly Report for August 1952,” box 14, General Correspondence 1952, Psychological Warfare Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command, RG 338, NA; “Report of the U.N. Command Operations in Korea,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, January 26, 1951, 155-159; “Psychological Warfare Weekly Bulletin,” n.d., box 20, General Correspondence 1952, Psychological Warfare Section, General Headquarters, Far East Command, RG 338, NA; Crane, American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 122-125; message, CINCFE to PsyWar, October 9, 1952, box 759, Chronological File 1949-June 1954, Office of Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative and Public Affairs, RG 330, NA; “Reports of U.N. Command Operations in Korea: Sixty-Fifth Report for the Period March 1-15, 1953,” U.S. Department of State Bulletin, July 13, 1953, 52-53.

36 ”The Right Track,” Time, July 21, 1952, 32; “Will Bombing End Korean War?” U.S. News and World Report, September 12, 1952, 13-15; “Truth About the Air War,” U.S. News and World Report, November 7, 1952, 20-21; Carl Spaatz, “Stepped-Up Bombing in Korea,” Newsweek, August 18, 1952, 27; New York Times, August 5, 6, 8-10, 19, 21, 29, 30, September 14, 20, October 3, 5, 1952.

37 ”Korean Release, No. 761,” December 29, 1950, box 2, Korean War Communiques and Press Releases, 1950-1951, Office of the Chief of Information, RG 319, NA; Ashley Halsey, Jr., “Miracle Voyage Off Korea,” Saturday Evening Post, April 14, 1951, 17; message, X Corps to CINCFE, December 22, 1950, box 729, Security-Classified Correspondence 1950, Adjutant General Section, RG 500, NA; James A. Field, The History of United States Naval Operations: Korea (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962), 304; Robert Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea 1950-1953, Rev. ed. (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983), 269.

38 New York Times, December 25, 1950, January 19, February 11, June 16, 1951, July 30, 1951, November 4, 1952, January 14, May 25, 1953; San Francisco Examiner, December 1, 1950; Nora Waln, “Our Softhearted Warriors in Korea,” Saturday Evening Post, December 23, 1950, 28-29, 66-67; “Waifs of War,” Time, January 1, 1951, 16; “The Greatest Tragedy,” Time, January 15, 1951, 23-24; “Helping the Hopeless,” Time, January 29, 1951, 31; Bill Stapleton, “Little Orphan Island,” Collier’s, July 14, 1951, 51; Michael Rougier, “The Little Boy Who Wouldn’t Smile,” Life, July 23, 1951, 91-98; James Finan, “Voyage from Hungnam,” Reader’s Digest, November 1951, 111-112; “Christian Soldiers,” Time, June 15, 1953, 75-76.

39 FM 27-10 Department of the Army Field Manual: The Law of Land Warfare (Washington: Department of the Army, 1956), 16.

40 For an example of the challenge in assessing individual officers’ principled commitments to protecting civilians, see Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage, 52-55.

41 For a more extensive examination of this argument, see Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage.

42 For examples, see St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 1, 1950; Edward A. Conway, “A Moralist, a Scientist, and the H-Bomb,” America, April 8, 1950, 9-11.

43 For examples, see Ralph Luther Moellering, Modern War and the American Churches: A Factual Study of the Christian Conscience on Trial from 1939 to the Cold War Crisis of Today (New York: American, 1956); John Courtney Murray, Morality and Modern War (New York: Church Peace Union, 1959); Roland H. Bainton, Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace: A Historical Survey and Critical Re-Evaluation (New York: Abingdon, 1960); William J. Nagle, Morality and Modern Warfare: The State of the Question (Baltimore: Helicon, 1960); Joseph C. McKenna, “Ethics and War,” American Political Science Review 54 (September 1960), 647-658; Robert W. Tucker, The Just War: A Study in Contemporary American Doctrine (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1960); G. E. M. Anscombe and Walter Stein, Nuclear Weapons: A Catholic Response (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1961); Paul Ramsey, War and the Christian Conscience: How Should Modern War Be Conducted Justly? (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), 1961).

44 Joseph T. Mangan, “An Historical Analysis of the Principle of Double Effect,” Theological Studies 10 (1949), 41-61; John C. Ford, “The Morality of Obliteration Bombing,” Theological Studies 5, no. 3 (September 1944), 289; Robert L. Holmes, On War and Morality (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), 193-196.

45 Francis J. Connell, “A Reply,” Commonweal, September 26, 1950, 607-608.

46 F. H. Drinkwater, “War and Conscience,” Commonweal, March 2, 1951, 511-514. See also Michael De La Bedoyere, “Pacifism and the Christian Conscience,” Commonweal, December 21, 1951, 271-273; “War and Conscience,”Commonweal, January 18, 1952, 375-378.

47 Geoffrey Best, War and Law Since 1945 (New York: Clarendon), 115-6, 204-5; conference minutes, July 7, 1949, 514.2, Central Decimal Files 1945-1949, RG 59, NA; Raymund T. Yingling and Robert W. Ginnane, “The Geneva Conventions of 1949,” American Journal of International Law 46, no. 3, (July 1951), 427.

48 Paul Ruegger, “Press Conference Statement,” April 9, 1951, box 4380, 800.571, Central Decimal Files 1950-1954, RG 59, NA; New York Times, July 23, September 27, 1952; K. R. Kreps to Secretary of State, April 20, 1951, box 879, 014, Project Decimal File 1942-1954, Directorate of Plans, Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, RG 341, NA.

49 U.N. General Assembly, “Respect for Human Rights in Armed Conflicts,” Resolution 2444, December 19, 1968; Adam Roberts and Richard Guelff (eds.), Documents on the Laws of War, (Clarendon: Oxford, 1989) 415, 455.

50 For an additional example from a prominent air power booster, see Alexander De Seversky, Air Power: Key to Survival (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950), 184-185.

51 FM 27-10, 19.

52 Conway-Lanz, Collateral Damage; Nina Tannenwald, The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons since 1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

53 For examples from the Vietnam War, see Westmoreland to Commander, All Subordinate Units, July 7, 1965, History Files, microfilm collection, The War in Vietnam: Papers of William C. Westmoreland (Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1993); “Combat Operations Minimizing Non-Combatant Battle Casualties,” MACV Directive 525-3, September 7, 1965, History Files, Papers of William Westmoreland; memorandum, George M. Gallagher, September 15, 1965, History Files, Papers of William Westmoreland; “Tactics and Techniques for Employment of U.S. Forces in the Republic of Vietnam,” MACV Directive 525-4, September 17, 1965, History Files, Papers of William Westmoreland; “Synopsis of Tactical Air Firepower Study,” n.d., History Files, Papers of William Westmoreland; “Combat Operations Control, Disposition, and Safeguarding of Vietnamese Property, Captured Materiel and Food Supplies,” MACV Directive 525-9, April 10, 1967, 2021 (MACJ4-Logistics), MACV Historical Office, microfilm collection, Records of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1988); Division Order 003330.2, August 9, 1967, attachment to August 1967 Command History of the 1st Marine Division, microfilm collection, Records of the U.S. Marine Corps in the Vietnam War (Bethesda, Md.: University Publications of America, 1990); Appendix 10 to Annex A to 9th Infantry Division Field SOP, attachment to Major General George G. O’Connor, U.S. Army Senior Officer Debriefing Report, February 23, 1968, microfilm collection,U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam 1954-1975 (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1983).

Established power hates uncertainty, especially any threat to its grip on the political, economic and financial levers that control society. And so it is with elite fears that the United Kingdom, formed by the1707 Acts of Union, could be on the verge of unravelling.

No informed commentator doubts that elite interests will do all they can to maintain hegemony in an independent Scotland, should that historic shift occur following the referendum of September 18. But if it does happen, there will likely be significant consequences for the Trident nuclear missile system, the future of the NHS and the welfare state, education, climate policy, energy generation and other industry sectors, the media and many additional issues; not just in Scotland, but beyond, including Nato and the European Union. There is clearly a lot at stake and established power is concerned.

Just over a week ago, to the consternation of Westminster elites and their cheerleaders in media circles, a YouGov opinion poll showed that the ‘Yes’ vote (51%) had edged ahead of ‘No’ (49%) for the first time in the campaign, having at one point trailed by 22%. The Observer noted ’signs of panic and recrimination among unionist ranks’, adding that ‘the no campaign is desperately searching for ways to seize back the initiative’. The panic was marked by ‘intensive cross-party talks’ and underpinned George Osborne’s announcement on the BBC Andrew Marr show on September 7 that ‘a plan of action to give more powers to Scotland’ in the event of a No vote would be detailed in the coming days.

Confusion reigned in the Unionist camp, and in media reporting of their befuddlement. According to the rules governing the referendum, the UK and Scottish governments are forbidden from publishing anything which might affect the outcome during the so-called ‘purdah period’ of 28 days leading up to September 18. So, how to reconcile the opportunistic ‘promise’ during purdah to grant Scotland new powers following a ‘No’ vote? BBC News dutifully reported the government sleight-of-hand that:

‘the offer would come from the pro-Union parties, not the government itself.’

Voters, then, were supposed to swallow the fiction that the announcement came, not from the UK government represented by Chancellor George Osborne, but from the pro-Union parties represented by senior Tory minister George Osborne!

However, Alastair Darling, leader of the pro-Union ‘Better Together’ campaign, told Sky News that all new powers for Scotland had already been placed on the table before the purdah period. What had been announced was ‘merely… a timetable for when the Scottish Parliament could expect to be given the limited powers already forthcoming.’

Thus, an announcement setting out a timetable for enhanced powers was completely above board and not at all designed to influence the very close vote on independence. This was establishment sophistry and a deeply cynical manipulation of the voters.

Media manipulation was exposed in stark form when Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, was rumbled by viewers able to compare his highly selective editing of an Alex Salmond press conference last Thursday with what had actually transpired. Robinson had asked Salmond a two-part question about supposedly solid claims made by company bosses and bankers -  ‘men who are responsible for billions of pounds of profits’ – that independence would damage the Scottish economy. Not only did thefull version of the encounter demonstrate that Salmond responded comprehensively, but he turned the tables on Robinson by calling into question the BBC’s role as an ‘impartial’ public broadcaster. Theself-serving report that was broadcast that night by Robinson on BBC News at Ten did not reflect the encounter which the political editor summed up misleadingly as:

‘He didn’t answer, but he did attack the reporting.’

The distorted BBC News reporting was picked up on social media and no doubt encapsulated what many viewers and listeners, particularly in Scotland, have been observing for months, if not years. One reader wrote an excellent email to us in which he said:

‘Honestly, this is just ONE example of pathetic bias which more and more Scots are seeing through. I’ve long been a follower of your site, and I make a point of reading each and every alert. This is the first time I’ve taken to contacting you, and as I said, I imagine lots of others will be doing just that on the same subject.

‘I’ve seen so much media bias with BBC Scotland since the turn of the year, but it’s now getting to laughable proportions. And now that we have the entire London press-mafia crawling all over it too, it’s daily headline news – all doom and gloom about how Scotland will fail, Scotland will be bankrupt, there’s no more oil left, jobs will go, etc etc. It’s been diabolical.’

The BBC’s dismissive response to the public complaints about Robinson’s skewed report concluded with the usual worn-out boilerplate text:

‘the overall report [was] balanced and impartial, in line with our editorial guidelines.’

It is not only the bias in BBC News reporting that has alienated so many people, but the way the public broadcaster fails to adequately address public complaints – on any number of issues.

Scaremongering-A-Go-Go

On the day following the YouGov poll result (September 8), frantic headlines were splashed all over the corporate media:

‘Ten days to save the Union’ (Daily Telegraph)
‘Parties unite in last-ditch effort to save the Union’ (The Times)
‘Ten days to save the United Kingdom’ (Independent)
‘Scotland heads for the exit’ (i, a tabloid version of the Independent)
‘Last stand to keep the union’ (Guardian)
‘Queen’s fear of the break up of Britain (Daily Mail)
‘Don’t let me be last Queen of Scotland’ (Daily Mirror)

And, of course, the laughably over-the-top Sun:

‘Scots vote chaos. Jocky horror show’

Corporate journalists pressed on with their scaremongering over Scottish independence. In theTelegraph, business news editor Andrew Critchlow intoned ominously:

‘Scottish homeowners face mortgage meltdown if Yes campaign wins.’

The same newspaper published a piece by Boris Johnson arguing:

‘Decapitate Britain, and we kill off the greatest political union ever. The Scots are on the verge of an act of self-mutilation that will trash our global identity.’

Times editorial twitched nervously:

‘The British political class is in a fight for which it seemed unprepared. It needs to find its voice’. (‘Signifying Much’, September 8, 2014; access by paid subscription only)

Larry Elliott, the Guardian‘s economics editor warned that an independent Scotland ‘would not be a land flowing with milk and honey’. Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s executive editor who oversees the paper’s opinion section and editorials, bemoaned that:

‘If Britain loses Scotland it will feel like an amputation…the prospect fills me with sadness for the country that would be left behind.’

Freedland quoted with obvious approval an unnamed ‘big hitter’ in the ‘No’ campaign who claimed:

‘none of this would be happening if there were a Labour government in Westminster.’

This is the classic liberal-left fairytale that things would be different if only Labour were in power: a delusion that all too many voters in Scotland, as elsewhere, have seen through ever since it was obvious that Blairism was a continuation of Thatcherism.

Freedland sighed:

‘When I contemplate the prospect of waking up on 19 September to discover the union has been defeated, I can’t help but feel a deep sadness.’

Given Freedland’s role as a Guardian mover and shaker, with a big input to its editorial stance, it was no surprise when a Guardian leader followed soon after, firmly positioning the flagship of liberal journalism in the ‘No’ camp. The paper pleaded: ‘Britain deserves another chance’. But the pathetic appeal for the Union was propped up by a sly conflation of independence with ‘ugly nationalism’, notwithstanding a token airy nod towards ‘socialists, greens and other groups’. The paper’s nastiness continued with the unsubstantiated assertion that ‘a coded anti-English prejudice can lurk near the surface of Alex Salmond’s pitch’.

Ironically, one of the Guardian‘s own columnists, Suzanne Moore, had a piece published two days earlier that inadvertently preempted the nonsense now being spouted by her paper’s own editors:

‘The language of the no camp – Westminster, bankers, Farage, Prescott, the Orangemen and Henry Kissinger – is innately patronising.’

To which we can now add the Guardian.

She continued:

‘Do not give in to petty nationalism, they say. Just stick with the bigger unionist nationalism; it’s better for you.’

In the Observer, sister paper of the Guardian, Will Hutton was virtually inconsolable:

‘Without imaginative and creative statecraft, the polls now suggest Scotland could secede from a 300-year union, sundering genuine bonds of love, splitting families and wrenching all the interconnectedness forged from our shared history.’

He ramped up the rhetoric still further:

‘Absurdly, there will be two countries on the same small island that have so much in common. If Britain can’t find a way of sticking together, it is the death of the liberal enlightenment before the atavistic forces of nationalism and ethnicity – a dark omen for the 21st century. Britain will cease as an idea. We will all be diminished.’

Writing for the pro-independence Bella Caledonia website, Mike Small responded to Hutton’s apocalyptic warnings:

‘Unfortunately he has misunderstood the basic tenor of the British State, that is to cling to power, to centralise it, and to shroud it in obscurity.’

Small added that Hutton’s caricature of the ‘Yes’ camp as ‘the atavistic forces of nationalism and ethnicity’ is ‘such an absurd metropolitan misreading of what’s going on as to be laughable.’

Small’s crucial point is one we should remember when listening to senior politicans; that their first priority is always to cling to power. Craig Murray was scathing about the leaders of the main Westminster political parties, and their last-ditch desperate trip to Scotland last Wednesday to ‘save the Union’:

‘Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. Just typing the names is depressing. As part of their long matured and carefully prepared campaign plan (founded 9 September 2014) they are coming together to Scotland tomorrow to campaign. In a brilliant twist, they will all come on the same day but not appear together. This will prevent the public from noticing that they all represent precisely the same interests.’

Murray nailed what is at stake when he said that the ‘three amigos’ ‘offer no actual policy choice to voters’, and he gave a list showing how tightly they march together:

‘They all support austerity budgets
They all support benefit cuts
They all support tuition fees
They all support Trident missiles
They all support continued NHS privatisation
They all support bank bail-outs
They all support detention without trial for “terrorist suspects”
They all support more bombings in Iraq
They all oppose rail nationalisation’

In short:

‘The areas on which the three amigos differ are infinitesimal and contrived. They actually represent the same paymasters and vested interests.’

These ‘paymasters and vested interests’ are surely trembling with fear at the power now residing in the hands of voters in Scotland. As George Monbiot observes:

‘A yes vote in Scotland would unleash the most dangerous thing of all – hope.’

He expands:

‘If Scotland becomes independent, it will be despite the efforts of almost the entire UK establishment. It will be because social media has defeated the corporate media. It will be a victory for citizens over the Westminster machine, for shoes over helicopters. It will show that a sufficiently inspiring idea can cut through bribes and blackmail, through threats and fear-mongering. That hope, marginalised at first, can spread across a nation, defying all attempts to suppress it.’

Whatever happens on Thursday, skewed media performance on Scottish independence – in particular, from the BBC – has helped huge numbers of people see ever more clearly the deep bias in corporate news media.

Seeds of Destruction: The Diabolical World of Genetic Manipulation

September 15th, 2014 by F. William Engdahl

Click here to order the book now! 

Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.”* -Henry Kissenger

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl is a skillfully researched book that focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread.

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO.  Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms. The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.

What follows is the Preface to ”Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” by F. William Engdahl (available through Global Research):

Introduction

“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so,we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.”
-George Kennan, US State Department senior planning official, 1948

This book is about a project undertaken by a small socio-political elite, centered, after the Second World War, not in London, but in Washington. It is the untold story of how this self-anointed elite set out, in Kennan’s words, to “maintain this position of disparity.” It is the story of how a tiny few dominated the resources and levers of power in the postwar world.

It’s above all a history of the evolution of power in the control of a select few, in which even science was put in the service of that minority. As Kennan recommended in his 1948 internal memorandum, they pursued their policy relentlessly, and without the “luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.”

Yet, unlike their predecessors within leading circles of the British Empire, this emerging American elite, who proclaimed proudly at war’s end the dawn of their American Century, were masterful in their use of the rhetoric of altruism and world-benefaction to advance their goals. Their American Century paraded as a softer empire, a “kinder, gentler” one in which, under the banner of colonial liberation, freedom, democracy and economic development, those elite circles built a network of power the likes of which the world had not seen since the time of Alexander the Great some three centuries before Christ—a global empire unified under the military control of a sole superpower, able to decide on a whim, the fate of entire nations.

This book is the sequel to a first volume, A Century ofWar: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. It traces a second thin red line of power. This one is about the control over the very basis of human survival, our daily provision of bread. The man who served the interests of the postwar American-based elite during the 1970’s, and came to symbolize its raw realpolitik, was Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Sometime in the mid-1970’s, Kissinger, a life-long practitioner of “Balance of Power” geopolitics and a man with more than a fair share of conspiracies under his belt, allegedly declared his blueprint for world domination: “Control the oil and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.”

The strategic goal to control global food security had its roots decades earlier, well before the outbreak of war in the late 1930’s. It was funded, often with little notice, by select private foundations, which had been created to preserve the wealth and power of a handful of American families.

Originally the families centered their wealth and power in New York and along the East Coast of the United States, from Boston to New York to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. For that reason, popular media accounts often referred to them, sometimes with derision but more often with praise, as the East Coast Establishment.

The center of gravity of American power shifted in the decades following the War. The East Coast Establishment was overshadowed by new centers of power which evolved from Seattle to Southern California on the Pacific Coast, as well as in Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami, just as the tentacles of American power spread to Asia and Japan, and south, to the nations of Latin America.

In the several decades before and immediately following World War II, one family came to symbolize the hubris and arrogance of this emerging American Century more than any other. And the vast fortune of that family had been built on the blood of many wars, and on their control of a new “black gold,” oil.

What was unusual about this family was that early on in the building of their fortune, the patriarchs and advisors they cultivated to safeguard their wealth decided to expand their influence over many very different fields. They sought control not merely over oil, the emerging new energy source for world economic advance. They also expanded their influence over the education of youth, medicine and psychology, foreign policy of the United States, and, significant for our story, over the very science of life itself, biology, and its applications in the world of plants and agriculture.

For the most part, their work passed unnoticed by the larger population, especially in the United States. Few Americans were aware how their lives were being subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, influenced by one or another project financed by the immense wealth of this family.

In the course of researching for this book, a work nominally on the subject of genetically modified organisms or GMO, it soon became clear that the history of GMO was inseparable from the political history of this one very powerful family, the Rockefeller family, and the four brothers—David,Nelson, Laurance and John D. III—who, in the three decades following American victory in World War II, the dawn of the much-heralded American Century, shaped the evolution of power George Kennan referred to in 1948.

In actual fact, the story of GMO is that of the evolution of power in the hands of an elite, determined at all costs to bring the entire world under their sway.

Three decades ago, that power was based around the Rockefeller family. Today, three of the four brothers are long-since deceased, several under peculiar circumstances.However, as was their will, their project of global domination—“full spectrum dominance” as the Pentagon later called it—had spread, often through a rhetoric of “democracy,” and was aided from time to time by the raw military power of that empire when deemed necessary. Their project evolved to the point where one small power group, nominally headquartered in Washington in the early years of the new century, stood determined to control future and present life on this planet to a degree never before dreamed of.

The story of the genetic engineering and patenting of plants and other living organisms cannot be understood without looking at the history of the global spread of American power in the decades following World War II. George Kennan, Henry Luce, Averell Harriman and, above all, the four Rockefeller brothers, created the very concept of multinational “agribusiness”. They financed the “Green Revolution” in the agriculture sector of developing countries in order, among other things, to create new markets for petro-chemical fertilizers and petroleum products, as well as to expand dependency on energy products. Their actions are an inseparable part of the story of genetically modified crops today.

By the early years of the new century, it was clear that no more than four giant chemical multinational companies had emerged as global players in the game to control patents on the very basic food products that most people in the world depend on for their daily nutrition—corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, even vegetables and fruits and cotton—as well as new strains of disease-resistant poultry, genetically-modified to allegedly resist the deadly H5N1 Bird Flu virus, or even gene altered pigs and cattle. Three of the four private companies had decades-long ties to Pentagon chemical warfare research. The fourth, nominally Swiss, was in reality Anglodominated. As with oil, so was GMO agribusiness very much an Anglo-American global project.

In May 2003, before the dust from the relentless US bombing and destruction of Baghdad had cleared, the President of the United States chose to make GMO a strategic issue, a priority in his postwar US foreign policy. The stubborn resistance of the world’s second largest agricultural producer, the European Union, stood as a formidable barrier to the global success of the GMO Project. As long as Germany, France, Austria, Greece and other countries of the European Union steadfastly refused to permit GMO planting for health and scientific reasons, the rest of the world’s nations would remain skeptical and hesitant. By early 2006, the World Trade Organization (WTO) had forced open the door of the European Union to the mass proliferation of GMO. It appeared that global success was near at hand for the GMO Project.

In the wake of the US and British military occupation of Iraq, Washington proceeded to bring the agriculture of Iraq under the domain of patented genetically-engineered seeds, initially supplied through the generosity of the US State Department and Department of Agriculture.

The first mass experiment with GMO crops, however, took place back in the early 1990’s in a country whose elite had long since been corrupted by the Rockefeller family and associated New York banks: Argentina.

Seeds of DestructionThe following pages trace the spread and proliferation of GMO, often through political coercion, governmental pressure, fraud, lies, and even murder. If it reads often like a crime story, that should not be surprising. The crime being perpetrated in the name of agricultural efficiency, environmental friendliness and solving the world hunger problem, carries stakes which are vastly more important to this small elite. Their actions are not solely for money or for profit. After all, these powerful private families decide who controls the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and even the European Central Bank. Money is in their hands to destroy or create.

Their aim is rather, the ultimate control over future life on this planet, a supremacy earlier dictators and despots only ever dreamt of. Left unchecked, the present group behind the GMO Project is between one and two decades away from total dominance of the planet’s food capacities. This aspect of the GMO story needs telling. I therefore invite the reader to a careful reading and independent verification or reasoned refutation of what follows.

F. William Engdahl is a leading analyst of the New World Order, author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics, A Century of War: Anglo-American Politics and the New World Order,’ His writings have been translated into more than a dozen languages. 


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Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
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By 2025, half the kids born in the U.S. will be diagnosed with autism, according to Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She, like many others says autism isn’t just genetic – it is almost surely due to environmental factors. Just a couple of those factors are Monsanto’s RoundUp (glyphosate) and heavy exposure to a cocktail of heavy metals, including aluminum.

Dr. Seneff isn’t respected by the ivory towers of the pharmaceutical medicine paradigm or industrial agriculture, but she has something to say about autism. She is a computer scientist who transitioned into biology and toxicology, so people like to attack her credentials, but what Dr. Seneff has to say is key, and many other mainstream researchers have been negligent in reporting these findings.

She has been studying autism for over 7 years, along with the environmental factors that lead to the disease. Decreased exposure to sunlight, poor diet, vaccines (specifically aluminum and mercury), as well as glyphosate toxins from RoundUp are causing skyrocketing rates of autism. She explains this in a two-hour presentation given recently at Autism One.

Aluminum and Glyphosate

Aluminum and glyphosate specifically interrupt the workings of the pineal gland (melatonin sulfate), leading to high rates of autism. She outlines this fact in pinpointing detail in her research, which can be found here.

Furthermore, glyphosate chelates manganese. Dr. Seneff believes that just the absence of appropriate amounts of manganese can help to cause autism. Glyphosate also promotes aluminum uptake into our tissues, and interrupts an important path for amino acid uptake called the shikimate pathway, into our guts.

“The way glyphosate works is that it interrupts the shikimate pathway, a metabolic function in plants that allows them to create essential amino acids. When this path is interrupted, the plants die. Human cells don’t have a shikimate pathway so scientists and researchers believed that exposure to glyphosate would be harmless.”

In fact, industrial claims don’t match the science on RoundUp. It is often used because it is considered one of the ‘safest’ of all herbicides. This claim is touted by Monsanto and other chemical pushers, but it turns out that RoundUp is one of the least safe herbicides on the market.

Incidentally, scientists were mistaken about a human shikimate pathway, and we rely upon it for many important functions in our body, including ridding our body of poisons like RoundUp as well as other herbicides and pesticides.

“The problem is that bacteria DO have a shikimate pathway and we have millions of good bacteria in our guts – our ‘gut flora.’ These bacteria are essential to our health. Our gut isn’t just responsible for digestion, but also for our immune system. When glyphosate gets in our systems, it wrecks our gut and as a result our immune system.”

She says:

“The effects are insidious. You won’t notice when you eat a food that contains glyphosate, but over time you will enter an old-age state before you should.”

It’s Time for Chemical Reform

Though Dr. Seneff’s findings are in the research stages, there are plenty of families that have autistic children who have chosen to drastically change their children’s diets, eliminating all pesticides, herbicides and as many neurotoxins as possible while eating organic food. They often experience some incredible results, seeing improvement in their children’s speech patterns, cognitive abilities, and social skills in weeks, not years. This amounts to circumstantial evidence, but it supports Dr. Seneff’s claims.

The rate at which diseases like autism (along with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and others) are growing would be unheard of just 50 years ago. You can’t simply discount this phenomenon as the result of ‘better screening and diagnosis.’ In the past 5 years alone, autism rates have increased from 1/150 to 1/50. This is an environmental epidemic; it isn’t genetic.

When you factor in the levels of glyphosate being found in women’s breast milk is ten times that which is allowed in European drinking water, and people in 18 different countries were found to have glyphosate in their blood, you have to question the rise in autism from another perspective, aside from the genetic one, and connect the dots. This leads to glyphosate as a synergistic compound that works with other suggested autism causes – like vaccines (controversial, I know).

Ordinarily the body is quite good about keeping aluminum out. The gut will absorb very little of what’s in the diet…assuming you have a healthy gut. Glyphosate produces a leaky gut, and that’s going to help the aluminum get in. What I believe now is that the aluminum in the vaccine is far more toxic as a consequence of the glyphosate that’s also in the blood. The two of them are synergistic, because the glyphosate forms a cage around the aluminum and keeps it from getting expelled. The aluminum ends up accumulating, getting trapped with the glyphosate, and then the aluminum ends up in the pineal gland, and messes up sleep, and causes a whole cascade of problems in the brain. The glyphosate and aluminum are working together to be much more toxic than they would be, acting alone.”

RoundUp chemicals are the most used chemicals in numerous lived-in cities such as New York City, not just on American farms. In just ten years, the use of RoundUp chemicals on American farms grew more than 89%. More than 80000 tonnes are currently used on GMO corn, soy and other crops. We are being poisoned by the truckload. This isn’t Big Ag against the masses anymore, it looks like pure genocide.

You can watch Dr. Seneff’s speech at Autism One, here.

Additionally, all of Dr. Seneff’s papers can be studied to corroborate her assertions that glyphosate and aluminum, among other environmental toxins, are synergistically causing autism:

  • “Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases” Entropy 2013, 15(4), 1416-1463; doi:10.3390/e15041416 (Download)

  • Robert M. Davidson, Ann Lauritzen and Stephanie Seneff, “Biological Water Dynamics and Entropy: A Biophysical Origin of Cancer and Other Diseases” Entropy 2013, 15, 3822-3876; doi:10.3390/ e15093822 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Ann Lauritzen, Robert Davidson and Laurie Lentz-Marino, “Is Encephalopathy a Mechanism to Renew Sulfate in Autism?” Entropy 2013, 15, 372-406; doi:10.3390/e15010372 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Ann Lauritzen, Robert Davidson and Laurie Lentz-Marino, “Is Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase a Moonlighting Protein Whose Day Job is Cholesterol Sulfate Synthesis? Implications for Cholesterol Transport, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.” Entropy 2012, 14, 2492-2530; doi:10.3390/e14122492 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Robert M. Davidson and Jingjing Liu, “Is Cholesterol Sulfate Deficiency a Common Factor in Preeclampsia, Autism, and Pernicious Anemia?” Entropy 2012, 14, 2265-2290; doi:10.3390/e14112265 (Download)
  • Samantha Hartzell and Stephanie Seneff, “Impaired Sulfate Metabolism and Epigenetics: Is There a Link in Autism?” Entropy 2012, 14, 1953-1977; doi:10.3390/e14101953 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Robert M. Davidson, and Jingjing Liu, “Empirical Data Confirm Autism Symptoms Related to Aluminum and Acetaminophen Exposure,” Entropy 2012, 14, 2227-2253; doi:10.3390/e14112227 (Download)
  • Robert M. Davidson, and Stephanie Seneff, “The Initial Common Pathway of Inflammation, Disease, and Sudden Death,” Entropy 2012, 14, 1399-1442; doi:10.3390/e14081399 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Glyn Wainwright, and Luca Mascitelli, “Nutrition and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Detrimental Role of a High Carbohydrate Diet,” European Journal of Internal Medicine 22 (2011) 134-140; doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2010.12.017 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Glyn Wainwright, and Luca Mascitelli, “Is the Metabolic Syndrome Caused by a High Fructose, and Relatively Low Fat, Low Cholesterol Diet?” Archives of Medical Science, 2011; 7, 1: 8-20; doi:10.5114/aoms.2011.20598 (Download)
  • Stephanie Seneff, Robert Davidson, and Luca Mascitelli, “Might cholesterol sulfate deficiency contribute to the development of autistic spectrum disorder?” Medical Hypotheses, 8, 213-217, 2012(Download)

The new sanctions against Russia announced by Washington and Europe do not make sense as merely economic measures. I would be surprised if Russian oil and military industries were dependent on European capital markets in a meaningful way. Such a dependence would indicate a failure in Russian strategic thinking. The Russian companies should be able to secure adequate financing from Russian Banks or from the Russian government.  If foreign loans are needed, Russia can borrow from China.

If critical Russian industries are dependent on European capital markets, the sanctions will help Russia by forcing an end to this debilitating dependence.  Russia should not be dependent on the West in any way.

The real question is the purpose of the sanctions.  My conclusion is that the purpose of the sanctions is to break up and undermine Europe’s economic and political relations with Russia. When international relations are intentionally undermined, war can be the result.  Washington will continue to push sanctions against Russia until Russia shows Europe that there is a heavy cost of serving as Washington’s tool.

Russia needs to break up this process of ever more sanctions in order to derail the drive toward war.  In my opinion this is easy for Russia to do.  Russia can tell Europe that since you do not like our oil companies, you must not like our gas company, so we are turning off the gas.  Or Russia can tell Europe, we don’t sell natural gas to NATO members, or Russia can say we will continue to sell you gas, but you must pay in rubles, not in dollars.  This would have the additional benefit of increasing the demand for rubles in exchange markets, thus making it harder for speculators and the US government to drive down the ruble.

The real danger to Russia is a continuation of its low-key, moderate response to the sanctions. This is a response that encourages more sanctions.  To stop the sanctions, Russia needs to show Europe that the sanctions have serious costs for Europe.

A Russian response to Washington would be to stop selling to the US the Russian rocket engines on which the US satellite program is dependent.  This could leave the US without rockets for its satellites for six years between the period 2016 and 2022.

Possibly the Russian government is worried about losing the earnings from gas and rocket engine sales.  However, Europe cannot do without the gas and would quickly abandon its participation in the sanctions, so no gas revenues would be lost.  The Americans are going to develop their own rocket engine anyhow, so the Russian sales of rocket engines to the US have at most about 6 more years.  But the US with an impaired satellite program for six years would mean a great relief to the entire world from the American spy program.  It would also make difficult US military aggression against Russia during the period.

Russian President Putin and his government have been very low-key and unprovocative in responding to the sanctions and to the trouble that Washington continues to cause for Russia in Ukraine. The low-key Russian behavior can be understood as a strategy for undermining Washington’s use of Europe against Russia by presenting a non-threatening face to Europe.  However, another explanation is the presence inside Russia of a fifth column that represents Washington’s interest and constrains the power of the Russian government.

Saker describes the two power groups inside Russia as the Eurasian Sovereignists who stand behind Putin and an independent Russia and the Atlantic Integrationists, the fifth column that works to incorporate Russia in Europe under US hegemony or, failing that, to help Washington break up the Russian Federation into several weaker countries that are too weak to constrain Washington’s use of power.  http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.br/2014/09/strelkov-from-swimming-with-piranhas-to.html

Russia’s Atlantic Integrationists share the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines with Washington.  These doctrines are the basis for US foreign policy.  The doctrines define the goal of US foreign policy in terms of preventing the rise of other countries, such as Russia and China, that could limit Washington’s hegemony.

Washington is in a position to exploit the tensions between these two Russian power groups. Washington’s fifth column is not best positioned to prevail.  However, Washington can at least count on the struggle causing dissent within the Eurasian Sovereignists over Putin’s low-key response to Western provocations.  Some of this dissent can be seen in Strelkov’s defense of Russia and more can be seen here:http://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/13/the-new-round-of-sanctions-the-pre-war-period/#more-3665

Russia, thinking the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, opened herself to the West.  Russian governments trusted the West, and as a result of Russia’s gullibility, the West was able to purchase numerous allies among the Russian elites. Depending on the alignment of the media, these compromised elites are capable of assassinating Putin and attempting a coup.

One would think that by now Putin’s government would recognize the danger and arrest the main elements of the fifth column, followed by trial and execution for treason, in order that Russia can stand united against the Western Threat.  If Putin does not take this step, it means either than Putin does not recognize the extent of the threat or that his government lacks the power to protect Russia from the internal threat.

It is clear that Putin has not achieved any respite for his government from the West’s propaganda and economic assault by refusing to defend the Donbass area from Ukrainian attack and by pressuring the Donetsk Republic into a ceasefire when its military forces were on the verge of a major defeat of the disintegrating Ukrainian army.  All Putin has achieved is to open himself to criticism among his supporters for betraying the Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine.

The European politicians and elites are so deeply in Washington’s pocket that Putin has little chance of courting Europe with a Russian show of good will. I have never believed that this strategy could work, although I would be pleased if it did.  Only a direct threat to deprive Europe of energy has a chance of producing within Europe a foreign policy independent of Washington.  I do not think Europe can survive a cutoff of the Russian natural gas. Europe would abandon sanctions in order to guarantee the flow of gas.  If Washington’s hold on Europe is so powerful that Europe is willing to endure a major disruption of its energy supply as the price of its vassalage, Russia will know to cease its futile attempts at diplomacy and to prepare for war.

If China sits on the sidelines, China will be the next isolated target and will receive the same treatment.

Washington intends to defeat both countries, either through internal dissent or through war.

Nothing said by Obama or any member of his government or any influential voice in Congress has signaled any pullback in Washington’s drive for hegemony over the world. The US economy is now dependent on looting and plunder, and Washington’s hegemony is essential to this corrupted form of capitalism.

At least 2 trillion becquerels’ worth of radioactive material flowed from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean between August 2013 and May 2014, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has admitted. The rate of release was 10 times higher than TEPCO’s pre-meltdown threshold for radioactive material.

A becquerel is a unit for measuring radioactive material that corresponds to one unit of radioactive decay per second. It is a way of describing how much radiation is being emitted by radioactive material, in contrast to measuring the mass or volume of the material itself, the energy carried by the radiation or the biological impact of exposure.

Radioactive sludge accumulating in bay

In March 2011, the Fukushima plant suffered multiple meltdowns triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Since then, TEPCO has struggled to contain the flow of radioactive water away from the plant. Currently, radioactive water is known to be leaking out of reactor buildings and downstream into the ocean. It is also suspected to be leaking into the ground from the plant, and flowing underground to the ocean from there.

TEPCO estimates that this water has been carrying 4.8 billion becquerels of strontium-90 and 2 billion becquerels of cesium-137 every day, based on measurements taken near the water intakes for reactors 1 through 4. This means that in the 10 months from August to May, the plant emitted 1.46 trillion becquerels’ worth of strontium-90 and 610 billion becquerels of cesium-137, totaling 2.07 trillion becquerels of radioactivity released into the ocean.

This astonishing amount of radioactivity is actually an improvement over the first two years following the disaster. Between May 2011 and August 2013, 10 trillion becquerels of strontium-90 and 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137 flowed into the bay, for a total of 30 trillion becquerels. The improvement does not mark an improvement in TEPCO’s containment methods, however, but is a result of the concentration of nuclear material at the plant decreasing over time.

Water flowing away from the plant enters the bay, where it can then spread into the open ocean. This bay contains a port that is used by the plant to transport materials and equipment.

So much radioactive material has accumulated along the mud of the sea floor at this port that TEPCO is now pursuing a plan to coat the sea floor with cement, to prevent the material from migrating deeper into the ocean.

This may make it impossible to ever dredge the port and remove the radioactive material.

“The first priority is to keep the material where it is,” said a TEPCO official. “No decision has been made on whether to recover the [radioactive] mud at some point in the future.”

Radioactive swamp

TEPCO has already coated several other sections of sea floor, near the outlets of tunnels used to release the radioactive water used to cool the plant immediately following the meltdown.

Work has already begun on a project to coat 50,000 square meters of sea floor near the quay with a cement mixture. The remaining 130,000 square meters will also be coated in several smaller segments. Every part will then be re-coated, to ensure durability of the barrier.

Meanwhile, radioactive water continues to accumulate on-site, with both rainwater and groundwater continually seeping into the failed reactors and becoming contaminated. TEPCO has been attempting to pump this water out and store it in tanks all over the site, but numerous leaks have caused so much water to spill out that Kyoto University professor Hiroaki Koide has described the plant as a radioactive swamp.

TEPCO has also attempted to dispose of some of the water by directly discharging it into the Pacific Ocean, violating its own standards for safe radiation exposure levels.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp

http://ajw.asahi.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

https://www.wordnik.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/046881_Fukushima_plant_radioactive_waste_Pacific_Ocean.html#ixzz3DOXcVGg4

“Progressive Democrats” Follow Obama to War in Syria

September 15th, 2014 by Shamus Cooke

It’s nearly impossible to find an anti-war congressperson nowadays. A bi-partisan consensus exists for an expanded war in Iraq and Syria — from the “radical” socialist Bernie Sanders to Obama’s right-wing nemesis, John Boehner. So enthused was Boehner that he ordered Republicans back to D.C. — during a peak campaign season — to vote for Obama’s plan to fund the Syrian rebels. 

Aiding the Syrian rebels is the fastest moving part of Obama’s anti-ISIS strategy. The Syrian rebels get a quick congressional vote and a speedy promise from U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia to open a rebel training camp, whose goal is to recruit and train 6,000 Syrian rebels over the next year, assumedly flush with their Congressional approved $500 million dollars.

The problem is that the Syrian rebels aren’t motivated to fight ISIS; they are rebelling against the Syrian government. They want regime change.  This glaring paradox is hardly mentioned in the U.S. media, though The New York Times commented on it briefly: “…there are bigger questions. The main target of the United States right now is ISIS, but for the mainstream [Syrian] rebel groups, getting rid of Mr. Assad is the main goal. How do you reconcile those competing goals?”

The Times didn’t pretend to answer the impossible question, and Democrats and Republicans never bother asking. Obama understands perfectly well — as does Congress — that regime change in Syria is the expected outcome of funding the rebels; the ISIS beheadings were a convenient excuse.

There is a remarkable bait and switch happening in U.S. politics: Assad is the big fish that Obama wants hooked and he’s using ISIS to bait the American public. The U.S. president has superbly exploited American’s disgust of ISIS to deepen a war against the Syrian government, the scope and implications of which are completely unspoken.

Bush used a similar logic in Iraq when he “fought terrorism” by instead toppling the secular Iraqi government. And the deceit goes unchallenged in Syria because all of Congress is on board, dragging behind them the boot-licking media.

The “quiet support” of war by the progressive Democrats is especially noteworthy. The progressive superstar, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, has been especially vocal in her support of Obama’s war plans, saying that ISIS should be the nation’s “number 1 priority.” But Warren always conditions her war support with populist catchphrases such as “we can’t be dragged into another Middle East War,” as if investing in the Syrian rebels wasn’t doing exactly that.

The other progressive figurehead, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also hides his war support under a populist glaze. Sanders shamefully agrees that Obama should ramp up support to the Syrian rebels, while giving the same hollow warning about avoiding another prolonged military adventure. Either the Democrats don’t understand the basic arithmetic of war or they assume the American public is stupid.

Sanders has repeatedly argued in favor of Obama’s plan as he grumbles about the “enormously complicated” problem of ISIS. But it’s actually quite simple; the U.S. military’s campaigns in the Middle East are creating more enemies with each bomb dropped. And the ongoing U.S.-led proxy war against the Syrian government has directly contributed to the rise of ISIS and other extremists.

But these simple truths are considered taboo in the war-hungry Congress. Most Americans still don’t know that Obama has coordinated the proxy war against the Syrian government since at least 2012. By doing this Obama and his regional allies have artificially lengthened the Syrian war, directly contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people while giving rise to the Islamic extremist Syrian opposition fighters.

The U.S. media lets out the occasional burp of truth about this, such as The New York Times quick mention that “In April 2013, Mr. Obama authorized the C.I.A. to begin a secret mission to train Syrian rebels in Jordan. The total number trained so far is between 2,000 and 3,000.”

These truths and other events in the region have been systematically hidden from the public in a scheme that makes President Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal look tame. Obama’s “Contras” are the Syrian rebels, whom he has been covertly funding, arming, and training while telling the public little if anything about it.

The media has consistently minimized the breadth of Obama’s rebel support while ignoring the implications — a deeper U.S. involvement in regime change. This is why Americans were so shocked last year when Obama suddenly announced he’d be bombing the Syrian government; they didn’t realize that the U.S. was already neck-deep in a proxy war, and that direct intervention is an inevitable outcome.

The new escalation of the Syrian proxy war puts renewed pressure on Obama to directly intervene militarily, to ensure that the $500 million investment in the rebels — and the political investment with regional partners — “pays off.”

The basic facts of Obama’s involvement in the Syrian war go untold because there is no independent voice in the U.S. Congress. The two-party system is completely united on the fundamentals of government; spending more on war and cutting everything else. This is why working class issues find zero expression in Congress except for populist rhetoric reserved for Labor Day and the campaign trail.

With each Hellfire missile launched, two fewer teachers are hired. And with each Reaper drone built, $28 million goes unspent on funding healthcare, education or fighting climate change. The two-party system is so united over war they can’t even address the fundamental absurdity of the “war on terror:” the more bombs dropped the more extremists are created, requiring more bombs be dropped that create more terrorists, etc., etc. Permanent war is plaguing a nation where 99% of the people would much rather prioritize good jobs, social services and confronting climate change.

On this day in September 2008, the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers sparked the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Within days of the bankruptcy, the entire American and global financial system was on the point of disintegration.

Reporting on the Lehman disaster on September 16, 2008, the World Socialist Web Site noted that it marked “a new stage in the convulsive crisis of American capitalism.”

The WSWS continued: “A sea change is unfolding in the US and world economy that portends a catastrophe of dimensions not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.” It warned that for the working class, the financial meltdown meant “rapid growth of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and social misery,” while “many of those who precipitated this economic disaster… will profit handsomely from the debris they have left behind.”

That analysis has been entirely confirmed. Six years on, the world economy has not only failed to recover, it is experiencing continued stagnation, with the ever-growing threat of a new financial crisis. In the euro zone, economic output has yet to reach the levels it attained in 2007; Japan stands once again on the brink of recession; and Chinese economic expansion is faltering. The growth rate in the US economy is now 16 percent below that of 2005–2007, with cumulative output losses totalling about 80 percent of gross domestic product.

But despite stagnation in the real economy, stock markets have hit record highs, boosted by the provision of ultra-cheap cash from the US Federal Reserve and other central banks to the financial institutions and banks responsible for the crisis—a continuation of the policy initiated in the immediate aftermath of the Lehman collapse.

For the working class all over the world, the past six years have brought lower wages, rising social inequality and outright impoverishment. In the United States, median family incomes fell by 5 percent in real terms between 2010 and 2013, supposedly years of “recovery.”

The financial crisis revealed a level of lawlessness on an unprecedented scale, as major finance houses and banks sold complex financial products they knew were doomed to fail and then profited on the outcome. Facts and figures produced in a US Senate report in 2011 revealed that these were nothing short of criminal operations.

But not a single top executive of a major US or international bank has been prosecuted, let alone jailed. The attorney general in the Obama administration, Eric Holder, has specifically ruled out any prosecution on the grounds it could jeopardise the US and possibly the global banking system.

In other words, finance capital and its speculative and parasitic activities are a law unto themselves. This culture of criminality and illegality in finance finds its expression in politics: the illegal drone operations and assassinations carried out by the Obama administration, including of American citizens; the mass spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) and its equivalents around the world; and the strengthening of the apparatus of a police state.

The ongoing breakdown of the global economy underlies the growth of militarism, which is creating the conditions for the eruption of a new world war. Here the first place is occupied by the United States.

The economic problems and contradictions of American capitalism, so graphically revealed in the collapse of 2008, have only increased since then. This is the economic impetus for war, as US imperialism seeks to use its military might to reverse its economic decline and assert its global hegemony.

While the connections between economic trends and political developments are never direct and immediate, but always complex, there is nonetheless a profound significance to the fact that this year, one of deepening economic malaise, both the German and Japanese governments have broken with the post-World War II geo-political framework.

The German ruling elite, powerful sections of the mass media, and the foreign policy establishment are conducting a campaign to assert Germany’s role not only as the dominant power within Europe, but as a world power—a return to Hitler’s agenda of the 1930s.

Likewise, the right-wing nationalist government of Shinzo Abe in Japan has “reinterpreted” the country’s constitution to allow Japan to play an international military role.

The significance of these events, in which three of the major imperialist combatants of World War II are asserting their global role, is unmistakeable. Six years into the global economic breakdown, the major powers, facing contracting markets and stagnant or negative growth, are determined to fight for their interests by military means.

The drive to war is accompanied by militarism at home. The ruling classes everywhere know they have no economic solution to the ongoing crisis of the profit system.

As a report prepared by the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Labour Organisation for the upcoming G20 summit stated, economic growth will “remain below trend with significant downside risks for the foreseeable future,” while there is “no universal formula for creating productive, quality jobs.”

Living in fear of a coming social explosion, the ruling classes everywhere are organising their repressive apparatuses. The police-military operation in Ferguson, Missouri was by no means a purely American phenomenon, but reflected the preparations being made in every country to confront the social consequences of another financial crisis, the conditions for which are well advanced.

On Sunday, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), sometimes known as the central bankers’ bank, warned in its quarterly review that the present lack of volatility in global financial markets was not a sign of strength, but rather a herald of new dangers.

As BIS chief economist Claudio Borio told reporters in a briefing on the review: “It all looks rather familiar. The dance continues until the music eventually stops. And the longer the music plays and the louder it gets, the more deafening is the silence that follows,” when markets become illiquid precisely at the moment “when liquidity is needed most.”

The day after the Lehman crash, the World Socialist Web Site set out a clear political strategy:

“The entire financial system must be taken out of private hands… and subordinated to the social needs of the people and dedicated to developing and expanding the productive forces in order to eliminate poverty and unemployment and vastly improve the living standards and cultural level of the entire population.”

Six years on, the fight for this perspective has become even more urgent as large sections of the working class, in the US and around the world, have either been impoverished or seen their living standards slashed, and a generation of workers, students and youth that has come of age since then faces a future under capitalism of poverty and war.

“Yes” campaign supporters try to disrupt a gathering of a “No” campaign rally that leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband addressed, in Glasgow, September 11, 2014. (Reuters/Paul Hackett)

Politicians clashed over the National Health System (NHS) at a Scottish independence debate. “Yes” supporters say independence could save the health service from privatization, while “No” advocates say Scotland can’t afford it alone.

Independence is needed to protect against a “nasty, competitive, profit-driven motive” towards the NHS, Scottish Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie said Thursday.

Respect MP George Galloway, who is calling for a “No” vote, however, says there would not be an NHS without “a country big enough” to share resources.

The debate was held at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena before an audience of around 7,500 young people, drawn from secondary schools across Scotland.

The 18th September referendum will be the first time 16 and 17 year olds have been entitled to vote. Support for independence is highest among the younger population.

Both sides in the referendum race hold strong emotional attachments to the NHS. The “Yes” camp says independence would shield the health service from Westminster-imposed budget cuts and privatization.

 

Employees of Gordon diesel services prepare to erect Yes campaign placards on their workshop in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides September 11, 2014. (Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)

“There’s a difference between being able to control policy on something like the NHS and being able to control Scotland’s finances,” said Harvie, arguing for a “Yes” vote.

“Now, right now, the UK government is dead set on breaking up and privatizing the structure itself of the NHS. If that leads in the longer term to more introduction of fees and charges, if it leads to a decline in the public resources that are going in, that will impact on the Scottish budget.”

Harvie said Scotland needed “control of its own finances and its own voice at a European level.”

Enough to go around?

The “No” camp is questioning whether an independent Scotland could afford to maintain current health spending. Galloway said the NHS would be more secure under the union.

“We would never have had a National Health Service if it wasn’t for two things: a Labour government in 1945 and a country big enough to make a big enough pot to share resources across the country in order to have healthcare free at the point of need,” said the Respect MP, who also presents his own TV show on RT, “Sputnik: Around the World with George Galloway.”

“The National Health Service is an entirely devolved matter. It could only be privatized if people were foolish enough to elect a Scottish government that was ready to privatize it.”

Galloway caused controversy in the run-up to the debate, suggesting that the BBC had tried to withdraw his invitation at the request of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP). He said fellow panelist and SNP party member Nicola Sturgeon had threatened to pull out if he took part.

Sturgeon, a former health secretary representing “Yes Scotland,” said waiting for a Labour government to take power and protect the NHS was not an option.

“How many times has Scotland voted Labour to end up with the Tories?” asked Sturgeon. “Why do we have to cross our fingers and vote for a Labour government when we can vote ‘Yes’ and guarantee we always get the governments we vote for?

“I know how hard it is to protect the budget of the health service when our overall budget is being reduced by Westminster.”

Sturgeon added: “I will fight with every breath in my body to keep the National Health Service in public hands, but we are going to be more able to do that when we are in control of our own budget so that we set our own priorities.”

Pro-union banners are placed in a field in Jedburgh, on the Scottish border with England, on September 11, 2014, a week ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum. (AFP Photo/Lesley Martin)

The future of the NHS as a state-run health service is currently in question throughout the UK. Campaigners say the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the largest bilateral trade deal ever brokered, could lead to the permanent privatization of NHS services.

The deal could allow US corporations to sue the British government if it ever embarked on an effort to re-nationalize outsourced health services.

“If the Scottish NHS is not exempt from TTIP it will be a disaster,” said Willie Wilson, of the “NHS for Yes”campaign.

“The Scottish Government has so far protected the NHS as much as it can within the limits of the Scottish budget,” he said. “But TTIP will mean we won’t have a choice, we will be forced to open up NHS services to multinational companies in Europe and America.”

The only way to protect free NHS services was to vote “Yes,” Wilson said: “The UK Government’s position is now absolutely clear: they are not seeking exemptions from TTIP, and therefore we can only protect the Scottish NHS from privatisation by voting Yes.”

The Russell Tribunal (RT) is an activist peace organization. It’s known as the International War Crimes Tribunal.

It condemns America’s permanent war agenda. It opposes New World Order extremism. Its members include academics, intellectuals and artists.

It’s inspired by the BRussells Tribunal. It was named after after famed philosopher, mathematician, anti-war, anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970).

He warned many years ago:

“Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war” and live in peace. There’s no in between.

Previous tribunals investigated war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq and Palestine. Others examined human rights abuses in Latin America and psychiatry.

An extraordinary Brussels September 24 and 25 session is planned on Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

Outrage about its genocidal high crimes against peace inspired it.

The session will examine Israel’s crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. “(T)hird States” complicity will be investigated.

Distinguished panel members will present their findings during a September 25 international press conference.

They’ll be received at the European parliament the same day. They’ll address a message to UN General Assembly members during its 69th session.

RT “is your tribunal,” it says. It needs public support to operate. Its work is more important than ever. At stake is humanity’s survival.

On September 13, RT International headlined “Guilty! ‘Russell Tribunal’ condemns Obama, Poroshenko ‘war crimes’ in E. Ukraine,” saying:

On Saturday, “an informal Russell Tribunal…took place in Venice, Italy…”

Its rulings have no legal status. At the same time, they affect public opinion worldwide.

RT’s Southeastern Ukraine ruling will be sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU states, the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other appropriate international bodies.

According to RT’s board of judges:

“The Russell Tribunal, which met to condemn the war crimes in Donbas (south-eastern Ukraine), based on the presented evidence, ruled to hold Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, US president Barack Obama, European Commission head, Jose Manuel Barroso, and NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, accountable for their direct responsibility in the war against the people of Donbas.”

Judges consisted of Venice residents. Veneto Government president Albert Gardin presided.

Amnesty International and likeminded human rights organizations were invited to attend. They opted out.

They’re on the wrong side of history. Often they support what demands condemnation.

Galina Kozhushko represented Lugansk and Donetsk self-defense forces. She’s a Lugansk native. She currently resides in Italy.

Donbass “protests escalated into armed resistance after the voices of the people were ignored,” she said.

“As a result, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and churches were destroyed.”

“People in Lugansk just couldn’t believe that their own government would be killing them.”

Journalist/former European MP Giulietto Chiesa called Southeastern Ukraine events “a planned provocation by the US against Russia.”

“Ukraine was conquered by the US long ago,” he said. “If NATO does send its troops to the border with Russia, we’ll find ourselves on the verge of a war between the west and Russia.”

Violence erupted in April. Kiev declared war on its own people.

Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters reject fascist rule. They reject its illegitimacy.

They want democracy. They want local autonomy. They want the right to elect their own officials. They deserve universal support.

Fighting took a horrendous toll. Thousands were killed. Many more were injured.

Hundreds of thousands are internally or externally displaced.

On September 5, both sides agreed to ceasefire terms. Fighting continues.

Washington bears full responsibility. It manipulates events covertly.

Peace is more fantasy than real. Full-scale conflict could erupt again any time.

America wants war. It deplores peace. It’s running things. Kiev officials are convenient stooges.

At issue is solidifying hardline rule. It’s targeting Russia. It’s incorporating all former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries into NATO.

It’s surrounding Russia with US bases. It’s targeting its heartland with long-range, multiple warhead nuclear missiles.

It’s marginalizing, containing, weakening, isolating and co-opting Russia. It’s transforming it into another US colony.

It’s eliminating a major rival. It’s stealing its resources. It’s exploiting its people.

It’s redrawing Eurasia. It’s balkanizing the world’s largest land mass. It’s transforming it into mini-states. It’s neutralizing them in the process.

It’s advancing America’s imperium. It’s isolating China. It’s part of Washington longterm aim for unchallenged global dominance.

War without end is its strategy to achieve it. World peace hangs by a thread. New World Order extremism threatens it.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0. Western policy is hard-wired. Russia isn’t about to roll over for America.

It’s sovereignty matters. Putin defends what’s too important to lose. He opposes US imperial lawlessness.

He does so justifiably. He does it courageously. Washington considers him public enemy No. one.

Waging war on ISIS/ISIL/IS is subterfuge for solidifying unchallenged Middle East control en route to establishing it globally. Eurasia is in the eye of the storm.

“Who is behind the Islamic State Project,” asked Michel Chossudovsky?

“Until recently (they) were heralded as Syria’s ‘opposition freedom fighters’ committed to ‘restoring democracy’ and unseating the secular government of Bashar al Assad.”

Who’s “behind the jihadist insurgency in Syria,” Chossudovsky asked?

Dark Washington forces “are behind the Caliphate Project.”

“The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a ‘counter-terrorism’ mandate, was and continues to be supported covertly by the United States and its allies.”

It’s a “creation of US intelligence.” It’s supported by Britain, Israel and other rogue state dark forces.

They back fascist extremism in Ukraine. They want democracy prevented at all costs.

State terrorism is official policy. Peace is a convenient illusion. War without end persists. Rogue states operate this way.

Invented enemies are red herring cover for imperial aims. Obama bears full responsibility. His war on Ukrainian freedom persists.

Bombing Syria looms. The entire region is up for grabs. Obama wants unchallenged control.

His agenda threatens world peace. Humanity may not survive his second term. Stopping him before it’s too late matters most.

A Final Comment

On September 12, Putin questioned new Western sanctions.

“When the situation is moving towards a peaceful resolution, steps are taken which are aimed at disrupting the peace process,” he said.

It’s “begun. I can’t understand what these next sanction steps are about.”

“I’ve said many times that our western partners first drove the situation into an anti-constitutional coup and then supported the punitive operation in the south-east, and now that the situation has switched over to the track of peace settlement, someone is taking steps aimed at breaking (it) up.”

“Why is this being done?” Putin asked. They’re counterproductive. They won’t work. Russia will respond accordingly, he suggested.

It’ll do so to benefit Russian commerce and industry. It won’t be “for the sake of showing how tough we are…”

On September 13, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Washington “is trying to use the crisis in Ukraine to break economic ties between the EU and Russia and force Europe to buy US gas at much higher prices.”

It’s exploiting Ukrainian crisis conditions. It’s doing so “to economically tear Europe from Russia and bargain for itself the most favourable conditions in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the creation of a transatlantic trade and investment partnership.”

It’s trying to “impose on Europe deliveries of US liquefied natural gas at prices that cannot be competitive compared with Russian gas prices.”

Russia supplies about a third of the EU’s gas. Lavrov said EU states are “prepared to sacrifice (their) econom(ies) to politics.”

On Saturday, Ukraine’s putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ludicrously accused Moscow of wanting to “eliminate Ukraine as an independent country.”

Putin’s “ultimate goal is to take the whole of Ukraine.” He won’t stop until he restores the “Soviet Union,” he said.

He wants NATO membership. “Under these circumstances, NATO is the only possibility to protect Ukraine,” he claimed.

Russia is firmly opposed. It won’t tolerate US-controlled NATO bases on its borders.

Encroachment would be hugely provocative. Imagine if Russia had bases in Canada and/or Mexico.

Imagine if its warships patrolled close to America’s east and west coasts, as well as Mexican Gulf waters.

Imagine calls in Washington for war. Remember Bertrand Russell’s warning.

Our choice is either ending war or humanity. There’s no in between.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Image: Biography of Gaston Besson, “French volontary against the Serbs”.

So we already reported on the American Nazi who was fighting in Ukraine until he got killed, the neo-Nazi Azov battalion he was fighting with, and the reports of war tourism, or, European right wingers joining in the fighting just for fun.

Now here’s another one, Gaston Besson.  This guy seems to be a war afficionado or professional mercenary.  He has a reputation going back to the Yugoslav wars where he was accused of war crimes.  He’s also served in Laos and Myanmar.  Apparently he enjoys going berserk in battle and being “excessively cruel”.

Like the American Nazi, Paslawsky, he also fights with the Azov battalion, the one with the Nazi swastika on its coat of arms which runs around bravely punishing civilians.  He’s in charge of coordinating foreign volunteers.

We’ve got a backlog of video and material about the neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine.  Its much bigger than has been reported so far in the western media.

This stuff will eventually get out, and when it does, it will be a major political problem in Europe, especially in Germany.

On Sunday USA Today warned Obama’s campaign to launch air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will reduce the latter to a failed state.

“The turmoil in Libya is a cautionary tale as the United States enlists the help of moderate Syrian rebels to defeat the radical Islamic State and oust Syrian President Bashar Assad,” writes Oren Dorell for the newspaper. “As occurred in Libya, U.S. intervention to remove an anti-U.S. regime could lead to another failed state and more instability in the Middle East.”

In fact, the United States, Britain and Israel have colluded for years to turn the Middle East into a collection of failed states unable to rise above ethnic and tribal conflict.

The West has used a divide and rule formula in the Middle East for nearly a century. “Great Britain and France transformed what had been relatively quiet provinces of the Ottoman Empire into some of the least stable and internationally explosive states in the world,” writes Ayse Tekdal Fildis.

“A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a policy document prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, at the time the Prime Minister of Israel, has served as a master plan for destabilizing the Arab and Muslim Middle East.

The plan calls for Israel to work “closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats,” most notably Syria. “Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.”

This is precisely what is now happening in Syria as “Arab tribes,” that is to say “tribes” of Salafist mercenaries supported by the U.S. and its Persian Gulf emirate partners, attack the Shia Alawite regime in Damascus.

Israel, as a settler state established in Palestine by United Nations mandate, of course takes its cues from the global elite and would not, without their continued support, be able to maintain a hegemonic hold in the Middle East.

“To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together,” writes Rockefeller operative and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

For more in-depth detail on this, see our ISIS and the Plan to Balkanize the Middle East.

Exporting the Failed State Model

The State Department went before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week and said it is worried about Libyan Salafists tied to al-Qaeda expanding to neighboring countries and across the Middle East.

“We have concerns about the potential of Libyan militias Ansar al Shariah and others to continue to metastasize and spread to Algeria, Egypt… and spread to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other nations and become a serious security issue to the rest of the world,” said Gerald Feierstein, deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs.

USA Today reports “Sudan, which shares a border with Libya, and Qatar are sending weapons and money to Islamist militias against U.S. wishes,” a statement that is patently untrue. The United States has supported the arming of al-Qaeda linked and inspired jihadist mercenaries, particularly in Syria.

Libya served as a beta test for Syria and, ultimately, the rest of the Arab Middle East. “The fact that the CIA was actively working to help the Libyan rebels topple Gaddafi was no secret, nor were the airstrikes that Obama ordered against the Libyan government. However, little was said about the identity or the ideological leanings of these Libyan rebels. Not surprising, considering the fact that the leader of the Libyan rebels later admitted that his fighters included Al-Qaeda linked jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq,” notes SCGNews.

Little, or rather virtually nothing, is said about the U.S. supporting, through its Gulf Emirate partners, al-Qaeda and its spin-offs, most notably ISIS, in Syria and northern Iraq. Instead, we are expected to believe failed states are a tragic result of humanitarian intervention. In order to remedy this, the State Department and the Obama administration argue in favor of more military action, not less.

Venezuela Sends More Aid Planes to Gaza

September 15th, 2014 by Middle East Monitor

The second Venezuelan aid plane took off on Thursday evening from Caracas International Airport heading to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

This plane, which is going to land in Cairo International Airport on Saturday, is loaded with 55 tons of urgent food and medical supplies for the residents of Gaza.

Palestinian ambassador to Venezuela and Palestinian embassy staff, along with the deputy Venezuelan foreign minister, were there when the plane took off.

According to the Palestinian ambassador a third Venezuelan aid plane is planned to follow this one next week.

The three planes are part of a series of Venezuelan planes carrying food and medical aid supplies to the Palestinians in the war-stricken Gaza Strip.

The Venezuelan leadership, including the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, demanded the Venezuelans collect aid for the Palestinian people as support for their resistance in Gaza.

Russia Denounces New Western Sanctions

September 15th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

New EU sanctions target Russian finance, energy and defense sectors.

They restrict state-owned energy giants Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft (its oil subsidiary) from raising capital in European markets.

They prohibit buying their 30-day yield bonds and equities of any kind.

Five state-owned banks were targeted. They include Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB) and Rosselkhozbank.

They’re prohibited from raising capital in EU markets. Purchasing newly issued bonds and other securities with maturities over 30 days are banned.

Sanctions affect three major Russian defense companies. They include UralVagonZavod (UVZ), Oboronprom and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

Purchasing and selling their bonds with maturities over 30 days is prohibited.

Nine other defense companies were targeted. They include the Sirius Concern, OJSC Stankoinstrument, Khimkompozit, the Kalashnikov Concern, the Tula Arms Plant, Technologii Mashinostroyeniya, Vysokotochnye Kompleksy, the Almaz-Antei Concern, and Bazalt.

Purchasing their dual-purpose technologies is prohibited.

Twenty-four more Russian officials were blacklisted. In total, 119 are sanctioned. New names added include:

Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhironovsky.

Federation Council Deputy Chairman Yury Vorobyov.

Rosoboronexport Board Chairman Sergey Chemezov.

Duma Deputy Speakers Vladimir Vasilyev, Ivan Melnikov, Igor Lebedev, and Nikolai Levichev.

Deputy Duma Committee on International Affairs heads Leonid Kalashnikov and Svetlana Zhurova.

Deputy Duma Committee on the Affairs of the CIS and the European Integration heads Vladimir Nikitin and Oleg Lebedev.

Duma deputy Alexander Babakov.

MP and Cossack Troops commander Viktor Vodolatsky.

Airborne troops 76th division commander Alexei Naumets.

Crimea’s official Moscow representative Georgy Muradov.

First Deputy Crimean Prime Minister Mikhail Sheremet.

Blacklisted names include eight Novorossiya leaders. They include:

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko.

DPR’s Defense Minister Vladimir Kononov.

Donbass self-defense forces leader Miroslav Rudenko.

Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Prime Minister Gennady Tsypkalov.

DPR’s Security Minister Andrey Pinchuk.

Its Interior Minister Oleg Bereza.

Its official Moscow representative Andrei Rodkin.

Its social affairs Vice-Premier Alexander Karaman.

Sanctioned individuals are prohibited from entering EU territory. Assets held in European banks, if any, are frozen.

Sanctions targeted services Russia needs for Arctic oil and gas extraction, as well as deep sea and shale exploration projects.

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said EU sanctions won’t go unanswered. It called imposing them devoid of logic and common sense.

They compromise already deteriorating relations. They’re polar opposite what’s badly needed. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the following:

“Making this step, the EU actually made its choice against the process of peace settlement of the intra-Ukrainian crisis, support for which is expected from all responsible forces in Europe.”

“Today, Brussels and heads of EU member states should give a clear answer to EU citizens why they are subjected to the risks of confrontation, economic stagnation and loss of jobs.”

“Give people a chance for peace at last,”

it stressed.

Sergey Lavrov called imposing more sanctions an attempt to throw Russia off balance.

Its EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov said they’re devoid of elementary logic at a time Russia went all-out to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions responsibly.

Punishing good policy is madness. Doing so shows other motives are pursued. Europe leaves Russia no other choice than to adopt comparable countermeasures.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called EU sanctions a strategic error and gross miscalculation.

“It’s not so much the (targeted sectors they’re) punishing,” he said.

“They’re trying to punish the whole nation because the sanctions against the financial sector, the manufacturing sector, the oil and gas sector are the sanctions aimed at damaging the life of ordinary Russians.”

“They think they can sting us somehow this way because the sanctions against the defense manufacturing industries signal an attempt to enfeeble us physically, and I think that’s a strategic error on the part of the West.”

On September 12, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed more sanctions. Secretary Jack Lew lied, saying:

“Given Russia’s direct military intervention and blatant efforts to destabilize Ukraine, we have deepened our sanctions against Russia today, in concert with our European allies.”

“These steps underscore the continued resolve of the international community against Russia’s aggression.”

“Russia’s economic and diplomatic isolation will continue to grow as long as its actions do not live up to its words.”

“It is essential that Russia work with Ukraine and other international partners to find a lasting settlement to the conflict.”

“If Russia does so, these new sanctions could be suspended. If instead Russia chooses to continue its violations of international law, the costs will continue to rise.”

“As in all of the sanctions steps we have taken, we have designed the actions announced today to deliver significant pressure on the targets of our sanctions while safeguarding, to the extent possible, global financial markets and the global economy.”

Fact check:

Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.

It ousted its democratically elected government. It installed neo-Nazi-infested putschists.

They have no legitimacy whatever.

Throughout months of conflict, Russia has gone all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution.

Western sanctions aim to marginalize, contain, weaken and isolate Russia. Perhaps in the end they’ll backfire.

Pursuant to Executive Order 13662 dated March 24, 2014: Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine (to include Russian commerce, industry and finance), OFAC targeted five Russian defense companies.

They classified them as Specialty Designated Nationals (SDNs).

At the same time, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added five Russian energy and defense companies to its Entity List.

It subjects targeted businesses and other organizations to specific license requirements for export, re-export, and/or transfer (in country) of specified items.

In targeting Russia, it imposed special conditions intended to impede commerce.

New US measures overall restrict:

targeted industries’ dual-use products and technologies;

services related to deep water oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production, as well as Russian shale projects;

services related to Common Military List products and technologies; and

access to capital markets.

Previous dual use restrictions applied only on products and technologies sold, supplied, transferred, or exported to Russia for military use or to a military end-user.

New sanctions outright ban these products and services listed in the EU Dual-Use Regulation.

It does so if sale, supply, transfer or export is to one of the targeted Russian companies. They include:

JSC Sirius, OJSC Stankoinstrument, OAO JSC Chemcomposite, JSC Kalashnikov, JSC Tula Arms Plant, NPK Technologii Maschinostrojenija, OAO Wysokototschnye Kompleksi, OAO Almaz Antey and OAO NPO Bazalt.

New Regulation restrictions prohibit related technical help, brokering services, and financial assistance.

They’re much broader than previously in banning services relating to Arctic and other deep water exploration and production, as well as Russian shale oil projects.

Insurance and reinsurance prohibitions are imposed on the sale, supply, transfer or export of Common Military List products and technologies.

Capital market restrictions affect bonds, equities and money market instruments with maturities exceeding 30 days.

Sberbank, VTB bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Rosselkhozbank are targeted.

Twenty-four new individuals were blacklisted. In total, 119 are sanctioned. Designated entities number 23.

US and EU sanctions prohibit making funds and/or economic resources available directly or indirectly to targeted companies or individuals.

They include dealings with suppliers, banks, agents, distributors, other intermediaries, or entities owned or controlled by targeted entities or persons.

It bears repeating. Russia strongly condemned new sanctions. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich:

“On many levels, the Russian leadership has made it clear that we’ll take adequate measures, and our response will be absolutely comparable with the actions by the EU” and America.

Sanctions wars continue. They cut both ways. They come when weakening EU economies can least afford them. It remains to be seen how badly they’ll be hurt.

In the long run, Russia’s economy may be helped. It’s diversifying effectively. Its energy deal with China is hugely beneficial.

It’s trading more with Eastern and BRICS countries. It’s reducing its dependency on Europe.

It’s transforming its economic relationships effectively. It’s polar opposite counterproductive US/EU policy.

It stands to gain overall longterm. Expect sanctioning Russia to fail.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

O especialista militar romeno, piloto e ex-comandante adjunto do aeroporto militar Otopeni, Valentin Vasilescu, comentou o relatório da investigação das razões da queda do Boeing 777.

1. “As imagens disponíveis mostram que as peças dos restos do avião foram perfuradas em numerosas partes. O tipo de danos na fuselagem do avião e da cabina é consistente com o que se poderia esperar de uma grande quantidade de objetos de alta energia que penetraram o avião vindos do exterior.

Vasilescu: “Os Mig-29 do exército ucraniano estão armados com o canhão de 30 milímetros GSh-301, que dispara 1500 projéteis por minuto.  O canhão estava carregado com 150 projéteis que contém uma liga de tungstênio. Esses projéteis atravessam os objetivos, deixando marcas perfeitamente circulares. Não explodem dentro da fuselagem, não são incendiários, mas podem matar a tripulação e destruir a cabine, o que pode ser observado através da presença de buracos com bordas que se abrem para fora no tabique oposto. Nas fitas de cartuchos do canhão GSh-301 são inseridos também alguns obuses explosivo-incendiários, que explodem dentro da fuselagem, produzindo fragmentos de grande velocidade que saem através da fuselagem na área da cabine, como metralha produzida pela detonação de uma ogiva terra-ar. Os disparos foram feitos por um piloto de caça experimentado, que apontou somente para a cabine de comando. Isso é demonstrado pelo fato de que a secção posterior da fuselagem, atrás da cabine, permaneceu intacta. Não haviam orifícios que pudessem ter sido causados por metralha.

2. “O Boeing 777-200 rompeu-se no ar, provavelmente como resultado de dano estrutural causado por uma grande quantidade de objetos de alta energia que penetraram o avião desde  seu exterior…  os parâmetros dos motores do avião eram consistentes com a operação normal durante o vôo”.

Vasilescu: “O Boeing malaio MH-17 foi derrubado pelo canhão de um avião Mig-29, em vez de um míssil. Nesse caso, os mísseis ar-ar estão equipados com sensores de calor que apontam para a parte mais quente do avião, ou seja, os motores. O Boeing  derrubado tinha a cabine de comando destruída”. Não houve danos aos motores do avião até que as asas, onde eles estão localizados, se espatifaram no solo. Não houve uma grossa coluna ou condensação branca à 10 mil metros do solo, como a provocada pelo lançamento de um míssil ar-ar.

3. “É provável que esses danos tenham resultado na perda da integridade estrutural do avião, provocando uma ruptura durante o vôo”.

Vasilescu: “A morte da tripulação e a despressurização da  cabine fizeram com que o Boeing girasse instantaneamente, e que o avião se dividisse em várias partes a uma altura de 2 mil metros. O avião, como mostram as caixas-pretas, entrou em colapso no ar, mas isso somente é possível no caso de um mergulho vertical desde a altura de 10 mil metros, quando é excedido o limite máximo de velocidade. Se o avião gira, a tripulação freqüentemente fica incapaz de controlá-lo. Também pode ocorrer uma despressurização instantânea da cabine.”

4. O gravador de vozes da cabine e o gravador dos dados de vôo e dos dados do controle de tráfego aéreo sugerem  que o vôo MH-17 decorria normalmente até às 13:20:03 (UTC), depois do que terminou abruptamente… Uma escuta completa das comunicações entre membros da tripulação, registradas no gravador de voz da cabine, não revela sinais de nenhuma falha ou situação de emergência”.

Vasilescu: “Se um avião tão grande como o Boeing 777 da Malaysia Airlines tivesse sido alcançado por um míssil terra-ar, a tripulação teria conseguido advertir os serviços de controle de tráfego sobre a situação à bordo. Contudo, não vimos nada semelhante nos registros.” Além disso, o MH-17  voava no rumo  118º. O caça Mig-29 se aproximava com seus canhões na direção perpendicular ao avião MH-17 (118 + 90 =  208). Isso corresponde à direção do sol às 16h21min locais. Ninguém, nos meios de comunicação, tinha mencionado uma coisa básica relacionada ao Boeing-777: Os controles de vôo do piloto são transmitidos à cabine por circuitos elétricos, como em um vôo controlado por computador. A tripulação não consegue controlar o avião caso os elementos de transmissão que controlam o leme de direção e o estabilizador, situados na cauda do avião,   sejam destruídos. Um curto-circuíto no sistema elétrico da cabine, como resultado do fogo de canhão,  incapacitou o transponder e o transmissor de rádio.

Na coletiva de imprensa do Ministro da Defesa da Federação Russa em 21 de julho de 2014, o chefe do Estado Maior Gera, Tenente General A Kartopolov,l e o comandante da Força Aérea, Igor Makuchev, provaram a existência de um avião ucraniano que teria detido o vôo da Malaysia Airlines três minutos antes do acidente, estimando a distância que o separava do MH17 em 3-5km.

Mas o Documento 4444 (Regras de Procedimentos Aéreos para Serviços de Navegação Aérea), emitido pela Organização Internacional de Aviação Civil, artigo 7.4.4, indica que a distância mínima permitida entre dois aviões se baseia em sua turbulência. O Boeing 777 (peso 299,370 toneladas) pertence à categoria de avião pesado (H – Heavy). Entre essa categoria de aviões e um caça como o Mig-29 (peso entre 10-20t), se requer que os controles aéreos solicitem uma distância de pelo menos 9,3 km. Foi um erro ou uma ação deliberada dos controladores de tráfego aéreo da Ucrãnia posicionar o avião ucraniano a 3 km de distância do vôo MH 17? Quando o Boeing 777 foi derrubado, encontrava-se a 48 km do ponto de navegação Tamak, no procedimento de transferência do controle de vôo da região de Dnepropetrovsk (que é responsável pelo espaço aéreo da Ucrânia oriental) para região de controle de Rostov-on-Don (começo do espaço aéreo Russo).

O mesmo documento 4444,  Capitulo 7.5  (transferência de controle por radar), obriga as agências ucranianas de controle de tráfego aéreo civil e militar (ACT) a determinar uma distância mínima entre dois aviões que permitisse a separação por radar do vôo MH 17 e o caça ucraniano, o suficiente para assegurar a transferência segura do avião civil para o ACT russo.  Segundo o documento 4444, a distância normal de separação para aviões da categoria H  seguidos por um caça é de pelo menos 11,1 km.

Os ucranianos derrubaram o avião quando o Boeing  era transferido pelo UCT ucraniano para o ACT dos russos.

Graças às evidências que aparecem claramente, é possível que as autoridades civis e militares ucranianas estivessem cooperando para derrubar o vôo através de um caça ucraniano. Por que ocultam ao ICAO e ao Eurocontrol essa flagrante violação das leis de navegação? Antes que o piloto de caça pudesse apontar e abrir fogo em direção à secção da cabine do Boeing 777,  que é  um setor de 6 metros de largura e 64,8 metros de comprimento, o B-777 deveria entrar por inteiro na linha de visão do piloto do caça. O instrumento de  avistamento faz automaticamente cálculos que dão ao piloto todos os parâmetros necessários para que os projéteis que alcançaram a fuselagem do vôo MH-17. A melhor maneira de atingir a cabine de comando era  aproximar-se de maneira quase perpendicular à direção de vôo do MH-17. Nesse caso, o piloto de caça teria as condições apropriadas para preparar-se para disparar à distância a 900 m do B-777. Se a velocidade de aproximação do caça ucraniano era de aproximadamente 280-300 metros por segundo, a repetição do ataque seria impossível, e o piloto de caça teria 3-4 segundos para todas essas manobras.  Isso poderia ser o resultado de dezenas de horas de treinamento em simuladores e condições de vôo semelhantes à aquelas existentes  quando o vôo MH-17 foi derrubado.

Artigo em inglês :

http://www.globalresearch.ca/mh17-boeing-crash-investigation-dsb-report-hides-truth-plane-shot-down-by-ukrainian-aircraft/5400725

Artigo em espanhol :

http://www.globalresearch.ca/investigacion-del-desastre-del-boeing-mh17-el-avion-fue-derribado-por-un-caza-ucranio/5401883

Tradução do espanhol: Renzo Bassanetti

El experto militar rumano, piloto y excomandante adjunto del aeropuerto militar Otopeni, Valentin Vasilescu, comentó sobre el informe de la investigación de las razones de la caída del Boeing 777 en Ucrania.

1. “Las imágenes disponibles muestran que las piezas de los restos del avión fueron perforadas en numerosas partes. El modelo del daño del fuselaje del avión y de la cabina es consistente con lo que se podría esperar de una gran cantidad de objetos de alta energía que penetraron el avión desde el exterior.”

Vasilescu: “Los MiG-29 del ejército ucranio están armados con el cañón de 30 milímetros GSh-301, que dispara 1.500 proyectiles por minuto. El cañón estaba cargado con 150 proyectiles que contienen una aleación de tungsteno. Esos proyectiles pasan a través de los objetivos, dejando rastros de una forma perfectamente circular. No estallan dentro de la cabina, no son incendiarios, pero pueden matar a la tripulación y destruir la cabina, lo que puede ser visto en la presencia de agujeros con bordes que se abren hacia afuera en el tabique opuesto”. En los cartuchos de cinta para el cañón de 30 milímetros GSh-301 se insertan también unos pocos obuses explosivos-incendiarios, que estallan dentro de la cabina, produciendo fragmentos con grandes velocidades que salen del fuselaje del avión en el área de la cabina, como metralla producida por la detonación de la ojiva de un misil tierra-aire. Los disparos fueron hechos por un piloto de caza experimentado, quien apuntó solo a la cabina. Esto es demostrado por el hecho de que la sección de fuselaje posterior de la cabina permaneció intacta. No hubo agujeros que podrían haber sido causados por metralla.

2. “El Boeing 777-200 se rompió en el aire probablemente como resultado de daño estructural causado por una gran cantidad de objetos de alta energía que penetraron el avión desde el exterior… Los parámetros de los motores del avión eran consistentes con la operación normal durante el vuelo”.

Vasilescu: “El Boeing malayo MH-17 fue derribado por el cañón de un avión MiG-29, en lugar de un misil. En este caso los misiles aire-aire están equipados con buscadores de calor que apuntan a la parte más caliente del avión, es decir los motores. El Boeing derribado tenía la cabina destruida”. No hubo daños a los motores del Boeing hasta que las alas (donde están ubicados los motores) se estrellaron en el suelo. No hubo una gruesa columna o condensación blanca a una altura de diez kilómetros de la superficie, que debería haber sido causada por el lanzamiento de un misil aire-aire.

3. “Es probable que este daño haya resultado en una pérdida de integridad estructural del avión, llevando a una ruptura durante el vuelo”.

Vasilescu: “La muerte de la tripulación y la despresurización de la cabina hizo que el Boeing girara instantáneamente, y el avión se dividiera en piezas a una altura de dos mil metros. El avión, como lo muestran las cajas negras, colapsó en el aire, pero esto solo es posible en caso de un picado vertical desde la altura de diez mil pies, cuando se excede el máximo límite de velocidad. Si el avión gira, la tripulación es frecuentemente incapaz de controlarlo. También puede ocurrir una despresurización instantánea de la cabina”.

4. “La grabadora de voz de la cabina, y la grabadora de datos de vuelo y los datos del control de tráfico aéreo sugieren todos que el vuelo MH-17 procedió normalmente hasta 13:20:03 (UTC), después de lo cual terminó abruptamente… Una escucha completa de comunicaciones entre miembros de la tripulación en la cabina registrada en la grabadora de voz de la cabina no reveló señales de ninguna falla o situación de emergencia.”

Vasilescu: “Si un avión tan grande como el Boeing 777 de Malaysia Airlines hubiera sido alcanzado por un misil tierra-aire, la tripulación habría podido advertir a los servicios de control de tráfico de la situación a bordo. Pero no vemos nada semejante en los registros.” Además, el MH-17 volaba con rumbo 118º. El caza MiG-29 se acercaba con sus cañones en la dirección perpendicular al avión MH-17 (118 + 90 = 208). Esto corresponde a la dirección del sol a 16:21 hora local. Nadie en los medios ha mencionado una cosa básica relacionada con el Boeing 777. Los controles de vuelo del piloto son transmitidos a la cabina con circuitos eléctricos como en un vuelo controlado por ordenador. La tripulación no puede controlar el avión, en caso de destrucción de los elementos de transmisión que controlan el timón de dirección y el estabilizador, colocados ambos en la cola del avión. Un cortocircuito en el sistema eléctrico en la cabina, como resultado del fuego de cañón, discapacitó el transponedor y la estación de radio.

En la conferencia de prensa del Ministro de Defensa de la Federación Rusa del 21 de julio de 2014, el Jefe del Estado Mayor General y el Jefe de la Fuerza Aérea, Teniente General

Andrey Kartopolov e Igor Makushev probaron la existencia de un avión ucranio que habría detenido el vuelo de Malaysia Airlines, tres minutos antes del accidente, estimando la distancia que lo separaba de MH-17 en 3-5 km.

Pero el Doc. 4444 (Reglas de Procedimientos Aéreos para Servicios de Navegación Aérea) emitido por la Organización Internacional de Aviación Civil, Artículo 7.4.4 indica que la mínima distancia permitida entre dos aviones se basa en su turbulencia. El Boeing 777 (peso 299.370 kg) pertenece a la categoría de avión pesado (H – Heavy). Entre esa categoría de aviones y un caza como el MiG-29 (peso 10-20 t), se requiere que los controladores de tráfico aéreo creen una distancia de pos lo menos 9,3 km. ¿Fue un error o una acción deliberada de los controladores de tráfico aéreo de Ucrania posicionar el caza ucranio a 3 km de distancia del vuelo MH-17? Cuando el Boeing 777 fue derribado, se encontraba a 48 km del punto de navegación Tamak, en el proceso de trasferir el control de vuelo de la región de control de Dnepropetrovsk (que es responsable por el espacio aéreo en Ucrania oriental) a la región de control de Rostov-na-Donu (el comienzo del espacio aérea ruso).

El mismo Documento 4444, Capítulo 7.5 (transferencia de control por radar) obliga a agencias del control de tráfico aéreo civil y militar ucranio (ACT) a una distancia mínima que permite la separación de radar entre el vuelo MH-17 y el caza ucranio, lo suficiente para asegurar la transferencia segura del avión civil al ACT ruso. Según el Documento 4444, la separación normal para aviones de la categoría H, seguida por el caza es por lo menos 11,1 km (fig. VI-VI-1A y 1B).

Los ucranios derribaron el avión, cuando el Boeing era trasferido por el ACT ucranio al ACT de los rusos.

Gracias a la evidencia presentada claramente, es posible que las autoridades civiles y militares ucranias estuvieran cooperando para derribar el Vuelo MH-17 desde un caza ucranio. ¿Por qué ocultan la ICAO y Eurocontrol esta flagrante violación de las reglas de navegación? Antes que el piloto del caza pudiera apuntar y abrir fuego hacia la sección de cabina del B-777, que es una sección de seis metros de largo, de una longitud total de 64,8 m, el B-777 debía entrar entero en la línea de vista del piloto del caza. El instrumento de avistamiento hace automáticamente cálculos que dan al piloto todos los parámetros necesarios para los proyectiles que alcanzaron el fuselaje del vuelo MH-17. La mejor manera de alcanzar la cabina era acercarse de modo casi perpendicular a la dirección del vuelo MH-17. En este caso el piloto del caza tenía las condiciones apropiadas para prepararse para disparar de la distancia de 900 m al B-777. Si la velocidad de aproximación del caza ucranio era de aproximadamente 280-300 metros por segundo, la repetición del ataque era imposible, y el piloto del caza ucranio tenía 3-4 segundos para todas esas maniobras. Esto podría ser el resultado de docenas de horas de entrenamiento en simuladores y condiciones de vuelo similares a aquellas existentes cuando el vuelo MH-17 fue derribado.

Fuente: http://www.globalresearch.ca/mh17-boeing-crash-investigation-dsb-report-hides-truth-plane-shot-down-by-ukrainian-aircraft/5400725

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

The Smoking Guns of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks

September 15th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Professor Graeme MacQueen has written a must-read book on the anthrax attacks on America: The 2001 Anthrax Deception.

Even those of us who have paid close attention to – and written broadly on – the 2001 anthrax attacks will learn stunning new information.

For example, we learned the following eye-opening facts from the book:

  • There was a set of 3 letters sent around the same time as the initial anthrax mailings, which attempted to frame the Russians for the anthrax attacks, and which warned of further attacks.  These letters could not have been sent by Dr. Bruce Ivins (the scientist the FBI blamed for the attacks), nor could they have been “copycat” letters
  • Less than 3 months before the anthrax attack, the government carried out a simulated exercise called “Dark Winter”, where: a lethal germ had been aerosolized then released; anonymous letters threatened anthrax attacks; Iraq and Al Qaeda are blamed for the attacks; and preparations are made for the drastic reduction of civil liberties in the United States, including martial law
  • The National Academy of Sciences found that the anthrax mailed to Congressmen and the media could have come from a different source altogether than the flask maintained by Ivins
  • The Department of Justice argued in a lawsuit that the anthrax used in the attacks was of a completely different nature (dried, aerosolized, and specially treated to act as a lethal weapon) than maintained by Dr. Ivins (a standard liquid solution):
  • PBS’ Frontline, ProPublica and McClatchy newspaper all found that Dr. Ivins was doing valid and important work during the timeframes when the FBI claims that he “went missing”
  • There is reason to suspect that the same people who carried out 9/11 also carried out the anthrax attacks

We’re not the only people who have already spent countless hours researching the anthrax attacks who MacQueen’s work enlightening. For example, Meryl Nass, M.D. – consultant on the prevention and mitigation of bioterrorism for the Director of National Intelligence and the World Bank, and an expert on anthrax vaccines – writes:

Finally, a book has come out that explodes the FBI’s anthrax letters case. Not only is there no evidence linking Army scientist Bruce Ivins to the crime–it turns out his famous flask of anthrax was never proven to be related to the attack spores! MacQueen peeks behind the curtain, showing that nothing about the anthrax letters case is as it seems.

And Dr. Francis A. Boyle – author of the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, and a Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign – notes:

Professor MacQueen provides yet another piece of the puzzle connecting the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to the immediately following anthrax attacks of October 2001 that were indisputably conducted by Agents of the United States government.

We agree with Denis J. Halliday – UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1994-98 – who says:

This deeply troubling book should be read by all thinking Americans.

Obama’s “Coalition of the Willing” against Syria, Iran

September 15th, 2014 by Peter Symonds

The Obama administration is rapidly putting together a “coalition of the willing” to ramp up its new war of aggression in the Middle East. Using the pretext of “degrading and destroying” Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militias, Washington has revived its plans, put on hold last year, directed at ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and also aimed against Syria’s backers, Iran and Russia.

Since Obama announced his war plans last Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry has been criss-crossing the Middle East to drum up support for military action in Iraq and Syria and the arming and training of pro-Western militia inside both countries. France has already indicated its willingness to participate in air strikes in Iraq. Yesterday, the Australian government announced the dispatch of eight strike fighters and associated military aircraft, as well as 600 troops to the Middle East.

The latest barbaric ISIS beheading of British aid worker David Haines has proven very convenient for the British government, which last year was forced to pull out of the planned US-led air war against Syria. Amid widespread public opposition and divisions in ruling circles, British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote authorising air strikes.

Just as Obama has exploited the ISIS murder of two American journalists to sway public opinion, temporarily at least, behind a new war in the Middle East, Cameron is attempting to do the same. Denouncing ISIS as “monsters” and the “embodiment of evil,” he declared that Britain would proceed with the US and its allies to “dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL [ISIS] and what it stands for.” The British-based Telegraph reported yesterday that Cameron could announce air strikes as early as next week after attending the UN and reconvening parliament to authorise military intervention.

In reality, ISIS is a creation of the US and its allies. It emerged as Al Qaeda in Iraq amid the sectarian bloodletting unleashed by the American-led occupation of Iraq from 2003. It morphed into ISIS as part of the US-backed regime-change operations in Libya and Syria initiated in 2011. ISIS established its prominent position in Syria, not as a result of popular support by the Syrian people, but through arms, funds and fighters from American allies in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

The absurdity of US claims that it will train and arm “moderate” anti-Assad forces in Syria to fight ISIS is underscored by a report Friday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that ISIS had reached a ceasefire with “moderate and Islamist rebels.” An official from the pro-Western Syrian National Coalition, no doubt concerned that the report could jeopardise US arms and aid, vigorously denied that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had reached anything other than a temporary truce to retrieve bodies. He noted, however, that he did not speak for the many other “moderate” and Islamist militias in Syria.

The Syrian opposition militias including ISIS, whatever their disputes and clashes, are united by their determination to oust Assad and unquestionably maintain close relations. The family of beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff has reported that he was traded to ISIS by the “moderate” FSA for a sum of between $25,000 and $50,000. The FSA and other anti-Assad militias certainly welcome the prospect of American aid, training and arms but these will be directed primarily at the Syrian regime, not ISIS.

That is Washington’s objective as well. An article in yesterday’s New York Times based on discussions Obama held last week with senior journalists, former officials and foreign policy experts, drew attention to the way in which the war on ISIS could rapidly transform into a wider war to topple Assad.

“He [Obama] made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace,” the New York Times reported.

“If he dared to do that, Mr Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defence system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr Assad would lead to his overthrow.”

Of course, as it has done in the past, the US is quite capable of fabricating such an incident, if Assad does not order the military to respond to US air strikes, which are naked acts of aggression against a sovereign state. Nor would it simply be Syrian air defences that would be wiped out. Rather the Pentagon would set in motion plans drawn up at least a year ago to target the Syrian military and industrial base, including “command and control” centres, with Assad himself at the top of the list.

The wider US aims are also evident in the composition of the conference to be convened today in Paris to map out war plans. After France indicated that Iran might receive an invitation, US Secretary of State Kerry quickly ruled out the possibility, telling the media that it “would not be appropriate, given the many other issues that are on the table with respect to their engagement in Syria and elsewhere.” The last thing that Washington wants is for the Assad regime, or its backer Iran, itself a US target, to be part of the discussions.

Saudi Arabia, which was bitterly critical of Obama’s decision to call off air strikes against Syria last year, is only backing the new war because Riyadh understands it is directed against Assad, and also arch-rival Iran. The Saudi monarchy has agreed to provide the US with facilities to arm and train Syrian “moderates.” Last week Saudi Arabia hosted a gathering of 10 Arab states attended by Kerry that agreed to support efforts to destroy ISIS, including through their military involvement “as appropriate.”

As cited in yesterday’s New York Times, a senior US State Department official stated that at least some of the Arab countries had offered to take part in air strikes, including in Syria, and have been doing so for some time.

The scope of what is being prepared goes far beyond the US air strikes that have already taken place against ISIS inside Iraq. Even that has been grossly understated. The Pentagon has focused on the 156 airstrikes on ISIS vehicles, road blocks and other targets, but the number of sorties over the past month has been far higher—2,749 up until September 11, including reconnaissance and refueling missiles. With France, Australia, possibly Britain and also Arab countries involved, the US is preparing a devastating air war in Iraq and Syria.

What Israel Has Done After the Ceasefire

September 15th, 2014 by Omar Robert Hamilton

On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire. Israel has done the following:

1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land
2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue
3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire)
4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions
5. Detained six fishermen
6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding
7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head
8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation
9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza
10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother
11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison
12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial
13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships
14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage
15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless
16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored
17. Destroyed a well near Hebron
18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron
19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage
20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it
21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob
22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem
23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers
24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in
26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s application to the Strasbourg Court challenges the government’s use of covert surveillance powers to access and analyse journalistic information. We say it is clearly contrary to fundamental human rights law.

The background to BIJ’s challenge is well known. Edward Snowden finally told us the facts.

The government uses the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to harvest huge quantities of our data. This includes the content of our digital material and communications. It also includes our communication data (or metadata) – the surrounding information about who we communicate with, how, when, from where and so on.

There is no targeting of subjects for these investigations by GCHQ (such as particular individuals or premises). Instead there is blanket collection of data in pursuit of broadly identified aims – such as the protection of national security and prevention of crime. Authorisations under RIPA are signed off routinely and on a rolling basis.

This data is then analysed using hugely sophisticated and intrusive programs to find out whatever it is the security state considers it needs to know.

RIPA was drafted before we all began to use digital communications and information storage in any meaningful way. It is not designed to protect our rights to privacy and freedom of expression – under Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights respectively – in the digital age.

Everyone knows now that RIPA is therefore no longer “fit for purpose”.

The practical and legal consequences for journalists of this data harvesting are, however, less well known. BIJ’s case is concerned with these.

Related article: Bureau files ECHR case challenging UK government over surveillance of journalists’ communications

In the midst of the vast quantities of data being indiscriminately collected and analysed are large quantities of journalistic information. After all, journalism is a huge digital information industry in the UK. The days when journalists met their confidential sources in the snug bar and jotted down handwritten notes, or pocketed photocopied documents, are long gone. The tools of the trade are now computers and mobile devices. The leaks can come in gargantuan numbers of bytes.

No one knows anything about what GCHQ does with the journalistic information it pulls in. This is because, startlingly, neither the legislation nor government guidance about its use says anything at all about this.

But it is inevitable that some of GCHQ’s minute analysis of the data will be giving it selective access to confidential journalistic material and identifying sources. There is already much evidence that law enforcement agencies increasingly seek to access such information for their own purposes. It is an easy way of advancing their investigations. It can help to identify and deal with embarrassing whistleblowers and can forewarn of awkward stories in the offing. The same is true for the security and intelligence agencies.

Article 10 of the Convention, as interpreted by the Strasbourg Court, gives strong legal protections to those engaging in public interest journalism. It is these rights that BIJ argues are being flouted by this process.

In particular, such journalists are entitled to protect information which may identify a confidential source. Such sources are recognised as the lifeblood of investigative journalism. State enforced disclosure of this type of information deters future whistleblowers from approaching journalists. Journalistic activity is “chilled”. The journalists are less able to pass on important information and ideas to the public. In this process our Article 10 rights to receive the product of this journalism are interfered with by the state as well.

So Strasbourg has long made clear that this Article 10 right can only be overridden by an order of a judge. And the journalist must first have the opportunity to argue before the court that there is no competing public interest which makes such an order necessary. The law under the Convention is quite clear. Covert state surveillance and accessing of journalistic information cannot be used to circumvent these important rights.

Other journalistic information and activity can only be the subject of such covert surveillance in certain circumstances. Most importantly it must be carried out under laws which are clear, accessible and foreseeable in their effects. These laws must give journalists an adequate indication of how these discretionary surveillance powers might be used against them. They also have to provide protection against arbitrary or disproportionate surveillance measures.

The Court of Human Rights recently spelt this out in a case brought by two Dutch investigative journalists subjected to covert surveillance. In finding their Article 10 rights had been violated the Court said:

“…where, as here, a power of the executive is exercised in secret, the risks of arbitrariness are evident. Since the implementation in practice of measures of secret surveillance is not open to scrutiny by the individuals concerned or the public at large, it would be contrary to the rule of law for the legal discretion granted to the executive to be expressed in terms of an unfettered power. Consequently, the law must indicate the scope of any such discretion conferred on the competent authorities and the manner of its exercise with sufficient clarity, having regard to the legitimate aim of the measure in question, to give the individual adequate protection against arbitrary interference.”

This is exactly what UK law and practice under RIPA fails to do. In fact there is no clarity at all – let alone insufficient clarity.

The way in which our state security apparatus is using the journalistic material it collects is in flagrant breach of these basic human rights norms. No one can seriously argue that collection of this material is not arbitrary and disproportionate. Indeed this is the whole point of the exercise.

So BIJ has decided to challenge the government. Of course we must have state surveillance laws to protect us against serious harm. But they must meet international standards and should only be used against journalists where strictly necessary in a democracy. This is what the Convention says and it is time the UK started to listen.