Washington, D.C. — On October 10, 2014, NGOs, farmers’ groups, and indigenous organizations from across the world are coming together as part of the Our Land Our Business campaign to denounce the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings. The campaign, endorsed by over 235 organizations, will be staging “creative resistance” events at the Bank’s annual meetings in Washington D.C. and nine other cities around the world. The D.C. event is drawing support from a wide range of activist communities, including Occupy groups who will join representatives of impacted communities from Kenya, Mali, and Ethiopia.

“Under the banner #WorldVsBank, this movement is calling for the end of the Doing Business rankings and the new Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture project. They are tools of a pro-corporate, anti-poor, environmentally unsustainable model of development. If the World Bank keeps promoting economic activity that destroys biodiversity and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities, they should not have a mandate to exist,” said Alnoor Ladha of /The Rules.

The World Bank’s lending to developing countries reached $35 billion in 2012. The Doing Business rankings play a critical role in determining what form of economic development takes place around the world. According to the World Bank’s own literature, they are “an incomparable catalyst for business reforms initiatives.” In practice, this has meant liberalizing developing country economies so that large-scale land investment and western corporations can move in unimpeded. The casualties are the smallholder famers and providers who currently feed 80% of the developing world but who are all too often rendered invisible or actively dispossessed.

“Working for the World Bank’s Social Fund in Gambella, I protested the widespread coercion and forced relocation of people. Today I live in political exile in Kenya. I am protesting the World Bank on October 10 because I know firsthand how their policies negatively impact communities,” said Okok Ojulu who will share his experiences at actions planned in D.C.

To coincide with the #WorldVsBank mobilization, the Oakland Institute, one of the world’s leading think tanks on land issues, is releasing a new study tackling the Bank’s approach to land, agriculture, and development, Unfolding Truth: Dismantling the World Bank’s Myths on Agriculture and Development. In addition, the Institute will also release six new country fact sheets that expose the reforms promoted by the World Bank in Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Laos, Cambodia, and Uruguay. In each country, the Bank’s policies have served as a catalyst for massive land grabs, dispossession, and forced eviction of countless small-scale farmers.

“If you look behind many of the recent land grabs, you will find World Bank policies that enable investors to come in with projects that promise benefits to communities but don’t follow through. We can keep going after each corporation and investment group but it would be more effective if the World Bank stopped using their immense political and financial power to pave the way for what has become the systematic exploitation of land and people,” said Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute.

Our Land Our Business is also launching the world’s first transnational “missed call” campaignuniting a call-to-action across multiple countries. The idea is to make a call to a local phone number; the mobile number is then registered as an expression of support, then supporters receive free text messages to get further involved (e.g. showing up at a creative resistance). In parts of the world where first-generation mobile phones are ubiquitous but computers and the Internet are costly and inaccessible, this is a new powerful tool for mass engagement in political action.

On October 10, a street mobilization featuring speakers and artists will take place at 4pm in Rawlins Park, Washington D.C. This is followed by further action on October 11 when activists and concerned citizens from around the world will again gather outside the World Bank at 11am to protest the Bank’s attempt to dismantle critical protections for people and the planet that are currently enshrined in its operational policies. These changes come at a time when the Bank is making plans to scale up its lending to the private sector and return to the sort of risky mega-projects that characterized its now-discredited structural adjustment programs in the 1980s.

The October 10 – 11 actions send a message to the Bank that the world won’t stand for its exploitive practices.

For more on the two-day event, please visit www.ourlandourbusiness.org.

Download Unfolding Truth: Dismantling the World Bank’s Myths on Agriculture and Development and the country fact sheets.  

“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.” Nafeez Ahmed, “How the West Created the Islamic State“, CounterPunch

“The US created these terrorist organizations. America does not have the moral authority to lead a coalition against terrorism.” Hassan Nasralla, Secretary General of Hezbollah

The Obama administration’s determination to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pushing the Middle East towards a regional war that could lead to a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and the United States.

Last week, Turkey joined the US-led coalition following a vote in parliament approving a measure to give the government the authority to launch military action against Isis in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Turkish involvement would come at a price, and that price would be the removal of al Assad. According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News:

“Turkey will not allow coalition members to use its military bases or its territory in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if the objective does not also include ousting the Bashar al-Assad regime, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted on Oct. 1…

“We are open and ready for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism. However, it should be understood by everybody that Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions, nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it,” Erdoğan said in his lengthy address to Parliament.”..

“Turkey cannot be content with the current situation and cannot be a by-stander and spectator in the face of such developments.” (“Turkey will fight terror but not for temporary solutions: Erdoğan“, Hurriyet)

Officials in the Obama administration applauded Turkey’s decision to join the makeshift coalition. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hailed the vote as a “very positive development” while State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We welcome the Turkish Parliament’s vote to authorize Turkish military action…We’ve had numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”

In the last week, “Turkish tanks and other military units have taken position on the Syrian border.” Did the Obama administration strike a deal with Turkey to spearhead an attack on Syria pushing south towards Damascus while a small army of so called “moderate” jihadis– who are presently on the Israeli border– move north towards the Capital? If that is the case, then the US would probably deploy some or all of its 15,000 troops currently stationed in Kuwait “including an entire armored brigade” to assist in the invasion or to provide backup if Turkish forces get bogged down. The timeline for such an invasion is uncertain, but it does appear that the decision to go to war has already been made.

Turkish involvement greatly increases the chances of a broader regional war. It’s unlikely that Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran, will remain on the sidelines while Turkish tanks stream across the country on their way to Damascus. And while the response from Tehran and Moscow may be measured at first, it is bound to escalate as the fighting intensifies and tempers flare. The struggle for Syria will be a long, hard slog that will probably produce no clear winner. If Damascus falls, the conflict will morph into a protracted guerilla war that could spill over borders engulfing both Lebanon and Jordan. Apparently, the Obama administration feels the potential rewards from such a reckless and homicidal gambit are worth the risks.

No-Fly Zone Fakery

The Obama administration has made little effort to conceal its real objectives in Syria. The fight against Isis is merely a pretext for regime change. The fact that Major General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chuck Hagel are angling for a no-fly zone over Syria exposes the “war against Isis” as a fraud. Why does the US need a no-fly zone against a group of Sunni militants who have no air force? The idea is ridiculous. The obvious purpose of the no-fly zone is to put Assad on notice that the US is planning to take control of Syrian airspace on its way to toppling the regime. Clearly, Congress could have figured this out before rubber stamping Obama’s request for $500 million dollars to arm and train “moderate” militants. Instead, they decided to add more fuel to the fire. If Congress seriously believes that Assad is a threat to US national security and “must go”, then they should have the courage to vote for sending US troops to Syria to do the heavy lifting. The idea of funding shadowy terrorist groups that pretend to be moderate rebels is lunacy in the extreme. It merely compounds the problem and increases the prospects of another Iraq-type bloodbath. Is it any wonder why Congress’s public approval rating is stuck in single digits?

TURKEY: A Major Player

According to many sources, Turkey has played a pivotal role in the present crisis, perhaps more than Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Consider the comments made by Vice President Joe Biden in an exchange with students at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University last week. Biden was asked: “In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?” Here’s part of what he said:

“…my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world…

So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don’t want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor – it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization.”

Biden apologized for his remarks on Sunday, but he basically let the cat out of the bag. Actually, what he said wasn’t new at all, but it did lend credibility to what many of the critics have been saying since the very beginning, that Washington’s allies in the region have been arming and funding this terrorist Frankenstein from the onset without seriously weighing the risks involved. Here’s more background on Turkey’s role in the current troubles from author Nafeez Ahmed:

“With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.” (“How the West Created the Islamic State“, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch

Notice how the author points out the involvement of “CIA operatives”. While Biden’s comments were an obvious attempt to absolve the administration from blame, it’s clear US Intel agencies knew what was going on and were at least tangentially involved. Here’s more from the same article:

“Classified assessments of the military assistance supplied by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar obtained by the New York Times showed that “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups… are going to hardline Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”

Once again, classified documents prove that the US officialdom knew what was going on and simply looked the other way. All the while, the hardcore takfiri troublemakers were loading up on weapons and munitions preparing for their own crusade. Here’s a clip that Congress should have read before approving $500 million more for this fiasco:

” … Mother Jones found that the US government has “little oversight over whether US supplies are falling prey to corruption – or into the hands of extremists,” and relies “on too much good faith.” The US government keeps track of rebels receiving assistance purely through “handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field,” and the judgment of its allies. Countries supporting the rebels – the very same which have empowered al-Qaeda affiliated Islamists – “are doing audits of the delivery of lethal and nonlethal supplies.”…

the government’s vetting procedures to block Islamist extremists from receiving US weapons have never worked.” (“How the West Created the Islamic State”, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch)

These few excerpts should help to connect the dots in what is really a very hard-to-grasp situation presently unfolding in Syria. Yes, the US is ultimately responsible for Isis because it knew what was going on and played a significant part in arming and training jihadi recruits. And, no, Isis does not take its orders directly from Washington (or Langley) although its actions have conveniently coincided with US strategic goals in the region. (Many readers will undoubtedly disagree with my views on this.) Here’s one last clip on Turkey from an article in the Telegraph. The story ran a full year ago in October 2013:

“Hundreds of al-Qaeda recruits are being kept in safe houses in southern Turkey, before being smuggled over the border to wage “jihad” in Syria, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

The network of hideouts is enabling a steady flow of foreign fighters – including Britons – to join the country’s civil war, according to some of the volunteers involved.

These foreign jihadists have now largely eclipsed the “moderate” wing of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is supported by the West. Al-Qaeda’s ability to use Turkish territory will raise questions about the role the Nato member is playing in Syria’s civil war.

Turkey has backed the rebels from the beginning – and its government has been assumed to share the West’s concerns about al-Qaeda. But experts say there are growing fears over whether the Turkish authorities may have lost control of the movement of new al-Qaeda recruits – or may even be turning a blind eye.” (“Al-Qaeda recruits entering Syria from Turkey safehouses“, Telegraph)

Get the picture? This is a major region-shaping operation that the Turks, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Americans etc are in on. Sure, maybe some of the jihadis went off the reservation and started doing their own thing, but even that’s not certain. After all, Isis has already achieved many of Washington’s implicit objectives: Dump Nuri al Maliki and replace him with a US stooge who will amend the Status of Forces Agreement. (SOFA), allow Sunni militants and Kurds to create their own de facto mini-states within Iraq (thus, eliminating the threat of a strong, unified Iraq that will challenge Israeli hegemony), and create a tangible threat to regional security (Isis) thereby justifying US meddling and occupation for the foreseeable future. So far, arming terrorists has been a winning strategy for Obama and Co. Unfortunately for the president, we are still in the early rounds of the emerging crisis. Things could backfire quite badly, and probably will.

(NOTE: According to Iran’s Press TV: “The ISIL terrorists have purportedly opened a consulate in Ankara, Turkey and use it to issue visas for those who want to join the fight against the Syrian and Iraqi governments….The militants are said to be operating freely inside the country without much problem.” I have my doubts about this report which is why I have put parentheses around it, but it is interesting all the same.)

CAMP BUCCA: University of Al-Qaeda

So where do the Sunni extremists in Isis come from?

There are varying theories on this, the least likely of which is that they responded to promotional videos and propaganda on social media. The whole “Isis advertising campaign” nonsense strikes me as a clever disinformation ploy to conceal what’s really going on, which is, that the various western Intel agencies have been recruiting these jokers from other (former) hotspots like Afghanistan, Libya, Chechnya, Kosovo, Somalia and prisons in Iraq. Isis not a spontaneous amalgam of Caliphate-aspiring revolutionaries who spend their off-hours trolling the Internet, but a collection of ex Baathists and religious zealots who have been painstakingly gathered to perform the task at hand, which is to lob off heads, spread mayhem, and create the pretext for US-proxy war. Check out this illuminating article on Alakhbar English titled “The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders”. It helps explain what’s really been going on behind the scenes:

“We have to ask why the majority of the leaders of the Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), had all been incarcerated in the same prison at Camp Bucca, which was run by the US occupation forces near Omm Qasr in southeastern Iraq….. First of all, most IS leaders had passed through the former U.S. detention facility at Camp Bucca in Iraq. So who were the most prominent of these detainees?

The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tops the list. He was detained from 2004 until mid-2006. After he was released, he formed the Army of Sunnis, which later merged with the so-called Mujahideen Shura Council…

Another prominent IS leader today is Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who was a former officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein. This man also “graduated” from Camp Bucca, and currently serves as a member on IS’ military council.

Another member of the military council who was in Bucca is Adnan Ismail Najm. … He was detained on January 2005 in Bucca, and was also a former officer in Saddam’s army. He was the head of a shura council in IS, before he was killed by the Iraqi army near Mosul on June 4, 2014.

Camp Bucca was also home to Haji Samir, aka Haji Bakr, whose real name is Samir Abed Hamad al-Obeidi al-Dulaimi. He was a colonel in the army of the former Iraqi regime. He was detained in Bucca, and after his release, he joined al-Qaeda. He was the top man in ISIS in Syria…

According to the testimonies of US officers who worked in the prison, the administration of Camp Bucca had taken measures including the segregation of prisoners on the basis of their ideology. This, according to experts, made it possible to recruit people directly and indirectly.

Former detainees had said in documented television interviews that Bucca…was akin to an “al-Qaeda school,” where senior extremist gave lessons on explosives and suicide attacks to younger prisoners. A former prisoner named Adel Jassem Mohammed said that one of the extremists remained in the prison for two weeks only, but even so was able to recruit 25 out of 34 inmates who were there. Mohammed also said that U.S. military officials did nothing to stop the extremists from mentoring the other detainees…

No doubt, we will one day discover that many more leaders in the group had been detained in Bucca as well, which seems to have been more of a “terrorist academy” than a prison.” (“The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders“, Alakhbar English)

US foreign policy is tailored to meet US strategic objectives, which in this case are regime change, installing a US puppet in Damascus, erasing the existing borders, establishing forward-operating bases across the country, opening up vital pipeline corridors between Qatar and the Mediterranean so the western energy giants can rake in bigger profits off gas sales to the EU market, and reducing Syria to a condition of “permanent colonial dependency.” (Chomsky)

Would the United States oversee what-amounts-to a “terrorist academy” if they thought their jihadi graduates would act in a way that served US interests?

Indeed, they would. In fact, they’d probably pat themselves on the back for coming up with such a clever idea.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Members of the Polish army, left, and Ukrainian military cadets stand in formation during the 2014 NATO Rapid Trident Training media day.

MOSCOW – US military is expanding its training exercises and coordinating the activities of its allies pitting Europe against Russia, Daniel Zubov from Rossiya Segodnya’s Center for International Journalism and Research said Thursday.

“While continuing to denounce alleged Russian military involvement in Ukraine, the American military marched east this September, participating in training, drills, and exercises spanning from Latvia to Turkey. It coordinated with its military allies in between – including in Ukraine – consolidating a front which extends 2,600 kilometers,” Zubov stated.

Collaboration between the Ukrainian and American militaries was the central point of President Poroshenko’s visit to Washington, DC,” Zubov said referring to the Ukrainian leaders’s visit to Washington on September 18, where he met with the US President Barack Obama in a bid to seek economic and military aid.

“His request for military assistance found support in Congress, where the Foreign Relations Committee quickly passed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, but his request for an immediate transfer of powerful weapons, was declined by President Obama,” Zubov noted.

US President Barack Obama authorized US Secretary of State John Kerry to allocate $25 million to the Ukrainian government Wednesday, according to a memorandum released by the White House. Nevertheless, US military aid to the government of Ukraine does not include “lethal assistance,” US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden told RIA Novosti Thursday.

“The United States has also begun a process led by the US European Command and Department of Defense civilian and military experts to work with Ukraine to improve its capacity to provide for its own defense and set the stage for longer-term defense cooperation,” the fact sheet released by the White House on September 18 reads.

This process encompasses several steps along American army’s new eastern front.

“Beginning in Riga, 47 participants from 15 countries are meeting from September 15 -26 for two operations, Steadfast Pyramid and Steadfast Pinnacle, where they will prepare for “exercising command and control during the planning, preparation and conduct of current and future operations.” These exercises are at the “forefront” of NATO’s response to the situation in Ukraine,” Zubov says noting that “about 900 kilometers due south, 1,300 NATO troops are conducting drills at the Yavoriv Training Center near Lviv in Ukraine as part of the US-led Rapid Trident.

According to Zubov, on September 8-10, the Ukrainian Navy has been conducting military exercises in the Black Sea with “Romania, Turkey, Spain, Canada, and the United States in operation Sea Breeze.” Ukrainian military has also joined NATO in Operation Saber Guardian at the Novo Selo Training Range in Bulgaria.

“Before the year is out, Ukraine will be included in two more NATO exercises due to its Observer status in the NATO South-East Europe Brigade,” Zubov notes.

“If Poroshenko, Longo [Major General Richard C. Longo, US Army Europe Deputy Commander], and the NATO brass have their way, a “bigger and more complex” and “sophisticated” military presence in Ukraine will further militarize the 2,600 kilometer European front against Russia, returning to the darkest and coldest days of the last century,” Zubov stressed.

European security has been a concern for NATO, who has been increasing its presence near Russia’s borders, citing the need to better protect its allies, and suspending entirely its cooperation with Moscow.

The relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis that escalated to a military operation in mid-April, once Kiev sent troops to eastern Ukraine to suppress independence supporters.

Biden’s Admission: US Allies Armed ISIS

October 6th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

Speaking to students at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Forum Thursday, US Vice President Joseph Biden committed what the US media characterizes as a “gaffe.” In other words, he told an embarrassing truth about US government policy, one that is usually obfuscated in the remarks of government officials and the commentaries of media pundits.

Asked about US policy in Syria, Biden touched on the dirty secret of the current US-led war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. ISIS (or ISIL as the Obama administration terms it) is essentially the creation of the United States and its allies who fomented civil war in Syria against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Referring to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Biden said,

“They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad—except that the people who were being supplied were al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

“Now you think I’m exaggerating,” he continued, to emphasize his point. “Take a look! Where did all of this go?” Biden claimed that the US opposed arming these al Qaeda-linked groups, which included ISIS, adding, “We could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them.”

According to Biden’s narrative, only in the summer of 2014 did these countries realize that ISIS was a threat to them as well as to Assad, and shifted, joining in the US campaign of air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. He gave as an example the position of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggesting that he had admitted the error of a permissive policy towards the extremists: “President Erdogan told me, he is an old friend, said you were right, we let too many people through, now we are trying to seal the border.”

It is testament to the degeneracy of the American political system that the circumstances behind ISIS’s rise, alluded to in Biden’s remarks, have not been the subject of any investigation. There have been no calls in Congress for hearings to examine the origins of an organization whose actions have been seized on to proclaim a new war in the Middle East.

As for the media, it merely serves as a government mouthpiece. Significantly, no US media source reported or commented on these portions of Biden’s remarks at Harvard. But once the comments were publicized, first by the Russian-based RT network, then throughout the Middle East, Biden hastened to mend fences with the offended client states.

The US embassy in Ankara released a statement that Biden had called Erdogan personally to “clarify recent comments made at Harvard University.” According to the embassy, “The Vice President apologized for any implication that Turkey or other Allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria.”

Whatever the level of “intentionality” involved, ISIS was the recipient of the US-supported arms aid to the Syrian rebels, routed by the CIA through Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey and other Mideast client states. The State Department and CIA were well aware that the Syrian rebels included many Islamic militants, including those linked to al-Qaeda, because it had previously employed many of these fighters in the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011.

Originally established as Al Qaeda in Iraq during the eight years of warfare that followed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the group only took the name ISIS in April 2013, long after it had built up significant strength in Syria as part of the US-backed rebel forces fighting the Assad regime.

In other words, as Biden admits, ISIS was created by the methods pursued by the US government and its allied reactionary regimes, both the Islamist government of Erdogan in Turkey and the Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Another confirmation of this relationship came in the form of a Washington Post report Sunday on the supposedly contradictory role of the sheikdom of Qatar, another of the Persian Gulf despotisms that is a client state of American imperialism. Qatar hosts the huge Al-Udeid Air Base, headquarters for US air operations in the region and the directing center of the air war in Syria and Iraq.

Only 20 miles from the base is the Grand Mosque in the Qatari capital, Doha, which “has served as a key outpost for al-Qaeda-linked rebels fighting the Syrian regime,” the Post noted, including the al-Nusra Front, the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, which was formerly part of ISIS until a split last year.

Despite the presentation in the Post, there is nothing surprising in Qatar hosting the US Air Force and raising money for al-Qaeda militants in Syria. As long as ISIS gathered strength in Syria, as part of the US-backed “rebels” opposed to Assad, it was encouraged in its ambitions. It was only when ISIS moved its forces back across the border from Syria into Iraq—and in particular threatened oil-rich regions in northern Iraq—did the Obama administration move against it.

The contradictions in US policy persist. Even as it seeks to forestall ISIS’s advance, the US is arming and promoting “moderate” forces within Syria that are openly allied with al-Nusra and other Islamic fundamentalist groups. The main target of American imperialism remains the Syrian government, which is also the reason why Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other countries that fostered ISIS and are hostile to the Assad regime are now supporting the operation.

The “war against ISIS,” America’s erstwhile ally against the Assad regime, is only the latest episode in the intervention of US imperialism in the Middle East, whose goal is not freedom, or democracy, or the struggle against “terrorism,” but the domination of the oil-rich region and the preparation of new and even bloodier wars against Iran and against the main targets of Washington: Russia and China.

Did The UN Just Pass The Global Patriot Act?

October 6th, 2014 by Abby Martin

Abby Martin speaks with RT Correspondent Marina Portnaya, about a new UN resolution that is being compared to the US Patriot Act, going over how the text could allow countries to increase surveillance under the name of counter terrorism, as well as giving states new tools to crack down on dissent by simply labeling activists ‘terrorists’.

 

The wealthiest 400 people in the United States had their combined net worth grow thirteen percent to $2.29 trillion this year, amidst a surging stock market and record corporate profits. The figures come from the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, compiled every year since 1982 by the American business magazine of the same name.

As Forbes noted last week, the net worth of these 400 individuals is “about the same as the gross domestic product of Brazil, a country of 200 million people.” The average net worth of the Forbes 400 hit $5.7 billion, up by $700 million over the past year.

The new figures of wealth in America were generally buried in the media. Neither the New York Times nor the Wall Street Journal published an article. Nor has it been a topic in political campaigns, one month before the midterm elections. Neither big-business party has an interest in calling attention to the extraordinary levels of social inequality in the US, with endless claims that there is no money for basic social services.

Last week marked the sixth anniversary of the signing of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which established the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, better known as the bank bailout. Since then, the wealth of the richest sections of society has soared while the annual income of the typical household has fallen by five percent.

Since 2009, the combined net worth of the Forbes 400 has nearly doubled, from $1.27 trillion. The explosive growth of social inequality is the direct and intended product of policies carried out by the Bush and Obama administrations in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown: the flooding of the financial system with cheap cash, coupled with a coordinated attack on wages and social programs.

The enrichment of America’s super-rich is exemplified in the individual members of the Forbes 400.

* Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the richest man in the US for 21 years in a row, had his wealth increase $9 billion in one year, to $81 billion. Gates’ wealth has increased by a staggering $31 billion in the past five years. To put this figure in perspective, since 2009 Gates’ wealth has increased by nearly 30 times the annual budget of the city of Detroit, currently in bankruptcy.

* Investor Warren Buffett, the second on the list, had his wealth grow to $68.2 billion, up by more than $10 billion dollars in a year. Buffett’s wealth has increased by nearly $30 billion since 2009.

* Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle and third on the list, saw his wealth nearly double since 2009, from $27 billion to $48.7 billion this year.

* Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, currently 11th on the list with a net worth of $34.1 billion, had his wealth increase seventeen-fold from 2009, and by $15 billion over the past year.

In 2009, some of the members of the Forbes 400 list were not billionaires. Now, the cost of entry is $1.55 billion, and there were 113 billionaires in the United States who were left off the list.

This year’s Forbes 400 list is dominated by the financial sector. While finance and real estate made up 4.4 percent of the first Forbes 400 in 1982, this industry now makes up 21 percent, according to the Washington Post. Individuals who made their wealth from hedge funds made up 7.8 percent of the list, 6.3 percent are in private equity and 5.3 percent are in money management.

Despite the official presentation of capitalism as a high-risk, high-stakes game, it proved remarkably difficult for the fortunes of the super-rich to go anywhere but up. Only thirty-six members of this year’s Forbes 400, less than one in ten, managed to lose money over the past year. Three out of four had their wealth increase.

One example of a billionaire whose net worth actually shrank was Micky Arison, the former CEO of cruise-liner Carnival Corporation. The company’s recent history has been, according to Forbes, “filled with public relations nightmares,” including the “fatal crash of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy in January 2012 in which 32 people died, followed by the fire aboard the Carnival Triumph in February 2013 that left passengers stranded with limited water and bathroom access for five days.”

In the wake of this series of disasters, Arison suffered a mere 2 percent fall in his wealth over the past year, leaving him with $6.5 billion.

Shortly after the release of the Forbes 400, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development published a report concluding that global social inequality has eclipsed the pre-Great Depression highs during the 1920s, hitting the highest level since the 1870s and 1820s.

The report noted,

“income inequality followed a U-shape in most Western European countries and Western offshoots. It declined between the end of the 19th century until about 1970, followed by a rise. In Eastern Europe, communism resulted in strong declines in income inequality, followed by a sharp increase after its disintegration in the 1980s. In other parts of the world (China in particular) income inequality has been on the rise recently.”

The survey, however, does not include the enormous growth of social inequality that has taken place over the past fourteen years. Once those changes are taken into account, it is possible that the present level of global social inequality may be the highest in the history of the modern world.

The Canadian government announced on Friday October 3 that it would join the U.S.-led international coalition to combat the armed group Islamic State (IS). The government plans on sending six CF-188 Hornet fighter jets with approximately 320 crew members and other personnel; three refuelling aircraft (a CC-150 Polaris and two CP-140 Auroras) and a transport plane, including roughly 280 crew members and other personnel. On September 25, officers from the Valcartier military base said they were ready to be sent to the front to combat IS.

To provide a semblance of prudence and legitimacy to the operation, the Harper government said that Canada would not participate in ground combat and that it would attack IS solely where it has the consent of the relevant government. The announcement makes a mockery of the Parliament that has been called to vote on Monday a fait accompli.

The fraudulent arguments given to justify the aggression cannot hide the fact that the foremost practioners of state terrorism are the U.S. and other members of the aggressive NATO alliance, such as England, France and Canada, as well as Israel. For example, U.S. special forces and drones have been bombing Pakistan without the consent of that government. Canada has also permitted the total integration of its armed forces into the U.S. armed forces. The government claims that by joining the U.S.-led coalition, Canada’s national interests will e protected from the danger posed by terrorist organizations, groups which the U.S. and others have created. Support for state terrorism in the name of opposition to terrorism is self-serving indeed.

It is also a fact that Canada is once again joining an action that runs counter to all international norms and UN principles. Based on present UN regulations, when the Security Council remains seized with a matter, a member State of the United Nations is not permitted to go to war. The Security Council remains seized with Resolution 2178 concerning the threat posed by international terrorism and the Council  blocked the call for a U.S. invasion of Syria to bring about regime change. However the U.S., Canada and others continue to implement their military aggression against that country under the cover of opposing a dictatorial regime. The countries responsible for this aggression claim that weak and destabilized governments give rise to terrorism and that intervention is needed to stabilize the situation!

It is the U.S. imperialists who do not permit the peoples of the world to establish governments and international arrangements which uphold and promote peace and stability. They use all manner of nefarious means, from death squads to assassinations and outright invasion, to prevent any arrangement in support of nation-building that contributes to the solution of problems in a manner that favours the peoples. It is only when people take firm hold of their destiny and are able to exercise their right to be that problems can be solved.

Far from defending positions of principle, Canada has joined a disinformation campaign asserting that the problem is an extremist Islamic threat and that Canada is one of the areas “at risk.” This is to hide the fact that these terrorist groups are the creation of the U.S. imperialists who now have lost control of the situation and to cover up attempts at regime change against governments that refuse to come under U.S. dictate. The real aim of this mission is to control the natural and human resources of all the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, the merchants of death who sell arms and participate in war production become rich while social programs are cut and worldwide the peoples suffer from the death and destruction brought on by war, as well as famine, disease and poverty.

The situation requires all peace-loving people to take a position of principle in defence of peace and international security and humanitarian principles. This means demanding that Canada end its participation in U.S. aggression and wars. It means organizing to defeat the Harper government and for an anti-war government that uses all avenues possible to be a force for peace, in particular the United Nations, to block U.S. aggression which can only lead to another world war.

Fight for an Anti-War Government!
No to Canadian Participation in All Wars of Aggression!

Members of Poland’s special commando unit Lubliniec disembark from a Mi-17 helicopter during the “Noble Sword-14″ NATO international tactical exercise at the land forces training centre in Oleszno, near Drawsko Pomorskie, northwest Poland September 9, 2014 (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

In yet another move that violates NATO’s historic pledge not to extend the military bloc “one inch further to the east,” NATO’s new secretary-general apparently sees no limitations for the 28-member organization.

In an apparent attempt to take advantage of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, where a civil war in the east threatens to tear the country apart, new NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg paid a visit to NATO member Poland, where he reiterated calls for a rapid reaction “spearhead” force that could launch a military offensive within days.

READ MORE: US tanks arrive in Baltics, Poland requests greater US military presence

“Next year, at the ministerial meeting, we will take decisions regarding the so-called spearhead but, even before it is established, NATO has a strong army after all,” Stoltenberg told state-owned Polish broadcaster TVP Info.

“These capabilities already exist. We have them, and we can deploy them in individual regions. And this is only an add-on to what the alliance already has.”

In September, his predecessor Anders Fogh Rasmussen outlined the specifics of the rapid reaction force as comprising “several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and special-forces support.”

Amid talk of a “spearhead” NATO force, the United States last month transferred 20 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks and about 700 soldiers, along with Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles, to the Baltic States, marking the first time the US has shipped armored vehicles to Europe since the end of the Cold War, Reuters noted.

Such a military force was intended to substitute for permanent NATO bases in Eastern Europe, which the Western military organization pledged not to create following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Participants stand during the opening ceremony of “Noble Sword-14″ NATO international tactical exercise at the land forces training centre in Oleszno, near Drawsko Pomorskie, northwest Poland September 9, 2014 (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

Although some member states, like Poland and Latvia, recently advocated on behalf of a permanent NATO presence on their territory, more influential members like Germany rejected the idea on the ground that it could provoke a strong reaction from Russia.

Indeed, much of the current hysteria over Ukraine has been generated by reports in the Western media that blamed ‘Russian aggression’ for the events in Ukraine, even as no credible evidence to support such serious claims have been forthcoming. Yet it has been Western political figures – like former US Senator John McCain and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland – who were regularly seen in the capital, Kiev, as the crisis was simmering.

Nevertheless, Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, appears to be taking a more aggressive approach to NATO expansion, telling his Polish interviewer, “We can deploy it wherever we want to.”

According to the military bloc’s chief, NATO should be able to have both an expanding NATO force and good relations with Russia.

“There is no contradiction between a strong NATO and building constructive relations with Russia,”Stoltenberg, who began his new assignment last week, told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, as cited by Reuters.

Such comments will certainly raise eyebrows in Moscow, which has watched from the sidelines as NATO has continued a relentless eastward sprawl towards its borders since 1990. This has occurred despite a verbal pact formed between US and Russia that the Western military organization would not move towards Russia’s borders.

U.S.173 airborne brigade soldiers climb onto armoured personal carrier “Stryker” during the “Steadfast Javelin II” military exercise in the Lielvarde air base, September 6, 2014 (Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

Spiegel magazine concluded in 2009, following the release of historical documents relating to the event, that “there was no doubt that the West did everything it could to give the Soviets the impression that NATO membership was out of the question for countries like Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.”

On February 10, 1990, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the German foreign minister, told then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s former foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, in a recorded telephone conversation, “We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”

One day earlier, in St. Catherine’s Hall at the Kremlin, then-US Secretary of State James Baker made a pledge to Gorbachev that if the Soviets granted the reunification of Germany, NATO would not move“one inch” further east.

Finally, Jack Matlock, the US ambassador to Russia at the time, has gone on record as stating that Moscow was given a “clear commitment” with regards to NATO’s pledge not to expand further in Russia’s direction.

Since 1990, NATO has added 13 new member states to its ranks, bringing the organization to 28 members – and increasingly closer to Russia’s doorstep.

Meanwhile, even the idea of Russia-NATO cooperation on the US missile defense shield for Eastern Europe has been denied to Moscow, which has warned on numerous occasions in the past of a “new arms race” unless some sort of a mutual agreement is found.

Hong Kong: Beware of Staged Violence

October 6th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

As momentum in Hong Kong’s US-backed so-called “Occupy Central” protest falters, attempts to escalate chaos and provoke or perpetuate violence is generally the next step in any given US-engineered “color revolution.” Not only is this a matter of simple observation, but a matter of documented fact as well. As such, observers must remain vigilant for such an escalation. 

Iran as a Documented Precedent 

It was the 2009 Brookings Institution document titled, “Which Path to Persia?” (full document here) that stated unequivocally in regards to toppling the government of Iran, that (emphasis added):

Consequently, if the United States ever succeeds in sparking a revolt against the clerical regime, Washington may have to consider whether to provide it with some form of military support to prevent Tehran from crushing it. This requirement means that a popular revolution in Iran does not seem to fit the model of the “velvet revolutions” that occurred elsewhere. The point is that the Iranian regime may not be willing to go gently into that good night; instead, and unlike so many Eastern European regimes, it may choose to fight to the death. In those circumstances, if there is not external military assistance to the revolutionaries, they might not just fail but be massacred.   Consequently, if the United States is to pursue this policy, Washington must take this possibility into consideration. It adds some very important requirements to the list: either the policy must include ways to weaken the Iranian military or weaken the willingness of the regime’s leaders to call on the military, or else the United States must be ready to intervene to defeat it.”

Image: “Which Path to Persia?” (.pdf and Scribd)  

The policy document would also openly conspire to fund and arm listed terrorist organizations including the notorious Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). The document would state:

The United States could work with groups like the Iraq-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its military wing, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), helping the thousands of its members who, under Saddam Husayn’s regime, were armed and had conducted guerrilla and terrorist operations against the clerical regime. Although the NCRI is supposedly disarmed today, that could quickly be changed.

It would also admit that (emphasis added):

Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread. 

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations. 

And of course, in the following years after Brookings’ report was published, MEK was indeed delisted, armed, and funded before being attacked and nearly wiped out under the now US-ousted government of Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki.


The Brookings Institution’s report, “Which Path to Persia?” is a signed confession – a documented conspiracy that was demonstrably executed not only in Iran but also in neighboring Syria. While it’s ultimate goal of toppling Iran’s government has so far failed, there is no doubt that the criminal conspiracy found within its pages became US policy in both Iran and far beyond. It is an indictment against the legitimacy of US foreign policy, the tactics it uses to execute it, and the alleged causes of “democracy” and “freedom” it claims to be promoting while it does so.

US-backed Chaos – Thailand 2010

Image: Momentum wore out in US-backed demonstrations in Bangkok 2010. Shortly after, protest leaders employed heavily armed terrorists who targeted security forces and protesters alike, killing scores and escalating tensions exponentially. Similar tactics have been used in Syria, Ukraine, and Egypt.

 

Like Hong Kong’s current “Occupy Central” protests, there was another US-backed political network in Southeast Asia’s nation of Thailand led by long-time US proxy Thaksin Shinawatra that was losing momentum.

Their so-called “pro-democracy” protests began waning in April of 2010. After multiple attempts to provoke Thai security forces into violence, Shinawatra’s political lieutenants deployed heavily armed militants to lay waste to protesters and security forces alike, killing some 25 people in a single night including soldiers and an assassinated Thai Army colonel who was leading riot control operations.

Altogether some 300 heavily armed terrorists would be deployed over the following weeks resulting in armed clashes in Bangkok’s streets concluding in May and leaving over 90 killed and many more injured. While to this day Western media claims it was a military crackdown, irrefutable evidence including photographs, videos, and even admissions from the West’s own Human Rights Watch confirm the presence of Shinawatra’s armed mercenary force.

Like what was planned in Iran by Brookings, and demonstrably carried out in nations like Libya and Syria – waning protests were quickly backed by heavily armed terrorists in Bangkok to prevent staged unrest from being contained by security forces.

Hong Kong Next? 

As momentum falters in Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central,” the possibility of its US sponsors carrying out staged violence to escalate tensions remains high. In what fashion such provocations manifest themselves in remains to be seen, but it is unlikely the West will allow their proxies to become so exposed upon the world’s stage, only to allow local authorities to finally restore order, then quietly dismantle, perhaps permanently, Washington’s network of sedition in Hong Kong.

Onlookers must remain vigilant and quickly analyze acts of violence with the insidious nature of “Occupy Central’s” true leadership and foreign sponsors kept in mind.

For Hong Kong’s authorities, they must resist attempts by protesters to provoke them into violence and be vigilant of false flag violence. For the protesters themselves, they must be aware that their lives are seen as utterly disposable by both “Occupy Central’s” leadership, and their foreign sponsors. While their intentions may be pure, their leaders are confirmed to be compromised agents of foreign sedition. As was the case in Bangkok in 2010, US-backed political fronts can and have in the past opened fire on both their own supporters and state security forces to escalate tensions.

The West’s “mystery gunmen” have found themselves employed everywhere from Libya and Syria, to Egypt and Ukraine, as well as Southeast Asia’s Thailand. It is not entirely unthinkable that the US may use similar tactics in Hong Kong, or other troubled spots the US is stoking chaos in such as China’s western province of Xinjiang or Tibet.

The so-called “Occupy Central” movement has been so utterly exposed as foreign meddling, that even stalwart supporters of the protests have had to admit US-cash, political, and media support is irrefutably driving the unrest. As is the nature of humanity, pride has overridden the many good intentions, principles, and ideals of ordinary “Occupy Central” supporters, transforming the movement from idealistic but misled, to spiteful and vindictive. 

While these protesters were brave enough to stand up to injustices they perceived Beijing was imposing upon them, they now find themselves incapable of summoning similar courage to confront the injustices their own protest leaders have committed – including deceiving them about their agenda, their allegiances, and their sponsors.

In the wake of the truth, many “Occupy Central” supporters have deferred to increasing levels of cognitive dissonance and after adamantly denying US involvement, have invented a myriad of implausible explanations as to why US meddling in China is now apparently “ok.”

Denial and Delusions 

The initial response to evidence that the US, not the people of Hong Kong, is driving the “Occupy Central” movement through a handful of deeply compromised politicians, media moguls, and protest leaders, is denial. Supporters will outright deny that the US is funding or supporting the protests in any shape, form, or way precisely because they believe that it is a movement of the Hong Kong people. by them, and for them.

However, denial doesn’t last because the evidence is simply overwhelming. “Occupy Central” leaders were literally sitting in Washington D.C. earlier this year scripting the unrest verbatim side by side with the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and US Vice President Joseph Biden among others. As part of  ”Why Democracy in Hong Kong Matters” event hosted by NED, Martin Lee and Anson Chan were both in front of an audience representing immense Western corporate-financier and political interests, laying the groundwork for “Occupy Central” and openly begging Washington for support.


Other leaders such as Benny Tai, Audrey Eu, Jimmy Lai, Jospeh Zen, and Joshua Wong were implicated by both the NED’s own documented support for the various organizations they are participants in, or by fellow “Occupy Central” leaders themselves.

After denial comes acceptance – but coupled with delusions. After adamantly denying US involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement specifically because of the negative implications it implies, upon seeing irrefutable evidence that indeed the US is driving the unrest, supporters attempt to claim that the US is simply “supporting democracy” and that there is nothing suspicious or negative about that at all. The delusions deepen when confronted with examples of other US campaigns aimed at “promoting democracy,” such as in Syria, Libya, Iraq, or Ukraine, now embroiled in destructive perpetual violence, division, and chaos and exposed as naked imperial conquest.

Self-Determination: If not Beijing’s Business, Surely not Washington’s 

Ultimately, these delusions conflict with and are diametrically opposed to the many good intentions genuine “Occupy Central” protesters began with – the notion that the people of Hong Kong should decide for themselves their own destiny and reject interference from beyond their territory. While they have been insidiously led to believe Beijing is their only threat, the fact is Washington too, from thousands of miles away, seeks to impose its will, agenda, and interests upon the people of Hong Kong and direct their destiny.

Even many of the overt slogans and talking points articulated by Martin Lee and Anson Chan in Washington earlier this year, then repeated verbatim by “Occupy Central” protest leaders over recent weeks, do not add up to the expectations and intentions of the average “Occupy Central” supporter. In essence, the leadership of “Occupy Central” seem to be defending above all else, the parting demands made by the British as they handed over Chinese territory they had occupied for 142 years. Beijing has no obligation to respect or recognize demands made by a foreign power that had illegally occupied its territory. For “Occupy Central’s” leadership to insist otherwise is the behavior of foreign agents protecting a racket their interests are tied to, not a genuine movement seeking sovereignty and self-determination.

For the “Occupy Central” leadership to insist Beijing honor demands made by parting imperialists, reveals their true allegiance – not to their nation of China, nor their home of Hong Kong, but foreign interests who have for centuries sought to exercise dominion over China and its vast territory, as well as all that rests within China’s traditional spheres of influence.

If “Occupy Central” believes Hong Kong’s political present and future is the business of the people of Hong Kong and not Beijing, then surely they understand such matters are certainly not Washington’s business either. The fact that Washington is so heavily invested in “Occupy Central’s” leadership absolutely contradicts the principles the movement is predicated upon – a fact genuine protesters must reckon with.

Genuine Protesters Must Denounce Compromised “Occupy Central” Leadership 

For genuine “Occupy Central” supporters, there is absolutely no shame in searching for the truth, nor falling into any of the pitfalls that lie along the way. There is shame however, in falling into one of these pitfalls – by following compromised, criminal leaders with sedition in their hearts and foreign cash in their hands – and then convincing oneself that such a pitfall is somehow still “progress.” It is human to fall, it is human to feel embarrassed, but it is also human to rise above our petty pride and pursue the truth no matter what the personal cost.

Image: Attempts to claim that the US through NED are simply seeking to “promote democracy” fall short when considering the immense, exploitative, corporate-financier interests represented by NED’s board of directors (pictured above). It is difficult to believe that Boeing, Ford, McDonald’s Exxon, Goldman Sachs, and others care about “democracy” and not simply a new way to sell their global hegemonic ambitions for greater power and wealth. 

 

At the end of the day the truth is irrefutable, unchangeable, and inescapable – regardless of the delusions we attempt to cling to. If the “Occupy Central” movement is led by those who denounce Beijing’s influence in Hong Kong but are agents of Washington and Wall Street’s influence there in its stead, the people of Hong Kong, if self-determination is truly their goal, must condemn it with equal vigor. If not, perhaps these people must come clean, cross out “democracy” from their banners, and admit they seek foreign subjugation at the expense of national, regional, and personal sovereignty.

Last week the Ukrainian President, Petro O. Poroshenko, announced his intention to take Ukraine on a path towards full integration into the European Union (E.U.) in the coming years. In a New York Times article titled: Ukrainian President Sets Sights on Closer E.U. Ties, Mr. Poroshenko outlines the direction he plans to take the nation under his leadership:

“The doors of the E.U. are open to us; I am absolutely convinced of this. Events in Kiev and Brussels gave us a firm hope, a belief, that we will soon get the prospect of E.U. membership. We have every right to knock on this door.”

As I reported in an article in March of this year titled: Brzezinski, Soros Staged Revolution in Ukraine, the objective of the West in Ukraine has always been to absorb the nation into the E.U. and NATO:

“The staged revolution, devised by the CIA, EU, State Department, and George Soros funded NGO’s in Ukraine, has overthrown the democratically elected government of Victor Yanukovych in a coup designed to forge closer ties between Ukraine and the E.U., in a long term strategy of integrating Ukraine into the E.U. and NATO.”

Beginning as a common market between six countries in 1950’s, the E.U. has now expanded to encompass 28 nations today and it is an essential part of the Western elite’s desire for global empire. As soon as the U.S. installed its puppet regime in Kiev, the illegitimate government began to steer the country on a path towards Europe and the West, resulting in Ukraine signing an association agreement with the E.U. in mid September. Following recent trilateral talks between Moscow, Kiev and Brussels however, this agreement has been postponed and enforcement of the deal will be delayed until 2016 due to a swift move of diplomacy by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which gives the Russian government time to renegotiate the terms and nature of the deal.

Washington’s Puppet seeks NATO Membership

Despite the heightened state of tension between Russia and the West on the international stage, the Prime Minister of Ukraine – Arseny Yatsenyuk – recently called for Ukraine to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). If Ukraine was to join the alliance in the near future it would signify a further escalation in a situation that is already beginning to spiral out of control, as it would directly threaten Russia’s strategic security.

U.S. stooge Yatsenyuk, or “Yats” to his close friends at the U.S. State Department, was installed as Prime Minister at the end of February following the staged revolution which led to the overthrow of Yanukovych. In a leaked phone conversation between the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, the two American diplomats revealed their intentions to install “Yats” to lead the new puppet government in Kiev. Nuland states during the leaked conversation:

“I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience, he’s the….what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in…. he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk, it’s just not going to work.”

Since Yatsenyuk was ‘appointed’ Prime Minister in February, Ukraine has become increasingly polarised into Eastern and Western Ukraine, with Lugansk and Donetsk in the East declaring independence from the corrupt and criminal government in Kiev. Western Ukraine has all but been absorbed into the European sphere of influence, along with the puppet leaders allowing private and corporate jackals to exploit the countries resources. Since the colour revolution in February Ukraine has agreed a $17bn loan from the economic arm of U.S. imperialism – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – as well as receiving 11 billion Euros in funding from the European Commission. The new government has also opened up its “rich agriculture to Monsanto, DuPont and the GMO agribusiness cartel”.

In addition to this, Western elites have been installed in key positions of the energy sector in Ukraine, with the son of US Vice President Joe Biden joining the board of Ukraine’s biggest gas producer in May. Hunter Biden will sit beside three other corporate heavyweights on the Board of Directors, including Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who was appointed Director of the company in January 2014. Kwaśniewski is the former Prime Minister of Poland, along with being a top globalist who is a member of the Bilderberg Group and the European Council on Foreign Relations. Another notable addition to the Board in April 2014 was Devon Archer, who has worked for Citibank during his career as well serving as a “senior advisor to John Kerry during his 2004 Presidential campaign”, according to Burisma Holdings’ own website.

If Ukraine is absorbed into NATO in the coming years, it will just be the latest country in a long list of former Warsaw Pact nations that have joined the alliance following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the failed promise by US Secretary of State James Baker on February 9, 1990, that NATO would not move “one inch to the East” of Germany, numerous former Warsaw Pact countries have joined NATO and have been complicit in a policy of encircling Russia.

Both E.U. and NATO membership are on the horizon for Ukraine in the foreseeable future if the puppet regime in Kiev is allowed to stay in charge and run the country for the benefit of their masters in the West.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, who has had articles featured on numerous news sites including Global Research, Truthstream Media, and New Eastern Outlook.

by Mark Hirst

Police in Scotland will formally investigate allegations that anti-Scottish independence campaigners breached electoral law during the referendum held on September 18.

“We can confirm that Crown counsel has instructed Police Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged breaches of Schedule 7, Paragraph 7, of the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013,” a statement issued on Saturday by the Crown Office, Scotland’s prosecution service reads.

The allegations relate to comments made by Ruth Davidson, a Member of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the Scottish Conservatives, in which she appeared to know the general results of postal votes arising from “sample opening” of ballot boxes.

Postal vote opening sessions are permitted before the formal poll is conducted to verify signatures and dates of birth against records held by the local Returning Officer. Agents for the two campaigns were allowed to monitor these sessions, but it is a criminal offense, punishable with up to a year’s imprisonment if found guilty, to communicate any information witnessed during the sample opening sessions.

In a television interview with the BBC shortly after the formal poll closed Davidson said “we’ve been incredibly encouraged by the results [of the postal vote],” implying the Scottish Conservative leader knew the outcome of the postal votes before the first formal results had been announced.

In another BBC interview just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, “It’s important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards ‘no’. There is a whole bank of votes in.”

McTernan told RIA Novosti he had not been contacted by Police adding, “No reason to believe free speech is a crime.”

According to The Herald newspaper, Davidson has been contacted by Police with the paper quoting a Conservative Party source who said there was, “no suggestion she was accused of doing anything wrong at this stage.”

The independence referendum, which took place on September 18, saw a turnout of 84.59 percent. Scotland has chosen to stay in the United Kingdom with 44.7 percent of Scots having voted in support of independence and 55.3 percent having voted against.

“… those who form the ISIS… were previously regarded as freedom fighters who fought in Syria against the Government of Al Assad… the great powers change too easily the concept of friend-enemy or of terrorist-non-terrorist.” – President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in her recent speech to the UN General Assembly.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s recent speech at the UN was a breath of fresh air. She spoke about economic terrorism and the reasons why some people turn to violence and told the audience how a bankrupt Argentina managed to turn away from hard-line economic neoliberal orthodoxy and stimulate growth. She also discussed the need for multilateral approaches to solving the world’s problems as well as the need to regulate ‘vulture funds’ that cripple sovereign states’ ability to function.

While the President of Argentina offered some alternatives to US unilateralism and institutionalised economic injustices, British PM David Cameron promoted the usual tired rhetoric. In an attempt to justify attacking Iraq and Syria, he spoke of the supposed virtues of Western-style freedom, democracy and economic neoliberalism, while denouncing the Islamic State (IS), extremism and terrorism.

Cameron also stated that anyone who questions the official stories concerning 9/11 in the US or 7/7 in Britain or who criticises British foreign policy is a ‘non-violent extremist’. While pointing the finger at radical Muslims clerics and their followers, Cameron was regarded by many as sending out a warning to anyone, Muslim or otherwise, who questions such things or criticizes certain policies.

After all, who could possibly protest against illegally bombing or invading sovereign nation states to eradicate head-chopping extremists or tyrants or evil-doers that would otherwise attack Britain and carry out butchery and terror?

Defeating terrorism as cover for wars of imperialism

Such made-for-TV narratives are repeated time and again and are so effective because they are so simplistic. Create a threat, demonise it, invoke fear and get the population on board to deal with it militarily. Who could question ‘honest Dave’ with his ‘we are all in this together’ platitudes.

Prior to Cameron’s speech, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told the British press that IS militants are turning large swathes of Iraq and Syria into launch pads to stage terror attacks on Western nations. He said that with the “barbaric ideology” of the Sunni insurgents, “sooner or later they will seek to strike us on British soil.”

Not long after, Home Secretary Theresa May announced she was preparing new laws to tackle Islamist militants at home and to stop them going abroad to fight. May said that that Britain faced a long struggle against a deadly extremist ideology that could take even decades.

To the uniformed, Cameron, Hammond and May’s narratives can be very convincing – as convincing as Blair’s lies were back in 2003 regarding those non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Leading politicians act as the PR arm of the military-financial industrial complex: the big oil companies, the Wall Street/City of London financial institutions, the weapons manufacturers and huge corporations. All of these own strategic sectors of the economy and determine the nature of politics via their think tanks, foundations, funding and wealth, high-level contacts, revolving doors into the high echelons of power and compliant politicians. From BAe, Lockheed Martin and Boeing to Barclays, Goldman Sachs, BP, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, these and dozens of other similar entities constitute the backbone of what is a structurally overlapping Anglo-US led Western establishment. Like Tony Blair, Cameron’s media-friendly bonhomie is slicker than the most experienced used car salesman and is key to selling the establishment’s endless wars to the public.

Of course, you will never hear Cameron bring up the extremism of the Project for a New American Century or discuss the Wolfowitz doctrine, the neo-con blueprints for the West’s ongoing wars of terror, destabilisations, covert operations, killings and torture that have nothing to do with humanitarianism or ‘fighting evil’ and everything to do with securing world domination, pipeline routes and resources, while denying the same to others. Such things are not to be discussed in public. Defeating terrorism serves as rhetorical cover for imperialist wars.

We must keep to the ‘facts’; the facts as designated by Cameron and those who wish to bury the real facts. We must listen to rhetoric about the wonders of economic liberalism and a thriving democracy, while populations live under the yoke of banker-imposed austerity and mass state surveillance. We must stick to the story that the proper and effective way of preventing terror involves stopping the brain washing of young Muslims at home and that preventing terror abroad is all about rooting out extremists (in resource-rich or resource-transit countries).

Do not associate the ‘Muslim problem’ with wars of intervention and occupation and the machinations of Empire in Muslim countries. Out of sight, out of mind, thanks partly to the media, including the BBC – a taxpayer-funded ‘public service’ broadcaster whose selective reporting and willingness to tow the official line does anything but serve the public.

Economic terror of ‘globalisation’: democracy under threat

According to economics professor John Foster, the aggregate wealth of Britain’s richest 1,000 people was in 2010 some 333 billion pounds. In 2010, Britain’s aggregate national debt was half that amount. In 2009, at the height of the economic crisis, the top 1,000 increased their wealth by a third, meaning that the amount they actually increased their wealth by in just one year was half of the national debt. Yet public sector jobs are being slashed and the welfare state dismantled, while money is always readily available for the next war. Is this not extremism?

How easy it is to conveniently ignore state-corporate extremism under the guise of ‘globalisation’ across the world that has resulted in central states abdicating their responsibilities by submitting to the tenets of the Wall Street/City of London-backed pro-privatisation policies, free capital flows, commodity market rigging, debt speculation, massive profits and unaccountable cartels, which aim to maximise profit by beating down labour costs and grabbing resources. Is that not extremism?

While Cameron stood at the UN eulogising about neoliberalism and Western democracy, powerful financial institutions attempt to impoverish and destabilise states like Argentina and render the concepts of national sovereignty and democracy utterly meaningless. To rake in even further unimaginable profits, ‘vulture funds’ have no compulsion in wrecking the lives of millions of ordinary people by bankrupting national economies, seizing their assets and crippling sovereign states’ ability to properly function by extorting money and chaining them to debt.

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said in her speech to the UN General Assembly:

“… terrorists are not only those who go planting bombs, there are economic terrorists who destabilise the economy of a country and produce poverty, hunger and misery from the sin of speculation. It is something we should say very clearly.”

She also asked who gave the ‘terrorists’ in the Middle East their weapons in the first place, subtly pointing to the West’s complicity in arming ‘freedom fighters’ who, according to how the geo-political game is going, are suddenly labelled ‘terrorists’ (and vice versa). From Kosovo to Syria and Libya, the US and its allies have excelled in this.

How easy it is for officials to bypass democratic processes, sideline the public and negotiate secretive ‘free trade’ deals on behalf of powerful private corporations. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (and similar agreements around the world) could undo decades of hard work that resulted in laws protecting consumers, workers and their families and the environment. Regulations are to be dismantled, laws to be written, investors’ rights to be prioritised and democratic processes disregarded for the benefit of wealthy private corporations under the pretence of ‘free’ trade. Is this type of bare-faced corporate plunder and duplicity not extremism? Is this the type of economic freedom Cameron means?

How easy it is to destroy any notion of freedom via the illegal mass surveillance of the state that pries into habits, beliefs, motivations, conversations, allegiances of every ordinary citizen. Is that not extremism?

As democracy is hollowed out and corrupt global cartels record massive profits and institute their plunder, all of this is portrayed by the mainstream media and political leaders as ‘normality’ as the way things are and have to be, based on the lie that ‘there is no alternative’.

Does the type of democracy that Cameron has in mind involve record levels of inequalities, an unhindered revolving door between government and big business, food safety/regulation authorities being hijacked by corporate interests and police and intelligence agencies infiltrating, harassing or subverting legitimate groups?

From India to South America, the destruction of food sovereignty and traditional agriculture and indigenous people’s being driven from their lands by big agritech concerns, resource extraction industries and land grabbing speculators is commonplace and facilitated by the process of ‘globalisation’.

The current economic system facilitates plunder and is presided over by well-funded and influential foundations and powerful financial-corporate entities and their stooges in the IMF, World Bank and WTO.The result is the deception that imperialist wars are fought in the name of fighting terror, austerity is imposed in the name of prosperity and mass surveillance is carried out under the banner of protecting freedom.

In finishing, it should be acknowledged that there are extremist violent thugs who carry out barbarity under the banner of Islam and who should never be funded or armed in order to do the bidding of what Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called the ‘great powers’ (or their allies) as has been the case. Sovereign states should receive genuine assistance to tackle such groups on their own soil.

Nevertheless, David Cameron, Theresa May and Philip Hammond would do well to ponder on Cristina de Kirchner’s speech and just where the heart of extremism really lies in today’s world.

On September 24, 2014, the United Nations passed a resolution paving the way to open-ended “anti-terror” warfare against the Islamic State (IS), the “network of death”, promising a war that will “last for years”.  

The “war on the Islamic State” is a lie. It is the same fetid Big Lie that is the “war on terrorism”, reheated and updated with new, bloodier special effects, new propaganda, a familiar but revised cast of demonic villains and a new military attack calendar.  

Three thousand lives were sacrificed on 9/11 for the fabricated “war on terrorism” against “Al-Qaeda” and Osama bin Laden.  Now, thirteen years of continuous imperial onslaught and tens of thousands of deaths and atrocities later,  the “Islamic State” escalation will topple Syria, Iran, transform Iraq, and provide yet another pretext to wreak havoc anywhere else the empire wishes.

But it is the same lie, built on the same propaganda cornerstones: the myth of the “outside enemy”, the threat of “Islamic terror”, eternal pretexts to galvanize public opinion behind an Anglo-American agenda of conquest and war that will never end.

It is the same lie, founded upon the idea that “Islamic terrorists” are enemies of the West, when, in amply documented fact, these terrorists are the West’s finest foot soldiers and military-intelligence assets.

The Islamic State, like Al-Qaeda and all entities that comprise the “Islamic Jihad” is a creation of the CIA and Anglo-American intelligence (Pakistan’s ISI, Saudi intelligence, British MI6, the Israeli Mossad, etc.). The various jihadist militias and military-intelligence assets and fronts—IS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusrah, etc. are  “American made”,  openly supported and utilized by the United States and its allies, as they have been continuously from the Cold War to this very second. These forces are carefully manipulated and guided weapons for US-NATO. Terrorists are instrumental to the ongoing US-led covert and overt operations in Syria.  Terrorists run by the US and CIA destabilized and toppled Libya, are integral to coming regime changes.  Under both direct and indirect orders of US-NATO sponsors and handlers, these “demon hordes” are, and will continue to be, the leading military-intelligence assets behind every major geostrategic action in the region.

The IS joins Al-Qaeda as today’s favorite “boogeyman” target. The war masks the true intent, which is the toppling of Syria and Iran, and onward.

The “terrorists” are depicted in propaganda as either villains or “freedom fighters”, depending on the day and the military theater. The horrific acts of the death squads, including beheadings and other atrocities, are standard operating procedure in CIA black operations, terror techniques going back to the Vietnam War and the Phoenix Program, and are done upon orders of US and US-allied military-intelligence. Decapitations of Syrian civilians have been ongoing for years, to media silence. The recent spate of beheadings of Americans and British have been selectively carried out (and in some cases staged) for propaganda purposes. Political theater designed to galvanize the dimwitted, ignorant masses to support massive retaliatory war.

According to recent polls, four out of five registered American voters overwhelmingly support military attacks against the Islamic State. The acquiescent, ignorant American masses, still irretrievably pacified by the propaganda “shock and fear” effect of 9/11, enthusiastically back any “retaliation” against “bad guys who cut off heads” and “threaten America”, and have no problem sending American youth to the front lines to be cannon fodder. They are “defending freedom”. The American sheeple believe—even love to believe—the Big Lie.  Whereas the citizens of Hong Kong and in other countries take passionately to the streets to fight for their democracy,  the average American has long abdicated his and her duty as an informed, vigilant citizen.  Far too busy shooting nude selfies on handheld gadgets—their brains addled by inane entertainment, and Hollywood celebrations of the national security apparatus—to care.

So-called liberals and progressives also back action against the Islamic State. The few who have any inkling that Islamic terror is a product of the US war machine wind up wringing their sweaty hands over the red herring of “blowback”: the tired idea that the US created but lost control of a Jihadist force that it now must contain. It is bogus. These militias are the American empire’s key foot soldiers and operatives, the leading force behind plans to topple Syria, just as they were in Libya. This is not blowback, but a well orchestrated military-intelligence operation, cloaked beneath a criminal conspiracy that is maintained by an ironclad elite consensus.

Islamic terrorism “stops” the minute that its sponsors at CIA, MI, ISI, etc. stop using it. The war itself stops when the elites who have planned this Final Solution to seize control of the last remaining oil supplies on the planet—the very life blood of the Anglo-American empire—stop, and give up their war of conquest and greed.  The entire apparatus collapses. But this will not happen in this lifetime. Not even in the event of planetary calamity.

To threaten humanity, to pretend to wage war against boogeyman that they themselves created, and continue to support and use: only those of world class evil could conceive of and carry out this horror.

The American network of death goose-steps to the abyss

With each passing day, more of the Anglo-American empire’s veneer falls away, revealing the violence at its core.

Leading the charge in front of the United Nations, the mendacious President Barack Obama thundered:

“No God condones this terror. There can be no reasoning—no negotiation—with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.”

Here was a performance directly out of the playbook of the Third Reich and Bush/Cheney, brimming with threats, false morality, pseudo-religious claptrap, and invective directed against the perceived enemies. Here was Obama being who he really is, a war criminal.  The ghost of Hitler has to be envious.

No God condones deceit. No God condones the terror of the Anglo-American empire’s war of conquest. No God condones the extermination of tens of thousands of lives in more than a decade of imperial conquest for oil.

There is no reasoning—no negotiation—with the criminal leadership of an empire that will thrash and kill to the brink of extinction. There is no reasoning—no negotiation—warmongers who have wiped out entire swaths of humanity.

There is no reasoning—no negotiation— with an empire so desperate and out of answers that gangsterism replaces the rule of law, and false flag operations constitute foreign policy. There is no reasoning with those who could, in the span of just a few months, set off false flag destabilizations in Syria, false flag operations in support of a neo-Nazi cabal in Ukraine, plan and cover up the false flag shootdown of Flight MH-17 (blamed on Russia), support the bombing and conquest of Gaza by Israel (blamed on Hamas, in the wake of the murder of Israeli teenagers by ISIL terrorists), and set off the “sudden” rise of the Islamic State.

There is no reasoning—no negotiation— with an empire that must and will stop at nothing to control every inch of the Eurasian subcontinent, and destroy all opposition along the way, including potential nuclear confrontations with Russia and China.

There is no reasoning—no negotiation— with the functionaries and enablers of this empire—in governments, in media, everywhere. There is also no reasoning—no negotiation— with the cognitively impaired sheeple.

There is no reasoning—no negotiation— with the killers, the world planning orchestrators speaking the “language of force”; these “great men and women” who hold humanity in contempt.

There is, indeed, no reasoning—no negotiation—with this brand of evil.

Who was Behind the 1994 Rwanda Genocide?

October 5th, 2014 by Antony C. Black

On the evening of April 6th 1994 a plane carrying the Hutu leaders of both Rwanda and Burundi was shot down as it approached Kanombe airport. The assassins had little trouble targeting the flight as only one of the two runways was open, the other having been closed two months earlier on the orders of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire. Simultaneous to the shootdown, that is on the eve of April 6th, a 30,000 RPF (Tutsi) army based in Uganda invaded from the north. At the same time, hundreds of covert armed RPF cells came to life in and around Kigali and began attacking Rwandan government forces (FAR). The population, roughly 85% Hutu, and encompassing at least a million refugees in and around Kigali displaced by previous RPF incursions from Uganda, began to panic. A genocide was about to begin.

But it was a genocide neither against, nor by, the actors cited in the ‘official’ narrative. Indeed, Rwanda circa 1994, is, in all likelihood, if not the, then certainly one of the greatest propaganda swindles of all time. This is the story of that swindle and of the scandalous truth that lies buried beneath it.

Historical Context

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Rwanda was a feudal kingdom ruled by a Tutsi minority over a Hutu majority. Following the Berlin Conference of 1885 Rwanda came under the suzerainty of Germany which was, itself, replaced as colonial overlord following WW1, by Belgium. Rwanda’s feudal order remained intact, however, until 1956 when the Belgians finally organized elections. Then, in November 1959, the Hutu majority overthrew the Tutsi monarchy. Many Tutsis fled, the majority ending up, significantly, in Uganda. It was from this perch in Uganda that the exiled Tutsi aristocracy launched, between 1960 and 1973, a series of violent attacks against the Rwandan regime. These were repulsed and for the next decade and a half Rwanda enjoyed a period of relative peace.

It is worth noting at this juncture that, though much of the Tutsi aristocracy fled in 1960, those Tutsis who remained were well integrated into Rwandan society and body politic. Thus, both the government and army contained significant numbers of Tutsi personnel even through the height of the crisis in April 1994. In fact, the Rwandan Army (FAR) continued as a multi-ethnic organization even as it was forced to retreat into the forests of the Congo in July of 1994; this after having run out of ammunition due to a Western embargo on arms supplies – an embargo not applied to the RPF.

Up until 1990 there was no further interference in Rwanda from Uganda. Nevertheless, by then the Tutsis exiles living there had become one of the main elements of the Ugandan Army. As such, when Museveni came to power – having been handpicked by the US and Britain to oust the socialist, Milton Obote – a third or more of his army consisted of Tutsis. Many of these held high office, including Paul Kagame.Kagame had been (and remains) an erstwhile client of Washington from well before he claimed to have ‘saved Rwanda from further genocide’ in 1994. Not only had he served as director of Ugandan military intelligence in the 1980s, but he had also received training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and had been the beneficiary of constant US material and diplomatic support from the moment he assumed control of the RPF.Upon the collapse of the USSR in 1989/90 the US and the UK began a general militarist expansion which included the targeting of Yugoslavia and Rwanda; Yugoslavia as it was the last real bastion of working socialism in Europe, and Rwanda as it was a working model of socialist development in Africa. In addition, the US had turned against Mobutu (of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as he was beginning to ally himself politically with China. The Rwandan president, Habyarimana, was subsequently approached by Washington to allow his country to be used as a staging ground for an attack on Zaire (to this day, a cornucopia of precious resources prized by the West). His refusal caused the US to look to other agents in furthering its strategic interests. They found the Tutsis in Uganda, ever thirsting for restoration of their hegemony in Rwanda. Furthermore, Museveni had begun to feel uneasy about the numbers of Tutsis in his ranks and was looking to be rid of them. The opportunity to satisfy these disparate desires soon came.

On October 1, 1990 the self-styled Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) launched a surprise attack from Uganda. Though calling themselves a force of ‘liberation’ the offensive was a thinly disguised invasion by Uganda itself. Initially, the justification for the invasion put out by the RPF was that of attaining the right of return of Tutsi refugees. This claim, however, was belied by the fact that Rwanda had, under UN auspices, already agreed a few weeks earlier to the return of all Tutsis who wished to do so. That accord required Tutsi representatives to travel to Kigali to determine both the logistics of that population movement and their subsequent accommodation within Rwanda. The delegation was expected at the end of September, 1990. They never arrived.

The attack killed tens of thousands of Rwandan civilians. These crimes, though well documented, have never been accounted for, nor did the UN or ‘international community’ ever seek to account for them. Indeed, there was not even a shred of condemnation of the Ugandan/RPF invasion, this despite the clamour raised only two months earlier with regard to the advance of Iraqi forces into Kuwait. In point of fact, the US and its allies supported the aggression against Rwanda and US Special Forces operated alongside the RPF from the beginning. This support notwithstanding, the small Rwandan army (with some help from a Congolese battalion) was eventually able to repel the invading forces.

Following this attempt using a proxy force to overthrow the state, the United States brought political and economic pressure to bear upon Rwanda’s one-party socialist state (MRND). The President, Juvenal Habyarimana, instead of resisting, agreed to alter the constitution and in 1991 Rwanda became a multi-party democracy. Though the Rwandan government effected this as an offer of peace, what followed was anything but peace. Thus, rather than work towards reconciliation, the RPF turned from the tactics of open warfare to those of guerrilla terrorism.

In 1992, and whilst RPF forces were busy planting mines, assassinating politicians and blaming it on the MRND, a coalition government was formed with the front parties of the RPF. These agents, with US backing, quickly seized control of key ministries and succeeded in appointing the Prime Minister. They also gained control of the intelligence services which they then began to dismantle. In essence, the ‘power sharing’ arrangement had largely given over control of the country to the very forces long bent on its destruction.

The RPF itself, meanwhile, engaged in a ‘talk and fight’ strategy; always agreeing to a ceasefire, pressing for more power, then launching new attacks on the civilian population. The most egregious of these assaults was their breaking of the ceasefire and the launching of a major offensive in February of 1993. Seizing the town of Ruhengeri, RPF forces murdered some 40,000, mostly Hutu, civilians. Once again, the ‘international community’ remained dutifully silent.

The Rwandan army, though hamstrung by the civilian ministries, managed to repulse the RPF attack. Finally, in August of 1993, the Arusha Accords were signed under pressure from the United States and its allies, and from which the RPF obtained major concessions. The Accords dictated the formation of a broad-based transition government to be followed by general elections. But for the RPF – as for the United States – there was a fatal fly in the electoral ointment. To wit, the RPF knew that they could not win such elections; this not only because they were unpopular with the majority (85%) Hutu population, but also because they had precious little support amongst many of Rwanda’s internal Tutsis whose lives and businesses they had destroyed. Rather than prepare for elections, the RPF prepared for something different.

UN reports document the massive build-up of men and weapons coming in from Uganda during this period. In fact, the UN force (UNAMIR) supposedly deployed to ensure a peaceful transition acted, instead, as a cover for the US and its allies, i.e. Britain, Belgium, Canada, to assist the illegal build-up. General Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian general in charge of the UN force, hid this build-up not only from the Rwandan Army and the President, but also from his immediate superiors, Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh and UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali. These machinations were accompanied by death threats against Habyarimana, threats made all the more significant by the murder of the first Hutu president of neighbouring Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye, by Tutsi officers in October 1993.

The result of the 1993 RPF offensive was the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of Hutus from northern Rwanda towards Kigali so that by April, 1994 over a million refugees were encamped close to the capital and hundreds of thousands more in camps to the south. The RPF, meanwhile, did all it could to paralyze the functioning of the government, to exacerbate racial tensions, and to prepare for war.

Who Killed Habyarimana

The triggering event in the ‘Rwandan genocide’ of 1994 is generally agreed to be the shooting down, on April 6, 1994, of the plane carrying Juvenal Habyarimana, the Hutu president of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu president of Burundi. The official story has it that unidentified ‘Hutu rebels’ were the villains who targeted their own countrymen in some vague attempt to gain power. No evidence was ever adduced in support of this threadbare thesis, but in any case, even if so, the official villains failed spectacularly in their objectives as the country quickly fell to invading Tutsi forces leaving a small minority (Tutsi) population to rise like the Phoenix to its former position of national privilege and oligarchical control. No one in the Western mainstream media has ever commented on the exceeding peculiarity of this bizarre turn of events, never witnessed before, in which the supposed victims of a genocide end up as the victors of the conflict.

The paradox is soon resolved, however, if we countenance the much more likely scenario that the decapitation of the state leadership was the first stage in a final offensive of a war started four years earlier. That the assassination was part of an RPF coup d’etat is given further support by the fact that a 30,000 man RPF force was already marching against Kigali hours before the plane was destroyed, and that RPF forces inside Kigali were attacking government positions within hours of the shootdown. The Western audience, naturally, was, and has never since, been informed of these rather pertinent contextual facts surrounding the events of April 6, 1994. To boot, the official response to Habyarimana’s assassination was and has remained one of determined indifference; a strange thing given that it involved the highest official in the land. Even stranger given that, and according to virtually every independent expert on the subject, the ‘genocide of 1994’ simply would not have happened had Habyarimana not been assassinated. Nevertheless, though all the circumstantial evidence points towards the assassination being part and parcel of a US-backed RPF coup d’etat against the government of Rwanda, it would yet be helpful if there was direct evidence implicating RPF forces in the murder. There is.

As in one of those classic ‘B movie’ plot twists where the bad guys inadvertently hire a good guy who turns the table on his benefactors, so too did the lead official of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) hire an investigator into the crash who turned out to be an honest man. Reporting back to Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour in 1996/97, Australian lawyer, Michael Hourigan, found evidence directly linking the RPF (and the CIA) to the assassination. Far from pleasing Arbour, however, Hourigan’s diligence was rewarded with censure. According to Hourigan, Arbour became “aggressive” and “hostile” when informed of his findings. What Hourigan didn’t know at the time is that Arbour, after having launched the investigation, had been directed by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (who had handpicked her for the job) to quash the inquiry. And so she did. Arbour would later (again under the aegis of Albright) be promoted to Canadian Supreme Court Justice and thence as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Hourigan’s report, though suppressed at the time, would, nevertheless, surface many years later in the hands of one of the defense teams at the ICTR. The report would also have its findings later corroborated by numerous sources. Thus, the French anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, having been called in to investigate the deaths of three French nationals who were aboard Habyarimana’s doomed flight, launched an exhaustive eight-year investigation. He concluded that the plane had indeed been destroyed by the RPF and that the assassination was part and parcel of Kagame et al’s plan to take over Rwanda by force. Bruguiere went on to issue nine warrants for the arrest of high-ranking members of the RPF whilst also requesting that the ICTR take up Kagame’s prosecution.

What’s more, not only have other French – and Spanish – legal officials since confirmed Bruguiere’s findings, but many highly placed members of the RPF have stepped forward publicly to implicate Kagame and the RPF in the assassination. All have suffered the same fate of official international silence and suppression, and some of the latter have suffered assassination themselves.

This culture of suppression and official silence has also plagued the ICTR from its inception. In particular, it became the explicit policy of the ICTR to forcibly limit its mandate solely to the investigation of ‘genocidal intent’ by Hutu government figures, i.e. without any reference whatsoever either to the political context of the conflict or to the mounting evidence implicating the RPF as invaders and genocidaires. In short, the ICTR, much like its sister tribunal, the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), proved itself from the outset to be little more than a Washington-sponsored kangaroo court.

This transparently politicized policy has continued apace throughout the trials. When, for instance, the more independently-minded Carla Del Ponte replaced the pliable Louise Arbour, she was quickly terminated as Chief Prosecutor after calling for a ‘Special Investigation’ into the actions of the RPF; this despite making a case for such an investigation with then UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan. Of course, Anan’s refusal to look into the crimes of the RPF should come as no surprise as it was he who, a) was head of the peacekeeping operations in 1994, and is thus implicated in the events, and b) was handpicked by the US to replace his predecessor, Boutros-Ghali.

Boutros-Ghali, It might be remembered, had come uncomfortably close to scuttling the entire US/RPF invasion scenario when, in May of 1994, he acceded to a request by the Rwandan government to send 5500 UN troops to Rwanda to reinforce the 2500 already stationed there; this so as to stabilize the country at a time when reports of growing ‘chaos’ were issuing forth daily in the world press. These efforts were, however, categorically thwarted by the Clinton regime which used its influence to remove the proposal from the UN agenda. Instead, the UN troops already stationed there, far from being reinforced, were withdrawn. Later, Boutros-Ghali, in conversation with Rwandan expert Robin Philpot, would expand on these matters declaring that, “The genocide in Rwanda was 100% the responsibility of the Americans!” Hardly any wonder, then, that in 1996 US Ambassador to the UN, the ubiquitous Madeleine Albright, would veto his re-election making Boutros-Ghali the only UN Secretary General in history not to be granted a second term in office.

Inconvenient Truths

On August 26, 2010 the French newspaper Le Monde revealed the existence of a draft UN report detailing the most serious human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo over an eleven year period (1993 – 2003). The report described how, following the RPF’s takeover of Rwanda in 1994, it proceeded to carry out “systematic and widespread attacks” against Hutu refugees who had fled to neighbouring DRC. These attacks it stated, “could be classified as crimes of genocide.”

Save for it having been leaked to Le Monde, it is clear that the report was well on its way to being buried alive, its cover-up a near certainty. But this was hardly the first instance of a cover-up of a UN report vis a vis Rwanda. As early as October 11, 1994, Robert Gersony, an employee of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), then attached to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, made an oral presentation to the UN Commission of Experts on Rwanda. Gersony had been dispatched to survey the situation inside Rwanda to determine if conditions were right for return of the Hutu refugees who had fled the RPF. Instead, he found that the RPF had been committing massacres of the Hutu population in Rwanda starting in April 1994 through the date of his presentation. On page 4 of the UN record of Gersony’s presentation (a record which surfaced in the defense proceedings at the ICTR), we read,

“Significant areas…have been the scene of systematic and sustained [emphasis added] killing and persecution of the civilian Hutu population by the Rwandan Patriotic Front…..These actions were consistently reported to be conducted in areas where opposition forces of any kind – armed or unarmed, or resistance of any kind….were absent. Large scale indiscriminate killings of men, women and children, including the sick and elderly were consistently reported.”

Now, I remind the reader that the killings detailed here were being perpetrated not, as in the official narrative, i.e. by Rwandan government troops, but by the supposed saviours of the country, i.e. the RPF.

Though much evidence surfaced early on that the official genocide narrative was in sharp disagreement with reality, all later independent reports have continued to corroborate this finding. In a 2004 paper, for instance (and reinforced in a more recent 2009 report), US academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam concluded that, of the many hundreds of thousands of deaths (possibly as high as two million) that occurred in Rwanda from April through July of 1994, the “majority of victims [at least two thirds] were likely Hutu and not Tutsi”. Noteworthy is the fact that Davenport and Stam were initially sponsored by the ICTR – that is until their findings contradicted the official narrative whence they were sent packing.

Still, Davenport and Stam have refrained from taking the implication of their own research to its logical conclusion, i.e. that Kagame’s forces were the only agents responsible for committing “systematic” killings in the areas they overran, or that such systemic violence was part of a pre-existing plan by the US-backed RPF to invade and overthrow the legitimate government, the latter in order to install a formerly privileged minority – and Western comprador elite – to power within Rwanda.

If the academics have been content to sit on the fence, not so one of the more famous lay figures of the Rwandan debacle. It is ironic in the extreme that Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero of the movie Hotel Rwanda – a film unashamedly promoting the official narrative – has himself, in numerous interviews, completely gainsaid that narrative. He has, thus, repeatedly denounced the RPF as the real genocidaires, and has called a Kagame a “war criminal” and “dictator” who is responsible for mass killings not only during the takeover of Rwanda in July 1994, but ever since both in Rwanda and in his US-backed incursions into the Congo. Indeed, so fervent have the denunciations been that Rusesabagina is now officially listed as a ‘terrorist’ and ‘genocide denier’ (a prisonable offence in Rwanda) by the Kagame regime.

No matter, the movie continues to circulate, sans critique; Rusesabagina’s views and denunciations, do not.

Whose Genocide(s)?

It is something of an embarrassment to the US architects of the ICTR that the tribunal, though explicitly tasked with indicting only members of the Hutu government, have failed singularly in successfully prosecuting any of them. Not only have the most senior members of the Rwandan government – through the spirited efforts of the various defense teams – been acquitted, but the mass of evidence so assembled has stood the entire official narrative on its head, and has implicated, au contraire, the RPF – and its foreign accomplices – in the genocide.

There was, however, one highly publicized piece of evidence proffered at the tribunal by prosecutors as they sought to prove a ‘planned genocide’ by the Rwandan government. This was the so-called ‘genocide fax’ allegedly sent to the New York UN headquarters on the night of January 10th, 1994. That this was the only piece of documentary evidence claiming direct planning of a genocide put forward in the trial is, itself, telling. Had there actually been such a plan, the logistics would have left a paper and/or electronic trail a mile wide. Instead, there are no orders, minutes of meetings, notes, cables, faxes, radio intercepts or any other type of documentation indicating that such a plan ever existed. And then, of course, there are the actual events on the ground which, as we have seen (and shall see further), suggest nothing of the sort. Nonetheless, there is the lone sepulchre of the ‘genocide fax’. What to make of it?

To make a long story short, the fax is a forgery. There was a fax sent to the UN headquarters on January 10th, 1994 (a copy of a cable sent by Romeo Dallaire to another Canadian, General Baril), but this was not the fax that was entered into evidence in the Military II trial (ICTR vs Ndindiliyimana) in October, 2005. Ndindiliyimana’s defense counsel was able to definitively establish that the original fax dealt only with ‘weapons caches and seeking protection for an informant’, whereas the fax subsequently entered as evidence, having first had time stamps, dates and paragraphs altered, had mysteriously sprouted an addendum about government plans to kill Tutsis and Belgian soldiers. Conflicting testimony both between Dallaire’s earlier and later statements, and between statements made by Dallaire and Lt. Col. Claeys (a Belgian officer who claims to be one of the authors of the original cable), further proved the document’s inauthenticity. Such was only reinforced when Dallaire’s immediate superior, Jacques Roger Booh-Booh, stated that he had never seen nor heard of the fax or any of its alleged inflammatory contents. Eventually, the ‘genocide fax’ was simply withdrawn as evidence by the court. Puff! One might wonder, then, why tens of thousands of MRND personnel are today still in prison, this whilst not one RPF figure has even been indicted. But so it is.

If documents supporting a pre-meditated plan by the Rwandan government have failed to materialize, not so it turns out when it comes to the RPF. In the same trial that saw the outing of the fraudulent ‘genocide fax’, evidence was presented suggesting nothing other than a master plan by Kagame and “our Belgian, British and American collaborators” for the taking not only of Rwanda, but of Zaire. In a letter from Kagame to fellow Tutsi, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza of Burundi, dated August 10, 1994, Kagame thanks Bagaza for his help in “taking Kigali”. He then relates his communications with “our big brother Yoweri Museveni” and talks of “some modifications of the plan” noting that:

“We have found that the presence of large numbers of Rwandan refugees at Goma, and the international community, can cause our plan for Zaire [emphasis added] to fail. We cannot occupy ourselves with Zaire until after the return of these Hutus….In any case, our external intelligence services continue to crisscross the east of Zaire, and our Belgian, British and American collaborators [emphasis added] the rest of Zaire. The action reports are expected in the next few days.”

Now, what this letter seems to indicate is that the attack on Rwanda (from 1990 onward) was not the prime objective of Kagame and crew after all, but was, rather, merely the gateway to an attack on Zaire/Congo. The significance of the

latter became apparent when, on November 1, 1996, the aforementioned Goma was, in fact, attacked and taken by the RPA (the re-named RPF) along with Burundian and Ugandan forces. This assault was heavily backed by the United States and eyewitness accounts tell of large American cargo planes filled with arms landing in Kigali in the last two weeks of October, 1996. The taking of Goma was, it is pertinent to note, the prelude to the ensuing genocidal carnage that has overtaken the Democratic Republic of the Congo ever since. To properly understand this last statement we need to backtrack a bit to April 6, 1994, and look at the events that unfolded immediately following the assassination of Habyarimana.

* * *

Once the plane had been shot down, an RPF army, as noted earlier, invaded from the north whilst armed RPF cells began attacks inside Kigali itself. These cells represented some 15,000 or so troops that the RPF had illegally secreted into Kigali under Dallaire’s watch [As the UNAMIR force commander he was charged with the responsibility of allowing, under the Arusha Accords, no more than 600 RPF into the city]. In the sector of Kigali known as Remera the RPF killed everyone on the night of the 6th and 7th, wiped out the gendarme camp there, wiped out the military police camp at Kami and launched major attacks against Camp Kanombe, Camp Kigali, and the main gendarme camp at Kacyriu.

The Rwandan government and army called for a ceasefire that same night and the next day. The RPF rejected the call. The Rwandan government then asked for UN help to control the situation. Instead, the US arranged that the main UN force be pulled out whilst flying in men and supplies to the RPF using C130 Hercules aircraft. The Rwandan Army, short of ammunition and unable to contain the RPF advances offered an unconditional surrender on April 12th. The RPF rejected this offer and began shelling the Nyacyonga refugee camp, where the one million Hutu refugees were located, so provoking their flight into the capital.

The effect of one million people flooding into a small city that itself was under bombardment caused mayhem and panic. To make matters worse, the RPF used this flood of people to infiltrate its men behind FAR lines. This heightened to fever pitch the panic amongst the Hutu population who then began killing anyone they did not recognize. The late Dr. Alison Des Forges (a noted expert on Rwanda), in her testimony before the Military II trial at the ICTR in 2006 stated that the RPF claim that they attacked to stop a ‘genocide’ was a myth; just propaganda to justify their attempt to seize power by force of arms. She also testified that the Rwandan government did not plan and execute genocide. This accords with the (early) testimony of Romeo Dallaire who confirmed the same thing. In addition, the deputy head of Belgian Army intelligence, Col. Vincent, similarly testified that the idea of a government-backed genocide was a complete fantasy.

The fighting in Kigali was intense. UN officers – confirming testimony made by FAR and RPF officers before the ICTR – state that the RPF was launching hundreds of Katyusha rockets every hour around the clock whilst the Rwandan

Army ran out of grenades in the first few days and were reduced to fighting with hand-made explosives. Nevertheless, the siege of Kigali lasted three months and only ended when the Rwandan Army literally ran out of all ammunition and thence ordered a general retreat into the forests of the Congo.

RPF officers testifying before the ICTR have stated that the RPF killed up to two million Hutus in those 12 weeks in a deliberate campaign to eliminate the Hutu population. The Akager River, the length of which was under RPF control throughout, ran red with the blood of Hutu victims massacred on its banks. It is here that Robert Gersony’s report, filed as an exhibit before the ICTR, lends support to this testimony and to the fact of a systematic and planned RPF massacre of the Hutu population.

As the Rwandan Army (including its Tutsi officers) retreated into the Congo forest, the Hutu population, in fear for their lives, fled with them in their millions. Meanwhile, in local villages, Hutu neighbours attacked Tutsis either in revenge for the murder of Hutus or fearing death at their hands. Tutsis also attacked Hutus. It was total war, though a war clearly fuelled and instigated by the US-backed RPF invasion.

The RPF later pursued the Hutus through the Congo forest and, between 1996 and 1998, killed hundreds of thousands and possibly millions. All the while the RPF was assisted by the United States. Thus, the US cynically thwarted plans (in November 1996) devised by the French and the European Union to send a 10,000 man UN force to assist and guarantee the safe return of the refugees; a plan which if it had been effected would likely have forestalled the ensuing multi-million death toll in the Congo. Moreover, the UN Rwanda Emergency office in Nairobi was, in fact, manned by US Army officers and acted as the operational headquarters of the RPF. Finally, not only did US Special Forces fight alongside the RPF during this period, but intercepted radio messages from Kagame to his forces in the field suggest that both Belgian and Canadian forces were involved as well.

Operating, then, under the Orwellian pretext of ‘hunting for genocidaires’, Kagame & Co. conducted a decade long invasion/occupation of Zaire/Congo. The overall strategic thrust of this assault was threefold. First, it was an attack on French interests in Africa, interests that were immediately taken over by the United States. Second, the assault was part and parcel of the overthrow of Mobutu (toppled in May of 1997). Ultimately, however, the capture of the Congo was about booty. As such, this single treasure chest contains not only large deposits of diamonds, gold, copper, uranium and tantalum (used in computers and cell phones), but also much of the world’s reserves of chrome, platinum and cobalt.

To the question then, ‘Whose genocides were they?’, the answer yet resounds through the din of propaganda, ‘They were ours’.

Shaking Hands With The Devil

In assessing responsibility for the tragedy of Rwanda – and the ensuing events in Zaire/Congo – we must not stop at those already indicted in this essay. For none of this could have happened without the overt complicity of numerous ‘humanitarian’ NGOs including especially, Human Rights Watch, which, in the early days prior to the RPF’s final solution, headed up a totally bogus, unsubstantiated report (issued March 6, 1993) condemning (and so de-legitimizing in advance) the Rwandan government for a ‘genocide’ that, in fact, had yet to take place – and which would, in the event, be committed by the very agents it conspired to defend, i.e. the RPF. And, naturally, none of this could have happened without the willing complicity of the Western mass media who swallowed hook, line and sinker every piece of propaganda issued by the Clinton Administration.

As Canadians we are more than ordinarily complicit as it was the Canadian government (under Jean Chretien) that worked hand-in-glove with the Americans throughout this period. In particular, of course, three Canadians, Louise Arbour, General Maurice Baril and General Romeo Dallaire played leading roles in the ‘affair’. For services rendered they were, all three, handsomely rewarded: Arbour, as already mentioned, with promotion as Supreme Court Justice and thence as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Baril with promotion to Chief of Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces (in Sept. 1997), and Dallaire with appointment as Canadian Senator for life.

Of the three, however, Dallaire’s role is particularly noteworthy, for it is he who has, ever since, been portrayed, and portrayed himself, as a hero in the Rwandan tragedy; and who has, as such, been pre-eminently involved in spreading and maintaining the Big Lie with respect to it. Dallaire’s 2003 epic, Shake Hands With the Devil, an ironically named Faustian tract, fails spectacularly to elucidate the author’s otherwise well documented actions during the events.

It is well established, for instance, that Dallaire knew of – and, effectively, facilitated – the build-up of RPF forces inside Kigali prior to Habyarimana’s assassination. It is well established that Dallaire, rather than reporting to and receiving orders from the UN, as was his mandate, was, instead, reporting and receiving instructions from American military commanders. It is also a fact that Dallaire, only two months prior to the assassination of Habyarimana, closed down one of the only two runways into Kigali airport – upon request of the RPF. It is also the case that Dallaire covered up the massacre by the RPF of MRND people elected in by-elections in the north of Rwanda in November, 1993. Evidence presented at the ICTR further implicates Dallaire in supplying intelligence to Kagame and the RPF forces throughout the period leading up to April 6, 1994.

Whenever Dallaire has faced formal questioning regarding his actions in Rwanda his testimony has been strictly managed and censored. Attempts by independent journalists and investigators to interview and question him have met with refusal and/or silence. And those questions are many and serious. Apart from the items already listed, they include:

How did the lady prime minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, come to be murdered at the UN development compound (the morning after Habyarimana had been assassinated) just a short time after he, Dallaire, arrived there? Why did he do nothing to save the lives of the Belgian UN soldiers – suspected of being the team that shot down Habyarimana’s plane – who were subsequently killed at Camp Kigali?

Why, and under whose command, did Belgian army units in certain strategic positions in Kigali abandon them and all their weapons to the RPF?

Why did UN army units attack FAR army units, but never the RPF? Why did he fail to report that US forces, using Hercules C-130 aircraft, were supplying men and weapons to the RPF?

Why, when Dallaire had his headquarters at Amahoro stadium in Kigali after April 6 through the rest of the month, did he allow RPF forces to enter and subsequently murder Hutu refugees who had fled there for safety? And, of course, why did he lie about the ‘genocide fax’ of January 11, 1994?

Still, all in all, Dallaire was merely a bit player in a much larger drama, a drama written and produced in Washington, D.C.

Of Credibility and Credulity

In the two decades that have elapsed since the overthrow of the Rwandan government – and the subsequent killing of millions of it’s peoples, and those millions more killed in the Congo – the Big Lie has flourished virtually unabated. Though the likes of Robin Philpot (‘Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa’), and Ed Herman and David Peters (‘The Politics of Genocide’) have, of late, lent this revised narrative a slightly higher profile, more generally – and notably amongst the Left – the ‘official’ narrative of Rwanda circa 1994 continues to hold sway. So much so that Rwanda has become, in Philpot’s resonant phrasing, “a useful imperial fiction”, i.e. a shining example of the ‘need for intervention’ that is deployed whenever and wherever ‘humanitarian imperialism’ seeks to invade and destroy nations opposed to it.

It need not be so. At the very least amongst the Left, it should never have been so. In the early days of the Rwandan debacle, one anomalous event stands out like the proverbial sore thumb transparently pointing the way to what was really ‘going down’ in the beleaguered nation. That event was the majority withdrawal in May of 1994 of the UN troops stationed in Rwanda, i.e. essentially clearing the way for the unobstructed overthrow of the government. This one item alone, irrespective of the fact that the corporate media habitually lies about virtually all matters of significant political import, should have tipped off observers of the Great Game to the idea that something rotten was taking place in the state of Rwanda. But it didn’t. And that, given what subsequently transpired in Yugoslavia and later Libya – where again, significant sectors of the Left bought into the official narrative – and given what is today transpiring in Syria and Ukraine, is problematic.

If there is one lesson, then, that we can take from the tragic events adumbrated herein – and, though hardly new, is a notion that bears vigorously reinforcing – it is that whatever information is fed us by the state and by the corporate mass media with regard to fundamental global strategic happenings, the only historically consistent and logical stance to take is to assume that the truth lies 180 degrees in the opposite direction. This should be our default position, until proof is rendered otherwise, in every instance.

In the meantime, to bear witness to the truth of what really happened in Rwanda falls to you. As Noam Chomsky once wrote with regard to an earlier suite of imperial crimes, ‘For yours is an historic mission, and one you should not soon forget.’

Antony Black [email protected]

The slogans, leaders, and agenda of the “Occupy Central” movement are supposedly the manifestations of Hong Kong’s desire for “total democracy,” “universal suffrage,” and “freedom.” In reality, the leaders of “Occupy Central” are verified to be directly backed, funded, and directed by the US State Department, its National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and its subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Despite admitting this overwhelming evidence, many “Occupy Central” supporters still insist the protests are genuine and now some propose that the “Occupy Central” leadership does not truly represent the people of Hong Kong. While the leadership of “Occupy Central” indeed in no way represent the people of Hong Kong, the fact still remains that the protest itself was prearranged at least as early as April 2014, revealed by “Occupy Central” co-organizers Martin Lee and Anson Chan before NED in Washington DC.

 

The talk titled, “Why Democracy in Hong Kong Matters,” spanned an hour, with NED regional vice president Louisa Greve leading the duo through a full introduction of the “Occupy Central” movement, its characters, agenda, demands, and talking points. Anson Chan – Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary under British rule – in particular, with her perfect British accent, insisted repeatedly that the issue was China’s apparent backtracking on “deals” made with the UK over the handover of Hong Kong in the late 1990′s.

Lee, as well as members of the audience, repeatedly stated that Hong Kong’s role was to “infect” mainland China with its Western-style institutions, laws, and interests. Lee also repeatedly appealed to Washington specifically to ensure they remained committed to defending American interests in Hong Kong.

Both Lee and Chan would also state that since China appears to be concerned over global perception of how it rules its people, this could be exploited to excise from Beijing concessions over Hong Kong’s governance. This included mention of previous protests, including those led by “activist” Joshua Wong and his suspicious “Scholarism” organization that has been tracked since at least 2012 by the US State Department’s NDI. And of course, future destabilization was submitted as a viable solution to bending Beijing toward Western concessions.

For those able to listen to the entire 1 hour interview as well as questions and answers, the entire “Occupy Central” narrative is laid bare, verbatim, in Washington DC months before demonstrations began in the streets of Hong Kong. For a supposed “pro-democracy” protest seeking self-governance and self-determination and denouncing “interference” from Beijing, that their leaders are funded by foreign interests, and the plans for “Occupy Central” laid in a foreign capital is ironic at best – utter and very intentional deceit at worst.

Democracy indeed assumes self-governance and self determination. If the US State Department is colluding with, funding, and directing the politicians and protest leaders behind “Occupy Central,” the people of Hong Kong are governing and determining nothing – Washington and Wall Street are. Martin Lee and collaborator Anson Chan complain about Beijing dictating policy in Hong Kong, while they sit together in a room full of foreign interests who would dictate Hong Kong’s governance instead.

Laid bare is “Occupy Central’s” true agenda. It is not about having Hong Kong vote for who they desire to see in power, it is about getting the foreign-backed political cabal behind “Occupy Central” into power, and disarming Beijing of any means to prevent what is for all intents and purposes the “soft” recolonization of Hong Kong, and a further attempt to divide and destabilize China as a whole.

In Britain, the mainstream media is in overdrive, trying to sell the latest war to the population. Prime Minister David Cameron and his sidekicks Theresa May and Philip Hammond are attempting to convince everyone that bombing Iraq and Syria is all about making Britain safe. To frighten the living daylights out of everyone, they talk of murderous jihadists and terrorists and how ‘British values’ are under threat. 

Apart from protecting oil fields, the current wave of militarism is ultimately about attacking the Assad government in Syria and the longer term goal of removing any barriers to Western-Israeli hegemony in the region. That includes eradicating Russian and Iranian influence and power.

 If Cameron really does want to tackle fundamentalism and the assault on the values of ‘fairness’ and ‘decency’, those much touted ‘British values’ he alludes to, he should forget about waging imperialist wars and look closer to home. He should question the interests he serves to protect. Those interests are plundering economies, destroying ordinary people’s livelihoods and undermining their quality of life.

These interests do not need military hardware to institute their plunder. They do it by various means, not least via the courts and trade and investment agreements.

 At the start of 2014, through international trade and investment agreements speculative investors were claiming more than 1.7 billion Euros in compensation from Greece, Spain and Cyprus in private international tribunals for the impact of measures implemented to deal with economic crises [1].

Corporations and lawyers were scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries. There was a growing wave of corporate lawsuits against Europe’s struggling economies whereby, if successful, taxpayers would have to pay out millions of euros. Speculative investors were using investment agreements to raid the cash-strapped public treasuries in Europe’s crisis countries.

In most cases, investors were not long-term investors but rather invested as the economic crisis emerged and were therefore fully aware of the risks. They were using the investment agreements to extract further wealth from crisis countries when their risky investment didn’t pay off.

 In Greece, Poštová Bank from Slovakia bought Greek debt after the bond value had already been downgraded and was then offered a generous debt restructuring package; yet it sought to extract an even better deal by suing Greece, using the bilateral investment treaty between Slovakia and Greece.

In Cyprus, a Greek-listed private equity-style investor, Marfin Investment Group, was seeking €823 million in compensation for its lost investments after Cyprus had to nationalise the Laiki Bank as part of an EU debt restructuring agreement.

 In Spain, 22 companies (mainly private equity funds) had by March 2014 sued at international tribunals for cuts in subsidies for renewable energy.

 Speculative investors use international law firms that actively encourage investor-state lawsuits and reap substantial financial rewards in the process. For example, it was estimated that UK-based Herbert Smith Freehills, hired to represent Spain in at least two cases, could earn up to 1.6 million euros for the cases.

 ‘Investor rights’ constitutes little more than a tool for the further plundering of austerity-driven economies by powerful corporations. Big business is able to bypass democracy and bully sovereign states into instituting policies that trample over ordinary citizens’ rights in the name of even higher profits.

 The global investment regime thrives on economic crises. Speculators making risky investments are protected, but ordinary people have no such protection and through harsh austerity policies are being stripped of basic social rights.

By March 2014, corporate investors had claimed in arbitration disputes more than 700 million euros from Spain, more than one billion euros from Cyprus and undisclosed amounts from Greece. This bill, plus the exorbitant lawyers’ fees for processing the cases, was to be paid for out of the public purse at a time when austerity measures have led to severe cuts in social spending and increasing deprivation for vulnerable communities.

In 2013, while Spain spent millions on defending itself in lawsuits, it cut health expenditure by 22 per cent and education spending by 18 per cent.

Some of the lawsuits have arisen due to debt and banking restructuring measures that were required as part of EU rescue packages. Moreover, the EU continues to actively promote the use of investor-state arbitration mechanisms worldwide, most prominently in the current negotiations for the controversial EU-US trade agreement (TTIP).

Across the world it is a similar story. Earlier this year, it was reported that through bilateral investment treaties US tobacco giant Philip Morris was suing Uruguay and Australia over anti-smoking laws. The company was arguing that warning labels on cigarette packs and plain packaging prevent it from effectively displaying its trademark, causing a substantial loss of market share [2].

 Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, which launched an investor-state lawsuit against Germany, was seeking €3.7 billion in compensation for lost profits related to two of its nuclear power plants. The case followed the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

When Argentina froze utility rates (energy, water, etc.) and devalued its currency in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from companies like CMS Energy (US) and Suez and Vivendi (France). By the end of 2008, awards against the country had totalled US$1.15 billion.

 On the basis of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico, US company Lone Pine Resources Inc. was demanding US$250 million in compensation from Canada. The ‘crime’ was that Quebec had put a moratorium on ‘fracking’, addressing concerns about the environmental risks of this new technology to extract oil and gas from rocks.

 At the end of 2012, Dutch insurer Achmea (formerly Eureko) was awarded €22 million in compensation from Slovakia.

 In 2006, the Slovak government had reversed the health privatisation policies of the previous administration and required health insurers to operate on a not-for-profit basis.

 It is also interesting to note that Chevron initiated arbitration to avoid paying US$18 billion to clean up oil-drilling-related contamination in the Amazonian rainforest, as ordered by Ecuadorian courts.

 Big companies have used these lawsuits to destroy any competition or threats to their profits by challenging green energy and medicine policies, anti-smoking legislation, bans on harmful chemicals, environmental restrictions on mining, health insurance policies, measures to improve the economic situation of minorities and many more. Even the threat of litigation could force governments to shelve progressive legislation.

As the 7th round of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) get underway in Washington, corporate lobby heavyweights all advocate the inclusion of investor-state arbitration in the proposed agreement. They desire a global ‘gold standard’, a model for investment protection for other agreements around the world that could see for instance end up with Europe being flooded with genetically modified food. Regulations would be decided on in secret between officials and representatives of big corporations and dismantled in the name of removing barriers to ‘free’ trade.

 The ability of powerful corporations to acquire carte blanche to rein in democracy and curb policies devised for the public ultimately stems from a type of fundamentalism: the ideology of neoliberalism and ‘free’ trade. This ideology is not based on the ‘science’ of economics and ‘free’ markets, as its proponents would like to have us believe. It uses dogma wrapped in the jargon of economics in an attempt to legitimize the plundering of economies and the ‘austerity’ that ultimately results.

The real threats to ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, ‘decency’ and ‘fairness’ do not lie in Syria or Iraq. The destruction of national sovereignty, democracy, freedom, decency, quality of life and livelihoods is being carried out by corporate vultures under the guise of the secular theology of neoliberalism, not least in practice via free trade and investor rights agreements.

Notes

1] http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/profiting_from_crisis.pdf

2] http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2014/04/still-not-loving-isds-10-reasons-oppose-investors-super-rights-eu-trade

Michael Specter’s recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the New Yorker (Seeds of Doubt and The Problem with G.M.O. Labels) are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in U.S. today. Rather than reduce pesticide inputs, GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity.

Setting the record straight, Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has recently published a well-researched article documenting the devastating facts, Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops, in Environmental Working Group’s online AgMag. Dr. Seidler’s article cites and links recent scientific literature and media reports, and should be required reading for all journalists covering GMOs, as well as for citizens generally to understand why their right to know if food is genetically engineered is so important. The short discussion below summarizes the major points of his five-page article.

More than 99 percent of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. The result is massive selection pressure that has rapidly created pest resistance—the opposite of integrated pest management where judicious use of chemical controls is applied only as necessary. Predictably, just like overuse of antibiotics in confined factory farms has created resistant “supergerms” leading to animals being overdosed with ever more powerful antibiotics, we now have huge swaths of the country infested with “superweeds” and “superbugs” resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied.

Predictably, we now have huge swaths of the country infested with “superweeds” and “superbugs” resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied. Photo credit: Shutterstock

For example, the use of systemic insecticides, which coat GMO corn and soy seeds and are incorporated and expressed inside the entire plant, has skyrocketed in the last ten years. This includes use of neonicotinoids (neonics) which are extremely powerful neurotoxins that contaminate our food and water and destroy non-target pollinators and wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds. In fact, two neonics in widespread use in the US are currently banned in the EU because of their suspected link to Colony Collapse Disorder in bees.

Mainstream pro-GMO media also fail to discuss the ever-increasing amount of older much more toxic herbicides like 2,4 D and Dicamba being sprayed along with huge volumes of Glyphosate to deal with superweeds. Most importantly and egregiously, this biased reporting does not mention the imminent approval of the pesticide industry’s next generation herbicide-tolerant crops that are resistant not only to glyphosate, but also high doses of 2,4 D and Dicamba, that will lead to huge increases of these toxic chemicals sprayed on our food and farming communities.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA are in the process of rubber-stamping these into our farming communities (and unlabeled onto our dinner plates) this fall, yet pro-GMO media consistently fails to discuss their imminent approval even as the lower-toxicity profile of glyphosate is touted. Such reporting gives a pass to the chemical pesticide industry that pours millions into lobbying government and media elites and defeating voter ballot initiatives to require labeling of GMO foods.

Hopefully Dr. Seidler’s article will be widely read and disseminated, so reporters can learn the facts and check their biases against industry-fed distortions.  Citizens and consumers need to hear the fundamental concern that GMOs are doubling down on, not freeing us from, the pesticide treadmill that contaminates our food and water while lining the pockets of the chemical companies that make both the GMOs and the pesticides used on them.

David Bronner is president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America. He graduated with a degree (B.A.) in Biology from Harvard University in 1995. A leader in the fight to label GMO foods in the U.S., Dr. Bronner’s dedicates resources to progressive issues on behalf of the company’s mission to use profits to help make a better world.

Washington and Canberra have rushed to endorse the bogus election staged in Fiji last month. The vote was dominated by the country’s military, which has held power since staging a coup in 2006, with the FijiFirst Party (FFP) of self-declared Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama winning 60 percent of the ballot.

The major powers are seeking to forge stronger ties with Fiji as a means of undercutting China’s influence in the geo-strategically significant South Pacific state.

The US State Department released a statement declaring, that “we congratulate the people of Fiji for the steps they have taken towards restoring democracy, including conducting the historic vote on September 17.”

Similar praise issued from Canberra. Former Australian minister Peter Reith headed a Multinational Observers Group that was sent to monitor the vote. He endorsed the election before the results had even been counted, declaring that the ballot was “on track to broadly represent the will of the Fijian voters.”

The British-led Commonwealth reinstated Fiji’s membership, hailing the “democratically elected government.”

In reality, the elections were held under conditions of press censorship, severe restrictions on opposition political parties, and military provocations. The day before the vote, the army marched through the streets of the country’s capital, Suva, in a thinly veiled threat of another coup if the election failed to maintain Bainimarama and his cronies in power.

A quarter of the government’s parliamentarians, and seven of the appointed cabinet members, are ex-military. Radio New Zealand reported that the army organised a “tea party” after the vote in honour of their former commanders in the regime.

Prior to the election, strictures were placed on political parties seeking ballot access. Parties had to obtain 5,000 signatures in 28 days, a large number in a small country with a rural-based population. Out of the 16 parties previously registered, only two were able to gain registration within the initial deadline under the new provisions. Those that failed to gain registration had their assets confiscated.

Any party that failed to obtain registration but continued its political activities was liable to an $F50,000 ($US25,640) fine. By the time of the vote, six opposition parties were granted registration, but several leading political figures were still barred from standing. These included former prime ministers Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry, who were barred for previous convictions, on charges that they both allege were politically motivated.

The US and Australian support for the Fijian elections and military-dominated government underscores their hypocrisy about human rights and the rule of law, across the South Pacific and internationally.

After the 2006 coup, the Western powers imposed sanctions, with Canberra fearing political instability in the region would open the door to Beijing and other countries. This posturing backfired, however, with Bainimarama defying Australian pressure, gaining Chinese aid and investment under his “look north” foreign policy.

By 2010, Washington was alarmed over deepening Fiji-China ties, including military agreements that raised the prospect of a future Chinese naval base in the Pacific country. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton met with Fiji’s foreign affairs minister Inoke Kubuabola, signalling an end to Australian-led efforts to force the military regime into submission by isolating it.

This shift was driven by the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” which is aimed at ensuring US imperialism’s regional dominance by diplomatically isolating and militarily encircling China. Doing business with the Fijian military government was no obstacle for Washington as it sought to undermine Chinese influence in the South Pacific—a region dominated by the US and its junior ally, Australia, since 1945.

Canberra quickly fell in line with the diplomatic about turn. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop met with Bainimarama at the beginning of the year and announced an end to bans on Fijian regime members, senior military and their families entering Australia. Bishop indicated that a defence cooperation program with Fiji would be restored after the elections.

Bainimarama won the vote after plastering his picture all over the country and maintaining firm control of the media. Posturing as a bulwark against the anti-Indian, Fijian chauvinist layers that dominated the previous government under Laisenia Qarase, and promoting limited public spending measures in public transport and education, Bainimarama’s FFP claimed 32 seats in the new 50-seat parliament.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) gained 28 percent of the vote and has 15 seats. It represents the interests of a layer of the chiefly Fijian elite and is led by Teimumu Kepa, a tribal chief who was a minister in Qarase’s government. The National Federation Party, representing the country’s ethnic Indian elite, gained 3 seats with 5.5 percent of the vote.

The Fiji Labour Party (FLP) was decimated, only gaining 3.2 percent of the vote and will have no seats in the parliament. The collapse of the FLP vote underscores its loss of any base in the working class. The FLP joined the junta in 2007, with its leader Mahendra Chaudhry serving as finance minister and helping to impose severe austerity measures on working people.

Bainimarama has already signalled more mass layoffs of public sector workers, as part of a series of pro-business measures aimed at boosting international investment. The result will be a further escalation of Fiji’s extreme social inequality and levels of poverty.

As the Detroit bankruptcy moves into its final stage, it becomes ever more clear that the corporate-financial oligarchy is implementing the wholesale privatization of an entire US city.

With the full backing of a federal court acting on behalf of powerful corporate and financial interests, a cabal of capitalist politicians and legal and financial bagmen are looting virtually all of Detroit’s basic public infrastructure—including street lights, garbage collection, the water and sewerage department, as well as the city’s world class art museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

The last portion of the bankruptcy follows the crafting of a “grand bargain” supported by the major creditors and the unions, along with a deal with one of the main bond insurers, Syncora. Last month, the political establishment in Detroit and Michigan agreed to another arrangement to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in power until after the bankruptcy is completed, followed by a transfer of control to Mayor Mike Duggan and the City Council. The city will be overseen by a new Financial Review Commission (FRC), which will retain many of the powers now held by Orr.

With these measures in place, the ruling class is moving forward with parceling out Detroit into private fiefdoms allotted to individual billionaires and corporations, while entire sections of the city will be shut down or cut off from basic services.

The conspiring of the city’s ruling class was spelled out in a column published Thursday in the Detroit Free Press by Tom Walsh, “Detroit after bankruptcy: now comes the hard part.” After affirming that, “there’s little doubt” that Rhodes will confirm Orr’s “plan of adjustment,” Walsh describes Orr and investment banker Kenneth Buckfire as temporary hired guns to oversee the transformation of Detroit.

“Think of Orr, Detroit’s outgoing emergency manager, and Buckfire, president of restructuring firm Miller Buckfire, as the outside mercenaries—er, professionals—hired to swoop into Detroit, restore order and achieve specific objectives,” Walsh writes.

Proclaiming that Mayor Duggan “won’t have enough money left in the kitty” once the bankruptcy is complete, Walsh calls for a fully privatized “revival” of Detroit.

Walsh gives tribute to the city’s leading robber barons for organizing “private investment on a massive scale.” He writes, “The encouraging bursts of revival in Midtown and downtown Detroit during the early years of the 21st Century have been driven largely by a dogged band of entrepreneurial corporate chiefs working in tandem with big philanthropic foundations such as Kresge, Ford, Hudson-Webber and others.”

“[Dan] Gilbert, the head of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures, has bought more than 60 Detroit properties, moved more than 12,000 workers into the city and is a major force in anti-blight efforts. [Roger] Penske led the Super Bowl committee, brought auto racing back to Belle Isle and donated the Clean Downtown truck fleet. The Ilitch family is leading a $650-million arena and entertainment district project as an encore to its earlier renovation of the Fox Theatre and building Comerica Park. Those business groups, along with Henry Ford Health and the Detroit Medical Center, are teaming with the Rapson-led Kresge Foundation and other donors on the M-1 Rail streetcar lines,” Walsh notes.

Walsh concludes that “private sector investment” is the “key to the renewal of Detroit,” and that “only a small part of that investment will come from public funds.”

These plans were elaborated in bankruptcy court testimony on Thursday and Friday, including from Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who declared that the bankruptcy plan constitutes “yet another renaissance.”

Asked by Rhodes about the purpose of the Financial Review Commission, Orr gave a response which clearly illustrated the anti-democratic character of the institution. He said that the body would “provide a level of oversight that can be flexible according to the discretion of the commission itself.” In other words, the FRC will determine for itself the appropriate level of involvement in managing the city’s finances, overturning contracts and imposing austerity measures.

Speaking on the Syncora development agreement, which transfers millions of dollars worth of credits and city assets to the bond insurer, Orr acknowledged that the deal will “intensify and broaden the relationship between Syncora and the city.”

Orr’s comments on the Syncora deal highlight the fact that, through the bankruptcy, the city will become a hunting ground for rapacious corporate and financial raiders. Last year the city gave Syncora partial control over the Windsor tunnel to extricate itself from the toxic “swaps deal,” which bled hundreds of millions from Detroit’s budget. Syncora, having profited from the illegal swaps scheme, is being made a first line stakeholder in the future of Detroit.

James Doak of Miller Buckfire gave similar testimony Friday, saying that Syncora “has become a long-term business institution in downtown Detroit,” and that the success of Syncora was “very much linked to the revitalization and economic activity of the downtown area.”

Rhodes asked, “Do you have a sense as to how that relationship will be monitored and executed on the city’s side of it?” Orr responded, “I’m hopeful that the marriage will be better than the courtship,” making an ironic reference to Syncora’s parasitic relationship to the city under the swaps deal.

Orr testified that future revenues will go primarily to the banks. “We will use revenues to pay debt and provide adequate services—not gold-plated or platinum,” Orr said, reassuring the ruling class that the city has no intention of investing in providing services for the broad mass of the population.

Another billionaire and reputed Detroit “booster” (on account of his promotion of corporate-funded development in the city), Roger Penske, also gave testimony Friday. Penske is contributing millions of his own funds to the bankruptcy plan, including some $10 million to the “grand bargain” and millions toward the purchase of 100 new police squad cars. Penske is also contributing money to the M1 rail project, frequently touted in the media as a model for a privately planned and funded transit system.

Penske gave his full support to the bankruptcy plan, saying that through the bankruptcy “a cleansing effect can take place.”

Similar comments from former presidential candidate Mitt Romney circulated in the media Friday underscored that such views are common currency throughout the entire US political and corporate establishment. Romney declared his support for the bankruptcy, saying that “dramatic steps” are necessary “when a municipality begins to circle the drain.” The bankruptcy has also received the full support of the Obama administration, which sees it as a model for other cities throughout the county.

The corrupt dealings surrounding the courtroom are also revealed in ongoing discussions with the Financial Guaranty Insurance Corporation (FGIC), another major insurer. FGIC is set to lose some 95 percent of the $1.1 billion it committed to insuring Detroit’s bondholders. Anonymous sources cited by the Detroit News state that FGIC is offering to drop its opposition to the bankruptcy plan in exchange for some portion of a “$123 million bankruptcy reserve fund, city-owned real estate, including riverfront property east of the Renaissance Center, and a 300-space municipal parking garage on Riopelle Street.”

The bankruptcy is, in substance, a vast looting operation conducted through the mechanism of the bankruptcy courts.

Whenever the public right to know comes under attack, a heavy responsibility falls on the journalist. When I was 17, my teacher told the class this salient information. Did the Western mainstream media learn it too or have they simply forgotten it?

“News is what someone wants to stop (you) from printing; all the rest is ads.”- William Randolph Hearst.

Johnson’s Russia List (JRL) was first published in 1996. I’d guess that every single working journalist with a passing interest in Russia is a subscriber – except me. However, it seems I might have been a tad foolish to ignore this resource. Note to self – less Groucho Marx, more Mark Twain.

The JRL is published daily, but occasionally increases frequency. As for the founder, I know zilch about him and we certainly have never crossed paths. However, this week, Mr. Johnson piqued my interest for the second time this autumn. The first was when he published a list of, what amounted to, US propaganda outlets which are anti-Russia by default. That was extremely useful for indicating to friends which news services to avoid for coverage of the region.

However, this (second) time, Mr. Johnson has asked some extremely legitimate questions and they deserve an airing. The collator linked to two extremely interesting pieces from two wildly disparate sources, firstly The Kyiv Post, a ferocious supporter of “Euromaidan,” the resulting coup and the subsequent Kiev government.

Secondly, RT, the very organization on whose website you are reading this. RT could be, accurately, described as an enthusiastic supporter of Russia, its government and the breakaway republics in Eastern Ukraine. Fair is fair. While RT is a much larger organization than the Kyiv Post, the Ukrainian-based newspaper has punched above its weight during this year’s crisis. Indeed some of its work is of a very high standard and it deserves credit for attempting to expose corruption in that country.

Both articles JRL referred to concerned the Neo Nazi Right Sector organization’s vicious assault on an opposition lawmaker named Nestor Shufrych. During an attempt to hold a pre-election press conference in Odessa, the politician was administered a beating which led to concussion and a head injury. This followed an incident in Kiev where another opposition figure, Duma Deputy Vitaly Zhuravsky was forced into a trashcan.

Johnson asks a number of questions. Initially, if “anyone has seen a comment by any of the mainstream experts on Russia and Ukraine or government officials expressing criticism of Kiev regime violence?” I personally haven’t, but if anyone has feel free to use the comments section below to outline them.

Next, JRL queries “Has anyone criticized the term ‘Anti-Terrorism Operation’ or the ubiquitous characterization of the opposition in the east as ‘terrorists’?” Again, can’t say I have.

Johnson’s final question: “Is the proliferation of vigilante justice okay? There must be examples of unease that I have missed in view of the high regard that experts have for human rights and the rule of law.” I’m afraid, I have also missed this. I decided that if anyone would feel strongly about this, it would probably be Amnesty International so I checked the Twitter feed of their “Media lead on Amnesty International’s Global Campaigns” - a gentleman named Maxim Tucker. I featured Mr. Tucker in a previous op-edge, where I tried to support his battle to prevent the UK government from introducing legislation to allow GCHQ to snoop on private citizens (known as DRIP). Hence, I was hopeful that Tucker would be active in highlighting these abuses in Ukraine. Instead, I found a Twitter feed peppered with news about Ukraine – but almost exclusively from one side (Kiev), except a single retweet from Vice News. Disappointing.

Ukrainian servicemen drive an armoured vehicle on the road near the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka, October 1, 2014. (Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)

Ukrainian servicemen drive an armoured vehicle on the road near the eastern Ukrainian town of Horlivka, October 1, 2014. (Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)

In recent days, Russian TV channels been “reporting (in Ukraine) mass graves, numerous cases of civilians pulled out of their cars and summarily shot, mass graves of people shot with their hands tied in their back and tortures, tortures and more tortures: systematic beatings, branding with swastikas, knife wounds, broken bones, heard trauma (and) damaged kidneys”, according to Russia Insider. Some of these reports may be exaggerated but, on the assumption of no smoke without fire, there must be some truth. Western media haven’t bothered to assess the issues.

BBC did run a report which, loosely, touched on the story but instead focused on an error by Russia’s independent REN TV. They, correctly, pointed out that REN had used a photo of MH17 body bags to illustrate a report about the alleged East Ukrainian atrocities. BBC then went to state: “The second image used by REN TV appears intended to support the reports of ‘mass graves.’ The reality is rather different.”

“An OSCE report on 24 September about the graves mentioned by the Russian media said that two of them contained two bodies apiece. It said that at another site there was a mound resembling a grave marked by a plaque bearing the names or initials of five individuals and suggesting they had been killed on 27 August. There was another inscription saying they had died for ‘Putin’s lies’, the OSCE noted,” the writer, Stephen Ennis, continued.

So by BBC logic, a potential five-person grave is not a “mass grave?” Certainly, the British usually murdered far more than five people on their killing sprees, indeed there’s a mass grave in my hometown in Ireland containing more than 600 victims of British barbarity. Nevertheless, five does count as a “mass grave” in the civilized world, even if the Brits once aimed for higher numbers. The BBC then goes on to complete the article by referring to Alina Kabayeva, whom it describes as “the former gymnast and MP who has been romantically linked to Putin.” This is the kind of stuff one would expect to read in Hello! magazine, not a serious news organization as the BBC purports to be. That said a number of recent Western media features, including an infamous Newsweek front-page piece have been straight out of Hello!’s stylebook.

Meanwhile in Germany, a country which, unlike the UK (and Russia) has, largely successfully, dealt with its sordid past, state-owned ARD came in from criticism from its own board this week. They found that “The station’s coverage had ‘given the impression of bias’ and appeared to be directed against ‘Russia and Russian standpoints.’”

According to the Hannover-based Telepolis, the report “criticizes the absence of any fundamental analysis of the negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine on the Association Agreement. It criticizes the fact that ‘NATO’s political and strategic intentions’ with regard to its policy of eastern enlargement were not raised. Nor was any critical analysis made of the legitimacy of the ‘so-called Maidan council.’ The same applies to the ‘role of the radical nationalist forces, particularly Svoboda’ and their activities during the failure ‘of the agreement to resolve the crisis in Ukraine of 21 February.’”

The “constitutional and democratic issues” involved in the removal of President Yanukovich and the role of right-wing forces in his overthrow were also not adequately investigated by ARD. In addition, there was no critical analysis of the role of politicians such as Yulia Tymoshenko and Vitaly Klitschko.

The council also challenged the station’s coverage of the secession of Crimea from Ukraine. There was no proper investigation made of the procedure and legality of the Crimean referendum, its international legal status, the significance of popular participation in the vote, and the role of historical issues and the ethnic groups in Crimea in the secession process,” Telepolis continues. If other Western media was subjected to the rigorous examination foisted on ARD, one wonders how different coverage might become.

All this nonsense brings to mind Western movies, a genre I’m inordinately fond of. The Irish-American director John Ford (or Sean O’Fearna), who basically invented the category, used a simple, and ugly, methodology in his American films. The Americans were the good guys, and the Indians the baddies. The distinguishing feature of Ford’s Cowboy and Indians-themed Westerns is that his Native American characters always remained separate from white society. However, in Ford’s Irish movies, the English took the Indian role.

In the Western media discourse, Russia is the Indians, the bad guys who must be kept separate and apart. Indeed, at this stage Marvel Comics are more nuanced in their superhero stories than much of the EU and US press and that’s saying a lot. United Artists, and later MGM’s, representation of Bond movie Russian villains had nothing on this.

There is no doubt that sections of the Russian media are, often, guilty of hyperbolic reportage. However, much of the Ukrainian-media is completely one-sided propaganda. In a conflict situation, it’s the duty of the independent press, from nations not directly involved, to sift through the information (and disinformation) and produce a narrative which accurately describes the reality.

Too often, in this year’s Ukrainian turmoil, coverage has been completely of one hue, a yellow and blue one. This is wrong. It must stop.

“A community needs news, for the same reason that a man needs eyes. It has to see where it’s going.” - Rebecca West.

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He wrote for Irish Independent and Daily Mail. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT.

On October 2, 2014, Turkey’s parliament passed a resolution to allow the Turkish military to enter the sovereign territory of Iraq and Syria under the pretext of battling Western-backed IS militants. 

The resolution will also allow foreign troops to use Turkish territory for the same purpose suggesting that the Incirlik air base may soon be used by the United States for its airstrikes against Syria.

The vote was 298 in favor of the motion and 98 opposed.

Despite its claims that the vote was centered around defeating ISIS on its borders, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, perhaps inadvertently, admitted that the real target of NATO aggression is the Syrian government.

As the BBC reports,

Speaking in parliament earlier on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the West to find a long-term solution to the crises in Syria and Iraq, pointing out that dropping “tonnes of bombs” on IS militants would only provide a temporary respite.

While he said “an effective struggle” against IS would be a priority for Turkey, “the immediate removal of the administration in Damascus” would also continue to be its priority. [emphasis added]

Erdogan also called for a “buffer zone” on the Turkey/Syria border – which would be enforced by a no-fly zone – to “ensure security.”

A buffer zone, of course, has been part of the NATO agenda against Syria since the beginning of the Western-controlled crisis in the country. Remember, it was under the guise of a humanitarian corridor or buffer zone in Libya , that NATO bombing took place which ultimately led to the destruction of the Libyan government, the murder of Ghaddaffi, and the subsequent expansion of chaos, anarchy, and genocide across the entire North African country.

Indeed, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “ Assessing Options For Regime Change ” stated

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts. [emphasis added]

The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes,

In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly. [emphasis added]

To his credit, Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Muallem has recognized the beginning of the implementation of the NATO plan for a buffer zone in the manner described by the Brookings Institution. In an interview with Lebanese television outlet Al-Meyadin, Muallem declared that Syria will not accept the creation of a “buffer zone” and that such an act is “attack on Syrian territory and its sovereignty.”

Muallem also rightly pointed out both the fact that Turkey has been a reliable supporter of ISIS terrorists and the coordination of the calls for a buffer zone between Turkey and Israel. Muallem stated,

At a time when Israel promised that a buffer zone would be set up in the south of Syria, Turkey is in the same manner talking about setting up a buffer zone in northern Syria. Both announcements are linked to one another. These initiatives constitute as an attack on the Syrian territory and its sovereignty. If Turkey considers the security and stability of Syria, it must end these kinds of provocative acts.

The Obama administration is also stating that it is open to the possibility of establishing a “no-fly zone” over Syria.

The statements, made by both Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin E. Dempsey, are supposed to hinge upon an agreement with Turkey, that is itself calling for a “buffer zone,” one of the wishes of NATO since the very beginning of the Syrian crisis.

According to the New York Times, Hagel stated that “We’ve discussed all these possibilities and will continue to talk about what the Turks believe they will require.”

Dempsey added that “a buffer zone might at some point become a possibility” although he also stated that it should not be considered imminent.

A “buffer zone” and/or a “no-fly zone,” of course, is tantamount to war and an open military assault against the sovereign secular government of Syria since the implementation of such a zone would require airstrikes against Assad’s air defense systems.

Turkey has been whining and groaning for some time over an influx of Syrian refugees as a result of a humanitarian crisis that it helped create with its support and facilitation of Islamic fundamentalist death squad forces funded by the West and allowed to travel into Syria through Turkey’s borders. The most recent influx of refugees came from the city of Kobani, where ISIS fighters were herded by American airstrikes for the purposes of reinforcing the fighters already battling Kurdish and Syrian forces there.

As Tony Cartalucci comments in his own article “ Turkey Preparing For Syria Occupation? ”

Of course, with US airstrikes carving out a vacuum soon to be filled with extremists uncontested by the Syrian Arab Army forced to back off in fear of provoking further Western aggression, the situation will undoubtedly “deteriorate.” Just as Turkey staged false flag operations along its border last year in attempts to trigger a war with Syria directly, and by supporting terrorists resulting in a predictable humanitarian catastrophe now spilling over into Turkey’ territory, the vacuum the US is intentionally creating is meant to be filled with terrorist mercenaries and NATO forces to protect them as the front is inched ever closer to Damascus in the form of a “buffer zone.”

It is important to remember that the U.S. airstrikes and its attempts to create a “buffer zone” inside Syria are nothing more than a farce. The death squads running amok in Syria are themselves entirely creatures of NATO and they remain under NATO’s command. The true enemy of ISIS, Khorasan, and the cannibals of the Levant has always been and continues to be Bashar al-Assad.

For those of us who have tried to warn of and prevent a direct military intervention in Syria, we must now redouble our efforts. Time is growing short.

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

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the United States for the UN General Assembly on Sunday, the Israeli government press office emailed journalists a list of supposed experts to contact on various issues related to his visit.

All those listed hail from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, a hotbed of right wing nationalism in Israeli academia.

Appearing twice on the Israeli government-approved list is Mordechai Kedar, a professor of Arabic literature at Bar-Ilan University who recently advocated for the Israeli army to use rape as a tool of war.

Rape as deterrence

Speaking to an Israeli radio program following the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli teens abducted and shot to death in the occupied West Bank in June, Kedar said, “Terrorists like those who kidnapped the children and killed them — the only thing that deters them is if they know that their sister or their mother will be raped in the event that they are caught. What can you do, that’s the culture in which we live.”

He continued: “The only thing that deters a suicide bomber is the knowledge that if he pulls the trigger or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s all. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, in order to preserve his sister’s honor.”

“It sounds very bad, but that’s the Middle East,” he reasoned.

Kedar’s recommendation appears to have been implemented in Gaza, where several Palestinian men who were kidnapped and imprisoned by the Israeli army during “Operation Protective Edge” told the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights that they were tortured and “intimidated with threats that Israel would demolish their houses, kill their families and rape their wives.”

When a group of Israeli feminists protested Kedar’s comments in a letter to Bar-Ilan University president Daniel Hershkowitz, the school responded by defending and whitewashing Kedar’s rape advocacy with racist tropes about the region.

“Dr. Kedar’s words do not, God forbid, contain a recommendation to commit such despicable acts,” insisted a Bar-Ilan University spokesperson in a joint statement with Kedar. “The intention was to describe the culture of death of the terror organizations. Dr. Kedar was describing the bitter reality of the Middle East and the inability of a modern and liberal law-abiding country to fight against the terror of suicide bombers.”

Witch hunts

While Kedar faced no repercussions for inciting sexual violence, his colleague at Bar-Ilan University, Hanoch Sheinman, was disciplined by the administration for sending an email to students expressing sympathy for all those affected by Israel’s assault on Gaza. Outraged by the implicit reminder of Gaza’s suffering, students and their families flooded the university with complaints, prompting the administration to issue an apology and admonishment of Sheinman.

Meanwhile, Kedar’s rape advocacy boosted his profile in the US, which he is scheduled to visit this winter for an academic speaking tour. He told The Chronicle of Higher Educationthat he received even more speaking invitations as a result of the outrage stirred by his comments, which he referred to as a “witch hunt.”

Kedar knows a thing or two about witch hunts given his role as chairman of the Israel Academia Monitor organization, one of many McCarthyite groups dedicated to purgingIsraeli universities of academics who identify with the left or question Zionism.

This was not the only instance of Kedar showing enthusiasm for crimes against Palestinians.

Kedar’s fervent rejection of basic rights for Palestinian inspired him to devise the “Eight State Solution,” a detailed proposal to split the occupied Palestinian territories into eight cantons, with the besieged and ghettoized Gaza Strip serving as a model. The end result would be apartheid on steroids. He even created a website exclusively devoted to the project, dubbed the Palestinian Emirates.

“The central strategic goal of the state of Israel should be to permanently remain in Judea and Samaria and to prevent Palestinian territorial contiguity,” argues Kedar, using Israel’s terminology for the occupied West Bank.

In Kedar’s bigotry-clouded view, Palestinians (and Arabs more generally) are inferior beings predisposed to violence, militancy and tribalism, therefore any Palestinian state would quickly become a hotbed for terrorism.

Hannibal architect

Another “scholar” listed as an expert by the Israeli press office is Yaakov Amidror.

Amidror, who served as a National Security Advisor to Netanyahu and as head of Israel’s National Security Council, is a co-architect of the Hannibal Directive, an unwritten Israeli military protocol that amounts to an order to kill captured Israeli soldiers to avoid politically painful prisoner swaps.

Amidror with his fellow military leaders Yossi Peled and Gabi Ashkenazi drew up the Hannibal Directive in 1986 following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizballah in then Israeli-occupied Southern Lebanon in the aftermath of a deal in which three Israeli soldiers were swapped for 1,150 Israeli-held Arab prisoners.

The Hannibal Directive was reportedly implemented on at least three occasions during Israel’s latest assault on Gaza. Givati brigade commander Ofer Winter, an ultranationalist religious Zionist who told his troops they were fighting a Jewish holy war, oversaw the most gruesome episode in Rafah, where his implementation of the Hannibal Directive resulted in massive and indiscriminate shelling that killed 190 Palestinians, including 55 children, in less than two days.

In the aftermath of the Rafah slaughter, Amidror denied that the intention of the Hannibal Directive is to execute the captured soldier, though he admitted to The Times of Israel that, “Soldiers [lives] can be risked,” adding that taking care to avoid civilian casualties in the event of an abduction is appropriate only if “you want to help the enemy.”

Nakba denialist

Efraim Karsh — cited in the Israeli governement press office email for his expertise in “Middle Eastern history and politics, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, superpower involvement in the Middle East, and Islamic movements,” — is a card-carrying Islamophobe and close associate of anti-Muslim demagogue Daniel Pipes.

Karsh has made a career out of Nakba denialisminsisting that Palestinians left present-day Israel in 1948 because their own leaders forced them out.

The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the pre-meditated and well-documented ethnic cleansing of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1947-48. Karsh has devoted entire books to absolving Israel of responsibility for this atrocity.

It is no wonder the Israeli government champions him as an expert on the region.

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized. For more of her work check out her websiteDispatches from the Underclass and follow her on Twitter @RaniaKhalek.

“FBI Believes It Has Identified ISIS Hostage Executioner

The U.S. believes it has identified the British-accented masked man in the video depicting the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker, The FBI director says.”

— Huff Post Politics September 25, 2014

A telling message percolating from top to bottom into the passive receptors of the mesmerised multitude? Yes, dear multitude, potato yourselves on your couches, get comfortable, stay uncritical and listen to big brother identify the goodies from the baddies for you. It’s them or us.

For starters, we the media of your choice, will regale you with some images of bearded young men in the Middle East who appear to be hell-crusade-bent on ascending into martyrdom in the name of embracing a higher nature while defending the realm.

How strange all of this appears to us…especially Westerners who have come to believe in the semi-divine mission of acquiring assets of one kind or another as a ready-made and desirable end in itself. We have never let a bunch of indigenous people get in the way of a good business opportunity. Over time we have become habituated in a mind-numbing process that impacts badly on mother earth and her children. We Westerners are still up to our old tricks. With more fist than finesse, we rampage across the globe leaving much of mother nature’s mellifluous esprit languishing in shock-doctrine aftermath burnout.

To add insult to injury, we of the Western colonial proboscis-ilk, in our eagerness to possess other nations’ assets…oil, precious metals, etc…have created a tripartite partnership consisting of government, media and the mesmerised multitude, in order to project a narrative that served the interests of international capitalism in its quest for ever more profit.

Over time, much of the media has become the playbook of the establishment, being told what to say and how to say it by the PR machine. Big brother de jour, fingers on the puppet strings… shark fins observed swimming in the echelons of the pool. For the masses, it is de rigueur to sit back in lethargic detachment and watch the unfolding Hollywood style spectacle of our-munitions-are-bigger-than-your-munitions diet of skin-deep pap reportage.

The task of keeping the official mask in place has become the raison d’etre of the established media. President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who gave a speech at the U.N. on September 24, on matters concerning his war on ISIL, was ‘mask’ of the day. The man who had promised to close Guantanamo Bay prison, the man who brought our attention to the intolerable situation facing Palestinians while calling for a stop to Israeli settlements five years ago, still believes that America is a light unto the world. Obama, it seems, has developed a persona to fit any talk-fest occasion while doing nothing.

Obama, the composite man, is part Martin Luther King Jr.-part Sammy Davis Jr. with a touch of Bishop Desmond Tutu thrown in for good measure…shaken, not stirred, of course… and comes across as a President hell-bent on using his considerable rhetorical talents to keep something (anything) together. The Obama message always comes across as a paean of praise for American leadership in the world…will he be remembered as the President who droned his tenure away?

The masks that are George Bush, Tony Blair, Bibi Netanyahu, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama. David Cameron, etc., are kept firmly in the background while our attention is drawn to the task of identifying a British-accented masked man (with knife in hand) in the video, depicting death by decapitation in the Middle East. The notion that a bearded Arab with knife in hand is somehow less civilised than our war for profit mob could be construed as hilarious if it weren’t so tragically absurd. Never mind what we do…they deserve it because they’re not us. We have bombed the hell out of their countries, but they deserved it because they resisted us.

From our couches, we silently acknowledge the revolving door syndrome whereby Presidents, past, present and future, exonerate each other from all culpability associated with the we-do-regime-change in countries with oil as a means of projecting American foreign policy. The Pentagon, since World War II, has imitated a Hollywood script-speak to project its image as the great defender of the realm busily bringing order to the world. But the truth lies elsewhere, behind the epidermis of the military uniform lies another mask, a narrative in thrall to vested interest.

So what is happening…if anything…in the national womb? At what point does our mesmerism collapse in upon itself under the sheer weight of déjà vu creep… the feeling that we are caught in a loop that endlessly drones on and on about self-right? At what point might the yeast of courage and conscionability rise in the national womb to craft a peace movement poste-haste, in order to reclaim the dignity of America-The-Brave?

Meanwhile the ghosts of wars past continue to prowl the corridors of the State Department. Criminals like Dick Cheney, who lied the country into war on Iraq, still drool over the possibility of going to war for yet another barrel of oil. The puppet masters of yesteryear have immunity from prosecution because the system itself is corrupt to the core and the media is not there to whistle-blow the game.

We have become past masters in living with self-deception. Never mind that Israel has used flechette shells and white phosphorus against the civilian population of Gaza…weapons described as illegal under ‘rules of humanitarian law’ and known to pose ‘a particularly high danger of harming innocent civilians’. Anyway, what do the lives of 2150 unwanted human beings matter to Zionist mythology? Besides, as Israel’s allies, we must help keep the mask of respectability in place by voting down any suggestion of evil.

And talking about evil done to others, an important report on Harvard’s University’s website discusses the fallout of depleted uranium contamination in Iraq and has recently come into the light of day. Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi, who authored the report after the Gulf War, wrote that; “Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry has been used against Iraq for the first time in the history of recent wars”.

The following passage from Robert Koehler, a HuffPost blogger reads: “Thus last November, a group of British and Iraqi doctors petitioned the U.N. to investigate the alarming increase in birth defects at Fallujah’s hospitals. “Young women in Fallujah”, they wrote, “…are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no head, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias.”

What we have lost by superficially applying ourselves to the task of understanding our environment is immense. It has resulted in us adopting a pseudo means of understanding our own natures. We forever tally the value of the material things we possess as though they are life giving, while ignoring the fact that America and other first world countries scorn the world with impunity.

As Westerners of the settler ilk, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, have become especially proud of the way they use the assets of indigenous peoples they have conquered to acquire capital to further their advantages. In time, virtue itself is measured by how much power has been amassed in the war on the other. Consider how America has turned the extraterritoriality of its legislation into a powerful instrument of domination. Applying the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, Washington recently decided to sanction the BNP Paribas Bank with an $8.834 bl. fine for its participation in various transactions carried out by the governments of Cuba, Sudan and Iran.

And so onto the subject of alliances made in heaven, how cringeworthy is the action of settler ilk vassals like Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, in his lurid eagerness to please the sheriff of the posse, rushing to the head of the queue to offer his services, in the hope of being rewarded with a pat on the head for his willingness to ISIS bash. This obsequiousness from a Prime Minister who believes that Australia was unsettled before the Brits came to colonise Australia. Were the Australian aboriginals invisible because they didn’t eat with a knife in the right hand and a fork in the left hand, Tony?

The unholy compact that exists within the tripartite relationship we see existing between government, media and the mesmerised multitude can only lead to dysfunctionality. It is based on a status quo arrangement that requires the mesmerised multitude to remain passive. The mesmerised multitude is basically indolent, a monster asleep at its watch, incapable of making any decisions to act until its oxygen is reduced to a point where it could experience catatonia…at which point it could awaken and become a threat to the forces that cage it in.

Finally, to remain inactive when your country is reduced to being merely a cash cow for Wall Street hipsters is unacceptable. The worker’s role in the making of the American dream was hijacked when globalisation allowed the investor class to circumspect national demarcations. Better work practices that had contributed to the growing of the ‘economic-pizza’ within the USA in the second half of the last century were subtly negated when the investor class moved off-shore. The profits generated from within the American industrial nexus were cynically expropriated by the power elites and reinvested in places where labour was cheaper, thus causing the local labour force to be separated from the investment process.

The upshot of the recent coup, the privatization of everything…including the American dream… was to designate roles only to those who could painstakingly commit to the practice of extracting profit through entrepreneurial or speculative means. That the process went global was to be expected, capitalism after all, is for brains-without-borders. Communities on the other hand…and by necessity…are brains-within-borders. To imagine that it is possible to achieve a genuine rapport between community and international capitalism is mere whimsy. It is imperative to focus on the fact that international capitalism will always separate wealth from the demarcated space that defines community. The capitalist regime, in pursuit of profits in places where low hanging fruit is available, bodes exploitation.

Denis A. Conroy is a retired businessman and journalist, and a voracious follower of matters political outside of the mainstream arena. Read other articles by Denis A..

Since the Contra-cocaine scandal surfaced in 1985, major U.S. news outlets have disparaged it, most notably when the big newspapers destroyed Gary Webb for reviving it in 1996. But a New York Times review of a movie on Webb finally admits the reality, writes Robert Parry.

Nearly three decades since the stories of Nicaraguan Contra-cocaine trafficking first appeared in 1985, the New York Times has finally, forthrightly admitted the allegations were true, although this belated acknowledgement comes in a movie review buried deep inside Sunday’s paper.

The review addresses a new film, “Kill the Messenger,” that revives the Contra-cocaine charges in the context of telling the tragic tale of journalist Gary Webb who himself revived the allegations in 1996 only to have the New York Times and other major newspapers wage a vendetta against him that destroyed his career and ultimately drove him to suicide.

Ronald Reagan statue at National Airport, which was renamed in his honor as his scandals were excused and suppressed.

Ronald Reagan’s statue at Washington’s National Airport, which was renamed in his honor after his scandals were excused and suppressed.

The Times’ movie review by David Carr begins with a straightforward recognition of the long-denied truth to which now even the CIA has confessed: “If someone told you today that there was strong evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency once turned a blind eye to accusations of drug dealing by operatives it worked with, it might ring some distant, skeptical bell. Did that really happen? That really happened.”

Although the Times’ review still quibbles with aspects of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series in the San Jose Mercury-News, the Times appears to have finally thrown in the towel when it comes to the broader question of whether Webb was telling important truths.

The Times’ resistance to accepting the reality of this major national security scandal under President Ronald Reagan even predated its tag-team destruction of Webb in the mid-1990s, when he was alternately pummeled by the Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The same Big Three newspapers also either missed or dismissed the Contra-cocaine scandal when Brian Barger and I first disclosed it in 1985 for the Associated Press — and even when an investigation led by Sen. John Kerry provided more proof in 1989.

Indeed, the New York Times took a leading role in putting down the story in the mid-1980s just as it did in the mid-1990s. That only began to change in 1998 when CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz conducted the spy agency’s first comprehensive internal inquiry into the allegations and found substantial evidence to support suspicions of Contra-cocaine smuggling and the CIA’s complicity in the scandal.

Though the Times gave short-shrift to the CIA’s institutional confession in 1998, it did at least make a cursory acknowledgement of the historic admissions. The Times’ co-collaborators in the mugging of Gary Webb did even less. After waiting several weeks, the Washington Post produced an inside-the-paper story that missed the point. The Los Angeles Times, which had assigned 17 journalists to the task of destroying Webb’s reputation, ignored the CIA’s final report altogether.

So, it is perhaps nice that the Times stated quite frankly that the long-denied scandal “really happened” – even though this admission is tucked into a movie review placed on page AR-14 of the New York edition. And the Times’ reviewer still can’t quite face up to the fact that his newspaper was part of a gang assault on an honest journalist who actually got the story right.

Still Bashing Webb

Thus, the review is peppered with old claims that Webb hyped his material when, in fact, he understated the seriousness of the scandal, as did Barger and I in the 1980s. The extent of Contra cocaine trafficking and the CIA’s awareness – and protection – of the criminal behavior were much greater than any of us knew.

The Times’ review sums up the Webb story (and the movie plot) this way: “‘Kill the Messenger,’ a movie starring Jeremy Renner due Oct. 10, examines how much of the story [Webb] told was true and what happened after he wrote it. ‘Kill the Messenger’ decidedly remains in Mr. Webb’s corner, perhaps because most of the rest of the world was against him while he was alive.

“Rival newspapers blew holes in his story, government officials derided him as a nut case and his own newspaper, after initially basking in the scoop, threw him under a bus. Mr. Webb was open to attack in part because of the lurid presentation of the story and his willingness to draw causality based on very thin sourcing and evidence. He wrote past what he knew, but the movie suggests that he told a truth others were unwilling to. Sometimes, when David takes on Goliath, David is the one who ends up getting defeated. …

“Big news organization like The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post tore the arms and legs off his work. Despite suggestions that their zeal was driven by professional jealousy, some of the journalists who re-reported the story said they had little choice, given the deep flaws.

“Tim Golden in The New York Times and others wrote that Mr. Webb overestimated his subjects’ ties to the contras as well as the amount of drugs sold and money that actually went to finance the war in Nicaragua.”

The reviewer gives Golden another chance to take a shot at Webb and defend what the Big Papers did. “Webb made some big allegations that he didn’t back up, and then the story just exploded, especially in California,” Golden said in an email. “You can find some fault with the follow-up stories, but mostly what they did was to show what Webb got wrong.”

But Golden continues to be wrong himself. While it may be true that no journalistic story is perfect and that no reporter knows everything about his subject, Webb was if anything too constrained in his chief conclusions, particularly the CIA’s role in shielding the Contra drug traffickers. The reality was much worse, with CIA officials intervening in criminal cases, such as the so-called Frogman Case in San Francisco, that threatened to expose the Contra-related trafficking.

The CIA Inspector General’s report also admitted that the CIA withheld evidence of Contra drug trafficking from federal investigators, Congress and even the CIA’s own analytical division. The I.G. report was clear, too, on the CIA’s motivation.

The inspector general interviewed senior CIA officers who acknowledged that they were aware of the Contra-drug problem but didn’t want its exposure to undermine the struggle to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. According to Inspector General Hitz, the CIA had “one overriding priority: to oust the Sandinista government. . . . [CIA officers] were determined that the various difficulties they encountered not be allowed to prevent effective implementation of the Contra program.” One CIA field officer explained, “The focus was to get the job done, get the support and win the war.”

In 2000, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee grudgingly acknowledged that the stories about Reagan’s CIA protecting Contra drug traffickers were true. The committee released a report citing classified testimony from CIA Inspector General Britt Snider (Hitz’s successor) admitting that the spy agency had turned a blind eye to evidence of Contra-drug smuggling and generally treated drug smuggling through Central America as a low priority.

“In the end the objective of unseating the Sandinistas appears to have taken precedence over dealing properly with potentially serious allegations against those with whom the agency was working,” Snider said, adding that the CIA did not treat the drug allegations in “a consistent, reasoned or justifiable manner.”

The House committee still downplayed the significance of the Contra-cocaine scandal, but the panel acknowledged, deep inside its report, that in some cases, “CIA employees did nothing to verify or disprove drug trafficking information, even when they had the opportunity to do so. In some of these, receipt of a drug allegation appeared to provoke no specific response, and business went on as usual.”

Yet, like the Hitz report in 1998, the admissions by Snider and the House committee drew virtually no media attention in 2000 — except for a few articles on the Internet, including one at Consortiumnews.com.

Space for Ceppos

The Times’ review also gives space to Webb’s San Jose Mercury-News editor Jerry Ceppos, who caved after the Big Media attacks, shut down Webb’s ongoing investigation and rushed to apologize for supposed flaws in the series.

In the Times’ review, Ceppos is self-congratulatory about his actions, saying good news organizations should hold themselves accountable. “We couldn’t support some of the statements that had been made,” Ceppos said. “I would do exactly the same thing 18 years later that I did then, and that is to say that I think we overreached.”

Despite acknowledging the truth of the Contra-cocaine scandal, the review was short on interviews with knowledgeable people willing to speak up strongly for Webb. I was one of Webb’s few journalistic colleagues who defended his work when he was under assault in 1996-97 and – every year on the anniversary of Webb’s death – have published articles about the shameful behavior of the mainstream media and Ceppos in destroying Webb’s life.

I was e-mailed by an assistant to the Times’ reviewer who asked me to call to be interviewed about Webb. However, when I called back, the assistant said she was busy and would have to talk to me later. I gave her my cell phone number but never heard back from her.

But the review does note that “Webb had many supporters who suggested that he was right in the main. In retrospect, his broader suggestion that the C.I.A. knew or should have known that some of its allies were accused of being in the drug business remains unchallenged. The government’s casting of a blind eye while also fighting a war on drugs remains a shadowy part of American history.”

The review also notes that when the Kerry report was issued, “major news outlets gave scant attention to the report” and that: “Mr. Webb was not the first journalist to come across what seemed more like an airport thriller novel. Way back in December 1985, The Associated Press reported that three contra groups had ‘engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua.’ In 1986, The San Francisco Examiner ran a large exposé covering similar terrain.

“Again, major news outlets mostly gave the issue a pass. It was only when Mr. Webb, writing 10 years later, tried to tie cocaine imports from people connected to the contras to the domestic crisis of crack cocaine in large cities, particularly Los Angeles, that the story took off.”

Despite recognizing the seriousness of the Contra-cocaine crimes that Webb helped expose, the review returns to various old saws about Webb’s alleged exaggerations.

“The headline, graphic and summary language of ‘Dark Alliance’ was lurid and overheated, showing a photo of a crack-pipe smoker embedded in the seal of the C.I.A,” the review said. However, in retrospect, the graphic seems apt. The CIA was knowingly protecting a proxy force that was smuggling cocaine to criminal networks that were producing crack.

Yet, despite this hemming and hawing – perhaps a reflexive attempt to not make the New York Times look too bad – the review ends on a strong note, concluding: “However dark or extensive, the alliance Mr. Webb wrote about was a real one.”

[To learn more about the Contra-cocaine scandal and how you can hear a December 1996 joint appearance at which Robert Parry and Gary Webb discuss their reporting, click here.]

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.

Raining on China’s Parade

It is now necessary to look at the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ in a larger geopolitical perspective to best understand how it fits into the larger picture of US grand strategy for Eurasia. In short, the US is attempting to ‘rain on China’s parade’ of global ascendancy by hijacking and sabotaging it via whichever means possible, including internal subversion and the festering of violent and secessionist tendencies. Finally, important attention must be paid to how the Chinese authorities are dealing with the conundrum between capitulation and escalation

Low-Hanging Fruit

Hong Kong finally became reunited with China in 1997 after over 150 years of British occupation. Seeing as how it socially, politically, and economically developed in a different manner than the rest of China during such important and rapidly changing historical periods, it can be seen as having already formulated its own identity somewhat separate from that of the rest of the country. Hong Kong’s semi-autonomy institutionalized this in its citizens’ mindset after the reunification, and considering that they are formally an island chain (albeit in extreme close proximity to the mainland), there is also a geographic separation that reinforces their self-identification separateness. Through these means, a sizeable proportion of Hong Kong’s population is influenced by the West and its various mechanisms of projecting such influence (including in ‘democratic’ rhetoric), thus making it the low-hanging fruit of a unified China and subject to extreme outside interference.

The Chaos Contagion

The primary domestic objectives of the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ is to unleash a contagion of chaos to sweep through coastal China and severely undermine and weaken, if not overthrow, the Communist Party’s leadership. The idea is to create a ‘battering ram’ to break centralized control and initiate a chaotic chain reaction that spreads into all of China’s megalopolises via copycat movements (whether activated Color Revolution sleeper cells or not) and divides the rest of society, even if it is only theoretically 10% of a city’s population in favor of revolution and 90% against it. This strategic societal splitting leads to domestic chaos and a clash of two Chinas – ‘Chinese China’ and ‘Western China’, with the former supporting the Chinese method of democracy and managing affairs while the latter want to brazenly copy the West in all regards (like Russia’s ‘Westernizer’ leadership in the early 1990s, to similar success).

On June 4, 1989, soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators, killing somewhere between 500 and 2500 people. Are protesters trying to reach this situation too?

On June 4, 1989, soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators, killing somewhere between 500 and 2500 people. Are protesters trying to reach this situation too?

The end result is to create as much domestic chaos as possible to throw the authorities off balance and provoke another Tiananmen Square event. In turn, this can be selectively manipulated by Western media outlets for long-term image advantage and information warfare. CNN has already taken to highlighting the similaritiesbetween 1989 and 2014, and the activists themselves seem intent on doing the same, even hoisting the infamous ‘goddess of democracy’ above their gatherings. This is where the umbrella and plastic wrap innovations come into play. By offering the authorities no other non-lethal way to physically respond besides rubber bullets, the chances of this happening increase. Should the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ follow the template of Color Revolutions before it, one can expect ‘mysterious’ snipers to begin shooting indiscriminately at both police and civilians to maximize the chaotic uncertainty and provoke even more panic on the streets. Even if the Color Revolution attempt fails in all of its other objectives, it’s last-ditch intended legacy is to supercede the Tiananmen Square events as an even bigger black eye to China’s international reputation (whether real or perceived/manipulated).

The Containment and Cutting Apart of China

On an even larger scale, the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ is intended to both contain and then cut apart China, representing an ominous threat to the country’s international ambitions and even territorial integrity. To begin with, by redirecting the country’s focus back to the coast and away from the South China Sea maritime frontiers, it seeks to strategically distract Beijing in an already vulnerable geopolitical theater at a time of heightened competition and overlapping claims. In a certain way, it is specific iteration of the ‘Reverse Brzezinski’ theorem first postulated this summer in that it creates a US-sponsored ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ dilemma for Beijing.

Not only that, but the US has a long-term ‘defensive’ goal of strategic economic diversification away from China and towards the ASEAN countries. To explain, the US understands that the complex and intimate level of economic interdependence is a vulnerability that constraints itself from more aggressive actions against China. It also wants to create a buffer belt of anti-Chinese states in ASEAN. Thus, it seeks to marry these two goals together by finding ways for Western businesses to relocate from China to Vietnam, for example. It remains to be seen, but if the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ stretches on indefinitely, as EuroMaidan seemed to do, it is only a matter of time before some Western businesses make high-profiled exits from Hong Kong in favor of locales further south. This is but a small development in a very long-term game, but the general idea should be grasped by the reader, and this probable trend is something to monitor going forward.

The hype caused by the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ is expected to spread not only to coastal China (as explained previously), but further afield and deeper into the country. Specifically, the US would like to see its pro-separatist policies in Tibet and Xinjiang energized by this movement, hoping that its proxy ‘activists’ take to the streets of Lhasa and Urumqi with umbrellas and plastic wrap themselves. By deflecting the non-lethal crowd control tactics of the Chinese authorities, they too can provoke an escalation that may tragically result in unintended civilian casualties. In fact, looking at it another way, the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ is the first time that the US’ destabilization campaigns have penetrated the Heihe-Tengchong Line. This geographical division divides the country into roughly two geographically equal parts, but with the West having about 6% of the population and the East, the other 94%. Ideally for America, if destabilization can be coordinated on both sides of the Heihi-Tengchong Line between Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang (not only by their American overseers, but by collaborationist and unwitting domestic organizers within China), thenthis would be a partial fulfilment of America’s strategic warfare against China, throw Beijing off balance, and reorient the overall Asian initiative against China’s favor. Accordingly, this scenario represents a terrifyingly realistic nightmare for the Communist Party, hence the seriousness with which they are regarding the ‘Umbrella Revolution’.

Between Two Chairs

Thus, an analysis of Beijing’s response to the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ takes on even more heightened importance than previously thought, since the movement, as has been argued, could be the spark initiating a larger separatist and anti-government push all throughout the country. With the activists having neutralized all non-lethal methods of crowd control by the authorities through their umbrellas and plastic wrap, the government now stands between two chairs, to quote a Russian saying, where neither capitulation nor escalation is preferable. Thus, as was remarked in Part I, China has opted to wait and see how the movement develops, hoping that the majority of Hong Kong’s citizens which oppose the destabilization will demonstrate their opposition to the Color Revolution and fizzle the event out. This, however, is fraught with risk and could drastically backfire, although in the present circumstances, it may be the only reasonable approach of the country’s leadership at the moment.

Umbrella-Revolution-Explainer-01As the New York Times noted in the above-referenced hyperlink, by choosing such a strategy, the government is effectively ceding the momentum to the movement, which could result in its exponential expansion. Nonetheless, if the Chinese authorities use this extra time to arrest the core and cohorts behind the Color Revolution attempt, then it can adeptly eliminate this threat by leaving only a mass of peaceful and confused civilians sitting around without subversive orders. The government does appear to be making moves in this direction, as the newspaper alsoreports that it is tracking and monitoring the cell phone activity of certain activists, likely in an attempt to locate and arrest the covert ringleaders (not the red-herring and media-iconic strawmen like Joshua Wong).

Beijing’s method of dealing with the crisis also carries with it another risk, namely that the pro-government crowds that it expects to gather could in the long run turn out to be dangerous in their own right. For example, although they may be useful in mitigating the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ and saving Hong Kong’s stability, in the future they could gather on their own (using the connections acquired during their previous activity) to act autonomously and without Beijing’s blessing. This could take the form of extreme and widely broadcasted nationalist protests pertaining to the South China Sea controversy that could disrupt delicate Chinese diplomacy during a future crisis. Of course, the greater question is the extent that China can monitor and influence its citizens (both those that are pro- and anti-government), but this seemingly far-off threat could become a realistic possibility (or even one that could be directed and instigated by outside forces seeking to undermine China) sometime in the future. Basically, by opening the floodgates of activist civil society, China could also be unintentionally opening up a Pandora’s Box.

Concluding Thoughts

Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’ is undeniably a Western-orchestrated Color Revolution that seeks to exploit legitimate grievances to subversive and possibly secessionist effect. It is divided into two main groups, the dupes and the troops, with both of them having been brought together to form an anti-government mass in the middle of Hong Kong. By eliminating the effectiveness of the authorities’ non-lethal crowd control methods through cheap and readily available umbrellas and plastic wrap, they have pressed the government to resort to near-lethal force and rubber bullets if the activists follow through on their occupation threats. Although engineered to create a social contagion to rip through coastal China and the ethnic periphery, the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ succeeds if it can merely create the perception of another Tiananmen Square. Thus, Beijing is faced with a near intractable dilemma in how to proceed, hence its tentative ‘wait and see’ approach. This is, however, but a temporary breather, and both the anti-government activists and the legitimate authorities are likely bracing for what seems to be an inevitable escalation (protester-provoked) that could very well climax in catastrophe.

Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

For the past several years, the United Nations has served as a platform for Syria’s enemies to air allegations of human rights abuses and even attempts to use such allegations to justify military aggression against Syria itself. Tales of “barrel bombs” being used against civilians, the bombardment of enemy positions at the cost of civilian lives and the destruction of vital infrastructure have all been constructs in the West’s narrative against the Syrian government.

Now that the US is itself bombing Syria, killing Syrians including innocent men, women and children, as well as vital infrastructure local populations depend on for their survival, the UN has grown suddenly quiet. The Western press too seems to have reverted to its observance of the notion of “collateral damage.” Suddenly, the very terrorists the Syrian government has tried to warn the world about for years as it fought them in its city streets and countrysides, are now bad enough for the end of defeating them to justify the means of occasionally killing civilians, so long as they are killed with US rather than Syrian weapons.

The startling hypocrisy combines with the fact that Syria’s military is operating within its territory, conducting security operations to secure its own borders and all territory within it, while the US is operating thousands of miles from its own shores, in a foreign country, with both a doubtful pretext and an even more doubtful agenda in mind as it does so.

Where is the United Nations? The airstrikes in Syria carried out by the US, Persian Gulf states, and several European nations are done so without the Syrian government’s approval, no recognized opposition party has approved of them, and certainly no UN resolution has provided the West with a mandate to exercise military force inside of Syria. On this point alone, the UN should be standing up in vocal protest, leveling sanctions against those participating in this act of unilateral, illegal military aggression. Additionally, the UN should be speaking out against the loss of civilian lives, just as it did during the past several years of chaos in Syria’s ongoing conflict, as well as preparing monitoring teams and investigations into the impact of these attacks.

Aside from Syria, there is another battlefield the UN is suspiciously absent from. Ukraine. In Ukraine, Kiev has been carrying out increasingly atrocious campaigns of violence against its own people. As it steadily loses control over territory in the east of Ukraine, grisly scenes of mass murder, torture, and extrajudicial executions are being uncovered. Yet there is no protest voiced within the UN, no teams being mobilized to investigate unearthed crime scenes and no measures taken against the perpetrators which include ultra-right wing militant groups espousing modern-day Nazism like the notorious Right Sector.

While some may claim such accusations are merely “Kremlin propaganda,” it is the West’s own Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which provides daily reports from its own monitors on the ground inside Ukraine, that have mentioned the presence of right-wing militants, their destruction of Ukraine’s historical heritage, their attacking and harassing of their political opponents and violence they are carrying out across the country, from eastern Ukraine to the capital of Kiev itself.

Recently OSCE reported that the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which literally flies a flag featuring Adolf Hitler’s SS Wolfsangel insignia on it, led mobs in the dismantling of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Another OSCE report noted that Right Sector was leading mobs in Odessa.  An earlier OSCE report from August would admit another Kiev “volunteer battalion” similar to Azov and Right Sector, the so-called “Aidar Battalion,” was at the center of several human rights abuses and in particular, the abduction, torture, and holding for ransom of eastern Ukrainians.

Clearly there are abuses taking place, carried out by overtly abhorrent extremist groups espousing ideology illegal throughout most of Europe, but supported by the European Union, NATO, and the United States. Why the UN has remained silent on this while so vocal on other issues raises serious questions about its objectivity and impartiality.

The UN as a Tool for Special Interests 

While in theory the UN is supposed to be an impartial arbiter of international law, through clearly biased actions it is revealed to be a subject to certain special interests, merely using the pretext of human rights and international law to selectively advance the agenda of certain member states while ignoring entirely such principles when convenient.

In Syria, US bombs are now killing Syrian civilians, destroying infrastructure and all while violating the sovereignty of the nation of Syria itself. The act of military aggression the US and its partners are exercising in Syria run contrary to the UN Charter itself and constitute a grave infraction of international law. When the UN ponders the steady erosion of its legitimacy, popularity and effectiveness, it is displays of double standards like those seen in Syria that are the cause.

Likewise, in Ukraine, where ultra-right militants espousing Nazism are openly carrying out human rights violations so often and overtly that even the European-aligned OSCE must report them all while the UN remains utterly silent and flaccid, undermines not only the UN itself, but the concept of international law altogether.

When international law is cited and enforced selectively by certain member states of the United Nations, using the UN itself as a platform to legitimize otherwise illegal actions, the world teeters on the edge of global lawlessness leaving the remaining members of the UN to ponder alternatives in resolving injustices perpetuated rather than challenged by the UN and its Charter.

Eastern Ukrainians, the Syrians and all their respective allies are left with little other choice than to act unilaterally themselves to defend their territory and people as well as their interests in the face of rogue nations that have apparently co-opted and now control much of the UN.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Two very different allies of Washington have decided to spread their wings more aggressively in the ever expanding conflict against the Islamic State.  Turkey has decided to get the boots of its soldiers dirty via parliamentary vote (298 to 98), while Australia has done its obsequious best by deploying its small forces by executive fiat.

Several crude and separate realities are masked by these decisions.  For one thing, it doesn’t get away from the fact that Ankara’s view on the Islamic State is somewhat alien to that of Washington’s.  Foreign policy analysts use the irritating term “disconnect” in describing the relationship between the government of President Recept Tayyip Erdoğan and that of US President Barack Obama on the subject.[1]

Any Turkish deployment to assist the Coalition forces has been marred by its Syrian calculations, ones which were based on a labyrinthine series of considerations of which group to back in their conflict against the Assad regime.  The logical conclusion of that rather skittish policy was one of backing almost all groups, from those of moderate hue (can revolution ever be in moderation?) to more conventional, hard hitting fundamentalists.  Turning a blind eye to atrocity and mayhem, even among Syria’s own diffuse and murderous opposition, was always going to be on the cards.

Such laxness was bound to revisit Turkey at some point, and the fear now is that the Islamic State has become something of an internalised bacillus, keeping a close eye on Ankara’s movements even as it supposedly involves itself with the somewhat hobbled coalition of the righteous.  As Sinan Ülgen surmises, “The fear now is that this benign neglect has allowed the Islamic State to embed itself in Turkey and build the capacity to conduct terrorist activities on Turkish soil – and thus to retaliate for Turkish participation in the US-led coalition.”[2]

The statements from Turkish officials seem to centre on such flashpoints as Kobane (Ayn al Arab), which is witnessing an incessant assault from Islamic State forces.  It has become a point of attraction for Kurdish fighters whom the Turkish forces are wary of given their links to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), and the issue of how far the Turkish troops will go to actually prevent it from falling.  The Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has stated that, “We wouldn’t want Kobane to fall.  We’ll do whatever we can to prevent this from happening.”[3]

Yet even as Kobane is being pummelled, the guns of Turkish tanks are trained away from the city.  This seemingly describes a long tendency in Ankara’s foreign policy.  An authorisation for the use of military force need not be a clarion call for aggressive engagement – after all the fuss, the Turkish parliament has given three in a row.[4]  The balance may well change if the tomb of Suleyman Shah – a Turkish enclave in northern Syria – is threatened.

The Australian deployment to the Middle East was never in dispute, lacking the range of nuanced problems facing Ankara.  Unlike the Turkish example, Cabinet, not Parliament, made the decision to engage in some long distance killing against an enemy it can barely describe.  (Abbott has resorted to the Darth Vader-like appellation of an “apocalyptic death cult”.)

With the outflanked Greens essentially the only party crying foul at the pompously unilateral move, it was left to the near invisible foreign minister, Julie Bishop, to affirm “the usual convention of past governments and that is that the government of the day has the ultimate responsibility for making decisions involving our military.”  On that score, dastardly convention is on Bishop’s side, with Australia’s Cabinet resolutely anti-parliamentarian in deploying troops since federation in 1901.  Indifference and spinelessness are sound properties of the Australian political system.

While the Abbott government stirs populist flames on home soil dangling burqa bans for visitors to Parliament (Abbott subsequently quashed the inane moves), Canberra’s foreign deployments operate according to laws of futility.  An almost enviable, clear headed stupidity seems to dictate the Prime Minister’s decision.  “ISIL,” Abbott explained on October 3, “has effectively declared war on the world.  The world is responding.”

In typically bamboozling fashion, Abbott, having suggested that the Islamic State has declared a global war, suggests that Australians are not involved in such a business, engaging in a repelling, humanitarian “mission”.  Having taken a rather novel reading of the laws of war, Abbott noted the authorisation of “Australian air strikes in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government and in support of the Iraqi government.”[5]

The Middle East has always provided the richest of grounds for abhorrent vacuums of power.  These have all too often been filled by something worse. There are no exotic proclamations of pivoting away and finding refuge in some other strategic theatre.  The Coalition’s language of liquidation and degradation towards the Islamic State will simply displace one problem with another. Ankara may have stumbled, but it has done so in part with good reason. Australia’s involvement, however, is pure indulgence, an act of historical vanity and political immaturity.

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

 
Notes 

The Vice President’s speech this week at Harvard University raised a few eyebrows when he blamed Washington’s Middle East allies for financing and  fueling the rise of the Islamic terrorist phenomenon ISIS. 

There’s more to this than meets the eye…

RT reports:

On Thursday, Biden said his “old friend” Erdogan (Turkish President) had admitted to making a mistake in allowing foreign fighters to cross the Turkish border into Syria.

“You were right. We let too many people through.  Now they’re trying to seal their border,” Biden quoted Erdogan as saying.

So Biden just blew the lid on Syria’s Jihadi plague and threw Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE – the whole Arab coalition, under the bus. This is a significant departure from the Vice President’s wild-eyed, American muscle-flexing, “Gates of Hell” ISIS speech unleashed only weeks earlier.

Most alternative journalists and geopolitical realists will certainly back Biden’s point, and some may even applaud it, but it’s still a huge break from the White House and US State Department, who have carefully crafted a mythology of a cohesive ‘Coalition’ in their battle to crush ISIS in Iraq and Syria (see video below).

Biden’s admission has prompted many alternative media pundits to ask the question: Has Joe Biden finally grown a brain?

It might look that way – like Biden has suddenly become a whistleblower of sorts (just imagine) but Biden has always had a brain. The ruling clique has gone to great lengths to craft the harmless ‘back seat’ image of ‘Uncle Joe’ as Barack Obama’s second in command, but just as power filtered through VP Dick Cheney during the Bush Jr years, so it is with Biden – one of Washington’s senior ‘ultimate insiders’ and super deal brokers.

Let’s not forget it was Senator Joe Biden (photo, left) then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who met with Pakistani General Mahmood Ahmed the day after the attacks of September 11, 2001. This is the same General Ahmed who transferred $100K to alleged 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, as well as instructed terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh. Bear in mind, all this was going on while Obama was just getting his feet wet in the Illinois state legislature. Any questions?

Although it might be a signal of Washington changing tact in order to escape from the political hole it has dug with ISIS and Syria, there’s something else, a bigger theme at play here in Biden’s Harvard speech. By pointing the finder at the corrupt GCC petrol monarchies and the Turks, he distances himself not only from Obama’s own state position of an all-Arab love-in, but from other key Washington players as well, namely former Secretary of State and chief architect of the Syria’s civil war, Hillary Clinton. Notice at the tail end of his diatribe how Biden subtly points his finger of shame at the ‘Friends of Syria’ group spear-headed by Hillary Clinton in 2011-2012.


Here we can see Biden distancing himself from a possible rival in the 2016 Presidential Democratic primary. In 2016, foreign policy will be the top plank in every presidential platform, and Biden 2016 will need a leg-up if he hopes to give serious competition to Hillary. To stand out with voters, he will need to escape blame from the ISIS quagmire, and what better way to do this than by blaming then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for that mess.

Now some naysayers will be  screaming right about now, “how do you know Biden is even going to run in 2016?”. Over the last month, a number of major media outlets have been seeding the idea of a 2016 run, and that’s not by accident. Yes, Uncle Joe is prone to gaff and bloopers, but he has the connections, the support network, and he can raise the funds.

With the help of then British Foreign Secretary William Hague, it was through the Friends of Syria that Clinton was able to create the political smokescreen necessary to coordinate arms and financial aid between the GCC and Turkey, as well as through the fledgling US puppet government in Libya in 2012 which no doubt included funneling ex-Gaddafi arms stock and Jihadist guerrilla fighters from Libya to their new-found rebel fighting force in Syria, a CIA-run covert operation which eventually cost the lives of Americans in Benghazi including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Not surprisingly, Biden’s ISIS comments were mostly ignored by the mainstream press who drew a media curtain to conceal Biden’s controversial remarks, instead diverting headlines to Biden’s gaff, “Isn’t it a bitch”, while speaking to his Harvard’s student body counterpart, Student VP senior Sietse Goffard. The comic relief overshadowed the monumental controversy.

Once again, the media belies the seriousness of what’s happening before our eyes.


Biden can smell the power, and let’s face it – he’s used to riding on Air Force One, and let’s also face it – he’d love to call the shots and drop the bombs.

Think of a Biden Presidency as something like another Washington insider’s reign with George Bush Sr, only that Biden will have a lot more electoral competition than Bush had in 1988.

The tides are turning against US-funded mobs in the streets of Hong Kong amid the so-called “Occupy Central” protests, as increasingly impatient residents and business owners come out into the streets to confront protesters. At times outnumbering and overwhelming the “Occupy Central” protesters, the movement represents residents, business owners, and by-standers attempting to restore normality to Hong Kong’s streets after the government and police have so far been unable to do so.

 

Image: Within articles claiming an ongoing and growing backlash against Occupy Central protesters is led by “triad” gangsters, are pictures of angry residents who are clearly not triad members. 

 

In response, both US-funded Occupy Central leaders and their backers across the Western media have attempted to claim thousands of anti-Occupy Central protesters are in fact “paid triad” gangsters. In the Sydney Morning Herald’s article, “Violent mobs with triad links threaten Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters,” it is claimed without evidence that:

Pro-democracy protesters were besieged by violent mobs looking to break up their occupation of one of Hong Kong’s busiest districts on Friday, leading to chaotic skirmishes on city streets, accusations of police bias, and the shelving of negotiations with the government.

Nineteen people were arrested, at least eight of whom had “triad backgrounds”, police said early on Saturday, lending weight to furious accusations from pro-democracy groups that the violence was instigated by gangs who had been paid to provoke trouble and break up the demonstrations

The Herald fails to cite any evidence confirming these arrests, as well as provide any context to what “triad backgrounds” actually means. Attempting to discredit thousands of anti-Occupy Central protesters as “triads” using nebulous and baseless accusations equates to overt propaganda. Worst yet, the Herald’s own article featured an AFP photo of anti-Occupy Central protesters – middle-aged and elderly men most likely business owners and local residents – but clearly not “triads.”

 

Image: Triad gangsters across Chinese society including mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, generally sport large conspicuous tattoos on their upper bodies, are young, and very easy to spot, even when they attempt to blend in when attempting to put their days of organized crime behind them. In Singapore particularly, public awareness campaigns ask employers not to judge former triad members on their appearances. It is unlikely that thousands of “triads” could come out onto the streets of Hong Kong and the Western press failed to capture any pictures of them – meaning their claims of “tirades” confronting Occupy Central protesters is a fabrication.

So conditioned is the ordinary reader of Western newspapers that headlines directly contradicted by the content of the article as well as accompanying pictures goes unnoticed. However, for a growing number of increasingly astute segments of the global public, such discrepancies are beginning to stand out with startling conspicuity.

They myriad of growing lies surrounding the US-engineered chaos in Hong Kong’s streets is but one part of a much larger, long-term campaign to contain, co-opt, or collapse China’s political order, and replace it once again with Balkanized colonial proxies.

Usa e Nato restano in Afghanistan

October 4th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

L’accordo Usa-Afghanistan voluto da Washington, ostacolato per quasi un anno dal rifiuto del presidente Karzai di sottoscriverlo, è stato firmato im pompa magna a Kabul il 30 settembre, il giorno dopo l’insediamento del nuovo presidente Ashraf Ghani. L’«Accordo di cooperazione sulla sicurezza e la difesa» – comprendente, oltre a una premessa e a un annesso, 26 articoli  suddivisi in 116 punti – contiene tutto ciò che Washington voleva ottenere.

In base all’accordo, che resterà in vigore dal 2015 al 2024 e oltre, gli Stati uniti potranno mantenere in Afghanistan, dopo la fine formale della «missione di combattimento» il 31 dicembre 2014, circa 10mila militari con il compito ufficiale di consigliare (leggi comandare), addestrare, equipaggiare e sostenere le «forze di sicurezza» nazionali. Gran parte del contingente Usa sarà composta da forze per le operazioni speciali, che effettueranno «missioni di controterrorismo» in territorio afghano. Anche se non si specifica, saranno  a tal fine usati droni armati, elicotteri e cacciabombardieri che partiranno da basi terrestri e portaerei dislocate in zone limitrofe.

Le forze speciali Usa vengono di fatto autorizzate a fare irruzione nelle case afghane (punto contestato da Karzai), anche se formalmente l’accordo impegna gli Usa ad avere  «pieno rispetto per la salvezza e sicurezza degli afghani anche nelle loro case». I militari Usa restano di fatto sottratti alle leggi afghane, poiché all’articolo 13 l’Afghanistan acconsente che «gli Stati uniti abbiano l’esclusivo diritto di esercitare la giurisdizione» sui propri militari che «commettano qualsiasi reato criminale o civile» in Afghanistan.

L’accordo stabilisce (all’articolo 7) che «l’Afghanistan autorizza gli Stati uniti a usare installazioni ed aree scelte di comune accordo e ad esercitare tutti i diritti necessari al loro uso operativo e al loro controllo, compreso il diritto di intraprendere nuovi lavori di costruzione». In altre parole, l’accordo autorizza gli Stati uniti a mantenere e potenziare basi militari in Afghanistan. Anche se nell’articolo 7 non si specifica quali siano, nell’annesso si elencano, quali «punti ufficiali di imbarco e di sbarco» delle forze statunitensi, 7 basi aeree (Bagram, Kabul, Kandahar, Shendand, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Shorab) e 5 terrestri (Toorkham, Spinboldak, Toorghundi, Hairatan, Sherkhan Bandar). Inoltre l’Afghanistan autorizza gli Stati uniti a «posizionare equipaggiamenti, rifornimenti e materiali militari in tali installazoni ed aree e in altre scelte di comune accordo». In altre parole, autorizza gli Usa a preposizionare nelle basi afghane gli armamenti ed equipaggaimenti necessari per una guerra regionale su larga scala, come potrebbe essere quella contro l’Iran.  In cambio, il governo afghano riceverà dagli Usa e altri «donatori» (tra cui l’Italia) un consistente aiuto economico, quantificato in 4 miliardi di dollari annui, che come il precedente finirà in gran parte nelle tasche della casta dominante, arricchitasi con i miliardi della Nato, gli affari sottobanco e il traffico di droga.

Subito dopo quello Usa-Afghanistan, è stato firmato «L’Accordo tra Nato e Afghanistan sullo status delle forze», analogo al primo. Esso permette di mantenere in Afghanistan, oltre a quelli statunitensi, 4-5mila militari, per la maggior parte britannici, tedeschi, italiani e turchi. Quindi l’Italia, continuando a spendere milioni di euro sottratti ai nostri cittadini, resterà in Afghanistan, dove la nostra aeronautica continuerà a operare con aerei da trasporto C-130 J e da guerra elettronica EC-27 della 46a Brigata aerea di Pisa e velivoli a pilotaggio remoto Predator del 32° stormo di Amendola; dove continueranno a operare ancor più di prima le forze speciali, oggi potenziate dalla nascita del comando unificato a Pisa.

La guerra continuerà così in forma coperta, provocando altre vittime e tragedie sociali in Afghanistan che – situato al crocevia tra Asia centrale e meridionale, occidentale e orientale – costituisce un’area ancora più importante oggi che la strategia Usa/Nato sta portando a un nuovo confronto con la Russia e, sullo sfondo, con la Cina.

Manlio Dinucci

“The Cuban Five are heroic men, five heroic men who made enormous sacrifices to ensure that their country not be the subject of terrorist attacks. They did a work, and in any other situation they would be men that would be awarded and considered heroes in this sense, and the trial that they received in a very hostile atmosphere in Florida was a tragedy and an act of injustice not only to the five men, but the Cuban people, and also those conscious people in America as well, and around the world who really want to have a war against terrorism.”

-Actor Danny Glover, September, 2012 [1]

“The story of the Cuban Five is one of courage, great sacrifice and love. It is a story for the ages; especially for those of our people who have suffered under the implacable oppression of white American supremacy, a rule of color and power the rest of the world appears destined to experience.” 

-Alice Walker [2]

…in fact we know that these kinds of tactics by the US government against the Cuban Five have been meant to try to pressure them. The FBI even has recently approached the Cuban Five and said ‘you know if you collaborate with us, if you give in, if you say you’re guilty, then we’ll consider letting you go.’ And that’s not what these men are about. They have principles, their mission was honorable, and they refused to collaborate with the US government against themselves and their people.”

-Gloria La Riva, organizer with the National Committee to Free the Five

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For decades, groups based in Miami, Florida have launched literally hundreds of terrorist attacks against the Cuban people and Cuban Nationals. These include bombings, assassinations, and particularly boatloads of weapons sent to Cuba to be used against its citizens. It is estimated that at least 3,478 people have died, and 2,009 have been injured as a direct result of these acts of terrorism. [3]

The Cuban government, quite reasonably, sought to thwart such attacks. Five Cuban Intelligence officers: Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González were dispatched to infiltrate and monitor these Miami-based groups to protect their countrymen. They did succeed in uncovering some of these plots.

On September 12, 1998, these men were arrested and indicted on a charge of Espionage Conspiracy. [4] They were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences including 17 months in solitary confinement!

Supporters of the Five argue that the trial which indicted the men was fundamentally unfair, that they have been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and that the prosecution was politically motivated.

Two of the Five,  Fernando Gonzalez, and René Gonzalez have been freed, but the other three remain locked up. One of the men, Gerardo Hernandez, faces TWO life sentences plus a fifteen year sentence on top of that.

In this episode of the Global Research News Hour, special guest interviewer Lesley Hughes interviews Gloria La Riva, an organizer with the National Committee to Free the Five (quoted above) and the first of the five to be freed, René González.

President Obama, YES YOU CAN free the Cuban Five!

People wishing to get involved in current and ongoing solidarity efforts to free the Cuban Five, or who merely wish for more background are encouraged to visit the following sites:

www.freethefive.org

www.theCuban5.org

There are also two important books on the subject:

 Letters of Love and Hope: The Story of the Cuban Five with an Introduction by Alice Walker [5]

What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five by Stephen Kimber [6]

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

Notes:

  1. http://www.thecuban5.org/2012/09/13/danny-glover-the-cuban-five-are-heroic-men/
  2. http://www.freethefive.org/store.htm#books
  3. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/20/the-u-s-s-terrorism-double-standard/ ; http://www.freethefive.org/whoarethefive.htm
  4. http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/canada/EN/FiveHeroes/SummaryoftheCase.aspx
  5. http://www.freethefive.org/store.htm#books
  6. ibid

Charles Lewis’ book, 935 Lies, would make a fine introduction to reality for anyone who believes the U.S. government usually means well or corporations tend to tell the truth in the free market. And it would make an excellent introduction to the decline and fall of the corporate media. Even if these topics aren’t new to you, this book has something to add and retells the familiar quite well.

The familiar topics include the Gulf of Tonkin, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, the civil rights movement, U.S. aggression and CIA overthrows, Pinochet, Iran-Contra, lying tobacco companies, and Edward R. Murrow. Lewis brings insight to these and other topics, and if he doesn’t document that things were better before the 1960s, he does establish that horrible things have been getting worse since, and are now much more poorly reported on.

The New York Times and Washington Post were afraid not to print the Pentagon Papers. Nowadays a typical decision was that of the New York Times to bury its story on warrentless spying in 2004, with the explanation that printing it might have impacted an election. TV news today would not show you the civil rights movement or the war on Vietnam as it did at the time.

Lewis has hope for new media, including the Center for Public Integrity, which he founded in 1989, and which has produced numerous excellent reports, including on war profiteering, and which Lewis says is the largest nonprofit investigative reporting organization in the world.

Points I quibble with:

1. Human Rights Watch as a model media organization? Really?

2. The New America Foundation as a model media organization? Really?

3. Think tanks as a great hope for integrity in public life? Really?

4. After making 935 of the George W. Bush gang’s lies a book title, you aren’t sure he “knowingly” lied? Seriously?

This is the guy who wanted an excuse to attack Iraq before he had one. He told Tony Blair they could perhaps paint a U.S. plane in U.N. colors, fly it low, and hope for it to get shot at — after which conversation the two men spoke to the media about how they were trying to avoid war. This was January 31, 2003, and is quite well documented, but I don’t think a single reporter who was lied to that day has taken any offense or asked for an apology.  This is the president who rushed the war to prevent completion of inspections. This is the president who made dozens of wild claims about weapons without evidence — in fact with evidence to the contrary.

Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the former president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: “What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger.” What’s the difference? It’s the difference between lying and meaning well. This interview is available on video.

5. Why not bring the trend of lying about wars up to date, I wonder. Since I wrote War Is A Lie we’ve had all the lies about drone wars, the lies about Gadaffi threatening to slaughter civilians, the lies about Iranian nukes and Iranian terrorism, the lies about Russian invasions and attacks in Ukraine, the lies about chemical weapons use in Syria, the lies about humanitarian and barbaric justifications for attacking Iraq yet again. It’s hard to even keep up with the pace of the lies.  But we ought to be able to properly identify the mother of all lies, and I don’t think it was the Gulf of Tonkin.

6. Lewis’s model of integrity is Edward R. Murrow. Among Murrow’s independent and heroic credentials, according to Lewis, is that he met with President Roosevelt hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, I take nothing away from Murrow’s reporting and the stand he later took for a free press. But why did Lewis bring up this meeting? And once he’d brought it up why did he not mention that Murrow told his wife that night that FDR had given him the “biggest story of my life, but I don’t know if it’s my duty to tell it or forget it.” The Murrow depicted by Lewis would have known what his duty was. Murrow later told John Gunther that the story would put his kid through college if he told it. He never did.

That many people will not immediately know what the story was is testimony to a pattern that Lewis documents. Some lies take many, many years to fall apart. The biggest ones sometimes take the longest.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics headline this morning reads: “Payroll employment increases by 248,000 in September; unemployment rate declines to 5.9%.”

How can this be? As I reported yesterday, US corporations are investing in buying back their own stocks, not in new business ventures that produce new jobs.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/10/02/poverty-report-contradicts-gdp-claims-paul-craig-roberts/

According to the Census Bureau’s Poverty Report, US real median family income has declined to the level of twenty years ago.

http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf

Consumer credit and real retail sales are not growing. Construction is limited to rental units. Construction shows 16,000 new jobs, half of which are “specialty trade contractors” or home remodelers.

The payroll jobs report lists 35,300 new jobs in retail trade. How is this possible when J.C. Penny’s, Macy’s, Sears, and the dollar store chains are in trouble and closing stores, and shopping centers are renting space by the day or hour?

At a time when there is a surfeit of office buildings and only 500 new jobs in “heavy and civil engineering construction,” the jobs report says 6,000 new jobs have been created in “architectural and engineering services.” What work are these architects and engineers doing?

The 4,900 computer systems jobs, if they exist, are likely short-term contracts from 6 to 18 months. Those who have the jobs are not employees but “independent contractors.”

The payroll jobs report gives an unusually high number–81,000–of “professional and business services” jobs of which 60,000 are “administrative and waste services,” primarily “temporary help services.”

“Health care and social assistance” accounts for 22,700 of the new jobs, of which 63 percent consist of “ambulatory health care services.”

“Performing arts and spectator sports” gave the economy 7,200 jobs, and 20,400 Americans found employment as waitresses and bartenders.

State governments hired 22,000 people.

Let’s overlook the contribution of the discredited “birth-death model” which overstates on average the monthly payroll jobs by at least 50,000, and let’s ignore the manipulation of seasonal adjustments. Instead, let’s assume the numbers are real. What kind of economy are we looking at?

We are looking at the workforce of a third world country with the vast bulk of the jobs in low-pay domestic service jobs. People working these part-time and independent contractor jobs cannot form a household or obtain a mortgage.

As John Titus, Dave Kranzler and I have shown, these jobs are filled by those aged 55 and over who take the low paying jobs in order to supplement meager retirement incomes. The baby boomers are the only part of the US labor force whose participation rate is rising.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/04/lie-serves-rich-roberts-titus-kranzler/ 

Of the claimed new jobs in September, 230,000 or 93 percent were jobs filled by those 55 and older. Employment of Americans of prime working age (25-54) declined by10,000 jobs in September from the August level.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t09.htm

As the US labor force continues its transition from first world to third world, real median family income will continue to decline. Ladders of upward mobility will continue to be dismantled, and income and wealth will continue to concentrate in the pockets of the One Percent. America is truly a country run for the few.

Another Questionable ISIS Beheading Video Released

October 4th, 2014 by Kurt Nimmo

Questionable beheading videos, unverified and unsubstantiated yet accepted as valid by governments and the establishment media, now appear with every political turn in the ISIS War.

The latest person allegedly killed is Alan Henning, a British citizen. His supposed beheading, not actually shown in the video, follows that of another British citizen, David Haines.

On Thursday, the British government announced it would resume training “rebels” fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move that aids a primary objective ISIS, a terror group supposedly spawned from al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Last week Britain joined the bombing campign in Syria that has killed numerous civilians.

British PM David Cameron explooited the alleged beheading video of Haines, said to be an aid worker, to rally Parliament to war.

“This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us,”Cameron said. “There isn’t a ‘walk on by’ option. There isn’t an option of just hoping this will go away.”

The first in the series of ISIS theatrical productions, the assumed beheading of American James Foley, was dismissed as a fake by vafrious researchers. In August, The Telegraph reported

…a study of the four-minute 40-second clip, carried out by an international forensic science company which has worked for police forces across Britain, suggested camera trickery and slick post-production techniques appear to have been used…no blood can be seen, even though the knife is drawn across the neck area at least six times.

Theatrical beheadings, conducted off camera for unmentioned reason, will continue to be strategically released as the ISIS war unfolds.

49 Hostages Swapped for 180 ISIL Terrorists

October 4th, 2014 by Global Research News

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, center right, stands with freed hostages at the airport in Ankara, Turkey on Sept. 20, 2014. (Photo: AP)

The terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released 49 hostages who were abducted from the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul in June in exchange for Turkey’s release of 180 key figures from the jihadist group, the Taraf daily reported on Thursday.

Forty-nine members of the consulate staff were held hostage by ISIL for 101 days before being released on Sept. 20, but speculation as to how they were freed continues to occupy the country’s agenda. Taraf claimed that a number of key ISIL figures were traded for the hostages.

Giving a detailed report on the hostage release, Taraf claimed that US air strikes on ISIL militants in Iraq in August resulted in wounded terrorists being sent to Turkey for treatment. The US then warned Turkey not to release those militants. But, ISIL said they would kill the hostages if those ISIL fighters were not allowed to return to Iraq and Syria. The Turkish government then developed a swap plan for the release of the hostages, simultaneously ridding Turkey of the ISIL elements and releasing the hostages.

Local tribes mediated for swap deal

Local tribal figures who are providing support to the US’s campaign against ISIL in Iraq acted as mediators in the exchange process. With their help a deal was reached and the logistics were finalized. The ISIL militants would bring the hostages to the Turkish border and inform the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) of the hostages’ location, the report said.

In the wake of the hostages’ return, the government, in accordance with the deal, gathered ISIL militants who had been detained during medical treatment in Turkish hospitals. One hundred eighty fighters were then taken to a military post in Van. Whether the ISIL terrorists who killed a police officer, a military officer and a Turkish citizen in Niğde province in March were included in the swap deal is not clear. However, rumors circulating in government circles indicate that these terrorists were meant to be among the terrorists to be exchanged; however, the decision was abandoned, Taraf reported.

As part of the deal, the returned militants were given an undisclosed amount of money before they were handed over to ISIL.

The report also stated that the state’s key bodies, the MİT, the Prime Ministry Office and the President’s Office, competed against each other in an effort to give the impression that the hostage release was the result of their diplomatic attempts. In order to create this perception, the three agencies used certain media outlets affiliated with each other to claim the result as its own success. This prompted rumors that an internal power struggle was taking place over the hostages.

Harper’s on PBS: “The only special-interest group the network clearly favors is the aging upper class.”

In the October issue of Harper’s Magazine (10/14–subscription required), Eugenia Williamson takes a long look at the history ofPBS, with a particular focus on how far the public broadcaster has strayed from its intended mission. What was supposed to be a forum for the underrepresented has long been just another outlet for elite, establishment-oriented views: “Today, the only special-interest group the network clearly favors is the aging upper class: their tastes, their pet agendas, their centrist politics.”

The piece has a great quote from PBS mainstay Bill Moyers:

Night after night…the realities of life for the vast majority of Americans rarely show up on public television—neither in its public-affairs programming nor its primetime fare. There has been one documentary all year on the flailing middle class and the forgotten poor. Our Washington coverage, by design or not, serves up “news” the way the butler serves tea on Downton Abbeyso as not to disturb the master class. Even my friends at WETA, our flagship station in Washington, passed up the award-winning documentary Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth to air instead another episode of Antiques Roadshow and a program about the British royal family. And PBS has commissioned a series for next year, using US taxpayer funds, on the “great homes” of Great Britain. Not on homelessness in America. Unbelievable!

It’s a story that is familiar to FAIR’s readers; as Harper’s notes, we’ve been documenting this for over two decades.

The headline alone–”PBS Self-Destructs: And What It Means for Viewers Like You”–was surely going to rankle people at PBS. And it did; as reported inCurrent (9/18/14), PBS distributed talking points for station managers who might be asked about the article. They aren’t intended to rebut anything in Williamson’s piece; it is mostly a compilation of awards and ratings data to show that PBS is actually doing a wonderful job.

But that wasn’t the only reactionPBS had to the Harper’s article. As Keith Kelly of the New York Post reported (9/25/14), PBS will be pulling ads from the magazine that criticized them:

While there was an ad for the latest Burns saga The Roosevelts: An Intimate HistoryPBS has pulled ads from the November and December issues. The ads were supposed to hype the box set CD editions of the documentary.

This is well beyond ironic. Public broadcasting was set up in part because of an understanding that advertising exerts pressure on media outlets. Outlets like PBS would be thankfully freed from such entanglements. And now their response to critical coverage is to use their own advertising to signal their disapproval.

If PBS was looking for some gesture that would further confirm the point of Willamson’s piece, they found it.

 

Dees Illustration

While most of us might not see the benefit of new wars and military action across the planet, or the rise of the surveillance state to track our every move; if you are a defense contractor – times couldn’t be better.

After struggling with Congress, as detailed in the video report below, mega war profiteer defense contractor Northrop Grumman has won the day by receiving a new $354 million contract for its much-maligned Global Hawk spy drone. Its initial projected cost was $35 million each in 2005, but ballooned to $222 million by 2013. They’ve now settled on providing 3 new Global Hawks for $354 million, expanding to 37 total surveillance drones. There seems to be no mention of how this latest cost was reduced from previous estimates. But when one considers that Northrop spent $20.6 million lobbying Congress in 2013 – the most among defense contractors – the return on investment is solid.

According to the US Air Force press release:

The new aircraft will be capable of carrying sophisticated imaging and electronic signal sensors, which can collect multiple types of intelligence from high altitudes for up to 32 hours … to provide field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas in support of military, humanitarian and environmental missions.

As the main street U.S. economy continues its downward spiral into Third World status, prompting talk of forced austerity, it’s nice to know that there is always an extra $350 mil in reserve to keep the global drone arms race well funded and prosperous.

Transcript by Ben Levin 

It has a wingspan of 131 feet, a range of 8,700 miles, a crew of zero people, and the U.S. Defense Department wants a lot more of them.

It’s the Global Hawk Drone, developed by Northrop Grumman, and it’s currently the largest unmanned aircraft in the world.

But even though Northrop Grumman is a military contractor, the Global Hawk doesn’t drop bombs. It’s a surveillance plane and can monitor a region for up to 28 hours at a time, giving Americans an information edge on the battlefield. (Video Via YouTube)

CBS News“The primary mission? To support the troops on the ground and get them imagery they specifically request almost immediately.”

And its capabilities extend past the battlefield: NASA owns three, which it uses to monitor wildfires and hurricanes. (Video via YouTube)

But for all their uses, these drones are expensive: In 2013, each one cost $222 million, up from a $35 million estimate in 2005.

The sixfold price increase set off a bitter fight in Washington, with many claiming the drone was both more expensive and less effective than the manned U-2 plane, which made its first flight in 1955 and are made by rival firm Lockheed Martin.

Gen. Mike Hostage of the Air Combat Command put it like this“The problem is Global Hawk will take eight years before it can meet 90 percent of the current capability of the U-2. [Combatant commanders] are going to suffer for eight years, and the best they’re going to get is 90 percent.”

But if that sounds like a problem to you, you probably don’t work at Northrop Grumman, which haslobbied Congress harder than anyone to keep its Global Hawks soaring.

And so far it seems to be working. The Center for Public Integrity reports a 2013 attempt to mothball the plane was aborted over the wishes of the Air Force Brass by Congress.

The Air Force seems to have gotten the message. In September, it awarded Northrop a $354 million contract to expand the fleet to 37 planes.

Which means, for better or for worse, the Global Hawks will be soaring above other countries for decades to come.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

The Ebola Fear: “Transmission of the Virus”

October 4th, 2014 by Jon Rappoport

Transmission of the virus…this is what everybody is worried about now.

Transmission, transmission, transmission, through this route and that route.

I have news. Transmission does not automatically equal getting sick.

If it did, the entire human race would have been wiped out centuries ago.

People transfer germs to each other all the time. They house untold numbers of germs, and they transfer them.

I know there are many people out there who are afraid of germs. They use chemical wipes and they do all sorts of things to stay free of germs…as if that were possible.

The mere transferring of a virus from person A to person B says absolutely nothing about whether person B will get sick. Nothing.

What makes a person sick to the point where illness threatens his life? His immune system, which would ordinarily throw off germs, has been rendered too weak, by non-germ factors, to do its job.

Then you will find millions and millions of a particular active germ in his body. Then he can get sick and even die. The germs are the end result, not the cause.

Nothing about any of this is mentioned in public-health warnings.

The public is led to believe that passing a germ from person A to person B is a potentially fatal act, all by itself.

This is false.

If person B’s immune system is already on the ropes, he is sick or will get sick from any old germ passing through.

If his immune system is healthy, he will remain healthy. If a load of germs does enter his body, he may, under certain circumstances fall ill, but he will recover.

It’s important to note an exception: when doctors are injecting germs (and toxic chemicals) into the body, which happens during vaccination, then even a person with a strong immune system can be badly affected, far beyond temporary illness. Why? Because the injection is unnatural, in that it bypasses portals of immune defense. And because toxic chemicals are poison.

The real worry is the vaccine, not the virus in the wild.

The propaganda says: if someone passes you a virus, that act in itself constitutes a life-threatening danger.

False.

The truth is, if your immune system is weak, you need to find ways to become more healthy and strong.

Or you can submit to the massive fear-mongering about, say, Ebola, and accept the notion that merely “catching” Ebola threatens your life.

For more than a century, researchers and doctors on the fringes of conventional medicine, excluded from The Club, have argued that it is the condition of the terrain of the body, and not the germ, which determines health and illness.

The volume and weight of official germ propaganda have drowned them out.

The rise of the pharmaceutical industry has paralleled the broad spread of this propaganda. And not by accident.

Two situations: one, a person with a strong healthy immune system meets the Ebola virus; two, a person whose immune system is decimated meets an ordinary flu virus.

Which is the major threat?

Situation two.

Passed in 1990, the Farm Bill’s intent was to set regulations for the agricultural sector, implementing provisions for food, nutrition, forestry, natural resource conservation, environmental protection and rural development, among other facets.

Also referred to as FACT-90 (Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990), the law was designed to make agricultural policy more green, including keeping mandatory records on pesticide use and maintaining national standards for products labeled “organic,” according to the University of California.

Under the Farm Bill, the Organic Foods Production Act was established to uniform national organic food standards through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP).

Agribusiness employees holding NOSB seats jeopardize the quality of organic food

The NOP is responsible for setting standards for production, handling and processing of organically grown food, a program from which the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) was derived. The NOSB is a 15-member board that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on maintaining quality organic standards.

The NOSB is supposed to be comprised of individuals representing farmers, environmentalists, public interest advocates, handlers, retailers, scientists and a USDA certifying agent, as reported by Natural News. However, one of the nation’s leading organic industry watchdog groups has persistently criticized the selection of four NOSB board appointees and the secrecy surrounding their nominations.

“The selection process was conducted in secrecy despite requests to cast sunlight on the decision making and solicit input from a very engaged community of organic farmers, businesses, and consumers,” said Will Fantle, the co-director for The Cornucopia Institute.

“We think a more transparent process would ensure the selection of the best and brightest for the various vacancies on the board — instead of, once again, appeasing the organic corporate lobby.”

While four of the board’s seats are designated for “farmers” and “growers” in the organic industry (people who own or operate an organic farm), large agribusiness employees occupy two of the seats instead.

“Congress deliberately set aside the majority of seats for independent organic stakeholders as a way to prevent the kind of unseemly corporate influence we have witnessed in recent years on the NOSB,” Fantle stressed.

Cornucopia warns that allowing agribusiness employees to replace seats intended for farmers jeopardizes the integrity of organic food. Powerful food processors do not have the same interests as small-organic farmers, nor do their interests meet the NOSB’s intent under the law.

One of the new farmer-appointees is Ashley Swaffer, an employee of Arkansas Egg Company, a large, industrial-sized egg company that turned organic about five years ago. Last year, the company signed a consent decree with state officials “related to remediating problems concerning manure and liquid waste,” wrote Cornucopia.

“Maybe it’s a general conflict of interest to have companies that are primarily involved in non-certified organic manufacturing, sitting on the National Organic Standards Board.”
 - Mark Kastel

Meanwhile, Rebecca Goodman, a “hands-on” Wisconsin organic dairy farmer, was passed up after applying three times for the board. “I guess I am not suave enough to serve my fellow organic farmers. After three attempts, I will not be applying again,” she said.

Watchdog groups are also disappointed by the appointment of Tom Chapman, a Clif Bar employee selected for one of the “handler” seats.

“The USDA Secretary could have chosen a representative of a company that sells 100% organic products, rather than a company that offers manufacturers less than 20% of their product line in a certified organic form,” said Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for Cornucopia.

While some of Clif Bar’s products use organic materials, other ingredients are synthetic. Part of the board’s responsibility is to make decisions regarding allowing synthetic materials into organic food production.

“Clif Bar’s product line is basically competing with companies, at a higher price point, that are truly organic,” Kastel said. “If they are using lots of ingredients that are not presently approved for organics, will they be predisposed to open up organic production for increased use of synthetics?”

Additional sources:

http://www.cornucopia.org

http://www.nal.usda.gov

http://tilth.org

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.ams.usda.gov

http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.org

http://science.naturalnews.com

Image credit – CSIRO

Will the crazy GMO-creations ever come to a halt? Are our crops not enough for biotech? GM mosquitoes developed by Oxitec, a UK company, were already released in other countries as a means to control disease. The company is also trying to release them in the Florida Keys, while working to release GM olive flies in Spain. But it gets even more bizarre – now Oxitec wants to release GM moths in New York.

GeneWatch UK has been following Oxitec’s moves and has noted that the company’s GM experiments have not undergone environmental assessment risks at all. The company is a spin off from a multinational seed company, with deep ties to Syngenta. Oxitech claims to be in the business of pest control, but another theory is that they are in the business with other eugenicists for pest creation.

Open release experiments using Oxitec’s GE Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are ongoing in Brazil and Panama. Though the GE mosquitoes being released in these experiments differ from Oxitec’s GE agricultural pests in that both sexes of the GE mosquitoes are genetically engineered to die at the late larval/pupal stage.

There is no guarantee that this type of genetic manipulation of the natural world would not result in serious ramifications up and down the food chain. For example, if one species of mosquitoes replaces another, more virulent breed of mosquitoes are likely to fill the void, possibly causing further crop damage, and even the spreading of viral disease in humans.

The spreading of dengue, or malaria, for example, could become absolutely catastrophic with these genetic manipulations, even though they are being presented as a ‘solution’ to these maladies. Furthermore, birds, bats, and other creatures rely on mosquitoes as a source of food. When a major food source for just one animal is interrupted, it often results in the demise of that species, but it also affects the animals that rely on that species for food.

Now, the USDA is considering granting Oxitec a 3-year pass to do open field trials of GM moths, allowing them to release 14 million of these altered pests on crops, meant to destroy other pests that damage broccoli and cauliflower fields. We’ve seen just how great biotech is at pest control with glyphosate – and now they want to start releasing GM bugs? It all seems like a really bad Hitchcock film.

This is not a ‘solution’ to any problem. You can bet there is some other agenda underlying all these GM pests, and their release without any scientific study of the long term ramifications of doing so.

You can request that the USDA deny Oxitec’s petition here, but this is a much bigger problem than any government corporation (and no that isn’t a typo) could ever allay.

Additional Sources:

Aphis.usda.gov

Why is the Truth About Rwanda so Elusive?

October 4th, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

It’s not often I praise the BBC for producing real journalism. Further, it is with some disbelief that I find myself applauding Jane Corbin, who I will struggle till my dying day to forgive for her despicable piece of Israeli propaganda parading as reportage a few years back on the Israeli navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza.

Nonetheless, Corbin has now fronted a truly disturbing revisionist documentary on Rwanda, called Rwanda’s Untold Story. The programme’s argument is that the official story about a straightforward genocide by the Hutu majority of Rwanda’s Tutsis 20 years ago is highly selective and entirely misleading. One scholar suggests that the narrative we have been fed is the equivalent of reducing the Second World War to the Holocaust and claiming nothing else of significance happened.

What the documentary demonstrates forcefully is that Paul Kagame, the hero of the official story of Rwanda’s genocide, was almost certainly the biggest war criminal to have emerged from those horrifying events. Kagame led the Tutsis’ main militia, the RPF. He almost certainly ordered the shooting down of the Rwandan president’s plane, the trigger for a civil war that quickly escalated into a genocide; on the best estimates, his RPF was responsible for killing 80% of the 1 million who died inside Rwanda, making the Hutus, not the Tutsis, the chief victims; and his subsequent decision to extend the civil war into neighbouring Congo, where many Hutu civilians had fled to escape the RPF, led to the deaths of up to 5 million more.

Not surprising then that Kagame is championed by Britain’s own biggest war criminal, Tony Blair. But the rot has spread much further. Rwanda, now praised as a model democracy under Kagame, is in truth a police state, where the president kills or locks up all opponents, fixes the elections, and has made any questioning of the official story he created – that the Tutsis were the exclusive victims of the genocide – a crime.

The BBC has not had to dig up any new information to make this programme. It’s all been available for years. But no one apart from a few experts – academics, UN military personnel who were there, UN investigators, and Kagame’s former, and disillusioned, inner circle – have dared to speak out.

The real criminals, as ever, it seems, have been the western powers and the UN. They have happily paraded their remorse at failing to intervene at the time of the genocide (presumably because their self-confessed error helped to justify the subsequent wave of bogus “humanitarian interventions” in the Middle East). But what the documentary makes clear is that Blair, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and many others have helped to whitewash Kagame’s crimes against humanity and provide a veneer of legitimacy to his current oppressive rule. Anyone who has threatened to blow the lid, like Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the UN’s international tribunal on Rwanda, has been forced out.

But as I watched the programme, one thing struck me forcefully in particular, though it was not referred to by Corbin: what were the journalists who crawled all over the Rwanda story for years doing? How were Blair, Clinton and Annan allowed to forge the myth of a simple Hutu genocide of Tutsis without serious challenge from serious reporters working for serious newspapers that were supposed to be making sense of these events for us?

From my own experience covering Israel-Palestine, I can guess what happened. The reporters on the ground feared straying too far from the consensus in their newsrooms. Rather than telling their editors what the story was (the model of news production most people assume to be the case), the editors were creating the framework of the story for the reporters, based on the official narrative being promoted in political and diplomatic circles. Correspondents who cared about their careers dared not challenge the party line too strongly, even when they knew it to be a lie.

Rwanda also offers a telling example of how such group-think works, and how a non-expert far from real events but schooled in a kind of London or Washington consensus on foreign affairs ends up policing the limits of possible thought in a way that strips us, his readers, of the right to hear a counter-narrative.

The guilty party in this case was George Monbiot, often seen as one of the most radical and original thinkers publishing in the British mainstream liberal media. Two years ago he wrote an ugly attack, entitled “Naming the Genocide Deniers,” on two scholars, one of them the renowned Ed Herman. Monbiot eventually dragged in a host of other thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, accusing them of being “genocide belittlers” for not turning on the pair at his instigation.

The crime committed by this tiny group was that they had raised the possibility that the official story of the genocide in Rwanda – as well as of some of the massacres in the Balkans – might not be entirely historically  accurate, and that the accounts might have been distorted for political advantage. Monbiot, uninterested in assessing their claims or addressing the facts, abused them for straying from the official narrative. Monbiot might like to reconsider his behaviour, for which I and others criticised him at the time, and issue a long-overdue apology.

That aside, Monbiot’s disgraceful accusations are a useful illustration of how powerful is the emotional, imaginative and possibly financial grip of the mainstream media on journalists, even those feted for their independence.

It is with that context in mind too that one should tip one’s hat to the BBC and, reluctantly, to Jane Corbin for doing their jobs for once. Rwanda’s Untold Story reminds us how rarely journalists actually engage in the myth-busting, truth-telling work they claim to be bedrock of their craft.

Sadly, the Youtube link I watched this on was quickly removed, on copyright grounds. Those in the UK should be able to watch it on iPlayer for a while longer. Others will need to keep their eyes open online or hope it is shown on BBC World.

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East(Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan’s website.

Iraq’s Economy Collapsing Under Pressure of Security Crisis

October 4th, 2014 by Global Research News

One of the untold stories of the fighting in Iraq is the effect it is having upon the country’s economy. Almost two million internally displaced people, the loss of agricultural land in northern Iraq, foreign investors being scared off, the decline in trade, the collapse of several internal markets, and depleted financial reserves have all been reported in the press. This came on top of the fact that the 2014 budget was never passed due to ex-Premier Nouri al-Maliki’s disputes with his political rivals, which is crippling in a state run system like Iraq’s. All together this points to an economy in crisis.

There are all kinds of stories about the problems Iraq’s economy is suffering from. The Baghdad provincial council told Al Mada that Turkish and Arab countries were pulling out when the insurgent summer offensive began in June. It warned that this would affect services and projects. The real estate and car markets were said to have collapsed as well. Hundreds of acres of farmland have been lost to the insurgency. Al Monitor reported that 900,000 acres of wheat and barley crops were lost in Salahaddin alone after insurgents seized the northern and eastern sections of the governorate. Agriculture is a major employer in Iraq. The violence has disrupted trade. One expert said that there was a 60-70% decline in imports due to the on going fighting. Many of the routes to Jordan, Syria and Turkey have been cut off. There has also been a disruption in the distribution of goods within the country. These have both contributed to raising prices for many goods. Finally, nearly two million people have been displaced since the beginning of the year. These people have lost their jobs. There are fears that unemployment and poverty have all sky rocketed as a result. These all point to an economy coming apart as markets, goods, and investment have all been disrupted.

Iraq is also facing a financial crisis. The 2014 budget was never passed as former Premier Maliki used it as a weapon against his opponents before the parliamentary elections. Experts and parliamentarians said that was slowing the economy even before the summer offensive, and some even warned of a recession in May. The lack of a budget meant that projects have come to a halt, public workers, the largest group in the economy have not been paid, which has trickled down to increased unemployment and cash shortages. When Mosul fell the situation got worse as Maliki used up the general budget and money from the Development Fund for Iraq to pay for the war, which was costing up to $50 million a day. Parliament’s finance committee said that the Fund was down from $10 billion to $3 billion. The same committee claimed that the ex-prime minister spent all the oil revenues over the last seven months as well. Iraq has a state-run economy so passage of the budget is crucial to keeping the country running. Things were bad already as development was coming to a halt due to a lack of a budget, and now the fall of northern Iraq has made the situation worse as much of the available funds have gone towards security.

The insurgency is not only costing Iraqis their lives, but their livelihood as well. The economy is coming apart under the weight of the violence. Foreign businesses are being scared away, trade has atrophied, unemployment is up and more. On top of that there is still no budget and Iraq’s reserves have been depleted. The country’s economy only started turning around after the 2003 invasion when security was improved with the 2007 Surge. The same will happen now as no development can happen without stability, which looks to be years away.
Notes
 
Adel, Shaymaa, “Number of Iraqis living in poverty at 30%,” Azzaman, 8/31/14
 
Azzaman, “Iraq edges closer to Iran as fighting with Islamic State intensifies,” 9/4/14
 
Al-Jaffal, Omar, “Fighting robs Iraqi farmers of harvest,” Al Monitor, 9/26/14
 
Al Mada, “Baghdad Council: Arab and Turkish companies withdrew from the capital as a result of threats of militias and gangs,” 6/29/14
- “Depression dominates real estate market and merchandise..and record high unemployment indicators,” 5/18/14
- “Iraq war bill plagues the economy and raises unemployment to 25%,” 9/7/14
- “Iraq’s oil revenues are spent over last 7 months..and the salaries of Kurdistan subject to the balance of cash,” 10/2/14
- “Only three billion in Iraqi oil fund run by the government confirms Parliament, down 70% from its average,” 9/20/14

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a major escalation of Canada’s role in the new US-led war in the Middle East.

Speaking in Parliament Friday, Harper said that six CF-18 fighter planes will be deployed to mount bombing raids in Iraq and possibly Syria as part of a six-month Canadian Armed Forces’ “counter-terrorism” mission.

According to Harper, the aim of this mission is to significantly “degrade the capabilities” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which also goes under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Harper is being disingenuous at best. He, his Conservative government, and the Canadian military know full well that the shoring up of the pro-US regime in Baghdad and its allies in the Kurdish Regional Government against ISIS is only an initial, partial aim of the “coalition of the willing” assembled by the US and for which they signed up Canada virtually from the get-go.

The true target of the war coalition—which now includes Britain and France, respectively Iraq and Syria’s former colonial overlords, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf State absolutist Sheikdoms—is the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The US is determined to oust Assad, who is a close ally of Iran and Russia, as part of its longstanding military-strategic drive to secure untrammeled domination of the Middle East, the world’s principal oil exporting region.

For the past three-and-a-half years all the member-states of the coalition, and especially the US, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have been sponsoring a “regime change” war in Syria, financing and arming Islamacist forces—including ISIS—as their proxy army against Assad.

While Canada’s government and those of other western powers are highlighting the coalition’s anti-ISIS mandate, making convenient use of its sectarian atrocities to overcome popular opposition to another western military intervention in the Middle East; in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region the coalition’s member governments are making no secret of the fact that the war’s real objective is Assad’s overthrow.

Already the US is carrying out bombing missions in Syria. At present these are targeting ISIS and allied groups. But Washington has repeatedly said that were the Syrian government to try to assert its national sovereignty under international law and interdict the US warplanes, it would treat this as an act of war—i.e. an excuse for an all-out attack on Syria.

In his Friday speech, Harper announced that Canada will also be contributing to the war coalition an air-to-air refueling aircraft and two Aurora surveillance planes. While the government did not provide figures, it is estimated that 350 CAF personnel will have to be deployed to the Middle East to fly and maintain the planes.

The government has also said that the deployment of CAF special forces to northern Iraq will be extended for a further six months. Earlier this week, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said 26 Special Forces’ troops were in northern Iraq to advise and train Kurdish Peshmerga militia. This deployment, which was slated for 30 days when it was first announced at the end of August, could ultimately involve as many as 69 CAF elite troops.

The government has insisted that this “advise and training” role in no way contradicts its pledge that the CAF mission will not involve any “troops on the ground” or in combat.

In announcing Canada’s greatly expanded role in the new Mideast war, Harper resorted to standard Manichean “war on terror” rhetoric. He trumpeted ISIS’s crimes against civilians and portrayed Canada’s intervention as motivated entirely by humanitarian concerns and reputed ISIS threats to attack Canadians.

Needless to say, Harper avoided any mention of how ISIS is itself a direct product of the monstrous crimes carried out by US imperialism—crimes that have been aided and abetted by Canada. These include: the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, which blew up Iraqi society; the US’s subsequent manipulation and fanning of communal sectarian divisions in Iraq as part of a “divide and rule” strategy; and the use of Islamacist forces as the spearhead of the “successful” NATO 2011 “regime change” war in Libya and the proxy war the US and its allies have fomented in Syria.

Even Postmedia, one of Canada’s major newspaper chains, noted in an article published this week that were Canada to deploy CF-18s to Iraq they would very likely end up bombing Islamacist fighters for whom CAF pilots had provided air cover during the NATO campaign to topple the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. With CIA encouragement, thousands of Islamacist fighters flocked from Libya to Syria after Gaddafi’s overthrow, many if not most of them ultimately joining ISIS.

In his parliamentary address Harper made clear that his government views Canada’s participation in the Iraq-Syria war as vital to ensure the Canadian ruling elite has a say and a share in the spoils of the imperialist reordering and redivision of the Middle East. “Being a free rider,” declared Harper, “means you are not taken seriously.”

Just two months ago, in a speech on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Harper celebrated that orgy of destruction as marking Canada’s emergence as a “great power.”

“When the great nations of the world gathered,” said Harper, “we must never forget that our place at the table … was bought and paid for on the gas-choked field of Ypres … at Vimy Ridge, … in the long muddy slaughter along the River Somme; in the drenched and cratered wasteland of Passchendaele.” (See: “Canada’s Harper marks World War I with bellicose address”)

Harper’s dismissal of “free-riders” was in part directed at the opposition parties. The NDP, Liberals and Greens have all made clear that they share Harper’s and Washington’s principal war aims, including the overthrow of the Assad regime. However, well aware that there is no enthusiasm within the Canadian population for the CAF playing a leading role in another imperialist war, they have thus far withheld their support for Canada participating in the Iraq bombing campaign.

Repeatedly during the past weeks the Liberals said they would be open to supporting the deployment of Canadian fighter jets. But after Harper’s Friday speech, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said his party believes Canada “can make a more helpful contribution to the international effort” against ISIS by helping to build up Iraqi institutions, including its repressive state apparatus, and providing “humanitarian assistance.”

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said the Official Opposition could not give its support to the government’s planned deployment because “the prime minster hasn’t outlined a broad strategic blueprint for the mission.” Mulcair expressed concern that the intervention could end in a quagmire, while the party’s foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said the NDP feared that Canadian bombing missions against ISIS in Syria could bolster Assad’s regime.

Both Mulcair and Trudeau made reference to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. They did so, however, from the standpoint that it had ill-served western interests—not that it was part of an ongoing, Canadian-supported US imperialist drive to strengthen Washington’s military-strategic dominance of the Middle East. And that the new Mideast war is the continuation and escalation of that drive.

The opposition parties have supported Canada’s whole-hearted participation in one US-led war of aggression after another, from the 1999 NATO war on Yugoslavia, through the Afghan War and the 2011 regime change war in Libya. They have also stood shoulder to shoulder with the Harper government in its provocative promotion of the US-German drive to detach Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence.

The Liberal-NDP opposition to “Harper’s Mideast war” is a cynical maneuver motivated by the approach of the 2015 federal election and concern that Canada’s prolonged involvement in a bloody imperialist war in the Middle East could give rise to social opposition outside establishment channels.

A parliamentary vote on the new six-month CAF war deployment will be held next week, but as the Conservatives have a majority its outcome is a foregone conclusion.

One of the effects of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, in place for more than 50 years, has been the stifling of Cuba’s information technology sector. For example, Cuba’s Information Technology and Advanced Telematic Services (Citmatel), part of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, has not been able to reach its full potential, explains Beatriz Alonso, Manager of Citmatel in a recent interview with Prensa Latina.

“We constantly face the fact of not having access to technologies, certain software and very limited marketing of our products and this prevents us from enjoying the most modern technological breakthroughs and flexible financial systems for our products in the market,” she said.

The U.S. economic war also prevents Citmatel specialists from attending courses on state-of-the-art technologies, among other training actions, Alonso added.

Founded 15 years ago, Citmatel develops and commercializes IT applications, projects, equipment and technical assistance, multimedia products, audiovisual materials and online publications through science and innovation, as well as integrating solutions with new information and communication technologies.

Citmatel operates an important scientific network for Cuba’s scientific institutions, and it runs the http://www.cuba.cu website, with multimedia and editorial content in various formats covering several fields and provided in several languages. It also provides e-commerce and online education services, and is responsible for granting and registering Cuba’s country code top-level domains (.cu).

Despite all this, Citmatel will continue the development of internet-based technologies, focusing on issues related to e-commerce, as well as new forms of printing on demand, including publishing books on several topics, she said.

Alonso added that Citmatel will also continue dealing with issues related to the use of phones and tablets for the national intranet, the design of educational games for children and youngsters, as well as audio-books for the blind and visually impaired, among other electronic products and features.

Prensa Latina

Under the guise of a humanitarian mission aimed at containing the spread of the Ebola virus, the Obama administration is exploiting the outbreak to establish a solid military footing on the African continent. West Africa continues to be ravaged by the worst outbreak of Ebola since the first case was identified in northern Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, as of October 1 there were 7,437 suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and 3,338 deaths. A separate outbreak of a different strain of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has to date killed 43 people including eight health care workers.

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have been the hardest hit by the epidemic, accounting for 99.6 percent of cases and 99.8 percent of deaths. UNICEF reported last week that at least 3,700 children have been orphaned by the epidemic. The already limited health systems of Liberia and Sierra Leone have essentially collapsed under the impact of the outbreak.

The US plan for containing the epidemic, codenamed Operation United Assistance, is being overseen by the US Armed Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) and is expected to cost $1 billion over the next six months. So far the US government has contributed $111 million to the effort, a paltry sum compared with the $1 billion the US has already spent in two months of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, recently extended to Syria.

AFRICOM plans to oversee the deployment of 3,200 troops, most from the 101st Airborne Division, to assist in the construction of emergency Ebola treatment units.

Last week US airmen from the Air Force’s 633rd Medical Group, working with employees from the US Public Health Service, set up a 25-bed Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS) hospital for health care workers who contract the deadly virus.

A 300-bed Ebola treatment unit is currently under construction in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, on the grounds of an abandoned Ministry of Defense building built prior to the civil wars that devastated the country in the 1990s. The treatment facility and others like it are not expected to be ready to receive patients for a number of weeks.

AFRICOM has no plans to staff these Ebola treatment centers with its own doctors or nurses; instead it will be left to the US Agency for International Development and the Liberian government to properly staff them. USAID and the US State Department have pledged $10 million towards the training and deployment of 100 volunteer health care workers from African Union member states.

Because they come into regular contact with patients’ bodily fluids, the doctors and nurses who tend to those stricken by Ebola are at great risk of contracting the disease themselves. The WHO reports that as of September 28, at least 216 health care workers have been killed by the virus. Two American health care workers successfully recovered after they were flown to US hospitals where they were quarantined and treated.

The main purpose of this military operation is not to halt the spread of Ebola or restore health to those that have been infected. Rather the United States is seeking to exploit the crisis to establish a firm footing on the African continent for AFRICOM, which was established in 2008 in order to oversee US imperialist operations in the region. AFRICOM currently operates from Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, thousands of miles from the nearest African country.

Liberia is the only country in Africa which has previously expressed interest in hosting AFRICOM headquarters. The Ebola epidemic provides a convenient excuse for the deployment of thousands of US troops and establishing a permanent presence.

US President Barack Obama announced on September 16 that a Joint Force Command Headquarters (JFCH) would be established in Liberia to coordinate and oversee Operation United Assistance. The JFCH would be the first significant base operated by AFRICOM on the continent.

Liberia is the latest in a long line of African countries where the United States has sent American military personnel and equipment in the last decade. American troops have been deployed to Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, and South Sudan. AFRICOM’s first significant operation on the African continent was the US-NATO bombing of Libya in 2011, which resulted in the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi.

The longer the epidemic goes on, the greater the chance that the disease will spread to countries beyond West Africa. This is illustrated quite clearly by the spread of the virus to the United States, which demonstrates that even the health system in an advanced country is vulnerable—to say nothing of the gaps created by long-term cutbacks in health services, particularly in public health systems.

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the US was in a man who exhibited symptoms after traveling to Dallas, Texas from Liberia, where he had helped transport another person suffering from the virus to the hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan was sent home after his initial examination, the result of an apparent computer error, further exposing his friends and family to the virus. The apartment complex where he lived has been quarantined and those he came into contact with are being monitored for symptoms.

Hospitals in the US have been proceeding with extreme caution, quarantining anyone exhibiting Ebola symptoms, including two people in Kentucky and a child in Utah who were eventually cleared. It was reported on Friday that two individuals in Washington, D.C. were being treated under quarantine for Ebola-like symptoms.

In the week since Duncan was diagnosed, the American media has focused largely on sensationalized reporting around his case, hyping the dangers to the public as a means of justifying tighter security measures against immigrants and visitors from Africa. Meanwhile, relatively little attention is being given to the affected region in Africa, where dozens are dying every day.

Analysis of data from sensitive U.S. monitoring stations for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity: [A] major nuclear event at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station… resulted in a breach of the nuclear fuel integrity and release of radioactive fission products to the environment. Fission products started to arrive in the United States via atmospheric transport on March 15, 2011… Atmospheric activity concentrations of 131I reached levels of 3 x 10^-2 Bq/m³ [30,592 microBq/m³] in Melbourne, FL. The noble gas 133Xe reached atmospheric activity concentrations in Ashland, KS of 17 Bq/m³… [These levels] were well above the detection capability of the radionuclide monitoring systems within the International Monitoring System [IMS] of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [CTBTO]… it should be noted that non-IMS stations located in Richland, WA detected the event one day earlier than any other systems within the US IMS network… The iodine detections reported in this manuscript are solely representative of the particulate iodine atmospheric activity concentration. It is recognized that the gas phase iodine was not collected via aerosol filtration [which] would be useful to assess the event and to quantify the total radioiodine atmospheric activity concentration.

According to remarks included with CTBTO data recently released by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiationthe total iodine-131 in the air was up to 500% of the amount shown.

CTBTO Particulate air monitoring data (.xls file), July 2014: The PTS [Provisional Technical Secretariat] itself issued a number of comments and caveats on the data:… “Since the IMS stations use paper filters to collect the particulate radionuclides in the air, part of the iodine in gaseous form passes through the filter easily. It is estimated that only 20-50% of total iodine (from all forms) was collected in the samples.”

Of the more than 1,500 measurements in the CTBTO data taken since Fukushima began, iodine-131 levels detected in Florida were the highest of anywhere in the world outside of Japan. Florida also recorded 4 of the top 10 daily measurements.

Before the U.N. made this data public, an ENENews report from April 2011 noted that for the specific date of March 22, Florida recorded the highest I-131 level of any  CTBTO monitoring station in the world. See: Melbourne, Florida had highest iodine-131 reading of any CTBTO monitoring station in the world from March 22-23 (CHART)

For a Nobel Peace Prize President, Barack Obama seems destined to go down in history books as the President who presided over one of the most aggressive series of wars ever waged by a bellicose Washington Administration. Not even George Bush and Dick Cheney came close.

First, before the ink was even dry on his Nobel Prize certificate, Obama announced the Afghanistan “surge”, pouring another 30,000 US military into that destroyed part of the world. Then came Obama’s war against Libya’s Qaddafi, followed rapidly by his war to try to topple Syria’s Bashar al Assad. Soon after came Obama’s “war for democracy in Ukraine,” otherwise better called Obama’s attempt to provoke Russia into a new war confrontation with NATO by backing a gaggle of Ukrainian oligarchs, criminals and outright neo-nazis in Kiev. In July of this year, Obama’s Administration was pushing the President to launch a second try at bombing Syria back to the Stone Age, allegedly to destroy ISIS, a looney Jihadist Sunni sect that was said to be a joint venture of the CIA and Israeli intelligence.

Now Obama’s advisers, no doubt led by the blood-thirsty National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, have come up with a new war. This is the War Against Ebola. On September 16, President Obama solemnly declared the war. He announced, to the surprise of most sane citizens, that he had ordered 3,000 American troops, the so-called “boots on the ground” that the Pentagon refuses to agree to in Syria, to wage a war against….a virus?

In a carefully stage-managed appearance at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Obama read a bone-chilling speech. He called the alleged Ebola outbreaks in west Africa, “a global threat, and it demands a truly global response. This is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security. It’s a potential threat to global security, if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic,” Obama continued, conjuring images that would have made Andromeda Strain novelist Michael Chrichton drool with envy. Obama added, “That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease. This outbreak is already spiraling out of control.”

With that hair-raising introduction, the President of the world’s greatest Superpower announced his response. In his role as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America announced he has ordered 3,000 US troops to west Africa in what he called, “the largest international response in the history of the CDC.” He didn’t make clear if their job would be to shoot the virus wherever it reared its ugly head, or to shoot any poor hapless African suspected of having Ebola. Little does it matter that the US military doesn’t have anywhere near 3,000 troops with the slightest training in public health.

Before we all panic and line up to receive the millions of doses of untested and reportedly highly dangerous “Ebola vaccines” the major drug-makers are preparing to dump on the market, some peculiarities of this Ebola outbreak in Africa are worth noting.

Certified Ebola Deaths?

The World Health Organization, under the Director, Dr Margaret Chan, in a press conference on September 13, sounded the alarm, warning that Ebola in west Africa was surging out of control. “In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them,” Chan claimed. WHO claims that almost half of 301 health-care workers dealing with alleged Ebola patients have themselves died, and that 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases in Africa have died of Ebola. On August 8, Chan declared the African Ebola situation a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” whatever that is supposed to mean.

A major problem for Chan and her backers, however, is that her Ebola statistics are very, very dubious. For those whose memory is short, this is the same Dr Margaret Chan at WHO in Geneva who was guilty in 2009 of trying to panic the world into taking unproven vaccines for “Swine Flu” influenza, by declaring a Global Pandemic with statistics calling every case of symptoms that of the common cold to be “Swine Flu,” whether it was runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat. That changed WHO definition of Swine Flu allowed the statistics of the disease to be declared Pandemic. It was an utter fraud, a criminal fraud Chan carried out, wittingly or unwittingly (she could be simply stupid but evidence suggests otherwise), on behalf of the major US and EU pharmaceutical cartel.

In a recent Washington Post article it was admitted that sixty-nine percent of all the Ebola cases in Liberia registered by WHO have not been laboratory confirmed through blood tests. Liberia is the epicenter of the Ebola alarm in west Africa. More than half of the alleged Ebola deaths, 1,224, and nearly half of all cases, 2,046, have been in Liberia says WHO. And the US FDA diagnostic test used for the lab confirmation of Ebola is so flawed that the FDA has prohibited anyone from claiming they are safe or effective. That means, a significant proportion of the remaining 31 % of the Ebola cases lab confirmed through blood tests could be false cases.

In short, no one knows what 1,224 Liberians in recent weeks have died from. But WHO claims it to be Ebola. Note that the countries affected by the Ebola alarm are among the poorest and most war-torn regions in the world. Wars over blood diamonds and colonial genocidal tribal wars have left a devastated, mal-nourished population in its wake.

WHO’s official fact sheet on Ebola, which now they renamed EVD for Ebola Virus Disease, claims, “The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas…” WHO further notes that, “It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.”

Then the official WHO Ebola Fact Sheet dated September, 2014, states, “It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis.”

Excuse me, Dr Margaret Chan, can you say that slowly? It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis? And you admit that 69% of the declared cases have never been adequately tested? And you state that the Ebola symptoms include “sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding”?

In short it is all the most vague and unsubstantiated basis that lies behind President Obama’s new War on Ebola.

War on Ebola or War for Oil?

One striking aspect of this new concern of the US President for the situation in Liberia and other west African states where alleged surges of Ebola are being claimed is the presence of oil, huge volumes of untapped oil.

The offshore coast of Liberia and east African ‘Ebola zones’ conveniently map with the presence of vast untapped oil and gas resources shown here

The issue of oil in west Africa, notably in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea have become increasingly strategic both to China who is roaming the world in search of future secure oil import sources, and the United States, whose oil geo-politics was summed up in a quip by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970’s: ‘If you control the oil, you control entire nations.’

The Obama Administration and Pentagon policy has continued that of George W. Bush who in 2008 created the US military Africa Command or AFRICOM, to battle the rapidly-growing Chinese economic presence in Africa’s potential oil-rich countries. West Africa is a rapidly-emerging oil treasure, barely tapped to date. A US Department of Energy study projected that African oil production would rise 91 percent between 2002 and 2025, much from the region of the present Ebola alarm.

Chinese oil companies are all over Africa and increasingly active in west Africa, especially Angola, Sudan and Guinea, the later in the epicenter of Obama’s new War on Ebola troop deployment.

If the US President were genuine about his concern to contain a public health emergency, he could look at the example of that US-declared pariah Caribbean nation, Cuba. Reuters reports that the Cuban government, a small financially distressed, economically sanctioned island nation of 11 million people, with a national budget of $50 billion, Gross Domestic Product of 121 billion and per capita GDP of just over $10,000, is dispatching 165 medical personnel to Africa to regions where there are Ebola outbreaks. Washington sends 3,000 combat troops. Something smells very rotten around the entire Ebola scare.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Get ready. It’s the logical next step for central planners in Washington. Take away a country’s airspace and you’ve physically revoked their sovereignty…

Reports out of Washington this week indicate that the Obama administration is in the planning stages of establishing a ‘No-Fly Zone’ over northeastern Syria.

White House officials are well aware that their current strategy commitment to “Bomb ISIS” will wear thin soon, and need to up the stakes to avoid a public backlash. To justify such a bold move, Washington is preparing its PR campaign which includes US State Department talking points like, “humanitarian corridors”, and “protecting civilians from airstrikes by the Syrian government”.

The ladder would be a giant leap in rhetoric in a war that US President Barack Obama originally sold to the public as a war against ISIS terrorists. Now that the public are sufficiently confused by the twisting narrative, Washington planners can make arrangements to move ahead by isolating the Syrian government and military.

NATO member Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now backing the US-run ‘No-Fly Zone’ idea, not to neutralize ISIS as one would think, but to neutralize Syria’s Air Force. Naturally, the US will want its NATO  ally to be the public face of the No-Fly Zone, even though the US will still be using the airspace lock-down as an excuse to hit any air or ground targets it wishes.

It’s worth pointing out here that the elimination of Syria’s air defenses and Air Force has also been a stated goal of Israel and has been promoted heavily in Washington and London through the Israeli lobby and its think tanks.

To avoid a Democratic voter backlash over its pending 3rd Iraq War and Syrian War, White House will gradually ramp-up its campaign after the mid-term elections. The usual official-looking suspects to sell an inevitable escalation of its latest ‘Not-a-War War’. US Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey are pushing the benefits of a No-Fly Zone and more US Troops on the ground.

Hagel and Dempsey have already instructed the American public that their new war “will take maybe three years” so it’s certain that stage by stage plans have already been drawn up. US officials will attempt to sell this new operation on its humanitarian benefits, and will claim that these measures “will help to avert a humanitarian disaster”.

Based on hints from both US and Israel, the primary object of a US-led ‘No-Fly Zone’ would be to disable the Syrian government’s air defense system through a series of airstrikes. After the No-Fly Zone is established, then the push will begin to carve out a NATO-run Buffer Zone, or ‘DMZ’ along the Turkish-Syrian which could help to facilitate additional US ground forces into the region in 2015.

Kurds avoiding ISIS terror armies are gathering along the Turkish-Syrian border (Photo:Albawaba)

According to Hagel, there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey today. NATO member Turkey is very keen to do something along its border, not least of all because of the hundreds of thousands of additional Kurds crossing over from Syria.

What Hagel won’t tell us is that this refugee flow has been caused by US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – all working hard to fuel a civil war by arming and funding an endless flow of foreign fighters, including ISIS terrorists, into Syria to destabilize the country.

These latest noises from Hagel and Dempsey verify what many already knew from the start – that the war on ISIS was simply window-dressing for Washington and London’s real war against Bashar al-Assad’s government in Damascus. A US or NATO declared ‘No-Fly Zone’ and ‘Buffer Zone’ serves as a run-around to the UN Security process. Despite grand proclamations of Obama’s ‘broad-based coalition’, the restriction zones will be based on the whims of the Pentagon and its strategic objectives.

This is classic mission creep, only it’s by design. It would be naive to think that after the initial month of acquiring ‘ISIS targets’, the Pentagon would not move ahead to coordinate its airstrikes with Kurdish and ‘Moderate Rebels’ on the ground in order to mitigate any influence on the ground from Damascus.

No-Fly Zones and DMZ’s

In case we’ve forgotten, a US-administered ‘No-Fly Zone’ is what really set the stage for the main US bombing campaign and invasion of Iraq in 2003 (see image below). Now we are hearing Washington wants to do the same with Syria. It’s easy to see where this is headed.


Another thing to remember about US-led Buffer Zones or ‘Demilitarized Zones’is that once they are erected, they are never taken down.

65 years later, one war still rages on…

The longest running war in the world today is still the Korean War, which started with combat hostilities between 1950 and 1953, after which time a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was erected by the US to separate North and South Korea. The US still has some 30,000 military and civilian contractors stations on the DMZ – all on high alert.

Soldiers look in over the Israel-Lebanese border (Photo: Al Arabiya)

Likewise, following a violent and bloody Lebanese Civil War, Israel’s IDF forces held on to a strip of South Lebanon bordering Israel, illegally annexing part of Lebanon into an Israel “Buffer Zone”. Total Israeli occupation of this zone lasted for nearly 15 years, from 1985-2000.

When it comes to buffer zones, the rhetoric and the reality never match up. With both DMZ’s in Korea and South Lebanon, US and Israeli occupiers never initially admitted that they planned to stay long, but they did. Expect the same for this latest US brainwave for Syria and Turkey.

In the short term, any US-led proposals for a ‘humanitarian’ No-Fly Zone and Buffer Zone will serve first to assist US strategic planning and a US-led rebel offensive on the ground against Syrian government military forces.

Just waiting for the PR campaign to begin…

Rasmea Odeh had her first hearing in open court on Thursday in front of the new judge who will preside over her trial on immigration fraud charges scheduled for next month.

As the Palestinian-American community leader and her lawyers sat at the defense table, supporters, many of whom had made the five-hour drive from Chicago, packed the Detroit federal courtroom.

Odeh had hoped that Judge Gershwin Drain would rule favorably on a defense motion to dismiss the charges against her, but the judge declined to do so, ensuring that the trial will go forward.

Illegal fruit

Michael Deutsch, Odeh’s lead attorney, argued that the indictment of Odeh was the “fruit of an illegal investigation” by the government targeting the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), the Chicago community organization at which Odeh is associate director.

Last October, Odeh was arrested and indicted for allegedly lying on her US citizenship application a decade ago by failing to disclose her conviction in an Israeli military court for allegedly participating in two bombings in Jerusalem in 1969.

Odeh has pleaded not guilty to the US immigration fraud charge and says the Israeli convictions were obtained in the unfair Israeli military court system based entirely on a confession extracted through prolonged, brutal torture including sexual assault.

If convicted Odeh could face prison time, as well as being stripped of her US citizenship and deported.

Deutsch told the judge that Odeh was selectively investigated because of her protected First Amendment activities educating people about the situation in Palestine, and that it was based on evidence from the four-year-old investigation of the “Anti-War 23.”

In 2010, US authorities raided the homes of several anti-war activists, including Hatem Abudayyeh, AAAN’s director, and summoned two dozen activists before a federal grand jury.

Deutsch said the investigation had been a “fishing expedition” – none of those summoned to the grand jury testified. After four years no one had been charged with any crime and all the papers and property seized in the raid have now been returned.

“As far as we know, there is no ongoing investigation,” Deutsch told the court.

Deutsch argued that US authorities in Chicago had nonetheless passed information from the investigation on to federal prosecutors in Michigan, who indicted Odeh.

Government prosecutor Jonathan Tukel told the judge that Odeh’s attorneys had not shown evidence that their client had been singled out.

But the judge also denied Deutsch’s request to compel US attorneys in Chicago and Detroit to reveal their communications over the matter to the defense.

Speaking to reporters and supporters after the hearing, Deutsch expressed disappointment that the judge had allowed only ten minutes for oral arguments.

However, he said that he was not surprised that the judge declined to dismiss the charges “because the law is very restrictive on that.”

“I just wanted him [the judge] to hear about the history and about the context of this case.”

(Deutsch can be seen commenting on the hearing in the video at the top of the post).

This week the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) added its voice to the calls on the US to drop the charges.

In a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, ADC called the charges against Odeh “baseless,” and said that the case “plays into the belief and perception that the US federal government is intentionally targeting and prosecuting Arab American citizens.”

ADC is “outraged that the federal law enforcement agencies continue to waste resources by targeting nonviolent social activists such as Ms. Odeh, but have yet to bring charges against the Israeli suspects in the terrorist attack that killed Palestinian-American Alex Odeh in 1985,” the letter adds (Odeh was killed by a bomb left at the ADC office which he ran in Santa Ana, California).

Torture expert

Judge Drain did not issue a ruling on a second motion – a defense request to allow Mary Fabri, an expert on torture, to testify in the trial.

Fabri, a clinical psychologist at the world-renowned Kovler Center, already submitted an affidavit on 18 July detailing Odeh’s torture and subsequent post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Deutsch argued that Fabri’s testimony would provide the jury with crucial information about the long-term impact of Odeh’s torture that would help them to judge her state of mind when she allegedly failed to disclose the military court conviction in her citizenship application.

“This is at the heart of our defense,” Deutsch told the court. “The expert should be allowed to testify, and the jury should decide what it means.”

Drain’s ruling, which he promised within a week, will hinge on his reading of whether the law requires that a person had a “specific intent” to defraud the government at the time of their alleged crime.

Defense attorney Jim Fennerty told the court that the US State Department had handed over dozens of boxes of records the defense had been seeking, which a defense researcher was currently sorting.

Odeh’s lawyers believe the records could shed light on what the US government knew about the torture of Odeh, her father and others after their arrests by Israeli authorities.

Another hearing is scheduled for 21 October, with the start of the trial set for 4 November.

Rally and police harassment

As on previous occasions, Odeh’s supporters rallied outside the US Courthouse on Detroit’s Lafayette Street before and after her hearing.

Sarah Martin, one of the Anti-War 23 who had traveled from Minneapolis, Minnesota, told supporters that solidarity rallies were being held simultaneously in Minneapolis, San Jose, California and Tampa, Florida, as hundreds of people telephoned prosecutors urging them to drop the charges.

“We’ll be back here for the trial,” Martin added, “and we’ll fill that courtroom.”

Since a hearing in September, some officers of the Department of Homeland Security police who protect federal facilities have taken a more aggressive stance toward the rallies.

Early on Thursday morning, this writer was briefly questioned by one officer for taking this photo of the courthouse, an entirely legal activity.

The incident was reported to National Lawyers Guild legal observers present on the scene. After the hearing, Muhammad Sankari, a member of the national Rasmea Defense Committee, was told by police that he could not lead chants with a bullhorn on the sidewalk in front of the building. 

 

  

He continued to lead chants from across the street. There is no sign that such petty harassment will deter Odeh’s supporters. “We obviously believe that justice was not served today. Too many of our leaders, like Rasmea, are being targeted by the Justice Department for their activism in support of Palestinian liberation,” Sankari said in a press release from the Rasmea Defense Committee. “This case is clearly going to be an indictment of Israel and its brutal policies. We will continue to make that argument as we work to get the charges dropped,” Sankari added.

Mosca: i grandi progetti per la Crimea

October 3rd, 2014 by Valentin Vasilescu

Pochi giorni dopo l’adesione della Crimea alla Russia, Vladimir Putin ha annunciato di aver approvato un investimento di 3 miliardi di dollari per la ripresa economica della Crimea che ha un potenziale enorme. Questo annuncio è stato fatto durante la riunione della Commissione presidenziale sul monitoraggio dello sviluppo socio-economico della Federazione russa, dove s’è deciso di raddoppiare il numero di posti di lavoro in Crimea, compresi nei cantieri navali di Kerch e Theodosia, specializzati nelle costruzioni navali artiche e di navi di guerra per la Flotta russa del Mar Nero. Putin ha ordinato alla società statale Sovcomflot il trasferimento tecnologico dai Cantieri Baltiskij della società Zaliv a Kerch per la costruzione di 30 nuove petroliere (in aggiunta alle 101 oggi attive), di 14 navi-cisterne GPL (oltre alle 6 attualmente operanti) e di navi portacontainer a propulsione nucleare, tutte destinate per il Mar Glaciale Artico. Il beneficiario del progetto, la Gazprom, le finanzia. Le navi saranno utilizzate per rifornire di petrolio la Cina dal Mare della Siberia orientale e dallo Stretto di Bering, nell’ambito del recente megacontratto da 400 miliardi di dollari. La catastrofe della centrale nucleare di Fukushima e il contratto con la Cina hanno convinto il parlamento giapponese a rifornire il proprio Paese di 20 miliardi di metri cubi annuali di gas russo, tratti dalla quota precedentemente destinata all’Europa. Il governo giapponese ha approvato il finanziamento di un gasdotto sottomarino di 1350 km che colleghi l’isola giapponese di Hokkaido all’isola di Sakhalin, per un investimento di 6 miliardi di dollari. Fino a quando l’oleodotto non sarà  pronto, Gazprom s’impegna a rifornire via mare il Giappone di gas liquefatto. Attualmente, la Russia è l’unico Paese ad avere una flotta di rompighiaccio nucleari nella regione artica (costruiti dal 1985), che mantengono le rotte di navigazione permanentemente aperte al trasporto di petrolio.  Putin risponde così alle pretese dei media occidentali sugli scaffali vuoti nei negozi della Crimea e sulla Russia senza i soldi per pagare pensioni e stipendi degli abitanti di Crimea.
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La città di Kerch si trova nell’omonimo stretto largo 4,5 km che separa due mari: il Mar Nero e il Mar d’Azov. Il Cantiere No. 532 di Kerch è meglio conosciuto per la costruzione, nel 1984-1991, di 8 fregate classe Krivak da 3300 tonnellate, tra cui la nave ammiraglia della Marina ucraina, Hetman Sagajdachnij. Inoltre, in questo sito fu costruita nel 1975 la prima di 8 navi-cisterna classe Crimea, lunghe 295 m e con una stazza di 150000 t. La prima fu consegnata al Vietnam con il nome Chi Linh. Ma pochi sanno che nel 1988 il cantiere Zaliv completò la costruzione di uno dei quattro rompighiaccio portacontainer a propulsione nucleare sovietici, appositamente costruiti per operare nella regione artica. La nave di 61880 t, la Sevmorput, è dotata di un reattore nucleare da 135 MW. Secondo il programma presentato dal Presidente Putin, il cantiere Kerch dovrà iniziare la costruzione di due navi a propulsione nucleare classe Sevmorput. In seguito, il Viceprimo Ministro Rogozin, responsabile dell’industria della Difesa della Russia, ha detto che il cantiere Mare di Teodosia è in cima alla lista di 23 aziende della Crimea destinate ad armare la Flotta nel Mar Nero. Il governo federale russo ha stabilito che lo sviluppo del progetto sarà completato entro il 1° luglio 2014. Teodosia è un comune di 80000 abitanti situato nella parte orientale della penisola di Crimea. È noto ai turisti per la sua famosa spiaggia dorata lunga 15 km, e anche per i quadri marini del famoso Ivan Ajvazovskij che visse e lavorò in questa città. Nell’epoca sovietica, tutti sentirono parlare di Teodosia per via del suo Cantiere Mare, che dal 1959 è specializzata nella produzione di hovercraft passeggeri ad alta velocità. Furono costruiti più di 1000 navi di questo tipo, principalmente per l’esportazione, come le RaketaKometa e Voskhod-2 che possono trasportare 58-118 passeggeri ad una velocità di 60-80 km/h. Nel 1983-1989, il cantiere Mare di Teodosia ricevette l’ordine per la costruzione di 16 motosiluranti veloci (70-80 km/h) classe Muravej per il Mar Nero. Le realizzazioni più importanti furono gli hovercraft classe Zubr (Progetto 1232.2). In origine  progettati e costruiti nel cantiere dai sovietici. Le navi Zubr sono dotate di cinque turboelica Kuznetsov NK-12, le più potenti del mondo, del bombardiere Tu-95. Le Zubr possono trasportare 150 tonnellate di materiale (3 carri armati T-90 o 8 blindati cingolati o 10 APC, o ancora 360 soldati della fanteria di marina equipaggiati). La Flotta del Mar Nero avrà bisogno di 4-6 nuovi Zubr quando riceverà le prime portaelicotteri Mistral, che possono trasportare 16 elicotteri d’assalto Mi-8 Amtsh Terminator e un battaglione di carri armati T-90 o due battaglioni di fanteria dotati di APC.

Dopo 23 anni, la Russia ha ripreso ad ordinare hovercraft ad alta velocità per usi militari e commerciali presso il cantiere Mare di Teodosia. Le prime quattro navi passeggeri ad alta velocità ordinate a Teodosia navigheranno sul Volga, sulla tratta Kujbishev-Uljanov-Kazan-Gorkij. Vengono invitati ad aderire al programma russo in Crimea gli esperti ucraini nella progettazione navale dei tre cantieri Nikolaev (Oceanico, 445 e 444) che costruirono durante l’era sovietica 2 portaelicotteri e 7 portaerei per l’URSS (KievMinsk, Novorossijsk, BakuAdmiral KuznetsovVarjag e Uljanovsk).  Una delegazione guidata dal Viceprimo Ministro russo Dmitrij Rogozin ha visitato Nikolaev per fare proposte in questa direzione. L’offerta è ancora più interessante per il fatto che dal 1° giugno il rublo è diventata la moneta ufficiale della Crimea, e stipendi e pensioni, conformati alle norme della Federazione Russa, sono quattro volte superiori a quelli ucraini.

Valentin Vasilescu

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Moscou : des projets de grande envergure pour la Crimée

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

 

The United States of America is revising history textbooks, while abandoning the idea of exceptionalism of the American nation. At first, the White House caused a commotion among the Republicans, who then made ordinary Americans worry. The Republicans are unhappy with the criticism of American history, while ordinary Americans are concerned about the ban on free protests in the country.

As it turns out, the United States, like any other country, has something to be ashamed of, a new history textbook for high schools (Advanced Placement US history course) says. For example, the book criticizes the nuclear bombing of Japan.

A Republican candidate for presidential elections in 2016, Ben Carson, told Fox News that many of those, who will complete the new course on history, would be ready to join the Islamic State, which the United States is now bombing in Syria and Iraq.

“There’s only two paragraphs in there about George Washington. George Washington! Believe it or not. Little or nothing about Dr. Martin Luther King.” As examples of the negative bias, he mentioned “a whole section on slavery and how evil [Americans] are,” the killing of millions of Japanese with two atomic bombs in World War II, and other events. “We have got to stop crucifying ourselves,” he argued. “Have we made mistakes as a nation? Of course we have. Why? Because we’re people. And all people make mistakes.”

“I think most people when they finish that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS,” he said. “I mean, this is what we’re doing to the young people in our nation.”

Last month, the Republican National Committee of the United States passed a resolution, in which the textbook was described as “a radical revisionist look at American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our country’s history, omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” The Republicans urged the board that introduced the Advanced Placement (AP) history curriculum to postpone the introduction for one year, until the textbook is revised.

The AP is a federal program, but each State approves it with recommendations. The authorities of the State of Colorado sent the following recommendations to schools: “Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.” In response, nearly a thousand students in Jefferson County interrupted their classes and went on a protest holding banners saying: “There is nothing more patriotic than protest” or “Education without limitation.” The students used hashtag #JeffcoSchoolBoardHistory for organizing demonstrations. Students and their parents were protesting in the capital of Colorado, Denver, for five days, the Denver Post said.

America loves to pretend that it has nothing to hide in its history. From an American perspective, any atrocity can be justified from the point of view of the defense of American interests. This attitude fosters the so-called “American exceptionalism.” However, the “common and non-exceptional” world understands that this “exceptionalism” leads to wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The facts about the USA’s participation in the events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Syria, Ukraine say that this is permissiveness, rather than exceptionalism.

Here is a curious fact. US President Obama, in his recent speech at the UN General Assembly, did not say a word about the exceptionalism of the American people, although he always emphasized that in his previous speeches. Noteworthy,  Advanced Placement history curriculum is used at more than 3,300 colleges and universities around the world, and its education results are used for admission to American universities. Thus, the revision of the AP history course involves influence on young people in foreign countries, who already openly mock the American “exceptionalism.”

We asked an opinion from American economist and economic observer Paul Craig Roberts, and here is what he had to say on the subject:

“The Republican Party today and a majority of Americans, who think of themselves as conservativesare, are not, in fact, traditional American conservatives.  They comprise a form of brownshirts who are intolerant of dissent want to impose social control.  They support government instead of the Constitution, and they frown on civil liberty as a form of legal permissiveness that coddles criminals and terrorists.

“These so-called conservatives attribute the US defeat in Vietnam to student protests and to journalists who disputed Washington’s lies. They regard protests as a threat to the status quo, and not as a way to express public dissent from government policies.  Conservatives are for democracy only as long as they control behavior in the democracy.

“In the 1940s and 1950s public school courses such as history and literature were largely up to the individual teacher. Consequently, there was a lot of diversity in what was taught. As time passed, especially after the 1964 Civil Rights Act and school integration, courses became increasingly standardized, partly in order to judge school performance with standardized state or national testing, and partly, according tosome, to ensure that minorities were not offended by course content.  The obvious consequence is that a form of national brainwashing was put in place that instilled in the young acceptable beliefs  about their country.

“For the so-called conservatives, any criticism of America is an unpatriotic act.  In the 21st century it has become increasingly difficult toprotest in the US.  The former Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, declared that the new department had shifted its focus fromterrorists to “domestic extremists,” a group she defined as war protesters, environmentalists, and animal rights advocates.  Indeed, anational police force called Homeland Security itself indicates an increasing concern with protecting those in control from dissent.The increasing gratuitous violence of police against members of the public is also an indication that there has been a fundamental shift in the position of the government in relation to the people.  The purpose of government in the US is not to serve the will of the people, but toconform the behavior of the people to the will of the government.

“The same thing appears to be the case in Australia, Canada, the UK, and Europe.  For example, in the UK, 99% of the people are opposed to fracking, but the government has ignored the people and permits fracking to take place under the homes of people without their consent. In the West, I think that the idea of democracy is dead.  Democracy is no longer a respected value.  Elections serve as a cloak to mask the death of democracy.”

Of course, the Obama administration has tried to improve its image a bit. After all, one and the same nation can never be right forever and ever always. However, for internal use, US officials sing different songs. They demand respect for authorities and discourage social protests. Yet, as we can see, American students want to have the right to civil disobedience. How could it be otherwise, if the government encourages all forms of popular protests in other countries, glorifying democracy? They will never teach American children, of course, that all talks of “democracy” hide a completely different principle, namely: divide and conquer.

“From my point of view, these problems speak of growing contradictions in the American society, – an expert on humanitarian issues at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Oksana Petrovskaya told Pravda.Ru. – For a very long time, the Americans have been propagating patriotism the American way, when America was always in the center. I would not say that with this curriculum they are moving far away from their American exceptionalism, but there is a turn being made. Now they need to take account of the interests of all social groups – blacks, women, and so on. Everyone should be represented in history, and there is no single heroic line. The line disappears and erodes. This is a trend of recent times: pay more attention to ordinary people and small social groups.”

The expert noted that after the racially motivated riots in Jefferson, it became clear that America has formed a police state with very strict orders. “I do not know what kind of waves of protests it may lead to, but the authorities are trying to root out every manifestation of protests, especially racial ones. In the USA, there is a very serious controversy based on racial grounds, and protests may happen. But the police have very extensive powers,” the expert said.

Yet, Oksana Petrovskaya believes that America will not face a large social explosion during Obama’s presidency. Well, if, let’s say, Hillary Clinton comes to power in the USA, we may well remember Obama as a good president.

Lyuba Lulko
Pravda.Ru 

Read the original in Russian 

To begin, consider that people like Dr. Sanjay Gupta keep saying that the Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had “told the nurse” who attended to him upon his first arrival at the Texas Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room that he had “traveled “to” Africa.”

That’s certainly a very odd thing for a Liberian national, having just arrived from Monrovia, Liberia to the United States for the very first time in his life, to have supposedly said, is it not?  Of course, it fits the CDC Checklist used prior to, and including, Duncan’s case, so that must have been exactly what Duncan said, right Sanjay?

Duncan’s status as a Monrovian Liberian national has not exactly been blasted across the MSM news; in fact, the MSM news for the most part has been adhering studiously to the asinine “traveled to Africa” view even though it is grossly misleading.

So why adhere to the view?  The chief contention of this article is that we might be observing the unfolding of a “process conspiracy” pertaining to Ebola and the highly contentious immigration issue.  The phrase “process conspiracy” is operationalized here as a conspiracy rooted in a policy or policies consciously designed to shape practice in ways such that the output exacerbates the very problems the policy/policies was (were), on the surface, designed to contend with.

The specific object of the Globalist Ebola process conspiracy is here theorized to involve diminishing the linkage, in public consciousness, of Ebola with nationality status.  Globalists have huge immigration plans for the U.S., and they do not want Ebola (or any other infectious disease, for that matter) getting in the way of those plans.  That is why their Ebola policy protocols—as absurd as they are (discussed shortly)— read the way they do,  that is why we have been exposed to a cloud of lies emanating from Dallas and dispersed through the MSM, and that is why Duncan was discharged with antibiotics soon after his first visit to the Emergency Room of Texas Presbyterian.

Because the theory is a process conspiracy theory and therefore rooted in subverted policy, it has application not just to Duncan, but to future Duncans as well.  The argument proceeds as follows.  First, a brief observation concerning risk is offered which, even though obvious, is necessary because without it the argument will make little sense.  Second, the CDC’s Ebola Screening and Isolation polices are examined, and, on the basis of the risk observation, shown to be not only wholly inadequate to the task they were allegedly crafted to meet, but quite likely to make the Ebola contagion problem even worse.  Third, evidence is provided in support of the idea that the Ebola process conspiracy theory offers a simple, and very plausible explanation, of certain important assertions of fact, and inconsistencies, emanating from Dallas that are otherwise rather difficult to explain.  Throughout, the connection to the issue of nationality status will be obvious.

On the risk issue, people who are Liberian nationals and residents of the hot zone Monrovia clearly present much greater risk than randomly drawn “travelers to” Liberia, simply because  the exposure time is likely to be much greater for the former set of people.

Now we turn to consideration of the CDC’s policy guidance on screening and isolation of Ebola patients—and keep in mind that, astonishingly, these (click here and here) are purportedly new policy statements issued in the wake of the Duncan Dallas case, and yet they still do not meet the very problem Duncan-type cases present.

The screening/isolation problem presented by Duncan type cases is this:  under CDC policy guidelines, what are hospitals supposed to do when they encounter potential Ebola cases that are asymptomatic, but which involve persons who have not merely “traveled to” certain countries in Africa, but in fact are also nationals of one of those countries who have lived, perhaps even in outbreak areas, at a minimum since the outbreak began?

Amazingly, as the above-linked policy recommendations show, national origin and indeed even residence in hot zones is in no way independently factored into risk assessments for purposes of screening and isolation! But let’s pay especial attention to the second document just linked, which is the “Ebola Virus Disease” “algorithm” document, which is actually nothing more than a truly insidious flowchart of gruesome death.  First, look at the subheading, which states “Algorithm for Evaluation of the Returned Traveler.”  Can you believe it?  Where is the “Algorithm” for evaluation of newly arrived hot zone nationals?   Second, don’t be misled by the language in the “No Known Exposure” box.  That language does state “Residence in or travel to affected areas** without HIGH- or LOW-risk exposure”, but the critical fact is that Duncan-type cases are asymptomatic, and, as the “Algorithm” chart shows, with those types of cases there are no arrows leading anywhere else.  And, in any event, the degree of exposure row only applies with respect to those people who have already been isolated.  Indeed, the most that can happen with Duncan-type cases under the Algorithm document is, incredibly, a mere referral to “the Health Department.”

The first CDC document linked above functions similarly; but at least specifies a few more symptoms.  In the final analysis, though, it too talks only about travelers “to” hot zone countries, and so says nothing at all about how to contend with asymptomatic Duncan-type hot zone nationals.

So what is going on?  Let’s have a look at some Ebola charades at Texas Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas.  Check out these weird accounts via CNN:

“Hospital officials have acknowledged that the patient’s travel history wasn’t “fully communicated” to doctors, but also said in a statement Wednesday that based on his symptoms, there was no reason to admit him when he first came to the emergency room last Thursday night.

“At that time, the patient presented with low-grade fever and abdominal pain. His condition did not warrant admission. He also was not exhibiting symptoms specific to Ebola,” Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas said.

The patient, identified by his half-brother as Thomas Eric Duncan, told hospital staff that he was from Liberia, a friend who knows him well said.

A nurse asked the patient about his recent travels while he was in the emergency room, and the patient said he had been in Africa, said Dr. Mark Lester, executive vice president of Texas Health Resources. But that information was not “fully communicated” to the medical team, Lester said.

What on earth can it mean to say that the patient’s travel history was not “fully communicated” to doctors?  How hard is it to communicate “the patient is from Liberia”?  Here is where we need to notice that, according to a friend, Duncan told hospital staff that he (Duncan) was from Liberia—not merely that he had “traveled” there.  And how hard is it, really, to communicate these things to others?  Add to this that, in all likelihood, Duncan’s friend probably did tell CDC  that Duncan was from Liberia (because the friend wanted to get Duncan help early).

But given that the hospital officials now say that “[h]is condition did not warrant admission at the time”, what difference would it have made if Duncan’s “travel history” had been fully communicated to doctors?  It’s not like CDC guidelines would have had the hospital behave in any way other than the way it did—and the hospital itself asserts that in any event Duncan was asymptomatic on his first visit.

To see what is at stake here, reflect on what would have happened if the hospital had flouted CDC policy guidelines and, of its own initiative, isolated Duncan on the basis of Liberian and Monrovian origin.  People would certainly have asked why Duncan was being isolated, and what could the hospital have said?  Under CDC standards, the hospital would have had to have said that Duncan was symptomatic (and can you imagine the chaos and panic that would have caused)—but he wasn’t, according to the hospital.  The alternative would have been to say that even though he was not symptomatic, he was being isolated anyway because his status as a Liberian and Monrovian citizen amounted to a grave risk factor.

So the hospital was in a bind, you see, because the U.S. Government doesn’t want people to even think about Liberian and Monrovian citizenship as an Ebola risk factor because that could conceivably completely destroy the One Party State’s immigration reform goals—especially given psychological associations with mystery viruses and other illnesses believed to have arrived from south of the border.  These things are probably why we got a bunch of weasel-wording from the hospital, and that is probably why Duncan was sent home with antibiotics after his first visit.  The hospital chose to follow the CDC, and so Duncan, now characterized, per the CDC, as a mere “traveler to” an affected country, was loosed on Dallas and therefore the entire world.

That, ladies and gentleman, is ObamaCare, and that is what “comprehensive immigration reform” means to the Global Elite.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals. His current empirical research interests include active shootings. You can reach him at crimprof2010[at]hotmail.com  

Why Obama Lost His War in Ukraine

October 3rd, 2014 by Eric Zuesse

When President Obama took control of Ukraine in February 2014, via a coup d’etat against the democratically elected President, rather than by an outright invasion of U.S. troops, the new Government that he imposed in Kiev was democratically very vulnerable. The man whom Obama overthrew had been elected by overwhelming margins in Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine’s southeast and by high margins elsewhere in the country’s southeast; those southeastern voters needed to be gotten rid of (exterminated &/or expelled from Ukraine) in order to make the new, pro-U.S. Ukrainian regime (which was supported only by the voters in Ukraine’s northeast), stick, if Ukraine was ever to be restored to democracy while being anti-Russian such as the the new rulers were, whom Obama had installed.

But Crimea immediately broke away from that new Government, Russian troops came into Crimea to protect them against military action that was planned by the U.S. to stop that breakaway,and Crimeans then immediately held a plebiscite in March which overwhelmingly supported reuniting Crimea with Russia — Crimea had never voluntarily  left Russia: the USSR’s leader Khrushchev had donated  Russia’s Crimean region to Ukraine in 1954, and Crimeans were always overwhelmingly opposed to that change.

Then, elsewhere in Ukraine’s southeast, locals took over government buildings and refused to accept the new coup-imposed, anti-Russian Ukrainian Government. Obama and his newly appointed leaders of Ukraine didn’t like that, and were determined to stop the rebellion. They commenced an ethnic-cleansing campaign to eliminate the voters in the southeast (except in Crimea, which was now being defended by Russian troops, so Obama wouldn’t support his coup-regime’s intent to extend the ethnic cleansing immediately into Crimea and even to destroy Russia; Obama viewed that intent as being premature; his ethnic-cleansing program would be only in other parts of the southeast).

No one can understand Obama’s defeat in Ukraine who does not know that he imposed upon Ukraine a Government that was committed to an ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the people in the regions that had voted for the man whom Obama overthrew. That’s basic to know, in order to have any possibility to understand why Obama lost this war that he started with his February coup. In fact, the man whom the Obama-team chose to design the ethnic-cleansing program announced in June that there were going to be concentration-camps for everyone in the southeast who supported the breakaway-movement.

The official U.S. line was that the people in the southeast were ‘terrorists’ who were bombing their own people and causing their own problems; or, as Christia Freeland said in The New York Times“This is not a civil war.” The U.S. regime always staunchly backed what the new Ukrainian Government was doing in the southeast, specifically the ethnic-cleansing campaign. One reason this line, that the southeasterners were bombing their own people (the southeasterners), was false (besides it’s being simply ridiculous) is that the civil war did not even start until May 2nd, when there was a massacre of peaceful opponents of the new Obama-imposed Government, carried out by supporters of the new government who were bussed into Odessa from Kiev in the northwest for that occasion, which massacre occurred at the Odessa Trade Unions Building. This massacre was co-masterminded and was funded by Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a Ukrainian billionaire who hired Joe Biden’s son and won a local governorship from Obama’s team.

The U.S. State Department opened a daily press conference on July 29th by asserting that the U.S. and EU are “united in their determination to respond to intensified Russian aggression.” The audience of ‘journalists’ (the usual group of stenographers of U.S. officialdom) asked this U.S. Government spokesperson questions designed to get her to pour yet more calumny against America’s victims in Ukraine (especially against the people who were being bombed there), and she said, “Of course, we support de-escalation. But for the most part, the vast majority of escalation has been from the Russian side … and the Russian separatists [the official Western term for the people we're bombing].” She alleged that it is they, and not the Ukrainian Government (which was bombing those ‘separatists’ villages), that’s doing the “escalation,” in the Ukrainian civil war that the U.S. had started, and then was funding our nazi regime there to perpetrate against those Ukrainian villagers; that is, against the very people whom she was charging to be the source of the problem.

We’ve got to clear the land in Ukraine’s southeast, so as to enable our oil companies to frack Ukraine’s gas. Except that ‘we’ don’t own those fracking companies; the biggest one is owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, whose U.S. agent is Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and who also hired someone from John Kerry’s clique. There are also many other benefits to the American aristocracy that would have resulted if Obama had won Ukraine, but most of those benefits will be lost if the gas fields in Ukraine’s southeast are no longer assets that can be sold off (“privatized”) to Western oil companies dirt-cheap by the Ukrainian Government desperate to repay the nearly $30 billion that the U.S., EU, and IMF lent to that Government to finance their ethnic-cleansing program, which is basic to that privatization. If those loans don’t work out, Western taxpayers will be forced to repay those lenders to Ukraine, as Western citizens pay taxes.

However, our Ukrainian Government ultimately did fail to get rid of enough Ukrainians. As the IMF’s Christine Lagarde had warned on May 1st (right before the massacre in Odessa that began the ethnic cleansing so as to eliminate the undesired voters from Ukraine’s southeast), a “loss of economic control over the east [loss of that fracking-income] that reduces [Ukrainian] budget revenue would require a significant recalibration of the [loan] program; and [end] additional financing, including from Ukraine’s bilateral partners,” the U.S. and EU.

As things turned out, those “bilateral partners” have, by now, already lent Ukraine all that they can or will, and the job was way short of being finished. The best that was in prospect for any continuation of it was a long-drawn-out guerilla war, for which the West had neither the money, nor the will.

So: our side’s “loss of economic control over the east” means that Obama has, in effect, lost his Ukrainian war, and that the West’s taxpayers and recipients of government services will be forced to reimburse the IMF (via increased taxes and reduced services) for losses on the more-than-$30-billion loans to Ukraine. The IMF acted as middleman for the West’s aristocrats (as it always does), protecting them from losses on their international investments, so IMF member-governments (taxpayers and service-recipients) absorb any aristocrat’s losses. Of course, on aristocrats’ winning bets, they get to keep all gains. Meanwhile, the public (those taxpayers and benefit-recipients) in any country that borrows from the IMF get voraciously stripped, as the citizens in Ukraine will increasingly recognize. But Obama’s Ukraine-deal was a bummer for just about everybody, except weapons-makers.

Poor Barack Obama — he’ll need to wait till he’s out of office before the billions start rolling his way (like they’re already starting to roll for his friend and former subordinate Timothy Geithner).

The reason Obama lost is that the residents in Ukraine’s southeast would rather fight to the death than yield to our nazis. Unlike the Jews in Nazi Germany, the ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine have their own guns, and also have the ones from Ukrainian troops they kill, and get some weapons also from Russia next door. But, above all, they’re willing to fight to the death, which only a few dedicated nazis on our side are.

There just aren’t enough dedicated nazis (i.e., not enough dedicated racist fascists), in any and all countries, for ‘our side’ to win there. Not enough anti-Russian racist fascists exist, for that victory to be able to happen. And, by the end of June, Obama finally recognized that: he threw in the towel. Of course, he wouldn’t directly stop his stooges from slaughtering people, but, fromJuly 1st on, he had no further appetite to increase U.S. Government debt to support that slaughter. The Obama-supporting Kyiv Post  had headlined back on May 26th (the very day after the election — but only in Ukraine’s northwest — of Petro Poroshenko, as Ukraine’s President), Poroshenko Pledges to Step Up Anti-Terrorism Operation, Bring Success within ‘Hours,’ Not Months.” But, now, already more than a month had gone by, and yet Poroshenko-Kolomoisky-Obama-Yatsenyuk not only didn’t experience “success” within “days,” but they were beyond Poroshenko’s promised limit, “Not Months,” and yet they still were actually losing their war.

So, Obama lost this war. He quit it. And that’s why  Obama lost.

Put simply, he wasn’t able to exterminate enough of the ‘enemy’. His extermination-program ran out of money, long before the people who live there ran out of their will to fight against it.

Of course, the main people who pay the price for this are the ones whose lives Obama’s team snuffed out, and who were crippled by it, and whose homes were destroyed by it. Western taxpayers and beneficiaries of government services won’t suffer nearly that much. And the West’s aristocrats are doing everything they can to weaken Russia’s economy, in order to win the bigger renewed Cold War, which Obama’s coup in Ukraine restarted. The owners of U.S. armaments-firms are especially booming as a result of Obama’s Ukraine-gambit.

Russia, for its part, is doing all it can to respond to Obama’s challenge of a renewed Cold War. They’re trying to turn into Russian lemonade, the pile of lemons that Obama has left them.

In a sense, then (and highly simplified): World War II created American dominance; the Vietnam War wasted American dominance; and the G.W. Bush-Obama wars might turn out to have ended American dominance. It’s especially worth noting, in this context, that whereas WWII was fought against nazis, Obama’s Ukrainian war installed nazis. America thus might have come full-circle with Ukraine, and become what in WWII had been our nemesis.

Replacing the former single nation of Ukraine, there’ll be two or more failed states. It will be an ongoing hell. The only hope for the Novorossiyan part(s) will be if Putin comes up with a Russian version of our post-WWII Marshall Plan, to restore Novorossiya. The rump northwestern half of Ukraine, which Obama had controlled since even a bit before the 22 February 2014 culmination of his coup, will be a very hot bloody war between the nazis there and everybody else there. Obama won’t any longer even want that half, and he’ll have lost the southeastern half, which was his real goal to control.

The dominance of the U.S., EU, and Japan, is ending. The Western Alliance is breaking up. Europe’s aristocrats gave America’s aristocrats the steering wheel, and America’s arrogant and reckless aristocracy has driven the Alliance into a deep ditch, from which it won’t be able to recover as anything like it was.

The post-WWII world, in which we all have been living, is over.

Obama, by his actions not his words, continues the George W. Bush tradition, of horrendous policies, leading to rather universally bad endings.

Ten Myths About Obama’s Latest War in Iraq and Syria

October 3rd, 2014 by Reese Erlich

Veteran foreign correspondent Reese Erlich was in northern Iraq at the start of the U.S. bombing campaign against Islamic State. He interviewed Kurdish leaders, peshmerga fighters and U.S. officials. He says the reality on the ground is far different from the propaganda coming out of Washington.

1. Islamic State presents an immediate threat to the people of the U.S.

In justifying air attacks on Syria on Sept. 23, President Barack Obama said, “We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.”

I saw firsthand the tens of thousands of Yazidis forced to flee Islamic State fighters. IS is a vicious, un-Islamic, ultra-right-wing group that poses a real threat to the people of Syria and Iraq. But those people will defeat IS, not the U.S., whose motives are widely questioned in the region. IS poses no more of a terrorist threat to the American people than al-Qaida and its offshoots.

In fact, within a matter of weeks, the Obama administration admitted that IS posed little terrorist threat to the U.S. mainland and focused instead on a heretofore-unknown group that the U.S. calls Khorosan. Now evidence is emerging that the Khorosan threat was exaggerated in order to justify expanding the bombing to Syria.

2. The U.S. is not waging war, but a “counterterrorism operation.”

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have managed to redefine war to mean only those conflicts in which Americans die and the fighting costs over $10 billion. But from inside northern Iraq, what I saw sure looked like war. U.S. bombs have already killed civilians, particularly in Syria, where the U.S. has limited or no on-the-ground intelligence.

Once again, the U.S. is waging an open-ended war with no concern for the long-term well-being of the people in the region.

3. The U.S. has no boots on the ground.

The United States already has combat troops in Iraq. A U.S. diplomat acknowledged to me that American spotters in the Kurdish region of Iraq provide coordinates for airstrikes. He said U.S. advisers are armed and would shoot if attacked. If insurgents down an American plane, armed U.S. helicopter teams would go into enemy territory to rescue pilots. By redefining “combat troops,” the U.S. not only wages war in the Middle East, but on the English language.

Just one week into the bombing campaign, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said the U.S. might have to introduce ground combat troops into Iraq. The White House quickly disavowed the statement, but leading Democratic and Republican hawks are already pressuring Obama to formally introduce combat troops. As the air war proves incapable of destroying IS, the administration will likely introduce more ground troops, perhaps renaming them “limited, temporary, counterinsurgency advisers.”

4. The U.S. has formed a viable coalition to defeat Islamic State.

President Obama boasted of the formation of a broad coalition that includes Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, Jordan, Britain, Australia, France and Belgium. Israel remains a silent partner.

But the U.S. remains the main military power and directs the air strikes. Somebody will have to fight IS on the ground, and the coalition allies certainly won’t. In Iraq, the newly formed government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has little support from Sunnis and Kurds, two vital components of any future viable regime. Abadi’s cabinet actually has fewer Sunni ministers than the previous, discredited government of Nouri al-Maliki.

The American alliance with Israel and Sunni-led countries such as Saudi Arabia only angers the Iraqi government, which remains closely allied with Iran. This coalition, like the phony “Coalition of the Willing” in 2003, is doomed from the start. The U.S. will fund and fight this war until organized opposition stops it or the public becomes exhausted. The Obama administration has apparently forgotten that unrestrained military spending in the 2000s helped precipitate the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

5. The U.S. can fight IS and other extremists without simultaneously helping Bashar Assad, Iran and Hezbollah.

One year ago, the Obama administration was beating the war drums against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Now the U.S. is bombing insurgents opposed to Assad. At the moment the Syrian civil war is a zero sum game. Weakening Assad’s enemies strengthens Assad’s regime. Assad, and his allies Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, are pleased with U.S. attacks on IS. But if ultra-right-wing rebels are weakened, pro-U.S. rebels won’t fill the gap. How long will it take for the U.S. to start bombing Syrian army targets?

6. The U.S. supports only moderate rebels.

Contrary to conservative criticism, the Obama administration has tried to create pro-U.S. civilian and armed groups. Obama has failed, not because of “lack of leadership” but because Syrians won’t accept U.S. policy. In my interviews inside Syria and neighboring countries, Syrian rebels and opposition activists made clear they opposed the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington’s total support for Israel. Every Syrian I ever met wants Israel to return the Golan Heights seized in 1967, for example, but the U.S. isn’t interested in having that discussion.

Meanwhile, American allies such as Saudi Arabia have armed extremists such as the al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with al-Qaida. Saudi Arabia’s ultra-right-wing interpretation of Islam shares many ideological similarities with al-Nusra and IS. Yet the U.S. plans to have Saudi Arabia train “moderate” Syrian rebels, which is like asking Al Capone to train Chicago police cadets.

7. The U.S. fights to defend human rights and the rule of law, not oil.

Syria and Iraq have faced massive humanitarian crises for the past three years. Yet the U.S. directly intervened militarily only when the oil-rich Kurdish region of Iraq was threatened. Kurdistan contains the world’s ninth-largest reserves of oil and could eventually replace Russia as a major supplier of oil and gas to Europe. Over 50 foreign oil companies now have offices in Kurdistan, many cutting highly profitable oil production deals with Kurdish officials. Some oil company executives unabashedly call for more military support for anindependent Kurdistan.

Oil is only one factor, however. The U.S. also wants friendly governments in Baghdad and Damascus. A few more military bases in the region wouldn’t hurt either. Whatever combination of economic and geopolitical motivations there may be for the latest war, respect for human rights is not among them.

8. President Obama has the legal authority to bomb both Iraq and Syria.

The Obama administration claims authority to wage the current war based on the 2001 congressional vote authorizing action against al-Qaida for its 9/11 attack. Of course, IS is not part of al-Qaida, and the 2001-era al-Qaida led by Osama bin Laden no longer exists, proving once again that those in power can get their attorneys to find a legal justification for anything.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a U.N. vote. Some libertarian Republicans and progressive Democrats called for a congressional vote under the War Powers Act. Congressional leaders ducked the issue, hoping to avoid debate before the midterm elections. Obama, like Bush before him, believes that the president can wage war at any time and will tolerate a congressional vote only if he wins.

9. The Kurdish leaders are staunch allies against IS.

In June, the Kurdish peshmerga didn’t fight IS when it seized Mosul and other Sunni areas of Iraq. In fact, leaders of the ruling Kurdish Democratic Party met secretly with Sunni tribal leaders allied with IS to work out a non-aggression agreement.

Because of the collapse of the Iraqi army that month, Kurdish leaders expanded their territory by 40 percent. The peshmerga took control of oil-rich Kirkuk, an area long disputed between Kurds and Arabs. KDP leaders told me they have no intention of returning it to central government control. They are preparing referenda on independence in the newly expanded areas. Only in August, when IS attacked Kurdish-controlled areas and threatened Erbil, did the peshmerga fight Islamic State.

KDP leaders are fighting IS as a tactical step toward establishing an independent Kurdistan. If IS stops threatening Kurdistan, the Kurds have no interest in fighting IS inside Arab parts of Iraq. The U.S. and European powers are providing new arms to the peshmerga. Today they are aimed at IS; tomorrow, the Iraqi army.

10. The U.S. never negotiates ransoms with terrorists, unlike those slippery French.

American leaders claim that the U.S. never pays ransoms for kidnapped citizens, whereas some other countries do. One U.S. military leader even speculated that fewer Americans would be kidnapped because of that policy. It’s another myth.

The U.S. negotiated with the Taliban, possibly using third parties, to free the one American prisoner of war in Afghanistan in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners. Two of the American hikers held in Iran were released after the sultan of Oman, at U.S. urging, paid Iran what was euphemistically called “bail.”

As a freelance journalist reporting from the Middle East for 28 years, I have a particular interest in the release of kidnap victims. But I’ve also learned that kidnapping is an opportunistic crime. First, the person is snatched. Then the kidnappers figure out the nationality and potential ransom. The kidnappers know the U.S. will OK ransom payments when the pressure is great enough.

Washington is enjoying the happy, first stage of the new war. Obama officials provide optimistic reports about pinpoint bombing raids. The mainstream media dutifully convey the latest propaganda. Public opinion polls show support for administration resolve.

But as we saw in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. military power has limits. The war will be lost politically. Public opinion will shift against another unnecessary war. And Obama will join Bush as yet another failed, wartime president.

Reese Erlich is  a foreign correspondent who dabbles in political satire while writing his forthcoming book “Syria’s Uprising: Assad, the Rebels and U.S. Policy.” See www.reeseerlich.com

The Chinese used to be quite confident that their hay was GMO free, but all that is about to change. Hay exported to the country from the U.S. is currently in quarantine due to the detection of GMO traits, specifically of genetically modified alfalfa, according to a USDA spokesperson.

This isn’t a singular occurrence, either. Last year, a Washington State grower’s hay was rejected after it tested positive for GMO alfalfa. This doesn’t sit well with China, since all imported hay is supposed to be GMO-free. If the trend continues, they could boycott all US grown hay completely. They aren’t willing to feed their livestock hay grown with Round Up Ready traits – yet for some reason, many US farmers still are.

Chinese officials are already preparing to implement more stringent testing thresholds to keep the GM alfalfa out of their imports.

A USDA representative, who declined to be identified, said:

“We understand that China has recently increased the frequency of its GE (genetically engineered) testing and has a zero tolerance for unapproved biotech traits.”

According to the spokesperson, the USDA has been working with authorities and the U.S. alfalfa industry to find out why ‘certified’ alfalfa has GM traits and to come to an agreement.

However, many industry officials are frustrated by the lack of information and the slow progress related to changing GMO testing sensitivity in hay, says Harry Kreeft, plant pathologist and nematologist with Western Laboratories in Parma, ID who conducts GMO and other testing for the Ag industry:

“Right now, everybody is absolutely grabbing at the dark,” explains Kreeft, “We don’t get any information from the USDA. We don’t get any information from the Chinese side. Our customers have no clue what’s going on.”

The current threshold of acceptance is 5% GMO by Chinese importers, but this could be tightened to 0.2%, and growers would be hard pressed to meet these standards with unintended cross-pollination along with the shady practices of GM companies who often grow ‘test’ fields of GM crops without regulatory approval.

The Chinese need hay, but they may look to other sources if they can’t rely on the U.S. to provide exports that are GM-free. After all, we know China isn’t afraid to reject GMOs from the U.S. or even burn shipment of GMO crops - the country has done it on multiple occasions.

Argentina President Cristina Fernandez, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, exposes the debt vultures who enslave entire nations, the constantly changing definition of a terrorist, and the need for peace and self-determination for all nations. ‘In times of economic vultures and war falcons, we need more doves of peace’.

Obama Deported a Record 438,421 People Last Year

October 3rd, 2014 by Andre Damon

The Obama administration deported a record 438,421 people last year, the highest number of annual deportations in US history, according to official figures published by the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday.

The Obama White House has already deported more people than any other presidency, based on projections for 2014. In Obama’s six years in office, he has deported more people than Bush in his entire eight-year tenure, and more than twice as many people as Clinton.

The number of deportations in 2013 was 20,000 higher than in 2012, and 78,000 higher than in 2008, the last year of the Bush administration.

A significant share—44 percent—of the deportations were so-called “expedited removal orders,” in which deportees are summarily booted out of the country without even a court hearing. The share of these types of deportations has been steadily rising over the last several years, and is up from 31.6 percent of deportations in 2011.

The share of deportations that have gone through the courts or extended administrative reviews fell by half —from 36.2 percent to 17.1 percent between 2011 and 2013.

Of the 438,421 total immigrants deported, 314,904 came from Mexico, while another 46,866 came from Guatemala, 36,526 came from Honduras and 20,862 came from El Salvador.

On Thursday evening, the day after the release of the shocking deportation figures, Obama addressed a dinner hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C., in which he sought to paint his administration as a defender of immigrant rights despite the record number of deportations and his refusal to take any action to reduce them.

Obama’s appearance was met by protests and pickets outside the building. One of the organizations that called the demonstrations, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued a statement denouncing Obama’s visit, noting that Obama “recently announced he would delay executive action and deport another estimated 60,000 people while his Party campaigns for reelection in the midterms.”

In his speech, Obama urged the audience to vote for Democrats in the upcoming election, and promised unspecified immigration reform “between the November elections and the end of the year.”

Obama was heckled and denounced by members of the audience as he spoke. “I know that there’s deep frustration in many communities around the country and I share it,” he said in response, pausing briefly as demonstrators were dragged out by security. He then went on to blame congressional Republicans for the continuing prevalence of mass deportations.

The reality is that the Democratic administration has undertaken the most draconian anti-immigrant policies in recent history.

The recent arrival on the southern border of tens of thousands of children from Central America fleeing poverty, violence and the social devastation wrought by a century of US imperialist interventions in the region, has led to crowding and inhumane conditions at border detention facilities, which were documented in a series of shocking photographs made public earlier this year. The humanitarian crisis created by the growth in the number of child migrants, far from eliciting government social aid, has prompted an even further militarization of the border and a police state crackdown on immigrants.

In July, the Obama administration asked Congress to allocate $3.7 billion in funding to “support a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement,” along with additional staff to speed up deportations, including the hiring of administrators and prosecutors to kick families and individual children out of the country.

Obama’s proposal included $40 million for air surveillance, including additional funds to significantly expand the use of military drones within the borders of the United States.

The Obama administration and Congress are working to construct an enormous new “Family detention facility” in south Texas, which will cover 50 acres of land and is expected to have up to 2,400 beds. The creation of the facility will double the existing federal capacity to house immigrant families.

The new facility is to be operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the world’s largest private prison company, which has a history of allegations of abuse and violence at other facilities. Over half of the detained immigrants in the US are in facilities run by for-profit prison corporations, compared to just 8 percent of state and federal prisoners.

In its latest immigration policy initiative, the administration has announced it will set up “in-country refugee processing centers” in Central America, where children seeking to reunite with parents in the US can be denied entry before they even attempt to make the dangerous journey north and cross the border.

“These programs will not be a pathway for children to join undocumented relatives in the United States,” a White House spokesman clarified.

The Latin Post reported Wednesday that children under five years old have appeared in New York immigration courts without any form of legal representation. New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito described the conditions confronting children facing the immigration courts in the newspaper. “It is, to say the least, distressing— traumatized children standing before a judge without a lawyer,” she said.

In June, Obama promised that he would take executive action to slow deportations, but subsequently reneged on his promise and said that any action to slow deportations would wait until after the November election.

Terrorism and Turmoil: US Containment of China

October 3rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

With Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” fully exposed as US-backed protest movement, readers should be aware that this latest turmoil is but one part of a greater ongoing campaign by the United States to contain and co-opt the nation of China.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.”

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.”

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere.

This containment strategy would be updated and detailed in the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral” where it outlines China’s efforts to secure its oil lifeline from the Middle East to its shores in the South China Sea as well as means by which the US can maintain American hegemony throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

The premise is that, should Western foreign policy fail to entice China into participating in Wall Street and London’s “international system” as responsible stakeholders, an increasingly confrontational posture must be taken to contain the rising nation.

This proxy war has manifested itself in the form of the so-called “Arab Spring” where Chinese interests have suffered in nations like Libya that have been reduced to chaos by US-backed subversion and even direct military intervention. Sudan also serves as a proxy battleground where the West is using chaos to push Chinese interests off the continent of Africa.

More recently, political turmoil has hit Southeast Asia. Thailand has only just recently ousted a US-proxy regime headed by dictator Thaksin Shinawatra, while neighboring Myanmar attempts to stave off sedition headed by US-British political fronts led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Within China itself, the US wields terrorism as a means to destabilize and divide Chinese society in an attempt to make the vast territory of China ungovernable. In the nation’s western province of Xianjiang,the United States fully backs violent separatists.

Indeed, first and foremost in backing the Xinjiang Uyghur separatists is the United States through the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). For China, the Western region referred to as “Xinjiang/East Turkistan” has its own webpage on NED’s site covering the various fronts funded by the US which include:

International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation $187,918
To advance the human rights of ethnic Uyghur women and children. The Foundation will maintain an English- and Uyghur-language website and advocate on the human rights situation of Uyghur women and children.

International Uyghur PEN Club $45,000
To promote freedom of expression for Uyghurs. The International Uyghur PEN Club will maintain a website providing information about banned writings and the work and status of persecuted poets, historians, journalists, and others. Uyghur PEN will also conduct international advocacy campaigns on behalf of imprisoned writers.

Uyghur American Association $280,000
To raise awareness of Uyghur human rights issues. UAA’s Uyghur Human Rights Project will research, document, and bring to international attention, independent and accurate information about human rights violations affecting the Turkic populations of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

World Uyghur Congress $185,000
To enhance the ability of Uyghur prodemocracy groups and leaders to implement effective human rights and democracy campaigns. The World Uyghur Congress will organize a conference for pro-democracy Uyghur groups and leaders on interethnic issues and conduct advocacy work on Uyghur human rights.

It should be noted that the above list was taken from NED’s website in March 2014 – since then, NED has deleted several organizations from the list, as it has done previously regarding its support in other nations ahead of intensified campaigns of destabilization it wished to cover up its role in.

All of these NED-funded organizations openly advocate separatism from China, not even recognizing China’s authority over the region to begin with – referring to it instead as “Chinese occupation.”

Of the March 2014 terror attack in Kunming, the US-funded World Uyghur Congress would even attempt to justify it by claiming Chinese authorities have left the separatists with little other choice. The US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” report titled, “China’s Kunming Train Station Violence Leaves 33 Dead,” reported:

World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement that there was “no justification for attacks on civilians” but added that discriminatory and repressive policies provoked “extreme measures” in response.

From full-blown proxy wars in the 1960′s spanning Southeast Asia, to the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, to terrorism in Xinjiang and turmoil in Hong Kong today – what is taking place is not a battle for “democracy” or “freedom of expression,” but an existential battle for China’s sovereignty. For whatever problems the Chinese people have with their government, it is their problem and theirs alone to solve in their own way. Using the promotion of “democracy” as cover, the US would continue its attempts to infect China with US-backed institutions and policies, subvert, co-opt, or overthrow the political order in Beijing, and establish upon its ashes its own neo-colonial order serving solely Wall Street and Washington’s interests – not those of the Chinese people.

 

 Image: Protest leader Benny Tai - fully entwined with the US State Department’s National Democratic Institute - sitting as a director for years of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) which collaborates with and receives funding from the US government – calls for the “occupation” of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was already occupied – by Britain from 1841 to 1997. For the mobs of “Occupy Central,” many have good intentions, but the leadership is knowingly in league with foreign interests seeking to subvert, divide, and destroy the Chinese people – not unlike what China had suffered at the hands of European powers in the 1800′s to early 1900′s.

New Steps to a Wider War in the Middle East

October 3rd, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The US military has deployed a quick-reaction force of 2,300 Marines to the Middle East, the Pentagon revealed Wednesday, the latest step in a carefully planned escalation of American military power in the region.

Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, said that about half of the force, to be based in Kuwait, was in place, and the rest were on the way. Most of the troops come from Marine Corps bases in southern California, according to reports in the local press there.

The Marines are only the spearhead of a much larger US force in Kuwait, already numbering some 15,000 troops, including an entire armored brigade, which has only flat desert terrain separating it from the war zone in eastern Syria and western Iraq. Another 1,000 Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are stationed on board Navy warships in the Persian Gulf.

The deployment of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), as the new unit is called, was decided on before the current air war launched against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), officials said.

The decision came as part of a review of the security of US installations throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the September 11, 2012 attack on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

Last year the Pentagon established its first MAGTF, headquartered at Morón, Spain, with some assets forward-deployed to Sigonella, Sicily, which is closer to Libya, Egypt and other points in the eastern Mediterranean. This force comprises 1,200 troops available for action anywhere in North Africa.

The second MAGTF, double the size of the first, will be headquartered in Kuwait, but its forces will be distributed to multiple locations in the Middle East, as yet unspecified. “The 2,100 troops will be stationed throughout the theater with the headquarters element in Kuwait,” Marine Corps Col. Kenneth DeTreux told Stars and Stripes, the semi-official military newspaper.

General Amos declined to discuss the specific tasks that the new Marine force might carry out. “All I am trying to do is provide another tool in the tool box,” he told the Journal. “This is a force ready for an array of mission sets.”

Among the likely missions is intervention into Syria or Iraq. This could include either a rescue-in-force of pilots of US warplanes shot down over ISIS-controlled territory in either Syria or Iraq, or reinforcement of the Marine garrisons guarding the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US mission in Erbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.

The Marines are equipped with attack jet fighters, transport planes and V-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing planes, which enable them to move within hours to a targeted area.

The announcement of the Marine deployment came at the end of the second week of US bombing of Syria, nominally directed at the ISIS, the Islamic fundamentalist group that overran much of western and northern Iraq during the summer.

The ultimate goal of the US intervention, as Obama administration spokesmen have repeatedly declared, is the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is allied to Iran and Russia, the two main targets of American imperialism in the region.

While the Obama administration has sought to use the crimes of ISIS, such as the beheading of prisoners and the slaughter of minority religious groups, to sway public opinion in the United States, US allies like Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf despotisms have made it clear that they are mainly concerned with overthrowing Assad.

The latest recruit to the US-led “coalition,” the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was even more explicit about this goal, as the Turkish parliament voted Thursday for a measure to allow Turkish troops to enter Iraq and Syria and to permit foreign troops to use Turkish territory.

The new law would allow Turkish troops to create a buffer zone inside Syria to prevent refugees from crossing the border. It would also allow the US to use its airbase at Incirlik, near the Syria-Turkish border, to launch airstrikes against targets in both Syria and Iraq.

In a speech before the vote, Erdogan dismissed the US-led bombing campaign against ISIS as ineffective and pointless, saying, “Tons of air bombs will only delay the threat and danger” of terrorism. He renewed his call for the ouster of Assad. This was echoed by Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, who told parliament, “The main source of ISIS is the Syrian regime.”

The parliament passed authorization for Turkish military action by a vote of 298 to 98, with many of those opposing the bill advocating an even more aggressive role, and criticizing Erdogan for failing to enforce border controls against the influx of Islamic militants through Turkey and into the Syrian conflict.

Turkish Chief of Staff Necdet Ozel gave another pretext for possible military intervention in Syria, saying that the army was ready to act in defense of a small Turkish unit deployed in northern Syria to guard the tomb of an ancestor of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The tomb of Suleyman Shah has been treated as Turkish territory under a longstanding arrangement with the Syrian government, with a token honor guard that is now surrounded by ISIS forces.

As these military and diplomatic maneuvers took place, there was heavy fighting in both Syria, around the Kurdish-populated town of Kobani, on the Turkish border, and in Hit, a city on the Euphrates River that has been largely overrun by ISIS. Hit is 115 miles northwest of Baghdad and a hub for oil pipelines.

In the Syrian city of Homs, the country’s third-largest, some 39 people, most of them children, were killed in two car-bombings near a school in a pro-Assad neighborhood. The district, known as Akrama, is largely populated by Alawites, the Shiite-linked sect to which the Assad family and most of the regime’s inner circle belong. It has been repeatedly targeted for terrorist attacks by the al-Nusra Front and other Syrian “rebel” groups.