New allegations claim Syrian chemical weapons use. We’ve heard similar ones before. Obama calls using them a “game changer.” He also said their use crosses a “red line.”

Syrian officials are unequivocal. Weeks earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad spoke for others saying:

“Syria stresses again, for the 10th, the 100th time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against our people. We would not commit suicide.”

Alleging Syrian chemical weapons use resembles bogus claims about Saddam’s nonexistent WMDs. It’s similar to false charges against all US enemies.

Big Lies launch wars. They facilitate them. They perpetuate them. Gore Vidal once said:

“Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own.”

Syria is Washington’s war. It was planned years ago. It’s objective is regime change. America’s been involved from inception. Independent governments aren’t tolerated.

So-called “non-lethal” aid represents America’s tip of the iceberg. The CIA’s involved in facilitating weapons shipments. Huge amounts flow in. US-backed death squads are well supplied.

At issue is whether Obama plans direct intervention. About 200 US forces were deployed in Jordan. They’re positioned along Syria’s border. John Kerry announced doubling US aid to insurgents.

On the one hand, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says no intervention is planned. On the other, he’s hinted about possibly doing so. NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis said he’s ready to act if asked.

Perhaps the North Atlantic Treaty’s article five will be invoked. It considers an attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members an attack against all. It calls for collective action.

Is a staged incident planned? Are chemical weapons charges crossing Obama’s “red line.” Will NATO invoke article five? Will imperial aggression follow? Perhaps Obama has that in mind. He prioritizes war. He deplores peace. He preconditions negotiations on regime change.

In early April, unnamed US intelligence officials claimed Syria used chemical weapons. Two alleged Damascus incidents were cited.

In a March address, Obama said “We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. The world is watching, and we will hold you accountable.”

In late March, credible evidence of insurgent chemical weapons use surfaced. Syria’s military said a home-made locally-manufactured rocket was fired.

It contained CL17. It’s a form of chlorine. It induces vomiting, fainting, suffocation and seizures. Those in the immediate area are affected.

Khan al-Asal was attacked. It’s southwest of Aleppo. Government forces control it. Jihadists struck a Syrian army-controlled checkpoint.

A local hospital source said he personally witnessed Syrian army personnel helping those harmed. Over two dozen deaths were reported. They included Syrian soldiers.

European diplomats acknowledged what happened. They lied claiming “friendly fire.”

Britain and France said Syria used chemical weapons more than once since last December. Unnamed senior diplomats claim soil samples, witness interviews, and opposition sources say nerve agents were used in and around Aleppo, Homs and possibly Damascus.

According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, allegations are being evaluated. Some US intelligence officials are skeptical. Without US censors in Syria, determining chemical weapons use is hard enough. Harder still is deciding who’s responsible if credible evidence is found.

According to an unnamed US defense official, anyone could plant evidence of chemical weapons use. “Catching them when we don’t own the ground is very difficult, especially when we are talking about non-persistent agents.”

“We can’t be sure the samples aren’t tainted by people who have an interest in trying to get the international community involved.”

He added that tests Britain conducted weren’t definitive. Details weren’t provided on where samples were taken and who provided them. Significant use of chemical agents wasn’t found.

So-called eyewitness accounts blamed Assad. Later they proved false. Israel made new ones. On April 23, Haaretz headlined “Israel confirms Syria regime used chemical weapons against rebels.”

According to Military Intelligence Research Division head General Itai Brun:

“To the best of our professional understanding, the regime has used lethal chemical weapons on a number of occasions, including the incident on March 19.”

He cited photo evidence. Whose he didn’t say. They’re easy to fabricate. Allegedly they show victims foaming at the mouth with pupils contracted. He claims the weapon used was sarin-based.

“The regime has increasingly used chemical weapons,” he alleges. “The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction – this is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate.”

He claims Syria has a “large arsenal of chemical weapons, more than 1,000 tons of chemicals, thousands of aerial bombs and quite a lot of warheads and surface-to-surface missiles that can be armed with chemical weapons.”

“How this develops is a good question. We need to be very concerned with the fact chemical weapons might reach less responsible hands that don’t consider the consequences of their actions.”

They “don’t undertake normal cost-benefit calculations.” He calls that “worrying.”

At the same time, he’s uncertain whether regional conflict will include widespread chemical weapons use. He stressed the “need to see how the situation develops in the short term.”

Days earlier, Netanyahu addressed the issue, saying:

“We are prepared to defend ourselves if the need arises and I think people know that what I say is both measured and serious.”

“We have to be very bothered by the possibility that chemical weapons are going to get into the hands of less responsible actors.”

“It is certainly possible that there will be other incidents of attack against Israel by other organizations that obtain different types of weapons.”

At a Brussels NATO foreign ministers meeting, John Kerry urged members to respond if it’s determined that Syria used chemical weapons.

“We should carefully and collectively consider how NATO is prepared to respond to protect its members from a Syrian threat, including any potential chemical weapons threat,” he said.

At the same time, he spoke to Netanyahu by phone. “He was not in a position to confirm (chemical weapons use) in the conversation that I had.”

“I don’t know yet what the facts are. I don’t think anybody knows what they are.”

Separately, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said intelligence regarding chemical weapons use remains inconclusive. His press secretary George Little added:

“We reiterate in the strongest possible terms the obligations of the Syrian regime to safeguard its chemical weapons stockpiles, and not to use or transfer such weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah.”

Events going forward demand close scrutiny. Obama may be planning more war. Make no mistake. He’ll take full advantage of Boston’s marathon bombings. He’ll do so at home and abroad. Rogue states operate that way.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/target-syria-allegations-of-chemical-weapons-use/

The secessionist state of Somaliland has signed a production sharing agreement with DNO, a Norwegian oil and gas company.

The president of the secessionist state of Somaliland Ahmed M. Mohamoud Silanyo and Executive Chairman, Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani attended the signing ceremony in Washington DC, on the 22 of April.

 The oil deal covers block SL18, located in Sool province of North Somalia.

During the signing ceremony Mossavar-Rahmani added: “This 12,000 square kilometer block adds substantial exploration acreage to DNO International’s portfolio and in an area that is both prospective and undrilled”.

Block SL18 is situated on the Nugaal Valley Basin, a stretch of land that encompasses the provinces of Sool, Sanaag and Ayn, in short the SSC regions, where heavy clashes occurred in Hudun district of Sool province last month between Somaliland forces and Khaatumo State forces.

Somaliland forces have attempted several times to capture Hudun town from Khaatumo State forces based in the town.

Hudun town is situated in the western parts of Sool province, exactly in the center of Block SL18, and remains under the control of  Khaatumo State of Somalia.

The DNO deal supports the notion that the war waged by Somaliland against Khaatumo State and the local population is Oil. As long as Block SL18 is under the control of Khaatumo State, and there is opposition from the local population, the war in the SSC region will continue and accelerate, while Somaliland is trying to secure these regions for seismic surveys on the ground and eventually drilling.

The Nugaal Valley Basin has also been sold by Puntland to Horn Petroleum, additionally ConnocoPhilips and Shell possess old oil exploration rights granted by the former Somali government of Major General Mohamed Siad Barre.

Although DNO is a small oil company that is familiar with operating in high risk areas, Block SL18 is not only a high risk area but also lies in a conflict zone.

Has DNO not overstepped this time with the SL18 oil deal, an area contested by several Oil companies, and by the signing with Somaliland, a state without any international recognition?

Mahdi Ali, Email: [email protected]

 

In a 2011 interview for an Australian TV channel, US Republican Senator John McCain talked about Islamic extremism ‘spreading’ if left unchecked by military intervention in Afghanistan and elsewhere (1). In the same interview, he spoke of the US having held fast in Iraq and having ‘succeeded’ there. He stated that ‘we’ must do the same in Afghanistan because ‘we’ are succeeding there too. In the warped world of neo-con mouthpieces like McCain, the ongoing carnage and turmoil that US-led criminality has caused  in the two countries in question equates with ‘success’ (2)(3)(4)(5).

Given the problems at home, it comes as little surprise that US public support for militarism abroad has been waning for some time (6). McCain is fully aware of this. His comments were little more than an attempt to hoodwink the public into continuing to support the US’s war of global terror because he knows that people have other things on their minds, such as housing foreclosures, the outsourcing of jobs and livelihoods, increasing impoverishment, the crackdown on civil liberties and the slaughter of young (often poor) men who fight wars that have no end in sight. The public is also becoming increasingly aware that over half of government spending goes on the military when it could be better spent in other areas (7).

In 2006, former US military commander and CIA boss General Petraeus said the US strategy is to conduct a war of perceptions continuously through the news media. People like McCain are the foot soldiers in such a war and hope that the public mindset can be manipulated with propaganda about US national security interests, perceived military successes and fear about Islamic extremism.  

No doubt both Petraeus and McCain have taken their cue from US commentator Walter Lippmann who in the 1920s said that ‘responsible men’ make decisions and had to be protected from the ‘bewildered herd’ — the public. Lippman believed that the public should be subdued, obedient and distracted from what is really happening and should be admiring with awe the leaders who save them from destruction and provide peace. The words of Lippman might have been ringing loud and clear in the minds of many observers as people came onto the streets of Boston to celebrate and chant “USA!USA!” after the authorities had suspended civil liberties and effectively implemented Martial Law in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon explosions. Saved from destruction and admiring their leaders with awe!

After a decade of creeping ‘war fatigue’ among the public, the recent bomb blasts in Boston comes as a timely and convenient reminder to US citizens that the ‘war on terror’ must be maintained. What better than a terrible short, sharp shock in Boston to sleep-walk them back towards this version of ‘reality’?

Much has been written about the two men who are allegedly responsible for the attack in Boston. The US media has gone out of its way to speculate on links with Chechnya and even Iran. Despite no proof of Iranian involvement, it’s always a good thing to throw the latest US designated bogeyman into the mix in order to demonise it and keep the public’s mind focused and supportive of continued action against it.

With all the talk of extremist Islamic terror and enemies of the US who may have been behind the attack, the mainstream media has ignored the role of the US government itself when it comes to terror attacks within the US. Such a task has been left to analysts such as Michael German and James Corbett, who have written on how FBI sting operations make jihadists out of gullible Muslims and hapless malcontents (8)(9). They document many examples of how the FBI has infiltrated, nurtured and encouraged rag tag groups to devise terror plots on US soil. It is therefore of interest that the FBI had also been monitoring the two Boston bomb suspects for a number of years (10)(11).

Without the FBI, many half baked ‘terror plots’ against the US on its own soil might never have existed at all. In true Lippman-esque style, however, the publicity surrounding such schemes and the media celebration of ‘heroic’ government agencies foiling them serve to create or strengthen public perceptions about an ongoing threat in order to keep the public on side. Indeed, in the wake of the Boston bombings the influential Council of Foreign Relations has voiced the opinion that the event once again raises the specter of terrorism on US soil, thereby highlighting the vulnerabilities of a free and open society.

Such statements and the mainstream media, with all its wild speculations and accusations concerning events in Boston, act to condition the public to continue to support the ‘war on terror’. And that involves the notion that the US is under constant threat at home and abroad therefore civil liberties must be curtailed (in the name of a ‘free and open society’!) in order to prevent terror. It also involves the notion that imperialist wars thinly disguised as a global war on terror must be continued.

Regardless of who is ultimately responsible for the attack in Boston, whether it was individuals acting alone or whether they were being guided by other players, the attack has served to propagate the myth about the need for ongoing US militarism and has probably conveniently served to counter waning public support for it.

Notes

1)   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5QiZSZmcV4

2) http://:www.globalresearch.ca/iraq-crimes-against-humanity-the-babies-will-haunt-us/5316119

3) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/19/iraq-make-it-impossible-to-unleash-barbarism

4) http://www.countercurrents.org/polya051209.htm

5) http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/afghanistan-and-pakistan/1878-a-weekend-of-carnage-in-afghanistan-but-the-pointless-and-lost-war-goes-on

6) http://www.ipsnews.net/2006/09/us-9-11-poll-finds-waning-faith-in-military-interventions/

7) http://www.globalresearch.ca/more-than-50-of-us-government-spending-goes-to-the-military/18852

8) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34322.htm

9) http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-boston-bombings-in-context-how-the-fbi-fosters-funds-and-equips-american-terrorists/5331872

10) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ARE9rclZCqw#!

11) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324763404578433113880189762.html

 

 

Within days of the bombings in Boston, massive contradictions have opened up in the official accounts given by the Obama administration, the FBI and other state agencies as to how this terrorist attack transpired.

As in so many previous cases, once again in the Boston bombings the individual said to be the principal organizer of an act of terrorism was well known to the FBI. In 2011, the agency had been tipped off by Russian intelligence that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died last week following a shootout with police, was suspected of being a radical Islamist seeking to link up with armed groups in the Northern Caucasus.

The FBI now claims that it investigated Tsarnaev, a resident alien and Russian citizen, but found no incriminating evidence, learning nothing more about him until after the April 15 bombings.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday that when Tsarnaev left the US for a six-month trip to the Caucasus in January 2012, his trip “pinged” the Department of Homeland Security system, but that when he returned no one took notice because the investigation into his activities had lapsed.

There are many possible explanations for how someone placed under an FBI investigation as a suspected Islamist militant could carry out a bombing in the heart of a US city, killing three people and wounding over 170 more. The one that is least plausible, and can be rejected as a lie and cover-up, is the FBI’s claim that the suspect simply fell under its radar.

The mother of the two brothers has directly contradicted the FBI’s story, reporting that Tamerlan was in continuous contact with the agency for between three to five years and that they were “controlling his every step.”

Russian police sources have contradicted the FBI claim that it received no information from Moscow, reporting that they provided the US agency with a dossier on Tamerlan.

Amid the self-congratulatory praise for the police agencies that placed Boston under a state of siege last Friday before capturing Tsarnaev’s 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, there has been a growing drumbeat of criticism of an “intelligence failure” by the FBI. The US Senate and House intelligence committees held closed-door hearings Tuesday on the FBI’s handling of its 2011 investigation into the activities of Tsarnaev.

There is no reason to expect anything but a cover-up from these hearings. One only need consider the fact that the FBI’s director is Robert Mueller, who held the same post on September 11, 2001. Ostensibly the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the United States, neither 9/11 nor the hearings that followed it resulted in Mueller or any other senior US intelligence, military or other government official losing his post for “failing to connect the dots.”

A number of those involved in the 9/11 attacks had been under surveillance either by the FBI or the CIA. The CIA was well aware that two of the hijackers had entered the US, but deliberately concealed the information from other agencies. Elements within the FBI had demanded an investigation into suspicious activities of Saudi and other Arab nationals training at flight schools in the US, but to no avail.

None of those who carried out the official investigations of 9/11 had any interest in probing too deeply into these connections for fear of what they would reveal.

Virtually every terror case in the US since 9/11 has had the FBI’s fingerprints all over it, and the Boston bombings are no exception. The federal police agency has engaged in unending sting operations, using highly paid informants to troll through mosques and immigrant communities, ensnaring hapless people in plots that would never have existed without the FBI providing the inspiration as well as the means.

In the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, they were handed an ideal candidate for such a sting—it is now reported that he had been thrown out of his mosque for making militant statements. Yet they supposedly dropped the case for lack of evidence. This claim lacks any credibility.

After the bombings, the FBI’s release of the photographs of the Tsarnaev brothers, appealing to the public for “tips,” amounted to a calculated cover-up. The FBI is not the Keystone Cops. If they didn’t have prior knowledge of the Tsarnaevs’ plans, they knew precisely who these individuals were the moment they saw them on the videos.

Now there is a palpable air of nervousness in government circles. Before a real investigation has even begun, the story is being put out that the two brothers acted alone without any outside assistance. Within the Obama administration, there appears to be a concerted effort to contain any damage from new revelations.

There are any number of explanations for what happened after the FBI received the request from Moscow. One is that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was given a pass because he was seen as an asset in gathering intelligence on Islamist groups or furthering the murky US operations in support of separatism in southern Russia. Some sources have suggested that he may have turned on his American handlers, as has happened not infrequently—the killing of five top CIA operatives in Afghanistan by a Jordanian doctor sent to infiltrate Al Qaeda comes to mind.

One thing is certain; terrorism is invariably bound up with the criminal foreign policy conducted by Washington, which takes the form of an endless succession of reckless, predatory and violent interventions all over the world.

The September 11 attacks themselves had their roots in the decision of the Carter administration at the end of the 1970s to foment an Islamist insurgency in Afghanistan to overthrow a Soviet-backed government, and Washington’s subsequent discarding of the mujahideen, whom it had previously hailed as “freedom fighters.”

History is repeating itself in the intricate and long-standing relationship between US imperialism and Al Qaeda. In both Libya and Syria, Washington has utilized Al Qaeda-linked forces as proxies in wars for regime-change against secular Arab governments.

In Libya, once Gaddafi was overthrown and murdered, the US sought to suppress these forces, resulting in the bloody assault on the US consulate in Benghazi that claimed the life of the US ambassador and three other Americans last September 11. In Syria, it is preparing to do the same thing, working to cobble together a coalition of “moderates” to marginalize the al Nusra Islamists, who until now have borne the brunt of the fighting. All of this is sowing the seeds for more terrorism.

Innocent bystanders, whether in Damascus, Kabul, Baghdad or Boston, end up paying the terrible price for these US operations, which leave a trail of blood and disaster everywhere.

Americans have a big problem with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). If anyone discuss the filing of tax return in their emails the IRS may be monitoring what you say to see if you may be trying to cheat on taxes, committing money laundering or sending non-reported funds to tax havens. 

Americans are under siege by questionable U.S. government surveillance tactics, tactics that  pry into people’s daily life even when no crime may have occurred. In the past FBI and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) have used warrantless GPS tracking devices to track vehicles and the latest “Stingray” tracker have been used to listen in on cell phone communication to

pinpoint a person’s location, including the extraction of cell data like text messages, which numbers were called–all done without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment Constitution prohibiting “Unreasonable Search and Seizure.”

In U.S. v Antoine Jones the Supreme Court in Washington ruled in January 2012 that federal government illegally tracked Jones, a suspected drug trafficker, for 28 days, without a warrant. This  Fourth Amendment violation resulted in Jones life without parole conviction reversed for retrial. In a new trial held this year, Jones represented himself  and won a 6-6 hung jury. No date been set for another trial.

Now the IRS is the latest to jump on the government bandwagon of spying on the emails of American citizens who file tax returns, without a warrant!  According to a lawsuit filed by ACLU( American Constitution League Union)–the IRS released documents explaining why their agents didn’t need a warrant to read other people’s emails to detect whether or not if someone liable to violate U.S. tax laws by under reporting their earnings. Suspected drug drug dealers and money launderers who use the internet to transact illegal business online are  prime targets as well.

Example of IRS monitoring drug organizations who use the internet and other forms of wireless communication to launder proceeds, IRS Special Agent Andre Guilot said the Quality Express Convenience Store in Baton Rouge Louisiana owned by Thang Minh “Tommy” Tran laundered over $170 million dollars of drug money into Hancock Bank between July 2006

and December 2011. Other members of the conspiracy were identified as Son “Tatto” Nguyen  of  Baton Rouge and Thahn “Money” Nguyen of New Orleans. Wire transfers and emails showed the men transferred $275,000 in narcotic proceeds into a Houston Texas location.

IRS deny reading emails without a warrant by issuing a recent public statement:

 ”The IRS does not use emails to target taxpayers; any suggestions to the contrary is wrong.”

 Documents obtained by ACLU prove otherwise. In one leaked memo, IRS lawyers told their agents that

“Non consensual monitoring or electronic communications….can be used to investigate a federal felony.”    “Further, the Chief Counsel, said, “Emails and other transmissions lose their reasonable expectation of privacy and Fourth Amendment protection once emails been sent from an individual’s computer.”

The Wall Street Journal reports “the IRS can also monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts outside of an investigation like targeting people suspected of lying on their tax returns- or targeting private emails of suspected narcotic dealers which as a rule the IRS realize most criminals don’t usually pay taxes on illicit funds, but in essence, most suspected lawbreakers use cell phones, emails and emails to carry out crimes. IRS direct order to their agents to snoop on citizens emails are in the crossfire of judges, legislators, privacy groups and attorneys across the nation.

IRS is able to execute this scheme due to the outdated ECPA law( Electronic Communication Privacy Act) which allows government agencies to obtain emails more than 180 days old although the leeway to do so can easily run afoul of the Fourth Amendment protection because whose to say the government will follow strict legal guidelines.

As the firestorm brew over email and social media privacy, and even if the IRS accessed warrantless emails the tactic may soon end in glorious defeat.  U.S. Senate are currently working overtime on rewriting the law to update the ECPA that will require government agencies to have a warrant to open and read emails in any form.

Critics insists that Americans’ email messages should be protected from warrantless search and seizures. The prevailing theory is this: emails and social media messages should  have the same Fourth Amendment privacy standards as that of a “hard drive”  located on someone’s computer inside a locked residence including paperwork stashed in a vault or filing cabinet.

“What the IRS is doing to emails is a massive invasion of privacy”, says Houston Texas-based Tax lawyer expert Michael Minns. Minns is the author of the best-selling book: “The Underground Lawyer.”  Minns is a lifelong advocate of the Fourth Amendment, a fearless legal crusader, who represent people charged with IRS tax crimes. “Since IRS have been monitoring emails without a warrant this is very troubling and it violates the Fourth Amendment.”  Minns recall previous court trials of people charged with IRS crimes, and the lawyers and their clients often wondered how IRS knew about certian conversations regarding sensitive information discussed privately online.

“So how long this really been going on?”  Minns questioned.

Meanwhile U.S. Congress members are demanding answers from the IRS. In a letter sent to the IRS on April 11th, Republican Louisiana Representative Charles Boustany, the Chairman of the House Committe on Ways and Means on Oversight; Boustany demanded answers from IRS about its policy on searching emails and other electronic communications; how many emails have been searched without a warrant within the last several years; and  specifically  what the agency was looking for. “They made some statement about targeted searches, but they have not specifically addressed what was asked in our letter,” Congress Press Secretary Sarah Swinehart told the Washington Whisper.

IRS spokesman Dean Patterson told the Whisper that  he believes the agency “will say more on the issue”. Patterson declined to say what or when.

Writing in the U.S. News and Reports, Rick Newman defends the IRS. Newman says the American people should appreciate the benefits of a stable tax system and tough enforcement of tax rules. “The U.S. Treasury borrow money at interest rates of less than 2 percent for a 10 year loan that benefit Americans in many ways: “It keeps government spending higher than it would–which funnels money to many businesses and help the economy grow. Low rates on government securities, Newman points out, also keeps rates low on consumer loans making homes, cars and other things more affordable.”

“What happens to nations with lax tax systems. Greece, for one, suffers from an epidemic of tax cheating that helped send the nation to the brink of bankruptcy while causing a full blown depression,”  Newman wrote in the News Report article published on April 12th 2013.

Privacy Rights Upheld in U.S. VS Steven Warshak

One case involving the IRS obtaining warrantless emails involves the case of Steven Warshak. On December 14th 2010, Federal Court Sixth Circuit held that “government agents violated Warshak’s Fourth Amendment rights by compelling his ISP(Internet Service Provider) to hand over Warshak’s emails without first obtaining a search warrant based on probable cause.” A Federal Judge allowed prosecutors to introduce the emails as evidence during trial because the IRS agents testified they acted in good faith under the ECPA Stored Communications Act.

Sixth Circuit further ruled: “Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication, it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection.”

Seeking taxes on approximately $250 million dollars that Warshak made with his business called Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals the IRS seized Over 27,000 emails belonging to the prominent businessman. Warshak decision is important because the Sixth Circuit is the first court from the U.S. Court of Appeals to explicitly rule there is a “reasonable of expectation of

privacy in the content of emails stored on a third-party server and that the emails wee subject to Fourth Amendment protection. Privacy activists hailed this decision as a standard bearer for the Fourth Amendment protection of electronic communications. Yet the IRS ignored the decision by upping the ante relying on an updated edition of its Search Warrant Handbook that ordered their agents to continue on as they were in “obtaining everything in an account except for unopened email or voice mail stored with a provider for 180 days or less without a warrant.”

This defiant order was  supported by a memo sent out in October 2011 by IRS Senior Counsel William Spatz. Spatz argued in the document that the IRS should comply by the ruling of the Ninth Circuit and that “The Ninth Circuit and other courts have recognized that a warrant is not required for government entity to require an electronic provider to produce a customer’s electronic communication.”

 High Tech Tracking Tools: How Much IRS Really Know About American Citizens

Under fire by DOJ(Department of Justice) to help dig the government out of a budget crisis the IRS has geared up to track down approximately over $300 billion dollars in revenue lost to evasions, illegal money laundering and tax cheats. Faced with evolving technology used by millions of computer users the IRS recently announced the agency will start using “robo audits” of tax forms and third-party data to bridge a “tax gap.”  Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said in a public statement “that the technology will employ billions of pieces of data to target enforcement of noncompliance.”

“It’s not clear what they are using and how,” says Bill Smith, a manager director at the accounting firm CBIZ MHM.  “But don’t brag on Facebook about how you are cheating. The IRS can see that.”   “It’s well known in the tax community, but not many people outside of it, are aware of this big expansion of data and computer use,”  says Edward Zelinsky, a tax law expert and professor at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. “I am sure people will be concerned about the use of personal information ion databases in government.”   “Taypayers should know, Zelinsky adds, that whatever people do and say electronically can and will be used against them in IRS enforcement.”

Most Americans are familiar with “internet cookies” that silently track human interaction online which provides direct leeway for targeted  “ads” to pop up when a user switch from one website to another. But IRS has hired private industry experts to employ similar digital tracking with a major advantage to easily access social security numbers, health records, credit card transactions, ebay and Amazon purchases including other private information that marketers and different elite businesses don’t generally see.

“Private industry would be envious if they knew what our models are,” boasted Dean Silverman, as reported in trade publications. Silverman is the high-tech specialists who heads a group of recruited private sectors to update IRS technology to snoop on citizens using the internet. As expected the IRS declined to comment to national mainstream journalists on how they will use the new technology to sniff out online tax cheats. According to U.S. News and Report–IRS officials has already outline their plan in partnership with IBM and EMC to use their new technology for the following:

(1) Charting and analyzing emails and Social Media like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

 (2) Targeting audits by matching tax filings to Social Media or electronic payments.

 (3) Tracking individual internet addresses and emailing patterns.

 (4) Sorting data in 32,000 categories of metadata and 1 million unique “attributes.”

 (5) Maching learning across “neutral” networks.

 Can Americans Avoid IRS Internet Trap?

 Tax law experts provides the following tips to aid citizens to avoid the IRS “big trap” on the internet. These tips may not be foolproof but they are considerable safeguards:

 (1) Double check your online postings and emails against your tax filings to insure the information is accurate.

 (2) Don’t brag to friends online about extra financial benefits that you received, then forget to list it on your tax returns. IRS can detect this.

 (3) Be aware that professional tax preparers store information online is subject to IRS surveillance. So make sure the numbers are correct.

 Another danger signal is when people use anonymous online “cloud drop boxes” or anonymous email addresses. Experts say these techniques are not safe-proof, particularly for drug dealers who launder money to tax havens and other shady laundering operations. Former CIA Director David Petraeus can attest to this unequivocal fact when he attempted to conceal a steamy romance. FBI zeroed in on Petraeus’s dropbox that stil contained his emails with his mistress. and the affair were exposed when investigators accessed the emails from Petraeus’s online storage space–although he mistakenly thought the information had been deleted.

“Anonymous postings depends on what sort of investigation is done,” said Bruce Schneir, Chief Security Technology Officer at BT, a British telecommunications company. “The FBI and by extension of the IRS, could obtain the data on a specific person.”

Overall, most important, perhaps we should not vilify the IRS for the convoluted, often confusing tax code. Congress creates the tax laws and the IRS enforces them. But the tax code

doesn’t allow intentional violation of the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizures. The IRS should promptly reply to lawmakers questions abut their warrantless snooping of emails and social media conversations. Even more important the IRS should formally  modify their policies to require agents to obtain warrants to access emails irrespective of how old or how new the emails may be.

Final analysis: It will take Congress to rewrite the ECPA laws to prevent IRS exploitation of the Stored Communication Act to swipe emails at their disposal. The American Constitution should never be compromised or taken for granted, but when the government wants to deprive its citizens of liberty and freedom it’s like they are saying: “Federal government giveth and the federal government taketh it away.”

The “Criminalisation” of International Criminal Justice

April 23rd, 2013 by Alexander Mezyaev

On April 10 the United Nations General Assembly held its first ever and rather unique debate on the role of the international criminal justice system in fostering reconciliation. It summed up and assessed the twenty year experience of international criminal courts and tribunals activities. (1) The hearings were boycotted by some states, like, for instance, the United States of America, Canada and Jordan. Jordanian UN envoy said that the fact of holding the debates was, allegedly, an example of power abuse on the part of President of General Assembly.

This time the President of the Assembly session was Vuk Jeremić from Serbia, former Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs…

So, why has the issue of reconciliation hit a snag in the form of boycott?

The answer is evident. The so-called international justice has totally failed. Today, there is no doubt left, the international justice system has no, whatsoever, relation neither to peace restoration, nor reconciliation after armed conflicts.

Even mentioning the interrelation evokes anxiety, or even anger of the key participants in the process of making the system of «justice» function. For instance, Prince Zeid, the Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He has served with UN peacekeeping contingent in Bosnia and has been the first President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. He is the one to know really well what the interrelationship between international courts and reconciliation is like.

David Tolbert from the United States, who has served as Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was more candid than his Jordanian counterpart. He put it straight that, as to him, the international courts cannot and should not make a contribution into reconciliation process; it’s not what they are destined for. (2)

The statement totally distorts the mission set by the United Nations before the former Yugoslavia tribunal, which was the restoration of peace and assistance in reconciliation process. David Tolbert put forward another false thesis stating that the international criminal courts have achieved outstanding successes in the recent years and thanks to them «nobody is above law» now. Talking about the criminal courts achievements and successes, the American meant the usurpation of the rights to arrest and bring to justice the heads of states and governments.

In reality the appearance of criminal courts created a new caste of people standing beyond and above any rights. They are the international prosecutors and judges. These people face no responsibility for what they do, neither according to interstate nor international law. No statutes of international tribunals or any other legislative acts envisage a procedure of making a judge or a prosecutor responsible for violating legal norms or power abuse. It is very uncommon. The laws of many states include such provisions.

The article 31 of the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code is almost fully devoted to the crimes committed by officers of the law. The judges may be made face responsibility by the Supreme Qualifying Collegium of the Russian Federation. (3) The other states have similar laws. At the same time, no responsibility is envisaged for international judges and prosecutors for crimes committed. And they are numerous enough: conscientious handing down illegal verdicts, rigging evidence, violation of defendant’s rights, non-use of existing norms of international law or their remaking, ignoring defendant’s evidence, unsubstantiated rulings etc. Sometimes the violations are so massive, that the independence of judges is questioned, because their actions actually destroy the international legal system.

The immunity of heads of states and governments rejected, the caste of «untouchable» international judges and prosecutors created – all these things match the purpose set before the international criminal courts by global power. The goal is to get rid of the state leaders fallen out of favor in the name of the so-called «international community». The absence of any legal basis to make international judges and prosecutors face responsibility is not an oversight, it’s the purposeful establishment of a striking potential to destroy the existing progressive legal system and create a new repressive and regressive international law.

No matter the boycott demarche, the United Nations hearings were of great significance. The representatives of a number of states lambasted the existing «system of justice» leaving no stone unturned. The address by Tomislav Nikolić stood out as bright and pithy.

Actually it was the report of an expert, offering a legal assessment going far beyond general lines and offering all the details of the problem. (4) The issues elucidated in the report included: the concept of instituting legal proceedings (the principle of division of powers and independent judiciary is violated); the assessment of the way the equality of the parties was observed, the control by Tribunal over financial activities persecution and defense, the issue of conscientious curtailing of the Tribunal’s temporary jurisdiction, the violation of the principle of equality while handing down sentences to those, who represent different ethnic groups etc. (5)

The President’s United Nations address convincingly demonstrated that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has never brought reconciliation to the Balkans; to the contrary, its activities have aggravated the schism in the society.

The other speeches are worth to mention too. Nebojša Radmanović, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, noted that not a single ethnic group, populating his country, holds an opinion that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has made any contribution into the national reconciliation process. The Justice Minister of Rwanda said the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was to blame for no peace in his country.

The Tribunal came under harsh criticism in other speeches too. Actually, the criticism was not aimed at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia only, but rather the whole system of international justice. The Justice Minister of Namibia said that this kind of ‘justice’ is selective and pointed the finger at the real culprit – the United Nations Security Council. John Laughland, Director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris, has hit the nail right on the head while summing up the results of the international courts activities. According to him, the very idea of international justice has failed.

Vitaly Churkin, the Permanent Representative (Ambassador) of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, commenting on how some considered justice critical for victims and an important element in efforts to prevent threats to peace and security, said that he could not accept the principle of retribution «at any cost».

Prosecutions could only be successfully achieved if the process was impartial and depoliticized. Although there were both positive and negative examples in that regard, he pointed out that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was a negative one, with a legacy that could not be seen as a success story, and whose existence had been unjustly extended «for an absurd length of time». Such extensions had resulted in a number of key officials dying before they could be prosecuted. The question was whether such a judicial body — whose very existence seemed to cultivate the notion of guilt on one side of the conflict — could really bring about peace and justice. The Security Council must take decisive steps to help that body extricate itself from the «systemic dead end» in which it was entrenched.

* * *

Serbia has made a breakthrough in fair assessment of what is called «international justice». It has attracted the attention of many countries to the problem. For the first time the international criminal courts were not just criticized, but rather lambasted at the session of the United Nations General Assembly. Russia has supported the «Serbian step forward». There is ground to believe the common legal position taken in the United Nations by Russia and Serbia would yield results…

Notes

(1) Letter of the President of the General Assembly to all Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the United Nations, 11 February 2013.
(2) Tolbert D., Can international justice foster reconciliation? Reconciliation should focus on what it takes to restore the trust of citizens in each other – and in the state itself, // http://www.aljazeera.com /indepth/opinion /2013 /04 /20134107435444190. html
(3) Article 21 (the disciplinary responsibility of judges), the law of Russian Federation, June 26, 1992 N 3132// the Federal Law on the Status of Judges in the Russian Federation.
(4) Normally it’s speechwriters who prepare the addresses. This time I’d take a risk to conjecture Tomislav Nikolić did it himself. He has headed the team of professor Vojislav Šešelj defendants for a long time. Sheshel was one of core figures among those accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Nikolić knows all the ins and outs related to the Tribunal’s functioning. I met him in 2007 as the head of the team to discuss further details related to the line of defense. Though Nikolić is not a professional lawyer, he is the one who is dry behind the ears when it comes to the way the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia functions.
(5) The official website of the President of Serbia: http://www.predsednik.rs/node/653 (in Serbian language). The English version is posted on the website of Serbian Permanent Representative to the United Nations: [Statement by H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolić, President of the Republic of Serbia] http://www.un.int/serbia/Statements/155.pdf.

The Canadian International Development Agency is no longer. In its recent budget the Conservative government collapsed CIDA into Foreign Affairs, creating the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

While there was plenty of commentary on the Tories’ move, no one — from the mainstream right to the development NGO left — pointed out that Canadian aid has primarily been about maintaining and/or extending the grip the world’s richest one percent holds over the entire globe.

Canada began its first significant (non-European) allocation of foreign aid through the Colombo Plan. With Mao’s triumph in China in 1949, the 1950 Colombo Plan’s primary aim was to keep the former British Asian colonies, especially India, within the Western capitalist fold.

To justify an initial $25 million ($250 million in today’s dollars) in Colombo Plan aid External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson told the House of Commons: “Communist expansionism may now spill over into South East Asia as well as into the Middle East … it seemed to all of us at the [Colombo] conference that if the tide of totalitarian expansionism should flow over this general area, … the Free World will have been driven off all but a relatively small bit of the great Eurasian landmass. … We agreed at Colombo that the forces of totalitarian expansionism could not be stopped in South Asia and South East Asia by military force alone.”

Two years later Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was even more explicit about the carrot and stick approach to defeating left wing nationalism (“communism”). In September 1952 St. Laurent explained “in South East Asia through the establishment of the Colombo plan not only are we trying to provide wider commercial relations but we are also fighting another Asiatic war against Communism in the interests of peace, this time with economic rather than military weapons. We Canadians know that in the struggle against Communism there are two useful weapons, the economic and the military. While we much prefer to use the economic weapons as we are in the Colombo plan, we know that we may have no choice but to use the military weapons as we have been forced to do in Korea [27 000 Canadian troops participated in this war that left 3 million dead].”

In other words, if some of India’s post-colonial population had not set their sights on a socialistic solution to their troubles — with the possibility of Soviet or Chinese assistance — Canada probably would not have provided aid. Five years into the Colombo Plan, Pearson admitted “Canada would not have started giving aid if not for the perceived communist threat.”

The broad rationale for extending foreign aid was laid out at a 1968 seminar for the newly established Canadian International Development Agency. This day-long event was devoted to discussing a paper titled “Canada’s Purpose in Extending Foreign Assistance” written by Professor Steven Triantas of the University of Toronto. Foreign aid, Triantas argued, “may be used to induce the underdeveloped countries to accept the international status quo or change it in our favour.” Aid provided an opportunity “to lead them to rational political and economic developments and a better understanding of our interests and problems of mutual concern.” Triantis discussed the appeal of a “‘Sunday School mentality’ which ‘appears’ noble and unselfish and can serve in pushing into the background other motives … [that] might be difficult to discuss publicly.”

A 1969 CIDA background paper, expanding on Triantas views, summarized the rationale for Canadian aid: “To establish within recipient countries those political attitudes or commitments, military alliances or military bases that would assist Canada or Canada’s western allies to maintain a reasonably stable and secure international political system. Through this objective, Canada’s aid programs would serve not only to help increase Canada’s influence within the developing world, but also within the western alliance.”

This type of thinking continues to drive aid policy. Largely ignored in recent commentary, there are innumerable documented instances of Canadian aid advancing highly politicized geopolitical objectives over the past 25 years.

As an early advocate of International Monetary Fund/World Bank structural adjustment programs, since the early 1980s Canada has channeled hundreds of millions in “aid” dollars to supporting privatization and economic liberalization efforts in the Global South. At the start of the 2000s Ottawa plowed millions of dollars into supporting the Western-backed “coloured revolutions” in Eastern Europe and opposition to Jean Bertrand Aristide’s elected government in Haiti. More recently, the Conservatives have ramped up aid spending in Latin America to combat independent-minded, socialist-oriented governments. Barely discussed in the media, the Harper government’s shift of aid from Africa to Latin America was largely designed to stunt Latin America’s recent rejection of neoliberalism and U.S. dependence by supporting the region’s right-wing governments and movements.

An entirely unacknowledged, though increasingly obvious, principle of Canadian aid is that where the USA wields its big stick, Canada carries its police baton and offers a carrot. Or to put it more bluntly, where U.S. and Canadian troops kill Ottawa provides aid.

During the 1950-53 Korean War the south of that country became a major recipient of Canadian aid and so was Vietnam during the U.S. war there. The leading recipient of Canadian aid in 1999/2000 was the war-ravaged former Yugoslavia and Iraq and Afghanistan were top two recipients in 2003/2004. Since that time Afghanistan and Haiti (where Canadian and U.S. troops helped overthrow the elected government in February 2004) have been the leading recipients. Tens of millions in Canadian “aid” dollars have been spent to reestablish foreign and elite control over Haiti’s security forces.

There are a number of reasons for the lack of discussion about aid being used as a tool to maintain/extend Western capitalist dominance. NGO critics of aid policy are generally unwilling to point out the geopolitical underpinnings of Canadian aid because their jobs depend on keeping quiet. They stick to criticizing the ways in which foreign assistance is used to benefit specific corporate interests. This stakeholder criticism generally amounts to no more than NGOs saying: “Give the aid money to us not the corporations, because we’ll do a better job of whatever it is you want to accomplish.”

If you tell truth to power by saying Canadian aid is largely designed to maintain Western capitalist dominance of the Global South you’re not likely to have your grant renewed.

The funny thing is, with the Conservatives in power, if you’re doing anything remotely useful to ordinary people, you’re not likely to anyway.

Hall explains that there has been a shift in conservative politics in Canada away from what he calls the indigenous conservatism of Canada toward a more US Republican-style neo-conservatism typified by an emphasis on low taxes, less government, increased military spending and championing the oil sector at the expense of the environment.

Hall also believes, like the Idle No More movement, that recently introduced legislation jeopardizes Aboriginal Title and Treaty in Canada and Canada’s traditional relationship with the First Nations.

He sees these two realities going hand in hand. He also believes that recently disgraced and controversial University of Calgary Political Science Professor and back-room conservative strategist Tom Flanagan, had a major role to play in influencing Canada’s political landscape and ushering in this conservative revolution in Canada. He will explain this relationship early in the interview.

The majority of the show however is devoted to the life and legacy of recently deceased Mohawk warrior Splitting The Sky, or Dacajaweiah (‘Dac’ for short.).

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Dac led the Attica State Prison riot in 1972, he helped organize the Gustafsen Lake stand-off in 1995, and has come to popular attention more recently as a 9/11 Truth campaigner and as the one man who ever attempted to place former President George W. Bush under (citizens’) arrest for Iraq War Crimes.

Hall first met Splitting The Sky following the stand-off at Gustafsen Lake. As Hall himself points out, it was Dac who first acquainted him with 9/11 Truth. The Lethbridge Professor recalls his working relationship with his old friend, talks of the challenges Splitting The Sky had to confront throughout his life, and speculates on the circumstances of his mysterious death, which he won’t quite rule out as a homicide.

The show also includes part of a recording of Splitting The Sky’s March 2010 talk along with Cynthia McKinney in Calgary, Alberta.  This was just around the time of Splitting The Sky’s Court Sentencing.

 Professor Anthony Hall is Professor of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge. He is the author of The American Empire and the Fourth World as well as Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

In early April,  The United States and the Spanish government agreed to station AFRICOM’s “Rapid Reaction” strike force to Moron de la Frontera air base for one year.  It involves 500 marines and 8 aircraft that will be used to respond to countries located in Northwest Africa.  According to the Associated Press on April 19th, The U.S. Embassy in Madrid said Friday that “following the tragedy in the Libyan city of Benghazi,” where four U.S. citizens were killed, the U.S. recognized the need for a force able to respond quickly to crises in northwest Africa.” The area of focus is in the Maghreb region in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.

All located in close proximity to Northern Mali.  AFRICOM is also planning to respond to the current situation in Mali where a civil war between secular Tuareg rebels and Arab militants erupted as reported by the Associated Press on April 21st, that “An official in northern Mali says clashes have broken out near Timbuktu between secular Tuareg rebels and Arab militants.” After the announcement of Spain’s decision to host US troops, violence resumed in this volatile area. “The violence underscores the tensions that remain in northern Mali three months after a French-led military operation largely ousted radical Islamic fighters from the area. 

The sidelining of the al-Qaida-linked fighters has allowed for the Tuareg rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad to regain a presence in the area” the report said.  This comes as Mali’s interim president President Dioncounda Traore also announced to his supporters this past Friday that Mali “will be ready to hold democratic elections by July as promised” according to an Associated Press report titled ‘President: Mali will be ready for July vote’ it also stated the following:Security also remains a key concern ahead of elections, especially in the northern cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, where remnants of the terror groups have staged suicide bombings in the months since they were ousted from power by the French-led military operation that began in January.

The meeting in Mali’s capital also is aimed at how to best secure these cities ahead of July. France has said it intends to have only about 1,000 soldiers in the country by yearend from a deployment peak of about 4,000. About 6,000 troops from African countries are presently in Mali serving as part of a force known as MISMA, though Chad says it is pulling its 2,000 soldiers.

It is most likely that AFRICOM will want to fill the vacuum if Chadian forces were to pull its troops. The US will then send its “Rapid Reaction” forces if Islamic fighters were to disrupt elections with new attacks.  AFRICOM can use the developing situation in Northern Mali to stage an invasion just in time for July’s elections.

Spanish citizens will protest their government’s actions.  The Spaniards are already suffering through a dire economic situation through new austerity measures imposed by the European Union.  There are some Spaniards in favor of the US base claiming it brings jobs and it increases economic activity to small businesses in the area.  Under Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco, Spain and the United States signed several agreements to house US military forces in Rota and Moron de la Frontera to help local economies.

More importantly, it was also to support Franco’s regime.  Franco, along with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini was supported by American corporations, owned and operated by Charles Lindbergh, John Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon who was a banker and Secretary of Treasury, Allen Dulles (later head of the CIA) and Prescott Bush (father of  George H. Bush, grandfather of and George W. Bush Jr).  Major corporations such DuPont, General Motors, Standard Oil, Ford, ITT, National City Bank, and General Electric operated throughout most of Europe.  The Spanish Civil War was the start of World War II. Franco was also militarily and financial supported by Hitler and Mussolini while General Motors, Ford, DuPont, and Standard Oil were supplying materials to all of the fascist powers (Germany, Italy and Spain) of Europe.

Spaniards have protested against US bases in Madrid throughout the years.  For instance, back in mid-1980, more than 50,000 Spaniards marched to Madrid to demand the government to shut down all US bases in its territory and to pull out of NATO.  Spaniards have also protested against the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.  Will Spaniards protest against US intervention in Northwest Africa?  Along with protests against austerity measures and many other issues they face in both the short and long term, it is most likely.

The April 15 bombings in Boston continue to dominate the American media. The twin blasts near the finish line of the city’s annual marathon killed three people and wounded over 170 more, many seriously.

But a more deadly and destructive explosion, the April 17 eruption of the West Fertilizer Company plant in the rural town of West, Texas, has virtually dropped out of the news. That event, to all appearances an industrial accident waiting to happen, killed 14 people and wounded 200, some critically. It virtually leveled a five-block residential area abutting the plant, flattening over 50 homes, gutting an apartment building and seriously damaging a middle school and nursing home.

The pretext for the de facto state of siege imposed on the Boston metropolitan area—an unprecedented military-police lockdown of a US city—was the supposed need to protect the population. But rather than question the mobilization of thousands of troops and police and deployment of armored cars and Blackhawk helicopters—all to hunt down one 19-year-old youth—the media did, and continues to do, all it could to whip up fear and glorify an exercise in police state rule, including cheering on the warrantless and illegal house-to-house searches.

The Boston Marathon bombing was a criminal act and those responsible should be prosecuted and brought to justice. But there is no such concern within the political and media establishment for bringing to justice those responsible for the explosion that ripped through West, Texas. That tragedy is already being treated as just another industrial accident in a country where nearly 4 million workers are injured on the job each year and over 4,600 died from work-related injuries in 2011.

The White House announced Tuesday that Obama will speak at a memorial service for the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion to be held Thursday at Baylor University in nearby Waco, Texas. The timing is convenient, since the president was already scheduled to hold a fundraiser in Dallas Wednesday evening and attend the dedication ceremony for George W. Bush’s library in Dallas on Thursday.

The indifference of the media and politicians toward the killing and maiming of workers by companies that ignore safety and health regulations, and government agencies that lack both the resources and the desire to enforce them, highlights the fraud of their supposed concern for the safety of the people of Boston.

The same day Obama makes his appearance at Baylor to shed crocodile tears for the victims of the West, Texas factory explosion, he will honor a man, his predecessor in the White House, who gutted federal safety and health agencies and instituted a policy of “voluntary self-compliance,” i.e., an open invitation for owners to ignore regulations, whatever the cost in the lives and limbs of their employees.

Obama himself has continued the decades-long bipartisan policy of undermining occupational health and safety enforcement in the interests of corporate profit making. His new budget calls for a cut in compliance assistance programs carried out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Even more crippling, the agency’s budget is being slashed by 8 percent as a result of the sequester cuts signed into law by Obama in March.

OSHA and other federal agencies, such as the Chemical Safety Board, are hopelessly undermanned. Between OSHA and state agencies, there are only 2,200 inspectors responsible for enforcing the safety of 130 million US workers. In 1977, OSHA had 37 inspectors for every million workers. Today it has only 22, a reduction of more than 40 percent. As a result, OSHA has all but abandoned regular inspections of work sites.

Potential time bombs such as the West Fertilizer plant routinely breech safety rules and are either not inspected or occasionally cited and given token fines. The sprawling fertilizer storage and retail facility holds 540,000 pounds of explosive ammonium nitrate, the material used by Timothy McVeigh to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. That is 1,350 times the amount that is supposed to trigger oversight by the Department of Homeland Security. The plant also stores 110,000 pounds of volatile anhydrous ammonia.

Over the past decade, it has been fined for safety violations and operating without a permit. It has no automatic shutoff system, no firewalls and no emergency management plans. The last time OSHA inspected the plant was in 1985, when the agency found “serious violations” and fined the owners $30.

There are some 6,000 such fertilizer retail centers nationwide, according to the Fertilizer Institute, a trade association.

There are both economic and political reasons for the vast difference between the attitude of the state and the media to the events in Boston and the events in West, Texas. Economically, the state is dedicated to protecting private ownership and control of industry and opposing any measures that infringe on the “right” of owners to dictate working conditions and maximize profits.

Politically, the ruling class is pursuing an agenda in Boston of sowing fear and anxiety so as to disorient the public, divert attention from its attack on working class living standards, and justify its policy of militarism and war, carried out under cover of the “war on terror.”

It is haunted by fear of growing social discontent and the precarious state of global financial markets, which could trigger another financial crash and the eruption of mass social struggles. It is in preparation for such events that it is planning dictatorial forms of rule, such as those tested out last week in Boston.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, was formally charged Monday with use of and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, a federal offense that carries the death penalty.

The twin bombings of April 15 killed three people and wounded over 170 more. The other suspect in the bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s older brother Tamerlan, died after a shootout with police.

A federal judge was brought to Tsarnaev’s hospital bed along with an assistant US attorney and a public defender for the formal presentation of the charges. Tsarnaev, who suffered multiple wounds before his capture last Friday, remains in serious condition, on a ventilator and under sedation. He is reportedly unable to verbally communicate because of a gunshot wound to the throat.

With one brother dead and the other wounded so he cannot speak, there is no one to contradict the official story that the two operated alone and without any knowledge of US intelligence agencies.

The hospital hearing marked the first time since his capture that Tsarnaev, a US citizen, has seen a lawyer. The Obama administration announced its intention not to read him his Miranda rights to remain silent and be represented by an attorney on the pretext of a “public safety” exemption, even though law enforcement officials in Boston assured the public that they were in no further danger. This gave an FBI-CIA interrogation team unfettered access to Tsarnaev, who was reportedly able to respond only by moving his head or writing down answers.

In his formal statement announcing the charges, Attorney General Eric Holder paid tribute “to the valor of state and local police, the dedication of federal law enforcement and intelligence officials, and the vigilance of members of the public.” John Carlin, the acting assistant attorney general for national security, added, “The events of the past week underscore in stark terms the need for continued vigilance against terrorist threats both at home and abroad.”

But even as the Justice Department and the FBI were patting each other on the back, a group of lawmakers raised pointed questions as to how and why the FBI failed to prevent the bombing after the older brother, Tamerlan, had been identified to the agency by the Russian government as a terrorist suspect.

In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul of Texas, and its former chairman, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, demanded all material related to Tsarnaev’s case, including classified reports. The two wrote:

“The FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the request of a foreign liaison service, on the basis of suspicions that Tsarnaev was involved in terrorist activities. Tsarnaev subsequently traveled to and from Russia and posted jihadist materials on his social media. Yet Tsarnaev remained at liberty in this country to conduct the Boston attack, and it took days to publicly identify him as a suspect.”

In a television interview Sunday, McCaul asked, “If he [Tamerlan] was on the radar and they let him go, if he was on the Russians’ radar, why wasn’t a flag put on him, some sort of customs flag?”

The FBI has publicly claimed that it interviewed Tamerlan only once, in 2011, but found no evidence that he was of any concern. It also claimed that the Russian government failed to provide any further information substantiating its warning.

Every aspect of this official story has been called into question in the wake of the Boston bombings.

The mother of the two brothers has stated in interviews that the FBI maintained continuous contact with her elder son over the course of three to five years. “They were controlling his every step,” she said. She also recounted that FBI agents had told her that “Tamerlan was an extremist leader and they were afraid of him.”

The Moscow-based correspondent of Newsweek and the Daily Beast, Anna Nemtsova, interviewed a “well-placed security source” in Russia, who said that when Tamerlan visited Dagestan for six months in 2012, Russian security services and police in Dagestan were “watching him closely for five months and three weeks” and had compiled an extensive dossier on him.

The Tsarnaev family had its roots in neighboring Chechnya, the scene of two bitter separatist wars in the 1990s that gave rise to an armed Islamist movement. Neither the parents nor the two brothers, who grew up largely in the US, had ever lived there.

NBC News, meanwhile, reported that Tamerlan had been monitored by Russian police agencies as he visited a “known Islamic militant” in a mosque in Dagestan during his six-month visit. It further quoted a local police official as saying that an extensive case file on the 26-year-old had been sent to the FBI, together with a request for information. The FBI reportedly never replied.

Britain’s Channel 4 News reported on Sunday, quoting the father of the two brothers, that days after the bombings, Tamerlan received a phone call from the FBI accusing him of being responsible for the attack.

The multiple reports indicating far more extensive contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and knowledge of his activities than the FBI has admitted raise a number of questions.

Why did the FBI effectively ignore the Russian warning, as well as, apparently, a dossier detailing contacts with Islamist elements? Why did it conceal its sustained contact with the 26 year old?

An attempt to cover up gross incompetence is certainly not excluded. However, a more plausible explanation is that US intelligence agencies had developed plans for using their knowledge about Tamelan’s activities to their own advantage.

Given its covert support for separatist movements in the Caucasus, it is entirely possible that Washington decided not to interfere with someone who could be viewed as an asset in furthering these movements. The Chechen Islamists have also supplied substantial numbers of fighters for the war for regime-change in Syria, which Washington is backing.

It is also possible that the FBI could utilize such intelligence to blackmail Tsarnaev into working as its confidential informant in the US itself.

One side of the Boston Marathon bombings that the corporate media has virtually blacked out is the extraordinary security measures that were in place before any bombing took place. A number of participants have noted that bomb-sniffing dogs were present both at the starting and finish line, as well as police spotters on rooftops, something they had never seen at previous marathons. Indeed, announcements were made at the beginning of the race telling participants not to be concerned and that the extraordinary security was part of “a training exercise.”

Also blacked out from media coverage is the participation in this “exercise” of a shadowy Blackwater-style security/mercenary outfit by the name of Craft International. Photographs of operatives of this firm, dressed in identical black jackets, combat fatigue pants and desert combat boots, and wearing shirts and caps bearing its logo—a bleeding skull with a target site in its eye socket—have been widely posted on the Internet.

Photographs of these mercenaries show them wearing large black backpacks that are similar to those that were said to have carried the pressure-cooker explosive devices that blew up at the marathon’s finish line.

The question arises as to whether the Tsarnaev brothers were the witting or unwitting participants in an exercise that went wrong, or one that was organized by the American state with the aim of producing precisely the results that it did.

What were those results? The US military and intelligence apparatus was able to utilize an isolated terrorist incident to carry out the most massive deployment of militarized police in the country’s history, subjecting an entire metropolitan area of over one million people to what amounted to martial law.

Under conditions of mounting social tensions driven by the protracted economic crisis and ever deepening social inequality, such a deployment provides training and experience for use in confronting the future eruption of class struggle.

Iraq’s Black Monday

While on 15 April the whole world was focused on the Boston marathon blasts, at least 79 people were killed, and over three hundred others injured – mostly civilians – in a series of bombings and armed attacks across Iraq. Twenty-six car bombs were involved, as well as sixteen IED’s and four other armed attacks, all in separate incidents. Eight car bombs exploded in different areas across Baghdad. Another car bomb targeted the Baghdad International Airport before it was shelled by mortars.

Three more car bombs exploded in Kirkuk. Armed clashes broke out in downtown Samarra, along with a car bomb and mortar shelling. A car bomb and two IED’s struck Baquba. An IED exploded in Fallujah. The district of TuzKhormatu (northeast of Tikrit) experienced some of the worst violence, with the detonation of five car bombs and three IED’s.

Government forces launched a series of searches and raids in Karbala, Maysan, and Ninawa, detaining twenty-six people from Karbala, twenty-one from Maysan, and twelve from Ninawa. The arrests were arbitrary, with flimsy charges against the suspects.

Arsonists in the Fire Department?

The two men, accused of the Boston Marathon bombings are TamerlanTsarnaev, who was killed,and his younger brother Dzhokhar, who is being treated with shot wounds.

End of story? Not really.There are a number of questions that need to be answered. A police official source in Makhachkala, Dagestan, told NBC News on Sunday that the Russian internal security service reached out to the FBI last November with some questions about Tamerlan, and handed over a copy of case file on him.The FBI never responded.

In his Global Research article: “Contractors” at Boston Marathon Stood Near Bomb, Left Before Detonation, Tony Cartalucci wrote on 19 April:

“What appear to be private contractors, wearing unmarked, matching uniforms and operating an unmarked SUV affixed with communication equipment near the finish line of the Boston Marathon shortly after the bomb blasts – can be seen beforehand, standing and waiting just meters away from where the first bomb was detonated.

The contractor-types had moved away from the bomb’s location before it detonated, and could be seen just across the street using communication equipment and waiting for similar dressed and equipped individuals to show up after the blasts.”

On Thursday night 18 Aprila bomb exploded in a popular coffee shop in the Al AmiriyaDistrict in Western Baghdad, killing at least 27 people and wounding 51 others.The bomb washidden in a plastic bag and then put in the coffee house, where it detonated around 10 p.m. The device contained about two kilograms of highly explosive material.The explosion ripped through the three-story building, which also includes an ice cream parlor on the first floor and medical offices on the second floor. The coffee shop was on the third floor.Most of those killed and hurt were young men, though four children were among the dead.

The BRussells Tribunal received a series of photos of the victims, accompanied by the following message:

Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!

We’ve just received revealing information from an eyewitness who was inside the same café a few minutes before the explosion.He said that armed forces entered the café’ and searched it and then went outa few minutes before it exploded. The eyewitness explained that the same forces prevented the ambulances to enter the explosion area. One of those soldiers told the ambulance driver: ”don’t help them, they are Sunni”.

There’s more to these so-called terrorist attacks than meets the eye, from Boston to Baghdad.

Tony Cartalucci:

“The checkered, frightening history (see: FBI’s History of Handing “Terror Suspects” Live Explosives) of the FBI’s involvement in fomenting false terror attacks, and even presiding over attacks that succeeded in maiming and killing innocent people, should call into question their presence or involvement at any public event, especially when seen associating with unidentified, semi-clandestine organizations that appear to be private contractors.

Private contractors as well do not answer or work for the public, but rather the highest bidder. Private contractors, most notably Blackwater and its various incarnations have operated both domestically and abroad, committing obscene crimes and atrocities with seemingly absolute impunity. The term “defense contractor” is in fact a euphemism for mercenary, and has no place in a civilized, democratic world, no matter what their alleged mission statement may claim.

That both of these nefarious entities were present and cooperating in the direct vicinity of the Boston bombings, with at least two contractors standing just meters away from where the bomb actually went off, raises a number of possibilities and concerns.”

“The CIA is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the departure of conventional U.S. troops as part of a plan by the Obama administration to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect U.S. interests in the two longtime war zones”, The Washington Post reported on 8 February 2012.So it is normal to expect this kind of “incidents” in Iraq as part of a continuing clandestine counterinsurgency war.

False flag operations                                                                                                   

At least 15 candidates, all members of the minority Sunni community, have been assassinated, according to Iraqi security officials and the United Nations. Many others have been wounded or kidnapped or have received menacing text messages or phone calls demanding that they withdraw.

Who is responsible for all the bombs, the killings and harassment?

Nouri Al Maliki and the international press guild accuse Al Qaeda for the recent attacks.

A majority of the Iraqi people is convinced that the current government is behind these strings of attacks and bombings. A former Iraqi diplomat told me: “Whenever there is a political crisis in Iraq, there is an increase of bomb attacks. After that, Maliki can close the ranks again… until the next crisis”.

This is how the New York Times reports it:

“By going after members of their own sect, radical Sunnis aligned with Al Qaeda are effectively seeking to destabilize the Shiite-led government, making a community already angry and alienated, fearful to participate in national governance. At the same time, it appears intra-Sunni rivalries are inadvertently aiding the radical cause, as Sunni’s kill political adversaries in their quest for power.”

Oh well, there it is again: Al Qaeda ! When asked about these allegations, a well-known Iraqi participant of the Doha conference in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, told me: “Which Qaeda? American Qaeda? Iranian Qaeda? Saudi Qaeda? All the militias, Security Forces and ISOF (Iraqi Special Operation Forces) are involved in the chaos in Iraq today. Believe me: these are all false flag operations, concocted by Maliki, in cooperation with Iran and the United States. Ask yourself the question: who benefits from all this? Maliki is forcing the Iraqi people into a daily struggle for survival. He is keeping them busy finding food, kerosene and other basic needs, and he’s keeping the people scared by planting bombs everywhere, to prevent them from protesting. Why do you think there’s still no electricity?”

“Killing candidates means instilling fear,” said Hameed Fadhil, a political-science professor at Baghdad University. “And that is why I think it will affect voter participation, because I don’t think that people will want to risk their lives again.”

Maliki’s threats against opponents

Al Monitor reported on 18 April: For the fifth time in less than a year, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has threatened his political opponents with “dangerous revelations against them.” In an interview with the government-funded Al-Iraqiya Channel, he explained his refusal to respond to demands for a parliamentary hearing regarding recent security violations 

He said, “If I attend the hearing, I will turn things upside down. I will reveal the files and names of the members of Parliament who were implicated in terrorist acts. I will point fingers at each and every one of them for this bombing and that.”

These statements have stirred a large wave of reactions in the past few days, asking Maliki to unveil his files or keep silent about them. The most significant criticism came from the Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr and the leaders of the Iraqi National  List, in addition to the Kurdish leaders.

The problem with such statements is that they are issued by the head of the executive authority in Iraq, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the official in charge of defense, internal affairs, national security and intelligence, in the absence of real ministers. With such absolute privileges, he cannot possibly hint at the implication of Iraqi politicians in acts of violence without providing evidence and proof.

When asked about the reason behind his reluctance to presenting these files to the judiciary, he answered, “I am concerned about the collapse of the political process if I do that.”

In light of this, a question arises: If the prime minister confirms his possession of legal files and refuses to submit them to the judiciary, what, then, will be left of respect for the law?

Maliki lies like a conjurer. He accuses his opponents and rewards his gangs of killers.Nineveh governor, Atheel al-Nujaifideclaredon 1 April that Nouri al-Maliki, commander in chief of the armed forces, has honored an officer accused of killing his nephew in Mosul a few weeks ago.

Atheel al-Nujaifisaid that Colonel HadiSaheed al-Kanani, the regional commander of the regiment accused of murdering a child named Abdul Rahman Khalid al-Nujaifi, was honored by al-Maliki as a commander in chief of the armed forces” despite the issuing of a warrant against him”.

Iraq’s impunity rate is the worst in the world.

What is Maliki’s answer to all this violence: well, instead of seriously investigating the targeted assassinations, random killings, bomb attacks and other “incidents”, his security forces arrest some Sunni men or Shiites opposed to Maliki’s rule, they lock them up in one of the regime’s many secret prisons, extract false confessions after severe torture and then they are sentenced to death.

All this is well documented.

“Iraq’s impunity rate – or the degree to which perpetrators have escaped prosecution for murdering the journalists – is the worst in the world. It is 100 percent. Even today, as Iraq has moved beyond conflict, authorities have shown no interest in investigating these murders,” The Committee to Protect Journalists said.

The same observation can be made about other Iraqi professionals: academics, lawyers, judges, doctors, engineers, Inspectors of the Commission of Integrity etc…

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights NaviPillay on Friday 19 April condemned the execution of 21 individuals in Iraq earlier in the week, which brought the total to 33 in the past month, and said she was appalled by reports that the Ministry of Justice has announced that a further 150 people may be executed in the coming days.

She stressed that the justice system in the country was “too seriously flawed to warrant even a limited application of the death penalty, let alone dozens of executions at a time.”

“Executing people in batches like this is obscene,” Pillay said. “It is like processing animals in a slaughterhouse. The criminal justice system in Iraq is still not functioning adequately, with numerous convictions based on confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment, a weak judiciary and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards. The application of the death penalty in these circumstances is unconscionable, as any miscarriage of justice as a result of capital punishment cannot be undone.”

A total of 1,400 people are believed to be currently on death row in Iraq, and 129 people were executed in 2012 alone.

Fair elections?

Iraqis voted on Saturday in the country’s first polls since US troops departed, but the credibility of the provincial elections has come into question, with attacks oncandidates leaving 15 dead and a third of Iraq’s provinces – all of them mainly Sunni Arab or Kurdish – not even voting. Political gatherings have been targeted and two schools in Hilla, that were to serve as polling sites were blown up by homemade bombe on “black Monday”.

The election is seen as a gauge of the popularity of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government ahead of a general election next year, but major issues affecting voters such as poor public services and rampant corruption have largely been ignored during the campaign.

How can fair and transparent elections be held in these circumstances?

More than 250 returning displaced people from their home in Diyala areas protested on Saturday morning for not including them in the public vote, holding with the Independent Higher Electoral Commission of not adding their names in the voters’ registrations papers.

Many people fear the return of violence back to the days of sectarian strife once peaked in 2006-2007 and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, especially in Diyala and other provinces.

And here is part of an email received from a University Professor in Iraq last week:

“The situation in Iraq is very very bad. Demonstrations against the government and the parliament are everywhere: Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar, Kirkuk, Salah al Din, Basrah, Najaf, Diala,…. People are demanding the government and the parliament to go, to free thousands of innocent prisoners locked up for many years without trials, to provide electricity and other basic services, raise the salary roof for the retired people which are now living under the poverty line, stopping violence and violations of human rights which are very worrying, especially for the minority and majority, approving the budget of 2013, stopping the denominations which is shredding the Iraqi people into warlike pieces, militias are everywhere assassinating people, car bombs, no safety and kidnapping. It is worse than during the period 2003-2007. We are staying at home, just going to work and return back. People are afraid that this, if not resolved, could lead to divide Iraq into regions and territories and ending with a civil war. May God save this country”.

Iraqi protests continue

The massive and peaceful demonstrations against the government continued across Iraq’s provinces without diminishing…they have been going on for over a hundred days now, and the numbers have reached the millions.

In crackdown against the demonstrations, government security forces launched a series of searches and raids in many provinces, arresting and detaining thousands of people without any charges against them.The arrests are arbitrary, and carried out against innocent people on a sectarian basis.Many are taken to undisclosed locations.

In an assassination attempt contracted by the government, one of the lead activists of the demonstrations in Ramadi, Mahmoud UbeidJamilFaraji, was injured by a bomb attached to his car.

The Human Rights Department of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (HEYET) published its January monthly statistical report on continued unjust campaigns targeting Iraqi civilians by the sectarian government security forces where 378 campaigns were carried out in all 14  Iraqi Provinces resulting in arrest of 1788 innocent Iraqis.

In December, 220 campaigns resulting in arrest of 1726 innocent civilians including dozens of women. According to the HEYET department, attacks were carried out in 14 provinces.

These statistics of attacks and arrests solely depend on official announcement of the defense and interior ministries. Arrests and violations perpetrated by the so-called national security ministry, Anti-terror Units, Awakening Council, Kurdish Peshmerga forces and other militias are not included, because no reliable figures are available. However,these militias are also committing mass human rights abuses and violations.

Hawija protesters under attack

Maliki’s forces intensify the repression against the peaceful demonstrations. Today we received an urgent appeal:

SAVE THE 4000 PEACEFUL PROTESTORS IN HAWIJA NOW!

URGENT ………. URGENT

4,000 Peaceful Protestors in Hawija are now surrounded by government army troops and are about to be attacked.

They have been surrounded by these troops for the past 3 days without water, food and medical aid. 

FRIDAY Protestors were attacked, one killed and 4 injured. Medical treatment was with-held.

SATURDAY, government troops stormed the field of protest and destroyed all the kitchen facilities as well as medical facilities.

Roads leading to field were cut off. 

SAVE THE PEACEFUL IRAQI REVOLUTION – SAVE THE 4,000 MEN AND CHILDREN IN HAWIJA. 

PLEASE PUT AN END TO THE MASSACRE.

Yes, please, put an end to this and other massacres, committed under the auspices of the US government. Support the Iraqi peaceful demonstrators, break the media silence that surrounds the Iraqi non-sectarian protest movement, which is the only genuine expression of the will of the Iraqi people, the only hope for real independence and sovereignty.

Maliki has to go, and with him the remnants of the American occupation.

Dirk Adriaensens is coordinator of SOS Iraq and member of the executive committee of the BRussells Tribunal. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several delegations to Iraq to observe the devastating effects of UN imposed sanctions. He was a member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Tribunal on Iraq (2003-2005). He is also co-coordinator of the Global Campaign Against the Assassination of Iraqi Academics. He is co-author of Rendez-Vous in Baghdad, EPO (1994), Cultural Cleansing in Iraq, Pluto Press, London (2010), Beyond Educide, Academia Press, Ghent (2012), and is a frequent contributor to Global Research, Truthout, The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies and other media.

Campaign to Save the Life of Lynne Stewart

April 23rd, 2013 by Global Research News

As the campaign builds, Lynne Stewart’s condition has taken a concerning turn for the worse. Her white blood cell count has dropped sharply. Lynne is in isolation currently and will be sent to a Fort Worth hospital for tests.

This news has lent a dramatic urgency to The International Petition Campaign to Save the Life of Lynne Stewart, even as it has crossed a new threshold: Over 10,000 people have signed the petition as signatories pour in daily from across the world.

Noted associate of President Kwame Nkrumah, Ambassador Kojo Amoo-Gottfried, Ghana’s former ambassador to China, Vietnam, Cuba and Nicaragua, has called upon all who fought for self-determination and freedom to raise their voices now for “our dear sister in struggle, Lynne Stewart, even as she has fought for us over a lifetime.”

The Socialist Forum of Ghana has launched a national campaign to save the life of Lynne Stewart.

We must intensify our efforts in this battle for her freedom and her life.

Ed Asner, Richard Falk, Daniel Ellsberg, Cornel West, David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage, Ward Churchill, Natsu Saito,  Cindy Sheehan, Bonnie Kerness, Zachary Sklar, Alice Walker, Katha Pollitt, Michael Ratner, Sara Kuntsler, Heidi Boghosian, Wallace Shawn, San Francisco Supervisor John Avelos, Peter Kinoy, Peter Dale Scott, Wilhemina Levy, Cynthia McKinney, Pam Africa, and Louis Wolf are among current signers.

We urge all to contact five people and ask each of them to contact five more, allowing each of us, thereby, in five stages to reach five thousand people.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist and Occupy Wall Street leader Chris Hedges has published today an evocative and compelling article entitled “The Persecution of Lynne Stewart” that captures Lynne’s stirring eloquence, abiding humanity and quiet courage. (See below)

The petition is at:
http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-to-free-lynne-stewart-save-her-life-release-her-now-2

In March, the Canadian government introduced a bill that would bring about sweeping changes to its copyright and trademark laws. This includes giving more power to customs and border protection agents without any judicial oversight. The move is intended to prevent counterfeit goods from entering the country, but has been criticized for being less about protecting Canadians and more about caving to American demands. With the U.S. dictating global intellectual property standards, the new legislation represents the return of ACTA and would pave the way for Canada to ratify the controversial international treaty.

Over the years, the U.S. has been critical of Canada’s efforts in addressing trade in counterfeit goods and has been pressing for intellectual property reform. In the 2009 United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report, Canada was placed on a priority watch list of countries that do not provide adequate intellectual property enforcement. As part of its 2013 Trade Policy Agenda, the USTR is now pushing Canada to comply with the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA). The multinational treaty is designed to standardize intellectual property laws around the world. Although it has been signed by a number of countries, including Canada, so far only Japan has ratified ACTA. It was the result of public pressure associated with risks internet privacy and online freedom of speech which lead to ACTA being rejected by the European Parliament in July of 2012. At the time, many assumed that ACTA was dead, but it still remains a top priority for the U.S. and they are attempting to revive the discredited agreement by trying to get the six necessary ratifications for it to come into force. In an effort to satisfy U.S concerns, Canada recently announced legislation which is aimed at bringing them in line with ACTA.

Last month, the Conservative government introduced Bill C-56, also known as the Combating Counterfeit Products Act. Academic researcher and law professor Michael Geist explained how the proposed legislation would, “ensure that Canada is positioned to ratify ACTA by addressing border measures provisions. The core elements of the bill include the increased criminalization of copyright and trademark law as well as the introduction of new powers for Canadian border guards to detain shipments and work actively with rights holders to seize and destroy goods without court oversight or involvement.” He emphasized that, “Customs officials are not copyright and trademark experts, yet they may now be forced to assess infringement cases including determining whether any copyright exceptions apply.” Mike Masnick of techdirt acknowledged that, “For many years, Canada has strongly resisted U.S.-style copyright laws, despite tremendous pressure to do so. Watching them cave on ACTA is certainly a disappointment.” He went on to say, “It shows a Canadian government who doesn’t seem to care about what the public wants, but rather feels the need to kowtow to U.S. entertainment and pharmaceutical lobbying interests.”

The Council of Canadians have questioned whether the anti-counterfeiting bill, “is one of the conditions the U.S. government put on Canada joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.” The group is urging that intellectual property rights be taken out of the TPP and the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) talks. There have already been attempts to use CETA negotiations to sneak in parts of ACTA. Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians wondered since, “The Harper government seems to have just collapsed in front of U.S. demands for border enforcement of Hollywood’s intellectual property rights despite the global controversy with ACTA. Can we expect Harper to bend this easily to European demands in CETA and U.S. demands in the TPP that will increase the price of drugs and undermine access to affordable medicines?” ACTA also favours Big Pharma with patent protections that would limit generic competition and would lead to higher drug costs.

On March 20, the USTR officially notified Congress of its intention to enter into negotiations with the EU on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. In the letter, they also outlined specific goals in different areas such as intellectual property rights. As part of the transatlantic talks, the USTR, “Seek to obtain, consistent with U.S. priorities and objectives, appropriate commitments that reflect the shared U.S.-EU objective of high-level IPR protection and enforcement, and to sustain and enhance joint leadership on IPR issues.” A Civil Society Declaration signed by European and U.S. groups is insisting that the upcoming negotiations, “exclude any provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called intellectual property. Such provisions could impede our rights to health, culture, and free expression and otherwise affect our daily lives.” Some have warned that the TTIP could be used as a way to implement ACTA through the backdoor.

ACTA is part of the international agenda of patent, trademark and copyright lobbies. The agreement favours big businesses over individual innovators and creators. It was designed to protect the interests of multinational corporations at the expense of fundamental civil rights. ACTA is being used by the U.S. to pressure other countries into adopting a new global standard for intellectual property enforcement. The supranational treaty would impose draconian laws which threaten the sovereignty of member nations.

Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: [email protected]. Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader

Terrorists “R” Us

April 23rd, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

State-sponsored terrorism defines US policy. Doublespeak duplicity conceals it. Doublethink manipulates public opinion to ignore inconvenient truths.

Howard Zinn once asked: “How can you make war on terrorism if war is terrorism?” Waging war on terrorism “gives government a perpetual war and a perpetual atmosphere of repression.”

“And it generates perpetual profits for corporations. But it’s going to make the world a far more unstable and dangerous place.”

“Terrorism replaced communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country, for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home.”

Since WW II, “there has not been a more warlike nation in the world than the United States.”

Zinn added that “(g)overnments are terrorists on an enormously large scale.” None in world history match America. Waging war on humanity is official policy.

US law calls “international terrorism” activities involving:

(A) “violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;”

(B) are intended to -

(i) “intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States….”

The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) called it “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature….through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear.”

Merriam-Webster calls it “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”

The Oxford Dictionary calls it “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

In his book “Terrorism, Theirs and Ours,” Eqbal Ahmad called state-sponsored terrorism most important of all. It includes “torture, burning of villages, destruction of entire peoples, (and) genocide” on a massive scale.

It’s called “self-defense,” protecting “national security,” and/or “promoting democracy.” Doing so conceals America’s dark side. War on humanity follows.

“Who will define the parameters of terrorism, or decide where terrorists lurk,” asked Ahmad? “Why none other than the United States, which can from the rooftops of the world set out its claim to be sheriff, judge and hangman, all at one and the same time.”

In his book “The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda,” Edward Herman discussed US-backed authoritarian states advancing a free-market “development model.” It’s done for corporate gain through state-sponsored terror on homegrown resistance.

Earlier it was about protecting the “free world” from communism. Always it involves manufactured threats, fear-mongering, and creating enemies when none exist. Terrorists are them, not us.

Martin Luther King called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” He did so for good reason. Today it’s more menacing than ever. Humanity’s survival is at stake.

In his book “The Culture of Terrorism,” Noam Chomsky cited the “Fifth Freedom.” He called it “the freedom to rob, to exploit and to dominate society, to undertake any course of action to insure that existing privilege is protected and advanced.”

Doing so entails manufacturing consent. Fear-mongering replaces truth. Patriotism and democratic values are highlighted. People are manipulated to support what harms their own self-interest.

Imperial aggression is called humanitarian intervention. Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good. Patriotism means going along with state-sponsored lawlessness.

Myths substitute for truth. So do big lies. They’re weapons of mass deception. They’re key in advancing America’s imperium. Post-9/11 policies headed the nation toward full-blown tyranny. Last week’s Boston bombings perhaps advanced it closer.

People are manipulated to go along. Gore Vidal once said:

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action.”

“You liberate a city by destroying it. Words are used to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”

Orwell envisioned a dark future. He called it “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” America’s war on terror reflects it. The fullness of time will explain what’s next.

Michel Chossudovsky asked:

“Do the Boston Bombings constitute a point of transition, a watershed which ultimately contributes to the gradual suspension of constitutional government?”

This type threat is real. In 1933, Nazism replaced Weimer republican democracy. In 1973, Augusto Pinochet’s reign of terror followed Salvador Allende’s social democracy.

In his book “Friendly Fascism,” Bertram Gross described a slow, powerful “drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government,” Big Brother alliance.

Its friendly face conceals raw power heading America “toward a new and subtly manipulative form of corporatist serfdom.”

In his 1935 novel titled,”It Can’t Happen Here,” Sinclair Lewis discussed a self-styled reformer/populist/demagogue exploiting human misery during hard times.

Candidate Merzelium “Buzz” Windrip promised prosperity. Doing so hid his dark side. In office he established militarism and unconstitutional governance.

He convened military tribunals for civilians. He called dissenters traitors. He institutionalized tyranny. He put political enemies in concentration camps. He created Minute Men paramilitaries. They terrorized public opposition.

He destroyed democracy, declared martial law, usurped dictatorial powers, and circumvented Congress. He made himself supreme ruler. Indeed it can happen here. Perhaps it’s closer than most people realize.

Events post-Boston Bombings demand close scrutiny. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were convicted in the court of public opinion.

Obama pronounced guilt asking “why did young men who grew up and studied here….resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help?”

Mossad-connected DEBKAfile called both brothers “double agents.” They were “hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jidadist networks which….spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.”

“Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks. (They became) the first terrorist operatives to import al Qaeda terror to the United States through a winding route outside the Middle East – the Caucasus.”

The so-called Chechen connection and claims about both brothers having links to radical Islam don’t wash. They reflect media manipulated deception. No evidence suggests it.

They were born in Kyrgyzstan. They moved to Dagestan. Over 10 years ago, they came to America with their family. They were too young to have ties back home.

A previous article said Senators Lindsey Graham (R. SC), John McCain (R. AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R. NH), as well as Rep. Peter King (R. NY) want Dzhokhar held as an “enemy combatant.” They want him denied fundamental rights.

In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court ruling said:

“There is no bar to this Nation’s holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant.”

Earlier, Francis Boyle said the four Geneva Conventions superseded the “long-defunct World War II” designation. Bush administration officials targeted “unlawful enemy combatants.” Obama calls them “unprivileged enemy belligerents.” Language changed but not intent or lawlessness.

King also wants more surveillance. He claims “It keeps us ahead of the terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us.” Big lies repeated enough are believed.

Monday headlines claimed both brothers planned other attacks. No credible evidence suggests they planned any. None except for what’s fabricated. Doing so links them to Boston. Without cold, hard, verifiable facts, it doesn’t wash.

It doesn’t matter. They’re both pronounced guilty. Dzhokhar hasn’t a chance in court if he gets there. Jurors will be intimidated to convict.

On April 21, The New York Times headlined “Suspects Seemed Set for Attacks Beyond Boston,” saying:

Both brothers “were armed with a small arsenal of guns, ammunition and explosives when they first confronted the police early Friday, and were most likely planning more attacks, the authorities said Sunday.”

Planting incriminating evidence reflects longstanding police policy. Doing so conceals their own crimes. Anzoro Tsarnaev said both his sons had nothing to do with terrorism.

They had no training or knowledge of explosives or firearms, he said. They were set up. US “special services went after them because my sons are Muslims and don’t have anyone in America to protect them.”

Zubeidat Tsarnaev called her sons innocent. She said FBI operatives hounded Tamerlan for perhaps five years. They monitored his actions. They knew what Internet sites he accessed. Without justification, they called him an extremist leader. He was being set up for what followed.

What happened begs the question. How could both brothers plan a terrorist act without FBI operatives knowing?

Numerous times they entrapped Muslims. They did so illegally. Charges alleged they were planning what they never intended. Always the FBI and/or local authorities intervened in time to stop them. Why not Boston? Evidence suggests neither brother was involved. Previous articles explained.

If Dzhokhar survives, he’ll likely face life in prison or the death penalty. It won’t be the first time injustice substituted for judicial fairness. It’s longstanding US policy.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/terrorists-r-us/

Mounting Opposition to Drone Warfare

April 23rd, 2013 by Chris Cole

 

original-ReaperUS drones struck in Yemen and Pakistan this past week after something of a pause.  On Weds (17 April) US drones hit a house in North Waziristan killing five people including an alleged commander of the Pakistan Taliban,  On the same day according to Associated Press US drones undertook two strikes 100 miles south of the capital Sana’a.  Five people were killed in the strikes, one on  vehicle and one on a house. Local journalist Farea Al-Muslimi live tweeted the attack, and reported in an article for  Al Monitor that the apparent target of the strike,  Hammed al-Radmi  regularly took part in meetings at the local government headquarters and thus could have been captured.  A further drone strike took place yesterday (21 April ) in Yemen killing two suspected militants.

 

While we continue to get no details of US and UK drone strikes in Afghanistan beyond bald figures, this week Congress was notified of a $95 million sale of 500 Hellfire missiles to the UK of the ‘P’ and ‘N’ variant.  The ‘P’ variant is specifically designed for use by drones while the ‘N’ variant has a thermobaric warhead and it may be, as we have previously reported that this variant too may be being use on British drones.

 

While the drone wars plod on, opposition continues to grow.  Ten days ago a coalition of US human rights groups including ACLU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch wrote to President Obama questioning the legal basis for targeted killing and calling for an end to the secrecy surrounding the use of drones.  (full letter here)   A coalition of US faith group also wrote to the President challenging the growing use of targeted killing and highlighting the danger of remote warfare. On this the letter states:

 

“Military trainers know that human nature itself serves as a check on lethal violence. Coming face to face with someone  described as an enemy requires a deliberate choice to override a deep human instinct against killing. Remote, technical warfare removes that very human check.  As a society we have not adequately considered where this development leads us as a species. The remote nature of this type of deadly violence has the potential to encourage overuse and extension of the policy to more countries and more perceived threats.”

 

On top of these civil society groups, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer also met with President Obama this week and urged restraint on the use of drones.  The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that at a press conference following the visit, Maurer said ’The US is very aware… of where we disagree with the use of drones.’

 

Drone protesters at Hancock

 

Protest groups continue to demonstrate against the use of drones.  In the US five people were convicted of trespass this week after blockading the entrance to Hancock Air Force base from where drones are controlled over Afghanistan.  The five, who face jail time and fines, will be sentences on April 24.   Brian Terrell who was jailed for six months following an anti-drone protest at Whiteman Air Force base in Missouri, remains in prison and will be releases at the end of May. Many local US peace groups are currently taking part in a month-long  anti-drone campaign, with dozens of actions taking place across the US.

 

Here in the UK, campaigners are gearing up for a large protest planned for next week at RAF Waddington, the UK’s new centre of drone activity.  Hundreds will march on the base to call for an end to drone warfare.  Meanwhile a number of MPs are beginning to express opposition to the use of drones, (see for example the MPs quoted in this Daily Mail article reveling that UK company Cobham are supplying components for US Predator drones) while the the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones goes from strength to strength.

 

While the continuing use of armed drones seems inevitable to the drone lobby,  the breath of opposition on legal, ethical and humanitarian grounds means that the future is far from certain.

Why Does America Media Continue to Honour Henry Kissinger?

April 23rd, 2013 by Patrick Henningsen

It’s no surprise in 2013 to see the government media complex try it’s very best to preserve the delicate legacies of lauded members of the political establishment.

Look how much effort was poured into the media eulogies for Margaret Thatcher recently, only to see the whole facade come crashing down against the real weight of public opinion and negative feelings towards the iconic Iron Lady. In the end, even the all-powerful media could not hide her affinity with international friends like General Pinochet and Pol Pot.

In the American political theater, media treatment of men or women who are  considered ‘political institutions’ tends to be much more vain and sycophantic, where junior anchors and talk show hosts will generally fall over backwards to secure 15 minutes with any such veteran, even a war criminal like Henry Kissinger.


PHOTO: Kindred spirits, always on the same page when it came to feeding the global war machine.

Kissinger is widely regarded by most well-read people worldwide as the mascot for carpet bombing in Southeast Asia, regime change and last but not least – US domestic policy manipulation. You could say was the forerunner to the GW Bush era of making the illegal seem legal, and making the immoral seem moral. Although he regards himself as an American, it is rather disturbing to know that a US Administration – Nikon’s in this case, would allow someone with dual nationalist loyalties and who was not born in the US, to sit in one of the most important seats in Washington DC. There was a reason why he was inserted into that role at that specific time in history. America is still living with the repercussions of that oversight today.

Whether it’s the Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove, the Trilateral Commission, or the Council on Foreign Relations, Henry Kissinger has always been placed in the key steering positions in order to exact certain outcomes for those whom he really works for. Still, hopeless career media pundits will continue to paint him as an foreign policy guru, but the reality is that he was simply better at manipulating and politically blackmailing those around him than the next man.

VIDEO: Here, BBC career talking head Jeremy Paxman’s idea of a tough interview

Again, and like with his good friend Lady Thatcher, Henry Kissinger’s legacy will not be easy to contain within a few clever memes like, ‘foreign policy genius’ or ‘skilled diplomat’, and no matter what agit prop the media try to erect, there will be celebrations after the fact…

Henry Kissinger’s quote recently released by Wikileaks,”the illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer”, likely brought a smile to his legions of elite media, government, corporate and high society admirers. Oh that Henry! That rapier wit! That trademark insouciance! That naughtiness! It is unlikely, however, that the descendants of his more than 6 million victims in Indochina, and Americans of conscience appalled by his murder of non-Americans, will share in the amusement. For his illegal and unconstitutional actions had real-world consequences: the ruined lives of millions of Indochinese innocents in a new form of secret, automated, amoral U.S. Executive warfare which haunts the world until today.

And his conduct raises even more fundamental questions: to what extent can leaders who act secretly ,illegally and unconstitutionally, lying to their citizenry and legislature as a matter of course, legitimately claim to represent their people? How much allegiance do citizens owe such leaders? And what does it say about America’s elites that they have honored a man with so much innocent blood on his hands for the past 40 years?

Mr. Kissinger’s most significant historical act was executing Richard Nixon’s orders to conduct the most massive bombing campaign, largely of civilian targets, in world history. He dropped 3.7 million tons of bombs** between January 1969 and January 1973 – nearly twice the two million dropped on all of Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He secretly and illegally devastated villages throughout areas of Cambodia inhabited by a U.S. Embassy-estimated two million people; quadrupled the bombing of Laos and laid waste to the 700-year old civilization on the Plain of Jars; and struck civilian targets throughout North Vietnam – Haiphong harbor, dikes, cities, Bach Mai Hospital – which even Lyndon Johnson had avoided. His aerial slaughter helped kill, wound or make homeless an officially-estimated six million human beings**, mostly civilians who posed no threat whatsoever to U.S. national security and had committed no offense against it.

There is a word for the aerial mass murder that Henry Kissinger committed  in Indochina, and that word is “evil”. The figure most identified with this word today is Adolph Hitler, and his evil was so unspeakable that the term is by now identified with him. But that is precisely why it is important to understand the new face of evil and moral depravity that Henry Kissinger represents. For evil not only comes in the form of madmen dreaming of 1000 year Reichs. In fact, in our day, it is more likely to be committed by sane, genial and ordinary careerists waging invisible automated war in far-off lands against people whose screams we never hear, whose faces we never see, and whose deaths go unrecorded and unnoticed. It is critical to understand this new face of evil, for it threatens not only countless foreigners but Americans in coming years. And no one has embodied it more than Henry Kissinger.

The planes he dispatched came by day. They came by night. Remorseless. Pitiless. Relentless. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Most of the people below had no idea where the bombers came from, why their lives had been turned into a living hell. The movie “War of the Worlds”, in which Americans are incomprehensibly slaughtered by machines is the closest depiction of what the innocent rice-farmers of Indochina experienced. 

Hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were forced to live in holes and caves, like animals. Many tens of thousands were burned alive by the bombs, slowly dying in agony. Others were buried alive, as they gradually suffocated to death when a 500 pound bomb exploded nearby. Most were victims of antipersonnel bombs designed primarily to maim not kill, many of the survivors carrying the metal, jagged or plastic pellets in their bodies for the rest of their lives.

Fathers like 38-year old Thao Vong were suddenly blinded or crippled for life as they lost an arm or leg, made helpless, unable to support their families, becoming  dependent on others just to stay alive. Children were struck, lying out in the open, screaming, villagers unable to come to their aid for fear of being killed themselves. No one was spared – neither sweet, loving grandmothers nor lovely young women, neither laughing, innocent children nor nursing or pregnant mothers, not water buffalo needed to farm not the shrines where people had for centuries honored their ancestors and hoped one day to be honored themselves.

A farmer on the Plain of Jars in northern Laos wrote of being bombed by the U.S. in 1969 that “every day and every night the planes came to drop bombs on us. We lived in holes to protect our lives. I saw my cousin die in the field of death. My heart was most disturbed and my voice called out loudly as I ran to the houses. Thus, I saw life and death for the people on account of the war of many airplanes in the region of the Plain of Jars. Until there were no houses at all. And the cows and buffalo were dead. Until everything was leveled and you could see only the red, red ground.” 

A 30-year old mother  wrote that “at that time, our lives became like those of animals desperately trying to escape their hunters. Our lives were confided to the Lord Buddha. No matter when, all we did was to pray to the Lord to save our lives.”

A 39 year old rice-farmer wrote of the aftermath of a bombing raid: “The other villagers and I got together to consider this thing. We hadn’t done anything, nor harmed anyone. We had raised our crops, celebrated the festivals and maintained our homes for many years. Why did the planes drop bombs on us, impoverishing us this way?”

Mr. Kissinger exulted to President Nixon over this bombing, telling him that “it’s wave after wave of planes. You see, they can’t see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs … I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month … each plane can carry about 10 times the load of World War II plane could carry.”

Although Mr. Kissinger claimed he was only bombing enemy troops, guerrilla soldiers were largely undetectable from the air. Investigating the bombing of northern Laos, the U.S. Senate Refugee Subcommittee concluded that “the United States has undertaken a large-scale air war over Laos to destroy the physical and social infrastructure in Pathet Lao (i.e., guerrilla) areas. Throughout all this there has been a policy of secrecy. The bombing has taken and is taking a heavy toll among civilians.” These words apply to Mr. Kissinger’s bombing throughout Indochina. The villagers of Indochina were not “collateral damage”. They were the target.

Those who praise Mr. Kissinger for the opening to China but ignore his mass murder in Indochina shame human decency itself. By honoring Mr. Kissinger they dishonor themselves. And they are also blind to the careerist “Executive Branch mentality” he embodied, which poses a clear and present a danger to foreigners and Americans alike today. Adolph Hitler dreamed of conquering and Stalin of communizing the world. Mr. Kissinger destroyed millions of lives primarily to further his career by preventing a communist takeover while he held office. And it is this kind of institutional, bureaucratic mentality, combined with new machines of secret war,  which threatens the humanity today far more than the crazed ideologies of the past.

In the end Mr. Kissinger failed, as the communists took over Indochina in the spring of 1975…

Who is Behind “Al Qaeda in Iran”?

April 23rd, 2013 by Tony Cartalucci

As the FBI reels from what now appears to be revelations it was directly involved in the Boston Marathon bombings, a deluge of FBI “success” stories have been “serendipitously” splashed across Western headlines. Among them was an allegedly “foiled” terror attack in Canada, reported to be the work of terrorists supported by “Al-Qaeda operatives in Iran.” The Globe and Mail, in its report, “Canada joins U.S. in alleging al-Qaeda has operatives based in Iran,” states:

“To many, it came as a surprise that the RCMP is alleging that two terror suspects arrested in Canada on Monday were supported by al-Qaeda operatives in Iran.

The Sunni-based al-Qaeda and Shia Iran belong to different branches of Islam that have been at odds historically. But in recent years U.S. officials have formally alleged that Iran has allowed al-Qaeda members to operate out of its territory.”

Both at face value and upon deeper examination, this assertion is utterly absurd, divorced from reality, and indicative of the absolute contempt within which the Western establishment holds the global public. In reality, the West, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in particular, have propped up and perpetuated Al Qaeda for the very purpose of either undermining or overthrowing the governments of Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya,  Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and beyond.

Regarding Iran in particular, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker piece titled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would state:

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

In a follow up, Hersh in his 2008 New Yorker piece titled, “Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran,” spelled out a damning indictment of US involvement in bolstering, arming, and funding terror organizations, not linked to, but described as actually being Al Qaeda.

Of American support for Al Qaeda the report states (emphasis added):

The Administration may have been willing to rely on dissident organizations in Iran even when there was reason to believe that the groups had operated against American interests in the past. The use of Baluchi elements, for example, is problematic, Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. clandestine officer who worked for nearly two decades in South Asia and the Middle East, told me. “The Baluchis are Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran, but you can also describe them as Al Qaeda,” Baer told me. “These are guys who cut off the heads of nonbelievers—in this case, it’s Shiite Iranians. The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.” Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks, are Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists.

The report would continue by stating (emphasis added):

One of the most active and violent anti-regime groups in Iran today is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People’s Resistance Movement, which describes itself as a resistance force fighting for the rights of Sunnis in Iran. “This is a vicious Salafi organization whose followers attended the same madrassas as the Taliban and Pakistani extremists,” Nasr told me. “They are suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and they are also thought to be tied to the drug culture.” The Jundallah took responsibility for the bombing of a busload of Revolutionary Guard soldiers in February, 2007. At least eleven Guard members were killed. According to Baer and to press reports, the Jundallah is among the groups in Iran that are benefitting from U.S. support.

The manifestation of this insidious conspiracy can be seen playing out across Syria in which US-backed terrorists openly operating under the flag of Al Qaeda are locked in a catastrophic sectarian bloodbath with the Syrian people and the Syrian state’s closest ally, Iran. The conflict in Syria exposes that the machinations revealed back in 2007-2008 by Hersh, are still being carried out in earnest today.

Clearly, US-Canadian claims that Iran is somehow involved in harboring Al Qaeda within its borders, when it has been the West for years propping them up specifically to overthrow the Iranian government, are utterly absurd. In reality, while the West uses Al Qaeda’s presence both within Iran and along it peripheries to undermine and ultimately overthrow the Iranian government, it in turn uses these very terror organizations to induce paralyzing fear across Western populations in order to consolidate and expand power at home.

Additional Reading: For more information on just how much support the US has provided Al Qaeda terrorists in Baluchistan versus both Pakistan and Iran, please see, “US Attempting to Trigger Color Revolution in Pakistan.” For more information on the US’ delisting, arming and training of the terror organization, Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK or MKO) versus Iran, please see, “US to Delist & Arm American-Killing Terror Cult.”

With the imposition of a state of siege in Boston, a historical threshold has been crossed. For the first time ever, a major American city has been placed under the equivalent of martial law. The already frayed veneer of a stable democracy based on constitutional principles is in shreds.

On Monday, April 15, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in the city’s center. Three people were killed and over 170 were injured, some seriously.

This was a criminal act with tragic consequences. But violence, including acts of mass homicide and disasters resulting in major loss of life, is a regular feature of American society. Even as the events in Boston were unfolding, a factory explosion in Texas, to all appearances linked to safety hazards, took far more lives than the bombs detonated at the end of the marathon.

There is no precedent for the massive mobilization of military, police and intelligence forces carried out April 19 in Boston and its environs, which encompass more than 1 million people. Thousands of heavily armed police and National Guard troops occupied the streets, backed up by machine gun-mounted armored vehicles, Humvees and Black Hawk helicopters. As the WSWS noted, the scene resembled the US occupation of Baghdad.

The people were told to remain indoors while police, with automatic weapons drawn, conducted warrantless house-to-house searches. Some of those who strayed out of doors were surrounded by police and ordered to go home. The mass transit system was shut down; passenger train service along the northeastern corridor was halted; businesses, universities and other public facilities were closed.

Boston—the cradle of the American Revolution, one of the most liberal cities in one of the most liberal states in the US, the country’s premier center of higher education—was turned into an armed camp. This staggering mobilization of federal, state and local police power was deployed to track down a 19-year-old youth.

So far, there has been no protest from within the political or media establishment to the lockdown.

Following the capture of alleged bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, President Obama issued a late-night statement from the White House in which he stressed the role of his administration in the police-state mobilization, boasting that he had “directed the full resources of the federal government…to increase security as needed.” Ignoring the presumption of innocence, he referred to the captured suspect and his dead brother as “these terrorists.”

Obama’s Justice Department quickly announced that it would not read the suspect his “Miranda right” to remain silent and obtain legal counsel before speaking to police investigators. It would instead question the seriously injured youth “extensively” not just on matters related directly to public safety, but more broadly on “intelligence matters.” This sets a precedent for denying these rights to anyone arrested under antiterrorism statutes, which, under Obama, has already included political dissidents such as Occupy Wall Street and anti-NATO protesters.

Encouraged by the police-military mobilization, Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain and New York Congressman Peter King, all of whom have close ties to the military and intelligence agencies, demanded that Tsarnaev be declared an enemy combatant and turned over to the military.

The events in Boston have laid bare the modus operandi for the establishment of dictatorial forms of rule in the US. One or another violent act carried out by disoriented or disaffected individuals, perhaps with the help of elements within the state, is declared a terrorist event. A state of siege is imposed suspending democratic rights and establishing military-police control.

So deeply implicated are all of the organs of the state in these plans that little in the outer trappings of political life would have to be changed. It would not be necessary to overthrow the president or shut down Congress. These institutions would readily play their assigned role, and the imposition of a military dictatorship would be sanctioned by the US Supreme Court.

The media would simply continue to do what it normally does—functioning as a de facto arm of the state and providing the necessary pretexts, while whipping up the requisite fear and panic within the public.

The very fact that the entire establishment agrees that democratic norms cannot be maintained in the face of violence by a handful of people testifies to the advanced stage of the breakdown of American democracy.

So disproportionate was the scale of the response to the actual level of the threat that the conclusion cannot be avoided that the Boston bombings were the pretext for, not the cause of, the lockdown. The police-state mobilization was the culmination of more than a decade of intensive planning and the ceaseless buildup of the repressive forces of the state since 9/11, carried out under the cover of the “war on terror.”

The operation is not an expression of strength or confidence on the part of the American ruling class. On the contrary, it reflects the near panic of the corporate-financial elite in the face of mounting social discontent, exacerbated by extreme nervousness over the precarious state of global financial markets. What haunts the ruling class is not the fear of a terrorist attack, but dread of a new financial collapse, with the likely consequence of massive social upheavals.

The breakdown of American democracy has profound causes, the first of which is the staggering level of social inequality.

Democracy cannot be maintained when the richest 5 percent of the population controls over 60 percent of the wealth. In the moves to police-military dictatorship, the forms of rule are coming into conformance with the underlying social reality of American capitalism.

Another fundamental cause of the crisis of democracy is the eruption of US militarism.

The power of the military/intelligence apparatus has grown immensely, particularly since the end of the Soviet Union, as the American ruling class has turned to military aggression as a means of offsetting the decline in its global economic position. The professional military, segregated from society at large and hostile to it, has acquired ever-greater influence over political affairs and civilian authority. As always, imperialist war is incompatible with democracy.

American liberalism as a distinct political tendency has ceased to exist. The lining up of the Democratic Party behind the “war on terror,” and the external aggression and internal repression carried out in its name, has made clear that there is no section of the ruling elite that will defend democratic rights. The Obama administration, which has expanded the right-wing, antidemocratic policies of the Bush administration, is without question the most reactionary in US history.

As always, the filthiest role is played by the media and its leading personnel. From day one, they turned the airwaves into a continual rumor mill, making one unsubstantiated claim after another in an effort to sow fear and panic and justify the police-state measures being taken. They readily agreed to self-censor their reports in accordance with the demands of the police agencies. As CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, son of the former Democratic governor of New York and brother of the state’s current governor, told viewers, “We’ve only been showing the feeds that authorities are comfortable with.”

The media seeks to create an aura of popular support for martial law-type measures. But the initial confusion will give way to mounting disquiet. The abrupt shift in the forms of rule will create opposition in the population, above all in the working class.

The appropriate conclusions need to be drawn. Social inequality and war—the inevitable outcome of capitalism—are incompatible with democracy. One or the other—capitalism or democracy—must go.

That is the issue confronting the working class.

Boston Terror Narrative Starts Falling Apart

April 23rd, 2013 by Washington's Blog

 Chechen Brothers Did NOT Rob 7-11

We have no idea whether or not the Chechen brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were the Boston terrorists.

But several parts of the official narrative are already falling apart.

Initially, the claim that they robbed a 7-11 is totally false. USA Today reported on April 19th:

There was a 7-Eleven robbery in Cambridge last night, but it had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

Margaret Chabris, the director of corporate communication at 7- Eleven, says the surveillance video of the crime was not taken at a 7-Eleven and that the suspect that did rob the 7-Eleven does not look like Tamerlan or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

“The suspect in the photos for that particular 7-Eleven robbery looks nothing like the suspects,” Chabris says. “The police or someone made a mistake. Someone was confused.”

***

At an earlier press conference morning, when [State Police Superintendent Timothy Alban] described the manhunt and standoff that resulted in the death of an MIT police officer, he also said that the two brothers robbed a 7-Eleven.

Moreover, the FBI initially denied ever having spoken with either of the brothers.  But CBS news notes:

The FBI admitted Friday they interviewed the now-deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev two years ago and failed to find any incriminating information about him.

Other oddities include the following:

  • Chechens have previously been framed (by the Russians) for terrorist acts which they probably didn’t commit

Again, they might be guilty.  But as Glenn Greenwald notes:

The overarching principle here should be that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is entitled to a presumption of innocence until he is actually proven guilty. As so many cases have proven – from accused (but exonerated) anthrax attacker Stephen Hatfill to accused (but exonerated) Atlanta Olympic bomber Richard Jewell to dozens if not hundreds of Guantanamo detainees accused of being the “worst of the worst” but who were guilty of nothing – people who appear to be guilty based on government accusations and trials-by-media are often completely innocent. Media-presented evidence is no substitute for due process and an adversarial trial.

Indeed, the FBI said it was positive that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer (after falsely accusing 2 other people of being the culprits). However, the National Academy of Science found that the FBI failed to prove its case.

Note: Media said that the door-to-door searches conducted in Watertown were voluntary.  However – whether or not you agree with the need to do so – the searches were not always exactly voluntary.

The events of 9/11 in the US not only led to the attack on several sovereign nations but the government under George W. Bush established the so called “Homeland Security” and proceeded to implement plans to curtail civil rights. First the “Patriot Act” was passed, then the “Natinal Defence Authrorisation Act”.

The combination of these acts and presidential “Executive Orders” transformed the American society. Where previously at least some basic rights existed a basicly lawless society was created. The territory of the USA has been declared a battleground. Americans can now be killed on US soil without trial or due process. They can be held indefinitely without charge or without ever knowing why. The inalienable rights believed to be guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution have proved to be illusions.

All of this was made possible by creating fear among the population through permanent media propaganda about a terrorist threat. Americans and people in the “western world” were and are made to believe that in order to have security and live in peace they have to give up their liberty. They were made to believe that it is not the foreign policy of their own governments that creates terrorism but enemies envying their freedom and prosperity.

Is Europe and Ireland now heading down the same road? In an article published last week the journal.ie reported (emphasis added):

A NUMBER OF gardaí took part in a European Union Coordinated Counter Terrorism Exercise in Dublin this afternoon.

The operation included a simulated hostage rescue scenario that required sea-based, land-based and airborne elements.

Three other police forces from European jurisdictions attended the exercise at the ESB Generating Station at Pigeon House Road in Dublin 4.

 

gardai

Photo credit: Leon Farrell/ Photocall Ireland; source

The fear-based propaganda did not catch on so much in Europe where large portions of the populace do not believe in the goods of fighting wars for corporate interests in various regions of the world. The desire for peace after the experiences of 2 devastating world wars has been used cleverly to bring about the Europe we see today. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU was an attempt to keep the myth that Europe was build to maintain the peace alive a little longer.

In reality western  Europe, later the EU, was always dominated by the interests of the USA. During the cold war it was the beachhead against the USSR and after its breakdown it became the tool to expand the sphere of US/NATO domination to the nations of eastern Europe which  just won their freedom. Since World War 2 western Europe followed in the foootsteps of the US  in all major questions of war and peace.  In one way or another European nations were involved actively in all recent US/NATO led wars.

While recently Europe is engaging more actively in warfare (Libya, Mali) the economic situation inside the EU is anything but stable and the political situation is becoming more and more unstable as people across the EU begin to question the direction in which the EU is going. The currency system is on life support, unemployment  is generally rising, people across the EU become slowly but surely disillusioned about the “European Project”. It is in those times when external threats come in handy to deflect attention away from the problems and to create fear. This is the context in which the recent EU-wide anti terrorist drill on the 17th and 18th of April took place.  It was led by the Atlas Network.

Planned in 1996 the “Atlas Network”  was officially created in 2001 using the pretext of the 9/11 events. It is a network of specialist units of national police forces of all 27  European member states. It works under the supervision and is financed by the “Directorate General of Home Affairs” of the EU Commission. Neither the EU Commision nor the “Directorate” are democratically elected entities. As these units are answerable not to national goverments but to the “Directorate” they are removed from democratic control and thus morph into kind of “Federal Special Police”. The participation of foreign police units in the excercise in Dublin demonstrates that under this network these units can dispatched everywhere in the EU.

Interestingly it is the Boston Marathon Bombing which provides the pretext for holding the EU wide drills. Here is the Press Release of the EU Commission:

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 April 2013

The ATLAS Network prepares for the biggest anti-terrorism exercise at EU level

EU commissionOn April 17 and 18, 2013, the EU Member States anti-terrorist police forces are uniting as part of the European sponsored ATLAS Network, which carries out the most complex preparation and crises response simulation so far at European level. The simulation involves simultaneous terrorist attacks in 9 different EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania).

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström said: “The fight against terrorism is one of the key challenges to our internal security. Terrorism does not recognise borders and maintaining public security is a complex challenge which requires the coordination of our efforts. I believe that the cooperation between police authorities in Europe is more necessary now than ever and I welcome the exercise of the ATLAS network.”

The ATLAS Network contributes to increasing the proficiency and expertise of special intervention units, by establishing common platforms for training and tactics, sharing equipment, and by establishing close cooperation in trans-border areas of Member States, in turn benefitting the public security.

Past terrorist attacks, carried out both by individuals and groups, both abroad and in Europe have shown great sophistication and coordination by the terrorist groups. The 2008 Mumbai coordinated attacks, the Al Qaeda 2012 attacks on the Algerian gas production plant, as well as the recent Boston marathon bombings highlight the need to increase protection against attacks on both critical infrastructures and other public areas in a national and cross-border context. In order to ensure equal protection for all citizens in the EU, the ATLAS Network exchanges best practices and procedures and undertakes joint training exercises. In order to prepare against terrorist attacks, real life simulations of terrorist acts are carried out by Atlas members of the anti-terrorist units from different Member States.

The 2013 practical exercise, named “Common Challenge” simulates terrorist attacks in 9 different EU Member States in different areas of public life. Simulated terrorist targets include attacks on power plants, schools, and several transport modes (shops, busses and trains). Therefore, the Atlas “Common Challenge 2013”, the largest of exercise of this kind, will help practice and draw lessons on how to further strengthen preparation and crises response. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Home Affairs is responsible for the coordination of the simulation exercise, which is carried out jointly with the ATLAS Presidency held by the German Police Special units (GSG9).

The ATLAS Network is an example of the pro-active stance against terrorism and underlines the solidarity and cooperation between European Union Member States as set in Article 222 of the Lisbon Treaty, contributing to ensuring the protection of citizens and public security in EU.

 Background

The Atlas Network, created in 2001, is an association consisting of special police units of the 27 EU Member States working on countering terrorism and criminal acts. The Network is financed and supported by the European Commission, Directorate General for Home Affairs. The goal of Atlas Network is to improve cooperation among the police units and to enhance skills by training and exchange of best practices.

 

The United States government has been at war for eleven years.

The US military destroyed Iraq, leaving the country and millions of lives in ruins and releasing sectarian blood-letting that had been kept in check by the secular Saddam Hussein government. On any given day in “liberated” Iraq, the death toll is as high as during the height of the US attempted occupation.

In Afghanistan eleven years of US attempted occupation has had no more success than a decade of Soviet occupation. The Afghans are still not worn down despite more than two decades of war with the two superpowers. Like the Soviets, the Americans have managed to kill many women, children, and village elders, but precious few warriors. In place of the Soviet puppet government there is Washington’s puppet government. That is the only change, and Washington’s puppet is no more secure than the Soviet one was.

In Libya, Washington used its corrupt NATO puppets and CIA-recruited bandits to overthrow another stable government, that of Muammar Gaddafi, leaving Libya mired in sectarian violence. A stable prosperous country has simply been destroyed by western governments that profess human rights values and condemn China and Russia for not having any.

Washington has also been killing civilians with drones and air strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, two countries with which Washington is not at war but has purchased the governments, paying the Pakistani and Yemeni governments for the right to murder their citizens and destabilizing both countries in the process.

And now in Syria Washington is at work destroying another stable secular government headed by a British trained eye doctor.

Washington’s eleven years of illegal aggression against Muslim countries–war crimes according to the Nuremberg trials of Nazis–have resulted in civilian deaths far in excess of military casualties and in a domestic American police state that has destroyed the rule of law and the constitutional protections of US citizens.  Washington and its presstitutes have emphasized that these costs are necessary to save Americans from al-Qaeda terrorists, none of whom have ever been apprehended in the United States.

Having listened to the propaganda line pumped out by Washington and its Ministry of Propaganda for eleven years, imagine my astonishment when I saw two juxtaposed headlines:

“Al-Nusra pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda” (BBC) and “Move to Widen Help for Syrian Rebels Gains Speed in West” (NY Times).

Al-Nusra is the main military component of the “Syrian rebels,” and it has allied itself with our mortal enemy–Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.

Wait a minute! Our government told us for eleven years that we blew trillions of dollars on wars to protect Americans from al-Qaeda, endangering Social Security, Medicare, the social safety net, the dollar’s exchange value, the credit rating of the US Treasury, and our civil liberties in order to save America from al-Qaeda terrorists.

So why is Washington now supporting al-Qaeda’s overthrow of the secular, non-Islamist government in Syria which has never ever done anything whatsoever to Americans!?

The New York Times Michael R. Gordon and Mark Landler, elevated the terrorist al-Qaeda organization to the status of “the Syrian opposition.” At a lunch meeting hosted by Washington’s puppet, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and US Secretary of State John Kerry, “the Syrian opposition,” aka al-Qaeda, requested antiaircraft and antitank weapons. A senior Washington official said: “Our assistance has been on an upward trajectory, and the president (Obama) has directed his national security team to identify additional measures so that we can increase assistance.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a $123 million “defense aid package” to “the Syrian opposition” that now includes al-Qaeda. Washington had already sent $117 million in “food and medical supplies” to “the Syrian opposition,” and ordered its Middle Eastern puppets to send arms.  Note the Orwellian language: support for an outside terrorist force seeking to destroy a government and a people is called a “defense aid package.”

On April 11 the establishment French newspaper, Le Monde, reported that the al-Nosra organization affiliated with al-Qaeda is the dominant force in “the Syrian opposition,” not democratic revolutionaries.  Despite this fact, Washington’s puppets, France and Britain, are pushing the European Union to send arms to the al-Qaeda affiliated “Syrian opposition.”  And Senator John McCain wants US airstrikes on Syrian government forces with whom the US is not at war, in order to provide air cover for al-Qaeda’s takeover of Syria.

Meanwhile, the Islamist Shiites, whom the Americans left in control of Iraq, have announced that they have joined the battle against the American-supported al-Qaeda forces seeking to radicalize Syria.

So far at last count, the UN reports that the military attack on Syria organized by Washington’s proxies has killed 70,000 people. But americans are preoccupied with the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed 3.

Once again “the indispensable people” are bringing death and destruction to an entire country in order to bring to the dead “freedom and democracy.” No Syrian asked for this “liberation” from his life.

Be a Proud American. We are doing our duty to our rightful hegemony over the world and to Israel, which has purchased our government.

It is our right to be the hegemonic power on the planet earth, and that includes the Mediterranean Sea.

Therefore it is Washington’s right to overthrow Syria in order to get rid of the Russian naval base there. The Romans would never have put up with a foreign power having a naval base in the Mediterranean, and we can do no less, unless we are some kind of pansy state afraid of our own shadow.

The Mediterranean was  mare nostrum–our sea–for the Romans.  Now it is our sea, and by god we are going to claim it by overthrowing Syria.

Israel, of course, was given the rights to “Greater Israel” by God himself–who am I to question the Christian Zionist preachers who are growing fat on Israeli money–and part of “Greater Israel” is the river in southern Lebanon that supplies precious water.

Hizbollah, provisioned by Syria and Iran has prevented Israel from confiscating southern Lebanon in order to acquire the water rights that God gave them.  Therefore, to fulfill our obligations as Israel’s puppet, we are required to destroy both Syria and Iran so that Hizbollah is isolated and out of the way and “Greater Israel” can be created.

The Christian Zionist churches in the US repeat this message every Sunday.  If you don’t believe it, you are some kind of anti-american anti-semite and should be exterminated. Or you could be a despicable Muslim terrorist to be waterboarded into confession.  Homeland Security will make short work of you just like they did to those Russian Muslim terrorists in Boston who tried to blow up the Marathon race.

I mean, really, how can we indispensable people bring freedom and democracy to the world if the Russians have a naval base in our sea?  How can we project strength if we project such weakness by permitting a foreign power’s presence in our exclusive sphere of influence many thousands of miles away from our borders. Don’t forget, America’s borders are the world’s borders.  It says so in our song–”From sea to shining sea.”  Don’t forget it.

Of course, we don’t want to go head-to-head with another well armed nuclear military power, but the way around that is to demonize the Syrian government and Russia for supporting an eye doctor who is “a brutal dictator” who is resisting an Islamist al-Qaeda takeover of Syria financed by Washington.

Our masters in Washington can use the UN and all our well-paid puppet states to pressure the Russians to shut up and get out of our way. I mean, really, does Putin want all those Russian NGOs that we finance to bring their operatives out onto the streets in Moscow and bring down his government?

I mean, really, who does Putin think he is standing up to our god-given hegemony over the world, much less Israel’s god-given hegemony over the Middle East?  I mean, Putin is in for it, and so are the Chinese. I mean, really, who do they think they are?  Americans? Don’t those Chinese know about our control of the Pacific? I mean, really, are they out to lunch?

And, I mean, really, how can all us get to heaven if we don’t do God’s will and deliver the Middle East to Israel as Israel says the scriptures require.  I mean, really, do you want to oppose God and burn in hell?   You better get on the right side before you die.

I mean, really, who wants this fate.  We had better get rid of Syria sooner than ordered.

If we don’t do what Israel tells us God requires, we are finished.  That’s for sure.

Current Guatemalan president, Otto Pérez Molina, was formerly “Major Tito,” a field commander allegedly responsible for acts of genocide against Ixil Indians in 1982. Currently under “Presidential immunity”, a status not permitted by the Convention on Genocide, the Guatemalan President may be responsible for stopping the trial of Rios Montt.

According to Democracy Now!  journalist Allan Nairn was to present evidence before the court on April 22nd verifying testimony of a previous witness that President Molina had participated in the genocide, and further implicating President Molina as well as U.S. operations and officials.

The genocide trial against Guatemala’s former ruler, Ríos Montt and his intelligence chief was abruptly stopped April 18, when Ríos Montt’s defense attorneys walked out of court declaring the trial “illegal”. Their attempt to derail the judicial process which has already heard considerable evidence of their client’s guilt, was supported by Judge Carol Patricia Flores who was recently reinstated by Guatemala’s Supreme Court and Constitutional Court.

Previously she was forced to withdraw from court actions against Rios Montt when challenged by an early defense attempt to derail the proceedings. She was then replaced by Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez who placed the case before the court of Judge Jazmín Barrios, the current presiding judge of the tribunal.

Judge Flores has declared this trial lacks validity due to her own absence, and ordered the proceedings  revert to their status as of November 2011. This would invalidate all the current proceedings, and place witnesses who have given evidence of genocide, as well as their organizations, families and attorneys, at substantial risk. The country’s current president has been implicated by a witness as an active participant in the genocide. And according to The New York Times, President Molina maintains the actions against the Ixil were not genocide. Disturbingly, he views the trial as a threat to the nation.

The Court’s presiding Judge Jazmín Barrios rejected the decision made by Judge Flores, and found any decision to close the trial illegal.  Judge Barrios has asked the highest court of Guatemala, the Constitutional Court, for support to continue the proceedings. The Federal prosecution and Guatemala’s Attorney General have also appealed to the Constitutional Court for the trial to continue. It’s worth noting that under the laws of the International Criminal Court it’s a crime to obstruct a genocide trial. Guatemala acceded to the International Criminal Court on April 2, 2012.

On April 19, 2013 Judge Jazmín Barrios opened the Court but put the proceedings on hold until she hears from the Constitutional Court within 10 days. The temporary closing was followed by demonstrations in the streets calling out for justice. If the current proceedings under Judge Jazmín Barrios are not supported, the case will return to its status of November 2011 and Judge Flores may decide how she wishes to proceed. If Guatemala is unable to adjudicate the charges of genocide within its own courts, the International Criminal Court should prosecute, if it is free to prosecute cases contrary to U.S. interests.

But Invalidation of this current genocide trial would further endanger the witnesses and could be interpreted as a corrupted legal system’s attempt to absorb a continuum of genocide, an encouragement to impunity. What Guatemalan judges and prosecutors are up against may be a thoroughly established military government elected in civilian clothes. Many international media sources give the impression that the Judge Flores decision is valid and the trial over.

At the attempt to shut down the proceedings, on April18th, Democracy Now! interviewed Allan Nairn, who was in Guatemala prepared to testify before the court  on April 22nd.  Nairn is a consistently accurate brave American investigative reporter in this field, having documented with Amy Goodman the genocide in East Timor, 1991, and documented the genocide in Guatemala in the early 1980′s. With evidence, he claims the U.S. and Israel supplied weapons to the Guatemalan military engaged in atrocities, and inextricably links the U.S. covert machinery of the CIA to the atrocities.

More to the point here, his evidence includes interviews with the area’s commander, “Major Tito,” responsible for application of  the genocide. “Major Tito” has emerged as the current President of Guatemala, General Otto Pérez Molina, previously identified before the court by a soldier as witness for the prosecution.

Under the surface of legitimate court decisions in a judicial system interfacing deeply with U.S. controls for several generations, are Nairn’s current reports of death threats, offering of bribes, and the military’s terrorization of  prosecutors, judges and witnesses in this trial.

If his testimony were presented, the court and legal community would have to address evidence of 1. the guilt of  current Guatemalan president, Otto Pérez Molina in acts of genocide; 2.  the complicity of the U.S. in genocide, and possibility of prosecutable cases against Elliott Abrams, Stephen Bosworth,  and others enmeshed in the American establishment under a cover of respectability, yet allegedly criminal under the Convention  on Genocide. If he has closed the trial, President Molina, has challenged international law and human decency. By impeding the judicial process, not only for Ríos Montt but himself,  the Guatemalan president has opened war on a gentler humanity, mocking the Convention on Genocide with the ‘immunity’ of a sitting head of State.

Yet within a North American context, his loyalties are out of date. He is protecting a U.S. crime which the American people didn’t knowingly sign on to, which most people find despicable, which the U.S. Congress attempted to avoid, and which by international treaty almost every nation in the world has pledged under law to prevent and punish.  The Convention on Genocide begins: Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity; and being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international cooperation is required…   Better to proceed now, before the impunity becomes all we know.

Partial sources online:

“Guatemala judge suspends trial of former military ruler,” April 18, 2013, BBC News;

“Guatemala war crimes trial rulings spur protests,” David Hernandez, Apri 19, 2013, Los AngelesTimes;

“Efrain Rios Montt Trial Suspended: Guatemalan Judge Orders Return To Pre-Trial Hearings,” Sonia Perez Diaz, April 19, 2013, Huffington Post;

“Guatemala war crimes trial rulings spur protests,” Daniel Hernandez, April 19, 2013, Los Angeles Times;

“Trial Annulment in Guatemala Rejected by Judge,” Elisabeth Malkin, April 19, 2013, The New York Times;

“High court to decide on Guatemala genocide trial,” Sonia Perez Diaz, AP, April 18, 2013, The Miami Herald;

“Tales of Reagan’s Guatemala Genocide,” Robert Parry, April 16, 2013, consortium.news;

“Genocide Trial of Former Dictator Ríos Montt Suspended After Intervention by Guatemalan President,” April 19, 2013, Democracy Now! ;

“Exclusive: Allan Nairn Exposes Role of U.S. and New Guatemalan President in Indigenous Massacres,” April 19, 2013, Democracy Now!

The Robot Revolution

April 23rd, 2013 by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

Just as we are seeing climate chaos change to climate catastrophe, we may also see job chaos change to job catastrophe. We are entering an era of technological change which has the potential to create havoc in an already seriously undermined world of employment. It has become a well-worn cliché to declare that the robots are coming but it is necessary to consider seriously how the creeping technologisation of production and services is going to affect many areas of employment considered today to be relatively safe from the machines.

In the past, the technologisation of work produced frantic and panicked reactions in the Luddite conflicts of the early 19th century. Since then we have been lulled into complacency by visions of wealth and prosperity and more leisure time.

The current crop of robotic developments and inventions have produced a huge ‘aaw’ factor as dancing, walking and talking, ‘Livin’ Robots’ have entertained people all over the world. However, this is merely a transition period of finding general acceptance by an unsuspecting public who are unaware of how close they are getting to a labour crisis of disastrous proportions.

The recent history of machines and robotic devices shows us that the world of technological advancement steams ahead with or without the consent of the workers whose jobs are ultimately displaced forever. How did we get from Luddite frame breaking to ‘Loving the Alien’?

There is what could be described as three levels of the technologisation of work,

(1) Basic Machines (Simple and Engine),

(2) Complex Machines (Electrical, Electronic and Computing), and

(3) Sophisticated Machines (Anthropomorphic Robots). In each case technologisation has brought benefits as well as disaster. However, we are reaching a point where further technologisation can only exacerbate the global problems of mass unemployment, climate chaos, depletion of the world’s resources and exceed the planet’s capacity for recovery.

(1) Basic Machines (Simple and Engine)

“Surely my lord however we may rejoice in any improvement in the arts which may be beneficial to mankind, we must not allow mankind to be sacrificed to improvements in mechanism. The maintenance and well-doing of the industrious poor is an object of greater consequence to the community than the enrichment of a few monopolists by any improvement in the implements of trade, which deprives the workman of his bread, and renders the labourer ‘unworthy of his hire.’” Lord Byron’s speech to the House of Lords February 27, 1812, at the height of Luddite activities in Yorkshire, England. [1]

 Warring with Rude Nature

The introduction of machines during the Industrial Revolution became the focus of anger of the English textile artisans in the early 19th Century. The new stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms enabled the factory owners to replace artisans with cheaper low-wage labourers. This resulted in the unemployed textile artisans coming together and attacking the factory machinery and burning down mills. Known as Luddites, these men and their supporters battled with the industrialists and the British Army from 1811 to 1817. The government eventually quashed the movement with show trials resulting in many penal transportations and executions. [2]

 

http://gaelart.net/BrownManchesterMuralJohnKay2.jpg
John Kay inventor of the Fly Shuttle, by Ford Madox Brown.
(depicting the inventor John Kay fleeing a mob intent on destroying his mechanical loom.)

The significance of the introduction of machinery and the long term effects of the Luddite movement was not lost on Friedrich Engels, who wrote in 1845:

“The service which machinery has rendered the workers is simply this: that it has brought home to their minds the necessity of a social reform by means of which machinery shall no longer work against but for them. […] Every new advance brings with it loss of employment, want, and suffering, and in a country like England where, without that, there is usually a ‘surplus population’, to be discharged from work is the worst that can befall the operative.” [3]

The struggle against the machines soon became a struggle for control of the machines.

(2) Complex Machines (Electrical, Electronic and Computing)

“When was the last time a real receptionist texted you about an important call? Or worked 24/7 (there’s labor laws against that)? A virtual receptionist works for peanuts and doesn’t demand benefits.” [4]

The computers are coming

For the next one hundred years the existence of factories became accepted and trade unions took on the challenge of resistance to the factory owners.  However, the spread of the machines in the workplace was really only beginning.  In 1951, the first commercial business computer was developed in the United Kingdom by the J. Lyons and Co. catering organization. It was known as the ‘Lyons Electronic Office’ – or LEO for short. The LEO computer was further developed and then widely used during the 1960s and early 1970s. [5]

During a visit to USA Lyons’ managers met Herman Goldstine, one of the original developers of ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), the first general-purpose electronic computer (although it had no stored program). [6] In 1953 IBM (International Business Machines) introduced the 701 to the public, their first electric computer and first mass produced computer. [7] Avoiding the type of knee-jerk rejection of new technology by the early Luddites, a softly-softly approach to mass acceptance of computers was created through information films such as “Electronic Computers Improve Management Control” (UCLA 1957) lauding their efficiency and advantages, and cinematically by films such as Desk Set (1957) summarised as:

“Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), the inventor of EMERAC (an allusion to the early computers UNIVAC and ENIAC) and an efficiency expert, is brought in to see how the library functions, to figure out how to ease the transition. […] When they find out the computers are coming, the employees jump to the conclusion the machines are going to replace them, whereas they are merely intended to help ease the research.” [8]

 http://gaelart.net/deskset3.jpg

Desk Set (1957)

When the ‘silly computer’ fires everyone in the building by mistake, Sumner has to explain that EMERAC‘was never intended to take over’ to ease the anxiety of workers. The support of IBM for the film is acknowledged in the opening credits: “The filmmakers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the International Business Machines Corporation.” [9] The optimistic message of Desk Set had changed by the late 1960s with the Jerome Epstein film The Adding Machine (1969) about ‘an accountant whose job is about to be taken over by a computer [and who] starts to re-examine his life and his priorities.’ [10] By the 1980s, according to Alan Nasser, the effects of the introduction of computers were such that:

“An office in the 1980s employing 40 people working without computers may require, in the early 1990s, only 4 workers using 4 computers. The productivity – output per unit of labor input – of the office can be further enhanced not by adding skilled workers nor by replacing less productive workers with more productive computers, but by replacing less powerful computers and software with more powerful ones. In the initial case, actual workers were replaced by computers. In the latter case potential workers were kept out of the workplace by better computers.”

Over the last few decades we have seen the introduction of technology changing working class jobs such as the use of hand scanners and self-service check-out machines in supermarkets, stamp machines in post offices, electronic toll collection, automated attendants in telephony, virtual receptionists, ticket machines in car parks and train stations and swiping machines and integrated security systems affecting security guards.

More and more middle class jobs are under threatwith the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in banks, the use of the internet for shopping, translation, and teaching.

In the same period of time the technologisation of factories has seen the introduction of factory robots working on fully automated production lines and then packaging and palletizing, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) transporting goods around warehouses, automated fruit harvesting machines and telerobots.

http://gaelart.net/factoryrobots.jpg

Factory robots (ABB robot IRB 6400)In fact, we are mesmerized by the potential use of robots. In an article by Aaron Saenz he notes the “awe-inspiring, perhaps even frightening” aspects of modern manufacturing:

“The factories of today have some human workers, but huge portions of assembly lines are 100% mechanized. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects automotive jobs to decline 18% by 2018 despite expected increases in production. Robots eliminate the need for more workers. Before you lament the loss of jobs, take a moment and watch how robots earn their role every day in the workplace. Incredible!”

Our fascination with robots is overcoming our cautious nature as we are once again presented with images of the new ‘silly machines’.

(3) Sophisticated Machines (Anthropomorphic Robots)

“Imagine a world where the robots did all the work. They tend the crops, sew the clothes, cook the food, drive the trucks, and work on all the assembly lines in all the world’s factories. In this world, everything would be a lot cheaper because labor costs would drop to zero. In fact, there’d be a startling abundance of stuff. And people would be freed up to do things other than work. We could use our time to explore, create, perform, craft, mingle, and so on because we wouldn’t have to work to produce the necessities or luxuries of life; the robots would be taking care of that.”  [11]

Fascinating Robots

The titles of the videos about the latest robots (Dancing Robots, World’s Top3 Humanoid Robots, Most Human Like Robot Ever) reveal one strategy of acceptance: narcissism or self-admiration.

The more robots look, act and behave like us, the more we forget that robots are separate and are not extensions of ourselves. While we ‘lose ourselves’ in the robot, we also lose sight of the potential dangers inherent in re-creating technological version of ourselves. Current scientific research is moving towards a functional humanoid capable of many human skills and communicative interaction. Herein lies the crux of the matter: when the optimal robot has been created it will become the model for reproduction. Once on the production line in the factory the robot will be mass produced.

So then will the concept of a ‘world where the robots did all the work, […] tend the crops, sew the clothes, cook the food, drive the trucks, and work on all the assembly lines in all the world’s factories’ come alive? Will people benefit? More and more people will be put out of work, even in jobs never considered threatened by technology before.

Will we have more leisure time? That is predicated on the idea of a social fund created by society to pay for education, health, transport etc. But where will that money come from? The beneficiaries of robot production (which will no doubt be private) will be the owners and shareholders of robot producing companies and factories supplying robots to universities, hospitals, libraries etc. not society as a whole.

 
 http://gaelart.net/tawabo3.jpg

Tokyo Tower robot Tawabo guides visitors in four languages – (video)

This may seem fantastical now during this transition phase of development but already relatively undeveloped robots are being used as tour guides and remote doctors. As more privatisation puts more people at the mercy of the profit motive, exposure to replacement by robot is only limited by the current capabilities of contemporary science.

 http://gaelart.net/dalekdoc3.jpg

BBC – Hospital Recruits Robot Doctors – (video)

Will things be cheaper? Many cars are made by robots but are not startlingly cheap because of competition (as competitors also have to invest in the same latest technology). Will there be an ‘abundance of stuff’? The planet already provides an abundance of stuff yet the World Bankestimated 1.29 billion people were living in absolute poverty in 2008. Can the planet keep providing an ‘abundance of stuff’? The process of resource depletion of finite raw materials would only be accelerated by an increased amount of robots working in more fully-automated factories.

One could argue that trades unions and professional associations would never let this happen yet redundancy and non-replacement of retired workers is opening up a gap which can be filled by sophisticated robots. Only stronger ties building on the common interest between the unemployed and employed can possibly resist this coming workplace crisis.

Notes

[1] Steven E. Jones, Against Technology: From the Luddites to Neo-Luddism (New York: Routledge, 2006) p.96

[2] See Luddite bicentenary resource site:http://www.ludditelink.org.uk/  and Chumbawamba’s English Rebel Songs 1381–1984 ‘The Triumph of General Ludd’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuBgeGKPGZI

[3] Friedrich Engels, Condition of the Working Class in England (1845). See:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/condition-working-class/ch08.htm

[4] ‘Virtual receptionists replacing the real thing’ by John Dodge. See: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/virtual-receptionists-replacing-the-real-thing/3095

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_data_processing

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEO_%28computer%29

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desk_Set

[9] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050307/

[10] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063985/?ref_=fn_al_tt

[11] http://andrewmcafee.org/2013/04/mcafee-robots-work-employment-future/


Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is a prominent Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of paintings based on cityscapes of Dublin, Irish history and geopolitical themes (http://gaelart.net/). His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country at http://gaelart.blogspot.ie/.

 

 According to Craig Murray (photo: below),  former US Ambassador, human rights activist  and whistle blower the FBI’s inflated profile of their prime suspect in the Boston Bombing ‘does not make sense”.

Will Eric Holder and the US Department of Justice pay attention?

There are gaping holes in the official story of the Boston bombings.

We are asked to believe that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was identified by the Russian government as an extremist Dagestani or Chechen Islamist terrorist, and they were so concerned about it that in late 2010 they asked the US government to take action. At that time, the US and Russia did not normally have a security cooperation relationship over the Caucasus, particularly following the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. For the Russians to ask the Americans for assistance, Tsarnaev must have been high on their list of worries.

In early 2011 the FBI interview Tsarnaev and trawl his papers and computers but apparently – remarkably for somebody allegedly radicalised by internet – the habitually paranoid FBI find nothing of concern.

So far, so weird. But now this gets utterly incredible. In 2012 Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is of such concern to Russian security, is able to fly to Russia and pass through the airport security checks of the world’s most thoroughly and brutally efficient security services without being picked up.

He is then able to proceed to Dagestan – right at the heart of the world’s heaviest military occupation and the world’s most far reaching secret police surveillance – again without being intercepted, and he is able there to go through some form of terror training or further Islamist indoctrination. He then flies out again without any intervention by the Russian security services.

That is the official story and I have no doubt it did not happen. I know Russia and I know the Russian security services. Whatever else they may be, they are extremely well-equipped, experienced and efficient and embedded into a social fabric accustomed to cooperation with their mastery.

This scenario is simply impossible in the real world.

We have, by the official account, the involvement of the two Tsarnaev brothers, the FBI and the Russian security services. The FBI have a massive recent record of running agent provocateur operations to entrap gullible Muslims into terrorism.

The Russian security services have form on false flag Chechen bombings. Where the truth lies may be difficult to dig out. But the above official version is not true.

A Nation Divided: The Balkanization of Syria

April 22nd, 2013 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Review of Maximilian Forte’s powerful new book, “Slouching Toward Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa” (now available to order from Global Research). This book presents a withering indictment of liberal humanitarianism and its collusion in imperialist designs on Africa, as seen in NATO’s Libya campaign of 2011.

The media has gone very quiet on Libya of late; clearly, liberal imperialists don’t like to dwell on their crimes. This is not surprising. The modus operandi of the humanitarian imperialist is not one of informed reflection, but only permanent outrage against leaders of the global South; besides, in the topsy-turvy world of liberal interventionism, the ‘failure to act’ is the only crime of which the West is capable. As Forte puts it, their moral code holds that “If we do not act, we should be held responsible for the actions of others. When we do act, we should never be held responsible for our own actions.”

With Gaddafi dead, the hunt is on for a new hate figure on whom to spew venom (Assad, Jong-Un); far more satisfying than actually evaluating our own role in the creation of human misery. This is the colonial mentality of the liberal lynch mob.

For the governments that lead us into war, of course, it makes perfect sense that we do not stop to look back at the last invasion before impatiently demanding the next one – if we realised, for example, that the 1999 bombing of Serbia  (the textbook ‘humanitarian intervention’) actually facilitated the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo that it was supposedly designed to prevent, we might not be so ready to demand the same treatment for every other state that falls short of our illusory ideals.

That is why this book is so important. Thoroughly researched and impeccably referenced, it tells the story of the real aims and real consequences of the war on Libya in its historical perspective.

Its author, Maximilian Forte, is well placed to do so. A professor of social anthropology in Montreal, much of his writing and research in recent years has been dedicated to the new imperialism, and especially its ‘humanitarian’ cover. He was amongst the first to really expose violent racism within the Libyan insurrection, and its role in facilitating NATO’s goals in Africa, and has provided consistently excellent analyses of the media coverage surrounding the conflict.

One of the book’s accomplishments is its comprehensive demolition of the war’s supposed justifications. Forte shows us that there was no ‘mass rape’ committed by ‘Gaddafi forces’ – as alleged by Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Luis Ocampo and others at the time, but later refuted by Amnesty International, the UN and even the US army itself.

Despite hysterical media reports, there was no evidence of aerial bombing of protesters, as even CIA chief Robert Gates admitted. Gaddafi had no massacre planned for Benghazi, as had been loudly proclaimed by the leaders of Britain, France and the USA: the Libyan government forces had not carried out massacres against civilian populations in any of the other towns they recaptured from the rebels, and nor had Gaddafi threatened to do so in Benghazi; in a speech that was almost universally misreported in the Western media, he promised no mercy for those who had taken up arms against the government, whilst offering amnesty for those who ‘threw their weapons away’, and at no point threatening reprisals against civilians.

When the NATO invasion began, French jets actually bombed a small retreating column of Libyan armour on the outskirts of Benghazi, comprising 14 tanks, 20 armoured personnel carriers, and a few trucks and ambulances – nothing like enough to carry out a ‘genocide’ against an entire city, as had been claimed.

Indeed, the whole image of ‘peaceful protesters being massacred’ was turning reality on its head. In fact, Forte notes, rebels “torched police stations, broke into the compounds of security services, attacked government offices and torched vehicles” from the very start, to which the authorities responded with “tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets – very similar to methods frequently used in Western nations against far more peaceful protests that lacked the element of sedition”. Only once the rebels had proceeded to occupy the Benghazi army barracks, loot its weapons, and start using them against government forces did things begin to escalate.

A Libyan man stands on Sirte’s bombed fishing harbour 640
A Libyan man stands on Sirte’s bombed fishing harbour. May 12, 2011 (Photo: ABC News)

Myth of the Dark Heart

But the most pernicious of the lies that facilitated the Libyan war was the myth of the ‘African mercenary’. Racist pogroms, Forte argues, were characteristic of the Libyan rebellion from its very inception, when 50 sub-Saharan African migrants were burnt alive in Al-Bayda on the second day of the insurgency. An Amnesty International report from September 2011 made it clear that this was no isolated incident: “When al-Bayda, Beghazi, Derna, Misrata and other cities first fell under the control of the NTC in February, anti-Gaddafi forces carried out house raids, killing and other violent attacks” against sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans, and “what we are seeing in western Libya is a very similar pattern to what we have seen in Benghazi and Misrata after those cities fell to the rebels” – arbitrary detention, torture and execution of black people.

The ‘African mercenary’ myth was thus created to justify these pogroms, as the Western media near-universally referred to their victims as ‘mercenaries’ – or ‘alleged mercenaries’ in the more circumspect and highbrow outlets – and thus as aggressors and legitimate targets. The myth was completely discredited by both Amnesty International – whose exasperated researcher told a TV interviewer that “We examined this issue in depth and found no evidence: the rebels spread these rumors everywhere [with] terrible consequences for African guest workers” – and by a UN investigation team, who drew similar conclusions – but not until both organisations had already helped perpetuate the lie themselves.

That liberal humanitarians would launch a war of aggression in order to facilitate racist massacres is not as ironic as it might at first seem. Forte writes that “if this was humanitarianism, it could only be so by disqualifying Africans as members of humanity.” But such disqualification has been a systematic practice of liberalism from the days of John Locke, through the US war of independence and into the age of nineteenth century imperialism and beyond.

Indeed, Forte argues that the barely-veiled “racial fear of mean African bogeymen swamping Libya like zombies” implicit in the ‘African mercenary’ story, was uniquely and precisely formulated to tap into a rich historical vein of European fantasies about plagues of black mobs. That the myth gained so much traction despite zero evidence, says Forte, “tells us a great deal about the role of racial prejudice and propaganda in mobilizing public opinion in the West and organizing international relations”.

Yet the racism of the rebel fighters was not only useful for mobilising European public opinion – it also played a strategic function, as far as NATO planners were concerned. By bringing to power a virulently anti-black government, the West has ensured that Libya’s trajectory as a pan-African state has been brought to a violent end, and that its oil wealth will no longer be used for African development. As Forte succinctly put it, “the goal of US military intervention was to disrupt an emerging pattern of independence and a network of collaboration within Africa that would facilitate increased African self-reliance. This is at odds with the geostrategic and political economic ambitions of extra-continental European powers, namely the US”.

A large part of the book is dedicated to outlining Libya’s role in the creation of the African Union, and its subsequent moves to unify Africa at the economic, political and military levels. This included the investment of billions of petrodollars in industrial development across the continent, the creation of an African communications satellite, and massive financial contributions towards the African Development Bank and the African Monetary Fund – institutions designed specifically to challenge the hegemony of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Gaddafi, Forte argues, was passionate about using Libyan oil money to help Africa industrialise and “add value” to its export materials, moving it away from its prescribed role in the global economy as a supplier of cheap raw materials.

A US-led Scramble for Africa

This was a threat to Western financial and corporate control of African economies, and combined with the rise of Chinese investment, was considered a strategic obstacle to Western domination that had to be removed. As Forte put it, “The US, France and the UK could not afford to see allies that they had cultivated, if not installed in power, being slowly pulled from their orbits by Libya, China and other powers”.

The African Oil Policy initiative Group – a high level US Committee comprising members of Congress, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – noted in 2002 the growing dependence of the US on African oil, and recommended  a “new and vigorous focus on US military cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, to include design of a sub-unified command structure which could produce significant dividends in the protection of US investments”. They noted that “failure to address the issue of focusing and maximizing US diplomatic and military command organization…could…act as an inadvertent incentive for US rivals such as China [and] adversaries such as Libya”. In other words, with their economic grip on the continent facing serious challenge, the Western world would increasingly have to rely on aggressive militarism in order to maintain its interests.

The recommendations of the committee would be implemented in 2006 with the creation of AFRICOM – the US army’s African Command. AFRICOM was conceived as a sort of ‘School of the Americas’ for Africa, designed to train African armies for use as proxy forces for maintaining Western control, with the 2010 US National Security Strategy specifically naming the African Union as one of the regional organisations it sought to co-opt.

Libya, however, proved most uncooperative. The leaked US diplomatic cables make it very clear that Libya was viewed by the US as THE main obstacle to establishing a full muscular US military presence on the African continent, regularly highlighting its “opposition” and “obstruction” to AFRICOM. With Gaddafi still a respected voice within the AU, having served as its elected Chairman in 2009, he wielded significant influence, and used this to spearhead opposition to what he considered the neocolonial aims of the AFRICOM initiative.

Meanwhile, Chinese investment in Africa was growing rapidly, having grown from $6 billion in 1999 to $90 billion ten years later, displacing the US as the continent’s largest trading partner. The need for a US military presence to cling on to the West’s declining influence in Africa was growing ever more urgent. But Africa was not playing ball – and Gaddafi was (rightly) seen as leading the charge.

Fast forward to 2012, and US General Carter Ham, head of AFRICOM, was able to claim that “the conduct of military operations in Libya did afford now the opportunity to establish a military to military relationship with Libya, which did not previously exist”. He went on to suggest that a US base would be established in the country (Gaddafi having expelled both the US and British bases shortly after coming to power in 1969), saying that some “assistance” would probably be necessary, in the form of a “military presence”. President Obama wasted no time in announcing the deployment of soldiers to four more African countries within weeks of the fall of Tripoli, and AFRICOM announced an unprecedented 14 joint military exercises in Africa for the following year.

A sign of things to come

Forte argues that NATO’s attack had not only destroyed a powerful force for unity and independence in Africa, and a huge obstacle to Western military penetration of the continent, but it had also created the perfect conditions to justify further invasions. The US had previously attempted to argue that its military presence was required in North Africa in order to fight against Al Qaeda; indeed, it had set up the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Programme to this end. But as Muattasim Gaddafi had explained to Hilary Clinton in Washington in 2009, the programme had been rendered redundant by the existing, and highly effective, security strategy of CEN-SAD (the Libyan-led Community of Sahel and Saharan states) and the North African Standby Force.

Like a classic protection racket, however, the British, US and French decided that if their protection wasn’t needed, then they would have to create a need for it. The destruction of Libya tore the heart out of the North African security system, flooded the region with weapons and turned Libya into an ungoverned safe haven for violent militias. Now the resulting – and entirely predictable – instability has spread to Mali, the West are using it as an excuse for another war and occupation. In a prescient warning (the book was published before France’s recent invasion of Mali), Forte wrote that “intervention begets intervention. More intervention is needed to solve the problems caused by intervention.”

The book is also very strong in exposing the ideology of the ‘human rights industry’ and its role in bringing about the Libyan war. Western liberal humanitarianism, argues Forte, “can only function by first directly or indirectly creating the suffering of others, and by then seeing every hand as an outstretched hand, pleading or welcoming”.

Forte goes on to expose the role of groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who helped perpetuate some of the worst lies about what was happening in Libya, such as the fictitious ‘African mercenaries’ and ‘mass rape’, and who in the case of Amnesty, “mere days into the uprising and well before it had a chance to ascertain, corroborate or confirm any facts on the ground…began launching public accusations against Libya, the African Union and the UNSC for failing to take action”. By calling for an assets freeze on Libya and an arms embargo (“and more actions with each passing day”), Amnesty “thus effectively made itself a party to the conflict”; it had become part of the propaganda war and mythmaking that was designed to facilitate the invasion.

This should not be surprising given Amnesty’s history. Forte helpfully recalls that their promotion of the infamous “incubator babies” myth that justified the Iraq war of 1991 was later singled out by several US Senators as having influenced their decision to vote for the attack. In the event, the Senate vote was passed by a majority of just six. The 1991 war devastated Iraq, which had barely recovered from the Iran-Iraq war, killing well over 100,000 people, as well as hundreds of thousands more from the diseases that ravaged the country following the deliberate destruction of its water and sewerage systems.

So it should be little surprise that Suzanne Nossel, a State Department official on Hilary Clinton’s team, was made Executive Director of Amnesty-USA in November 2011. In her State Department job, Nossell had played a key role drawing up the UN Human Rights Council resolution against Libya that ultimately formed the basis for Security Council Resolution 1973 that led to the aggression.

Forte also discusses the role of Bouchuiguir, the ‘human rights activist’ who emerges as the Libyan ‘Curveball’. Curveball was the Iraqi ‘source’ who came up with the lies about Saddam’s nonexistent ‘mobile chemical weapons factories’ that were used to justify the 2003 Iraq war. Likewise, Bouchuiguir’s wildly inflated casualty figures provided the raw material for the hysterical UNHRC resolutions against Libya that set the ball for war rolling. He later admitted on camera that there was no evidence for his claims – but not before 70 NGOs had signed a petition ‘demanding action’ in response to them.

Much has been written elsewhere about the ‘neo-cons’ who became (rightly) hated for their brutally idiotic conceptions of social change. But, as Forte’s book shows, the liberal humanitarians are perhaps even more contemptible; after all, at least the neo-cons never claimed to be kind, or even interested in anything other than their own self-interest. Yet the liberal humanitarians seem – or at least claim – to be driven by some kind of higher purpose, which makes their constant calls for wars of aggression even more repulsive. Forte puts this brilliantly:

“The vision of our humanity that liberal imperialists entertain is one which constructs us as shrieking sacks of emotion. This is the elites’ anthropology, one that views us as bags of nerve and muscle: throbbing with outrage, contracting with every story of ‘incubator babies’, bulging up with animus at the arrest of Gay Girl in Damascus, recoiling at the sound of Viagra-fuelled mass rape. From mass hysteria in twitter to hundreds of thousands signing an online Avaaz petition calling for bombing Libya in the name of human rights, we become nerves of mass reaction….We scream for action via ‘social media’, thumbs furiously in action on our ‘smart’ phones. ..Then again, our “action” merely consists of asking the supremely endowed military establishment to act in our name.”

This anthropology is of course “accompanied by NATO’s implicit sociology: societies can be remade through a steady course of high altitude bombings and drone strikes.”

How exactly Libya has been remade is also discussed in the book. The July 2012 elections in Libya, their very existence trumpeted in Western media as immediately vindicating every act of butchery the war brought about – regardless of whether the parliament being elected was likely to wield any actual influence over the country – saw fewer than half the eligible voting population take part. Even more intriguing were the results of a survey carried out in Libya by Oxford Research International that found that only 13% of Libyans said they wanted democracy within a year’s time, and only 25% within five years.

Meanwhile, the new authorities set about persecuting their opponents, real and imagined. The town of Tawergha was emptied of its entire population of around 20,000 black Libyans after militias from Misrata began systematically torching every home and business in the town, with the support of the central government. Former residents now reside in refugee camps where they continue to be hunted down and killed, or in arbitrary detention in makeshift prisons. Candidacy for elections is barred to: workers (a professional qualification is needed); anyone who ever worked in any level of government between 1969 and 2011 (unless they could demonstrate “early and clear” support for the insurrection); anyone with academic study involving Gaddafi’s Green book; and anyone who ever received any monetary benefit from Gaddafi.

A constitutional lawyer noted these restrictions would disqualify three quarters of the Libyan population. Other new laws banned the spreading of “news reports, rumours or propaganda” that could “cause any damage to the state”, with penalties of up to life in prison; and prison for anyone spreading information that “could weaken the citizens’ morale” or for anyone who “attacks the February 17 revolution, denigrates Islam, the authority of the state or its institutions”.

This is the new Libya for which the human rights imperialists and their allies lobbied, killed and tortured so hard. “The next time empire comes knocking in the name of human rights”, concludes Forte, “please be found standing idly by”.

Forte’s  book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in understanding the motives and consequences of the West’s onslaught against Libya and African development.


SLOUCHING TOWARDS SIRTE: NATO’S WAR ON LIBYA AND AFRICA

Available to order from Global Research

Slouching Towards Sirte:
NATO’s War on Libya and Africa

by Maximilian Forte

ISBN: 978-1-926824-52-9
Year: 2012
Pages: 352 with 27 BW photos, 3 maps
Publisher: Baraka Books

Price: $24.95

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Il conflitto in Siria viene insistentemente legato agli interessi dell’Iran e, in misura minore, della Russia. Poco, però, viene detto circa la Cina. Pechino ha una partecipazione importante in tutta l’iniziativa siriana per la sua sete di energia. I cinesi, con gli indiani, hanno effettuato investimenti nel settore energetico siriano. Saranno anche i principali beneficiari della quota dal Mediterraneo orientale delle future esportazioni di gas dalla Siria.

Nel 2007, dopo che l’accordo di Turkmenbashi venne firmato, tramite un accordo tripartito tra le repubbliche di Turkmenistan, Russia e Kazakhstan, e dopo che il vertice del Mar Caspio si era tenuto a Teheran tra la Repubblica di Azerbaigian, Iran e le suddette tre repubbliche, è diventato chiaro che “una contro-alleanza eurasiatica veniva costruita attorno alla coalizione cino-russo-iraniana [rendendo] la guerra contro l’Iran un’opzione sgradevole che potrebbe trasformarsi in un conflitto mondiale” (Nazemroaya 2007). Ciò che non era troppo chiaro, invece, era che “[gli] snodi dei corridoi energetici strategici dell’Eurasia [erano] in fase di sviluppo” (Ibid.). Va notato che “i leader di Turkmenistan, Russia e Kazakhstan avevano anche previsto l’inserimento di un corridoio energetico iraniano, dal Mar Caspio al Golfo Persico, come estensione dell’accordo di Turkmenbashi” (Ibid.).

L’Iran ha iniziato la costruzione di un enorme impianto per il gas liquido (LNG), completo di impianti di stoccaggio e terminali di carico, nel 2007. L’ubicazione dell’impianto di trasformazione LNG è a Porto Tombak, nel Golfo Persico. L’impianto LNG è stato costruito pensando alla Cina, e un accordo con i cinesi è stato stilato sulle future esportazioni di LNG.

Nello stesso anno, la Siria è entrata anche a far parte della più ampia strategia energetica eurasiatica che unisce l’Iran, la Russia e la Cina (Ibid.). Questo è il motivo per cui sia l’Iran che la Russia sono coinvolti nei progetti e nell’esplorazione sul gas in Libano e Siria. Le posizioni e gli interessi di Teheran e Mosca, e il loro rapporto con la Siria, possono essere riassunti nel seguente passaggio:

Russia e Iran sono anche le nazioni con le maggiori riserve di gas naturale del mondo. Questo si aggiunge ai seguenti fatti; l’Iran esercita anche un’influenza sullo Stretto di Hormuz, la Russia e l’Iran controllano le esportazioni di energia dall’Asia centrale ai mercati globali, e la Siria è il perno di un corridoio energetico nel Mediterraneo orientale. Iran, Russia e Siria da ora eserciteranno grande controllo e grande influenza su questi corridoi energetici e, per estensione, sulle nazioni che ne dipendono nel continente europeo. Questo è un altro motivo per cui la Russia ha costruito strutture militari sulle coste mediterranee della Siria. Il gasdotto Iran-Pakistan-India rafforza ulteriormente anche questa posizione a livello globale (Ibid.).

Si stima che nel 2007 circa il 96,3 per cento del gas che si prevede sarà “importato dall’Europa continentale, verrà controllato da Russia, Iran e Siria con tale accordo” (Ibid.).

Allo stesso modo, gli interessi degli Stati Uniti e dei suoi alleati della NATO e dei petro-sceiccati arabi in Siria, possono essere così articolati:

La trasformazione della Siria in uno Stato cliente non solo aiuterebbe a sgretolare il Blocco della Resistenza [composto da palestinesi, Iran, Libano, Siria e Iraq], ma darebbe il controllo del corridoio energetico levantino, nel Mediterraneo orientale, a Israele e alle potenze della NATO. Un ponte terrestre diretto collegherebbe Israele e la Turchia, e l’Iran verrebbe tagliato dai suoi piccoli alleati levantini in Libano e Palestina, indebolendo la loro resistenza ad Israele. Il Mar Mediterraneo diverrebbe un lago esclusivo della NATO e la via di transito energetico nord-sud, nel Levante, cadrebbe sotto il controllo atlantista. Il bacino levantino, che si estende da Gaza ad Alessandretta, ha diversi grandi giacimenti di gas, soggetti a tensioni regionali sul loro sfruttamento e sulla titolarità dei diritti. Israele è in contrasto sia con il Libano che con i palestinesi di Gaza sulla questione. L’Iran e la Russia, i due più grandi proprietari di gas del mondo, hanno interessi in questi giacimenti di gas e sono coinvolti in progetti per aiutare il Libano e la Siria a valorizzare e di sviluppare i loro giacimenti. Assicurandosi il controllo della Siria o di parti di una Siria in frantumi, questi giacimenti di gas finirebbero totalmente sotto il controllo dell’Alleanza atlantica e gli iraniani e russi ne verrebbero scacciati (Nazemroaya 2012, p. 324-325).

La realtà geo-politica in Siria lavora anche contro la Pipeline Nabuccoe gli interessi turchi.

Nel contesto di questa strategia energetica eurasiatica, ciò che dovrebbe diventare chiaro con l’annuncio della costruzione della Pipeline Iran-Iraq-Siria, dopo che il governo iracheno, a Baghdad nel febbraio 2013, ha dato via libera al progetto, sono i collegamenti tra la Siria e il Pakistan tra essi e con la Cina attraverso l’Iran. La Pipeline Iran-Iraq-Siria, che passerà anche attraverso il Libano, è stato presentata come una rotta per esportare il gas iraniano fino alle coste del Mediterraneo orientale. La direzione del flusso del gas, tuttavia, può essere invertita. Il gas del Mediterraneo orientale dalle coste del Libano e della Siria, forse anche della Striscia di Gaza e dall’Egitto, può essere esportato verso est attraverso la pipeline e incanalato attraverso il Pakistan alla Cina. In parte, tolti i suoi vasti giacimenti di gas, questo spiegherebbe anche i megaprogetti infrastrutturali LNG dell’Iran, che mirano a fare dell’Iran l’hub internazionale per la lavorazione e il commercio del gas naturale.

L’accordo tra Pakistan e Iran sulla Pipeline

Nell’Est dell’Iran, il progetto di gasdotto tra Iran e Pakistan è all’opera da anni. All’inizio venne previsto d’includervi l’India. Ciò che era meno chiaro era la posizione cinese. Anche se non era esplicitato, la Cina era sempre incombente sullo sfondo. A causa degli interessi cinesi, Washington non è stata in grado di fermare il progetto:

Per quanto riguarda le rotte energetiche strategiche, il Pentagono e la NATO vedono la Pipeline dell’Amicizia [di Iran-Pakistan-India] come una minaccia o un corridoio energetico rivale a quelli che programmano per l’Eurasia. Il rifiuto continuo di Islamabad di piegarsi alle richieste degli Stati Uniti per annullare il gasdotto con l’Iran, è direttamente legato agli interessi geostrategici cinesi. Come accennato in precedenza, vi è una forte possibilità che la Cina possa essere inclusa nel progetto del gasdotto o che il gasdotto possa costituire una pipeline Iran-Pakistan-Cina che aggirerebbe l’India. Questo minaccia l’obiettivo degli Stati Uniti di contenere la Cina e isolare l’Iran, controllando i rifornimenti energetici cinesi e manipolando la rotta delle esportazioni energetiche iraniane (Ibid. p. 185-186).

Come l’Iran e la Russia, la Cina si è anche offerta di aiutare e finanziare il Pakistan nella costruzione del gasdotto nel suo territorio. I cinesi stanno già lavorando silenziosamente sulle infrastrutture in Pakistan:

Nel 2007, con la vitale partecipazione cinese, il porto di Gwadar è stato  adattato per ospitare il traffico oceanico. I cinesi danno un grande valore strategico a Gwadar, perché si trova sulla costa del Mar Arabico, alla foce del Golfo di Oman (Mar di Oman) nei pressi dell’alleato strategico della Cina, l’Iran, e di un Golfo Persico ricco di idrocarburi. Gli strateghi cinesi vogliono integrare Gwadar con la Regione Autonoma del Xinjiang, nella Cina uigura, con l’autostrada del Karakoram. Se questo sarà fatto, quindi, le importazioni di energia cinesi verso la Cina possono ignorare l’oceano e garantirsi inoltre la sicurezza di Pechino da eventuali azioni per isolare la Cina ad opera della Marina degli Stati Uniti o di altre forze ostili che cercherebbero di tagliare i rifornimenti energetici cinesi in uno scenario bellico. L’Iran può anche importare direttamente dalla Cina tramite Gwadar. La questione importante sia per Pechino che per Washington è se un Belucistan indipendente servirebbe o opererebbe contro gli interessi navali cinesi di Gwadar. Sostenendo la secessione del Baluchistan dal Pakistan o provocando un conflitto baluchi-pakistano, gli Stati Uniti probabilmente spererebbero che Pechino venga costretta a sostenere gli sforzi di Islamabad per mantenere l’integrità territoriale del Pakistan, ed i propri interessi. Questo alienerebbe il Baluchistan dalla Cina e magari provocherebbe la perdita di Gwadar a danno dei cinesi (Ibid. p.186-187).

In sintesi, la Pipeline Iran-Iraq-Siria e il gasdotto Iran-Pakistan sono frammenti dello stesso grande gasdotto eurasiatico che s’intreccerebbero come un tappeto persiano artigianale. Questo si aggiunge  al contesto del conflitto in Siria, contribuendo anche a spiegare le posizioni di Paesi come il Qatar e la Turchia che vogliono un cambio di regime a Damasco. Ciò è anche uno dei motivi per cui l’Unione europea ha unilateralmente sanzionato l’Iran LNG Company (ILC) nel 2012, poco prima che l’Iran iniziasse le sue esportazioni di LNG.

 

Gas, petrolio, guerra e geopolitica nel Mediterraneo orientale

Il “Grande Gioco” tra i due blocchi rivali si svolge in Siria. Da una parte ci sono Stati Uniti, Gran Bretagna, Francia, Turchia, Arabia Saudita e Qatar, mentre dall’altra vi sono Cina, Russia e Iran. Da qui può essere ribadito che: “Il Mediterraneo è letteralmente diventato un prolungamento delle pericolose rivalità internazionali per il controllo delle risorse energetiche del Caucaso e dell’Asia Centrale” (Nazemroaya 2007). Israele fa parte di questo gioco. Non solo Israele ha interesse a neutralizzare la Siria allontanandola dall’Iran, ma vuole anche una quota del gas del Mediterraneo orientale:

Il giacimento di Tamar, scoperto nel 2009 al largo della costa di Israele, è una grande promessa. Il Leviathan, scoperto nel 2010, lo è ancora di più. L’US Geological Survey calcola che ci potrebbero essere 120 miliardi di piedi cubi (TCF) di gas tecnicamente recuperabile nel bacino del Levante, che bagna le coste di Israele, Libano, Siria e Cipro (The Economist 2013).

Hezbollah ha anche messo in guardia Israele nel 2011, “contro il tentativo di rubare le risorse marittime del Libano e ha detto che subirebbe ritorsioni per un qualsiasi attacco israeliano contro gli impianti petroliferi e gasiferi [del Libano]” (AP 2011). Un alto funzionario delle Nazioni Unite è anche intervenuto per chiedere a Libano e Israele di cooperare per promuovere la ricerca di petrolio e gas nel Mediterraneo orientale (Ibid.).

Come Israele, anche la Turchia è interessata a spartirsi i giacimenti di gas del Mediterraneo orientale, così come il controllo del flusso di gas attraverso il territorio turco:

Le frontiere marittime d’Israele con il Libano sono contestate. E la sua partnership energetica con Cipro ha alimentato un altro incendio. Le pretese di Cipro del Nord, controllato dai turchi, si sovrappongono a quelle greco-cipriote. La Turchia vuole fermare qualsiasi esplorazione. Per sottolineare questo punto, ha inviato una nave da guerra nella zona dopo che sono iniziate le esplorazioni, lo scorso anno (The Economist 2013).

Inoltre, come suggerito sopra, Cipro è anche parte del quadro:

L’esportazione di gas naturale liquefatto (LNG), nei mercati in cui i prezzi sono alti, sarebbe una cosa ottima. Ma questo richiederebbe ingenti investimenti e un grande impianto costiero. Cipro è acuta, ma non ha denaro. Il gas israeliano potrebbe essere liquefatto a Cipro, ma ciò significherebbe che Israele ne cederebbe il controllo, un’idea sgradevole per alcuni nazionalisti. Un impianto di liquefazione in Israele non sarebbe praticabile, per via dello spazio limitato, degli ambientalisti inflessibili e di una sicurezza difficile da garantire (Ibid.).

La petro-politica nel Levante è un ulteriore fattore o livello che può essere utilizzato per mettere in discussione gli obiettivi dell’assedio finanziario all’economia greco-cipriota.

L’instabilità in Siria e Pakistan: i tentativi di Washington di strangolare la Cina

In ultima analisi, nel contesto delle forniture di gas dal Mediterraneo orientale, la Siria è per la Cina proprio come l’attuale “Secondo assalto all’Africa” che ha preso di mira Sudan, Libia e Mali. A questo proposito, la guerra della NATO in Libia e l’assedio contro la Siria sono due fronti della stessa guerra, che mira a neutralizzare i cinesi. Lo stesso vale per le crisi interne in Pakistan.

La biforcazione tra potere militare e potere finanziario a livello mondiale, nonché l’ascesa economica dell’Asia orientale continuano“, come parte di ciò che studiosi come Giovanni Arrighi (2010, p. 381), credono essere una “transizione egemonica.” La svolta di Washington verso l’Asia-Pacifico è diretta contro i cinesi e a impedire che Pechino sconfigga gli Stati Uniti sulla scena mondiale. Washington ha lavorato per destabilizzare il corridoio energetico eurasiatico pianificato dalla Cina. In Pakistan si è fatto questo, contribuendo alle tensioni interne e alle divisioni etniche interne:

La provincia pakistana del Baluchistan è importante in questa equazione. Il Baluchistan non è solo geo-strategicamente importante riguardo i collegamenti energetici eurasiatici, ma è anche ricco di giacimenti minerari e di idrocarburi. Nella maggior parte dei casi, questi giacimenti di minerali ed  energetici sono intatti. Sarebbe molto più facile procurarsi minerali ed energia di questa zona, da una relativamente meno popolata e indipendente repubblica del Baluchistan, che sarebbe felice di vendere le sue risorse a prezzi inferiori. Potrebbe anche contribuire a destabilizzare le province iraniane orientali, compresa la provincia del Sistan-Baluchistan. Un Baluchistan indipendente dal Pakistan potrebbe contrastare Teheran con rivendicazioni territoriali sul Sistan-Baluchistan (Nazemroaya 2012, p.186).

Questo è anche probabilmente il motivo per cui il generale Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan è tornato dal suo esilio volontario negli Emirati Arabi Uniti, assieme alla dissoluzione del fronte unito a lui contrario tra il Partito Popolare del Pakistan e la Lega Mussulmana del Pakistan di Nawaz Sharif. E’ diventato chiaro che ci sia una pressione esterna, come ad esempio dall’Arabia Saudita, affinché  i tribunali e il governo pakistani non lo perseguano. Il ritorno del generale Musharraf in Pakistan, per concorrere alla presidenza, non ha alcuna possibilità di successo. Musharraf, tuttavia, può agire come uno spoiler e dividere ulteriormente la società pakistana. Il suo ritorno ha anche attratto la cauta attenzione di Pechino.

Se la Pipeline Iran-Iraq-Siria e il gasdotto Iran-Pakistan saranno collegati e riforniranno la Cina, ciò sarà un duro colpo al primato degli Stati Uniti. Gli Stati Uniti si propongono di sconvolgere il completamento di entrambi i progetti. La tensione di Washington con Teheran sul programma nucleare iraniano deve, quindi, essere visto come un paradigma che punta anche a questo.

Riferimenti

Arrighi, Giovanni. Il lungo XX secolo: denaro, potere e le origini del nostro tempo. 2.da ed., New York, Verso, 2010.

Gas in the eastern Mediterranean: Drill or quarrel?” The Economist, 12-18 gennaio 2013, p.58.

Hezbollah warns Israel against ‘stealing’ gas from Lebanon,” Associated Press, 26 luglio 2011.

Nazemroaya, Mahdi Dariusm, “The ‘Great Game’ Enters the Mediterranean: Gas, Oil, War, and Geo-Politics”, Global Research, 14 ottobre 2007

Nazemroaya, Mahdi Darius, The Globalization of NATO, Atlanta, Georgia, Clarity Press, 2012.

“Las fuerzas estadounidenses reclutaron a los sectores más criminales de la población iraquí. Los mercenarios contratados por el Pentágono, como Dyncorp, han contado con la ayuda de las milicias sectarias para aterrorizar y asesinar a iraquíes y provocar una guerra civil en Iraq.”

La guerra sucia como estrategia clave para someter al pueblo iraquí  [1]

[...] La resistencia en Iraq tienen derecho a intentar expulsar a las tropas estadounidenses del país”, declaró el Comandante General Michael Rose en el programa “Newsnight” de la BBC. También dijo que EEUU y Reino Unido deben “[…] admitir la derrota” y dejar de luchar en “[…] una guerra sin esperanza” en Iraq. Los combatientes iraquíes no cederán, dijo. “[...] No los disculpo por algunas de las cosas terribles que han hecho, pero entiendo por qué resisten”. [2] El 9 de enero de 2006, Rose hizo un llamamiento para que a Tony Blair se le procesara por la invasión de Iraq en 2003, “[...] Ir a una guerra que ha resultado estar fundamentada en motivos falsos es algo de lo que nadie puede quedar impune”.

Los ejércitos de Estados Unidos y Reino Unido se enfrentaron a una feroz resistencia, pero sin querer admitir la derrota, cambiaron drásticamente sus tácticas, según describió Seymour Hersh el 15 de diciembre de 2003 en elNew Yorker: “[...] Un asesor estadounidense dijo: “La única manera que tenemos de ganar es actuar de manera no convencional. Vamos a tener que jugar a su juego, guerrilla para luchar contra la guerrilla, terrorismo para luchar contra el terrorismo. Tenemos que aterrorizar a los iraquíes hasta que se sometan […] La operación propuesta por un asesor del Pentágono, y denominada ‘cacería humana preventiva’, tiene el potencial de convertirse en otro programa Phoenix (Vietnam) […] Verdaderamente necesitamos una respuesta menos convencional, pero va a ser caótico.” [3].

Caótico, seguro, y sin que la prensa occidental informe. EEUU y Reino Unido organizaron “la cacería humana preventiva” y para ello contaron con las fuerzas de Israel, Irán e Iraq para maltratar, encarcelar, torturar y asesinar a millones de iraquíes. Otros millones más fueron expulsados de sus hogares, desplazados dentro de Iraq y conducidos al exilio.

El 6 de noviembre de 2003, el titular del The New York Times decía: “EEUU decide respaldar la milicia iraquí”: ‘[...] Paul Bremer, administrador estadounidense de la Ocupación, ha dado su apoyo condicional a la creación de una fuerza paramilitar dirigida por los iraquíes para localizar a los combatientes de la resistencia que escapan a las tropas estadounidenses; estaría formada por antiguos miembros de los servicios de seguridad y de las milicias de los partidos políticos” [4]

El 1 de enero de 2004, Robert Dreyfuss informó de que el gobierno de EEUU prevé la creación de unidades paramilitares formadas por milicianos iraquíes kurdos y por los grupos de exiliados, incluidos las Brigadas del Badr, el Congreso Nacional Iraquí y el Acuerdo Nacional Iraquí, para emprender una campaña de terror y asesinatos extrajudiciales, similar al programa Phoenixen Vietnam. La campaña de terror y asesinatos que mató a decenas de miles de civiles.

[...] Parte de los tres mil millones de dólares, ocultos en los nuevos fondos de los 87 mil millones de dólares aprobados por el Congreso de EEUU para Iraq a principios de noviembre de 2003, se destinará a la creación de una unidad paramilitar dirigida por milicianos vinculados a los antiguos grupos de exiliados iraquíes. Los expertos afirman que esto podría derivar en una ola de asesinatos extrajudiciales, no sólo de combatientes armados sino de los nacionalistas, otros opositores a la ocupación de EEUU y de miles de civiles miembros del partido Baaz —hasta 120 mil de los aproximadamente dos millones y medio de antiguos miembros del Partido Baaz en Iraq—. Los tres mil millones de dólares ocultos financiarán operaciones encubiertas disfrazadas de programas secretos de la Fuerza Aérea. Según John Pike, experto en presupuestos militares secretos de Global Security, es muy probable que el dinero en efectivo repartido en tres años esté canalizado directamente a la CIA, aumentando el presupuesto anual de esa agencia, estimado en cuatro mil millones de dólares anuales, en un 25 por ciento. Las operaciones en Iraq obtendrán el grueso del presupuesto, al margen de una suma que iría a Afganistán. El número de agentes de la CIA en Iraq, actualmente 275, se incrementará significativamente, complementado por un gran número de fuerzas de élite de la contrarresistencia de EEUU”. [...] Es hora de ‘no más señor Chico Amable’ declaró un estratega neoconservador. “[...] ¿Tenemos que matar a toda esa gente que grita ‘¡Abajo Estados Unidos!’ y que baila en la calle cuando atacan a los estadounidenses?” [5]. Durante ese período, apareció la información sobre los escuadrones de la muerte y de la limpieza étnica descrito por la prensa como ‘violencia sectaria’, la nueva narrativa clave de la guerra y la principal justificación para que la ocupación continuara. Parte de la violencia pudo haber sido espontánea, pero hay pruebas abrumadoras de que en su mayoría fue el resultado de los planes descritos por varios expertos estadounidenses en diciembre de 2003.

En un artículo de Alternet del 16 de junio de 2004, titulado “Here come the Death Squad Veterans” [Aquí llegan los veteranos de los escuadrones de la muerte], un oficial de Inteligencia en Kuwait, que solicitó el anonimato, declaró que la empresa “[...] Blackwater USA ha enviado reclutadores a Chile, Perú, Argentina, Colombia y Guatemala, por una sola razón específica [...] Todos estos países han experimentado guerras sucias y sus ejércitos tienen hombres bien entrenados en subversión interna. Están versados en arrancar confesiones de los prisioneros”. A medida que en la primavera de 2004 la situación de seguridad en Iraq se fue deteriorando, se inició un ‘reclutamiento más intenso’. [6]

En junio de 2004, el General David H. Petraeus asumió la tarea de organizar el entrenamiento de todas las fuerzas militares y policiales iraquíes después de su fracaso durante los levantamientos shiíes y sunníes dos meses antes. Durante este período, Petraeus jugó un papel decisivo en la formación de milicias en todo el país, patrocinadas por el gobierno, y que operan como escuadrones de la muerte anti-sunníes y que pretendieron sumir al país en una guerra civil. En el otoño de 2004, Petraeus armó, equipó y financió los comandos especiales de la Policía a quienes llamaba “un caballo por el que apostar” [7].

Escuadrones de la muerte

La ‘Opción El Salvador’

La primera referencia a la ‘Opción El Salvador’, y a la comparación con las atrocidades cometidas por los escuadrones de la muerte en América Latina durante la década de los ochenta, fue realizada por Ghali Hassan el 12 de octubre de 2004 en su artículo “Iraq’s Democracy: The El Salvador Model” (La democracia de Iraq: el modelo de El Salvador), donde afirma: “[...] El núcleo del gobierno interino iraquí, nombrado por EEUU, está formado por el grupo de exiliados de Allawi (Acuerdo Nacional Iraquí), el grupo de exiliados de Ahmed Chalabi (Congreso Nacional Iraquí), los peshmergas de los dos partidos kurdos y las Brigadas del Badr (Consejo Supremo islámico Revolución en Iraq, en la actualidad el partido al-Dawa), en su mayoría de origen iraní. Además, cada grupo tiene sus propios escuadrones de la muerte de estilo mafioso y vínculos con la CIA o con los agentes del Mossad israelí. Desde que entraron en Iraq junto con la invasión estadounidense, los cuatro grupos se han tomado la justicia por su mano y han asesinado a muchos iraquíes inocentes, entre ellos cientos de científicos y dirigentes comunitarios. La Autoridad de la Ocupación nunca investigó sus crímenes; entraron en Iraq montados a lomos de los tanques estadounidenses; sus relaciones con la ocupación son relaciones completamente simbióticas; coexisten con su maestro EEUU en una relación de mutuo beneficio; participan en las próximas elecciones porque quieren que la ocupación continúe.” [8]

En enero de 2005, más de un año después de los primeros informes sobre la planificación de asesinatos y operaciones paramilitares del Pentágono, elNewsweek y otros grandes medios de comunicación mencionaron la ‘Opción El Salvador’: El traspaso del terrorismo de Estado a las fuerzas locales aliadas. Esto se consideró un componente clave de una política que había conseguido evitar la derrota total del gobierno de El Salvador, respaldado por Estados Unidos. Según Newsweek, “[...] Una propuesta del Pentágono sería enviar equipos de las fuerzas especiales para asesorar, apoyar y quizás entrenar a los escuadrones iraquíes [...] para atacar a los combatientes sunníes y sus simpatizantes […] La población sunní no está pagando ningún precio por el apoyo que da a los terroristas: Desde su punto de vista este apoyo es gratuito. Tenemos que cambiar esa ecuación”. [9] Desde 1984 a 1986 el Coronel James Steele dirigió el grupo de asesoramiento militar de EEUU en El Salvador, en el que era responsable del desarrollo de las brigadas de las fuerzas especiales de operación en el momento álgido del conflicto. Estas fuerzas, compuestas por los soldados más brutales disponibles, eran una réplica de las operaciones de las unidades pequeñas con las que Steele se familiarizó mientras estuvo en Vietnam. En lugar de centrarse en conquistar terreno, su papel fue el de atacar a los dirigentes de la resistencia, a sus partidarios, y a las fuentes de suministro y campamentos base. En el caso de la Cuarta Brigada, tales tácticas permitieron que una fuerza de 20 hombres fuera la responsable del 60% del total de las muertes causadas por la unidad.[10] Además de su experiencia en El Salvador, Steele estuvo al mando del reciclaje de las fuerzas de seguridad de Panamá tras el derrocamiento del presidente Manuel Noriega [11].

Las fuerzas estadounidenses reclutaron a los sectores más criminales de la población iraquí. Los mercenarios contratados por el Pentágono, como Dyncorp, ayudaron a la creación de las milicias sectarias que se utilizaron para aterrorizar y asesinar iraquíes y para provocar una guerra civil en Iraq.

Esto revela la naturaleza de ‘guerra sucia’, como en América Latina, y los peores excesos de la guerra de Vietnam. El propósito de la guerra sucia no es identificar y luego detener o matar a los combatientes reales de la resistencia; el objetivo de la guerra sucia es la población civil; se trata de una estrategia de terrorismo de Estado y de castigo colectivo contra toda una población con el objetivo de aterrorizarla hasta que se someta; es una estrategia para cortar la relación de la gente con la resistencia y romper el apoyo popular a la guerrilla; las mismas tácticas utilizadas en América Central y en Colombia se exportaron a Iraq. Incluso los arquitectos de estas guerras sucias en El Salvador (Embajador John Negroponte y James Steele) y en Colombia (Steven Casteel) fueron enviados a Iraq para llevar a cabo el mismo trabajo sucio. Reclutaron, entrenaron y desplegaron los famosos Comandos Especiales de la Policía, a los que con posterioridad, ya en 2006 se incorporaron escuadrones de la muerte como las Brigadas del Badr y otras milicias. Las fuerzas estadounidenses establecieron un centro de alta tecnología para las operaciones de los Comandos Especiales de la Policía en un ‘lugar secreto’ en Iraq. Los técnicos norteamericanos instalaron teléfonos satélite y ordenadores con conexión a Internet y a las redes propias de las fuerzas estadounidenses. El centro de mando tenía conexiones directas con el Ministerio del Interior iraquí y con todas y cada una de las bases de operaciones de EEUU que se fueron instalando desde entonces en el país.[12]

Cuando en 2005 las atrocidades cometidas en Iraq por estas fuerzas se convirtieron en noticia, Casteel jugaría un papel clave en culpabilizar de las ejecuciones extrajudiciales a los ‘resistentes’ vestidos con uniformes policiales robados, vehículos y armas. Del mismo modo, él y el General Petraeus afirmaron que los centros de tortura estaban en manos de elementos corruptos del Ministerio del Interior, a pesar de que estaban saliendo a la luz casos de tortura que tenían lugar en los cuarteles generales del Ministerio, donde él y otros estadounidenses trabajaban. Los consejeros estadounidenses del Ministerio del Interior tenían sus oficinas en la octava planta, justo encima de una cárcel en la séptima planta donde se llevaban a cabo las torturas[13].

La actitud acrítica de los medios de comunicación occidentales respecto a la narrativa de los responsables estadounidenses evitaron protestas generalizadas en todo el mundo contra la escalada de la guerra contra la resistencia en Iraq en 2005 y 2006, en consonancia con unos medios de comunicación encubiertos, silenciosos y sin punto de vista, propio de las operaciones contra la resistencia. En enero de 2005, el General Downing, ex jefe de las Fuerzas Especiales estadounidenses, declaró en la cadena NBC: “[...] Esto está bajo control de las fuerzas de EEUU, y del actual gobierno provisional iraquí. No hay necesidad de pensar que vamos a lanzar algún tipo campaña brutal que vaya a mutilar a civiles inocentes”. [14] En cuestión de meses, Iraq fue arrasado precisamente por una campaña de asesinatos que provocó detenciones arbitrarias, torturas, ejecuciones extrajudiciales, y el éxodo en masa y el desplazamiento interno de millones de personas. Miles de iraquíes desaparecieron durante los peores días de la guerra sucia entre 2005 y 2007; a muchos de ellos se los vio en manos de milicias uniformadas [15]y amontonados en camiones; otros simplemente parecen haberse desvanecido. Los escuadrones de la muerte del Ministerio del Interior se movieron sin obstáculos por los controles militares tanto estadounidenses como iraquíes al tiempo que detenían, torturaban y mataban a miles de personas. El gobierno iraquí dio instrucciones a todas las oficinas de seguridad y de sanidad de no informar a los medios sobre el número de muertes. Todos los días en Bagdad se encontraban decenas de cadáveres: “[...] No estamos autorizados a dar ningún número, pero puedo decir que todavía recibimos cadáveres a diario”, declaró un médico de la morgue de Bagdad a IPS el 19 de febrero de 2008 [16]Durante la época álgida de los asesinatos, se arrojaban a las calles de Bagdad entre 50 y 180 cuerpos diarios y muchos mostraban signos de tortura, tales como perforaciones o quemaduras de cigarrillos. [17]

El 30 de abril de 2006, el Tribunal BRussells informó de que “[...] Después de un recuento exacto y de un trabajo de documentación, la organización iraquí de Seguimiento y Supervisión ha confirmado que el 92% de los 3.498 cadáveres encontrados en diferentes regiones de Iraq habían sido detenidos por funcionarios del Ministerio del Interior. Nada se supo sobre el destino de los detenidos hasta se encontraron sus cuerpos acribillados y con horribles señales de tortura. Es lamentable y vergonzoso que estos crímenes se hayan ignorado y que varios Estados reciban a los responsables gubernamentales que no investigan estos crímenes” [18].

La consecuencia de ignorar la conexión entre EEUU y las milicias del Badr (respaldadas por Irán), la Brigada Lobo (apoyada por EEUU) y otras unidades del Comando especial de la Policía o ignorar el grado de reclutamiento estadounidense, el entrenamiento, el mando y el control de estas unidades[19] distorsionaba la percepción de los acontecimientos en Iraq, lo que creaba una impresión de violencia sin sentido iniciada por los propios iraquíes y ocultaba la mano estadounidense en la planificación y ejecución de las formas más brutales de violencia.

Los editores de noticias jugaron un papel significativo en evitar el escándalo público que podría haber desalentado la escalada de esta campaña si hubieran investigado el alcance exacto de la complicidad de EEUU en los diferentes aspectos y fases de las operaciones de los escuadrones de la muerte, la tortura y las desapariciones [20]. La primera responsabilidad de esta política y de los crímenes que implicaba recae sobre los individuos de la estructura de mando civil y militar del Departamento de Defensa de EEUU, la CIA y la Casa Blanca quienes idearon, aprobaron y pusieron en marcha la política de terror de los programas “Phoenix” o de “El Salvador” en Iraq.

El informe de la Oficina de Derechos Humanos de la UNAMI realizado por John Pace, y publicado el 8 de septiembre de 2005, fue muy explícito y relaciona directamente el Ministerio del Interior, e indirectamente a las fuerzas multinacionales lideradas por EEUU, con la campaña de detenciones, torturas y ejecuciones extrajudiciales [21]. John Pace, quien salió de Bagdad en enero de 2006, dijo al The Independent que hasta tres cuartas partes de los cadáveres apilados en las morgues de las ciudades mostraban marcas de heridas de bala en la cabeza o lesiones causadas por taladradoras o por cigarrillos encendidos. La mayor parte de los asesinatos -dijo- fueron perpetrados por grupos de musulmanes shiíes bajo el control del Ministerio del Interior. [22]

El informe final de 2006 de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas [23]describe las consecuencias de estas políticas para la población de Bagdad, pero no menciona su origen en la política estadounidense. La violencia sectaria que afectó a Iraq en 2006 y 2007 no fue una consecuencia involuntaria de la invasión y ocupación estadounidense, sino que fue parte integral de la misma. EEUU socavó deliberadamente la estabilidad y la seguridad en Iraq en un intento desesperado de aplicar el ‘divide y vencerás’ y de fabricar nuevas justificaciones para la violencia ilimitada contra los iraquíes que continuaban rechazando la invasión ilegal y la ocupación de su país.

¿Cuál es la respuesta de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de los Derechos Humanos a los campos de muerte en Iraq? ¿Nombraron un relator especial para los Derechos Humanos en Iraq? No, no lo hicieron. Cerraron los ojos y participaron en historia de ficción de una ‘democracia floreciente’ en Iraq, repitiendo los cuentos ficticios de EEUU sobre las mejoras para el pueblo iraquí. Qué puede ser más hipócrita y cínico que esta cita en la página web principal de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado en Iraq: “[...] De 2006 a 2009, la Oficina de Derechos Humanos de la UNAMI llevó a cabo una serie de cursos de formación para el personal del Ministerio de Derechos Humanos, del Ministerio de Justicia, del Ministerio del Interior y del Ministerio de Defensa sobre los estándares de los Derechos Humanos y el Derecho Internacional Humanitario, y patrocinó varios seminarios de alto nivel sobre la protección de los Derechos Humanos en el marco de las medidas contraterroristas en Iraq. La Oficina de Derechos Humanos de UNAMI y la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de los Derechos Humanos también participaron activamente en el desarrollo de la capacidad del Ministerio de Derechos Humanos y del Ministerio de Justicia, mediante el patrocinio de talleres y cursos de capacitación para su personal en Bagdad y en las provincias en materia de normas de detención y vigilancia de los Derechos Humanos, igualmente han prestado y siguen prestando asistencia al establecimiento del Alto Comisionado de los Derechos Humanos en Iraq, el Centro para Personas Desaparecidas y el Centro Nacional para la Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura” [24]La comunidad internacional ha abandonado claramente al pueblo iraquí. Los Derechos Humanos no se aplican a ellos.

Incluso la Corte Penal Internacional ha abandonado al pueblo iraquí. “[...] La Fiscalía ha recibido más de 240 comunicaciones sobre la situación en Iraq. [...] La información disponible no aporta indicios razonables de que las fuerzas de la coalición tenían la intención de destruir, total o parcialmente, a un grupo nacional, étnico, racial o religioso como tal, como se requiere en la definición de genocidio (artículo 6). Asimismo, la información disponible no proporciona indicios razonables de los elementos necesarios para un crimen contra la humanidad, es decir, un ataque generalizado o sistemático contra una población civil. [...] La información disponible no indica ataques intencionales contra la población civil. [...] después de analizar toda la información disponible, se llegó a la conclusión de que existe una base razonable para creer que se cometieron crímenes bajo la jurisdicción de la Corte, concretamente asesinatos premeditados y trato inhumano. [...] La información disponible en este momento admite una base razonable para la existencia aproximada de cuatro a 12 víctimas de homicidio intencionado y un número limitado de víctimas de tratos inhumanos que puede ascender a menos de 20 personas. Incluso cuando existe una base razonable para creer que un crimen ha sido cometido, esto no es suficiente para el inicio de una investigación por la Corte Penal Internacional”. Esta fue la respuesta de Moreno Ocampo, Fiscal Especial, el 9 de febrero de 2006 [25].

La naturaleza y el alcance de la participación de los diferentes individuos y grupos dentro de la estructura de la ocupación de EEUU en operaciones de escuadrones de la muerte sigue siendo un secreto sucio y oscuro, sin embargo, hay múltiples pistas que pueden ser seguidas por cualquier investigación seria, sobre todo por parte de los Relatores Especiales pertinentes de la ACNUDH. Hechos: cada unidad iraquí de la Policía Nacional tenía, en general, al menos dos oficiales estadounidenses vinculados a tales unidades, normalmente pertenecientes a las Fuerzas Especiales estadounidenses [26]. En noviembre de 2005, los asesores estadounidenses vinculados a la Brigada Lobo forman parte del 160 Regimiento de Aviación de Operaciones Especiales, conocido como los ‘acosadores nocturnos’ [27].

En enero de 2007, el gobierno de EEUU anunció una nueva estrategia, el aumento de tropas de combate estadounidenses en Bagdad y en la provincia de al-Anbar. La mayoría de los iraquíes informaron de que esta escalada de violencia hizo que las condiciones de vida fueran aún peores que antes, ya que sus efectos se han añadieron a la devastación acumulada de cuatro años de guerra y ocupación.

La intensificación de los ataques estadounidenses en 2007, con un incremento cinco veces mayor de los ataques aéreos y el uso de aviones de combate Spectre y de artillería, además del incremento de tropas se planificó como un punto álgido respecto a los últimos cuatro años de guerra y de castigo colectivo infligido al pueblo iraquí. Todas las zonas en poder de la resistencia fueron objeto de un fuego arrasador, principalmente desde el aire, hasta que las fuerzas de tierra de EEUU pudieron construir muros alrededor de lo que quedaba de cada barrio y aislar cada distrito.

Los informes de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas de 2007 mencionaban los ataques indiscriminados e ilegales contra civiles y contra zonas civiles y pidieron que se investigaran. Los ataques aéreos continuaron casi a diario hasta agosto de 2008, incluso cuando la llamada ‘violencia sectaria’ y las bajas estadounidenses disminuyeron. En todos los casos documentados hubo civiles, mujeres y niños asesinados. La oficina de prensa de Centcom declaró que las personas asesinadas eran ‘terroristas’, ‘militantes de al-Qaeda’ o ‘escudos humanos involuntarios’. [28]

Las fuerzas involucradas en ‘Operaciones Especiales’

Otro aspecto del incremento de tropas o de la intensificación de la violencia parece haber sido un aumento del uso de los comandos de asesinato de las Fuerzas Especiales estadounidenses. Por ejemplo, en abril de 2008 el presidente Bush declaró: “[...] En estos momentos, todas las noches las Fuerzas Especiales de EEUU ponen en marcha múltiples operaciones para capturar o asesinar a los dirigentes de Al-Qaeda en Iraq” [29]. El 13 de mayo de 2009, The New York Times informaba: “[...] Cuando en 2003 el General Stanley McChrystal asumió el mando del Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales, heredó una fuerza de comandos aislada y oscura con fama de despreciar las alianzas con otras organizaciones militares y de inteligencia, pero sus compañeros dicen que trabajó duro durante los cinco años siguientes para construir estrechas relaciones íntimas con la CIA y el FBI. [...] En Iraq, donde durante cinco años el general supervisó las operaciones secretas del Comandos, los antiguos oficiales de inteligencia dicen que tenía un conocimiento enciclopédico, incluso obsesivo, de la vida de los terroristas, y que empujó a sus hombres sus filas agresivamente para matar a tantos terroristas como fuera posible. [...] La mayor parte de lo que el General McChrystal hizo durante sus 33 años de carrera permanece clasificado, incluido sus prestación de servicio entre 2003 y 2008 como Comandante del Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales, una unidad de élite tan clandestina que incluso el Pentágono se negó a reconocer su existencia durante años” [30]. El secreto que rodea a estas operaciones evitó la circulación de más informes, pero como en anteriores operaciones encubiertas de EEUU en Vietnam y América Latina, con el transcurso del tiempo sabremos más sobre estas operaciones.

Un artículo en el Sunday Telegraph [31] señala hacia pruebas claras de que las fuerzas especiales británicas están reclutando y entrenando a terroristas para aumentar las tensiones étnicas. Una élite del SAS, con un sangriento pasado en Irlanda del Norte, opera con inmunidad y proporciona modernos explosivos [32]De algunos ataques se ha culpado a los iraníes, a los resistentes sunníes o a oscuras células terroristas como Al-Qaeda. Esta unidad está dirigida por el teniente coronel Gordon Kerr, al frente del Regimiento Especial de Reconocimiento (SRR en sus siglas en inglés), una gran fuerza antiterrorista compuesta por ‘activos existentes’ sin nombre de los días de gloria en Irlanda del Norte y en otros lugares. El diario británicoThe Sunday Telegraph informó de que los soldados estadounidenses en misión secreta están allí con ellos, trabajando codo con codo con sus compañeros británicos en la llamada ‘Fuerza Negra de Trabajo’ [33].

Los equipos SWAT (Armas y Tácticas Especiales) se utilizan de manera extensiva en las operaciones de contrarresistencia. La misión de SWAT es llevar a cabo operaciones de alto riesgo, que están fuera de la capacidad de los agentes de patrulla, para prevenir, disuadir y responder a las actividades terroristas y de la resistencia. Se ha informado de que “[...] La colaboración de la defensa interna extranjera con los soldados de la Coalición establece una relación profesional entre la seguridad iraquí y las fuerzas de la Coalición cuyo entrenamiento crea fuerzas capacitadas. Los soldados de la Coalición trabajan codo con codo con los equipos de SWAT, tanto en los entrenamientos como en las misiones” [34]. El 7 de octubre de 2010, la página web oficial de las fuerzas estadounidenses en Iraq informaba de que “[...] El equipo SWAT de Basora se ha entrenado con varias unidades de las Fuerzas Especiales, incluidos los SEAL de la Marina y el SAS británico. El Primer Batallón del Regimiento 68 del ejército, actualmente bajo control operativo de la División-Sur y la Primera División de Infantería, ha asumido la tarea de formar al equipo SWAT” [35].

Los Servicios de Protección de Instalaciones (FPS en sus siglas en inglés), donde se incorporan los ‘contratistas privados’ o mercenarios, como Blackwater, se utilizan igualmente en las operaciones de contrainsurgencia. El 14 de octubre 2006, Ellen Knickmeyer, del Servicio Exterior de The Washington Post, dijo que los FPS estaba detrás de los escuadrones de la muerte iraquíes [36]. Dahr Jamail y Ali al-Fadhily afirmaron que los FPS, creado después de la invasión de Iraq en 2003, se habían convertido en la base principal de los escuadrones de la muerte en Iraq [37].

- Las Fuerzas de Operaciones Especiales de Iraq (ISOF en sus siglas en inglés), probablemente la más numerosa de las fuerzas especiales jamás creadas por EEUU, han quedado libres de muchos de los controles que la mayoría de los gobiernos emplean para contener tales fuerzas letales. El proyecto comenzó en Jordania poco después de que EEUU conquistara Bagdad en abril de 2003, con el fin de crear una unidad de élite mortífera encubierta, totalmente equipada por EEUU, que operaría durante años bajo el mando de EEUU sin rendir cuentas a los ministerios iraquíes ni someterse al control político habitual. Conforme a los registros del Congreso, las ISOF han aumentado en nueve batallones que se extienden a cuatro bases de comandos regionales en todo Iraq. En diciembre de 2009 eran plenamente operativos, cada uno con su propia ‘célula de fusión de inteligencia’, que opera de forma independiente de otras redes de inteligencia iraquíes. Las ISOF cuentan con al menos 4.564 agentes activos, lo que supone aproximadamente el tamaño de las propias Fuerzas Especiales del Ejército de EEUU en Iraq. Los registros del Congreso indican que existían planes para duplicar las ISOF en los ‘próximos años’ [38].

La estrategia del divide y vencerás incluye además a las fuerzas iraquíes y a las milicias. A veces, las fuerzas de ocupación utilizaron a las milicias shiíes para combatir a los grupos de la resistencia ‘sunní’, y cuando éstos se hicieron demasiado fuertes EEUU armó a los grupos sunníes.

Un buen ejemplo son los Consejos Sahwa (Consejos del Despertar) o Hijos de Iraq (SOI en sus siglas en inglés). Los grupos del Despertar surgieron en 2005 cuando las tribus sunníes, que habían luchado previamente contra las fuerzas del gobierno iraquí y el ejército estadounidense, se aliaron con las fuerzas de EEUU y aceptaron armas, dinero y entrenamiento. Se calcula que en 2008 había alrededor de 100 mil combatientes de los Consejos del Despertar en Iraq [39]Estos combatientes no sólo lucharon contra Al- Qaeda, sino que también suponían un refuerzo para EEUU para quebrar la resistencia iraquí. En octubre de 2008, el gobierno iraquí asumió del ejército estadounidense la responsabilidad de pagar a 54 mil miembros de los Consejos del Despertar. Hasta ese momento, el gobierno iraquí era reacio a integrar a los Consejos del Despertar en las fuerzas de seguridad oficiales. Muchos de los combatientes del Despertar desconfiaban de que el gobierno iraquí fuera a emplearlos. “[...] Considero el traspaso un acto de traición por parte del Ejército de EEUU”, dijo un miembro de los Consejos del Despertar, que añadio: “[...] Como consecuencia, el ejército estadounidense está poniendo en marcha un nuevo cuerpo de trabajo civil de transición para reconvertir a algunos miembros de la seguridad de los Consejos del Despertar de la seguridad a proyectos civiles”.

El control sobre los restantes miembros de los Consejos del Despertar en el centro, oeste y centro-norte de Iraq se transfirió de forma gradual.

La conclusión es que la guerra sucia en Iraq continúa. A pesar de que el presidente Barack Obama anunciara el final de la guerra, Estados Unidos se queda en Iraq. Bagdad decidió que entre tres y cinco mil soldados estadounidenses, con capacidad única de entrenamiento, fuese el máximo número que puede tener cabida, sin embargo, la Casa Blanca está aumentando el número de empleados del Departamento de Estado en Iraq desde los 8.000 a la increíble cifra de 16.000, en su mayoría destinados en la colosal embajada nueva de la Zona Verde de Bagdad, en los nuevos consulados estadounidenses de otras ciudades, y en los cargos más importantes de asesoramiento en muchos de los ministerios del régimen, en particular el Ministerio de Petróleo. La mitad del personal del Departamento de Estado, 8.000 personas, se encargará de las tareas de seguridad, junto con otros 5.000 nuevos ‘contratistas privados de seguridad’.

Por lo tanto, EEUU contará con al menos 13.000 hombres armados de sus propias fuerzas de seguridad, y todavía existe la posibilidad de que Bagdad y Washington lleguen a un acuerdo para aumentar el número limitado de instructores militares.

La justificación del gobierno de Obama de mantener las tropas después de acabar el año era, aparentemente, para entrenar al ejército iraquí y a la policía, pero hay otras razones. En primer lugar, Washington pretende permanecer en Iraq para vigilar a Bagdad, ya que teme que se forme una alianza entre Iraq y el vecino Irán beneficiosa para ambos, lo que debilitaría la hegemonía estadounidense en el Golfo Pérsico, región rica en petróleo y de importancia estratégica en todo Oriente Próximo África del Norte y, en segundo lugar, EEUU también pretende proteger las lucrativas inversiones económicas en Iraq y los enormes beneficios que las empresas estadounidenses esperan, especialmente con la privatización del sector del petróleo. Además, las fuerzas del Pentágono y la CIA estaban apostadas, y parece ser que siguen apostadas, muy cerca de la frontera occidental de Irán, una posición estratégica para invadir o llevar a cabo un cambio de régimen[40].

Las autoridades estadounidenses han dejado claro que la CIA tiene previsto continuar en el país con los programas dirigidos desde hace años por el Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales y otras organizaciones militares. Estos programas incluyen diferentes actividades, tales como el despliegue de sensores remotos que escanean el espectro inalámbrico de los refugios de los terroristas para hacer indetectables a los comandos antiterroristas estadounidenses e iraquíes [41].

En el punto álgido de la retirada de las tropas, se realizaron detenciones masivas por todo Iraq. Desde principios de 2011 hasta el 25 de junio, la policía arrestó en Basora a cerca de 2.312 personas en búsqueda y captura. La mayoría de los arrestados fueron detenidos por acusaciones criminales, así como por actividades terroristas [42]. Cientos de personas más fueron detenidas en los meses posteriores en diferentes provincias iraquíes. El 31 de octubre, las fuerzas de seguridad del gobierno detuvieron a 115 civiles durante las redadas y registros que se llevaron a cabo en diferentes provincias iraquíes, entre ellas Nínive, Diyala, Bagdad, Saladino, al-Anbar, Vasit y Dhi Qar. También detuvieron a 347 civiles después de redadas y ataques militares similares en otras muchas provincias [43].

¿Qué tiene que decir la resistencia iraquí acerca de la retirada de las tropas de Estados Unidos?

Judair al-Murshidi, portavoz oficial de una de las facciones unificadas de la resistencia iraquí afirma que “[...] el alto mando de la Yihad y la Liberación, señaló que la prevista retirada es consecuencia de la derrota de EEUU a manos de la valiente resistencia iraquí liderada por el partido del Baaz en Iraq junto con todas las fuerzas de la resistencia patriótica, nacional e islámica, y no por los acuerdos de seguridad elaborados por el gobierno traidor de al-Maliki y las fuerzas de ocupación estadounidenses. Es importante comprender que esta es una derrota significativa de la ocupación de EEUU, como han reconocido numerosos estrategas estadounidenses. La retirada es el resultado del alto coste que, tanto en vidas humanas como en pérdidas materiales, ha sufrido EEUU a manos de la resistencia iraquí”.

Dirk Adriaensens

Tribunal BRussells (www.brussellstribunal.org), 20 de marzo de 2013

IraqSolidaridad (www.iraqsolidaridad.org), 22 de abril de 2013

Traducido para IraqSolidaridad y Tribunal BRussells por Nadia Hindi
Revisión y edición: Paloma Valverde

Dirk Adriaensens es coordinador de SOS Iraq y miembro del comité ejecutivo del Tribunal BRussells. Entre 1992 y 2003 encabezó varias delegaciones a Iraq para observar los devastadores efectos de las sanciones impuestas por Naciones Unidas. Fue miembro del Comité Organizador Internacional del Tribunal Mundial sobre Iraq (2003-2005). También es co-coordinador de la Campaña Global contra el Asesinato de Académicos Iraquíes; co-autor de Rendez-Vous in Baghdad, EPO (1994), Cultural Cleansing in Iraq, Pluto Press, London (2010), Beyond Educide, Academia Press, Gante (2012), y suele colaborar con Global Research, Truthout, The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies y otros medios.

Notas del autor y de IraqSolidaridad:

1. Este capítulo se basa en varios informes oficiales, artículos de prensa, relatos de testigos de Tribunal BRussells, artículos de Max Fuller sobre la guerra contra la resistencia, y Nicolas J.S. Davies, Blood On Our Hands, The American Invasion And Destruction Of Iraq, Nimble Books LLC, 2010.
2. 
Insurgents ‘Right to Take on US”Global Policy Forum, 3 de mayo de 2007. 
3. Seymour M. Hersh, “Moving Targets: will the counter-insurgency plan in Iraq repeat the mistakes of Vietnam?”, The New Yorker, 15 de diciembre de 2003,

4. “US decides to back Iraqi militia force, The New York Times, 6 de noviembre de 2003.
5. Robert Dreyfuss, “Tucked away in the Iraqi appropriation was ·3 bilion for a new paramilitary unit. Vietnam similarities?”, BRussells Tribunal, 1 de enero de 2004.
6. Louis Nevaer, “Here Come the Death Squad VeteransAlternet, 16 de junio de 2004. 
7. A .K. Gupta, “Meet Gen. David Petraeus: His Militia Strategy Plunged Iraq Into a Civil War, And Now He’s Back for More”, Global Research, 12 de septiembre de 2007.
8. Ghali Hassan, “Iraq’s Democracy: The El Salvador Model
Information Clearing House, 12 de octubre de 2004.
9. Matthew Rothschild, 
Salvadoran-Style Death Squads for Iraq, The Progressive, 11 de enero de 2005.
10Max Fuller,
 ”For Iraq ‘The Salvador Option’ Becomes Reality, Global Research, 2 de junio de 2005. 
11
Peter Maass, “The Way of the Commandos
, Global Policy Forum, 1 de mayo de 2005.
12
Matt Murphy, “Iraqi Police Commandos Get Connected
Defend America, 11 de febrero de 2005. 
13
Peter Beaumont, “Revealed: grim world of new Iraqi torture camps
The Guardian, 3 de julio de 2005.
14Stephen Shalom, “Phoenix Rising in Iraq?ZNet, 8 de febrero de 2005.
15Hala Jaber, 
Iraqi police ‘linked to ethnic cleansing’, The Sunday Times, 9 de octubre de 2005. 
16Dahr Jamail y Ali Al-FadhilyIraq Lies in Tatters Beneath a ‘Surge’ of False Claims,IPS News, 19 de febrero de 2008.
17.
 Mohammed Abbas, “Horror of war at Iraqi morgue even as attacks fallReuters, 16 de abril de 2009.
18.
 Dirk Adriaensens, “Foxes in the hen-house. Iraqi puppet government submits candidacy for the UNHRC and other tales, BRussells Tribunal, 6 de mayo de 2006.
19Jared Zabaldo, 
Iraq Interior Ministry Forms Police Commando BattalionsUS Department of Defense, 20 de octubre de 2004. 
20Nicolas J.S.Davies, Blood on Our Hands, the Invasion and Destruction of Iraq, Nimble Books LLC, 2010.
21Jonathan Steele, “Baghdad official who exposed executions flees
The Guardian, 2 de marzo de 2006.
22Patrick Cockburn, “Iraq’s death squads: On the brink of civil war
The Independent, 26 de febrero de 2006. Disponible en español en IraqSolidaridad, 27 de febrero de 2006.
23
Over 34,000 civilians killed in Iraq in 2006, says UN report on rights violationsUN News Centre, 16 de enero de 2007. 
24Véase página oficial de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de naciones Unidas en Iraq naciones (solo disponible en inglés) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq.
25Carta de la Corte Penal Internacional
 (disponible en español).
26Ben Brody,
 “Iraqi Police Conduct Baghdad Raid Without U.S. OversightUS Department of Defense, 1 de octubre de 2005.
27Gareth Porter, 
US Military Still Runs With Dreaded Wolf Brigade, IPS News, 3 de enero de 2006.
28Véase nota 20 y Max Fuller, “The Counter-insurgency War in Iraq
” Tribunal BRussells,varios artículos escritos entre el 2 de junio de 2005 y el 8 de agosto de 2008. 
29Sam Manuel, 
U.S. General Blames Iran for Iraq Instability, The Militant, 28 de abril de 2008. 
30. Elisabeth Bumiller y Mark Mazzetti, 
A General Steps From the ShadowsThe New York Times, 12 de mayo de 2009. 
31Sean Rayment, “Top secret army cell recruiting Iraqi insurgent double agents
, Prison planet4 de febrero de 2007. 
32Chirs Floyd, “Ulster on the Euphrates. The Anglo-American Dirty War in Iraq”Only Good Dreams, 13 de febrero de 2007.
33Idem.
34.
 SandRat, “SWAT: Iraqi Scorpions at the Heart of Criminal and Terrorist Activities in Iraq”, Free Republic 25 de octubre de 2008.
35. Sargento Cody Harding, “ Basra SWAT trains in close quarters with U.S”, Página official del ejército estadounidense (www.army.mil), 6 de octubre de 2010.
36. Ellen Knickmeyer, “Official: Guard Force Is Behind Death Squads
, Washington Post Foreign Service, 14 de octubre de 2006. 
37. Dahr Jamail, “El servicio de Protección de Instalaciones acoge a los ‘escuadrones de la muerte“IraqSolidaridad, 8 de noviembre de 2006. 
38. Shane Bauer, 
Iraq’s New Death Squad, The Nation, 3 de junio de 2009. 
39
Baghdad to pay Sunni groups, Al Jazeera, 3 de octubre de 2008.
40. Jack A. Smith, “America’s Endless Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
Global Research, 25 de octubre de 2011. 
41. 
CIA to continue covert operations in IraqPress TV, 26 de octubre de 2011.
42. 
Basra police arrest 2312 wanted over 6 monthsAswat al-Iraq, 27 de junio de 2011.
43. ”Mass Arrests Continue: 115 Arrest
, Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq, 31 de octubre de 2011. Los datos que aporta la Asociación deUlemas Musulmanes, están recogidos en los textos aceptados por la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de naciones Unidas, publicado en español en IraqSolidaridad, bajo el epígrafe I Desapariciones forzosas o involuntarias en Iraq, 26 de marzo de 2012.

Unanswered Questions in Boston Bombings

April 22nd, 2013 by Bill Van Auken

The Boston Marathon bombings last week, which killed three and wounded over 170, were seized on to implement a far-reaching attack on democratic rights, including a police lockdown of an entire city. As with previous incidents, much remains unknown, including the motive of those who allegedly carried it out, whether others were involved and what connection the FBI and other government agencies had to them.

In a televised statement immediately after the capture of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the bombings, President Barack Obama told the American public: “Obviously, tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help?”

However, it is the government that has released very little information about what it knows. Moreover, the Obama administration has decreed that Dzhokhar will be denied his Miranda rights, allowing CIA, FBI and military interrogators to question him without the presence of an attorney, thereby further limiting any information surfacing outside of what is vetted by the government and its intelligence agencies.

In addition to the questions raised by Obama, there are a number of others that bear serious scrutiny.

  • How did the two brothers obtain the explosives used in the bombings?
  • What relationship existed between the Tsarnaev brothers and the FBI and other US intelligence agencies?
  • Did US authorities have any knowledge about the Boston bombing plot before it was executed?
  • What role did US policy in relation to Russia and the separatist movements in Chechnya and other parts of the North Caucasus play in the US government’s attitude toward the Tsarnaevs?

 

While much remains murky about these and other issues, one thing is clear: the Boston bombing, like virtually every other major terrorist incident, real or invented, since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, was carried out by someone who was known to and under surveillance by US intelligence agencies.

 

Armored vehicles in downtown Boston [Photo: Jeff Cutler]

 

There have been increasing questions raised concerning the FBI’s handling of a request from a foreign government, presumed to be Russia, that it investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev on suspicion of involvement in Islamist terrorism.

The request came in advance of a six-month visit that Tamerlan made to Russia beginning in January of last year, during which he stayed with his father in Dagestan and visited Chechnya, where several members of the family live.

In a statement released in the wake of the Boston bombings, the FBI acknowledged that Russian authorities had determined that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a “follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

The FBI said that in response to this request it “checked US government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history.”

The statement concluded that the FBI “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011.”

The Russian media has reported that Russian security services again contacted the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in November of last year.

Both of the parents of the two suspects have provided accounts of the FBI’s role that contradict the agency’s public statement.

The mother of the two brothers, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, a naturalized US citizen, told Russia Today that the FBI agents had told her that “Tamerlan was an extremist leader and they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremists’ web sites.”

“It is a setup,” she added. “He was controlled by FBI for three to five years. They knew what my son was doing. They knew what actions and what sites on the Internet he was going… So how could this happen? How could they, they were controlling his every step, and they are telling today that this is a terrorist act.”

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, the young men’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said that the FBI had visited the family’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts at least five times looking for Tamerlan. He said: “They said there were doing preventive work. They were afraid there might be some explosions on the streets of Boston.”

The father said that he had been present at one FBI interrogation in which agents had told his son, “We know what sites you are on, we know where you are calling, we know everything about you. Everything.” Like the mother, he insisted that his sons had been “framed up.”

Russian sources reported that both parents had subsequently been questioned by Russia’s Federal Security Service, after which they cut off further contact with the Western media.

Reports of FBI involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev have led to criticism by US lawmakers, including South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has called for the younger brother to be treated as an “enemy combatant” and turned over to the US military. He said in a Sunday television interview that “the ball was dropped” by the FBI.

There have been no explanations forthcoming about how “the ball was dropped.” And without either of the two suspects or anyone else providing a motive for the bombings, much is unclear.

Among the explanations that have been suggested is one from the Israeli web site Debka, citing “counterterrorism and intelligence sources,” who it said had concluded that the two brothers were “recruited by US intelligence as penetration agents” to gain access to jihadist networks in the Russian Caucasus, but then “turned coat and bit their recruiters.”

It has been widely charged that Washington has offered covert support to Chechen and other Islamist separatists in the Caucasus, who have waged two wars with Russian forces in 1994-1996 and again in 1999.

Chechen fighters have also been reportedly active in the Western-backed Islamist militias fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Videos supporting this war for regime change were found on Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s YouTube channel, along with other Islamist material. The channel had some 700 subscribers. Moscow Times quoted Russian “intelligence expert” Andrei Soldatov as questioning the FBI’s handling of the case. “He was very open about his beliefs,” he said of Tamerlan. “I’m at a loss as to why the FBI didn’t pay attention to him then.”

A web site backing the Islamist groups in the North Caucasus posted a statement on Sunday denying any link between them and those who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings. “The Caucasus fighters are not waging any military activities against the United States of America,” the Kavkazcenter.com web site said. Servers for the site are located in the US.

A Russian intelligence source also told AFP, “At the moment we have no credible information about the Tsarnaev brothers’ involvement with the Caucasus Emirate movement,” the main Islamist organization in the region. The group has previously claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks such as the bombing of the Moscow airport in January 2011 in which 37 died and bombings of its metro system in 2010, which killed over 40.

As to whether the government had prior knowledge of the Boston bombing plot before last Monday’s explosions at the Marathon finish line, participants in the event have cited what they saw at the time as unusual developments. The coach of the University of Mobile’s cross-country team, Ali Stevenson, told the Alabama media that he found it odd that bomb-sniffing dogs were brought out at both the starting and finish lines.

“They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry, it’s just a training exercise,” he said. He added that he had also observed “law enforcement spotters” on roofs at the start of the race. “Evidently, I don’t believe they were just having a training exercise,” Stevenson said. “I think they must have had some sort of threat or suspicion called in.”

If such prior knowledge did exist, this raises another question. In all but a handful of cases, every major terrorist plot reported in the US over the past decade has been the product of a sting operation organized by the FBI or other police agencies. In almost all of these cases, those arrested and prosecuted for terrorism would never have had either means or even the intention of carrying out such acts without the guiding hand of covert informers and agent provocateurs.

This pattern goes back at least to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, in which a former Egyptian army officer, Emad Salem acting as a paid FBI informant, had actually participated in building the bomb, claiming that the original plan had been to substitute harmless powder for the explosives.

Were the Boston bombings the result of such an operation that got out of control? Or did sections of the state know about it and it was allowed to go forward?

How the Boston Marathon bombing plot unfolded and what motives lay behind it are still not known. Only one thing is certain: whatever the source of this terrorist atrocity, it will be used by the US government as a pretext for further escalating militarism abroad and repression at home.

 

Last weekend’s meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the G-20 saw further calls for policies to stimulate global economic growth. There were no concrete measures advanced to implement such a program, however, amid deepening divisions among the major powers.

Fears of an immediate financial crisis had receded somewhat, but there were growing concerns that the policies of “quantitative easing” pursued by the major central banks could produce one in the near future.

The G-20 communiqué claimed that while progress had been made, “much more is needed to fulfil our commitment to address the ongoing weakness in the global economy.”

However, the official words were a thin cover for deepening conflicts that erupted during the discussions. The Financial Times reported that there had been an “acrimonious standoff” between Germany and the US over the question of hard commitments to stabilise the level of public debt.

In a shot at the austerity agenda being implemented in Europe, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said “stronger demand in Europe is critical to global growth.” The reference to “global growth” is a smokescreen. The Obama administration wants some easing of the austerity agenda in Europe in order to benefit American exports, while it continues to cut spending at home.

Similar self-serving positions were reflected in Lew’s pronouncements on trade issues. In a criticism of Germany and Japan, he said countries with large trade surpluses had to make a greater effort. “Much more needs to be done to promote effective global rebalancing, which requires stronger demand in surplus countries and continued progress towards greater exchange rate flexibility.”

In a counter-attack, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble directed his fire against the US and Japan over their high levels of government debt. “Fiscal and financial sector adjustments remain crucial to regain lost credibility and strengthen confidence. International cooperation remains crucial. At the current juncture, it is particularly the responsibility of the advanced economies, including Japan and the US, to follow through with ambitious fiscal consolidation over the medium term to reduce public debt ratios which in several cases have reached unsustainable levels,” he said.

Delaying the necessary adjustments, Schäuble insisted, would “further aggravate the risks for the prospects of a lasting and fundamentally sound global recovery.” He warned that “nobody should expect that Europe will deliver high growth rates in the coming years.”

As is the case with the US, the German position is motivated by its national interests. The German government is resisting US demands for greater stimulus because it fears this will mean the commitment of more funds and that further increases in debt could adversely impact on German banks, to the benefit of their US competitors.

Schäuble was joined in his criticisms by Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg. “The unsustainable fiscal situation in the US and Japan is a source of concern and uncertainty. Credible medium-term fiscal plans should be promptly developed,” he said.

On the other side, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan lined up behind the US position, condemning the policy of “mindless austerity” being carried out in Europe.

In its semi-annual report on the world economy, the IMF advanced a positive outlook. While pointing to a “bumpy” road ahead and warning of a “three speed recovery”—the US and some economies on the mend, others doing well, and others, principally in Europe, in trouble—the IMF claimed that “global economic prospects have improved again.”

Nobody took much notice, however, because similar hopes have been raised at each of the spring meetings over the past several years, only to see the eruption of a new financial crisis or markedly slower than predicted growth by the end of the year.

The IMF forecast was already being declared outdated as it was delivered, with evidence of a worsening economic position in the US and slower than expected growth in China.

The divergences over so-called fiscal consolidation and debt reduction were also reflected in discussions on quantitative easing—the policy initiated by the US Federal Reserve—in which the major banks undertake purchases in bond markets to increase the supply of money. The policy featured prominently both in the public statements by central bankers and finance ministers and in their private discussions, because of the Bank of Japan’s recent decision to double the country’s money supply over the next two years in a bid to overcome deflation.

The G-20 communiqué sought to paper over the differences. It reiterated its position of last February that countries should seek to move to market-determined rates for their currencies, “refrain from competitive devaluation” and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes.

Whatever the stated public positions, the effect of quantitative easing is to push down the value of the targeted currency. This is seen most clearly in the case of the Japanese yen, which has fallen by more than 20 percent in recent months.

While the Japanese escaped official criticism—Finance Minister Taro Aso was eager to tell reporters that Japan had met with no objections at the meeting—there are growing criticisms.

South Korean Finance Minister Hyun Oh Seok said the falling yen was a “concern” and called for an orderly exit from the loose monetary policy regime.

Chinese central bank head Zhou Xiachuan, warned: “It is necessary to re-evaluate the marginal benefits and costs of such policies after multiple rounds of monetary easing. Prolonged easing could exacerbate the financial vulnerabilities and affect the stability of the international monetary system.”

German Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann, a member of the European Central Bank governing council, said: “It is clear that the longer an ultra-expansionary monetary policy is pursued, the more the risks increase.”

Commenting on the fears about where quantitative easing was heading, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said: “We certainly heard from the entire membership [of the IMF] that it is unconventional that central bankers … jumped into an unknown landscape.”

One major concern is the effect of a withdrawal of the monetary stimulus on financial markets. Ending the bond-buying program could produce a sharp drop in the value of these financial assets, prompting a rush for the exits and a rise in interest rates that could spark a further financial crisis, this time embroiling the central banks themselves.

While on 15 April the whole world was focused on the Boston marathon blasts, at least 79 people were killed, and over three hundred others injured – mostly civilians – in a series of bombings and armed attacks across Iraq.

Twenty-six car bombs were involved, as well as sixteen IED’s and four other armed attacks, all in separate incidents.

Eight car bombs exploded in different areas across Baghdad.

Another car bomb targeted the Baghdad International Airport before it was shelled by mortars.

Three more car bombs exploded in Kirkuk. Armed clashes broke out in downtown Samarra, along with a car bomb and mortar shelling.

A car bomb and two IED’s struck Baquba. An IED exploded in Fallujah. The district of Tuz Khormatu (northeast of Tikrit) experienced some of the worst violence, with the detonation of five car bombs and three IED’s.

Government forces launched a series of searches and raids in Karbala, Maysan, and Ninawa, detaining twenty-six people from Karbala, twenty-one from Maysan, and twelve from Ninawa.

The arrests were arbitrary, with flimsy charges against the suspects.

Arsonists in the Fire Department?

The two men, accused of the Boston Marathon bombings are Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed, and his younger brother Dzhokhar, who is being treated with shot wounds.

End of story? Not really.There are a number of questions that need to be answered. A police official source in Makhachkala, Dagestan, told NBC News on Sunday that the Russian internal security service reached out to the FBI last November with some questions about Tamerlan, and handed over a copy of case file on him.The FBI never responded.

In his Global Research article: “Contractors” at Boston Marathon Stood Near Bomb, Left Before Detonation, Tony Cartalucci wrote on 19 April:

“What appear to be private contractors, wearing unmarked, matching uniforms and operating an unmarked SUV affixed with communication equipment near the finish line of the Boston Marathon shortly after the bomb blasts – can be seen beforehand, standing and waiting just meters away from where the first bomb was detonated.

The contractor-types had moved away from the bomb’s location before it detonated, and could be seen just across the street using communication equipment and waiting for similar dressed and equipped individuals to show up after the blasts.”

On Thursday night 18 April a bomb exploded in a popular coffee shop in the Al Amiriya District in Western Baghdad, killing at least 27 people and wounding 51 others.

The bomb was hidden in a plastic bag and then put in the coffee house, where it detonated around 10 p.m. The device contained about two kilograms of highly explosive material.

The explosion ripped through the three-story building, which also includes an ice cream parlor on the first floor and medical offices on the second floor. The coffee shop was on the third floor.Most of those killed and hurt were young men, though four children were among the dead.

Independent investigative journalist Dan Dicks of Press For Truth produced a video detailing his interview with the Boston bombing suspects’ aunt where she identifies a naked, cuffed, clearly alive and well detainee seen in video aired by CNN, as her nephew and Boston bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan Tsarnaev would later be announced “dead,” with injuries covering his body from “head to toe.” The aunt is reportedly in fear for her life.

As an increasing number of inconsistencies and outright lies accumulate regarding the FBI’s handling of the case, protection must be provided to the suspects’ family. Members of the alternative media with the resources and the ability to provide protective watch over family members, seems a prudent measure to both protect innocent lives and to further pursue the truth.

The FBI Has Now Lied Big, TWICE

The FBI originally feigned ignorance over the identity of the two Boston bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as they appealed to an unwitting public to help them “identify” and “find” the suspects.

The Tsarnaev brothers’ family, immediately after their identities were confirmed by Boston police and the FBI, claimed that the FBI had contacted the suspects years ago and had monitored their activity for years since. The mother of the suspects claimed to Russia Today that her sons were set up by the FBI. Russia Today, in an article titled, “‘They were set up, FBI followed them for years’- Tsarnaevs’ mother to RT,” stated of the suspects’ mother:

But her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act.

She would say of the FBI to Russia Today:

“They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!”

Additionally, the suspects’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told NBC news in an article titled, “Uncle: Mentors ‘radicalized’ older Boston bombing suspect,” that:

“I strongly believe they were just puppets and executors of something of bigger scale.”

“There certainly were mentors. I was shocked when I heard his words, his phrases, when every other word he starts sticking in words of God. I question what he’s doing for work, (and) he claimed he would just put everything in the will of God. It was a big concern to me. He called me ‘confused’ when I started explaining to him, make yourself useful to yourself and to your family and maybe you’ll have extra to share with everybody else.

“It wasn’t devotion, it was something, as it’s called, being radicalized. Not understanding what he is talking (about). He is just using words for the sake of the words and not understanding the meaning of it.’’

CBS would report that the FBI would initially deny having any prior contact with the suspects. In their report, “CBS News: FBI Interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev 2 Years Ago,” CBS claimed:

CBS News reports although the FBI initially denied contacting Tsarnaev, the brothers’ mother said they had in an interview with Russia Today.

The FBI would then be forced to concede that indeed it had interviewed the suspects, in 2011, two years before the Boston bombings. Finally disclosed on April 19, 2013 in an official statement that can be found on FBI.gov the FBI would state:

The two individuals believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday have been positively identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now deceased, and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, now in custody. These individuals are brothers and residents of Massachusetts. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a legal permanent resident and Dzhokar Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Charges have not yet been filed against Dzhokar Tsarnaev and he is presumed innocent.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, age 26, was previously designated as Suspect 1, wearing a black hat. Dzhokar A. Tsarnaev, age 19, was designated as Suspect 2, wearing a white hat. Both were born in Kyrgyzstan.

Once the FBI learned the identities of the two brothers today, the FBI reviewed its records and determined that in early 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.

In response to this 2011 request, the FBI checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history. The FBI also interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and family members. The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011. The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government.

However, the case was not “closed,” as the FBI claims. It is now revealed that the “foreign government” that asked the FBI for information on Tamerlan Tsarnaev was Russia, and that Russia again contacted the FBI 6 months ago after the suspect traveled to Russia’s Caucasus region and was apparently in contact with terrorists, long-revealed to be supported, funded, and coddled by the US.

The British Daily Mail in their article titled, “Russia asked FBI to investigate bomber just 6 MONTHS ago after being spotted with ‘a militant’ on trip to Dagestan: Was it this known terrorist who Boston killer liked on YouTube?,” would state:

Speculation is growing that one of the Boston bombers met a known Jihadist terrorist in 2011 – as it emerged the FBI failed to follow up on a Russian tip that he was seen with an Islamic militant six times.

The Daily Mail would also report that:

The FBI has confirmed that Russia alerted the agency in 2011 that Tsarnaev had ties to ‘radical Islam’ groups in his homeland. Homeland Security sources have also revealed the agency received tips in 2012 about his ties to extremists connected to a Boston mosque.

The FBI is confirmed to be serial liars engaged in a coverup, revealing information about its long-standing relationship with the Boston bombing suspects only when cornered by a mounting body of evidence. Inconceivable then, that the US government and the American public have entrusted the investigation of the Boston bombings to the FBI who is clearly obstructing justice.

Now more than ever, crowd-sourced investigation must be conducting into photographs and video that may reveal the true events that transpired before and after the Boston Marathon bombings. Journalists across the alternative media must interview and draw public attention to the suspects’ family in order to protect them and bring to light any information that may reveal the true nature of the increasingly suspicious relationship the FBI had with the suspects for years prior to the bombings.

Saving the Ship – Establishment Using “Double Agents,” “Islamophobia” to “Seal Off” Compromised Operation

Already the establishment, like a ship striking an iceberg and taking on water, is racing around to compartmentalize and seal off each agency and political faction involved to keep the rest of the establishment afloat. The FBI’s attempt to feign ignorance has failed, and it appears that at least Israeli sources are trying to prepare ahead of time for revelations that may indeed reveal the suspects were working directly for the FBI.

Israel’s Debka proposes in their report, “The Tsarnaev brothers were double agents who decoyed US into terror trap,” that:

The conclusion reached by debkafile’s counterterrorism and intelligence sources is that the brothers were double agents, hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.
Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks.

A more likely explanation, however, is that the FBI led the suspects along in yet another manufactured terror attack that was allowed to go “live.” The FBI has an extensive history (see: NYT: FBI Hatches Terror Plots) of not only providing targets with weapons, explosives, vehicles and plans engineered from start to finish by undercover FBI agents, but has also allowed these operations to go “live,” as was seen in New York City in 1993 during the World Trade Center bombing.

FBI agents, according to the New York Times, were indeed overseeing the bombers that detonated a device killing six and wounding many more at the World Trade Center. In their article, “Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast,” NYT reported:

Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars.

Debka is attempting to preempt what would essentially be the revealing of the US-Saudi-Israeli international false-flag/terror racket, used to perpetuate a global hegemonic war that has produced for all those involved trillions of dollars in profits and unprecedented geopolitical preeminence. Operations where this true axis of terror is currently running, such as the ongoing sectarian bloodbath in Syria, would be endangered, if not entirely foiled, should the Boston bombings be traced directly back to an FBI false-flag operation.

Failing to spin the FBI’s involvement as either an intelligence failure or explained away by “double agents,” the faux-right is preparing to pry off the the entire faux-left, using its Islamophobia-racket to play out the “Obama the Muslim” narrative (see: “”Obama the Muslim:” Ploy to Cover-up Years of US-Al Qaeda Support“). By doing so, at least half of the establishment’s “ship” will remain afloat in the wake of revelations the US killed and horribly maimed its own citizens in a false flag operation.

While America’s political establishment appears to be divided neatly into “left” and “right” camps, in reality, a singular corporate-financier oligarchy runs a singular agenda, compartmentalized for just these sort of situations. Lies regarding “weapons of mass destruction” and a horrific 10 year war that left millions dead, maimed, displaced or otherwise effected, can be jettisoned with the Bush Administration. And while the arming and funding of Al Qaeda occurred throughout the Bush Administration, it appears that the establishment is preparing to jettison US support for Al Qaeda with the Obama Administration.

It is essential to understand and identify the corporate-financier interests that rise above partisan politics and have profited from the continued “War on Terror” under both the Bush and Obama Administrations. It is then essential to understand the key to undermining and ultimately throwing off this insidious co-opt of America, its people, and its destiny, is to boycott and replace permanently with local alternatives, the corporate-financier interests behind it.

Sudha Bharadwaj is a lawyer and a member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karkyakarta Committee). CMM was founded in 1982 by legendary union leader Shankar Guha Niyogi (assassinated in 1991), to organize beyond union issues alone. Sudha is also part of a legal collective, called Janhit, that works with movement organizations. Justin Podur interviewed her in Raipur on March 5, 2013.

Justin Podur (JP): As a lawyer and an activist, how do you see the relationship between legal work and activism?

Sudha Bharadwaj (SB): I see myself primarily as a trade unionist. I joined the union movement over twenty years ago, and it was the union that made me a lawyer. They felt that workers needed a good lawyer in their fight with the corporations. Our union is one of contract workers and has been striving to overcome divisions in the working-class. Here, workers have a close connection with the peasants. So, we believe that working with the peasants is part of unionism.

When I got to the High Court, I found that all the people’s organizations were in a similar situation. The laws that give you rights are poorly implemented. When you fight, the status quo has many legal weapons, launches malicious litigation, etc. So we have a group of lawyers now (Janhit), and we work on group legal aid, not individual legal aid. The idea is that if you help a group, that can bring about some kind of change, create some space. I’ve also gotten involved with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), for which I am the General Secretary in Chhattisgarh.

JP: Can you give examples of some of these struggles?

SB: We organize in the cement industry. One major corporation is Holcim, a Swiss multinational, that has taken over ACC and Ambuja, though these Indian corporations continue to retain their brand names. Holcim has closed down its Spanish and American plants and has come here. Why? If you look at returns on investment in this industry globally, they are 1.3 per cent. In India, they are 13 per cent. These multinationals have come here with deep pockets, and they have gotten a stranglehold over local administration – the ministers, the officers of the forest, labour, mining and pollution departments – they have that capacity.

In the cement industry, there is a Wage Board Agreement that says no contract labour can be employed in the cement industry except in loading/unloading and packing, and even then they have to get paid at the same rate as regular workers. But actually these multinational plants are using contract labour for all processes of cement production and paying paltry minimum wages, ignoring the law. When we take the struggle to the streets, they use the law against our workers. Ambuja in particular has been very vindictive. One of the leaders in the struggle spent 13 months in jail on a trumped-up charge of looting a mobile and Rs. 3500 from a Security Officer.

Look at the level of extraction. Contract workers at Ambuja get 180 Rs per day (less then $4), at ACC 200 Rs per day ($4). A permanent worker would get 700 Rs per day ($14). The Swiss worker gets 2500 Rs ($50), and the CEO gets 2.2 lakhs per day ($4400). The largest share holder Thomas Schmidheinney gets 2 crore per day ($400,000). Even getting basic labour rights is very, very tough and workers realize that the corporations are in an even more intense fight with the peasants and adivasis.

JP: And there are attempts at common struggles between workers and adivasis and peasants?

SB: There are. Our union is a member of a platform called Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan (CBA) which has mass organizations like the Adivasi Mahasabha, Bharat Jan Andolan, Gondwana Gantantra Party etc., and most importantly many small village community organizations which are fighting displacement and trying to enforce the PESA act and Forest Rights Acts because individual struggles are just being crushed. This is an election year, so we might see some gestures from Congress, to cash in on the simmering discontent, but usually the political representatives of all parties have been trying to buy off opposition. The CBA may have critical mass one day. That’s what we hoped when it was founded 2-3 years ago.

JP: I’ve been trying to understand what is happening in the forest, in Bastar.

SB: Take a look at a map of the periphery of Chhattisgarh. If you overlay maps of forests, of adivasi villages, of minerals, you’ll find almost perfect overlap. When Chhattisgarh was created in 2000, carved out of Madhya Pradesh, the first Chief Minister coined a phrase, he said it was “rich land, poor people.” In the 12 years since its creation, the people have become poorer, and more riches have been discovered in the land. This state is full of minerals – 19 per cent of India’s iron ore, 11 per cent of the coal, bauxite, limestone, all kinds of priceless minerals.

Paradoxically to understand Bastar, that is South Chhattisgarh, the place to start is north Chhattisgarh. In the north, in Raigarh, you will enter Jindal country, you’ll see Jindal everywhere. In 12 years, in Raigarh alone, 26,000 acres of agricultural land have gone for mining and plants. Where are the people supposed to go? Inequalities have intensified.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s the Maoists came into the northern district of Sarguja and were crushed. They came from Jharkhand. They redistributed some land. There were 20-25 encounter killings of their leaders, and many adivasi people are still in jail. Surguja has bauxite. It is densely forested. The forest ministry said it was pristine jungle, a ‘no-go’ area for mining. The Chhattisgarh government made it a ‘go’ zone, with a rail corridor and power plants. In one village, Premnagar, the Gram Sabha (village-level government) voted 12-15 times, saying they didn’t want a power plant, they argued it out in a reasoned manner. That is because in a Scheduled Area (tribal dominated) the Gram Sabha has sweeping powers. So the State government, by a notification, changed the Gram Panchayat into a Nagar Panchayat (municipal council) and took away its powers! This is unconstitutional, of course, but the final judgment never seems to happen and there’s no interim relief – so the land grab can proceed in the meantime. Every possible protest is thrown to the winds.

JP: What is the role of privatization in this process?

SB: Mining for companies is based on leases with land owners, not by land acquisition. Earlier leases used to only be given to the public sector, and you could not mine unless you built a plant. Now, with Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), private companies can just mine, and even if it is not for captive use. This leads to ‘dig-and-sell,’ a robber-baron kind of situation.

Kosampali village in Raigarh is surrounded by a 150ft deep Jindal mine on two sides. On the third side is the river. The people of the village have only one way out, and that land is scheduled for mining too. They are doomed to become an island.

What does the law say about this? When the mining company applies for the lease, the application asks: does the applicant have surface rights? If not, has the consent of the owner/occupier been obtained? If the answer to these questions is no, then the application should be sent back immediately to obtain those consents. But instead, the mining company writes: “consent will be obtained,” and gets through this giant loophole that says “consent may be given after lease, but before entry.” So the government comes to the rescue of the mining company. The Tehsildar (a revenue official lower in rank to the District Collector) posts notice listing out all the plots in the lease, saying – come and collect your compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act. They don’t tell people that they have a choice not to consent. Normally people take it as a fait accompli. They come and take the compensation, and their consent is then assumed. In cases where villagers take the compensation, they try to buy land in other villages, and often the local people there see them as outsiders and don’t let them settle. But the people of Kosampalli are saying, “No amount of money can compensate us if you take away these last lands for mining, because we won’t be able to live here any more.” Our legal office managed to get a stay on the mining, and it’s fixed for final hearing.

If you’re in Chhattisgarh, you should visit Jashpur district. It’s pristine forest at the moment, but the prospecting licenses cover the whole district. A whole hill and plateau atop it called Pandrapat where the Pahadi Korva primitive tribes reside is covered by bauxite mining leases. After the elections are over, mining will start, and the forest will be devastated.

JP: Talk a bit about the politics of power in this region.

SB: Janjgir-Champa, another district in the north, is a drought-prone area. The government invested in irrigation, and got 78 per cent of the district irrigated. But now there are plans for 34 power plants using that water. There are plans for 70 plants in Chhattisgarh, to produce 60,000 MW. The peak electricity requirement in the state is 2500 MW, and we already have 5000 MW capacity. So are we selling it to our neighbours? Well, Andhra Pradesh is planning for capacity of 45000 MW, Gujarat 45000 MW, Madhya Pradesh the same. So what is going on? I think it is not about power. It is for the mining. There are 200,000 acres of land allocated for these plants, 100,000 acres for mining. The water required for these plants is more than all the surface water we have, so we’re going to dig deep into the ground water.

This is a net transfer of land and minerals to the private sector. When the global financial crisis set in, multinationals have begun to come here and continue to make huge profits by collaborating with Indian corporations. So Tata will be the Indian face of Corus (a European steelmaker) when it needs iron ore. Tata has a stake in Canadian New Millennium Iron Corporation and also in Labrador Iron Mines. Foreign mining might face trouble – but if you have a great Indian company mining, no trouble.

Once you understand this pressure for mining, this pressure for land – then you can understand South Chhattisgarh, that is, Bastar.

JP: Bastar, where the Maoists are [see my book review of Maoists in India].

SB: The Naxals came to Bastar in the 1980s. The area was totally neglected. It was considered a “punishment posting” for the government officials who got posted there. Exploitation was blatant and brutal, of the forest peoples and adivasis. Many of the adivasis made their living collecting tendu leaves (used for rolling bidi cigarettes). There were huge movements to get the adivasis better prices for their tendu leaves, and the Naxals built a solid base with these movements.

By 2005, according to the Director General of Police (DGP) at the time, there were 50,000 Sangham members (unarmed members of the front organizations of the Maoists). That might even have been an underestimate. Thus there was this huge area where the Forest Department and police couldn’t go, but teachers, doctors, were allowed. It was after Salwa Judum, that violence greatly increased. And the period of Salwa Judum correlates with the MOUs and the land grab some 2200 ha were granted to Tata and a similar amount to Essar, for iron ore prospecting.

So in Bastar the state has this predicament. They want the minerals, they even want the forests a little bit for carbon credits, but they don’t want the people. In 2005, Salwa Judum starts. It’s typical strategic hamleting, moving people out of the villages and into camps. A similar approach was taken to insurgencies in the Northeast, in Mizoram and Tripura, for example. Here, they emptied 644 villages, by the government’s admission, 350,000 people. About 50,000 were brought to the camps, and today these camps still have about 10,000 people. Some fled to neighbouring states particularly Andhra Pradesh. Where are the rest? They seem to have gone even deeper into the forest, probably 200,000 people. They try to cultivate and live in the forest, but they are being treated as outlaws. This displacement has been a very violent process. There are affidavits, evidence in the “Salwa Judum” cases filed in the Supreme Court (Nandini Sundar’s case and Kartam Joga’s case). In one block alone, the Konta block, there were 500 deaths, 99 rapes, 2000 houses burned. This was a violent, state-backed vigilante movement, and was also essentially pushed back militarily by the Maoists.

The notion of a few Maoists manipulating people is a bit simplistic. Even in the newspapers, when they describe ambushes, they describe 700, or 1000 attackers at times. Getting 700 people to a rally is difficult for us in the democratic movement. If 700 people are going to war, they must be looking upon it like an adivasi or national liberation struggle. And it is the State that has forced them to choose one side or the other.

JP: I’d never heard it characterized that way.

SB: Yes, you could say it’s a tribal rebellion, backed by the Maoists, who are ideological. But many ordinary people who join it see it as the only way they can save their land.

Those of us in the democratic movement, in the PUCL, we say to the state: de-escalate the violence. Let people come back to their villages. Let there be civilian administration. Let the teachers go back. The state has moved the schools, the ration shops, even the voting machines, to the Salwa Judum camps. How can you not have rigged voting in that context?

If you, as the State, think of these people in the jungle as outlaws, you’re ultimately behaving like an occupying army. The Indian army is also here, they came a year ago. There was a rally, of 700 elected representatives, sarpanches [elected head of a village], panches, who went to the Collector and said, we don’t want army bases here, but no action seems to have been taken on their demands.

According to international law, indigenous people have the right to say no to projects on their land. In Indian law, inherited from the British, the tribal dominated areas are called Scheduled Areas. Under the British, they were called Excluded and Partially Excluded areas. They were administered directly by the Union Government, through the Governor, not by the State Legislature. So, it was understood that these areas were a special case. According to the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, the Gram Sabha is supposed to make the decisions, it is to be consulted for all developmental projects. Even under the Forest Rights Area, it is the Gram Sabha which declares and verifies rights both individual and collective. It’s supposed to be direct democracy in the tribal areas.

So we say, let it be implemented. If the adivasis, through the Gram Sabhas, say they want a freeze on MOUs, because their experience is terrible, with iron ore going to Japan for 400 Rs/ton ($8) while locals get no benefit, not to mention all the ecological damage, then you have to convince them. If it isn’t implemented, this will get worse and worse.

The government, internationally, says there is no internal armed conflict, because it doesn’t want any international involvement, no UN, no MSF, no Amnesty International eyes here. But internally, it labels the Maoists as the ‘greatest internal security threat.’

JP: Would international attention on this conflict be positive?

SB: It would be good. The Government would have to then worry about civilian casualties. They ought to have nothing to lose. Why not allow the international community to monitor the situation? If you don’t, you are all but admitting that what you really want to do is a massive ground clearing operation. When there is a virtual war going on, recognition that it is going on would be better.

There was this village, Sarkeguda. It was very strong. The villagers refused to leave when the Salwa Judum started. Finally some people were killed by the Salwa Judum, some arrested and houses burnt, so in 2006 they fled to Andhra. NGOs like Himanshu Kumar’s Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, and the Agricultural and Social Development Society (ASDS), Khamam tried to rehabilitate some of these villages as had been recommended by the NHRC. They came back in 2009 and look again at what happened on 28-29 June 2012 – another fake encounter, 17 killed, 7 of them children. Eight years after their displacement, Sarkeguda is still trying to get re-established. They are feeling like the state doesn’t want them to live there.

Young men and women fear arrest when they go to the ration shop. When they go, their rations are carefully measured so they don’t have any extra, supposedly because it would go to the Maoists. There’s this total denial of basic human needs. They justify killings with this twisted logic. Earlier 17 people were killed in a faked encounter in Singavaram. The Superintendent of Police, Rahul Sharma, was sure that someone “was or was close to Naxals” because tablets of chloroquine and a bottle of dettol were found on her person!

The government shows no interest in stopping the war through negotiation. A Maoist spokesperson who was coming forward for talks, Azad, was killed. A West Bengal Maoist leader who was in negotiation with the State Government, Kishenji, was killed. The state continues their military buildup and labels all the adivasis as Maoists. There are thousands of adivasis in jail, awaiting trial. When the police go into the jungle, they go in their hundreds, they pick up all those of a village who have not been able to run away, and bring everyone to jail. Most of these people, who speak adivasi languages and don’t speak Hindi, have no interpreters, so they lie in jail and wait for acquittal – which will come, because there is no evidence against them. But they are waiting in a Central Jail, their family can’t see them, the lawyers don’t want to, because they get their photos taken and become known as “Naxal lawyers.”

The government has this Special Public Safety Act (SPSA), which means any “aid” to the Naxals is illegal irrespective of their knowledge, or intention that they are aiding. In Bilaspur, tradespeople who sell olive green cloth are being prosecuted for “supplying Naxal uniform.” There’s a military phrase for the action of security forces in that area – “Area domination” which means “Squash them all.” It doesn’t work. What happened in Kashmir? They “rooted out the militants,” now they have boys throwing stones. There’s huge anger, and the government is not willing to come to terms with it.

In other areas, like the POSCO affected area in Odisha, people are struggling in different ways. The entire adivasi belt from North Bengal to Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh extending up to Vidharbha is seeing huge struggles for land and forests, not just Bastar. And, unless the state decides to commit genocide, which is possible, this is not going to go away.

I think it’s time to rethink “rich land, poor people.” We allow private parties to dig up the minerals, then what? Smart people don’t use up their own resources. The U.S. still has oil, even though it was discovered hundreds of years ago. We in India are going to sell away everything we have and cry afterwards, and we are going to violate all of our principles and the rights of our peoples to do it.

JP: How to resist this?

SB: As Marxists we have a notion of the State, of a system. Today the prospect of people getting their rights within the system – through the executive, judiciary, or legislature – has shrunk. The system is not working. It has to change. Now, the Maoists have a strategy, they believe in the overthrow of that system. But democrats like us, we are confused. Some of us believe that we can transform the system through elections. The Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha has a flexible approach to elections. We’re not against elections and use different methods of contesting or opposing a particular candidate or supporting a particular candidate depending on what strengthens our organization, but we don’t believe that they will change the system. In these elections where lakhs of rupees are spent even on village-level elections, and crores on MP or MLA elections, ordinary people trying to get heard among all this money is like giving a philosophy lecture in a disco. It’s ridiculous. The media is corporatized. While the media covered Anna Hazare, he had a huge movement. Then they just turned it off.

I watched how they dealt with the Occupy movement in the UK. They were frozen out, shut out of the conversation, isolated, and after some time, their tents were removed. It was a smart strategy. And the Indian state is no less smart. It’s very clever. Look in the Northeast, in Kashmir, in Bastar, in Gujarat. People are excluded, compartmentalized. We can’t get our act together.

As CMM, we refuse to remain silent on events in Bastar like the fake encounters or the adivasis languishing in jails, just to be in the good books of the State. Some people say, armed movements invite repression. But all movements invite repression. They killed our leader Comrade Shankar Guha Niyogi in 1991, and workers have died in police firings in 1977, 1984 and 1991. Today our activists face the risk of being booked under the Chhattisgarh Special Security Act for this eminently democratic work. Still, we keep trying to work legally, democratically, and do mass mobilization, express solidarities, try to widen the circle. •

Justin Podur is a Toronto-based writer and professor at York University, currently a visiting professor at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. His blog is www.killingtrain.com and twitter is www.twitter.com/justinpodur.

Waging war at home or abroad requires enemies. America creates them when none exist.

Post-9/11, Muslims were targeted for political advantage. Post-Boston bombings, America’s war on Islam continues.

Muslims are “war on terror” scapegoats. Washington’s Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia wars rage.

It’s the wrong time to be Muslims in America. They’re persecuted for their faith and ethnicity. At times it’s for their activism, prominence, and/or charity.

They’re dehumanized, spied on, set up as patsies, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, given long sentences, and treated harshly as political prisoners.

The term “Islamofascism” was popularized. Some call it Islamic radicalism or jihadism. The New Oxford American Dictionary calls it “a controversial term equating some modern Islamic movements with the European fascist movements of the early twentieth century.”

The Urban Dictionary says it “refers to the notion that Islam is not so much a religion as it is a political ideology that in many ways resembles ‘fascism.’ ”

“An Islamofascist can either be an Islamic fundamentalist, or someone who uses violence or bullying tactics to impose Islamic principles on others….”

It’s used to describe groups like Al Qaeda. In 2008, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) headlined “The Dirty Dozen – Who’s who among America’s leading Islamophobes.”

FAIR called David Horowitz its “premier promoter.” His 2007 “Islamofascism Awareness Week” attracted leading Muslim haters.

Author Robert Spencer was called a prominent Islam-basher. He publishes the “notoriously Islamophobic website” “Jihad Watch.”

Daniel Pipes founded the Middle East Forum think tank. He defends racially profiling Arab Americans. He calls their presence a “true danger” for Jews.

Michael Savage hosts “The Savage Nation.” It’s a nationally syndicated radio talk show. He relentlessly uses hateful language. He once endorsed killing a hundred million Muslims. He did so on air.

Pat Robertson calls Islam violent and irrational. It’s “not a religion,” he says. It’s a “worldwide political movement.” It’s “meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law.” It’s a “bloody, brutal type of religion.”

Others on FAIR’s list included Fox News’ Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, conservative political commentator Mark Steyn, self-styled Islamic terrorist expert Steven Emerson, conservative blogger/commentator Michelle Malkin, former Fox News host Glenn Beck, and political commentator Debbie Schlussel.

Connect the dots. The Boston bombings connect eerily to 9/11. Muslims were blamed both times. America’s war on terror targets them. It continues at home and abroad.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s a naturalized US citizen. Senators Lindsey Graham (R. SC), John McCain (R. AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R. NH), as well as Rep. Peter King (R. NY) want him held as an “enemy combatant.” They want him denied fundamental rights.

King chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. He’s also an Intelligence Committee member. He wants more surveillance. “It keeps us ahead of the terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us,” he said.

Big Brother no longer is fiction. Total surveillance is possible. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Boston, and other cities use growing numbers of video cameras.

They monitor streets, commercial areas, airports, highways, public and private transportation, shopping malls, government and  business buildings, as well as other places where people congregate, work, reside, recreate, or inhabit for any reason.

King and others want more. Drone surveillance may be expedited. Legislation authorized eye in the sky spying. Civil libertarians call all forms of surveillance an unregulated privacy threat.

In his April 20 weekly address, Obama suggested perhaps what’s coming. He called Monday’s incident “an act of terror….But in the days since….Americans refuse to be terrorized.”

“….Boston’s spirit remains undaunted. America’s spirit remains undimmed….(T)hat’s what makes us strong. That’s why we endure.”

“In the days to come, we will remain vigilant as a nation.” Expect the worst to follow.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are called Islamic terrorists.

Round-the-clock coverage pronounced guilt by accusation. What’s most important to know is suppressed. Managed news misinformation substitutes.

Both brothers were set up as patsies. One’s dead. The other’s seriously wounded. He remains hospitalized. He’s at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He’s under heavy guard.

He’ll be interrogated when able to respond. He won’t be read his Miranda rights. On April 20, the ACLU headlined a “Statement on Miranda Rights of Boston Bombings Suspect,” saying:

“The American Civil Liberties Union reacted to the apprehension of the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing and statements from federal officials that he would be questioned without being read his Miranda rights.”

“Every criminal defendant is entitled to be read Miranda rights. The public safety exception should be read narrowly. It applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is not an open-ended exception to the Miranda rule.”

“Additionally, every criminal defendant has a right to be brought before a judge and to have access to counsel. We must not waver from our tried-and-true justice system, even in the most difficult of times. Denial of rights is un-American and will only make it harder to obtain fair convictions.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights headlined “CCR Condemns Miranda Exception in Boston Marathon Suspect Case,” saying:

“The Miranda warnings were put in place because police officers were beating and torturing ‘confessions’ out of people who hadn’t even been formally accused of a crime.”

“We cannot afford to repeat our mistakes. If officials require suspects to incriminate themselves, they are making fair trials and due process merely option and not a requirement. To venture down that road again will make law enforcement accountable to no one.”

“Like Obama’s expanded killing program and his perpetuation of indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo, this is yet another erosion of the Constitution to lay directly at the President’s feet.”

“Obama’s Justice Department unilaterally expanded the ‘public safety exception’ to Miranda in 2010 beyond anything the Supreme Court ever authorized.”

“Each time the administration use this exception, it stretches wider and longer. However horrific the crime, continuing to erode constitutional rights invites continued abuse by law enforcement, and walks us down a dangerous path that becomes nearly impossible to reverse.”

Media straightaway convicted both brothers. They did so in the court of public opinion. Misreporting continues. FAIR’s Peter Hart calls it a “rush to misjudgment,” saying:

“We’ve seen reporting and commentary that talked about the Muslim or jihadist character of the bombs themselves: pressure cookers, ball bearings or nails used.”

“These are things that are not unique to al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda-inspired terror attacks.”

“We saw references to the Times Square bombing, trying to put this in the context of Islamic terror or previous instances of what the media like to refer to as Islamic terror.”

“We even saw references to the fact that two bombs were there. It must have been a follow-up attack trying to hit the rescue workers when they show up – again, a Middle Eastern trait, we’re told.”

“This is actually what the United States government has done in places like Iraq and in drone strikes in Pakistan.”

“So we have seen this rush to characterize this bombing, without necessarily saying precisely that we know who the perpetrators are, but to put it in this context.”

“And I think that creates a climate of fear and suspicion, particularly directed toward certain communities.”

“We read headlines, you know, block letters across the front page of the USA Today, the day afterwards, “Terror Has Returned.”

“This idea that the United States has not seen a terrorist attack since 9/11. This is a unique event right now.”

On April 19, Media Matters headlined “Boston And The Right-Wing Media’s Collapse,” saying:

Glenn Beck’s web site (The Blaze) got it wrong saying a Saudi national student was “absolutely involved.” He called him a “dirt bag, possibly the ringleader.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed he previously was “involved with a terrorist or terror activity.”

Media Matters said “too many players opted to just make stuff up. Prompting witch hunts, they cast innocents as would-be killers and then couldn’t be bothered with apologies.”

Murdoch’s New York Post “seemed committed to getting as many stories wrong about the Boston attack as possible.”

Before an arrest was made, CNN’s breaking news headlined “Sources: Arrest made in bombings case.” Reporter John King erroneously called him “dark-skinned.”

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous responded, saying:

“Our concern is that CNN used an overly broad, unhelpful and potentially racially inflammatory categorization to describe the potential suspect. History teaches us that too often people of color are unfairly targeted in the aftermath of acts of terrorism.”

Post-Boston bombings, media misreporting was deplorable. It didn’t surprise. “Rush to misjudgment” is commonplace. Washington Post editors headlined “In pursuit of terrorists.”

Official reports were accepted as fact. The Tsarnaev brothers were blamed. A Chechen “extremist,” “Al Qaeda” or other “foreign group” connection was suggested.

“Much as some in Washington might wish it, the war against terrorism is not over….The Tszrnaevs….may have intended more mayhem: They were reportedly carrying more bombs when they were cornered Thursday.”

Note: Media misreporting said at least older brother Tamerlan wore an explosives vest. Photos of his body showed him riddled with bullets and shrapnel head to toe. All limbs were intact. He wasn’t blown to pieces.

New York Post editors headlined “The unfinished war,” saying:

“….These have been scary days. (It was) chilling to see how successfully the suspects, Chechen Muslim immigrants, were – not just in allegedly killing people, but in instilling widespread fear, especially in the Northeast.”

“The week served as a painful reminder that this nation remains in an ongoing fight against terror – and that the homeland is still vulnerable.”

“The war on terror isn’t over. Alas, far from it.”

Boston Globe editors headlined “Boston after the bombings: a show of character,” saying:

“(L)aw-enforcement officials and political leaders….put aside turf wars and expressions of egotism to focus on the killers….”

“….Boston’s character needs no further validation. The city is strong, and getting stronger.”

Chicago Tribune editors headlined “Accomplishing….nothing,” saying:

“….Boston bombing suspects (may) have had no motivation more complex than joyful cruelty.”

“This level of preparation, though, suggests that they had some motive more sophisticated than merely marauding through the lives of innocents.”

“The Boston massacre no doubt will help authorities worldwide rethink security preparations for mass events.”

Numerous print and broadcast reports highlighted a Chechen Muslim connection. The New York Times was typical headlining “Boston Attacks Turn Spotlight on Troubled Region of Chechnya,” saying:

Possible motivations of both brothers aren’t yet known, said The Times. “Yet, with at least one brother talking of Chechen nationalism on the Internet, their reported involvement in the marathon attack throws a spotlight on one of the darkest corners of nationalist and Islamic militancy….”

“Whether the Boston bombing was tied to it is still unclear, but a generation of young Chechen men have never known a peaceful homeland (and have had) difficulties finding a place abroad.”

America’s war on terror continues. Perhaps last week’s Boston bombings advanced it. Muslims remain America’s enemy of choice. Expect Obama and Congress to take full advantage. Expect the worst of times to follow.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/americas-war-on-islam/

Chechen Terrorists and the Neocons

April 22nd, 2013 by Coleen Rowley

The revelation that the family of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings was from Chechnya prompted new speculation about the attack as Islamic terrorism. Less discussed was the history of U.S. neocons supporting Chechen terrorists as a strategy to weaken Russia, as ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley recalls.

I almost choked on my coffee listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he’s never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the U.S.; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.

Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen “terrorists” proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya’s “friends,” including former CIA Director James Woolsey.

For instance, see this 2004 article in the UK Guardian, entitled, “The Chechens’ American friends: The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own.”

Author John Laughland wrote: “the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled ‘distinguished Americans’ who are its members is a roll call of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusiastically support the ‘war on terror.’

“They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be ‘a cakewalk’; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R. James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush’s plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.”

The ACPC later sanitized “Chechnya” to “Caucasus” so it’s rebranded itself as the “American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus.”

Of course, Giuliani also just happens to be one of several neocons and corrupt politicians who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from MEK sources when that Iranian group was listed by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The money paid for these American politicians to lobby (illegally under the Patriot Act) U.S. officials to get MEK off the FTO list.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice in Wonderland is an understatement if you understand the full reality of what’s going on. But if you can handle going down the rabbit hole even further, check out prominent former New York Times journalist (and author of The Commission book) Phil Shenon’s discovery of the incredible “Terrible Missed Chance” a couple of years ago.

Shenon’s discovery involved key information that the FBI and the entire “intelligence” community mishandled and covered up, not only before 9/11 but for a decade afterward. And it also related to the exact point of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” that led to the post 9/11 DOJ-Inspector General investigation about FBI failures and also partially helped launch the 9/11 Commission investigation.

But still the full truth did not come out, even after Shenon’s blockbuster discovery in 2011 of the April 2001 memo linking the main Chechen leader Ibn al Khattab to Osama bin Laden. The buried April 2001 memo had been addressed to FBI Director Louis Freeh (another illegal recipient of MEK money, by the way!) and also to eight of the FBI’s top counter-terrorism officials.

Similar memos must have been widely shared with all U.S. intelligence in April 2001. Within days of terrorist suspect Zaccarias Moussaoui’s arrest in Minnesota on Aug. 16, 2001, French intelligence confirmed that Moussaoui had been fighting under and recruiting for Ibn al-Khattab, raising concerns about Moussaoui’s flight training.

Yet FBI Headquarters officials balked at allowing a search of his laptop and other property, still refusing to recognize that: 1) the Chechen separatists were themselves a “terrorist group” for purposes of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) legal requirement of acting “on behalf of a foreign power” and 2) that Moussaoui’s link to Ibn al Khattab inherently then linked him to bin Laden’s well-recognized Al Qaeda group for purposes of FISA (the point in my memo).

This all occurred during the same time that CIA Director George Tenet and other counter-terrorism officials — and don’t forget that Tenet was apprised of the information about Moussaoui’s arrest around Aug. 24, 2001 — told us their “hair was on fire” over the prospect of a major terrorist attack and “the system was blinking red.”

The post 9/11 investigations launched as a result of my 2002 “whistleblower memo” did conclude that a major mistake, which could have prevented or reduced 9/11, was the lack of recognition of al Khattab’s Chechen fighters as a “terrorist group” for purposes of FISA.

As far as I know, the several top FBI officials, who were the named recipients of the April 2001 intelligence memo entitled “Bin Laden/Ibn Khattab Threat Reporting” establishing how the two leaders were “heavily entwined,” brushed it off by mostly denying they had read the April 2001 memo (which explains why the memo had to be covered up as they attempted to cover up other embarrassing info).

There are other theories, of course, as to why U.S. officials could not understand or grasp this “terrorist link.” These involve the U.S.’s constant operating of “friendly terrorists,” perhaps even al Khattab himself (and/or those around him), on and off, opportunistically, for periods of time to go against “enemy” nations, i.e., the Soviet Union, and regimes we don’t’ like.

Shifting Lines

But officials can get confused when their former covert “assets” turn into enemies themselves. That’s what has happened with al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Libya and Syria, fighters who the U.S. government favored in their efforts to topple the Qaddafi and Assad regimes, respectively. These extremists are prone to turn against their American arms suppliers and handlers once the common enemy is defeated.

The same MO exists with the U.S. and Israel currently collaborating with the Iranian MEK terrorists who have committed assassinations inside Iran. The U.S. government has recently shifted the MEK terrorists from the ranks of “bad” to “good” terrorists as part of a broader campaign to undermine the Iranian government. For details, see “Our (New) Terrorists, the MEK: Have We Seen This Movie Before?”

Giuliani and his ilk engage, behind the scenes, in all these insidious operations but then blithely turn to the cameras to spew their hypocritical propaganda fueling the counterproductive “war on terror” for public consumption, when that serves their interests. Maybe this explains Giuliani’s amazement (or feigned ignorance) on Friday morning after the discovery that the family of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers was from Chechnya.

My observations are not meant to be a direct comment about the motivations of the two Boston bombing suspects whose thinking remains unclear. It’s still very premature and counterproductive to speculate on their motives.

But the lies and disinformation that go into the confusing and ever-morphing notion of “terrorism” result from the U.S. Military Industrial Complex (and its little brother, the “National Security Surveillance Complex”) and their need to control the mainstream media’s framing of the story.

So, a simplistic narrative/myth is put forth to sustain U.S. wars. From time to time, those details need to be reworked and some of the facts “forgotten” to maintain the storyline about bad terrorists “who hate the U.S.” when, in reality, the U.S. Government may have nurtured the same forces as “freedom fighters” against various “enemies.”

The bottom line is to never forget that “a poor man’s war is terrorism while a rich man’s terrorism is war” – and sometimes those lines cross for the purposes of big-power politics. War and terrorism seem to work in sync that way.

Coleen Rowley is a retired FBI agent and former chief division counsel in Minneapolis. She’s now a dedicated peace and justice activist and board member of the Women Against Military Madness.

Boston Bombers: Role of CIA in Chechen Terror

April 22nd, 2013 by Kurt Nimmo

The narrative now emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing is that the perpetrators are from Chechnya or a nearby region and the attacks are a product of Islamic terrorism.

“The Chechen jihadi network is very extensive,” the neocon Walid Phares told Fox News. “They have a huge network inside Russia and Chechnya.”

“They could well be supported by a significant international network,” warned Bush era neocon and former United Nations ambassador, John Bolton.

Fox cites the globalist Council on Foreign Relations in a report today on the Chechen connection to the alleged Boston terrorists and notes that the late Chechen warlord Ibn al-Khattab met with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Fox points to a George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute report issued in 2010 that says Chechnya is seen by “jihadi theoreticians” as place where “fighting is not only legitimate but also compulsory.” The report also claims noted Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov attempted to align the insurgency “with the global jihadist narrative” and supported the idea of an “Islamic emirate in the Caucasus.”

Fox predictably omits important facts as it works to establish a new radical Islamic threat – primarily that the so-called insurgency in Chechnya was largely a covert CIA initiative. Rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab were trained and indoctrinated in CIA sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, notes Michel Chossudovsky. Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) played a key role in organizing and training the Chechen rebel army. The ISI also played an instrumental role in supporting the Afghan Mujahideen, a Muslim paramilitary force that would eventually mature under the guiding hand of the CIA et al into the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The British MI6 asset Abu Qatada raised money for the Chechnya jihad and the notorious Finsbury Park mosque imam Abu Hamza al-Masri – an informer for two British security services in London – raised funds for both the jihad in Chechnya and bin Laden’s Darunta camp in Afghanistan.

The CIA also worked to destabilize the Balkans, a fact documented by the media in Europe but largely ignored in the United States. The effort to convert the Balkans into a “safe haven” for fanatical jihadists was aided by the CIA and the Pentagon. In 1993, CIA asset Osama bin Laden reportedly installed his number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to run the organization’s operations in the Balkans.

Despite all the evidence the United States, Britain, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia orchestrated efforts to undermine the Soviet Union – not only during its occupation of Afghanistan, but also in the Soviet Union’s Muslim states – and spread radical Sunni conflict throughout the region, we will be expected to believe brothers Anzor and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are part of a renewed effort by an international al-Qaeda to attack America. The effort by the CIA to shepherd this fanatical movement will, of course, be omitted.

This will be the narrative broadcast in the coming days by the establishment media. In response to this supposedly renewed effort by al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Chechnya, we will be expected to consent or at least passively acquiesce to the next phase of police state intrusion on our liberties.

Global Research Editor’s Note

Global Research  will be publishing a series of articles and reports with a view to promoting “Boston Truth”.  The underlying objective is  to confront and challenge the official version of events concerning the Boston bombings as well as the twisted and convoluted interpretations of the mainstream media.

We invite our readers to endorse “Boston Truth” and spread the word on social media, independent media and blog sites.  

 

Nine thousand heavily armed police including SWAT teams were deployed in a manhunt to capture a 19 year old student at U-Mass, after his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Marathon terror mastermind was shot dead by police allegedly  after a car chase and shoot out with police.

Prior to the conduct of a police investigation, the 19 year old student has already been designated as “guilty”.  The fundamental legal principle of  “innocence until proven guilty” has been scrapped. In the words of President Obama (a graduate of Harvard Law School),  the Boston 19 year old student is “guilty” of  heinous crimes (without evidence and prior to being charged in a court of law):

“Whatever hateful agenda drove these men [suspects] to such heinous acts will not, cannot, prevail. Whatever they thought they could achieve, they’ve already failed…. Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence?” (emphasis added)

Coupled with the alleged anthrax and ricin letters in Washington D.C. which mysteriously surfaced in the immediate wake of the Boston tragedy, both Washington and the media have underscored the Tsarnaev brothers tenuous ties to Chechnya’s militant jihadist insurgency.

According to the Wall Street Journal, quoting expert scholarly opinion:

 ”...the Chechen [family] background is maybe a part of what leads them [the two suspects] to do what they do,” said Lorenzo Vidino, an expert on Chechen militants at the Center for Security Studies in Zurich.” … A profile on the Russian social-networking site Vkontakte that appears to belong to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev includes a propaganda clip rallying jihadists to go to Syria to fight alongside rebels there, citing sayings from the Prophet Muhammad. [Amply documented, it just so happens that the jihadist foreign fighters in Syria are recruited by the US and its allies] (Wall Street Journal, op cit.)

What is implied is that even if the suspects are not tied to a Muslim extremist network, their embedded cultural heritage and  Muslim “background” incites them –quite naturally– to commit acts of violence.  How does this concept –which routinely associates Muslims with terrorism–  repeated ad nauseam in the Western news chain,  affect the human mindset?

While the identity and motives of the suspects are currently being examined by police investigators, the Tsarnaev brothers have already been categorized –without supporting evidence– as “Radical Muslims”.

Across the land, Muslims are being smeared and demonized.  A new wave of Islamophobia has been set in motion.

The Creation of A New Legend: “The Chechen Connection”

A new legend is unfolding: “The Chechen Connection” is threatening America. Islamism homegrown in the Russian Federation is now being “exported to America”.

Plastered on news tabloids across the United States, the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings on Patriots’ Day are relentlessly compared to September 11, 2001.

According to the Council of Foreign Relations:

Law enforcement agencies at all levels have made advances in surveillance and policing since the September 11, 2001 attacks, but security risks persist. Many counterterrorism experts call for a renewed focus on the ability of the United States to weather and recover from such incidents… (emphasis added)

Is the Boston tragedy being used by Washington to usher in a new wave of police state measures directed against different categories of “domestic terrorists?

Is this catastrophic event being applied to foster public reaction against Muslims?

Is it being used to build acceptance of America’s holy crusade –initiated during the Bush administration– directed against a number of Muslim countries, which allegedly “harbor Islamic terrorists”?

According to the powerful Council of Foreign Relations (which exerts a pervasive influence on both the White House and the State Department), the Boston bombings once again “raise the specter of terrorism on U.S. soil, highlighting the vulnerabilities of a free and open society”. (Ibid)

Counter terrorism and Martial Law –implying the suspension of civil liberties– rather than civilian law enforcement are the proposed solutions. In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, ‘‘I think it’s fair to say this entire week we’ve been in pretty direct confrontation with evil.’’

The unfolding mass media consensus (including that of Hollywood) is that America is once again under attack. This time, however, the alleged perpetrators are “Muslim terrorists” not from Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia  but from the Russian Federation:

If a connection between the marathon bombing suspects and Chechen separatists was established, it would mark the first time militants from the former Soviet republic have launched a deadly attack outside Russia. Chechen insurgents deny any link to marathon bombing – U.S. News

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“The Chechen Connection” has become embedded in a new media consensus. The American Homeland is potentially threatened by Muslim terrorists from the Russian Federation, who have links to Al Qaeda.

There is also a foreign policy agenda behind the bombings. The White House has hinted that if the “Chechen brothers” had links to radical Islam, the administration “could expand intelligence-gathering efforts overseas, as well as widen surveillance and screening measures in the United States.”

Moreover, the new terrorist narrative now involves jihadists from the Russian Federation rather than from the Middle East.

There are geopolitical implications. Will the Chechen Connection be used by the administration as a renewed pretext for pressuring Moscow? What kind of media propaganda is likely to emerge?

Al Qaeda and the CIA

The American public is misled. The media reports carefully overlook the historical origins of the Chechnya jihadist movement and its pervasive links to US intelligence.

The fact of the matter is that the jihadist movement is a creation of US intelligence, which has also led to the development of “political Islam”. While the role of the CIA in support of the Islamic jihad (including most Al Qaeda affiliated organizations) is amply documented, there is also evidence that the FBI has covertly equipped and incited would be terrorists within the US. (See James Corbett, The Boston Bombings in Context: How the FBI Fosters, Funds and Equips American Terrorists, Global Research April 17, 2013)

The CIA’s agenda starting in the late 1970s was to recruit and train jihadist “freedom fighters” (Mujahideen) to wage “a war of liberation” directed against the pro-Soviet secular government of Afghanistan.

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Jihadist Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

The “Islamic Jihad” (or holy war against the Soviets) became an integral part of the CIA’s intelligence ploy. It was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia, with a significant part of the funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade:

“In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166 … [which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies — a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987 … as well as a “ceaseless stream” of CIA and Pentagon specialists who travelled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan’s ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There, the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels.”(Steve Coll, The Washington Post, July 19, 1992.)

Mujahideen from a large number of Muslim countries were recruited by the CIA. Jihadists from the Muslim republics (and autonomous regions) of the Soviet Union were also recruited.(For further analysis see Michael Chossudovsky, Al Qaeda and the “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, January 20, 2008)

Al Qaeda and the Chechnya Jihad

Chechnya is an autonomous region of the Russian Federation.

Among the recruits for specialized training in the early 1990s was the leader of the Chechnya rebellion Shamil Basayev who –in the immediate wake of the Cold War– led Chechnya’s first secessionist war against Russia.

During his training in Afghanistan, Shamil Basayev linked up with Saudi born veteran Mujahideen Commander “Al Khattab” who had fought as a volunteer in Afghanistan. Barely a few months after Basayev’s return to Grozny, Khattab was invited (early 1995) to set up an army base in Chechnya for the training of Mujahideen fighters. According to the BBC, Khattab’s posting to Chechnya had been “arranged through the Saudi-Arabian based [International] Islamic Relief Organisation, a militant religious organisation, funded by mosques and rich individuals which channeled funds into Chechnya”.(BBC, 29 September 1999).

The evidence suggests that Shamil Basayev had links to US intelligence as of the late 1980s. He was involved in the 1991 coup d’Etat which led to the break-up of the Soviet Union. He was subsequently involved in Chechnya’s unilateral declaration of independence from the Russian Federation in November 1991. In 1992, he led an insurgency against Armenian fighters in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. He was also involved in Abkhazia, the largely Muslim breakaway region of Georgia.

The first Chechnya war (1994-1996) was waged in the immediate wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was part of a US covert operation to destabilize the Russian Federation. The Second Chechnya war was waged in 1999-2000.

Broadly speaking the same guerrilla terrorist tactics applied in Afghanistan were implemented in Chechnya. 

According to Yossef Bodansky, director of the U.S. Congress’ Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the insurgency in Chechnya had been planned during a secret summit of HizbAllah International held in 1996 in Mogadishu, Somalia. (Levon Sevunts, “Who’s Calling The Shots? Chechen conflict finds Islamic roots in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, The Gazette, Montreal, 26 October 1999.)

It’s obvious that the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in Chechnya “goes far beyond supplying the Chechens with weapons and expertise: The ISI and its radical Islamic proxies are actually calling the shots in this war.”(Ibid)

The ISI is in permanent liaison with the CIA. What this statement signifies is that US intelligence using Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) as a go-between was calling the shots in the Chechnya war.

Russia’s main pipeline route transits through Chechnya and Dagestan. Despite Washington’s condemnation of “Islamic terrorism”, the beneficiaries of the wars in Chechnya were the Anglo-American oil conglomerates which were vying for complete control over oil resources and pipeline corridors out of the Caspian Sea basin.

The two main Chechen rebel armies (which at the time were led by the (late) Commander Shamil Basayev and Emir Khattab), estimated at 35,000 strong, were supported by CIA and its Pakistani counterpart the ISI, which played a key role in organizing and training the Chechen rebel army:

“[In 1994] the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence [in liaison with the CIA] arranged for Basayev and his trusted lieutenants to undergo intensive Islamic indoctrination and training in guerrilla warfare in the Khost province of Afghanistan at Amir Muawia camp, set up in the early 1980s by the CIA and ISI and run by famous Afghani warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In July 1994, upon graduating from Amir Muawia, Basayev was transferred to Markaz-i-Dawar camp in Pakistan to undergo training in advanced guerrilla tactics. In Pakistan, Basayev met the highest ranking Pakistani military and intelligence officers: Minister of Defence General Aftab Shahban Mirani, Minister of Interior General Naserullah Babar, and the head of the ISI branch in charge of supporting Islamic causes, General Javed Ashraf (all now retired). High-level connections soon proved very useful to Basayev.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

Following his training and indoctrination stint, Basayev was assigned to lead the assault against Russian federal troops in the first Chechen war in 1995. His organization had also developed extensive links to criminal syndicates in Moscow as well as ties to Albanian organized crime and the KLA. (Vitaly Romanov and Viktor Yadukha, “Chechen Front Moves To Kosovo”, Segodnia, Moscow, 23 Feb 2000)

The Chechen insurgency modeled on the CIA sponsored jihad in Afghanistan has also served as a model for several US-NATO sponsored military interventions, including Bosnia (1992-1995), Kosovo (1999), Libya (2011), Syria (2011-  ).

Chechen Rebels: US Covert Operation to Destabilize the Russian Federation

The 1994-1996 Chechen war, instigated by the main rebel movements against Moscow, served to undermine secular state institutions. The adoption of Islamic law in the largely secular Muslim societies of the former Soviet Union served US strategic interests in the region.

A parallel system of local government, controlled by the Islamic militia, had been implanted in many localities in Chechnya. In some of the small towns and villages, Islamic Sharia courts were established under a reign of political terror.

Financial aid from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States to the rebel armies was conditional upon the installation of the Sharia courts, despite strong opposition of the civilian population. The Principal Judge and Ameer of the Sharia courts in Chechnya was Sheikh Abu Umar, who “came to Chechnya in 1995 and joined the ranks of the Mujahideen there under the leadership of Ibn-ul-Khattab. … He set about teaching Islam with the correct Aqeedah to the Chechen Mujahideen, many of whom held incorrect and distorted beliefs about Islam.” (Global Muslim News, December 1997).

The Wahabi movement from Saudi Arabia was not only attempting to overrun civilian State institutions in Dagestan and Chechnya, it was also seeking to displace the traditional Sufi Muslim leaders. In fact, the resistance to the Islamic rebels and foreign fighters in Dagestan was based on the alliance of the (secular) local governments with the Sufi sheiks:

“These [Wahabi] groups consist of a very tiny but well-financed and well-armed minority. They propose with these attacks the creation of terror in the hearts of the masses. … By creating anarchy and lawlessness, these groups can enforce their own harsh, intolerant brand of Islam. … Such groups do not represent the common view of Islam, held by the vast majority of Muslims and Islamic scholars, for whom Islam exemplifies the paragon of civilization and perfected morality. They represent what is nothing less than a movement to anarchy under an Islamic label. … Their intention is not so much to create an Islamic state, but to create a state of confusion in which they are able to thrive.( Mateen Siddiqui, “Differentiating Islam from Militant ‘Islamists’” San Francisco Chronicle, 21 September 1999)

The second Chechnya war was launched by Vladimir Putin in 1999, with a view to consolidating the role of the central government and defeating the US sponsored Chechen terrorists against the Russian Federation.

“False Flags”

The 19 year old suspect is being used as a patsy. He was not even born in Chechnya. While he and his brother had no connection to the jihadist movement, the US media is carefully crafting a “Chechen Connection” pointing to an inherent behavioral pattern associated with Muslims:

The brothers spent 10 years in the U.S. during a formative period of their lives, exhibiting normal behavior for first-generation immigrants, said Mitchell Silber, a former intelligence official in the New York Police Department. “The question is, what catalyzed the change? Was it Chechen nationalism? Did it start with Chechen nationalism and somehow migrate to a pan-Islamist jihad cause?” (Renewed Fears About Homegrown Terror Threat,” WSJ April 20, 2013)

There is evidence, however, from the testimony of family members that the Tsarnaev brothers were on the radar of the FBI for several years prior to the Boston bombings and were the object of recurrent threats and harassment. Confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, the FBI had “interviewed” Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011. (Ibid)

What is abundantly clear is that the US government is not committed to fighting terrorists.

Quite the opposite. US intelligence has been recruiting and grooming terrorists for more than thirty years, while at same time upholding the absurd notion that these terrorists, who are bona fide CIA “intelligence assets”, constitute a threat to the American Homeland.  These alleged threats by “An Outside Enemy” are part of a propaganda ploy behind the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).

What is the Truth?

The development of an Islamist terrorist militia in different countries around the World is part of an intricate US intelligence project.

While the Tsarnaev brothers are casually accused without evidence of having links to Chechen terrorists, the important question is who is behind the Chechen terrorists?

In an utterly twisted logic, the protagonists of the ‘Global War on Terrorism” directed against Muslims are the de facto architects of “Islamic terrorism.”

The “Global War on Terrorism” Mindset

The “war on terrorism” mindset builds a consensus: millions of Americans are led to believe that a militarized police apparatus is required to protect democracy. Little do they realize that the US government is the main source of terrorism both nationally and internationally.

The corporate media is Washington’s propaganda arm, which consists in portraying Muslims as a threat to national security.

At this juncture in our history, at the crossroads of global economic and social crisis, the Boston bombings play a central role. They justify the Homeland Security State.

The evolving US Police State is thereby upheld as a means to protecting civil liberties. Under the guise of counter-terrorism, extrajudicial killings, the suspension of habeas corpus and torture are rightfully considered as a means to upholding the US Constitution.

At the same time, the terrorists –created and supported by the CIA– are used to participate in “False Flag” terrorist acts with a view to justifying the conduct of a global military crusade against Muslim countries, which so happen to be major oil producing economies.

“Massive Casualty Producing Events”

Former CENTCOM Commander, General Tommy Franks, who led the invasion of Iraq in 2003, had outlined a scenario of what he described as “a massive casualty producing event” on American soil, (a Second 9/11) . Implied in General Franks statement was the notion and belief that civilian deaths were  necessary to raise awareness and muster public support for the “global war on terrorism”.

“[A] terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event.” (General Tommy Franks Interview, Cigar Aficionado, December 2003, emphasis added)

While the Boston bombings are of an entirely different nature to the “catastrophic event” alluded to by General Tommy Franks, the administration appears, nonetheless, to be committed to the logic of “militarizing our country” as a means to “protecting democracy.”

The Boston events are already being used to galvanize public support for an extended domestic based counter-terrorism apparatus. The latter would be implemented alongside extrajudicial assassinations against so-called “homegrown self radicalized terrorists”:

“U.S. counterterrorism policy has since 2001 focused largely on killing terrorists overseas or preventing them from getting into the U.S. But the Boston bombings show how the diffusion of terrorist tactics easily transcends borders. Countering small groups of individuals inside the U.S. can be a bedeviling assignment.

Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, said the Boston attack was likely a harbinger. “We are likely to see this as the future face of terrorist threats to the United States,” he said, adding that the case of a small number of radicalized participants who have lived in the U.S. and execute a plot is “the counterterrorist community’s worst nightmare, homegrown, self-radicalizing terrorism that learns its skill set off the Internet.” (WSJ, April 20, op cit)

The “terrorist massive casualty-producing event” was upheld by General Franks as a crucial political turning point.

Do the Boston Bombings constitute a point of transition, a watershed which ultimately contributes to the gradual suspension of constitutional  government?


ORDER DIRECTLY FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH

waronterrorism.jpg

 America’s “War on Terrorism”

by Michel Chossudovsky

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

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

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

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

Nestlé is Trying to Patent the Fennel Flower

April 21st, 2013 by Global Research News

Nigella sativa — more commonly known as fennel flower — has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. It treats everything from vomiting to fevers to skin diseases, and has been widely available in impoverished communities across the Middle East and Asia.

But now Nestlé is claiming to own it, and filing patent claims around the world to try and take control over the natural cure of the fennel flower and turn it into a costly private drug.

Tell Nestlé: Stop trying to patent a natural cure

In a paper published last year, Nestlé scientists claimed to “discover” what much of the world has known for millennia: that nigella sativa extract could be used for “nutritional interventions in humans with food allergy”.

But instead of creating an artificial substitute, or fighting to make sure the remedy was widely available, Nestlé is attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone using it without Nestlé’s permission. Nestlé has filed patent applications — which are currently pending — around the world.

Prior to Nestlé’s outlandish patent claim, researchers in developing nations such as Egypt and Pakistan had already published studies on the same curative powers Nestlé is claiming as its own. And Nestlé has done this before — in 2011, it tried to claim credit for using cow’s milk as a laxative, despite the fact that such knowledge had been in Indian medical texts for a thousand years.

Don’t let Nestlé turn a traditional cure into a corporate cash cow.

We know Nestlé doesn’t care about ethics. After all, this is the corporation that poisoned its milk with melamine, purchases cocoa from plantations that use child slave labor, and launched a breast milk substitute campaign in the 1970s that contributed to the suffering and deaths of thousands of babies from poor communities.

But we also know that Nestlé is sensitive to public outcry, and that it’s been beaten at the patent game before. If we act fast, we can put enough pressure on Nestlé to get it to drop its patent plans before they harm anyone — but if we want any chance at affecting Nestlé’s decision, we have to speak out now!

President delivers ‘executive verdict’ as Feds draft in Gitmo interrogators to handle 19 year old student held in custody

Rule number one for any serious crime scene or investigation is to gather all the evidence and all the testimonies first, before being able to establish criminal charges, let alone deliver any meaningful verdict.

In an extraordinary executive intervention, the President of the United States has weighed in on the Boston Bombing case – already delivering a guilty verdict for the Tsarnaev brothers.

Executive Verdict?

Barack Obama informed the nation this weekend, “Whatever hateful agenda drove these men to such heinous acts will not, cannot, prevail. Whatever they thought they could achieve, they’ve already failed.”

The President added to this conclusion,“Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence?”

Why is there such an incessant rush by the White House to quickly draw a line under this case? Does the President know something yet to be discovered by CSI investigators and witness interviewers in this case?

One reason could be the ever-growing list of unanswered questions and evidence yet to be addressed by either the FBI and law enforcement in charge of this case.

Dzhokar still only a suspect

Granted, a trial in the media is almost expected these days in America, but are we being asked to give up the expectation that the business of determining guilt should be within the jurisdiction of CSI teams, police detectives and the courts – and not within the scope of any politician’s remit? Is it the President’s role to play judge in such matters?

Despite all the patriotic rhetoric, political hype and media fanfare endured over this last week, the fundamental problem with such conclusive statements by the executive branch – is that suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev is only that – a suspect, and no actual or real forensic, or eyewitness evidence has been produced to prove that either him, or his deceased older brother were the actual bombers.

It has been confirmed that the suspect Dzhokar was not read his Miranda Rights by law enforcement. According to officials, the surviving suspect should not receive the same Constitutional rights normally offered to Americans by invoking a “public safety exception”, effectively placing him in the category of enemy combatant.

“The government has invoked the public safety exception, a designation that allows investigators to question the teen without reading him his Miranda rights and without a lawyer present, another Justice Department official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN.”

Will Dzhokar be allowed to talk?

Interestingly, we are told that 19 year old student Dzhokar may not be able talk at all, due to injuries sustained to his throat.

“The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings suffered an injury to his throat and may not be able to talk, a federal official told CNN on Saturday, possibly hindering attempts by authorities to question him about a motive in the attack.”

The health and well-being of the suspect should be of the up most importance to everyone involved. One should also note here that if this suspect is not able to tell his story in public, it would be a great loss to the American people, who might be robbed of any further evidence and insight into the actual involvement of the two Tsarnaev brother in the Boston Bombings last week.

Beyond this, if any untoward behaviour or broken procedure was done by law enforcement during the pursuit and apprehension of the two suspects, this would likely be revealed by Dzhokar’s own testimony. His inability to talk might be convenient for law enforcement, if any basic rules of engagement were broken.


PHOTO: Officials announce that Gitmo and CIA torture team on its way to handle suspect questioning.

Guantanamo interrogators assigned to suspect

If this suspect is able to talk eventually, he may have to go through a process of interrogation that is normally reserved for US detainees held at the government’s dubious offshore facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

ABC news conformed today that a team specialising in ‘enhanced interrogation’ are already on the way to conduct information extraction from the 19 year old student.

“Tsarnaev will be questioned by a federal team called the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which includes officials of the FBI, CIA, and Defense Department, an Obama administration official said.”

This development carries additional implications as to the definition of a suspect’s rights to a fair testimony and trial in the United States.

Sadly, it threatens to drag the entire torture debate back to square one again, with the obvious question rearing its old head: is any evidence or testimony gleaned through torturing a suspect even admissible in a modern court of law? The key word there being “modern”.

Rather than seize the opportunity to advance modern progress in justice and human rights – to really prove the robustness of our own justice system (yes, that one we supposedly fought and died for), the Federal jackboot, led in this instance by President Obama, has chosen to digress instead.

Meanwhile, this highly staged drama continues to unfold…

The old wounds of 911 and the cryptic calls for legalised torture have once again taken center stage in the American political discourse this week…

Seen by some as the poster children for new Senate ‘term limits’, Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain are warning against trying the surviving Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in a court of law, claiming he should be held as an “enemy combatant” instead.

They were joined in their call by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

Salon reports“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city,” the four Republicans wrote in a joint statement. “The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.

“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent,” they wrote.

McCain and Graham also praised Boston Police for invoking the Orwellian “public safety exception” which allowed them not to read any Miranda Rights to the younger Tsarnaev.

Salon also adds here: “We should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect right now that can help our nation understand how this attack occurred and what may follow in the future. That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete,” the statement said.

Congressman Peter King (R) New York has taken the opportunity of this crisis to renew old Sept 11th called for increased surveillance of Muslims in America. He is arguing, that in wake of the Boston bombings, law enforcement should increase surveillance in Muslim communities, and not to be bound by “political correctness” anymore.

Feds send for Gitmo team to interrogate Boston suspect

Sens. Graham and McCain may get their wish in full, as Obama officials announced yesterday that the 19 year old Tsarnaev will likely be questioned using  ‘enhanced interrogation’ by a federal team known as the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which includes strongmen from the FBI, CIA, and DOD.

Presently, the suspect is said to be in serious condition held at a heavily guarded Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and interestingly, unable to talk as a result of “injuries to the throat”, as Federal prosecutors await their chance to interview him.

It is not clear as yet, whether or not, or when the suspect will be allowed a lawyer present during questioning.

 

Boston Black Ops: Manufacturing Terror?

April 21st, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

What’s ongoing resembles post-9/11 events.

Fear-mongering, lies and misinformation replace truth and full disclosure. Muslims became public enemy number one. Who’ll suffer most with them this time?

Vital information is suppressed. Fingers point the wrong way. Innocent victims are blamed for state-sponsored terror. More on that below.

National emotions are aroused. At issue is enlisting public support.

Post-9/11, Bush addressed an Episcopal National Cathedral prayer and remembrance ceremony.

“(O)ur country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty,” he said. “We have seen the images of fire and ashes and bent steel.”

He omitted what’s most important. Washington bore full responsibility. The worst of all possible worlds followed.

On April 18, Obama addressed a Holy Cross Cathedral interfaith prayer service. “(I)n an instant, the day’s beauty was shattered,” he said. “A celebration became a tragedy. And so we come together to pray and mourn and measure our loss.”

“We will find you,” he added. “And yes, you will face justice. We will hold you accountable.” Truth and full disclosure always loses out.

Early Friday, newly released FBI photos showed alleged bombing suspects. They brothers. They were called “armed and extremely dangerous.” Allegedly they had “explosives and guns.” Official reports lack credibility.

One suspect was arrested. The other fled. He’s now hospitalized in serious condition. Police discovered his whereabouts and shot him. Officials later said the one taken into custody died. Allegedly he was killed in a “violent standoff.” Cold-blooded murder is more likely.

A “massive manhunt” continues. Officials said suspects came from Chechnya or nearby. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews alleged they’re Arabs. Perhaps from Yemen, he said.

Mossad-connected DEBKAfile called them “Chechen Wahhabi cell” members. Saudi Arabia funds it, it said. Older brother Tamerlan was 26. Police likely killed him in cold blood. He was a boxer and Bunker Hill Community College engineering student.

Younger brother Dzhokhar fled. He’s 19 years old. He’s a Cambridge Rindge and Latin School graduate. His father calls him a “true angel.”He’s a Greater Boston League all-star wrestler.

He won a city of Cambridge $2,500 scholarship. He’s a second year medical student. His father said both brothers were “set up.” They “killed my older son Tamerlan,” he added.

Over 10 years ago, both brothers came to America with their family. They’re not terrorists.

Officials said greater Boston public transportation shut down. The FAA ordered a no-fly zone over a 3.5 mile radius of the bombing site. Watertown, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline, Waltham, Belmont, and other suburban area residents were advised to stay home.

Colleges and universities closed for the day. Local businesses were told not to open. Thousands of officers made house-to-house searches. Swat teams are involved. Some areas were evacuated. Helicopters patrol overhead. Police cars are everywhere.

Greater Boston’s never seen anything like this before. It’s surreal. It resembles a bad film plot. It gets round-the-clock coverage. Managed news misinformation substitutes for cold hard facts.

Infowars headlined “Did Boston Bombing Suspect Try to Surrender?” An image showed him lying prone with his arms outstretched. He held no weapon. None appeared near him.

One suspect killed. Perhaps another to follow. What better way to bury truth. Dead men tell no tales. Exculpating evidence perhaps won’t surface. Media scoundrels won’t report what does.

Lots more went on. On marathon day, eyewitnesses reported bomb drills, training exercises and rooftop snipers. Authorities denied them.

University of Mobile cross country coach Alastair Stevenson contradicted them, saying:

“At the starting line this morning, they had bomb sniffing dogs and the bomb squad out there. They kept announcing to runners not to be alarmed, that they were running a training exercise.”

On April 17, Anthony Gucciardi headlined “Craft International Private Military Forces at Boston Marathon?”

Images showed two men “with earpieces and military-esque gear….(T)hey may likely be employees of the Blackwater-style private military/security firm Craft International.”

Their attire was later “revealed to be standard issue Craft International clothing.” The skull logo on one man’s cap identifies Craft.

Why were both men and others with them in Boston? Images show around 10 wearing similar attire. Nearly all had on black backpacks. They resembled those alleged to contain pressure cooker bombs.

Investigators said they contained explosives, nails and ball bearings. They detonated moments apart.

Four or more Craft operatives wore tan combat boots, tan BDUs (battle dress uniforms), black jackets, and had tactical communications gear. At least one had an “inspector radiation alert.” It’s used to detect dirty bomb or nuclear attack emissions.

Why were they near the marathon’s finish line? Perhaps their mission was a black ops. They’re experts in these type operations.

Why did FBI operatives join them? Images show them talking. An FBI truck was visible. Why were FBI agents searching for one bombing suspect before the incident took place?

These and related questions demand answers. Coverup and denial reflect official policy. Vital facts are suppressed. What’s most important isn’t reported.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/boston-black-ops-manufacturing-terror/

Who is Boston Terror Suspect Dzhojar Tsarnaev?

April 20th, 2013 by Global Research News

Global Research Editor’s Note

Suspect Tsarnaev is a 19-years old student at U-Mass. He does not have the profile of a terrorist, nor the capabilities to undertake of  a complex bombing operation in an area under close surveillance by thousands of police, national guard and security personnel.

USA Today interviewed by phone Zach Boyer, who lives in the same dorm as Tsarneev – just two doors down. (Michel. Ch.)

 

 

The following lecture was delivered at the Michigan State University (MSU) Detroit Center on April 19, 2013. This event was sponsored by the African American and African Studies Program’s Emerging Black Studies Scholars project. The audience was composed of MSU graduate students as well as their counterparts from Wayne State University, professors and community leaders. Earlier in the day Azikiwe had taken the students on a “corporate devastation tour” of sections of Detroit. Students were later debriefed on the tour during dinner prior to the lecture. 

Detroit is a city that has been in the national and world news once again. Since March, when Gov. Rick Snyder declared a so-called “financial emergency” in Detroit, therefore setting the stage for the appointment of an “Emergency Manager”, many press reports drew a direct connection between the recent corruption trial of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and businessman Bobby Ferguson. In fact just prior to Snyder’s declaration, Kilpatrick and Ferguson were found guilty of numerous corruption charges in the months-long federal trial.

Of course the corporate and government-controlled media has never focused on who are the real culprits in the underdevelopment and consequent destruction of Detroit and other majority African American municipalities in Michigan. These media entities fall back on the same notions that have prevailed inside the United States since the period of Reconstruction, i.e. that African American political leadership is inherently corrupt and inefficient rendering them incapable of managing the affairs of governments locally, statewide and nationally.

Beginning in the late 1990s the city was the focus of one of the largest swindles in the history of the U.S. Predatory lending schemes targeted African American and Latino communities in a massive profit-making project that involved the highest echelons of finance capital in collusion with the federal, state and local governments.

African Americans were deliberately lured into first home buyer and refinancing programs which the banks knew well in advance would result in massive home losses and the wholesale leveling and cleansing of neighborhood and cities. These predatory lending programs in many cases were racist in character by only providing subprime loans to African Americans and Latinos even if they qualified for what was considered as conventional mortgages.

The largest and most profitable banks and insurance companies were involved in these efforts. Even though many of the mortgage loans appeared to originate from small real estate and finance companies, over a period of time the servicing of these loans wound up with some of the oldest and well-established banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, the Royal Bank of Scotland (Charter One), Wells Fargo, The Bank of New York Mellon Trust and others.

The forces behind these fraudulent mortgage packages were so-called securitized trusts and hedge funds many of which are based on Wall Street in New York City. The mortgages were bundled up in exotic financial instruments and backed up by multi-billion dollar firms such as American International Group (AIG). Utilizing credit default swaps these trusts and funds bet on the fact that there would be monumental and unprecedented foreclosures and reaped trillions of dollars in profits based upon the failure and destruction of municipalities throughout the country.

In late 2006 and early 2007 these schemes began to unravel. Two Detroit-based attorneys associated with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) began to receive request to defend hundreds of people from eminent foreclosure.

What they discovered shortly was that people had been placed in adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) where they would start off paying a relatively manageable amount in a monthly payment only to see these installments rise precipitously over a brief period of time. Eventually the homeowner would not be able to make payments, they would fall behind and then a series of late fees and penalties would take hold leading to default, foreclosure and seizure by the banks.

Many of these foreclosures and evictions were illegal even according to the rules set out by the banks themselves. Options that should have been available to lower payments and work out agreements with the banks were disregarded in the mad rush for repossession of the homes.

It later became clear that there were greater incentives for the banks to foreclose on these borrowers than work with them to resolve the payment issues. Most of these fraudulent mortgages were insured at the inflated rates of the mortgage as opposed to the actual market rate of the properties which were rapidly declining in value. When foreclosure occurred the banks would be paid the full value plus penalties and fees by the insurers therefore making profits on both ends.

What helped fuel the predatory lending frenzy was also the false notion that property values would continue to rise in perpetuity. Lenders would tell borrowers that they could always refinance and get lower interest rates and more cash.

This of course turned out to be a big lie because as soon as the system began to unravel in 2007 and property values plunged, no lender would be willing to refinance. People were stuck with homes that were declining in value with high unreasonable mortgage payments surrounded by communities that were being destroyed through the crisis.

The Decline in Wages for African American Workers

Let us now look at some underlying factors that are clearly related to the crisis of housing in the urban areas like Detroit. Since the 1970s wages have been on the decline inside the United States.

With large scale de-industrialization in Detroit and other cities throughout Michigan, the problem of structural unemployment has become pronounced. This problem in fact goes back to the 1950s when the general myth exist of an expanding economy with a burgeoning middle class is still promoted in the mass media and popular culture.

In Detroit industrial jobs were being lost in the 1950s and 1960s as census reports document. This was taking place at the same time as the large-scale migration of African Americans into the city of Detroit was increasing when many working class and middle class whites were fleeing the city for the suburbs.

By the time of the 1967 Rebellion the decline in the city was well underway. Unemployment and underemployment was a major problem among youth in the African American community in Detroit in 1967 when approximately 40 percent of the city was black.

There was a minor recession in 1969 and in 1971, the Nixon administration embarked upon its anti-inflation program that took the U.S. off the gold standard. By 1973-74 major changes in the economic structures of the country resulted in plant closing and lay-offs.

The October 1973 Egypt-Israeli war prompted the Arab oil embargo that brought about additional shocks in the petroleum industry which resulted in price hikes and shortages in fuel. The problems of large-scale unemployment began during this period in the city of Detroit and in other industrial centers around the country.

In 1975 there was a major restructuring of the world economic system. An even greater degree of de-industrialization began to occur where millions of people were thrust into economic uncertainty and social displacement.

These developments occurred within a broader international context that had a tremendous impact on the U.S. 1975 was same year that the Vietnam War and the influence of Washington collapsed in Southeast Asia.

Also that same year the independence of Angola and Mozambique crippled a major ally of the U.S. within NATO, Portugal, whose government was plunged into crisis in Europe. These factors were compounded with the fall of the Nixon administration the year before and the revelations surrounding the role of domestic intelligence services hampered the ability of the state to exercise the degree of repression that had been common since the Cold War between 1947 and 1974.

When jobs are lost and people move from cities this impacts the tax base and the very existence of small and medium size businesses. The rate of profitability even among the large multi-national corporations declined during the mid to late 1970s therefore perpetuating the cycle of joblessness and increasing impoverishment.

In the city of Detroit the subprime mortgage phenomenon and the consequent foreclosure and eviction crisis had a compounding effect on the city’s tax base. The 2000-2010 Census figures indicate that some 237,000 people were forced out of the city of Detroit.

Many of these people were by-products of the economic devolution of the city and the country. There were 150,000 foreclosures in Detroit during this period and the simultaneous loss of jobs and the decline in real wages proved to be even more devastating to the city.

Another dimension of this crisis related to the fiscal health of the city of Detroit is the municipal finance problems that have been developing over the last decade. With the decline in tax revenue and revenue sharing from both state and federal governments, the city was forced to rely on borrowing through disadvantageous loans and bond issues.

Recently- released documents under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs has brought about the exposure of the fraudulent activity carried out by the same banks that drove nearly a quarter-of-a-million people out of the city through mortgage lending and home seizures. The use of credit default swaps in municipal finance has resulted in the complete financial ruin of the city.

The existence of $16.9 billion in long-term debt for the city of Detroit stems directly from these same bond issues and loans held by Bank of America, U.S. Bank, USB and others. The emergency manager laws, both Public Act 4, that was overturned through a statewide referendum last November, and the new law, Public Act 436, allows for EMs to tear up labor contracts and vendor agreements but does not allow the debt supposedly owed to the banks to not be paid.

In other words, the EM laws provide a pseudo-legal rationale for the dictatorship of the banks over the city. Even though the people throughout the state of Michigan voted down Public Act 4, Snyder and his cohorts in Lansing re-instituted an even worse law giving it immunity from repeal by the electorate.

Nonetheless, the existence of emergency management will not result in the improvement of city services, the advent of new jobs which pay a living wage or the empowerment of the working class and the nationally oppressed. In fact it is doing just the opposite.

Just on April 16, the Detroit City Council in a majority vote of 5-2 agreed to allow Jones Day law firm, which Kevyn Orr the EM worked for until recently, to implement a contract worth at $3.2 million to ostensibly work toward the restructuring of the debt. It is quite obvious that any restructuring will not be in the interests of the people of Detroit but to further disempower and enslave the workers and oppressed in perpetual debt and dictatorship under the financial institutions.

It was revealed in the limited debates surrounding the Jones Day contract that this law firm is involved representing the same banks that hold the municipal debt for Detroit. How can they represent the people of Detroit when they are in league with their mortal enemies?

Jones Day was involved in the Chrysler bailout and bankruptcy of 2009. Although the General Motors and Chrysler restructuring are championed by the corporate media as a success, the fact of the matter is that tens of thousands of people lost their jobs during the process including production workers and car dealerships which were closed in mass.

These small and medium-sized dealerships were not only shut down but their employees such as salespersons, clerks and mechanics were also thrown out of work. Workers who remained in production were subjected to a wage freeze even in the skill trades and the establishment of a two-tier pay structure serves only to impoverish younger workers coming in who are making half of what older workers are and in addition is designed to break down class solidarity within the unions by harboring differing wage scales between new recruits and veterans.

In Detroit since the advent of David Bing and the majority 5-to-6 right wing bloc in 2009, the city has abolished over 4,000 municipal positions. Municipal workers have been subjected to 10 to 20 percent pay cuts, benefit slashing and now are facing the possibility of having their pensions seized by the EM and his backers in the financial sector.

Mind you all of this was done absent of emergency management. When we listen to the pronouncements of the majority bloc within City Council in Detroit that they are acting with the interests of the people in mind, it only exposes the self-serving actions of this clique which is far removed from the needs of the people.

City pension funds are a source of revenue that can be taken over by the EM. Approximately $5-6 billion in these funds may be the next pot of money to be robbed from the municipal employees in order for these resources to be handed over to Wall Street.

Within the context of the discussions and reports printed by the corporate media and broadcast over the radio and television there is never any questions raised about the failure of finance capital and the federal government to create jobs and small business but to do just the opposite. Today the banks are sitting on $2 trillion in cash but will not invest in job creation because it is more profitable for these entities to invest in production and services overseas where wages are lower and benefit scales are often nonexistent.

The Plight of Detroit Within a Broader National Context

What is often projected in the corporate media as well is the notion that Detroit is the only city facing such a crisis. This could never be further from the truth because cities and suburbs throughout Michigan and the U.S. are in a similar situation.

Since Detroit is a majority African American city and has a heroic history of labor and national struggles, the tendency is to make it appear as if the people themselves through their trade unions and community organizations are the cause of the suffering, blight and debt. However, one only has to drive through suburban communities and witness some of the same problems related to home foreclosures, the closing of small businesses and the evisceration of municipal and educational services.

In various cities throughout the U.S. including Stockton and San Bernardino, California, Providence, Rhode Island, Jefferson County, Alabama, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Suffolk County, New York and others, municipalities are facing similar problems. In Stockton, which has filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, the creditors represented by the banks and bond insurers recently attempted to declare that there was no financial crisis and that the city should pay them first and disregard the pension funds and municipal employees.

The same arguments are being made throughout the U.S. The banks are setting policy for the cities by demanding and acquiring first lien on all tax dollars that should be going toward maintaining municipal services, pensions and schools.

Some fifteen years ago Detroiters were being told that the building of casinos would generate the necessary revenue that could bring the city back from the decades of decline resulting from capital flight, population decline and the erosion of the urban infrastructure. However, the situation today is represented by the fact that the banks are claiming billions in debt from the City of Detroit and consequently the financial institutions take tax revenue from the casinos which are placed with a trustee in order to pay off obligations to these same elements of capital.

The Complicity of the Federal Government in the Destruction of the Cities

The tendency of blaming local communities for their own problems often overlooks the role of the federal government in the present crisis. In regard to housing it is clear that for the last two decades the Congress and the administration has systematically worked to eradicate low-income public housing.

Most of the public housing projects which were built for people during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s have been razed. In Chicago the Robert Taylor Homes, the Ida B. Wells Homes and the Cabrini Green complexes have all been shut down and demolished.

In Detroit the Brewster Projects and the Jeffries have been torn down and replaced with housing that most poor and low-income people cannot afford. The promised new housing for the most marginalized sections of the working class has never materialized in the U.S.

Of course these projects were designed from the beginning for racist purposes. With the migration of African Americans from the rural areas of the South to the urban North and West, there was resistance to housing integration that was fostered heavily by the ruling class.

This policy served at least two purposes: they contained the African American and Latinos communities in confined geographic areas and at the same time it provided the political capacity to convince the white working class and middle class that they were somehow superior to the nationally oppressed groups due to the better conditions of residence and services they were allocated. This concerted division of the working class inside the U.S. created the conditions for the ultimate crushing of the trade unions and the evolution of a genuine people’s movement that could cut across racial lines.

Nonetheless, the dumping of millions of people with the major shift in housing policy in the 1990s exacerbated the homeless problem as well as fostered the decline of the cities through the forced remigration of African Americans back to the South and to working class suburbs surrounding the large urban areas. With removal of low-income housing, many people could not afford to live in the cities and as a result of this phenomenon it prompted the gentrification of the cities where the upper middle class and wealthy sectors were able to come in to re-occupy sections of the central cities.

The problem with these policies is that the capitalist system is in deep crisis. Consequently, the financial interests are not in a position to invest the necessary money to actually rebuild the cities in their own images.

We have seen the beginning of such programs in cities like Washington, D.C. and New York. Yet with the economic crash of 2007-2008, it has been stalled if not completely abandoned.

Any keen observer of the cities can see clearly that the crisis has manifested itself all over the country. The advent of the Sequester earlier this year will make matters worse since it is impacting the federal civil service and even homeland security.

It was announced just recently that some 300 people at the now-privatized Detroit Medical Center will be laid-off as a direct result of the Sequester. Other government programs such as Head Start which assist poor children are subjected to cuts as results of the massive budget cuts in Washington.

In regard to the problem of foreclosure and evictions the federal government is heavily responsible due to its failure to regulate the banks and to prosecute them for their fraudulent activities. Attorney General Eric Holder announced earlier this year that the banks were too big to prosecute. Five years ago the Congress and the ruling class were saying that the banks were too big to fail.

However, the people inside the U.S., particularly the oppressed African and Latino nations are being driven deeper into poverty. Neither political party is working as an advocate for these social elements within the population or the working and so-called middle classes as a whole.

There has been the establishment of various programs that are ostensibly designed to assist people facing foreclosure and eviction. Yet there is no real enforcement provision within these programs and consequently the banks have no obligation to participate.

During the height of the foreclosure crisis the federal government essentially “nationalized” the mortgage industry through the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The tax dollars of working people made good on all the so-called “toxic loans” held by the banks.

In the fall of 2008, the Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson came before the Congress with a three-page double-spaced proposal requesting over $700 billion in a bailout for the banks. The popular sentiment throughout the U.S. was to reject this proposal because: why should these banks be bailed out of the crisis when it was created by them?

The proposal was eventually adopted with the indispensable support of the Democratic Party and the-then Senator Barack Obama who was on the verge of being elected to the presidency. In addition to the bailout of the banks, the Federal Reserve Bank provided trillions in liquidity to the financial institutions buying the same type of bad assets which shielded the system from collapse.

However, nothing was ever offered to the people of the U.S. The foreclosure programs were a sham and the problems of unemployment, underemployment and increasing poverty have remained over the last five years.

Today with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in control of most mortgages in the U.S., people are now being evicted by the federal government. These entities in many cases are far worse than the banks in regard to the efforts to prevent home seizures.

Another important point in regard to the role of the federal government in the current crisis is the failure of the administration and Congress to stimulate the economy and create jobs. There are two federal laws on the books which mandate that the government steps in to generate jobs in an economic crisis: the Full Employment Act of 1946 and the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill of 1979. Nonetheless, these laws have never been enforced by Congress or any subsequent administration including Barack Obama’s.

When Obama got in office in 2009 he immediately rushed through Congress a so-called stimulus bill. According to the prevailing wisdom at the time it was designed to create at least two million jobs and jump start the national economy.

Most of the money went right back into the same hands that were responsible for the crisis. State governments utilized the funds to address the budget deficits and very few jobs were actually created.

Detroit represents an excellent example of the failure of such policies. There was confusion from the beginning as to where the stimulus money was. The administration of Dave Bing said it was being held by the state and the state said virtually nothing.

In reality the people of Detroit remained heavily unemployed, underemployed and poor. The few repairs done on the streets and roads had no sustainability since we still have the worse roads of any city in the country.

The schools continued to close and the municipal government and education system fell deeper into debt. With the advent of emergency management, despite appeals from local Democratic Party politicians and operatives, the White House and the Justice Department have remained silent on the question of the imposition of dictatorship in Detroit, the most predominately African American municipality in the U.S.

Since Obama has been in office there has not been any program designed to improve the conditions of African Americans, Latinos and other nationally oppressed groups. These groups are suffering the worse from the economic crisis with unemployment and poverty rates that are continuing to increase.

Perhaps the most egregious aspect of the failure of the federal government to address the crisis of the cities involves the role of the Pentagon and Homeland Security budgets as a mechanism for draining resources from the working people. Inside the U.S. the Defense budget has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades totaling in excess of $700 billion annually.

If the Defense budget is coupled with the Homeland Security budget, these two expenditures are well over $1 trillion per year. These are resources that could be utilized to rebuild the cities and reemploy people inside the country through national development projects that would benefit the most oppressed and marginalized segments of society.

Nevertheless, any discussion of lowering the defense and homeland security budgets is attacked as being unpatriotic and threatening the well-being of people in the country. The fact of the matter is that the overall decline in living standards in America is the direct result of the policies of Wall Street, the carrying out of unnecessary and imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Palestine, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Colombia has not only wasted trillions but have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of youth in the U.S. as well as millions in these contested geo-political regions.

After the so-called end of the Cold War during the early 1990s there was discussion about a purported peace dividend. What actually happened was that new enemies were cited as a justification for further militarization and interference in the internal affairs of peoples largely within the Global South.

Moreover, after September 11, 2001, the repressive apparatus of the state broadened its domestic focus from repressing, prosecuting and imprisoning African Americans and Latinos to carrying out the same policies towards people of Middle Eastern, South Asian descent as well as Muslims in general.

This level of repression is partly designed also to justify the wars of aggression abroad. If the state can convince people inside the U.S. that there is both a domestic as well as foreign threat then draconian laws such as the USA Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) can be passed and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and its counterparts can remain open in perpetuity.

These wars of occupation and genocide must be ended for any genuine reconstruction of the cities to take place. The acceleration today of other forms of warfare involving drones and special strike forces must be seen for what they are: the continuation of a failed attempt to exert U.S. hegemony over the majority of peoples throughout the globe.

The Detroit and Municipal Crisis Within a Global Context

These problems that exist in Detroit and throughout the U.S. are not confined to this country. All over Europe the economic crisis is worsening and it is the banks that are at the root of the decline.

The situations in Greece, Spain, Portugal and other European states perhaps mirror what will be taking place here in a very short period of time. In these Southern European states, official unemployment figures are well above 25 percent and the increase in poverty is staggering.

Even in supposedly more developed nations in Europe such as France, Britain, Germany and Belgium, conditions are worsening for working people, youth and the senior citizens. The recent bank panic in Cyprus is a reflection of the failure of the so-called bailout in Europe as well.

The European Central Bank is working like the Federal Reserve and the national government in the U.S. to make sure that the banks get paid whatever these institutions claims is owed to them by the people. In Spain the constitution of the country was changed to guarantee payment to the banks.

Africa continues to be a source of mineral wealth and cheap labor for the imperialists. The formation of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2008 has accelerated military intervention on the continent.

Part of what is driving the intervention into Africa even under the Obama administration is the efforts to block the People’s Republic of China from developing greater partnerships with the African states. The Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has been existence since 2000 holding five summits in both China and Africa. China is now the largest trading partner for the African continent.

The Obama administration announced in December that it was deploying some 3,500 troops to nearly three dozen states in Africa. The U.S. has set up drone and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) stations in several African countries.

In Libya during 2011, the U.S. led a war of regime change that resulted in the deaths of 50,000-100,000 people, the displacement of two million, and the theft of over $160 billion in national wealth. Today Libya is in chaos and this confusion and destabilization has spread to Mali where France is currently involved in another war under the guise of fighting terrorism.

These U.S. and NATO wars will continue unless there is a mass movement in the U.S. and Europe that works with the peoples of Africa to put a stop to these senseless interventions. There should be genuine partnerships developed with Africa which benefits both the peoples of the U.S. and those of the continent.

There is a world economic crisis that is worsening and it up to the current generation to not only analyze it but to organize and mobilize for its reversal. A world system based upon the needs of the people is the only real solution to the current decline.

Challenges for the Emerging Black Studies Scholars

The economic and social crises in the U.S. and the world today must be the principal focus of the Emerging Black Studies Scholars. It is up to the current generation to not only analyze these problems but to come up with solutions through engagement with the masses.

In the current period the very existence of human society is at stake. Wars and threats of war remain too real to contemplate with the proliferation of nuclear armaments and repressive governmental systems that are designed to maintain the global status-quo.

Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, the great legendary scholar and activist who lived nearly century of a life of intellectual inquiry and political struggle wrote in 1952 that “Our present economic problem stems from the fact that while production is increasingly a social process, the distribution of its results still remains largely a matter of the individual judgment of persons who happen to have the power or who seize the power to decide, and on the basis of concepts of property and income which no longer correspond to fact.” (In Battle for Peace, p. 169)

Du Bois went on to note that “The paradox which consequently upsets the labor world is that despite the indispensable co-operation of laborers, managers and capitalists, inventors and thinkers in current industry, when the results and increasingly valuable results are distributed, most of the laborers get less than is necessary for decent life, while many of the capitalists get more than is necessary for decent life, while many of the capitalists get the power to direct the use of the residue for any purpose which they choose.”

This fact of the world economic system is even more of a truth today than it was 60 years ago. The futures of the world peoples including those of the U.S. are definitely at stake with the burgeoning conflict between the ruling classes and the overwhelming majority of people on the planet.

The questions remains: will we survive and prosper or be further driven down by the one percent? The ruling class interests have nothing to offer the working people and nationally oppressed other increased exploitation, degradation and poverty.

Consequently we have no other choice than to join the forces for progress and a peaceful future without hesitation. As intellectuals we have an added commitment to work towards the genuine liberation of our people and humanity in general.

We must utilize our skills for the benefit of society. We must join existing movements for change and create new ones that address the pressing and burning issues of our times.

In actuality there is no real alternative. What we are seeing today is the decline of an economic system that has outlived its usefulness for the world and even its own social class.

This is why the ruling class today offers no solutions to national and world problems. There are no plans to end poverty, to create full-employment, to educate all babies being born and their adult counterparts, to end war, racism and national oppression.

All we need to do is to read the editorials of the leading corporate newspapers, journals and websites. All of their rhetoric and propaganda is self-serving and limited to the securing of the world’s resources and labor for the benefit of the ever-shrinking elite which lacks foresight and courage.

It is up to us to articulate a future for human society. It is our task to show the way for the eradication of social evils and the building of a world where our children and grandchildren will be proud to live in and have a positive outlook for the future.

Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Listen to the Interview with the Aunt of the Boston Bombing Suspects.

The Testimony of the Tsarnaev Brothers’ Mother as well as media reports confirm  that the two brothers were on the FBI Radar, under FBI surveillance for several years.

The Tsarnaev family had been the object of persistent harassment.

Visit Global Research at globalresearch.ca  for further coverage of  the Boston bombing. (M. Ch.)

 

It is for now. Don’t bet against it longer term. Value eventually wins out. Gold’s secular bull market continues. Experts believe it has a long way to go.

Market manipulation bears full responsibility for recent market action. A previous article explained. It called gold a global thermometer. It reflects monetary, geopolitical and economic conditions. It’s driven by supply and demand considerations.

It’s the longstanding hedge against uncertainty. It’s bought to do so against inflation, the declining value of fiat money, and disturbing global geopolitical conditions.

It has real value. It’s the ultimate safe haven. It’s been so for thousands of years. It’s track record is unmatched. ed

What goes up, goes down. On the one hand, doing so reflects normal market action. On the other, much more is involved. All markets are manipulated.

Governments, central bankers, and Wall Street collude. Manipulation is longstanding. Major players profit up or down.

Gold’s had a great run. Market analyst Richard Russell dates it from August 1999. Gold then cost $252 an ounce. It rose nearly eightfold before declining.

Russell calls it the most emotional of all investments. Some love it. Others hate it. Western central bankers and governments deplore it.

It’s real money. It’s an antidote to fiat currencies. They’re created out of thin air. Money printing madness erodes their value.

Gold stood the test of time. Russell sees it eventually selling for thousands of dollars. Currently it’s troubled. Prices could go a lot lower before rising.

Longtime investor Jim Rodgers owns gold. He’s not selling. He’s not buying more. He hasn’t hedged his position. He calls 30 – 35% corrections normal.

He expects gold prices to fall further for the “foreseeable future.” Eventually he expects them to go higher “over the decade.” His best guess low is perhaps $1,200 an ounce. Lower still wouldn’t surprise him.

From 2001 – 2007, gold rallied hugely. At the same time, the dollar plunged 41%. It’s now at a three year high. At issue is how long it holds.

QE debases dollar value. Bail-ins add more risk. Safe havens are more valued than ever. Fear drives investors to seek them. Savvy ones were stunned by the Friday and Monday selloff. Some called it unprecedented.

Momentum moves prices up and down. Manipulation drives them most. Price action is volatile. It closed the week at $1,395.60 an ounce. It could plunge again any time. Manipulators have final say. They take full advantage. They profit either way.

Economist David Rosenberg called the Friday/Monday selloff “quite a sight.” Gold mining stocks did worse. Global economic conditions look “shaky,” he said. Structural impediments “swamp vast monetary largesse.”

“Ordinarily, this should be (positive) for gold.” Its crash showed something very wrong. TV talking heads and other mainstream pundits didn’t explain.

Historical peak-to-trough declines are 32%. Rosenberg recommends not chasing the first oversold bounce. A large speculative long position needs to be unwound, he said.

At the same time, he believes the secular bull market continues. Negative sentiment adds to gold’s longer-term allure. He advises patience awaiting a buying opportunity.

Analyst Graham Summers suggests Bernanke’s worst nightmare looms. He and other central banks tried inflating their way out of debt. It’s “beginning to look like they failed.”

Copper took out its “recovery” trendline. Oil is breaking down. So is gold. The “Fed is literally running out of bullets.” Economic conditions are contracting.

“China’s recent GDP miss is just the latest in a series of economic surprises to the downside.” Stocks are “always” last to react.

The latest Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)headlined “Global Systemic Economic Crisis: The economic-political world versus financial banking interests,” saying:

“….our team has closely watched the unusual coincidence of all the market indicators collapsing….even and especially gold.”

“There is a clearance sale of paper gold which is leading the dance….We are probably at the beginning of a panic in which all speculative positions are sold off.”

Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith said “Gold Crash Signals End but End of What?”

What to do near-term isn’t simple. Past is often prologue. The early 1980s “saw a blowout and plunge over a mere three day period.” Recovery didn’t follow. Perhaps stiff headwinds remain. Who knows for sure?

Money and Markets analyst Larry Edelson called gold’s “whopping 14.7 percent” two-day plunge “historic.” It’s “NOT over.”

Expect a bounce. “(D)on’t buy into it.” Gold’s heading lower. So are silver, copper, platinum, palladium, crude oil and other commodities.

Edelson believes gold won’t bottom “until it hits major long-term support at $1,028.”

He thinks QE lost impact. Too much bad debt remains. Money printing madness can’t offset it. Austerity’s hitting hard. Confiscatory bail-in policy is most important, he believes.

It “turned the world upside down.” Money no longer is safe in Europe, America, and Canada. Perhaps it’s not anywhere.

“Panicked capital is going into hiding, but in cash and equities in the US and Japan, not in gold.”

When investors realize that America is as troubled as Europe, gold fundamentals should “flip back” to bullish. That time isn’t now. Patience brings rewards.

The late Bob Chapman strongly recommended gold and silver. He did so for safety and capital appreciation. He explained fiat currency debasement. He was a Progressive Radio News Hour regular.

He predicted an eventual dollar decline. He explained how Western central bankers and financial giants manipulate precious metals. They do so to suppress their value.

Money printing madness means eventual higher prices. Hold on, buy more and be rewarded, he recommended. He said it on air many times. It remains good advice.

Central banks are hoarding gold. According to the World Gold Council, 2012 global demand reached an all-time high. “In value terms,” it was $236.4 billion. Q IV year-over-year was 6% higher.

Central bank buying year-over-year rose 17%. Global ETF investment rose 51%.

“China and India remain the world’s gold power houses.” Central bank buying worldwide is the highest “for almost half a century.”

Zero Hedge called the gold selloff “a massive wealth transfer from our pockets to the banks.” Federal Reserve naked short selling drove prices down.

Zero Hedge explained how Wall Street does it, saying:

“(1) Amass a huge short position early in the game.

(2) Begin telling everyone to go short…to get things moving along in the right direction by sowing doubt in the minds of the longs.

(3) Begin testing the late night markets for depth by initiating mini raids (that also serve to let experienced traders know that there’s an elephant or two in the room).

(4) Wait for the right moment and then open the floodgates to dump such an overwhelming amount of paper gold and silver into the market that lower prices are the only possible result.

(5) Close their positions for massive gains and then act as if they had made a really prescient market call.

(6) Await their big bonus checks and wash, rinse, repeat at a later date.”

On April 12, turbulence began. Shock & awe naked short selling hammered prices. Gold buyers and holders were told “you are long and wrong.”

Spot prices plunged. Physical purchases rose. Large dealers ran out of coins. Fed naked shorting aims to protect dollar value. Short-term it’s working. Longer-term watch out.

Money printing madness debases dollar value. What can’t go on forever, won’t. Gold represents real value.

Why else would central banks hoard it? Savvy investors hold it. They await a major buying opportunity. It may arrive when least expected.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Do you know that there is a country up for sale? Do you know that its finance, agriculture and retail sectors are being put ‘on the market’? Perhaps you are already aware of this due to various media reports. But then again, maybe you are not because it’s all being carried out behind closed doors in Brussels. The EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA), something that could fundamentally restructure Indian society and impact the lives of hundreds of millions, is being negotiated ‘on the behalf of the public’ by politicians on both sides who are champions of the type of economic liberalisation that has already been responsible for bankrupting many Western economies.

Negotiations began in 2007, covering a wide range of areas, including various goods, products and services, as well as investment rules, government procurement; and intellectual property rights. After 16 rounds of talks, the issues are still being fine tuned. ‘Developed’ countries are resorting more and more to these types of bilateral trade agreements with individual developing countries because they want to continue to push their free trade agenda that was rejected by developing countries at the World Trade Organisation.

The EU-India FTA essentially represents the demands of big business in the West and results from their strategic hegemony over government bureaucracies and politicians. With Western economies in crisis, India represents potential ripe pickings for transnational corporations’ never ending compulsion for profit.

Kavaljit Singh of the Madhyam research institute notes that the EU wants to export its heavily subsidised dairy products to India (1). The Indian government has encouraged the co-operative model in the dairy sector with active policy protection. It therefore makes little sense that dairy trade will be opened up to unfair competition from subsidised European exports under the FTA. According to RS Sodhi, managing director of the country’s largest milk cooperative, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, the FTA will rob the vibrant domestic dairy industry and the millions of farmers that are connected to it from their rightful access to a growing market within India.

The EU has an overproduction problem in the dairy sector and is looking to dump its surplus. By dumping products in other countries, producer prices and incomes there become depressed. India’s dairy sector is mostly self sufficient and employs about 90 million people, a majority of whom are 75 million women. The sector is a lifeline for small and marginal farmers, landless poor and a significant source of income for millions of families.

Although the Indian government is saying that the dairy sector will be protected, the EU is lobbying hard to open up the sector. S Kannaiyan of the South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers movements wonders if the government can be trusted. It’s a fair point, given its obsession with foreign investment and neo-liberalism.

In general, profits for EU companies could be huge if they can dump their products in India and permanently displace local farmers and producers. In the name of ‘free trade’, the EU wants India to cut import duties, but will not alter its own massive subsidies to its agribusiness and farm sector, which means that Indian farmers will not be able to compete with EU agribusiness. Yudhvir Singh of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) says that free trade is supposed to be trade between equals, but such free trade pacts are on a completely unequal footing.

The FTA also seeks better protection for European biotechnology companies in the form of stronger intellectual property rights. On its blog, the BKU notes that this will allow European biotech firms to sell their seeds in India at any price they wish, get royalties from Indian farmers and deprive Indian farmers from saving or exchanging seeds. Indian farmers are already in debt, committing suicide en masse and suffering from the failure of expensive GMOs and unaffordable private seeds.

The EU is also demanding the liberalisation of the retail sector and is attempting to facilitate the entry of European agro-processing and retail gaints like Carrefour and Tesco, which could threaten the livelihoods of small retailers and street vendors. Nandini Jairam of the Karnataka farmers’ movement argues that the entry of such retail giants will be terrible for farmers because they will monopolise the whole food chain from procurement to distribution. In effect, farmers will be at the mercy of such large companies as they will have the power to set prices and also will not be interested to buy small quantities from small producers.

Under the FTA there are also plans to liberalise investment provisions, financial services and banking, whereby European banks and finance companies can enter the Indian market. According to the BKU, investors from the EU will get preference over resources like land, coastal areas and water rather than local people. Such provisions could serve to facilitate takeovers of farm land and conversion from food crops to export oriented cash crops.

At a time when countries across the world are reeling under a financial crisis caused by private banks, regulation and not liberalisation is needed. The proposal to liberalise the banking and insurance sectors is taking place in a world already ravaged by the criminality of the finance sector and which, according to Kavaljit Singh, by providing greater market access to crisis-ridden European banks, could potentially weaken an otherwise stable banking system in India.

Moreover, according to Singh, measures on investment could see the Indian government sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments.

Conclusion

At the heart of this whole debate is the issue of national sovereignty – or, to put it another way, self determination, self sufficiency and the nurturing of local democracy and economies in order that local people have control over their own lives and futures. The EU-India FTA appears to sound the death knell for such notions.

Since the passing of Margaret Thatcher, much has been written about the impact of the types of neo-liberal policies that she championed, not least in terms of them leading to the current crisis being experienced by Western economies. The pro-globalisation corporate interests that backed Thatcher helped destroy the post-1945 Keynesian consensus and tip the balance in favour of elite interests. This subsequently led to the depression or stagnation of wages and thus demand. The profits accrued from the subsequent debt-bubble Western economies of the 1990s and onwards could not be sustained, and now, facing crisis at home, places like India represent rich pickings for Western capitalism.

Call it ‘globalisation’ if you must, but let’s call it for what it is: imperialism. In an effort to maintain profit margins, elite concerns are going abroad to plunder public assets, exploit human labour and trample over local economies and communities. The worst thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Once India’s political leaders began to place emphasis on ‘deregulation’ and cede power to ‘the market’,  the green light was given for transnationals to hollow out Indian society.

Farmers and trade unions in India, via the alliance called the Anti FTA front, have written 872 letters to important officials, organisations and political parties about the FTA. Rakesh Tikait of the BKU argues that, although there are serious impacts on food security and the livelihood security of millions of farmers and small retailers, farmers haven’t even been informed nor consulted about the FTA.

Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) states that India should not legally commit to policies under this FTA. He believes that the government cannot seal this issue at the behest of EU while a national debate is still ongoing on the subject. It begs the question: are we to witness democracy being sidelined in the blind pursuit of a corporate driven agenda? It seems so (2).

It begs another question too: where is the logic in handing the thieves the key to your home?  

Notes

1)      http://www.globalresearch.ca/secret-negotiations-behind-closed-doors-the-eu-india-free-trade-agreement-devastating-economic-and-social-impacts/5331084

2)      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arundhati-roy/what-have-we-done-to-demo_b_301294.html

 

GR Editor’s Note:  The Testimony of the Tsarnaev Brothers’ Mother as well as media reports confirm  that the two brothers were on the FBI Radar, under FBI surveillance for several years. The Tsarnaev family had been the object of persistent harassment. (M. Ch.)

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva maintains her younger son is innocent and like so many of the brothers’ acquaintances, claims they were good, courteous kids and model students – especially the younger 19-year-old Dzhokhar.  A US citizen who is presently in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, she revealed to RT some suspicions of her own.

Grief-stricken at the latest developments in the case, Zubeidat expressed her dismay at the allegations, recounting Dzhokhar’s life in the US and talking of his status among his peers and friends: he was an honors student, loved by many of his friends and teachers. And his older brother Tamerlan was a star athlete and student, whose ambition was to one day appear on the US Olympic wrestling team.

But her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act.

They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act!Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!”

 

When asked if maybe she didn’t know about some of her sons’ more secret aspirations and dark secrets, she said “That’s impossible. My sons would never keep a secret.”

Finally, she said that if she could speak to her youngest –Dzhokhar, she would tell him, “Save your life and tell the truth, that you haven’t done anything, that this is a set up!”

In an interview with Russian television the brothers’ father Anzor Tsarnaev also claimed that they are innocent and somebody might have set them up.

I’m sure about my children, in their purity. I don’t know what happened and who did this. God knows and he will punish them,” he told Zvezda channel. “Somebody might have set them up. I don’t know who and because of their cowardice killed the boy.”

The father said he was unable to contact his sons or other relatives. “Everything is switched off. I can’t reach my brother there either. I can’t reach anyone! I just want information. Now I fear for my boy, that they will now shoot him dead and then will say ‘He had a gun’.”

I fear for my son, for his life. They should arrest him, bring him, but alive. Justice should investigate who is right and who is wrong,” he said.

Mr Tsarnaev recently spoke to his elder son, Tamerlan [Suspect #1], telling him that he should take care of his younger brother. Speaking of the Boston marathon bombing he told his son “Ok, Thanks to Allah you were not close to there and did not suffer.”

I remember I even asked “Who could do something like that?”

“We just talked. I asked him about our Dzhokhar [Suspect #2], how was he. I told him, he should help him out and keep an eye on him, so that he studies well. I told him ‘You left school, got married too early, but the kid should finish [his education]’.Because this is life – those who don’t study work a lot and work hard. That’s why I was telling them study”.

Russian ‘Alpha’ Special Forces team-veteran and vice-president of its International Association, Aleksey Filatov, believes there is more to the case than meets the eye. He emphasizes, firstly, that the origin and religious beliefs of the suspect, along with the specifics of the bombing, have all been carefully pre-meditated and planned by someone within the United States in order to distract the public from the true identity and long-term aims of the actual planners.

Putting a young Chechen in those shoes was top-notch professionalism in distracting everyone from the true identity and motives of the planner,” he told RT.

The executors were chosen to confuse the American public and simultaneously untie the White House’s hands in a way that would justify a departure from the rhetoric of non-involvement in military action on foreign territories.”

Obama: ‘The people of Massachusetts now owe federal and local law enforcement a debt of gratitude

Last night in Boston, following the apprehension of a 19 year old student suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, crowds poured on to the streets of Watertown and surrounding boroughs, celebrating what they believe was an end of their terrible ordeal which began on Monday.

In what looked more like an post-game celebration following a Boston Celtics NBA championship, or a Red Sox World Series victory  - major media reported the communal outpouring of national pride where resident could be seen with painted faces, brandishing American flags, and heard shouting “USA, USA”.

How did Friday become such a huge ‘patriotic moment’ for the people of Boston? Was this some kind of victory for America?

President Obama also emerged from ‘The Situation Room” in typical Hollywood fashion, to inform the people of New England that they “owed a debt of gratitude to federal and local law enforcement officers and officials”.

Was it really a success?

The Voice of America has called it, “A Week of Terror” in Boston.

But other than mustering en mass and on cue, many are still left asking this question of the 9,000 law enforcement, “What have they actually done so far?”

It seems that the biggest urban dragnet in US history could not manage to find the suspect, who was eventually found by a neighbor having a cigarette break.

What is obviously clear by the public reaction, and by the incessant grandstanding by a handful of officials at multiple press briefings, was that the people of Boston had been conditioned to believe that an overwhelming police and military show of force in Boston was necessary in order to ‘make them feel safe’.

For federal and local officials, this was their own personal ‘Katrina moment’, and the media circus scrum saw a number of individuals and departments almost competing for air-time in a bid to make their own corner of the crisis relevant while the national media spotlight was still fresh.  The words of former White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel can be heard echoing through Boston:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”…

The city of Boston was effectively closed down under military-style dictum that included the closure of the city MBTA public transport system, Taxis taken off the road, restricted curfews, bank closures, business closures, police taking over public areas for ‘staging’, door to door searches of homes, and something which was not reported, and unsurprisingly so, the military commandeering of Boston police scanner communications in the early hours of Friday morning. Drivers heading in and out of city arteries could see the signs which read in bright letters, “Shelter-in-place in effect in Boston”, which was an order to stay indoors.

Boy held is still only ‘a suspect’

Here another major point which seems to be lost on everyone from the President downwards – the 19 year old held in custody is still only ‘a suspect’. After the largest man-hunt in New England history, with an estimated 9,000 local and federal police, hundreds of bomb squad workers and SWAT Team marksman, anti-terror specialists and a visible contingent of heavy military vehicles – all spread throughout Boston conducting house-to-house searches, patrolling city neighborhoods – the 19 year old high school wrestling champion and University of  Massachusetts Dartmouth student fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was miraculously located only blocks from the original shoot-out on the evening of April 18th. He has since been transferred to a local hospital and is said to be in serious condition due to gun shot wounds suffered some 24 hours before.

It was a bizarre spectacle – even by American standards, where under a federal mandate, the city of Boston went into complete lock-down for nearly 2 days, enacting what amounts to Martial Law, in order to apprehend one 19 year old suspect, who, based on the assessment of every pundit on every local and major network (as well as the White House) had already been determined to be the most dangerous fugitive in US history. Even after being discovered nearly bleeding to death under a tarp covering a boat in someone’s Sommerville driveway, the feeding frenzy continued, along with accolades and tributes to the bravery of Boston’s 9,000 plus finest.

To call all of this over-the-top is an understatement for sure, but more than anything, it confirms what many already suspected – that faced with any threat – real or fabricated, and after pumping up with the corporate media machine and the new American police state,  and in a macabre sort of fashion which has become almost unique to the post-9/11 American cultural mindset – they will clamour for Martial Law in their communities. Naturally, and with this Boston example offered as clear proof, authorities, technocrat and the architects of the new American police state now know this is indeed the case.

For all this it seems, the Commander ‘n Chief felts that America owes this new over-arching Police State a “debt of gratitude”.

Who benefits?

Who benefits from this week’s events? Do the people of Boston, or the American people benefit from the events of the last few days? As the dust settles, there are a few clear beneficiaries of this regrettable incident.

MA Governor Deval Patrick took advantage of his own ”Chris Christie Moment” (of Hurricane Sandy fame in New Jersey), no doubt with his eye on a Presidential run in the future. The Boston Chief of Police Ed Davis also managed to get in front of the national media, but with very little to say… that was worth saying.

After this event, the TSA and the DHS will almost certainly be given new jurisdiction over all major professional and college sporting events, as well as any large public gatherings, festivals and concerts. In light of the recent budget sequester debate in Washington DC, you can also expect that their operating budgets will expand, which means many more billions will be awarded in federal contracts from those departments. The surveillance industry will also benefit.

In a segment which aired this morning on MSNBC’s Rock Center, a network ‘foreign affairs expert’ Richard Engel, claimed that the events of the last 48 hours somehow had serious “national security implications”. Now Americans can expect new powers, passed by law or by executive order, that will give the state increased power to spy upon their private lives and to seize their property or assets under the ever-expanding banner of national security.

Living in the American bubble

Regarding national security implications, Americans and their media experts might consider that during this week alone: Terrorist bombs killed hundreds of innocent civilians including: 75 in Iraq, in 18 in Pakistan, 35 in Somalia - with hundreds of others currently dying, injured and maimed in those countries, as well as others in Syria, Bangladesh, Mali and Thailand. Over the course of a year, these figures can be multiplied by two hundred.

It should also be pointed out to the experts and the people of Boston, that much of terrorist activity in these foreign countries has been not only fomented, but financed and at least in the case of Syria – actively supported their taxpayer dollars, and cynically used for political leverage by local, state and the White House Administration in the United States – in order to secure terror funding in the US, which has become the biggest single gravy train in US domestic history.

Suspects already tired in media

Beyond all the hype and guesswork making its way through the US super-spin cycle this week, it seems that the major stakeholders have still yet to ask for any evidence proving that these two brothers were the actual bombers. Neither of these two suspects fit anything resembling the profile of terrorist, not is it likely they would be able to execute the operation which took place last Monday.

For those who are awake to this fact, there is a lot of evidence here and here to suggest that they may not be the culprits of Monday’s Boston Marathon Bombing.


PHOTO: Tsarnaev brothers were likely set-up to take the fall by FBI or other federal officials.

More interestingly, MSNBC expert Engel also let slip on air that suspect number two, Dzhokhar, who is now in hospital care, “was probably being debriefed”. This was an odd phrase to attach to an alleged terrorist fugitive.

Unanswered Questions

There are too many question left unanswered by federal investigators and media who seem quite content to leave the story where it is right now…

Firstly, why was a Saudi national let go early on and flown to Saudi Arabia by federal authorities.

Why were the two brothers suddenly labelled as the prime suspects on Thursday replacing the previous two names being pursued by Boston police, which was immediately followed by a shoot-out… a mere coincidence, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

In addition to these four names, a completely different third set of names appeared early on Tuesday, and also disappeared the following day.

Why were security ‘contractors’ seen standing next to bombs at the finish line, only to be seen quickly leaving before the bombs detonated?

Also, why did the FBI fake the surveillance video they released two days ago of the Tsarnaev brothers?

Did older brother Tamerlan have a FBI handler before this event? The answer appears to be yes. The dead suspect mother claimed that her son was already being watched by the FBI for five years.

During an exclusive interview with RT yesterday the Tsarnaev boys’ mother explained, “He was controlled by the FBI, for three, five years”.

She added, “They knew what my son was doing, they knew what actions and what sites on the internet he was going. They used to come and talk to me, telling me that he was really a serious leader and they were afraid of him.”

Obviously, the people of Boston, and America, have not asked any of the right questions so far.

And don’t expect federal officials to challenge their own packaged story either.

Boston Bombing Suspects Were on FBI Radar for Years

April 20th, 2013 by Tony Cartalucci

The Wall Street Journal now reports that the FBI had interviewed at least one of the two Boston bombing suspects as early as 2011. In their article, “Renewed Fears About Homegrown Terror Threat,” WSJ reports that:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of the Russian government, but didn’t find evidence of suspicious activity and closed the case, an FBI official said Friday.

The fact that the FBI spoke with Mr. Tsarnaev, who was killed Friday morning in a firefight with authorities, is likely to become a focal point of the post mortem into how the attack was able to be carried out at the Boston Marathon. It also speaks to the challenge faced by authorities as terrorism morphs to some extent from the complex international plots of a decade ago to small-scale attacks carried out by individuals located within U.S.

RT would report that the mother of the suspect claimed the FBI had been monitoring her sons ever since, and led them along “every step of the way.” In an article titled, “‘They were set up, FBI followed them for years’- Tsarnaevs’ mother to RT,” it stated of the suspects’ mother:

But her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act.

Interestingly enough, the WSJ also stated that:
The profile of the Boston bombing in many ways resembles a number of the recent foiled plots, a federal law-enforcement official said. They have been small with little or no intelligence chatter, and have involved suspects who have been in the U.S. for several years and appeared to have assimilated.
What the WSJ categorically fails to mention is that these “foiled plots” were from start to finish engineered by the FBI itself, with suspects, just as Tsarnaevs’ mother had claimed of her sons, under “constant FBI surveillance,” and in fact led along every step of the way in the lead up to high-profile arrests. What is also subsequently left out by the WSJ is that during these undercover operations, real vehicles, weapons, and explosives are involved, and usually switched out for inert items right before the final attack and arrests are made.
One thing the WSJ is absolutely correct about is that the FBI’s involvement prior to the attack will become “a focal point of the post mortem into how the attack was able to be carried out at the Boston Marathon.”
While the WSJ offers nothing useful in examining that focal point, a look at the FBI’s “foiled plots” will reveal shocking implications about just how deeply the FBI may have been involved with these suspects before the bombing, shootout, and manhunt.

FBI’s History of Handing “Terror Suspects” Weapons and Live Explosives

In late September 2011, AFP reported that a man was charged with “planning to fly explosive-packed, remote controlled airplanes into the Pentagon and the Capitol in Washington.” In its report, “US man charged with Pentagon bomb plot,” AFP stated (emphasis added):

During the alleged plot, undercover FBI agents posed as accomplices who supplied Ferdaus with one remote-controlled plane, C4 explosives, and small arms that he allegedly envisioned using in a simultaneous ground assault in Washington.

However, ”the public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees,” the FBI said.

Ferdaus was arrested in Framingham, near Boston, immediately after putting the newly delivered weapons into a storage container, the FBI said.

Authorities described Ferdaus as a physics graduate from Northeastern University who followed al-Qaeda and was committed to ”violent jihad” since early last year.

In addition to explosives and “small arms,” the FBI also provided the suspect with grenades. According to FBI.gov in a release titled, “Massachusetts Man Charged with Plotting Attack on Pentagon and U.S. Capitol and Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” it stated (emphasis added):

Between May and September 2011, Ferdaus researched, ordered and acquired the necessary components for his attack plans, including one remote controlled aircraft (F-86 Sabre). This morning prior to his arrest, Ferdaus received from the UCs [undercover FBI employees] 25 pounds of (what he believed to be) C-4 explosives, six fully-automatic AK-47 assault rifles (machine guns) and grenades. In June 2011, Ferdaus rented a storage facility in Framingham, Mass., under a false name, to use to build his attack planes and maintain all his equipment.

If bombs, guns, and grenades sound strikingly familiar to the arsenal allegedly wielded by the most recent “terror suspects” the FBI admits it was in contact with since at least as early as 2011, that is because it is – the standard terror-playset the FBI provides its patsies.

In November 2010, a similar “plot” was engineered, then “disrupted,” also by the FBI – this time in Portland, Oregon. The so-called “Christmas Tree Bomber” attempted to remote detonate a van he believed was filled with explosives, provided by the FBI, before being arrested during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthhouse Square. The FBI’s official statement regarding the incident revealed that FBI agents had handled, even detonated live explosives with the entrapped suspect in Lincoln County in the lead up to the final failed bombing.

The FBI’s official statement titled, “Oregon Resident Arrested in Plot to Bomb Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Portland,” released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on November 26, 2010 stated (emphasis added):

According to the affidavit, on November 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack. Afterwards, on the drive back to Corvallis, undercover FBI operatives questioned Mohamud as to whether he was capable of looking at the bodies of those who would be killed in the upcoming attack in Portland. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”

Upon returning to Corvallis that same day, the affidavit alleges that Mohamud recorded a video of himself with the undercover FBI operatives in which he read a written statement that offered a rationale for his bomb attack. On Nov. 18, 2010, undercover FBI operatives picked up Mohamud to travel to Portland in order to finalize the details of the attack.

Earlier this evening, Mohamud was arrested after he attempted to remotely detonate what he believed to be explosives in a van that was parked near the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the affidavit alleges.

Yet another operation was carried out by the FBI in February 2012, where yet another otherwise incapable patsy was provided with live explosives in the lead up to what was ultimately a failed suicide bombing at the US Capitol. USA Today reported in their article, “FBI foils alleged suicide bomb attack on U.S. Capitol,” that (emphasis added):

According to a counterterrorism official, El Khalifi “expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times,” the Associated Press writes. During the year-long investigation, El Khalifi detonated explosives at a quarry in the capital region with undercover operatives. He is not believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, officials said.

The frightening trend of the FBI cultivating otherwise incapable “terror” suspects, providing them with and detonating real explosives, small arms and grenades before giving them inert or controlled devices to carry out attacks on public targets where mass casualties are averted only at the last possible moment, sets the stage for at the very least, incredible potential for catastrophic blunders, and at worst, false flag attacks.

But does this mean the FBI is capable of turning such operations “live,” resulting in real terror attacks and loss of life? Has the FBI ever presided over “sting operations” that were actually carried out? The answer is yes.The FBI in fact was presiding over the terrorists who carried out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The role of the FBI leading up to the deadly attack would most likely have gone unreported had an FBI informant not taped his conversations with FBI agents after growing suspicious during the uncover operation. The New York Times in their article, “Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast,” reported:

Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars.

Controlled Every Step of the Way

RT has quoted the mother of the recent Boston bombing suspects as claiming of the FBI:
They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act!

“They were controlling him, they were controlling his every step,” indeed. Posing as “extremist leaders” and leading witless patsies along, just as the FBI has done in every case regarding its previous “foiled plots,” and even successful plots, like the 1993 WTC attack, should shift America’s attention not to Chechnya or the “threat” of domestic terrorism, but the immense incompetence and/or criminality of the FBI.

As even mainstream sources concede the FBI had some sort of relationship with the Boston bombing suspects before the attack, there will be two arguments made. One, that the FBI simply doesn’t have enough authority or resources to prevent “domestic terror” attacks, and needs more still.

The other argument is that the FBI and other federal agencies have been behind every domestic terror attack or “foiled plot” for years, and constitutes the single greatest danger to the American people, both literally in terms of life and limb, and in terms of subverting and stripping away their liberty and dignity amidst a growing police state.

In turn, this would require local law enforcement to cease all cooperation with the FBI, particularly with its Joint Terror Task Force (JTTF), raid local offices and make arrests where appropriate, and fold any agents who are willing and capable, into local and state agencies. In essence, the FBI should be dismantled from top to bottom, and an alternative put in its place.

What is clear is that the Boston bombing suspects were contacted by the FBI at least as early as 2011. Between then and the attack, there is a gap where the FBI may or may not have been involved. While the FBI may have in fact been cultivating these suspects prior to the Boston bombing, they are now the very ones “investigating” the case, opening the door to the destruction of evidence, and ultimately a coverup.

As police search for the younger of the two brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings, RT spoke to the pair’s parents who are adamant about their sons’ innocence, claiming it was a set up.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva maintains her younger son is innocent and like so many of the brothers’ acquaintances, claims they were good, courteous kids and model students – especially the younger 19-year-old Dzhokhar, who is currently on the run. A US citizen who is presently in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, she revealed to RT some suspicions of her own.

Grief-stricken at the latest developments in the case, Zubeidat expressed her dismay at the allegations, recounting Dzhokhar’s life in the US and talking of his status among his peers and friends: he was an honors student, loved by many of his friends and teachers. And his older brother Tamerlan was a star athlete and student, whose ambition was to one day appear on the US Olympic wrestling team.

But her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act.

**

Tsarnaev brothers (FBI/AFP Photo)

They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act!Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!”

When asked if maybe she didn’t know about some of her sons’ more secret aspirations and dark secrets, she said “That’s impossible. My sons would never keep a secret.”

Finally, she said that if she could speak to her youngest –Dzhokhar, she would tell him, “Save your life and tell the truth, that you haven’t done anything, that this is a set up!”

 

Tsarnaev brothers (FBI/AFP Photo)

The suspects’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev

In an interview with Russian television the brothers’ father Anzor Tsarnaev also claimed that they are innocent and somebody might have set them up.

I’m sure about my children, in their purity. I don’t know what happened and who did this. God knows and he will punish them,” he told Zvezda channel. “Somebody might have set them up. I don’t know who and because of their cowardice killed the boy.”

The father said he was unable to contact his sons or other relatives. “Everything is switched off. I can’t reach my brother there either. I can’t reach anyone! I just want information. Now I fear for my boy, that they will now shoot him dead and then will say ‘He had a gun’.”

I fear for my son, for his life. They should arrest him, bring him, but alive. Justice should investigate who is right and who is wrong,” he said.

Mr Tsarnaev recently spoke to his elder son, Tamerlan [Suspect #1], telling him that he should take care of his younger brother. Speaking of the Boston marathon bombing he told his son “Ok, Thanks to Allah you were not close to there and did not suffer.”

I remember I even asked “Who could do something like that?”

“We just talked. I asked him about our Dzhokhar [Suspect #2], how was he. I told him, he should help him out and keep an eye on him, so that he studies well. I told him ‘You left school, got married too early, but the kid should finish [his education]’.Because this is life – those who don’t study work a lot and work hard. That’s why I was telling them study”.

Food Sovereignty: Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba

April 19th, 2013 by Christina Ergas

Sinan Koont, Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2011), 208 pages, $74.95, hardback.

The agricultural revolution in Cuba has ignited the imaginations of people all over the world. Cuba’s model serves as a foundation for self-sufficiency, resistance to neocolonialist development projects, innovations in agroecology, alternatives to monoculture, and a more environmentally sustainable society. Instead of turning towards austerity measures and making concessions to large international powers during a severe economic downturn, Cubans reorganized food production and worked to gain food sovereignty as a means of subsistence, environmental protection, and national security.1 While these efforts may have been born of economic necessity, they are impressive as they have been developed in opposition to a corporate global food regime.

In Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba, Sinan Koont indicates that most of the global South has lost any semblance of food sovereignty—the ability to be self-sufficient, to practice a more sustainable form of agriculture, and to direct farming toward meeting the needs of people within a country, rather than producing cash crops for export (187). The World Bank and International Monetary Fund imposed structural adjustment programs and free trade agreements on the so-called third world. These policies increased the influence of multinational corporations, such as Monsanto and Cargill, in global food production. They also encouraged large-scale monocultures, whereby food production is specialized by region for international trade. These policies threatened the national food security of countries in several interrelated ways.2

First, economically vulnerable countries are subject to the vagaries of the international marketplace, fluctuating food prices, and heavily subsidized produce from the global North that undermine the ability of the former to compete. Second, in a for-profit economic system, certain crops, like sugarcane, potato, and corn, are planted to produce biofuels, primarily ethanol, instead of food for poor populations. Rich nations that can afford to buy crops for biofuels inflate market prices for food, and when droughts or floods destroy whole harvests, then scarce food still goes to the highest bidder. Third, nations that specialize in cash crops for export must import food, increasing overall insecurity and dependency on trade networks. These nations are more vulnerable to changes in the costs of petroleum, as it influences expenses associated with transportation, fertilizers, pesticides, and the overall price of food. In countries with higher per capita incomes, increasing food costs are an annoyance for many people but not necessarily life threatening. In countries with high rates of poverty, price increases can be devastating. All of the above problems converged during the 2007–2008 food crisis that resulted in riots in Egypt, Haiti, Indonesia, Mexico, and Bangladesh, just to name a few.

People worldwide have been affected by these policies and have fought back. Some nations have taken to task corporations like Monsanto, as in the case of India’s response to genetically modified eggplant, which involved a boycott of Monsanto’s products and demands for the eradication of genetically modified foods.3 There are burgeoning local food movements, even in the United States, that despite numerous challenges attempt to produce food outside the current large-scale agricultural paradigm.4 There are also international movements that are working to change agricultural policies and practices. For example, La Vía Campesina is an international movement comprised of peasants, small-scale farmers, and their allies. Their primary goals are to stop neoliberal policies that promote oligopolistic corporate control over agriculture and to promote food sovereignty.

In conjunction with these movements, Cuba has made remarkable strides toward establishing a system of food sovereignty. One of their most notable projects in this regard is their institutionalized and organized effort to expand agroecological practices, or a system of agriculture that is based on ecological principles and environmental concerns. Cuba has largely transformed food production in order to pursue a more sustainable path. These practices are not limited to the countryside.

Cuba is the recognized leader of urban agriculture.5 As Koont highlights, the Cuban National Group for Urban Agriculture defines urban agriculture as the production of food within the urban and peri-urban perimeter, using intensive methods, paying attention to the human-crop-animal-environment interrelationships, and taking advantage of the urban infrastructure with its stable labor force. This results in diversified production of crops and animals throughout the year, based on sustainable practices which allow the recycling of waste materials (29). In 2007, urban agriculture comprised approximately 14.6 percent of agriculture in Cuba. Almost all of urban agriculture is organic.

Cuba’s environmental protections and agricultural innovations have gained considerable recognition. The 2006 Sustainability Index Report, put together by the World Wildlife Fund by combining the United Nations Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint measures (or natural resource use per capita), contends that the only nation in the world that is living sustainably is Cuba.6 The island nation is particularly lauded for its strides in urban food production.7 Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba is the first book to take a comprehensive look at this practice around the entire island.

Koont indicates that the significance of urban agriculture in Cuba is that although Cuba is not completely food self-sufficient, it is the only example the world has of a country that produces most of its food locally, employing agroecological techniques for production. Furthermore, most of the food produced is for local consumption. As a result, Cuba has one of the shortest producer-to-consumer chains in the world. In this book, Koont documents the impressive transformations that have taken place within this nation.

While Cuba imports the majority of its calories and protein, urban agriculture has increased food security and sovereignty in the area of vegetable production. In 2005, Cuba was “importing 60 percent to 70 percent of what it consumes [mostly so-called bulk foods] at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to $2 billion annually.”8 However, urban agriculture within and around Havana accounts for 60–90 percent of the produce consumed in the city and utilizes about 87,000 acres of land.9 Cubans employ various forms of urban agriculture, including gardens, reforestation projects, and small-scale livestock operations. In 2010, 75 percent of the Cuban population lived in cities—a city is defined as such if the population is in excess of 1,000 persons.10 Thus, urban food production is the most practical and efficient means to supply the population with food.

These transformations did not suddenly materialize. Koont provides a useful overview of the historical circumstances that contributed to changes in food production in Cuba. After the 1959 revolution and the subsequent imposition of the U.S. embargo, Cuba became reliant on the Soviet Union. Cubans used large-scale, industrial, monoculture to produce sugar, which was exchanged for Soviet petroleum and currency. The economy was largely tied to high-yield sugar production. In a vicious cycle, this type of agriculture required importing agrochemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and oil to run heavy machinery. In 1989, three times more arable land in Cuba was utilized to produce sugar for export than food for national consumption. Most of the Cuban diet came from imported food.11

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Cubans and their economy suffered greatly. Cubans no longer had access to the inputs required to maintain large-scale agriculture, given how dependent such agriculture is on oil. To make matters worse, the end of trade between the Soviet Bloc and Cuba resulted in a loss of access to food, which reduced Cubans’ protein intake by 30 percent.12 The system of agriculture that was in place was not sustainable or organized for self-sufficiency. Cubans refer to the ensuing period of resource scarcity as the Special Period in Peace Time. This period included shortages of food, fuel, and medicine. Faced with food scarcity and malnutrition, Cubans had to revamp their food production systems, which included collectively producing a variety of crops in the most efficient manner possible. Additionally, the necessary mission of Cuban politicians, ecologists, farmers, scientists, biologists, and farm workers was to mend the ecological cycles of interdependence that large-scale, exploitative agriculture destroyed.13

In spite of these hardships, Cuban society was equipped to contend with the ensuing crisis, given the country’s specific commitments and agroecological projects that were already in operation. The Cuban government and leadership worked to provide institutional support to re-direct food production and to enable the development of an extensive urban agricultural project. Governmental policies, following the 1959 revolution, that prioritized extending education, science, and technology served as a springboard for these new agricultural projects. First, the revolutionary government established organizations to address social problems and concerns. These organizations served as supply and distribution networks for food and centers for research that examined farmers’ traditional knowledge, continuing education programs that taught agroecological practices, distribution of technological innovations, and evaluation of existing programs and operations. Second, the government prioritized human resources and capabilities. Thus, the Cuban government invested in human capital by making education more widely available and accessible at all levels. Making use of the organizational infrastructure and investing in the Cuban people made the agroecological transition possible during the economic crisis in the early 1990s.

Koont examines how the early agroecological projects, prior to the Special Period, served as a basis for future development and expansion of the revolutionary transformation of agriculture in Cuba. Science is publicly owned and directed toward furthering human development, rather than capital accumulation. Cuba had the human resources to address food scarcity, given that they had 11 percent of the scientists in Latin America. Scientists were already experimenting with agroecology, in order to take advantage of ecological synergisms, utilizing biodiversity and biological pest control. These efforts were focused on diminishing the need for inputs such as artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Other projects included integrating animals into rotational grazing systems with crops and diversifying with polycultures. Cubans also began recycling sugarcane waste as cattle feed; the cows, in turn, excrete waste that is applied to soil as fertilizer, thereby restoring ecological interdependence. By combining manure with worm castings, Cubans were able to fertilize most of their crops organically without having to import fertilizer from long distances. Their experimentation also included creating urban organopónicos, which were constructed four years before the Soviet collapse. Organopónicos are raised beds of organic materials confined in rectangular walls where plants are grown in areas with poor soil quality. Additionally, personal household plots had long existed within urban areas.14 Altogether these experiments and projects served as the foundation to pursue greater self-sufficiency, a system of urban agriculture, and a more sustainable form of food production.

The pursuit of food sovereignty has yielded many benefits. Urban agriculture has increased food production, employment, environmental recovery and protection, and community building. Perhaps the most impressive strides are in the area of food security. In the early 1990s, during the Special Period, Cubans’ caloric intake decreased to approximately 1,863 calories a day. In the midst of food scarcity, Cuba ramped up food production. Between 1994 and 2006, Cubans increased urban output by a thousand fold, with an annual growth rate of 78 percent a year. In 2001, Cubans cultivated 18,591 hectares of urban land; in 2006, 52,389 hectares were cultivated. As a result of these efforts, the caloric intake for the population averaged 3,356 calories a day in 2005. During the economic crisis, unemployment sharply increased. However, the creation of extensive urban agricultural programs, which included centers of information and education, provided new jobs that subsumed 7 percent of the workforce and provided good wages.

Urban agriculture and reforestation projects also constituted important gains for the environment. Shifting food production away from reliance on fossil fuels and petrochemicals is better for human health and reduces the carbon dioxide emissions associated with food production. Urban reforestation projects provide sinks for air pollution and help beautify cities. Finally, local production of food decreases food miles. It also requires both local producers and consumers. Therefore, community members get to know each other and are responsible for each other through the production and consumption of food.

Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba is a detailed documentation of the agroecological transformation in Cuba. Koont delivers a significant amount of information regarding the mechanics of urban agriculture. He highlights the enabling factors of urban agriculture in Cuba, which are the government’s creation of the organizational infrastructure and their investment in human capital. He also provides an assessment of the results from urban agriculture. The results he discusses are gains made in food production, increased employment, environmental recovery and protection, and community building.

However, the majority of the book reads like a dry technical manual or guide to urban agriculture, something akin to official Cuban government documents. There are many bulleted lists throughout each chapter that outline types of crops grown, strategies, key features of urban agriculture in Cuba, collaborating organizations, evaluation criteria, tons of produce in each province, program objectives, and the lists go on. While the book contains a significant amount of information regarding process, extent, technology, education, and evaluation surrounding urban agriculture in Cuba, it does little in the way of setting up a theoretical framework and thoroughly exploring the significance of Cuba’s model of urban agriculture for the world. The introduction and the final chapter of the book are the two chapters that touch on Cuba’s relevance and implications. In addition, Koont offers minimal critical analysis of the challenges that Cubans still face in their quest for food sovereignty.

Despite these shortcomings, Koont provides a much-needed detailed account of the strides made in Cuban urban agriculture. Cuba’s example has clear implications for food sovereignty and security for the rest of the world. With the very real threat of climate change, potential energy crises, market fluctuations, worldwide droughts, or other economic and environmental problems that may force nations to relocalize food production, this example can serve as a template for future food sovereignty. We can continue to learn from Cuba as they generate new technologies and innovations in organic urban agriculture into the future. In addition, the Cuban example serves as a testament to the potential for a society’s resilience and is worth investigating not just for their innovations, but for inspiration.

Notes

  1.  Koont defines food sovereignty as “the right of each people to define their own policies concerning agriculture, to protect and regulate their national agricultural production and markets with the aim of sustainable development, to decide to what extent they want to be self-sufficient in food, and to prevent their domestic markets from being inundated with subsidized products from other countries. The emphasis is on local, ecologically sustainable production of culturally appropriate, wholesome, and nutritive foods. Thus conceived, food sovereignty incorporates the concept of food security (adequate food supplies to meet the population’s needs) and even overlaps with national security” (187). Also see Daniel Whittel and Orlando Rey Santos, “Protecting Cuba’s Environment: Efforts to Design and Implement Effective Environmental Laws and Policies in Cuba,” Cuban Studies 37 (2006): 73–103.
  2.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” See Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “World Food Summit: Rome Declaration on World Food Security,” November 13, 1996,http://fao.org.
  3.  “India Blocks Sale of Monsanto GM Crop,” February 10, 2010,http://democracynow.org.
  4.  Christina Ergas, “A Model of Sustainable Living: Collective Identity in an Urban Ecovillage,” Organization and Environment 23, no. 1 (2010): 32–54; Kathleen Masterson, “U.S. Sees More Female Farmers Cropping Up,” National Public Radio, March 30, 2011,http://npr.org.
  5.  Adriana Premat, “Moving Between the Plan and the Ground: Shifting Perspectives on Urban Agriculture in Havana, Cuba,” in Luc J. A. Mougeot, ed., Agropolis: The Social, Political and Environmental Dimensions of Urban Agriculture (Sterling, VA: Earthscan and the International Development Research Centre IDRC, 2005), 153–186.
  6.  Chris Hails, Jonathon Loh, and Steven Goldfinger, Living Planet Report 2006 (Gland, Switzerland: WWF–World Wide Fund For Nature, 2006).
  7.  Nelso Companioni, et. al., “The Growth of Urban Agriculture,” in Fernando Funes, et. al., eds., Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance (Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 2002), 220–236; Adriana Premat, “Moving Between the Plan and the Ground”; Rebecca Clausen, “Healing the Rift: Metabolic Restoration in Cuban Agriculture,” Monthly Review 59, no. 2 (2007): 40–52; Diana Raby, “Why Cuba Still Matters,” Monthly Review 60, no. 8 (2009): 1–13; Sinan Koont, “The Urban Agriculture of Havana,” Monthly Review 60, no. 8 (2009): 11–20.
  8.  “Cuba Reports Food Output Up 8.7 Percent in 2011,” February 16, 2012,http://reuters.com.
  9.  Nelso Companioni, et. al., “The Growth of Urban Agriculture”; Adriana Premat, “Moving Between the Plan and the Ground”; Sinan Koont, “The Urban Agriculture of Havana”; Diana Raby, “Why Cuba Still Matters.”
  10.  Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas (ONE) República de Cuba. “3.7 – Población Residente y Densidad de Población por Provincias, Según Zonas Urbana y Rural,” 2011,http://one.cu, accessed April 11, 2012.
  11.  Also see Sinan Koont, “The Urban Agriculture of Havana.”
  12.  Peter Rosset, “Cuba: A Successful Case Study of Sustainable Agriculture,” in Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster, and Frederick Buttel, eds., Hungry for Profit (New York: Monthly Review Press 2000), 203–213.
  13.  Also see Rebecca Clausen, “Healing the Rift.”
  14.  Ibid.
  15.  Adriana Premat, “Moving Between the Plan and the Ground.”

Although facts about the identities of the two alleged suspects of the deadly twin bombing of the Boston Marathon as well as facts surrounding the terrorist bombing, itself, changed practically minute to minute during the episode, federal, state, and municipal authorities identified the bombing suspects as two brothers hailing from a «Russian region near Chechnya». The brothers’ father lives in Dagestan.

The two were identified after one of the suspects robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a shootout with police in Watertown, a suburb of Boston. The FBI released videotape photographs of the two taken just minutes before two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring over a 100 others.

The suspect seen in FBI-released videotapes wearing a white cap was identified by authorities as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who reportedly arrived with his older brother Tamerlan, 26, with their parents as refugees from the Caucasus region of Russia. Tamerlan was identified in surveillance videos as wearing a black cap moments before the marathon bombings on Boyleston Street in downtown Boston. The brothers and their parents were reported to be legal permanent residents of the United States. Some early news reports claim the family moved to the United States ten years ago from Kyrgyzstan while other reports stated they arrived from Turkey and yet other reports suggesting it was Kazakhstan.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped after his brother was shot by police in Watertown and he remained at large at the time of this report. There were late reports of police trapping the suspect in a locked down radius within a Boston suburb with a single gunshot reported. The entire city of Boston and its suburbs was shut down with residents urged to stay inside their homes, public transportation and schools closed down, and some streets blockaded. After the robbery in Cambridge, an MIT campus officer was shot to death in his patrol car, allegedly by one of the two brothers. A Boston Transit police officer was also shot and seriously wounded. The two brothers then car-jacked a Mercedes armed with an assault rifle and holding a bag. They told the hostage driver that they were the two responsible for the bombing at the marathon.

During the subsequent shootout with police, Tamerlan Tsaraev was shot and killed by police. There were reports that during the shootout with police in Cambridge, the two threw at least one bag containing a pressure cooker bomb, the same used in the marathon bombing, at pursuing police and that it exploded.

As Boston went into lock down mode, the media’s attention shifted to a home in Montgomery Village, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where the two brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsami, reportedly lived. The brothers’ father, Anzon Tsaraev, reportedly lives in Makhachkala, Russia, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan.

There were earlier reports, all proven false, that the «white-hat» student was a Brown University, Rhode Island student who went missing in March and has been the subject of an FBI-led search. However, in what may be a coincidence, there were reports that the Brothers Tsarnaev had both been students at Brown but had dropped out.

The Chechen origin and reported military training of the two brothers raises some pointed questions about past U.S. support for the Chechen insurgency and who sponsored the brothers to live in the United States, paid for their college tuition, receive military training abroad, and paid for Tamerlan’s Wai Kru martial arts training in Boston. It is known that the late Russian-Israeli tycoon Boris Berezovsky as well as several NGOs have provided financial and logistical assistance to Chechen exiles, some of whom have been associated with Doka Umarov, the self-appointed head of the Caucasian Emirate who calls himself «Emir of the Caucasus Emirate Abu-Usman». Dukaev’s group has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist bombings in Russia, including those of a high speed Moscow-St. Petersburg train, Domodedovo International Airport, and Moscow Metro stations.

The Chechen secessionist cause also received support from the regime of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has been a leading defender of the Chechen separatists and has been vehement in denials that the Chechen movement has been infiltrated by Islamist radicals and members of Al Qaeda. McCain was also a major supporter of Libyan rebels allied with Al Qaeda and he currently supports Syrian rebels who sympathize with Al Qaeda groups.

Chechen Republic President Ramzan Kadyrov, whose name was reportedly placed on a classified portion of the U.S. Magnitsky List that bars certain Russian citizens from entry into the United States, stated that the Tsarnaev brothers had no connection to the Chechen Republic and that the family’s connections to the region dated back many years ago. In fact, some reports suggested that the father was an ethnic Russian who worked in Chechnya for a number of years.

Kadyrov’s office confirmed the Tsarnaev family spent time as refugees in Kazakhstan. The Chechen President’s press office spelled the name of the family «Tsornayev». Other reports claimed the Tsarnaev family left Dagestan in 2002. It is after that time that the story becomes murky. Some reports claim the Chechen brothers emigrated to the United States while others claim they did not arrive until 2011. However, Dzhokhar received a competitive scholarship from the city of Cambridge in 2011, an indication that he had already been in the United States for some time before 2011.

A Youtube account in the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was discovered to have posted videos associated with Salafist radicals, the Al Qaeda-linked «Black Banners of Khurusan», and Feiz Muhammad, an Australian Islamic cleric who has condemned the Harry Potter books and films. There is no actual way to determine whether the Youtube account belonged to the older Tsarnaev brother or whether it was a feint established by parties intending to link him to Islamist radicals.

The entire marathon bombing event was punctuated by the wrong suspects being identified in the media before the authorities could positively conclude the identities of the suspects. Chief media offenders were the New York Post and CNN. However, most of the media began resurrecting a slogan from the post-9/11 months: that the Boston marathon bombings represented the «new normal,» that is, that Americans should get used to the idea of living under virtual martial law with the U.S. Constitution representing nothing more than a «quaint piece of paper»…

 

Global Systemic Economic Crisis: Financial Warfare and the World of Politics

April 19th, 2013 by Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)

Update

After the deadline for this GEAB number last Saturday evening, our team has closely watched the unusual coincidence of all the market indicators’ collapsing: European, American and Asian stock exchanges, raw materials… and even and especially gold. Unfortunately we don’t have time to expand on this event but, anyway, we interpret it in line with everything we have written in this number. But where this number describes things still rather calmly, as still to come, we wonder whether these premises are not those of the collapse which we anticipated for the March to June 2013 period. Western austerity (American sequestration + the treatment of European austerity) which Chinese growth has ended up feeling with these poor numbers announced today has caused price collapse in raw materials and stock exchanges which involves a fall in banking assets, obliging the banks to close out their positions urgently to gain liquidity.

There is a clearance sale of paper gold which is leading the dance. The phenomenon is all the more remarkable as, if it were a normal speculative process, falls in one market would benefit another. We are probably at the beginning of a panic in which all speculative positions are sold off. If a 2008 style collapse is really taking place, the question is: where will the trillions which were caught up in-extremis in the financial system in 2009 come from?

Depending on the method of political anticipation, dating the cracks is carried out by identifying the high-risk periods during which the slightest spark lights the powder-keg.

The current period is a typical example where an impressive number of explosive factors are combining: new financial bubbles inflated by massive injections of public money, worldwide geopolitical instability, currency wars, the beginning of the political war against “financial terrorism”, political crisis in Europe, massive unemployment and a damaged real economy, not counting of course public debt which is at its highest.

It’s such a concurrence of factors that it raises the miracle that this situation carries on. We analyzed the reasons in the GEAB n°71, in particular the shared interest in keeping the United States on artificial respiration and the central banks’ disproportionate generosity. This last aspect has moved up a level with the Bank of Japan’s policy which this time, far from reducing the level of risk, on the contrary has amplified it as we explain below, and is an example of the headlong flight which serves as current policy for certain countries lacking solutions and which the GEAB readers know well: Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Our team thus estimates that a new step in the system’s instability has been taken. Moreover, several discordant notes have just pierced the deafening silence jealously imposed by the financial world on the true situation, like the sudden “surprise” damage to all the supposed macro-economic indicators meant to reflect the “recovery”: United States (1), Canadian (2) and Australian employment (3), confidence numbers (4), computer (5) and mobile ‘phone sales (6), Chinese exports (7), BRICS countries’ car sales (8), etc.

 

US total retail gasoline sales. Source : EIA

US total retail gasoline sales. Source : EIA

The Cypriot crisis is also a good refresher course. The turmoil generated by this tiny island, even though outside the dollar zone’s world financial core, gives a foretaste of what will happen when a central knot of the system is let go. Because whilst Europe is laboriously bandaging its wounds gradually, on the contrary the “US zone” is increasingly miring itself in the processes responsible for the crisis, as if choosing a higher diving board above a swimming pool without water would make the shock less painful.

In this issue, we present the first two of the six points in the full analysis :

THE CRISIS SQUARED OR THE HEADLONG « POLITICAL » FLIGHT

“Building a new crisis on the existing one” seems to be the objective of politicians in Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Like these financial products which exploded in mid-air in 2008, “CDO squared” (9) are complex structures on complex structures (CDOs on CDOs) aiming to dilute the risk but actually exacerbating it, the headlong flight lead in these countries builds a kind of “crisis squared”, a new crisis on the 2008 crisis. They claim to be putting out the fire by watering it, without realizing that it’s not water but petrol which they are using.

So, from the Bank of Japan which reveals its Japanese debt repurchase plan (10) making Ben Bernanke and his QE3 green with envy. If it were not that Japan has had a painful past on this issue, we would say that the atomic weapon has been armed and that the risks of a slip are immense, with consequences at the same level as the fire power. In fact, until now the enormous Japanese debt was supportable because of very low Treasury bond interest rates, about 0.5%. Investors, mainly national institutions, accepted these poor returns because inflation was negative, about -0.5%, thus giving a real return of around 1%. But tensions are already appearing, such as the largest Japanese and global pension funds threatening to exit Japanese bonds (11).

 

5 year Japanese Governement Bonds. Source : ZeroHedge / Bloomberg

5 year Japanese Governement Bonds. Source : ZeroHedge / Bloomberg
However with a 2% inflation target and a central bank determined to carry it out by doubling the currency in circulation (12) (!), Treasury bond interest rates will have to rise to around 3% to give investors a real return of 1%. On a debt exceeding 200% of GDP, this rate is insupportable since debt servicing already accounts for 40% of government receipts at current rates (13). The market is well aware of it as the four temporary trading halts in the Japanese Treasury bond market in four days due to its volatility show (14). It’s a clear warning the letting loose of uncontrolled risk. Japan is thus in an impasse: continuing this massive liquidity injection to create inflation and head either into a debt default because of insupportable interest rates (with dramatic consequences on businesses and pension funds), or into an uncontrollable spiral where the BoJ is the only player in the treasury bond market when everyone else in selling; or to stop the plan in progress and let the economy wither away. Without counting that, patriotism or not, the temptation must be strong for Japanese businesses to invest abroad to protect themselves from the yen’s freefall which is now flirting with an exchange rate of around 100 yen to the dollar.

BUBBLES ON ALL FLOORS

But, to a smaller extent, the same strategy is being tested by the United States since the beginning of the crisis. This forced illusion of a real economy in good health feeds bubbles almost everywhere. Whether it be the student loan bubble, automobile loans, the treasury bond bubble of course, or a new subprime type bubble created at Obama’s request who is now inciting the banks to lend to the least safe households (15) in order to re-launch real estate, all these areas of the economy only hold up thanks to the Fed and are disconnected from reality as we saw in the GEAB n°73. But, by paraphrasing a line from a film (16), it’s not the bubble which is significant, it’s the landing.

 

US production and consumption - In red, US production of « globally marketable output » (manufactured goods in general with few services). In light blue, US private consumption; in dark blue government consumption. In 2011 $ trillions. Source : Tullet Prebon

US production and consumption – In red, US production of « globally marketable output » (manufactured goods in general with few services). In light blue, US private consumption; in dark blue government consumption. In 2011 $ trillions. Source : Tullet Prebon
However this problem will not make do with staying within US borders. In fact it has also contributed to nourish an “emerging nation bubble” (17) (see the chart below) which has missed its goal and is beginning to deflate (18), preventing any hope that the worldwide economy would be actually pulled along by the emerging countries in 2013. Canada itself is really ailing with an enormous real estate bubble (see GEAB n°69), disappointing employment statistics, etc.

 

GEAB N°74 is available! Global systemic crisis: The war has been declared between the economic-political world and financialbanking interests

 

Chinese and Brazilian real estate - Real estate prices : above chart : Shanghai, below chart : Sao Paulo Source : Global Property Guide

Chinese and Brazilian real estate – Real estate prices : above chart : Shanghai, below chart : Sao Paulo Source : Global Property Guide

But actually the dollar is the ultimate bubble. All the United States’ supremacy rests on dollar domination, and the whole objective of their foreign policy is to preserve this domination at all costs. However, they don’t have this option anymore. The dollar role is fading away on all sides, with sudden swap agreements or ex-dollar foreign trade (19) ; abrupt loss of confidence, in the United States included, where the Fed’s inflationary policy has led several States to authorize gold as a currency or at least to consider it (20) ; China’s progressive dumping of US treasury bonds (21) (would be this only be because it’s amazing trade surpluses have disappeared), etc. The Bitcoin (22) bubble again illustrates this distrust in the dollar as we anticipated in the GEAB n°71: “The experiment with alternative currencies […] is on the agenda in 2013. […] Two different rationales push towards these experiments. [The first is] the loss of confidence in the official currency”.

A dollar zone suffering the death of a thousand cuts and a Fed which, on the contrary, is printing increasing amounts of currency leading to a dollar oversupply whose consequence will be the bursting of the bubble dollar. In comparison, the other economies don’t depend on their currency’s international status and, on the contrary, this can only take on increasing importance if it’s internationalized.

In order to prolong the dollar’s supremacy, in addition to the increasingly less effective usual means using oil and their military power, the United States seeks to create free exchange zones left and right. This free exchange zone topic is truly on the 2013 agenda as we wrote in the GEAB n°71. However, we anticipated that the majority would fail or remain empty shells allowing the disguise of a new protectionism: this is exactly what is happening with the negotiations between Europe and the United States which is crystallizing grassroots discontent (23) and won’t succeed quite simply because Europeans don’t want American goods (and vice-versa).

Only rare negotiations for free exchange zones can still hope to come good like those between Europe and India because they are two areas warranted to get closer to play a greater international role, but here still the pill is hard to swallow because the Indians are imposing constraints which are increasingly difficult to accept (24). The objective of the world’s major regions is, for the moment, to reinforce themselves and not open up. Not being able to go against this basic trend of regional rationales, the consequence of these free trade treaties numerous is to accentuate the currency war, the most convenient means of continuing a form of protectionism when tariff barriers are prohibited. In short, dollar safety won’t come from free trade treaties.

Notes

1 Read: Quit Blaming employment Europe for Bad Jobs News in the U.S., Bloomberg (09/04/2013)

2 Source : CBC News, 05/04/2013

3 Source : The Telegraph, 11/04/2013

4 See, amongst others, Dallas News, 09/04/2013

5 Source : Le Monde, 12/04/2013

6 Source : L’Expansion, 13/02/2013

7 Source : The Wall Street Journal, 10/04/2013

8 Source : Le Monde, 11/04/2013

9 For a simple explanation of the principle of CDOs and CDOs squared, see the video on Information Processing (17/10/2008). Also see Wikipédia.

10 Source : The Guardian, 08/04/2013

11 Source : Bloomberg, 03/02/2013

12 Source : The Guardian, 04/04/2013

13 Source : Wikipédia

14 Source : ZeroHedge, 10/04/2013

15 Source : Washington Post, 02/04/2013

16 La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz.

17 For example, see The bubble bubble

18 Source : Caixin (03/04/2013), excellent article worth reading.

19 The latest are swap agreements between China and Australia and China and Brazil. Sources : The Australian (30/03/2013) and BBC News (27/03/2013).

20 Source : Bloomberg, 08/04/2013

21 Source : ZeroHedge, 11/04/2013

22 For example, see Le Monde (09/04/2013) and Le Monde (12/04/2013)

23 Source : Der Spiegel, 26/02/2013

24 Source : DNA, 13/04/2013

In testimony before the US Senate Armed Forces Committee on Wednesday, top US defense officials announced that they are deploying 200 troops of the 1st Armored Division to Jordan. They will establish headquarters near the Syrian-Jordanian border and plan for a rapid build-up, involving 20,000 or more US troops, awaiting orders from the White House to invade Syria.

A US invasion force would reportedly include Special Forces troops and regular units preparing for operations inside Syria, as well as air defense units guarding against possible retaliatory Syrian air strikes on Jordan.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Senate committee that these deployments are part of “robust military planning for a range of contingencies,” carried out by the United States and its European and Middle Eastern allies.

At the same time, Washington is carrying out an international diplomatic offensive setting the stage for war with the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The topic of US military operations against Syria will reportedly be on the agenda of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s discussions in Turkey this weekend, of General Martin Dempsey’s talks with Chinese officials next week, and of Hagel’s upcoming talks with military officials in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

As US officials admitted, invading Syria would likely involve the United States in a regional war throughout the Middle East. Hagel said that a US intervention in Syria “could have the unintended consequence of bringing the United States into a broader regional conflict or proxy war.” He noted that this “could embroil the US in a significant, lengthy, and uncertain military commitment.”

He detailed the streams of cash Washington is pouring into the anti-Assad opposition, including $117 million for “communications and medical equipment” as well as undisclosed US State Department and US Agency for International Development funding. Hagel explained, “The goal is to strengthen those opposition groups that share the international community’s vision for Syria’s future and minimize the influence of extremists.”

Hagel was apparently referring to Washington’s fears that ultra-right Islamist terrorist groups active in the opposition and funded by the United States’ Middle Eastern allies could take over Syria, should the Assad regime collapse. The Al Nusra Front, the military spearhead of the US-backed opposition in Syria, recently swore loyalty to Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. (See “Syrian opposition militia declares allegiance to Al Qaeda”)

Though the US has been fighting a proxy war with Syria since 2011, Hagel’s comments were the first public confirmation that the Obama administration is preparing a direct US invasion of Syria. Launching such a neo-colonial war would be a historic crime against the population of the Middle East on the scale of the Bush administration’s unprovoked invasion of Iraq.

That such a war is being planned 10 years after the unpopular US war in nearby Iraq—which cost over a million Iraqi lives, tens of thousands of US casualties, and trillions of dollars—is a devastating exposure of the decay of American democracy.

The Obama administration and the Democratic Party, having come to power in 2008 with cynical and false appeals to popular opposition to the Iraq war, is pursuing similar policies, with total contempt for popular opposition to war in the US and Middle Eastern population.

In pursuing regime change in Syria, US imperialism is seeking to impose its hegemony on the entire Middle East. Besides Syria, it is targeting and trying to isolate Syria’s main regional ally, oil-rich Iran, which has emerged as the strongest regional power in the Persian Gulf. It also hopes that by eliminating Assad, it will cut off the flow of arms and money to forces and groups in Lebanon and the Occupied Territories opposed to Israel.

The Obama administration’s official justifications for the war—that war is necessary to secure Syria’s chemical weapons, or to restrain terrorist forces operating inside the US-backed opposition but that are somehow opposed by Washington—are absurd lies. They are contradicted even by the testimony of US officials.

Speaking in a separate meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry made clear that Washington is working very closely with the countries that are funding Al Qaeda-linked forces in Syria. He said, “The United States policy right now is that we are not providing lethal aid, but we are coordinating very, very closely with those who are.”

As for Syria’s chemical weapons, General Dempsey told the Senate committee that he was not confident that a US invasion of Syria would secure them, as the Assad regime has been moving them to prevent them from falling into the hands of hostile, Al Qaeda-linked fighters. Dempsey explained, “They have been moving [the stockpiles], and the number of sites is quite numerous.”

Dempsey indicated that he was not sure that the US can “clearly identify the right people” to support inside the Islamist-dominated Syrian opposition. He added, “The introduction of military power right now certainly has the possibility of making the situation worse.”

The Senate Armed Forces Committee chairman, Democratic Senator Carl Levin, criticized Hagel and Dempsey’s testimony for not threatening Assad strongly enough. He told reporters that after the hearing, he had asked Hagel and Dempsey if they wanted to send a “tough message” to Assad, adding: “Their answer is yes. That’s not what came out in their testimony. We didn’t hear it.”

Levin recently co-wrote a letter with Republican Senator John McCain to Obama, calling on him to establish a “safe zone” for US-backed opposition fighters in Syria. The letter stated that “the time has come to intensify the military pressure on Assad.”

On Wednesday, the anniversary of Syria’s independence from French colonial rule, Assad gave a televised address denouncing the US-led war in Syria. While Assad’s reactionary regime is no friend of the working class—having imposed free-market policies in Syria and repeatedly made deals with US imperialism to crush opposition to Israel—Assad hit the nail on the head when describing the imperialist forces arrayed against him. They are waging a military campaign to re-impose colonial shackles on the Middle East.

He said, “The truth is, what is happening is a war. It is not security problems. It is a war in every sense of the word. There are big powers, especially Western powers, who historically never accepted the idea of other nations having their independence. They want those nations to submit to them.”

Asked about other Middle Eastern countries’ role in stoking the war on Syria, he said: “We mustn’t blame those countries, because they’re not independent. The decision is made by foreign countries.”

Assad tartly dismissed claims by the US and its European allies that they are waging “humanitarian” war in Syria, noting: “We saw their humanitarian intervention in Iraq, in Libya, and now we see it in Syria.”

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant obliterated part of the town of West, Texas Wednesday evening. As many as 20 people have been killed, Mayor Tommy Muska estimated Thursday evening. Original estimates of the number of deaths were much higher, but a search of the blast site, according to the Dallas Morning News, “proved that many people escaped the explosion and fires.”

The small farming community of 2,800 people near Waco, Texas and 80 miles south of Dallas, is in a state of shock. Texas Governor Rick Perry declared the town a disaster area and asked for federal assistance.

The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined. Waco police Sergeant William Swanton told the media in a press briefing Thursday morning that a fire that broke out in the West Fertilizer Company facility may have involved a railroad tanker full of anhydrous ammonia.

The fire broke out at around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, drawing the attention of emergency crews and concerned residents, some of whom took video of the blaze. Twenty-four minutes after firefighters, police, and paramedics arrived and began evacuating the area, a large fireball engulfed the scene.

A witness quoted by the Morning News said the fireball erupted as firefighters trained their hoses on the blaze, suggesting the water had reacted with a large quantity of anhydrous ammonia.

West Fertilizer, like many companies across the US, has been cited for multiple safety violations, improper use of hazardous materials and similar practices—in this case, by state agencies. The company has never been seriously fined or held accountable. This tragedy is a further example of the lack of government oversight and regulation, which amounts to a license for corporations to injure and kill workers.

According to a safety plan filed with the federal government in 2011, the factory had no automatic shutoff system or firewalls. Lack of zoning in the town placed the dangerous chemical tanks less than 1,000 feet from schools, residential areas and a park.

The Houston Chronicle points out that the decades-old factory has never even been inspected by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A search of the database of the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the agency tasked with analyzing industrial accidents, turns up no investigation of any facility in West.

It is further worth noting that the Boston Marathon bombing, a tragedy that killed three people, has evoked hysteria on the part of the media, while the explosion in West, which was thought at one point to have killed as many as 70, has been downplayed.

The West, Texas blast ripped through a half-mile radius, flattening an entire neighborhood, including a nursing home and a middle school. At least 50 houses were destroyed, and a 50-unit apartment building had been reduced to a “skeleton standing up,” local police said. The force of the explosion registered on the Richter scale at the equivalent of a 2.1 magnitude earthquake and, according to the US Geological Survey, was felt from as far away as Dallas.

Firefighters struggled until 11 p.m. Wednesday night to get the primary fire under control. Residents were told to stay indoors because leaking ammonia presented the risk of further explosions. The blast site remains too hot for investigators from the Chemical Safety Board and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to enter.

Sgt. Swanton told reporters Thursday that three to five firefighters were still unaccounted for. Local Emergency Medical Service director George Smith said two paramedics were among the dead.

Survivors recounted being hit with a shockwave. Julie Zahirniako and her four-year-old son Anthony were playing on a school playground near the fertilizer plant when the fire broke out. When the explosion occurred, Zahirniako said Anthony was thrown four feet into the air. The boy’s ribs were broken by the impact. “The fire was so high,” she said. “It was just as loud as it could be. The ground and everything was shaking.”

Derrick Hurtt and his 12-year-old daughter Khloey were sitting in a truck 300 yards away, taking video of the scene. At the moment of the blast, Khloey cried, “I can’t hear anything… please get out of here, please get out of here.” “I’m pretty sure it lifted the truck off the ground,” Hurtt told NBC. “It just blew me over on top of her.”

“The injuries that we are seeing are very serious,” Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center CEO Glenn Robinson told reporters. “There are a number of patients that will be going to surgery.” Of the 100 patients brought in Wednesday night, Robinson said at least 10 patients were in critical condition at the hospital. “It’s a very unfortunate situation.”

Another 65 patients were transported to Providence Health Center in Waco, where hospital authorities reported broken bones, lacerations, respiratory distress and other injuries. An unknown number of patients had been treated for injuries at a triage center set up at the high school football field.

ABC News reported as of early Thursday morning that 179 people were hospitalized, including 24 in critical condition and nine who suffered severe burns and had to be transferred to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

President Barack Obama, in Boston to put in an appearance in the aftermath of the Marathon bombing, issued a brief written statement saying that “our prayers go out to the people of West.” Mayor Muska, who is also a volunteer firefighter, reportedly did not receive the president’s call. His home was among those leveled in the explosion.

Industrial accidents are appallingly common in the United States. As the World Socialist Web Site recently noted nearly 4 million workers are injured on the job each year—11,000 every day. In 2011, over 4,600 workers died from work-related injuries in the US—90 every week, or 13 each day. Corporations are allowed to preside over what can only be described as an “industrial slaughterhouse,” with regulatory agencies either unable or unwilling to act.

Although a small company, West Fertilizer Company, owned by Adair Grain Inc., is no exception. In the past decade, the factory has been fined for safety violations and for operating without a permit.

In 2006, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality cited the plant for operating without a permit. The state agency investigated West Fertilizer after residents filed complaints about strong ammonia smells in the area. That year, the federal Environmental Protection Agency fined the plant $2,300 for failing to implement a risk management plan.

Last summer, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found that the company intended to transport anhydrous ammonia without making or following a safety plan. Inspectors found ammonia tanks were not properly labeled. Federal regulators fined the company $10,000—a penalty negotiated down to $5,250 after the company said it would take “corrective actions.”

The middle school near the facility has been evacuated multiple times due to fumes and pollution. According to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle, the company failed to report any “emission events” to state air pollution authorities after these incidents. Flanked by Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Commission on Environmental Quality’s director, Zak Covar, told an Austin press conference Thursday that the plant had an “average compliance history score.”

Covar insisted that since there had been no complaints since 2006, there was no need to inspect it. “Given the size of the facility and authorized emissions from the plant, generally those are inspected based on complaints,” he said. The Dallas Morning News reviewed a report from West Fertilizer Company to the federal Environmental Protection Agency that the 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on hand presented no risk of fire or explosion. “The worst possible scenario,” the report stated, “would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.”

A report by the Center for Public Integrity released on Wednesday morning, just hours before the West disaster, found that the number of investigations, case studies, and safety bulletins issued by the Chemical Safety Board has “fallen precipitously since 2006.” The board has only 20 investigators.

Among the investigations the CSB has failed to conclude is a probe into the causes of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and triggered the greatest environmental disaster in US history. An investigation into an April 2, 2010 explosion at the Tesoro Corporation’s Washington oil refinery, which killed seven workers, likewise remains unresolved.

CSB chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso and director Daniel Horowitz said that the board received only $10.5 million annually and was stretched so thin that it was compelled to choose only 200 “high consequence” accidents to investigate each year. “We’ve made innumerable proposals over the years,” Horowitz said, “pointing out the significant discrepancy between the number of serious accidents and the ones that we can handle from a practical standpoint.

“We’ve asked for a Houston office,” he added. “We’ve asked for additional investigators for many years.”

This has been another eventful week of resistance in the United States. We have much to share about what happened this week and what is coming up in the near future. But first, we want to remember the bombing in Boston on Monday and show appreciation for those who gave public support.

Margaret says, “I ran the Boston Marathon in 2003. I finished around three hours and forty five minutes, around the same time that the bombs went off last Monday. My three children, ages 6, 8 and 10 at the time, greeted me at the finish line. I can’t imagine arriving at the finish line and finding that my family had been injured or killed. My heart goes out to the Boston community.”

The Boston Bombing also reminds us of the violence that the US inflicts every day in other parts of the world. We can’t imagine what it is like to hear drones overhead twenty four hours a day and know that they could strike at any moment just because you behave in a certain way. As S. Brian Willson who is a Viet Nam veteran and peace activist writes, ”We are not worth more. They are not worth less.” We hope that rather than turning to nationalism as we did in 2001, we will have a deeper understanding of what others experience at the hands of the United States. Let us take some of this sadness and use it to spur us to stop the killing at home and abroad.

On Clearing the FOG this Monday, we spoke with Noor Mir and Judy Bello about US drone attacks. April is a month of actions against drones, including this recent rally organized by the ANSWER Coalition in Washington, DC. It culminates with a weekend conference and rally in Syracuse, NY on April 26 to 28. We will be there to discuss next steps for the peace movement.

April 15 was Tax Day. In the week leading up to it, Light Brigades across the country used their many talents to expose the large corporations that evade taxes. They even created a tax evaders video game. April 15 was also a Global Day Against Military Spending to protest the use of our tax dollars to fund US Empire instead of domestic needs for housing, jobs, education and health care.

Strike Debt in San Francisco is organizing for mass debt resistance. They kicked this effort off with a large protest at the Federal Reserve. We wrote a series of articles that discusses how to remake the financial system for the people and the planet, and we will continue this conversation at the Public Banking Conference in June.

Strike Debt has been buying medical debt to create greater awareness that people should not have to go into debt to meet their basic needs. In Virginia, Sean Jarvis started a public thirty day fast to protest the local for-profit hospital and to save enough money to pay his medical bills which are unaffordable even though he has health insurance. Another thirty day fast is going on in DC right now. Please support Brian Eisler who is fasting in front of the American Petroleum Institute to protest their obstruction of efforts to address the climate crisis.

On a positive note, climate activist Tim DeChristopher is being released from confinement this Sunday, in time to celebrate Earth Day. Watch for an exciting announcement that day by Dr. Jill Stein.

Resistance to Tar Sands continued this week in Seattle and in Oklahoma with a brave action by two residents. In Colorado, the Balloon Bloq released black helium balloons with noisemakers attached into a Platts Oil and Gas Conference to protest fracking.  In Utah, protesters seized a tar sands field wearing HazMat suits. And last week, a single protester interrupted the Valero Golf Tournament.

The hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay Prison continues and is starting to have an effect. Solidarity protests are continuing to be held. See Witness Against Torture for updates. The New York Times printed this powerful and moving OpEd from prisoner Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel who is one of many being force fed. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pilla, is calling the prison a “clear breach of international law” and asking for its immediate closure.  Keep the pressure on!

People are rising up everywhere to oppose the rule of money and austerity. In Washington, DC, they held a “K Street 5K.” Runners wore hundred dollar bills to protest lobbyists. In Portland, OR, hundreds of community groups and members attended a public budget conference to protest cuts and offer constructive solutions to meet their needs. They have a model for organizing against austerity that others can replicate as austerity is hitting across the country.

Students in particular are rising up. College students at the University of Indiana went on strike over rising tuition and corporatization of their education. Thousands of high school students walked out in Newark, NJ to protest budget cuts despite being threatened by security guards wielding bats. And students in Detroit are taking to the streets to protest the school to prison pipeline.

Wells Fargo, one of the biggest investors in private prisons and a target of many actions, moved its annual meeting from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, Utah. No problem. A coalition of organizations in Utah is planning a day of actions to protest many of Wells Fargo’s abuses.

Here are a few more upcoming actions that you can join. May 8th will be a national day of actions against Bank of America. And May 25th is a day to March Against Monsanto everywhere. This Saturday, in New York, there will be a day of training on Workplace Organizing.

We posted a number of articles that may help you in planning your next action. Here is an Organizer’s Guide to General Assemblies and Consensus. And here are some Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky and interviews with David Graeber on The Democracy Project and with Noam Chomsky on Direct Action and Social Movements.

Despite the suffering and sadness, these are times of opportunity to create the new world we want to see based on our shared values of compassion and cooperation. We can choose to be angry and close our hearts or we can choose to recognize that we are all connected and open our hearts. We hope that you will join the many wonderful efforts going on right now to create a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

This article is based on the weekly update from October2011.org/OccupyWashingtonDC.org. To subscribe to this free weekly email, click here.

 Kevin Zeese JD and Margaret Flowers MD co-host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC and on Economic Democracy Media, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Their twitters are @KBZeese and @MFlowers8.

 

Idaho took the lead in protecting people from drone surveillance last week when Gov. Butch Otter became the first state leader to sign legislation.  Known as the “Preserving Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act,” the law restricts the use of drones by government or law enforcement, particularly when it involves gathering of evidence and surveillance on private property.

In Florida, the state senate has passed a similar bill, The Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act, which prevents police from using drones for routine surveillance. However, it would allow unmanned aircraft if there’s a threat of terrorist attack.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering legislation that would prevent police from identifying anyone or anything not related to a warrant.

According to the ACLU, at least 35 states have considered drone bills so far this year, and 30 states have legislation pending. Most bills require a “probable-cause” warrant for drone use by law enforcement, while a handful seek to ban weaponized drones.

 

Mosquito MAV

They come in all sizes, from the Predator drones used in Pakistan and other countries to tiny mosquito drones that can be used covertly in urban neighborhoods and indoors. In the next few years police will increasingly turn to them for surveillance. But groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also see their potential for tracking poachers, while farmers want aerial vehicles to measure crop growth.

The ACLU is urging state lawmakers to require that police obtain a warrant before using any drone to conduct a search. But the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute argues that governments should go further and ban any information obtained by drones from use in court. In January, Rutherford submitted model legislation to lawmakers in all 50 states.

In Maine, a Joint Judiciary Committee had a work session last week on LD 236, officially known as “An Act to Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use.” After a debate between the Attorney General and an ACLU spokesperson, committee members voted unanimously to postpone a decision for two weeks.

In a nearby hearing room, where a debate on gun control was underway, one gun-rights supporter displayed a bumper sticker with a drone on it – and the words “Protect our 2nd amendment rights to shoot down drones.”

Maine’s Attorney General has proposed a temporary moratorium until July 1, 2014. The official rationale is to allow time for law enforcement agencies to come up with “minimum standards,” including prior authorization by “some official” before drones could be used for surveillance. But the AG also argues that the drone bill should not impede the possibility of a drone test center in northern Maine.

At least 37 states are competing for six drone testing centers that are expected eventually to launch 30,000 drones into the skies. For Maine, one lure could be the promise that the state won’t require operators to get a warrant before launching a spy-bot.

Democrats, who control Maine’s legislature but not the governorship, hope to win back the top spot again.  Thus, they want backing from the police, aerospace industry interests, new drone manufacturing firms, and citizens living near the closed Loring AFB who believe a drone test center and missile defense base would bring back jobs.

A variety of activist groups are staging protests in an attempt to stop the use of domestic drones in US airspace.  Events are expected in at least 18 states at research facilities, drone command centers, manufacturing plants, universities that have drone programs and the White House, according to Nick Mottern, founder of Known Drones, a website that tracks unmanned aircraft activity in the US and abroad.

The protests are being organized by more than 15 anti-drone groups, including Codepink, Veterans for Peace, No Drones Network, and the American Friends Service Committee. The groups oppose both domestic drone use and targeted drone killings overseas.

On February 7, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released an updated list of communities, states, law enforcement agencies, and universities that have requested and received licenses to deploy drones. The Electronic Freedom Foundation obtained the list via a Freedom of Information Act disclosure and learned that more than 81 public entities have so far applied to the FAA for permission to launch drones.

Lethal Ornithopter

Why the rapid push for domestic deployment ?

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, drone makers hope to speed their entry into a domestic market valued in the billions.  The US House actually has a 60-member “drone caucus” — officially known as the House Unmanned Systems Caucus. In the last four years, it members received nearly $8 million in drone-related campaign contributions. Drone Caucus members from California, Texas, Virginia, and New York received the lion’s share, channeled from firms in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

In a recent study, the Teal Group estimates that spending on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will increase over the next decade from current worldwide expenditures of $6.6 billion annually to $11.4 billion. That’s more than $89 billion in the next 10 years. “The UAV market will continue to be strong despite cuts in defense spending,” claims Philip Finnegan, Teal’s director of corporate analysis. “UAVs have proved their value in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said, “and will continue to be a high priority for militaries in the United States and worldwide.”

On  April 23, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights will hold a hearing Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing. If you can’t attend, you can submit a statement for the record. Chairman Durbin has invited advocates and stakeholders to offer their perspectives and experiences by submitting written testimony.

Submissions are limited to 10 pages, submitted in PDF or Word Document form to Stephanie Trifone at [email protected]  no later than Monday, April 22, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. Statements can be addressed to Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Cruz, and Members of the Subcommittee. For some reason they can’t accept previously published information as a statement.

The FAA is currently writing regulations for domestic drone use. According to Defending Dissent, the federal agency’s jurisdiction is limited. But it could provide safeguards such as compliance with Fair Information Practices for all licensees, creation of a public database of drone operators – with information about the surveillance equipment used and the operator’s data minimization procedure. Operation of drones could also be restricted to only licensees, ruling out wildcat rental operators. Otherwise, it’s going to be crazy up there.