The Surrender of the 72nd Brigade

Original: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

Slavyangrad.org   [Cauldron indicates a geographic designaiton of the hotspot of war in South East Ukraine]

Today, the remnants of the 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade fled into the territory of the Russian Federation. According to Russia Today:

Four hundred and thirty eight Ukrainian servicemen have requested asylum in Russia and moved into the Russian territory. According to ITAR-TASS, this was announced by the Border Guard department of the Federal Security Service (“FSB”) of Russia.

Map1

Map: Operational information from Colonel Cassad LiveJournal

No agreement with respect to the surrender of all the surrounded has been reached yet (the negotiations that were reported earlier are still ongoing).

BuMtBF6IQAAPmQi.png-large

Accordingly, the Cauldron is starting to break up into parts. The 72nd Brigade for all intents and purposes has ceased to exist due to ammunition and food rations running out. They held on while they still had resources and then began to exit into the territory of the Russian Federation – at first in separate groups, followed by the surviving remnants of the once full-fledged brigade.

The hardware was all abandoned at their positions, which continue to be controlled by Junta troops that have not yet surrendered. When militiamen would drive up on tanks as close as 400 metres away from the positions of the Junta, there was no return fire – there is simply nothing to fire back with. Some of the soldiers of the 72nd Brigade had no rounds left during the surrender; others had 1-2 magazines per automatic rifle.

There is also information that among those who did not surrender there are Polish mercenaries, which essentially explains the stubbornness of the resistance (a serious international scandal is possible).

Those who remain in this part of the Cauldron were given an ultimatum to surrender and exit to Russia and not to touch the hardware.

Otherwise, the Grads will start working again. Strained arguments are ongoing there now; military commanders are reasoning that the potential for resistance has been exhausted and that they must surrender so as not to kill people in vain. Pravoseki [Note: Praviy Sector militants], mercenaries and the political zealots are demanding that the resistance be continued at all cost. As a result, a complete surrender is likely impossible – the majority of the military personnel will surrender and others will be leveled [with Grad MLRS], particularly in view of the fact that they have nothing to respond with.

I expect that this group will cease to exist in the course of 2-3 days, following which the Cauldron will shrink in half, and the Militia will start dealing with the remnants of the 24th and the 79th Brigades.

Map2

Map: Predicted Retreat Routes for the Troops Surrounded in the Southern Cauldron.

In order for you better to understand what has happened, those who surrendered were the remnants of the 72nd Brigade that were driven from Izvarino and Sverdlovsk toward the border with the Russian Federation.

At the same time, the Cauldron continues to exist in the gap between Marinovka and Birukovo, where the remnants of the 79ths Separate Aeromobiles Brigade and the 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade, as well as the various reinforcement units and punitive formations, continue to hold defensive positions.

Overall, the Southern Cauldron now has truly entered the final stages of its existence; the agony of the units deprived of provisions has begun.

Photo3Photograph: Ukrainian Troops After Crossing into the Russian Territory.

And this note by Russia Today is specifically about those who intend to cross the Russian border in the nearest future. They simply face the same problems as the 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade (“OMBR”).

One more group of Ukrainian servicemen intends to cross the border into Russia after almost 440 soldiers and officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces crossed into the territory of the adjacent country in the night of August 4th. As reported by ITAR-TASS, quoting the head of the press service of the Border Guard department of the FSB in the Rostov region, the exact number of servicemen that intend to cross into the Russian Federation is still unknown.


The Official Junta’s Version  RBK-Ukraine

A group of servicemen of the 72nd Motorized Brigade was forced to retreat into the territory of the Russian Federation because they ran out of ammo during a battle with the terrorists. This was announced to RBK-Ukraine by Alexey Dmitrashkovskiy, a representative of the press-centre of the antiterrorist operation in Donbass.

According to Dmitrashkovskiy:

“Servicemen of the 72nd Brigade divided into two units. The first unit broke through the ring of terrorists, and the second unit covered these servicemen. After that, one of the units had their ammo and provisions run out. Military hardware that was on the battlefield was damaged. After that the personnel was forced to transport into the area of the border crossing checkpoint in Russia. According to latest information, the servicemen are in the territory of Russia. The number of the servicemen is being confirmed.” According to his statements, reinforcements have already arrived to assist the servicemen that covered those who were breaking through the ring of terrorists.

Earlier, the Russian Federal Security Service (“FSB”) stated that more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers have requested asylum in the Russian Federation. As it was clarified, a humanitarian corridor was opened for the Ukrainian military and they were allowed to cross into Russia.

The remnants of the 79th Aeromobile and the 24th Motorized Rifle Brigade and Battalion Shakhter continue to remain in the Southern Cauldron. Just south of this grouping is Battalion Azov.

GR Editor’s Note:

The village of Voloka, which is one among many locations in Ukraine where protests are occurring is in South-Western Ukraine within less than 50km North of Ukraine’s border with Romania. It is located in the Chernivetska (Chernivitsi) oblast. 

The Kiev regime has lost control of its armed forces.

There is a widespread movement against the draft.

Entire units have abandoned the battlefield in Donbass.

Many soldiers are seeking refuge in Russia.

Some have joined the Donbass militia. (M.Ch. Global Research Editor)

by Gleb Bazov

Slavyangrad.org

We don’t want war, we want peace. There is no need for our men to go fighting. For what? We want peace.

We didn’t raise our children for war, we stand only for peace.

 Not at any price we will let them take our children. We will stand up for them now.

Village mayor (Voloka): Do not be afraid, the official stamp shall not be put on people’s applications.
Video: Ukrainian and Russian with English subtitles.

Transcript: Down With the Draft! A Protest in the Village of Voloka

Reporter: A third [draft] mobilization wave has started: in Ukraine officers, sergeants in reserve and private soldiers who have military experience are called up on a mass scale for a military service. Currently tens of call-up papers have reached every village and city. Besides men, women doctors are called up as well. Fifty call-up papers came to Voloka village (Glybotsky region), that made the citizens highly indignant. Mothers and wives tear-stained, husbands and sons angered gathered together in order to find a solution. They said they never wanted war, so they will not let their sons to fight.

Protestor: We don’t want war, we want peace. There is no need for our men to go fighting. For what? We want peace.

Protestor: We didn’t raise our children for war, we stand only for peace.

Protestor: Not at any price we will let take our children. We will stand up for them now.

Protestor: Mister Yatsenyuk bawled: “Put a bullet through a head!” – so let him go, why not?! … Instead he wears a white-collar shirt and a tie.

Protestor: We did not want war. Let those, who were protesting at Maidan, go to fight. We did not seek for war. We all are one village, one big family, and we will let take neither my husband nor other’s ones, neither sons nor fathers for war.

Protestor: They have started, let them sort out themselves and leave us alone. Over our dead bodies, we will lie on their way and not allow taking our children. Let them realize this and stop coming here with call-up papers.

Protestor: The citizens called a mayor to the meeting, but he didn’t appear, and a military commissioner came instead of him. After a half an hour discussion, they agreed to write a petition to the Regional State Administration and to Verkhovna Rada. Everybody signed the petition.

Valentyn Glopin, a village mayor (Voloka): Do not be afraid, the official stamp shall not be put on people’s applications.

Major Ivan Vanzar, a military commissioner of Glybotsky joint commissariat: I hope, that the people will be heard, because it is clear, that nobody wants now to go to the ATO zone, where the fights are held. So, we will see how the Verkhovna Rada and the President will hear them.

Reporter: The citizens of Voloka ensure they will not send their men to the army, and they expect the officials to support them.

by Valery Melnikov

A besieged garrison of Ukrainian soldiers and special forces in the south of the Luhansk region started negotiating conditions of their surrender with local independence supporters, a representative of the militia told RIA Novosti Sunday.

“They have run out of combat rations, water and fuel and they have small arms to last only a couple of days. They have started negotiating. They offer to destroy all their hardware, lay down arms and then we let them out of blockade back to the Ukrainian territory,” the source said adding that the militia did not accept these conditions.

The militia wants the government soldiers to leave their hardware as it is.

According to the source, the negotiations will last up to five days.

Armed clashes in Ukraine’s southeastern regions have not been abating since mid-April, when Kiev announced the beginning of a special military operation to suppress a growing independence movement among local citizens.

The civilian death toll from the running battles between government soldiers and self-defense forces has already surpassed 1,000, according to the recent UN estimates.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s military campaign against the population in the east of the country, advocating a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

The Ministry of Health Gaza condemns in the strongest possible terms the Israeli breaking of the humanitarian ceasefire in a murderous attack on the Al-Bakri family home in Al-Shaati refugee camp in west Gaza City, killing an eight-year-old child and injuring 30 other people, mostly women and children.

This attack on a home in one of the most densely populated residential areas on earth only minutes after the commencement of a humanitarian ceasefire can only be seen as a calculated and deliberate attack on civilians.

 This attack can only be seen as calculated and cynical disregard for the ceasefire agreement – the same cynical disregard Israelis have evidenced towards each and every agreement they have ever signed, whether ceasefire, international convention, treaty or peace agreement.

This attack in breach of all legal and humanitarian law can only be seen as yet another example of the complete contempt and disdain in which the Israeli authorities hold all standards of civilised behaviour, organisations and instruments of international law, and humanity itself.

 This attack comes amid the ongoing massacre in Rafah in which at least 170 have already lost their lives, as the death toll continues to rise.

 Since July 7 more than 1,800 Gazans have been killed and almost 10,000 injured, the vast majority of them women, children and the elderly.

 Its own actions in the past four weeks have stripped the thin mask of civility from the Israeli face, and revealed its abject savagery to the world.

 In the name of humanity, the Ministry of Health Gaza demands that the international community act immediately to end the slaughter of innocents in Gaza, and hold the Israeli war criminals to account.

Originally published by WhoWhatWhy

at:  http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/08/03/the-subprime-economy-is-back-but-it-never-really-left/

Remember the sub-prime economy?

It’s back, but it’s different this time. Well, sorta different. And you may be affected by it in all kinds of ways.

The new sub-prime economy is a direct result of the catastrophic financial ruin caused by the old sub-prime mortgage crisis. Wall Street’s biggest money has figured out how to profit off of people deep in debt and unable to climb out because of the still-limping economy.

So, after pushing people to the margins with exotic financial instruments, Wall Street is now profiting off the increasingly marginal existence of many Americans. With more and more people renting their homes, the median household now 20% poorer today than it was in 1984, and almost half of all Americans now living paycheck to paycheck, the sub-prime economy has shifted away from big-ticket mortgages to profiting off the banalities of everyday life.

The numbers don’t lie: 35% of Americans—roughly 77 million people—have an outstanding debt currently being pursued by a collection agency, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. Although the individual amounts of delinquent debt range from as little as $25 to over $125,000, the national average is a staggering $5,178.

That’s a lot of bad debt in the system, and there are rich pickings in all of it.

If Sisyphus had bills …

Maybe that’s why the study was funded by Encore Capital Group—the country’s largest publicly-traded buyer of defaulted debt—and co-authored by its very own think-tank, the Consumer Credit Research Institute. The latter, founded in 2011, describes its work as a “ground-breaking effort to develop new knowledge about low- and moderate-income consumers” using techniques borrowed from economics, statistics and psychology.

The first go-round on the subprime roulette wheel was fueled primarily by the post-9/11 “go-go” housing boom. The middlemen of Manhattan systematically used predatory lending to ensnare hundreds of thousands of hopeful American Dreamers into an adjustable-rate, no-money-down, balloon-payment nightmare. So they made money handing out subprime mortgages like Halloween candy, bundled that risky, unsustainable debt into exotic financial instruments, and profited again by betting they’d fail.

But that was then, and things are supposed to be different now, right?

Now the financial system is supposed to be chastened. It is, according to its staunchest critics, wholly and restrictively regulated by Dodd-Frank. In fact, Dodd-Frank is so restrictive, they say, that it has impeded the “recovery” and needs to be loosened. That’s despite the fact that many key rules still haven’t been written and despite the omnipresence of corporate banking interests at every step of the rulemaking process.

Things are different now. This new sub-prime bubble is not being inflated by predatory lenders targeting would-be homeowners. Even though the real estate market is improving in places like San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., homeownership is at a 19-year low, with more people opting to rent because of tighter finances.

Hedge Funds, Hedge Hogs

Well-positioned hedge funds gobbled up tens of thousands of homes left vacant by the bursting mortgage bubble. Sometimes entire neighborhoods were purchased by those firms, who—unlike Lehman Brothers—were not broken by the crash. Like JP Morgan hoarding the devalued financial assets of its failed competitors, hedge funds saw the sudden surge in low-cost real estate as a buying opportunity.

The Blackstone Group—one of the world’s largest hedge funds—went on a two-year buying spree that transformed it into “America’s largest landlord” with over 40,000 houses in its profitable inventory.

And that’s where bad debt is accumulating—in the day-to-day struggle to make ends meet.

To wit, the Urban Institute’s study focused on collections of non-mortgage bills. These include credit card bills, medical bills, and utility bills that are “more than 180 days past due and have been placed in collections.”

A good example of the financial jeopardy many face is in Detroit. That’s where the median household income is less than half the national average—and where tens of thousands couldn’t afford to pay their water bills.

Detroit Goes Dry

Detroit Goes Dry

The bankrupted city decided to do something about chronic delinquencies—they began shutting off people’s water. As the pace of the shut-offs sped up, the city paid $6 million to a private contractor to make sure the taps ran dry. So far, some 100,000 have been without water at times.

This is exactly the sort of compromised position many find themselves in with this new economy. And it’s where predatory lending is taking its toll, targeting the desperate with high-risk, high-interest and, therefore, high-reward loans that epitomize Wall Street’s unending “search for yield.”

Bad Credit? We Can Help You Make It Worse

And what a yield lending to subprime customers earns. The “Payday Loan” industry still gets away with interest rates as high as 700 percent, a story WhoWhatWhy reported in March. That kind of loan puts many people into a modern form of sharecropping, accruing debt faster than they can pay it off.

The $3 billion-a-year industry is finally being scrutinized by federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even so, the underlying business model is being profitably recycled.

Take, for example, the entry of banks and private equity firms into the used car business.

They identify distressed and marginal candidates for risky, high-interest loans on cars that all too often end up being lemons, according to the New York Times. After searching for potential customers with low credit scores, banks like Capital One and Wells Fargo work with dealers who send them “certificates” redeemable for a “no credit, no problem” loan. That traps the less financially savvy customers into long-term loans that eventually triple or quadruple the cost of the car—or worse.

New victim targeted: rank and file of the U.S. Military New victim targeted: rank and file of the U.S. Military

A little-known company called USA Discounters has opened another front of the high-interest assault, targeting the rank and file of the U.S. military.

USA Discounters leverages the low-wage position of active-duty military families into high-yield loans for mundane household items like TVs and washers and dryers. Despite their name, the company sometimes charges double the normal retail price for items, and gives customers credit on terms that can quickly turn unfavorable.

And that’s really what the subprime economy is now—easy money at the lowerend of America’s wealth gap. And the lower end is growing.

See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/08/03/the-subprime-economy-is-back-but-it-never-really-left/#sthash.h9qhdhUw.dpuf

A global outbreak of deadly Ebola is underway and has crossed national borders. One infected victim of the horrifying disease flew on international flights, vomiting on board and exposing hundreds of people to the deadly virus which can be transmitted through airborne particles. Ebola has an 8-10 day incubation period, meaning thousands of people could be carrying it right now and spreading it across the cities of the world without even knowing it.

Passengers in Hong Kong and the UK have already shown symptoms of the disease and are being tested, reports USA Today. (2) The Peace Corps has evacuated its volunteers from the region after two were exposed to Ebola. (3)

Expert claims panic over death of U.S. man in Nigeria is ‘justified’” reports the Daily Mail. (1) “He warned the spread of Ebola could become a global pandemic.”

Ebola is the closest thing to real-life zombie infections

With apologies to those victims who have suffered the horrible fate of Ebola, I’m offering a medically accurate description here as a warning to everybody else. Believe me when I say you do NOT want to contract Ebola. Warning: Graphic language below.

Ebola is a gruesome disease that causes cells in the body to self-destruct, resulting in massive internal and external bleeding. In its late stages, Ebola can cause the victim to experience convulsions, vomiting and bleeding from the eyes and ears while convulsing, flinging blood all over the room and anyone standing nearby, thereby infecting those people as well. This gruesome ending is the reason Ebola spreads so effectively. The virus “weaponizes” the blood, then causes the victim to fling it around on everyone else almost like you might see depicted in some horror zombie flick.

“Haemorrhaging symptoms begin 4 – 5 days after onset, which includes hemorrhagic conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, bleeding gums, oral/lip ulceration, hematemesis, melena, hematuria, epistaxis, and vaginal bleeding,” reports the Pathogen Safety Data Sheet from the Public Health Agency of Canada. (8) That same publication also explains, “There are no known antiviral treatments available for human infections.”

Read that again: There are NO KNOWN TREATMENTS for human infections.

Sierra Leone’s top Ebola doctor tragically died yesterday from an Ebola infection. Although well trained in infectious disease, even he underestimated the ability of this insidious killer to leap from person to person. Around half of those infected with Ebola die, making it one of the most fatal diseases known to modern medical science. And yet medical staff around the world still aren’t exercising sufficient precautions when interfacing with infected patients.

Monsanto and Department of Defense help fund Pharma company that could earn billions from Ebola treatment

There are some experimental drugs under development by pharma companies that show some promise, but nothing is commercialized yet. (9)

One fascinating development worth investigating further is that TEKMIRA Pharmaceuticals, a company working on an anti-Ebola drug, just received a $1.5 million cash infusion from none other than Monsanto. Click here to read the press release, which states “Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing novel RNAi therapeutics and providing its leading lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery technology to pharmaceutical partners.”

The money from Monsanto is reportedly related to the company’s developed of RNAi technology used in agriculture. The deal is valued at up to $86.2 million, according to the WSJ. (11)

Another press release about Tekmira reveals a $140 million contract with the U.S. military for Ebola treatment drugs:

TKM-Ebola, an anti-Ebola virus RNAi therapeutic, is being developed under a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Medical Countermeasure Systems BioDefense Therapeutics (MCS-BDTX) Joint Product Management Office.

Additional Tekmira partnership are listed at this Tekmira web page.

Not to invoke any charges of collusion or conspiracy here, but a whole lot of people are going to have raised eyebrows over the fact that Monsanto just happened to be giving a cash infusion to a key pharma company working on an Ebola cure right in the middle of a highly-publicized Ebola outbreak which could create huge market demand for the drugs. The fact that the U.S. Department of Defense is also involved with all this is going to have alternative news websites digging hard for additional links.

Sadly, the history of medicine reveals that drug companies, the CDC and the WHO have repeatedly played up the severity of disease outbreaks in order to promote sales of treatment drugs. I’m not saying this outbreak isn’t very real and very alarming, of course. It is real. But we always have to be suspicious when windfalls profits just happen to line up for certain corporations following global outbreaks of infectious disease. Vaccine manufacturers, remember, made billions off the false swine flu scare, and tens of millions of dollars in stockpiled swine flu vaccines later had to be destroyed by the governments that panicked and purchased them.

Has air travel doomed humanity to a pandemic outbreak?

Air travel creates the “perfect storm” for Ebola to devastate humanity. It all starts with these irrefutable facts about air travel:

1) All passengers are confined to the same enclosed space.

2) All passengers are breathing THE SAME AIR.

3) Ebola can become airborne via very small particles in the air, and just a single Ebola virus riding on a dust particle is sufficient to infect a human being (see below).

4) Following the flight, infected passengers then intermingle with thousands of other people at the airport, each doing to a different unique destination somewhere else across the country or around the world.

5) The speed of air travel vastly out-paces the speed of governments being able to deploy infectious disease prevention teams.

A global pandemic wipeout from Ebola, in other words, could originate from a single person on a single international flight. And it could circle the globe in less than 48 hours.

Just one organism is sufficient to infect a new host

Just how much Ebola virus does it take to infect someone? Alarmingly, as the Public Health Agency of Canada explains, “1 – 10 aerosolized organisms are sufficient to cause infection in humans.” (8)

Read that again: it takes just ONE aerosolized organism (a microscopic virus riding on a dust particle) to cause a full-blown infection in humans. This is why one man vomiting on an international flight can infect dozens or hundreds of other people all at once.

Some experts fear that has already happened. As the Daily Mail reports: (1)

Nigerian health officials are in the process of trying to trace 30,000 people, believed to be at risk of contracting the highly-infectious virus, following the death of Patrick Sawyer in Lagos. It comes as Nigerian actor Jim Lyke sparked outrage, posting a picture of himself wearing an Ebola mask while sitting in a first class airport lounge as he fled Liberia.

Dave Hodges of The Commonsense Show reports: (7)

A desperate search is on to find the hundreds of passengers who flew on the same jets as Sawyer. A total of 59 passengers and crew are estimated to have come into contact with Sawyer and effort is being made to track each individual down. There is an inherent problem with this “track down”. Presumably, some of the passengers connected to other flights, which known to be the case. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that only 20 people, a low estimate given the nature of the airports that Sawyer was traveling in, were connecting to other flights, the spread of the virus would quickly expand beyond any possibility of containment because in less than a half a day, nearly a half a million people would be potentially exposed. Within a matter of a couple of hours, Sawyer’s infected fellow travelers would each have made contact with 200 other passengers and crew. Hours later, these flights would land and these people would go home to the friends, families and coworkers across several continents.

CBS News adds: (4)

“Witnesses say Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian Finance Ministry employee en route to a conference in Nigeria, was vomiting and had diarrhea aboard at least one of his flights with some 50 other passengers aboard. Ebola can be contracted from traces of feces or vomit, experts say.”

American family members quarantined in Texas

A U.S. doctor named Dr. Kent Brantly has reportedly contracted Ebola. “Brantly and the couple’s 3- and 5-year-old children left Liberia for a scheduled visit to the United States on July 20. Days later, Kent Brantly quarantined himself in the isolation ward of a hospital where he had been treating Ebola patients after testing positive for the disease,” reports CBS News. (3)

That same story goes on to say, “Amber Brantly and the children are in Abilene, Texas, under a 21-day fever watch,” which is essentially a quarantine. This means the necessary quarantine of American citizens on U.S. soil has already begun.

Nobody is yet talking about what all this might mean if a large U.S. city shows an outbreak of infections. Will the federal government use the military to quarantine an entire city? Ultimately, it must! And make no mistake: this possibility is already written up and on the books for national emergencies. One declaration of martial law is all that’s required to seal off an entire U.S. city at gunpoint.

Another CBS News article reports: (4)

“If it gets into a big city, that’s everybody’s worse nightmare,” said Dr. Tim Geisbert, a professor of microbiology and immunology at University of Texas Medical Branch, in an interview with CBS News. “It gets harder to control then. How do you quarantine a big city?”

The answer, by the way, is by deploying America’s armed forces against its own citizens in a domestic national emergency scenario. Everybody in the federal government already knows that. It’s only the mainstream media that pretends such plans don’t already exist.

Ebola detection kits deployed to all 50 U.S. states

Although the federal government’s official reaction to all this is low-key, in truth the U.S. government is rapidly preparing for the possibility of an Ebola outbreak reaching the continental USA.

As reported above, the U.S. Department of Defense already has a $140 million contract awarded to Tekmira for its Ebola treatment drugs.

Additionally, as SHTFplan.com reports: (5)

The Department of Defense informed Congress that it has deployed biological diagnostic systems to National Guard support teams in all 50 states, according to a report published by the Committee on Armed Services. Some 340 Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) units have thus far been given to emergency response personnel. The systems are “rapid, reliable, and [provide] simultaneous identification of specific biological agents and pathogens.”

On one hand, we might all applaud the government’s preparedness actions in all this. It’s smart to have diagnostic systems deployed nationwide, of course. But it begs the question: When was the government planning on telling the public about all this? Probably never. There’s no sense in causing a panic when half the people won’t survive an outbreak anyway, they figure.

The perfect bioweapon against humanity?

I also need to make you urgently aware that Ebola is a “perfect” bioweapon. Because of its ability to survive storage and still function many days, weeks or years later, it could be very easily harvested from infected victims and then preserved using nothing more than a common food dehydrator.

As the Public Health Agency of Canada explains: (8)

The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days (23). Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4 (C) for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70 C.

To translate this into laymen’s terms, this means the Ebola virus can be:

• Stored in a liquid vial and easily smuggled across international borders.

• Dehydrated and stored in a dried state, then easily smuggled.

• Frozen at very low temperatures where it remains viable indefinitely.

Once dried, contained or frozen, Ebola pathogens can be smuggled into target countries with ridiculous ease. In the United States, for example, people can literally walk right through our Southern open borders with zero security whatsoever.

Open borders is an open invitation for bioweapons terrorism

Once inside the target country, a bioweapons terrorist could then easily infect people in public transit hubs such as subway stations, airports, bus stations and so on. Unfortunately, spraying a few Ebola particles into people’s faces is ridiculously easy, especially if the terrorist carrying out the activities decides he is on a suicide mission and doesn’t care about self-exposure.

An outbreak of Ebola in a major U.S. city would quite literally threaten the public health of the entire nation. That’s why an “open borders” policy in the middle of a global Ebola outbreak is unconscionable from the point of view of public health. CDC officials must be tearing their hair out over this issue.

Think about it: America is a country where public health officials freak out and go crazy when two children acquire whooping cough in a public school in Maryland. But when tens of thousands of people are streaming into the country, unbounded, with near-zero medical scrutiny in the middle of an international Ebola outbreak, federal officials do almost nothing at all. If there is an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., this is most likely how it will arrive.

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2710…

(2) http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/201…

(3) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/peace-corps-volu…

(4) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ebola-plane-trav…

(5) http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/congre…

(7) http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2014/07/30…

(8) http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/lab-bio/res/psds-…

(9) http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/technology/art…

(10) http://finance.yahoo.com/news/tekmira-receiv…

(11) http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100014…

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/046259_Ebola_outbreak_drug_treatments_Monsanto.html#ixzz39Hx3gXLR

Only 2 of over 40 Congressional Black Caucus members voted against legitimizing the 2009 Israeli massacre of 1400 mostly civilians in Gaza, with seven CBC members abstaining. Last week, with the Gaza death toll climbing toward 1,000 not a single CBC member could be bothered to lift a voice against Israel’s genocidal assault of the moment or its ongoing apartheid state in general. Black America should hang our collective heads in shame.

Back in the 1970s, when the Congressional Black Caucus began calling itself “the conscience of the Congress,” that was almost literally true. CBC members could be relied upon not just to reliably vote for raising wages and expenditures on housing, health care and education, but to keep the issues of full employment and opposition to unjust war near the front of their public agendas.

By the late 1980s, a gaggle of former CBC staffers had moved through the revolving doors of elite affirmative action to become corporate lobbyists, with the same ethics and table manners as their white colleagues, but with black faces. Thanks in large part to their efforts, by 2000 a tsunami of corporate cash began filling up the coffers of incumbent CBC members, their black replacements, or in the cases of Alabama’s Earl Hilliard and Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney, their black opponents.

Only a single member of the CBC, Rep. Barabra Lee opposed President Bush’s blank check for invading anywhere he pleased in Septermber of 2001, and by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, four CBC members, some of them swimming in donations from military contractors, raced down to the White House to have their pictures taken with Bush as the bombs were about to explode over Baghdad.

By the 109th Congress of 2005-2006 the CBC’s political compass had been decisively reset. 2005 was the year of Katrina. For decades there had been predictions that whenever “the big one” hit New Orleans, a city where a majority of residents didn’t even own cars, thousands or tens of thousands would perish. I lived in Chicago and read those predictions in the papers there several times during the 80s and 90s. Katrina ultimately proved to be the excuse for authorities to permanently expel more than a hundred thousand African Americans, mostly renters but also entire neighborhoods of black homeowners and black owned local businesses as well. As the highest ranking black politicians in the nation, the Congressional Black Caucus could have demanded and held federal hearings on every aspect of the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, ensuring a real public debate on how the region would be rebuilt and for whom.

But House Democrats were focused narrowly on winning the 2006 election, and in their political calculus, having Democrats identified as the party of black people was not a winning strategy. Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi forbade the Congressional Black Caucus from demanding or holding hearings. Only Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney defied her, and was forced to partner with House Republicans for the hearings to take place at all. The only CBC member Pelosi allowed to take part in the Katrina hearings was the lazy and corrupt “Dollar Bill” Jefferson who nominally represented black New Orleans. The rest of the supposedly powerful and influential CBC, from its deans Conyers and Rangel on down stayed away.

If they were still the conscience of the Congress the CBC would have called together some of the nation’s black civil engineers, architects, urban planners and others to articulate a vision of a rebuilt Gulf Coast for the people who lived there before. Instead the vision of the Heritage Foundation prevailed. A hundred thousand black New Orleans residents were deported to the four corners of the continental US, their public school system privatized, their rental apartments razed, their health care systems shut down, and the water, electric and gas grids not reactivated for the entire sections of town where they once lived. Thanks to the hands-off attitude of the CBC, President Bush was even able to exclude all journalists from the teams which recovered bodies or the places where remains were assembled, so there is no independent verification of the government’s suspiciously small count of fatalities.

That was when Democrats were still the minority in Congress. We’re always told how important it is for Democrats to gain or maintain control of the House. They got that in the 2006 elections, and Democrats have had the White House since the 2008 election as well, though they handed the House back at the end of 2010. Has all that extra power made them bolder in the pursuit of justice? Sadly, no.

Israel’s vicious apartheid regime celebrated Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration with the massacre of 1400 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, and the destruction of a great part of the enclave’s infrastructure, down to chicken farms and water systems. The new Congress called it righteous self-defense, with 390 yeas, 5 nays and 22 “present”The CBC was 2 of those nays, Gwen Moore (WI) and Maxine Waters (CA), and 7 of the “presents”, Edwards (MD), Ellison (MN), Johnson (GA), Lee (TX), Payne (NJ), Kilpatrick (MI), and Watson (CA).

This month, as the civilian death toll in the latest Israeli criminal orgy of collective punishment mounted toward 1,000, the US House passed a nearly identical resolution, calling this massacre legitimate “self-defense” as well. This time the House vote, including that of the Congressional Black Caucus wasunanimousNot a single member of the CBC, despite their much heralded brand of standing for civil rights and against apartheid here and around the world, bothered to publicly question the racist ethnocracy that is the Israeli state. After signing the blank check with the rest of their colleagues, CBC members Conyers (MI), Lee (CA), Johnson (GA) and Ellison (MN) tried to cover their shame with a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging a cease-fire, something which Kerry claims to have been doing anyway.

All CBC members absolutely know that Israel is an apartheid society, with one set of laws applying to Jews, a second to Israeli Arabs and a third to Palestinians. Congressional Black Caucus members know that Israel requires different colored license plates for non-Jews so their vehicles can be profiled at a distance, and Jewish-only roads between settlements carved from the villages of Palestinians and watched voer by military garrisons. They know that Israel refuses to recognize mixed marriages, or even marriages between Palestinians in Gaza and those on the West Bank. Black members of Congress know what an ethnocracy is, and even though they claim to have opposed it in South Africa and here at home, they choose to endorse it in Israel, out of greed and subservience.

As we wrote in BAR back in 2012…

Whatever its root cause, the current support of the black political class for Israel’s maintenance of a colonial settler state constitutes a massive, hypocritical hole in their collective souls. Most of the world backed our own struggle against Jim Crow, and we congratulated ourselves for contributing to the downfall of the old regime in South Africa. And now, when our turn comes round again, when the United States is the only government capable of restraining the vicious Israeli onslaught, just by the threat of its disapproval, its non-renewal of loan guarantees or weapons giveways or military contracts —- we are silent.

For African Americans, our hypocrisy goes deeper and further than our leaders. It filters all the way down to ordinary people whose attachment to their First Black President is so uncritical that they decouple their FBP from any responsibility for his policies. Many Obama supporters say they oppose Israeli aggression and wring their hands wishing the president they voted for and hustled others into voting for would do something different. In the eyes of the rest of the world, as Margaret Kimberley points out, they are as guilty of abetting Israeli atrocities as the rabid partisans of AIPAC…”

What would one of our glittering and supposedly powerful members of the Congressional Black Caucus tell a child in Gaza today? What would they tell a parent whose children have been maimed or murdered, with weaponry probably designed and/or manufactured in the US?

Our nation is the armorer, financier and protector of Israel’s savage ethnocracy.  We are all compromised, we are all implicated in its crimes.  It’s time to call our black political class, and each other to account. In the coming week, Black Agenda Report will reach out to our friends and colleagues and try to find some new ways to do exactly that.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA, and can be reached via this site’s contact page or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

100th Anniversary of International Fellowship of Reconciliation Konstanz, Germany, August 1-3, 2014

Militaries Are Outdated and Should Go, Like Hanging and Flogging

Dear Friends,

I would like to offer my congratulations to IFOR on this its 100thanniversary. I once asked Fr. Dan Berrigan, the great American anti-war activist, for some advice to me in my life as a peace activist. He replied ‘Pray and resist’. The IFOR members will appreciate this advice, coming as they do from their roots in 100 years of building International Fellowship and Reconciliation between peoples of all faiths, traditions (and none), many of whom believe in the need for prayer in order to strengthen their spiritual lives, and many take their prayer, very seriously. Our Muslim brothers and sisters show us great example by their very beautiful lives of prayer, (5 times a day), and fasting at Ramadan.

But I would like to ask how serious are we about Resistance?

What is our Vision?

And how does Resistance fit into this? What do we need to resist? How can we resist effectively?

And what methods are allowed? In resisting, what are our aims and objectives?

I would like to propose that IFOR and the Worlds’ Peace Movement adopt a vision of the total abolition of Militarism. Such a Vision would empower us to know where we are going. It would inspire and energize each of us to pursue our different projects, be it arms trade, nuclear abolition, nonkilling/nonviolence, culture of peace, abolishing arms, drone warfare, human rights, environmental rights, etc.,   We will know as we work towards this vision of a demilitarised, disarmed world, that we are part of an ever growing new ‘consciousness’ of men and women, choosing to uphold human life, the right to individual conscious, loving our enemies, human rights and international law, and solving our problems without killing each other.

Why Resist militarism? We are witnessing the growing militarism of Europe, and its role as a driving force for armaments, and its dangerous path, under the leadership of the USA/NATO towards a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression. The European Union and many of its countries, who used to take initiatives in the UN for peaceful settlements of conflicts, particularly allegedly peaceful countries, like Norway and Sweden, are now one of the US/NATO most important war assets. The EU is a threat to the survival of neutrality, as countries are being asked to join NATO, and forced to end their neutrality and choose (unnecessarily) between West and East.

Many nations have been drawn into being complicit in breaking international law through US/UK/NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and etc., Germany being the third largest exporter of military hardware in the world, continues to increase its military budget and is complicit with NATO, facilitating USA bases, from which drones leave carry out illegal ex judicial killings on the order of the US President, in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., Germany has also provided Israel with its nuclear submarine and continues to be complicit under the Geneva Convention, in Israeli war crimes against Gaza and illegal Occupation of Palestine.

I believe we need to abolish NATO and increase our task of dismantling the Military Industrial complex, through nonviolent and civil resistance. The means of resistance are very important.   As a pacifist and person deeply committed to nonkilling/nonviolence as a way to bring about social/cultural/political change, I believe we need to use means consistent with the end, and it is wrong to use violence.

Our message that Militarism and War do not solve our problem of violence, challenges us to use new ways and that is why we need to teach the Science of peace at every level of society. We are all aware there are forces at work that are determined to continue their agenda of the militarization of our societies and there are Gov./Corporate/Media attempts to make violence and war acceptable. The greatest danger to our freedoms being eroded, by Gov., and endangered by ‘armed’ groups, is a fearful, apathetic, civil community, refusing to take a stand for human rights and real democracy, and against violence and war.

We can take hope from the fact that most people want peace not war. However, we are facing a civilization problem. We are facing a Political/Ideological challenge with the growth of what President Eisenhower warned the USA people against – the Military/Industrial complex. He warned it would destroy USA democracy and he has been proven right in this. We know now that a small world group made up of Military/Industrial/Media/Corporate/Academic elite, whose agenda is profit, arms, war and valuable resources, is now holding power and have a stronghold on our elected Governments. We see this in the Gun and Israeli Lobbies, amongst others, who hold great power over American Politics. We have witnessed this, in ongoing wars, invasions, occupations, and proxy war, all allegedly in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention and democracy’. However, in reality they are causing great suffering, especially to the poor, through their policies of arms, war, domination and control of other countries and their resources.

Unmasking this agenda of war and demanding the implementation of Human Rights and International Law is the work of the Peace Movement. We can turn around from this path of destruction by spelling out a clear vision of what kind of a world we want to live in, demanding an end to M/I complex, and insisting our Governments adopt policies of peace, just economics, etc.

We the Peace Movement are the alternative to militarism and war, and as we want a different world, we must be part of building it. We must not be satisfied with improvements and reform to militarism but rather offer an alternative. Militarism is an aberration and a system of dysfunction. Militarism should be outdated and go like hanging and flogging!

I hope that IFOR will join in a Universal Call for peace through the wholesale abolition of militarism.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com.

More than 400 Ukrainian troops have been allowed to cross into Russia after requesting sanctuary. It’s the largest, but not the first, case of desertion into Russia by Ukrainian soldiers involved in Kiev’s military crackdown in the east of the country.

According to the Rostov Region’s border guard spokesman Vasily Malaev, a total of 438 soldiers, including 164 Ukrainian border guards, have been allowed into Russia on Sunday night.

One of the Ukrainians was seriously injured on his arrival in Russia. He was taken to the hospital for surgery, the officials added.

The other Ukrainian soldiers have been housed in a tent camp deployed near the checkpoint via which they entered Russian territory. The Russian border guards are providing them with food and bedding.

Footage taken by the Russian media at the scene showed the Ukrainian soldiers being handed ration packs and resting in their temporary shelter. Those who agreed to speak on camera said they were relieved to be in safety for the first time in weeks.

“We were given an order to leave out positions and go to Russia trough a corridor. We were told it would be safe. Of course they, I would say, made us go fast from behind,” 

one of the soldiers, a BMP driver who would not reveal his name or even show his face on camera, said.

“It was so bad back there. Hot, and so many deaths and bad things,” another one, Dmitry, said. 

“Folks can rest here. They gave us a chance to wash, gave us new clothes. We are thankful.”

“We have been in those fields for more than six months and are very tired,” he added.

Another one, Yaroslav, said he wishes to go back to his family in Ukraine. “I want to do something peaceful. My contract expired four months ago,” he explained.

RIA Novosti/Yulia Nasulina
Image: RIA Novosti/Yulia Nasulina

On Sunday, the Ukrainian anti-government militia reported that it was in negotiations with a large contingent of Ukrainian troops they encircled in Lugansk region on a possible surrender. The negotiations were being hampered by the troops’ intention to destroy some 70 armored vehicles in their possession before laying down arms, which the militia wanted to capture intact.

The Gukovo border checkpoint, through which the Ukrainian troops crossed into the Russian territory, is located on Russia’s border with the Lugansk Region of Ukraine, indicating that these are the same troops that were negotiating with the militia. If so, it was not immediately clear whether the vehicles they had were really destroyed.

OSCE monitors and journos come under shelling from Ukraine at Russian border

The flow of deserters from the ranks of Ukrainian Army and National Guard seems to be increasing amid the escalating violence in Donets and Lugansk Regions, where Kiev is fighting against armed anti-government militias.

In late July 41 Ukrainian troops fled to Russia to escape fighting in eastern Ukraine. They are now being prosecuted in Ukraine for deserting in the heat of battle.

RIA Novosti
Image: RIA Novosti

Several Ukrainian units have been reported to recently to be cut off from supply lines after attempted offensive operations, which brought them behind the militia-controlled territories and close to the Russian border.

The Ukrainian troops, while far superior to the militia in terms of heavy weapons, suffer from poor logistics. Many soldiers complain about lacking even basic supplies like food and water on the frontline. The situation is aggravated by cases of apparent negligence from the command, with units being supplied with faulty equipment, coming under friendly fire and simply left behind while retreating from militia counter-attacks.  

A YouTube video allegedly shows a Ukrainian soldier explaining how he has to catch and cook snakes because his unit receives no rations.

Kiev’s National Guard unit mutiny: ‘We’ve been discarded like trash’

This causes serious morale problems in the army, with more critical voices saying the Ukraine de facto has no infantry troops and has no other way to fight but by leveling militia-held cities to the ground with artillery and air strikes.

There is a growing resistance to the military campaign among Ukrainian population, with several cases of mass protests against the latest mobilization drive, as mothers and wives of conscripts took to the streets to demand that their loved once not be drafted into the army.

It’s so crazy that one’s first instinct is that it must be a spoof web site. It reads:

“A Citibank International Personal Bank FX Leveraged Loan Account can help you maximize the most of what you have. It allows you to borrow up to 5 times your deposit balance to trade in foreign currencies, so you may increase your potential investment power.” (The italics on deposit balance are ours.)

It turns out that this is a real Citibank offering, a real Citibank web site, and there is a similar deal being offered in Hong Kong by Citibank – one of Wall Street’s largest banks – a bank that appears hell bent on setting a Guinness World Record for the most screw ups in one decade.

Putting aside the fact that Citigroup, parent of Citibank, is under investigation for potentially helping to rig foreign currency trading with other global banks, there is the fact that Citigroup simply cannot afford another hit to its reputation – like inducing bank depositors to gamble with five times leverage in the highly complex foreign exchange markets.

A quick refresher is in order. Citigroup is the successor to National City Bank, blamed by Senator Carter Glass of Virginia in 1929 as playing a major role in causing the stock market crash which led to the Great Depression. In 2011, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reported that Citigroup played a pivotal role in the 2008 financial crash, writing further that: “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other regulators could have clamped down on Citigroup’s excesses in the run-up to the crisis. They did not.”

In 1929, the business model worked like this: National City Bank made bad loans and packaged them up as securities and sold them to unwary investors. Last month, Citigroup paid a $7 billion fine for making bad loans and packaging them up as securities and selling them to unwary investors.

During the 2008 to 2010 financial crash, no other bank required as much financial support from the U.S. taxpayer as did Citigroup. The bank received $45 billion in equity infusions; over $300 billion in asset guarantees, and more than $2 trillion in below-market rate loans from the New York Fed. In addition to selling bad debt to investors, Citigroup pushed what it couldn’t sell into vehicles off its balance sheet. Tens of billions of that bad debt ended up back on its balance sheet, causing its insolvency in 2008.

The Glass-Steagall Act, enacted in 1933 with sponsors Senator Carter Glass and Congressman Henry Steagall, separated insured deposit banking from the speculative excesses of brokerage firms and investment banks. That legislative wall existed from 1933 to 1999 and protected our nation all that time from the kinds of abuses of the late 1920s on Wall Street. Nine years after its repeal, the U.S. financial system collapsed again from the exact same causes as in 1929.

No other bank played as great a role in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act than Citigroup.

Read complete article

http://wallstreetonparade.com/2014/08/citigroup-offers-five-times-leverage-to-bank-depositors-to-trade-in-foreign-currencies/

Are We Exposing Ourselves to a Black Swan Event?

There’s no cure for Ebola.

Ebola is deadly and contagious.  90% of those who catch it die quickly.

Normally, the extreme lethality of Ebola means that the virus quickly “burns itself out”.  Specifically, if a villager eats an infected fruit bat and comes down with Ebola, it quickly kills the villager and everyone around him … and then the spread stops because it can’t travel to the next village over.

In other words, extreme deadliness of Ebola normally insures that it doesn’t spread very far.

But – for the first time in history – it is now spreading worldwide. As Michael Snyder notes:

#1 As the chart below demonstrates, the spread of Ebola is starting to become exponential…

#2 This is already the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history by far.

#3 The head of the World Health Organization says that this outbreak “is moving faster than our efforts to control it“.

#4 The head of Doctors Without Borders says that this outbreak is “out of control“.

#5 So far, more than 100 health workers that were on the front lines fighting the virus have ended up contracting Ebola themselves.  This is happening despite the fact that they go to extraordinary lengths to keep from getting the disease.

***

As Paul Craig Roberts so aptly put it the other day, all it would take is “one cough, one sneeze, one drop of saliva, and the virus is loose“.

As Dr. Sanjay Gupta notes, there have been lapses in safety at the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. hospitals in treating infectious diseases.

So why is the U.S. flying in Ebola patients to be treated on U.S. soil?

Yes, I feel sorry for the American aid workers who were trying to do good in Africa by helping those infected with Ebola.  But the risk of losing containment of this beast is too high.

In yet another example of the federal government’s war on self-sufficiency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a seed library in Pennsylvania, claiming that a system whereby residents could borrow heirloom seeds and then replace them at harvest time was a violation of the 2004 Seed Act, while a commissioner warned that such behavior could lead to “agri-terrorism.”

When the Cumberland County Library System set up the facility at Mechanicsburg’s Joseph T. Simpson Public Library back in April, they thought it would be a useful way for locals to borrow seeds and replace them at the end of the growing season, encouraging residents to learn more about growing their own food and acquiring key self-sufficiency skills.

Following in the footsteps of similar initiatives across the state, the library system was careful to check that they were doing everything by the book and not breaking any laws as well as meeting with the county extension office.

However, the deadly threat posed by the seed library was soon made clear when the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a letter telling the library system that they were in violation of the 2004 Seed Act, which regulates the selling of seeds (the library was not selling them), under the justification of preventing the growth of invasive plant species, cross-pollination and poisonous plants.

“The commissioners were equally flabbergasted by the change of events, as well as with how the agriculture department handled the investigation — sending a high-ranking official and lawyers to a meeting with the library,” reports the Cumberlink Sentinel.

Feds told the library system that they would have to test each individual seed packet in order for the facility to continue, an impossible task, which meant that the seed library was shut down.

Cumberland County Library System Executive Director Jonelle Darr was told that the USDA would, “continue to crack down on seed libraries that have established themselves in the state.”

Cumberland County Commissioner Barbara Cross applauded the USDA’s decision, warning that allowing residents to borrow seeds could have led to acts of “agri-terrorism.”

The library has abandoned the seed system and instead can only promote events where residents are encouraged to directly swap seeds with each other.

“Gosh, this makes me wonder when they are going to crack down on all of those GMO fields, with their grave concerns about cross-pollination,” writes Daisy Luther. “Look out, Monsanto…oh, wait. This only applies to regular people growing vegetables. GMOs aren’t considered an invasive species.”

While the USDA is busy cracking down on local seed libraries in the name of preventing cross-pollination, many accuse the federal agency of being completely in the pocket of biotech giant Monsanto, which itself has been responsible for cross-pollinating farmers’ crops with genetically modified seeds on an industrial scale.

Monsanto is also responsible for creating Agent Orange and PCBs, neither of which can be considered to have had a positive environmental impact.

David Swanson goes further, arguing that Monsanto is, “responsible for environmental disasters that have destroyed entire towns, and a driving force behind the international waves of suicides among farmers whose lives it has helped ruin,” and that the company, “has monopolized our food system largely by taking over regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

The Obama administration has also appointed numerous former Monsanto executives to key roles within the USDA, leading to accusations that the federal agency is merely a water carrier for Monsanto which acts to eliminate its competition, no matter how small scale.

It seems that while the U.S. government, via USAID, as well as huge corporations like DuPont and the Rockefeller Foundation, fund the creation of monolithic ‘doomsday’ seed vaults in the event of an environmental catastrophe, any attempt by ordinary Americans to become self-sufficient by obtaining their own heirloom seeds will be countered with the full legal force of the federal bureaucracy.

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

Flight MH17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts

August 4th, 2014 by Robert Parry

Contrary to the Obama administration’s public claims blaming eastern Ukrainian rebels and Russia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, some U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appears Ukrainian government forces were to blame, according to a source briefed on these findings.

This judgment – at odds with what President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have expressed publicly – is based largely on the absence of U.S. government evidence that Russia supplied the rebels with a Buk anti-aircraft missile system that would be needed to hit a civilian jetliner flying at 33,000 feet, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Despite U.S. spy satellites positioned over eastern Ukraine, U.S. intelligence agencies have released no images of a Buk system being transferred by Russians to rebel control, shipped into Ukraine, deployed into firing position and then being taken back to Russia. Though the Obama administration has released other images of Ukraine taken by U.S. spy satellites, the absence of any photos of a rebel-controlled Buk missile battery has been the dog not barking in the strident case that Official Washington has made in blaming the rebels and Russia for the July 17 shoot-down that killed 298 people.

Given the size of these missile batteries – containing four 16-foot-long missiles – the absence of this evidence prompted caution among U.S. intelligence analysts even as senior U.S. officials and the U.S. mainstream media rushed to judgment blaming the rebels and Russians.President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Image: President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

In making that case, Kerry and other senior officials relied on claims made by the Ukrainian government along with items posted on “social media.” These snippets of “evidence” included ambiguous remarks attributed to rebels who may have initially thought the shoot-down was another of their successful attacks on lower-flying Ukrainian military aircraft but who later insisted that they had not fired on the Malaysian plane and lacked the longer-range Buk missiles needed to reach above 30,000 feet.

If the U.S. intelligence analysts are correct – that the rebels and Russia are likely not responsible – the chief remaining suspect would be the Ukrainian government, which does possess Buk anti-aircraft missiles and reportedly had two fighter jets in the vicinity of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at the time of the shoot-down.

Some independent analyses of the initial evidence from the crash site suggest the jetliner may have been destroyed by an air-to-air attack, not by an anti-aircraft missile fired from the ground. Yet, the working hypothesis of the U.S. intelligence analysts is that a Ukrainian military Buk battery and the jetfighters may have been operating in collusion as they hunted what they thought was a Russian airliner, possibly even the plane carrying President Vladimir Putin on a return trip from South America, the source said.

The source added that the U.S. intelligence analysis does not implicate top Ukrainian officials, such as President Petro Poroshenko or Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, suggesting that the attack may have been the work of more extremist factions, possibly even one of the Ukrainian oligarchs who have taken an aggressive approach toward prosecuting the war against the ethnic Russian rebels in the east.

Obviously, a successful shoot-down of a Russian plane, especially one carrying Putin, could have been a major coup for the Kiev regime, which ousted Russian ally, President Viktor Yanukovych, last February touching off the civil war. Some prominent Ukrainian politicians, such as ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, have expressed the desire to kill Putin.

“It’s about time we grab our guns and kill, go kill those damn Russians together with their leader,” Tymoshenko said in an intercepted phone call in March, according to a leak published in the Russian press and implicitly confirmed by Tymoshenko.

The Shoot-Down Mystery

The Malaysia Airlines plane, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was not expected to be over the eastern part of Ukraine on the afternoon of July 17, but was [allegedly] rerouted to avoid bad weather. The plane was nearing Russian airspace when it was shot down.

Some early speculation had been that the Ukrainian military might have mistaken the plane for a Russian spy plane and attacked it in a scenario similar to the Soviet shoot-down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983 after misidentifying it as a U.S. spy plane.

In the two-plus weeks since the Ukrainian air disaster, there have been notable gaps between the more measured approach taken by U.S. intelligence analysts and the U.S. politicians and media personalities who quickly rushed to the judgment blaming the rebels and Russia.

Only three days after the crash, Secretary of State Kerry did the rounds of the Sunday talk shows making what he deemed an “extraordinary circumstantial” case supposedly proving that the rebels carried out the shoot-down with missiles provided by Russia. He acknowledged that the U.S. government was “not drawing the final conclusion here, but there is a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible.”

By then, I was already being told that the U.S. intelligence community lacked any satellite imagery supporting Kerry’s allegations and that the only Buk missile system in that part of Ukraine appeared to be under the control of the Ukrainian military. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?”]

On the Tuesday after Kerry’s Sunday declarations, mainstream journalists, including for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, were given a senior-level briefing about the U.S. intelligence information that supposedly pointed the finger of blame at the rebels and Russia. But, again, much of the “evidence” was derived from postings on “social media.”

The Los Angeles Times article on the briefing took note of the uncertainties: “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [the Buk anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

That reference to a possible “defector” may have been an attempt to reconcile the U.S. government’s narrative with the still-unreleased satellite imagery of the missile battery controlled by soldiers appearing to wear Ukrainian uniforms. But I’m now told that U.S. intelligence analysts have largely dismissed the “defector” possibility and are concentrating on the scenario of a willful Ukrainian shoot-down of the plane, albeit possibly not knowing its actual identity.

A Hardened Conventional Wisdom

Nevertheless, even as the mystery of who shot down Flight 17 deepened, the U.S. conventional wisdom blaming Putin and the rebels hardened. The New York Times has reported Russia’s culpability in the airline disaster as flat-fact.

On July 29, Obama prefaced his announcement of tougher sanctions against Russia by implicitly blaming Putin for the tragedy, too. Reading a prepared statement, Obama said:

“In the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, and countries around the world, families are still in shock over the sudden and tragic loss of nearly 300 loved ones senselessly killed when their civilian airliner was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.  …

“Since the shoot-down, however, Russia and its proxies in Ukraine have failed to cooperate with the investigation and to take the opportunity to pursue a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine. These Russian-backed separatists … have continued to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft in the region. And because of their actions, scores of Ukrainian civilians continue to die needlessly every day.” [Emphasis added.]

Though one could argue that Obama was rhetorically tip-toeing around a direct accusation that the rebels and Russia were responsible for the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down, his intent clearly was to leave that impression. In other words, Obama was pandering to the conventional wisdom about Russian guilt and was misleading the American people about what the latest U.S. intelligence may suggest.

It’s also grotesquely deceptive to blame the Russians and the rebels for the indiscriminate shelling by government forces that have claimed hundreds of lives in eastern Ukraine. The rebels have been resisting what they regard as an illegitimate coup regime that, with the aid of neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine, overthrew elected President Yanukovych in February and then moved to marginalize and suppress the ethnic Russian population in the east.

By presenting the conflict in a one-sided way, Obama not only misled Americans about the origins of the Ukraine crisis but, in effect, gave the Kiev regime a green light to slaughter more ethnic Russianst. By pointing the finger of blame at Moscow for all the troubles of Ukraine, Obama has created more geopolitical space for Kiev to expand its brutal onslaught that now has included reported use of poorly targeted ballistic missiles against population centers.

Obama’s covering for the Kiev regime is even more outrageous if the U.S. intelligence analysts are right to suspect that Ukrainian forces were behind the Flight 17 shoot-down.

And as for who’s been responsible for destroying evidence of the Flight 17 shoot-down, an assault by the Ukrainian military on the area where the plane crashed not only delayed access by international investigators but appears to have touched off a fire that consumed plane debris that could have helped identify the reasons for the disaster.

On Saturday, the last paragraph of a New York Times story by Andrew E. Kramer reported that “the fighting ignited a fire in a wheat field that burned over fuselage fragments, including one that was potentially relevant to the crash investigation because it had what appeared to be shrapnel holes.” The shrapnel holes have been cited by independent analysts as possible evidence of an attack by Ukrainian jetfighters.

Accepting Reality

Yet, given how far the U.S. political/media establishment has gone in its Flight 17 judgment pinning the blame on the rebels and Russia even before an official investigation was started, it’s not clear how those powerbrokers would respond if the emerging analysis fingering Ukrainian forces turns out to be correct.

The embarrassment to high-level U.S. officials and prominent mainstream U.S. news outlets would be so extreme that it is hard to believe that the reality would ever be acknowledged.  Indeed, there surely will be intense pressure on airline investigators and intelligence analysts to endorse the Putin-is-to-blame narrative.

And, if the investigators and analysts won’t go that far, they might at least avoid a direct contradiction of the conventional wisdom by suggesting that the Flight 17 mystery remains unsolved, something for historians to unravel.

Such has been the pattern in other cases of major mainstream mistakes. For instance, last year, some of the same players, including Secretary Kerry and the New York Times, jumped to conclusions blaming the Syrian government for an Aug. 21 sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb.

On Aug. 30, Kerry gave a bellicose speech filled with “we knows” but providing no verifiable evidence. A punitive U.S. bombing campaign against the Syrian government was averted at the last minute when President Obama decided to first seek congressional approval and then accepted President Putin’s assistance in working out a deal in which the Syrian government surrendered all its chemical weapons while still denying a role in the Aug. 21 incident.

Only later did much of Kerry’s case fall apart as new evidence pointed to an alternative explanation, that extremist Syrian rebels released the sarin as a provocation to push Obama across his “red line” and into committing the U.S. military to the Syrian civil war on the side of the rebels. But neither U.S. officialdom nor the mainstream U.S. press has acknowledged the dangerous “group think” that almost got the United States into another unnecessary war in the Middle East. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”]

It may seem cynical to suggest that the powers-that-be in Official Washington are so caught up in their own propaganda that they would prefer the actual killers of innocent people – whether in Syria or Ukraine – to go unpunished, rather than to admit their own mistakes. But that is often how the powerful react. Nothing is more important than their reputations.

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

Anti-conscription Protests Grow in Ukraine

August 4th, 2014 by World Socialist Web Site

Kiev’s imposition of a “third” wave of military mobilisation has reportedly led to anti-conscription protests in several towns and cities in Ukraine.

The measure, announced by President Petro Poroshenko on July 22, affects mainly young men aged between 18 and 25 years of age.

It was introduced in the Ukrainian Rada by Andriy Parubiy, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council. Puribiy is the founder of the fascist Social National Party of Ukraine. In 2012 he joined the Fatherland party of Yulia Tymoshenko. He functioned as a “commandant” of the Maidan protests, organising right wing thugs to back the pro-Western coup in February.

According to the Ukrainian-based Zik.au, on July 22, angry crowds burned conscription documents and attacked the military registration office in the town of Bohorodchany, southwest Ukraine. In Skobychivka village in the same district, residents formed a human chain to block the road from Ivano-Frankivsk to Bohorodchany, holding placards saying “Stop the bloodshed.”

Residents in seven villages in the neighbouring Bukovina region also blocked roads to protest conscription on July 28. In Chernivtsi, in the same district, a group of women confronted a local military recruitment officer and burned conscription orders. One woman complains that the Kiev authorities “are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, but they come here to take our sons and send them to death. They made the mess and now they need us to clean it up.”

The protests seem to mainly involve ethnic Romanians, the second largest minority in the region after Russian language speakers. But there are reports of similar demonstrations elsewhere.

On July 25, in the shipbuilding port of Mykolaiv on the Black Sea, east of Odessa, mothers and wives of soldiers in service with the 79th Paratroop Regiment blocked the Varvarovsky Bridge over the Bug River.

Demanding the return of their male relatives from extended tours of duty, they carried placards reading “Save our boys” and blocked traffic. The blockade was eventually broken up by police on July 27 with several arrests.

The main Kiev-Chop highway has been repeatedly blocked by similar protests over the last month—the latest on July 28, near the border of Slovakia and Hungary.

A report by V. Gritsak, head of the Anti-Terrorist Operation on July 9 said that 1,600 pro-government troops have been killed since April and 4,723 wounded.

According to Ukraine’s private International Commercial Television channel, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced that anyone agitating against the regime’s operations in eastern Ukraine will be arrested and face imprisonment.

The Kiev regime is utilising western provocations against Russia over the crash of flight MH17 as the cover for a major military offensive in eastern Ukraine. Reports speak of a developing humanitarian crisis, with 230,000 people internally displaced due to the conflict.

The onslaught comes after Ukraine’s Rada agreed on Thursday to impose an additional 1.5 percent hike in income tax to fund military operations. The across the board tax, which will hit an already impoverished population especially hard, came just a week after the Rada agreed to further expand conscription, following the reinstatement of the military draft in May.

These actions are indicative of the authoritarian character of the regime installed with western backing in February. The tax was approved despite the fact that just the week before, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk had announced his resignation and that of the entire cabinet, bringing down the government.

The billionaire oligarch and President, Petro Poroshenko, in league with extreme-rightists, is using the ensuing instability to press Kiev’s advantage. The objective is not only to suppress pro-Russian separatists, but to intimidate the entire Ukrainian population in advance of new elections, scheduled for October, which they hope will rubber stamp the austerity demands of the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Government forces, including fascist brigands, have reportedly taken control of the towns of Krasnogorovka and Staromikhailovka, just outside Donetsk—the centre of pro-Russian separatist forces.

These towns are close to the area where MH17 crashed on July 17, killing all 293 passengers and crew. Without a shred of evidence, the western powers, led by the US, have blamed Russia for the aircraft’s downing and have imposed sweeping sanctions against Moscow. Yet, more than a fortnight since the tragedy, the results from the official investigation into the crash have still not been released.

Talks in Belarus between Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) last week agreed a local cease-fire in the vicinity of the crash site to enable the recovery of bodies.

But even as the team of some 400 investigators began their task, the Ukrainian regime took advantage of the agreement to encircle Donetsk and cut its link with Luhansk, the other main pro-separatist stronghold.

Significant fighting has been reported around Shakhtarsk, just 15 miles from the main crash site. At least ten Ukrainian troops are said to have been killed in their attempt to retake the town, which links Donetsk and Luhansk, from rebel forces on Friday.

Pro-government forces are bombarding Donetsk, home to 1 million people, particularly the outlying suburbs. On Wednesday, 19 people were reported to have been killed in just 24 hours as Ukrainian forces fired heavy artillery shells into a number of apartment blocks in the Vetka district, just one mile from the city centre. Train departures were suspended after rail lines were damaged.

Luhansk, near the Russian border, is said to be completely surrounded by government forces and without electricity and running water. The city, usually home to 400,000 people, has been shelled for more than eight days.

While there are no figures available as to the causalities of this latest onslaught, the United Nations estimates that more than 1,100 were killed in the six weeks leading up to July 26 and 3,500 wounded. Almost 40,000 people have taken refuge in camps in Russia’s Rostov region. The Russian Red Cross described the situation in eastern Ukraine as a humanitarian catastrophe and has urged the evacuation of all children from the war zones.

In a televised statement Ukraine’s Army Chief Valeriy Geletey said, “All those who want to leave Ukrainian towns and villages still have the possibility to run back to Russia.”

“Believe me they are fleeing. We are getting calls saying ‘let us leave the towns’,” he gloated.

Following his appointment by Poroshenko on July 3, Geletey reportedly boasted that “Ukraine will win” the civil war and that its “victory parade is sure to be in Ukrainian Sevastopol.” On March 16, Sevastopol, as part of the Crimea, voted in a referendum to become part of the Russian Federation.

After scenes in mid-April when a regular battalion of the Ukrainian army refused to fire on a crowd near Slavyansk and abandoned their arms, the Kiev regime has established a national guard and is relying on “volunteer” militias—many comprising open fascists—to prosecute its war in eastern Ukraine.

The Financial Times, August 1, reported on “patriotically minded citizens” “mobilising” in support of Kiev. Amongst the “patriots,” it cited the far-right Azov Battalion, which has “just received its first armoured personnel carrier, a donation from a wealthy Kiev businessman.”

Such brigades have been “instrumental” in the Kiev offensive, it noted approvingly.

The Azov Battalion, financed by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, is led by Andriy Biletsky, head of the extreme right Social National Assembly (SNA). Allied to the fascist Right Sector party, it played a lead role in February’s coup. Comprising open neo-Nazis, its mission is the “liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital.”

Such is the racist filth on which Kiev and its backers in Washington and Brussels are relying in their geo-strategic offensive against Moscow.

Igor Sutyagin, a military expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told the FT, “Over the past three months, Ukrainian troops have learnt how to fight. The authorities have untied their hands and they are fighting pitilessly.”

Formerly disused factories in Kiev are reportedly churning out weapons, including 1,000 armoured personal carriers. But, as the FT admits, the Ukrainian regime has “also benefited from international support, with the US providing millions of dollars of food packages, body armour and night-vision goggles. Ukrainian officials say the US has also provided crucial intelligence and advice on strategy.”

On Saturday, Interfax, the Ukrainian news agency, reported that US Vice President Joe Biden had been in contact with Poroshenko and reassured him that the Obama administration was considering “expanding its support for Ukraine.”

Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, it should be noted, has been named director of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private natural gas production company.

Simultaneously, the Obama administration announced it will train and arm the Ukrainian national guard from 2015. A statement from the Defense and State Departments said Congress has been notified of the intention to use “$19 million in global security contingency fund authority” to build the capacity of the national guard “for internal defence.”

Washington has also pledged $8 million in new aid to bolster the Ukrainian border guard service.

For its part, the European Union has sent “security advisers” to Kiev to help restore “law and order” in rebel areas. An initial £2 million has been allocated to fund the advisers, which are said to be unarmed.

The EU has also lifted its ban on supplying Ukraine with military technology and equipment. It was imposed earlier this year in support of the pro-western Maidan protests.

In a statement, Russia accused the EU of double standards. While the recent meeting of the Council of Europe in Brussels had overturned the ban to Ukraine “on the quiet,” it said, the same meeting had agreed sweeping sanctions against the Russian defence sector.

Accusing the EU of joining “the side of Washington and Kiev’s fairytales regarding ongoing events in Ukraine,” the Russian Foreign Ministry statement asked, “Do they understand in the capitals of the EU countries what these irresponsible steps could lead to, either in the political or economic spheres?”

438 Ukrainian troops escape to Russia

More than 400 Ukrainian military personnel requested refugee status from Russian border guards on Monday and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has opened a corridor for the soldiers.

“Overnight 438 Ukrainian military personnel turned to Russian border guards with a request for refugee [status],” the head of the FSB’s border control in the southern Russian region of Rostov, Vasily Malaeyev, said.

http://rt.com/files/news/2b/64/c0/00/u-1.jpgBorder control authorities have opened a humanitarian corridor and have allowed refugees into Russia. Among the 438 personnel, 164 are employees of Ukraine’s State Border Service.

Fierce battles in Ukraine’s southeastern regions have not abated since mid-April when Kiev officials announced the beginning of a special operation against local independence supporters. As a result, many Ukrainian servicemen left their military posts to cross into Russia.

On Sunday, 12 soldiers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces made it into Russia and applied for an asylum at Gukovo checkpoint in Russia’s Rostov Region, saying they had run out of food and ammunition.

Last month, another 40 Ukrainian troops abandoned their military units and asked independence supporters to allow them to come to Russia in order not to fight against their own people.

Ukrainian solders said that they have already run out of water, food and fuel. Ammunition is also running out. There is a bad situation with supply which is connected with the large loss of military transport aircraft in Ukrainian armed forces.

RIA Novosti/Yulia Nasulina

Image Source RT

Ukrainian mass media and the leaders of the so-called CTO (counter-terrorist operation) didn’t report about these facts.

Moreover, the Ukrainian press didn’t report about a number of military personnel who have received a humanitarian corridor through Russia and now claim that they do not want to fight anymore.

But when the pawns refuse to play there will be no game.

The power lies not with the plans of the rulers but with the decision of each and every one of us, especially those in the military.

Refuse to fight and reclaim your birthright of living in peace.   http://rt.com/files/news/2b/64/c0/00/u-1.jpg

Image: These Ukrainian soldiers had enough, source

Today it was reported that more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers refused to kill their fellow countrymen in eastern Ukraine. They “defected” across the border to Russia and layed down their arms.

One of them, Yaroslav said: “I want to do something peaceful.

They saw no other option than to flee their own country as they would have been prosecuted as “traitors”.

Some Israeli soldiers are also recognising that it is wrong what they are doing. Dozens refused the summons to service.

They state:

We are more than 50 Israelis who were once soldiers and now declare our refusal to be part of the reserves. We oppose the Israeli Army and the conscription law. , source

World War 1: The Christmas Truce. A game of football between British & German troops, 1914We all know the iconic images of soldiers playing football (soccer) together on the killing fields of World War I during the christmas truce. A photo that touches us and highlights the madness of brothers killing each other.

Heroes and the Traitors

Soldiers that refuse to fight are portrayed generally as traitors. But what they really do is remember who they really are. Sentient, caring, loving and compassionate human beings. And what’s more, they are acting on on it.

The heroes are not those who refuse to kill for nations, ideologies, economic interests or religions. They are those who refuse to be used as weapons against their fellow man. Who refuse to be used as cannon fodder to prolong the existence
of domination, oppression and division.

There are some who think that they can play with human lifes. And they even write books about it. Like this guy Zbigniew Brzezinski (The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives). But when the pawns refuse to play there will be no game. The power lies not with the plans of the rulers but with the decision of each and every one of us, especially those in the military. Refuse to fight and reclaim your birthright of living in peace.

 

 About the author:

R. Teichmann is an activist living in West Cork / Ireland. He is an editor with news-beacon-ireland.info and also blogs on War is a crime.

Last week’s government guesstimate that second quarter 2014 real GDP growth will be 4% seems nonsensical on its face.  There is no evidence of increases in real median family incomes or real consumer credit that would lift the economy from a first quarter decline to 4% growth in the second quarter.

Middle class store closings (Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penney) have spread into the Dollar stores used by those with lower incomes. Family Dollar, a chain in the process of closing hundreds of stores is being bought by Dollar Tree, the only one of the three Dollar store chains that is not in trouble.  Wal-Mart’s sales have declined for the past 5 quarters. Declining sales and retail store closings indicate shrinking consumer purchasing power.  Retail facts do not support the claim of a 4% GDP growth rate for the second quarter, and they do not support last Friday’s payroll job claim of 26,700 new retail jobs in July.

What about the housing market? 

Don’t the headlines accompanying last Friday’s payroll jobs report, such as “Hiring Settles Into Steady Gains,” mean more people working and a boost to the economy from a housing recovery?  No.  What the financial press did not report is that the US is in a structural jobs depression.  In the 12-month period from July 2013 through July 2014, 2.3 million Americans of working age were added to the population. Of these 2.3 million only 330 thousand entered the labor force.  My interpretation of this is that the job market is so poor that only 14% of the increase in the working age population entered the labor force.

The decline in the labor force participation rate is bad news for the housing market. The US labor force participation rate peaked at 67.3% in 2000 and has been in a sustained downturn ever since. The rate of decline increased in October 2008 with the bank bailout and Quantitative Easing. From October 2008 to the present, 13.2 million Americans were added to the working age population, but only 818 thousand, or 6%, entered the labor force. http://investmentresearchdynamics.com/americas-structural-job-depression-is-here-to-stay/  Despite government and financial press claims, the Federal Reserve’s multi-year policy of printing money with which to purchase bonds did not restore the housing or job markets.

What about the stock market? 

It has been down in recent days but is still high historically. Isn’t the stock market evidence of a good economy?  Not if stocks are up because corporations are buying back their own stock. Corporations are now the largest buyers of stocks. Recently we learned that from 2006 through 2013 corporations authorized $4.14 trillion in buybacks of their publicly traded stocks.  Moreover, it appears that corporations have been borrowing the money from banks with which to buy back their stocks. Last year there were $754.8 billion in authorized stock buybacks and $782.5 billion in corporate borrowing.  In the first three months of this year, companies purchased $160 billion of their own stocks. http://wallstreetonparade.com/2014/07/another-wall-street-inside-job-stock-buybacks-carried-out-in-dark-pools/

Borrowing to buyback stock leaves a company with debt but without new investment with which to produce revenues to service the debt.  The massive stock buybacks demonstrate that American capitalism is now corrupt. In order to maximize personal short-term financial benefits flowing from bonuses, stock options, and capital gains, CEOs, boards of directors, and shareholders are decapitalizing public companies and loading them up with debt.

Well, isn’t the economy being helped by the return of manufacturing to America?  Apparently not. Data for 1999-2012 indicate that the offshoring of manufacturing increased by 9%.

One economist, Susan Hester, an economist for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, has decided to turn the loss of manufacturing jobs into a virtue. Her argument is that retail employment dwarfs manufacturing employment and that more American jobs can be created by selling more imports than by encouraging manufacturing in order to provide exports.

According to Ms. Hester’s research, the US makes more money from the retail side than from the production side.  She concludes that the value added to a product by offshore labor is a small percentage of the value added by “managing offshored production, handling Customs clearances, managing warehouses and distribution, marketing apparel products, and by millions of people in the retail sector stocking shelves and working cash registers.”

In other words, the US manufacturing jobs moved offshore are just a throwaway. The money is made in selling the imports.

Ms. Hester neglects to recognize that when offshored production is brought to the US to be marketed, it comes in as imports and results in a larger US trade deficit.

Foreigners use dollars paid to them for the products that they make for US firms to purchase ownership of US bonds, stocks, and real assets such as land, buildings, and companies. Consequently, interest, profits, capital gains, and rents associated with the foreign purchases of US assets now flow to foreigners and not to Americans. The current account worsens.

It works like this: The excess of US imports over US exports leaves foreigners with claims on US income and wealth that are settled by foreign purchases of US assets.  The income produced by these assets now flows abroad with the consequence that income earned by foreigners on their US investments exceeds the income earned by the US on its foreign investments.

According to Ms. Hester’s reasoning, Americans would be better off it they produced nothing that they need and in place of manufacturing relied on the incomes of US fashion designers and pattern makers who specify the offshored production for US markets, on the compliance officers and freight agents, on production planning and expediting clerks, and on longshore workers and railroad employees who deliver the foreign-made goods to US consumer markets.

Ms. Hester believes that the value-added by offshored manufacturing is inconsequential. How then did China get rich from it, becoming the second largest economy and employing 100 million people in manufacturing (compared to America’s 12 million), and acquire the largest foreign reserves of any country?

After Ms. Hester answers that question she can explain why US corporations go to the trouble to offshore their manufacturing if the contribution to value-added is so low? The value added is obviously substantial enough for the labor cost savings to pay for transportation costs to the US from Asia, for the cost of set-up and management of foreign based facilities, and for the cost of the adverse publicity from abandoning US communities for Asia and still leave value-added after all costs to enlarge profits and drive up stock prices and executive bonuses.

Ms. Hester fools herself. The low value that she calculates Chinese, Indian, or Vietnamese labor adds to the price of a shirt reflects the low foreign labor cost, not a low value of the shirt in US markets or a low value of an iPhone in European markets.  Marketing, warehousing and distribution are done in the US by more highly paid people, and this is why it looks like the value added comes from sources other than manufacturing. Ms. Hester overlooks that the lower cost of foreign labor does not translate into a less valued product but into higher profits.

Economists assume that the labor cost savings are passed on to the consumers in  lower prices, but I have not experienced declining prices of Nike and Merrell sports shoes, of sheets and towels, of Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren shirts, of Apple computers, or whatever as a result of moving US production offshore.  The labor cost savings go into profits, managerial bonuses, and capital gains for shareholders and is one reason for the extraordinary increase in income and wealth inequality in the US.

Focused on short-term profit, manufacturers and retailers are destroying the US consumer market. The average annual salary of a US apparel manufacturing worker is

$35,000.  The average salary of US retail employees is less than half of that amount and provides no discretionary income with which to boost consumer spending in retail stores.

The American corporate practice of offshoring manufacturing has made it impossible for the Obama regime to keep its promises of creating manufacturing jobs and exports.  Unable to create real jobs and real exports, the US government has proposed to create virtual jobs and virtual exports made by “factoryless goods producers.”  In order to keep his promise of doubling the growth of US exports, the Obama regime wants to redefine foreign output as US output.

A “factoryless goods producer” is a newly invented statistical category. It is a company like Nike or Apple that outsources the production of its products to foreign companies. The Obama regime is proposing to redefine companies such as Apple that own a brand name or a product design as manufacturing companies even though the companies do not manufacture.

In other words, whether or not a US company is a manufacturer does not depend on its activity, but on its ownership of a brand name made for the company by a foreign manufacturer. For example, Apple iPhones made in China and sold in Europe would be reported as US exports of manufactured goods, and iPhones sold in the US would no longer be classified as imports but as US manufacturing output.  Apple’s non-manufacturing employees would be transformed into manufacturing employment.

Clearly, the purpose of this statistical deception is to inflate the number of US manufacturing jobs, US manufacturing output, and US exports and to convert imports into domestic production. It is a scheme that eliminates the large US trade deficit by redefinition.

The reclassification would leave the government’s Office of Statistical Lies with the anomaly that products made in China, India, Indonesia or wherever become US GDP as long as the brand name is owned by a US corporation, but the payments to the Asian workers who produced the products remain as claims on US wealth and can be converted into ownership of US bonds, companies, and real estate.

For example, Chinese workers produced the Apple products, and  China has the claims on US wealth to prove it.  How are these claims accounted for statistically by the Obama regime’s redefinition? The US can add China’s production of the Apple products to US GDP, but how does the US deduct the Chinese-produced Apple products from China’s GDP?  And how does the Obama regime’s redefinition get rid of the payments by Apple to the Chinese labor that produced the products? These payments comprise claims on US wealth.

In other words, the reclassification would double count the output of Apple’s products.  If every country does this, world GDP will rise statistically regardless of the fact that no more goods and services are produced. Perhaps this is the way to define away world poverty.

“Factoryless goods producers” was foreshadowed by Harvard professor Michael Porter’s 2006 competitiveness report, a justification for jobs offshoring.  Defending jobs offshoring, Porter downplayed the rise in the US trade deficit and decline in the US GDP growth rate caused by jobs offshoring. Porter argued, in effect, that ownership of the revenues and products, not the location in which the revenues and products are produced, should determine their classification. As I pointed out in my critique (see The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West), the result would be to raise US GDP by the amount of US production outsourced abroad and by the output of US overseas subsidiaries and to decrease the GDP of the countries in which the manufacturing actually takes place. Consistency would require that the German and Japanese autos, for example, that are produced in the US with US labor would become deductions from US GDP and be reported as German and Japanese GDP.

As I have emphasized for years, the West already lives in the dystopia forecast by George Orwell. Jobs are created by hypothetical add-ons to the reported payroll figures and by inappropriate use of seasonal adjustments.  Inflation is erased by substituting lower priced items in the inflation index for those that rise in price and by redefining rising prices as quality improvements. Real GDP growth is magicked into existence by deflating nominal GDP with the understated measure of inflation. Now corporations without factories are going to produce US manufacturing output, US exports, and US manufacturing jobs!

Every sphere of Western existence is defined by propaganda.  Consequently, we have reached a perfect state of nihilism.  We can believe nothing that we are told by  government, corporations, and the presstitute media.

We live in a lie, and the lie is ever expanding.

Original source http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/malaysia… – OSCE monitor Michael Bociurkiw mentions bullet holes in #MH17, not able to find any missile so far.

Genocide directed against Palestinians has become a “New Normal” according to the Times of Israel. 

Under certain circumstances –according to the Times of Israel article–“Genocide is Permissible” because it is directed against Palestinians who are “terrorists” and who should be “obliterated”.

Implementing a policy of genocide against terrorists including innocent civilians is permissible to ”achieve responsible goals” as formulated by the Netanyahu government.

What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely? …

If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

” (See The Times of Israel: Genocide is Permissible “to Achieve Responsible Goals?”  Global Research, August 01, 2014)

The following data (carefully compiled by Lesley Bravery, scroll down) confirm the central objective behind Israel’s military strategy which consists in “implementing genocide”, in carrying out “a strategy of obliteration”.

While killing civilians is a central objective, destroying the Palestinian economy, wrecking the institutions of civil society and making life impossible and unbearable for those who survive the bombings are an integral part of the military campaign:

Residential areas are singled out for bombing and shelling campaigns. Most of the buildings destroyed or damaged are people’s homes.

Schools, hospitals, clinics are targeted.

The bombings are also intent upon the destruction of electricity, water and waste-water infrastructure.

The Unspoken objective is Genocide directed against the People of Palestine.

The Expulsion of Palestinians from their Homeland

Let us be under no illusions. The central objective of the Zionist State is expulsion and territorial expansion  

Powerful voices in Israel’s Knesset (parliament) have called upon the government to expel the Palestinian population and resettle the territory with Jews. (Statement of the deputy speaker of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin):

“After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its firepower, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations,…Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever, ... Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.” (Moshe Feiglin quoted in Ali Abunimah, Expel Palestinians, Populate Gaza with Jews, Says Knesset Deputy Speaker , July 28, 2014

The underlying premise is “Greater Israel”: ” Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever”

Complicity of the West

Western leaders are not only complicit, they have blood on their hands.

This carefully planned Israeli military undertaking was coordinated with the Pentagon and NATO. It has broad geopolitical and economic ramifications (which are beyond the scope of this article).

Israel’s military actions are supportive of Washington’s Middle East strategy which consists in destabilizing and fragmenting Israel’s neighboring Arab States.  It is also part of the road map of US-NATO-Israel war plans directed against Iran. The timing of Israel’s attack on Gaza coincides with the militarization of Eastern Europe and relentless war threats directed against Russia.

“Paying Lip Service” to Israeli War Crimes

The “Washington Consensus” pays lip service to Israeli war crimes. According to the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which overshadows the US State Department, prime minister Netanyahu is said to have a profound “dislike for military conflict”.

According to the CFR, Netanyahu “is at the mercy of events” which are “beyond his control“. The victims of Israeli war crimes are said to be responsible for their own deaths. Netanyahu is “safe and reliable”, he is committed to peace, he was “politically compelled to act”. He is portrayed as the victim.

Genocide is the “New Normal”

In turn, the US media has also embraced the “New Normal” which intimates that “genocide is permissible” under certain circumstances. According to the Wall Street Journal, the solution is the outright elimination and/or expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland:

What did Gazans think was going to happen? Surely they must have understood on election night that their lives would now be suspended in a state of utter chaos. Life expectancy would be miserably low; children would be without a future. Staying alive would be a challenge, if staying alive even mattered anymore. (Professor Thane Rosenbaum, WSJ, July 21, 2014, emphasis added)

Michel Chossudovsky, August 3, 2014


Data Compiled by Leslie Bravery of the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign

Auckland, New Zealand

The death and destruction to midnight on 31st July are:

Palestinians killed: 1372 (315 children, 166 women and 60 elderly).

Palestinians wounded: 7680 (2307 children, 1529 women and 287 elderly).

Buildings destroyed: 5238

Buildings damaged: 4374

Damaged Hospitals and Health Centres:

13 hospitals and 10 clinics

34 health facilities closed

12 ambulances damaged

38 health personnel injured including:

Two pharmacists, four paramedics, one assistant pharmacist, one laboratory and blood bank manager.

One nurse and an Administration Manager died as a result of Israeli airstrikes.

The Roman Catholic Church in Gaza, hosting over 800 refugees and 29 handicapped children was threatened with bombardment although it was impossible to move the handicapped children outside the church.

Once again, Israel has targeted offices providing services to Palestinian and international media.

Over 245,000 people have been forcibly displaced.

1,700,000 people (the entire population of the Gaza Strip) have been affected by the destruction of electricity, water and waste-water infrastructure.

Friday 25th July was the eighteenth day of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. 1.7 million people, walled in, embargoed, with no place to hide, squeezed now in to just 66% of the forty mile long strip of land on orders from the Tel Aviv Reich. Six Palestinians were killed, the death toll in all on the day rose above eight hundred and fifty. The hospital in Beit Hanoun was bombed, part of an ongoing attack until minutes before midnight, injuring a number of people.

Fred Ekblad, a Swedish activist who was part of an international group staying in solidarity with the hospital staff and patients, bleeding from a head wound told journalist Amira Hass: “It is now chaos, the military is shelling directly at us.” There was no way to move bed bound patients trapped two floors above to safety. (1) The previous day an UNRWA school was hit, killing fifteen.

 The Fourth Geneva Convention is specific in prohibiting attacks on civilian hospitals, medical transport and of course designates collective punishment a war crime.

 Moreover regarding Israel:

“… the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution of the 23th July 2014 (noted that) the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude.

“Once again it is the unarmed civilian population, the ‘protected persons’ under International humanitarian law (IHL), who is in the eye of the storm. Gaza’s civilian population has been victimized in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defence, in the midst of an escalation of violence provoked in the face of the entire international community.”

 It must also never be forgotten in the latest violence by Israel: “The so-called Operation Protective Edge erupted during an ongoing armed conflict, in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967.” (2) Actually of course, the “armed conflict” and “belligerent occupation” has been ongoing since Israel became Palestine’s unwanted guest in 1948. 1967 was simply its first major incursion into and attack on its neighbours, the onset of a compulsive repetitive disorder for which it has never had counseling or attempted to break.

 However, near forgotten is that finally pressure has been mounting on Israel internationally and international tolerance and patience running out.

 On 29th November 2012 the UN recognized Palestine as a State, a Resolution overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 138-9.

 On 26th November 2013 the UN General Assembly: “… proclaimed 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People …”

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People pledged to organize with governments and relevant UN organizations the promotion of solidarity with the Palestinian people being a “central theme, contributing to international awareness.”

 Priorities included “urgent action” regarding settlements (ie stealing Palestinian land) “Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza and the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory … mobilization of global action (for) a comprehensive … lasting solution (for) Palestine in accordance with International law and the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations.”(3)

 The most comprehensive list of UN Resolutions condemning Israel over illegalities towards Palestinians and Palestinian Territory is only to January 2010, but is certainly gives of increasing international anger and frustration.

It is salutary to note that the very first Resolution of September 18th 1948 condemns a murder. Resolution 57 “Expresses deep shock at the assassination of the U.N. Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists.”

 The second Resolution (89) on Nov. 17, 1950 “Requests that attention be given to the expulsion of ‘thousands of Palestine Arabs’ and calls upon concerned governments to take no further action ‘involving the transfer of persons across international frontiers or armistice lines’, and notes that Israel announced that it would withdraw to the armistice lines.”

They started as they meant to go on, from attacks on the UN to murder and ethnic cleansing of their Palestinian hosts. The list (4) is salutary, including attacks on Syria and other national neighbours, a mirror image, past to present.

However, has the recognition of Palestine by the UN and the international year in solidarity driven Israel to doing the unthinkable, making as much of it as possible uninhabitable, and killing or forcing to flee (though to where) and making another and land grab, this time Gaza? The fact that much of it is now demolished would hardly be deterrence to a take-over, demolition to make way for squatters settlements is par for the course. Israel would also then have direct access to the huge gas deposits discovered off Gaza in Gaza’s territorial waters.

Back though to the carnage of 25th July. Where, in the horror of it all was the largely Jerusalem based “Middle East Peace Envoy” Anthony Charles Lynton Blair? This time in the further destruction of another Middle East State, he didn’t even have to devise another dodgy dossier, it was all taken out of his hands by Israel, who, in 2009 awarded him the $1 million Dan David Prize for leadership, an honour given those who have contributed to “outstanding achievements” including those of “cultural or social impact on our world.” (5) No, Dear Reader, I can’t work it out either.

So on Friday 25th, Blair threw a lavish “birthday” party for his wife in a country mansion, one of his seven multi-million pound UK homes, for “one hundred and fifty” of their “closest friends.” Heaven forbid the man who had a major hand in the destruction of Iraq should be stuck in a war zone, so he partied several thousand miles away. Described as being at the “heart of negotiations” between Israel and Palestine, he simply fled, ate and drank cocktails as Gaza bled and burned, the traumatized dug their relatives out of the rubble and patients in the Beit Hanoun hospital “spent a terrifying night huddled in the X-ray department as the building was shelled.” (6)

A few days before, pursued by Channel 4’s Michael Crick and asked several times if he should not be in Gaza, he “grimaced” and refused to answer. According to Crick he “cites security reasons” for near never visiting Gaza in his seven years as “Peace Envoy.” Clearly he only starts wars (Iraq) or cheers them on (Libya, Syria, Ukraine) but would never set foot in an area of risk. He has been to Gaza just twice (in 2009) but has visited Jerusalem 119 times. (7) The risk averse Blair has a constant police guard of twenty and at his tastelessly timed and tasteless party where an entertainer sang “If I ruled the world” in his honour, guests were searched by armed police who also patrolled the grounds.

In Northern Ireland he memorably said: “This is no time for sound bites, but I feel the hand of history on my shoulder.” Perhaps one of the reasons for such neurotically massive security – apart from a courage deficit – is that given the amount of people determined to make a citizens arrest which might land him at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, he fears another kind of hand on his shoulder.

The death toll in Gaza now exceeds that of “Cast Lead” the massacre over Christmas and New Year 2008-2009.

The death and destruction to midnight on 31st July are:

Palestinians killed: 1372 (315 children, 166 women and 60 elderly).

Palestinians wounded: 7680 (2307 children, 1529 women and 287 elderly).

Buildings destroyed: 5238

Buildings damaged: 4374

Damaged Hospitals and Health Centres:

13 hospitals and 10 clinics

34 health facilities closed

12 ambulances damaged

38 health personnel injured including:

Two pharmacists, four paramedics, one assistant pharmacist, one laboratory and blood bank manager.

One nurse and an Administration Manager died as a result of Israeli airstrikes.

The Roman Catholic Church in Gaza, hosting over 800 refugees and 29 handicapped children

 was threatened with bombardment although it was impossible to move the handicapped children outside the church.

Once again, Israel has targeted offices providing services to Palestinian and international media.

Over 245,000 people have been forcibly displaced.

1,700,000 people (the entire population of the Gaza Strip) have been affected by the destruction of electricity, water and waste-water infrastructure. (8)

(With thanks to the meticulous collation of Leslie Bravery of the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign, Auckland, NZ.)

Both the eloquent and courageous Chris Gunness of UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) and Al Jazeera’s correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh in Gaza have broken down in despair, on air, as a result of the horror and carnage they have witnessed.

The last UN school to be targeted as those seeking sanctuary tried to sleep had given their co-ordinates to the Israeli authorities seventeen times. Blair has been silent.

 As one correspondent commented: “Time to evict Tony Blair from the Middle East – and the world stage as a whole” adding: “they might as well have given the job to Genghis Khan. (9)

 Incidentally Cherie Blair’s birthday is on 23rd September, not the 25th July but any excuse for Blair to escape any minimal risk to life and limb.

Notes

1.      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.607184

2.      http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/international-collective-punishment.html

3.      http://palestineun.org/international-year-of-solidarity-with-the-palestinian-people-2014-3/

4.      http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/view-all/

5.      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/may/18/tony-blair-israeli-award

6.      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2706941/He-Middle-East-not-UK-Peace-envoy-Tony-Blair-blasted-throwing-surprise-birthday-party-wife-Cheries-60th-6million-mansion-Gaza-death-toll-passes-1-000.html

7.      http://blogs.channel4.com/michael-crick-on-politics/gaza-tricky-middle-east-envoy-tony-blair/4236

8.      http://palestine.org.nz/phrc/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2056&Ite&mid=44

9.      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/time-evict-tony-blair-middle-3927078

What Do We Mean by “Conspiracy Theories”?

August 3rd, 2014 by Prof. James F. Tracy

Professor James Tracy was recently interviewed by Jaime Ortega of The Daily Journalist to address the topic of conspiracy theories and their impact on public discourse for the site’s forum, The Expert.

“Jaime Ortega stated in an introductory email that he contacted me not only because of my academic background, but also given the fact that major media have bestowed on me “the reputation of a conspiracy theorist”(!) Mr. Ortega produced a thoughtful set of questions to contemplate in the exchange which appears below”.-JFT

[Image Credit: David Dees]

Dees_Mind_MeltJaime Ortega: There is a certain danger in the way conspiracy theories have altercated social media, especially on such platforms as YouTube. Do people distrust mainstream television, radio, and print media?

James Tracy: First of all, we have to seriously think about what we mean by “conspiracy theories” before delving into such a discussion. What are the term’s origins? How and why is it used? Without nailing these things down at the outset any discussion of such communicative and sociopolitical dynamics tends toward the nonsensical and comes to eventually become absorbed in the discourse it is seeking the examine or critique.

A cursory look at reportage and commentary in major US news media from the late 1800s through the 1950s indicates that the term “conspiracy theory” is used sporadically in stories on criminal and court proceedings. In the late 1960s, however, there is a major spike in usage of the term, specifically in items discussing criticism of the Warren Commission Report—President Lyndon Johnson’s commission mandated to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On January 4, 1967 the Central Intelligence Agency issued a memorandum that became known as Document 1035-960. The communique was directed at the Agency’s foreign bureaus recommending the deployment of the term by “media assets” to counter critics of the Warren Commission. The main strategy involved suggestion that such individuals and their inquiries were flawed by slipshod methods and ulterior motives. The then-foremost Warren Commission critic and JFK assassination researcher Mark Lane was even referenced in the document.

This document was indicative of an apparent strategy via press and public relations maneuvers to undermine New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s then-fledgling investigation of the assassination. 1035-960 explained quite rightly that the CIA had a substantial investment in the credibility of the Warren Report. Press reportage of Garrison’s ongoing probe revealed a heavy bias from the very outlets that had been long-compromised by Agency-friendly owners, editors, and reporters. These included NBC and CBS networks, in addition to Time and Newsweek magazines, where the disparaging coverage of Garrison and his inquiry reached truly farcical proportions.

Though he was repeatedly and vociferously decried as a “conspiracy theorist,” a corrupt and opportunistic politician, and even mentally deranged by such outlets, Garrison has been vindicated by the historical record. For example, we now know, through copious records released as a result of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board, that the CIA was intimately involved in the assassination and cover-up, as were other US government agencies. Yet the same news media that denounced Garrison almost fifty years ago still tout the legitimacy of the Warren Commission Report.

Since the Garrison episode, but in an especially pronounced fashion over the past twenty years, the conspiracy theory label is routinely mobilized by major corporate media to denigrate honest and intelligent individuals who bring forth important questions on vital events and issues. Keep in mind that most major media still have often strong ties to the US intelligence and military communities. With this in mind, a rational citizenry has an obligation to scrutinize what is reported and analyzed in corporate media, and balance their observations and conclusions by considering reportage of foreign and independent alternative media. In this regard the Internet provides a wealth of opportunity. One needs only exercise the fundamental principles of logic to locate and assess quality information and research.

At the end of the day what we have in the “Conspiracy theory/ist” label is a psychological warfare weapon that has from the perspective of its creators been overwhelmingly effective. Here is a set of words that is used to threaten, discipline and punish the intellectual class—mainly journalists and academics—who might question or otherwise refuse to tow the party line. Using the term to designate pedestrian skeptics and researchers is redundant. After all, as Orwell said, “The proles don’t count.”
Thus, unless we forthrightly interrogate the phrase and its unfortunate history we will be prone to the same confusion and misdirection that its originators intended.

Ortega: We did a poll here at The Daily Journalist a few weeks back, and the results indicated that 60% of people believed there was US government involvement in the Boston Marathon bombings, in addition to the events of September 11, 2001. When people suspect their own government is involved in these attacks on US soil, what comes to mind?

tracyTracy: It is cause for optimism because the US government was almost without question involved in the Boston Marathon bombing and the events of September 11, 2001. Major media were also complicit in wide-scale public acceptance of the official narrative put forth concerning each incident.

For example, with the Boston bombing the New York Times played a key role in persuading the nation’s professional class and intelligentsia that a terror drill using actors, complete with a multitude of gaffes and outright blunders, was genuine. In reality there were no severed limbs, no deaths, no injuries from shrapnel—only pyrotechnics and actors responding on cue. This is not only my view, but also that of multiple independent researchers and even former CIA officer Robert David Steele.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is well-known for entrapping and otherwise orchestrating such events to justify its own existence. With the Boston bombing there were numerous federal, state and local agencies involved in an exercise that had been taking place in the city annually over the past few years with a similar scenario. A plan for what would become the Boston Marathon bombing was authored by Director of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services Richard Serino in 2008. Serino was tapped by President Obama in 2009 to become Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and there are photos of him directing the aftermath of the April 15, 2013 “bombing.”

The public is being asked to believe that two Chechen immigrants expertly devised extremely sophisticated and deadly explosives with consumer fireworks, scrap metal and pressure cookers. No such refractory ordnance was found at the scene because no thorough forensic investigation ever took place. The entire affair was a photo shoot and an opportunity for federal authorities to gauge public response to a military-style lockdown in a major metropolitan region.

With such a transparently phony event being proffered as “real” one needs to ask what the other 40% in your poll are actually thinking. One can fool some of the people some of the time, and there’s still a significant portion of the population—including those who are highly educated, who can’t imagine it’s own government could be so corrupt. This is a testament to the continued effectiveness of our educational and media apparatuses, each of which emphasize an unhistorical worldview and unquestioning deference to authority figures.

Ortega: Modern media seems to have commercialized and sold its soul to sponsors, and media giants that profit from investments. Is modern day news a fictional representation of reality? Are journalists allowed to do their job of investigating serious cases? Is there an agenda to not report on stories with higher impact?

Tracy: If a news media outlet gets most of its revenue from advertising it is to a significant degree compromised. If its main revenue source is advertising and its owned by a transnational corporate conglomerate, “compromised” is not sufficiently powerful enough of a term to describe the given outlet’s probable journalistic vulnerabilities. It should be barred from tying the term “journalism” to any of its information-related activities.

When we use the term, “transnational corporate conglomerate,” which is often used to denote companies like News Corp and Viacom, we should include the US and British governments, each of which are in the practice of imperial expansion while either subsidizing or forthrightly funding news media. All such powerful entities understand the importance of concealing, disseminating, and using information to shape public opinion in ways that will be favorable to its corporate and policy interests. Walter Lippmann describes how this dynamic played out in World War One. Such powerful corporations and governments shouldn’t even be involved in journalism, unless of course they describe what they are doing in honest and appropriate terms, which is often, as your question suggests, entertainment and public relations masquerading as journalism.

The best journalism today is being produced by independent writers and news media. At present there is a renaissance taking place in this regard because of the internet. Corporate news media don’t want to invest the money in true journalism because for them it’s a net loss anyway they figure. If major outlets fund investigative journalistic ventures and there’s little impact on readership (and thus advertising/revenue) then there’s no return on investment. On the other hand, if such investigative work is genuine and worthwhile, it’s often delving into areas that reveal how political or economic power operate, which can bring complaints or retaliation from influential entities. Real investigative journalism from mainstream outlets has been subdued for decades because of this very dynamic.

Ortega: It’s hard not to distrust the government in some cases. Take, for example, the assassination of John F. Kennedy or CIA involvement in the Watergate scandal to name a few. Has the government had to change its ways for people not to believe in conspiracies?

Tracy: The US government doesn’t have to care a great deal about what the public thinks so long as it has major news media committed to producing a steady stream of non-journalism and infotainment to distract the people from considering the things that really impact on their lives. Events such as 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing aren’t questioned by such media because those media are more or less part of the operations. As was the case almost 50 years ago with figures such as Mark Lane and Jim Garrison, those asking serious questions and conducting potentially meaningful research are dismissed within the parameters of permissible dissent as “conspiracy theorists,” at least long enough for a majority of the public to stop caring and forget.

What is somewhat new is how the government and psychiatry are now involved in psychologizing the practice or tendency of asking questions about or interrogating disputed events. In other words, certain interests want to deem “conspiracy theorizing” as mental illness, or otherwise associate it with aberrant and perhaps violent behavior. In other words, ponder ideas that certain forces deem beyond question and one runs the risk of being institutionalized, losing their job, and so on.

We saw this take place in the case of upstate New York school teacher Adam Heller, who, under the direction of the FBI, was involuntarily institutionalized and later fired from his tenured teaching position simply because of private exchanges where he discussed his views on the Sandy Hook massacre and probable government involvement in weather modification. We have to keep in mind that the punitive use of psychiatry to punish thought crimes was common practice in the darkest days of the Soviet Union. Now it’s emerging here. In this way, government is changing its ways in order to force its own versions of reality on the public.

Ortega: Looking at this from a logical perspective, overall, is it harder to trust the government over the conspiracy theorist?

Tracy: The US government is responsible for devising and publicizing some of the most outrageous conspiracy theories in modern history while it accuses independent journalists and authors of being conspiracy theorists. The major political assassinations of the 1960s (JFK, RFK, MLK) were all government operations, and “patsies” were produced with untenable scenarios accompanying the overall events. The Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, and the Boston Marathon bombing were all “false flag” terror events that were intentionally misrepresented to the American public. One need look no further than the plans for Operation Northwoods, or the attack on the USS Liberty, to develop a distinct understanding of how certain forces within government regard the public and those who fight their wars.

Ortega: Conspiracy theories through the use of social media could cause irreparable effects on the future of mainstream news media because they report on stories, where journalists might not have done a good job or gone deep enough reporting. When there is distrust, what follows next for the future and credibility of most media outlets, particularly if people believe media such as YouTube?

Tracy: Again, we need to be precise. YouTube is a medium with a multitude of “channels,” information, interpretations, and perspectives. Some are potentially reliable and others may be dubious. This is, again, where education and, more specifically, the ability to employ logic and reasoning come to the fore. How can we distinguish between good information and analysis versus that which is unhelpful or even purposefully misleading.

Many researchers who use YouTube or blogs are sincere in what they are seeking to do, which is relate ideas and information to broader publics. They may not be professionally-trained journalists, yet they are also subject to often profuse commentary and criticism from peers in a given research community examining a particular issue or event. This process of scrutiny frequently yields fruitful exchanges where new information and insights are collectively revealed. The participants may not have gone to graduate school to study politics or the media, and yet many of these exchanges are much more intense than that which takes place between a journalist and her editor as they vet a potential story. There’s something going on there. Of course, this assumes that those involved are serious in their participation, which is usually the case. This depends on the quality and sincerity of participants. The comments sections of many mainstream online news outlets can be bereft of serious exchanges.

In my view, certain YouTube channels or blogs are successful and worth checking out as forms of citizen journalism because they have something of substance along the lines described above to offer.

Mainstream commercial journalism has been challenged by counter forces since at least the early 1990s. An initial challenge came from Hollywood in Oliver Stone’s JFK film. That project incensed many establishment journalists and their institutions because it contested their fundamental investment and propagation of the flawed “lone gunman/magic bullet” explanation of the event ensconced in the Warren Report.

If truth be told, Stone’s screenplay is among the most accurate renderings of the Garrison investigation and the events surrounding the murder itself. This is because it was based on key works by Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, journalist Jim Marrs, and Garrison himself. JFK was in retrospect the initial last rights of mainstream journalism proper, which sold its soul to protect John Kennedy’s executioners. The advent of the internet and Gary Webb’s brilliant exposé of the role played by the CIA in the crack cocaine epidemic vis-à-vis Webb’s excoriation by his own journalistic peers confirmed corporate journalism’s absolute demise.

Ortega: Do conspiracy theorists have a solid opinion of the problems they observe when interpreting raw data, or is such data made to create propaganda to feed their belief systems?

Tracy: There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis. Again, this is where one must use careful discretion to interpret between worthwhile information and evaluation versus misguided and poorly-conceived study.

Because conspiracy research communities have no institutional bearings or specific research theories and traditions, as do academic schools of thought that take the shape of “disciplines” or “fields” with often considerable organizational and financial resources, there is a tendency toward infighting and fractiousness. This is much more so the case than in academe where such disagreements, in the rare event they are exhibited, are often subsumed in other actions that enforce ideological conformity. These include the refusal by scholarly organizations and their publications to entertain countervailing analyses and, ultimately, the denial of employment, promotion, tenure, and meaningful professional relationships. Compulsory toleration of peers is entirely absent given the voluntary nature of conspiracy research collectives. At the same time, a critical sense that comes with researching government conspiracies, combined with known attempts by government to “cognitively infiltrate” such research communities, can sometimes lead to unwarranted suspicion of colleagues or public figures and their motives.

Ortega: Since the rise of conspiracies is higher than ever before, and un-education accompanies this, how do you think it will affect the government’s relationship with its citizens, particularly if government credibility vanished? Could there be a future uprising of people who will oppose the government?

Tracy: As my previous responses suggest, I am unconvinced that interest or acceptance of “conspiracy theories” has any correlation with a lack of intelligence or education. In fact, some recent research suggests that entertaining conspiratorial explanations of reality—meaning that one does not take what their political leaders offer as explanations of policies or events—is likely indicative of a higher intelligence and simply good citizenship.

I’m not sure if there is any more credibility left for the government to lose, at least among those inclined to rebel in the first place. I think it’s important for us to keep in mind that the government is regarded by some as paternal or maternal protectors. President Franklin Roosevelt was emblematic of the welfare state—a savior of the common man—even though he further established the banking sector’s control over the country and laid the groundwork for the present technocracy. Since the Roosevelt administration and the aggressive expansion of the government in the post-World War Two era we have largely had a government by cult of personality. For example, Barack Obama is the equivalent of a rock star, nevermind his family’s ties to the intelligence community and otherwise opaque background. Like other recent presidents, his personality and charisma supersede public realization of the actual policies and trade deals he is enacting on the behalf of his sponsors—mostly powerful, anti-democratic interests.

As this response is written, the United States is arguably being undermined by the Obama administration’s politicization and exploitation of the nation’s immigration policies. The notion that such maneuvers will ultimately change the overall constitution of the American polity is subsumed by Obama’s simple rejoinder, “Let’s give these people a break.” Enough of the population is trusting enough of Obama to dismiss his critics. Many of those who know better are too afraid of either being called “racists” or “conspiracy theorists.” And so it goes.

Press Release

Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine

Kuwaiti Maternity Hospital in Rafah unable to cope with scores of dead and injured

The Ministry of Health Gaza is reeling from the reports coming out of Rafah, where scores have been killed and injured today, including 10 dead and over 30 injured in yet another attack on an UNRWA school, this time the Anas Ibn Malik Prepatory School sheltering thousands of forcibly displaced persons.

 A group of women, children and older people were sitting against the wall at the entrance to the school seeking shade from the sun when they were struck.

 This atrocity follows dawn attacks in Rafah on the Ghoul and Abu Jazzar family homes which left 18 dead and dozens injured, and brings the number killed in Gaza today to at least 118.

 Missile and mortar attacks are continuing in Rafah, putting enormous pressure on the 20-bed Kuwaiti Maternity Hospital, which is overflowing with dead and injured. There are 30 bodies lying on the floor of the dental clinic, and children’s bodies stored in ice-cream, flower, and vegetable freezers as there are no morgue facilities. Other bodies have already been taken for burial in the western cemetery, the eastern cemetery being inaccessible because of Israeli shell-fire.

“We desperately need blood, we do not have enough for transfusions,” said Fatma Abu Musa, a laboratory technician at Kuwaiti Hospital. “We only have two operating theatres, one for minor surgery. They have to operate on two people at the same time on one operating table, major surgeries, with intestines on the outside, eyes on the outside. It is impossible to deal with all the wounded.”

 Kuwaiti Hospital has sent many patients on to the Emirati Red Crescent Maternity Hospital nearby, which is slightly bigger but equally unequipped to deal with the types of injuries presenting.

 The Ministry of Health Gaza has made numerous calls to the international community over recent weeks for assistance – calls which have largely gone unanswered.

 We again implore of you that you take immediate concrete action to bring the Israeli carnage in Gaza to an end.

 We demand in the name of humanity that the international community act to:

  1.  Stop Israeli war crimes immediately, and end the attacks on Gaza;
  2. Establish safe evacuation routes for the injured to be transported from Rafah to other hospitals in Gaza for treatment; and
  3. Ensure the prompt and safe transfer outside of Palestine for all of those patients who need it.

 Contacts:

Dr Yousef AbuAlrish, Deputy  Minister of Health                                +972 597 918 339

Dr Medhat Abbas, Director General, Ministry of Health                       +972 599 403 547

“Recent history has repeatedly proven that nothing said by Washington and its officials should be accepted at face value. No other government in the world has been implicated in so many egregious lies as the United States.” Bill Van Auken, “US lies and hypocrisy on Gaza and Ukraine, World Socialist Web Site

“Mendaci neque quum vera dicit, creditor.” Cicero (“A liar is not to be believed even when he speaks the truth.”)

Without a shred of public evidence to support their claim that Moscow was involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the United States and Europe have levied a new round of sanctions on Russia. The sanctions, which are designed to restrict Russia’s access to both capital and technology, will be imposed as soon as August 1, despite the fact that Moscow has repeatedly denied either involvement in the incident or of providing material support for the militants fighting in east Ukraine. Not surprisingly, Russia will not be given a chance to defend itself in court or present its case before an independent tribunal. Due process and the presumption of innocence are breezily jettisoned whenever US interests are involved. Instead, Washington will act as judge, jury and lord high executioner arbitrarily imposing penalties on the country that has provided hard evidence of what actually transpired prior to the crash using data it compiled from radar and satellite imagery. In contrast, the US hasn’t lifted a finger to help the investigation even though it has the most advanced, state-of-the-art surveillance systems in the world and even though it had a satellite — capable of reading a license plate from outer space — hovering directly overhead at the time the aircraft blew up. And here’s something else to consider from blogger Moon of Alabama:

“Pentagon officials told CNN (on Tuesday) that the Ukrainian government fired three ballistic missiles towards the federalists during the last 48 hours.” (Moon of Alabama)

If the Pentagon picked up the ballistic missile launches on their radar, they certainly saw the surface-to-air missiles that brought down MH17. Case closed.

So why hasn’t Washington been more forthcoming with the information they have? Why are they basing their judgment on the nonsense they’ve gleaned from social media and Twitter feeds instead of spy-in-the-sky photos and satellite imagery? Why are they dragging their feet and obstructing the investigation? And why, for God sakes, why has Europe agreed to go along with this charade when they know there’s not a scintilla of evidence linking Russia to the downed plane?

These are just some of the questions that remain unanswered a full two weeks after MH17 was downed by what appears to have been a surface-to-air missile launched from a BUK platform somewhere in east Ukraine. (Although even that fact is now in dispute given that MH17 was being allegedly being shadowed by two Ukrainian warplanes. Some analysts believe the aircraft was actually destroyed by air-to-air missiles fired from one of the two Su25 interceptors.)

One thing that’s clear, is that the lack of public evidence hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from smearing Russian president Vladimir Putin in the media or blaming Moscow for the tragedy that killed 298 passengers. The campaign to hold Moscow responsible started just hours after MH17 crashed and has only intensified over the last two weeks. This is amazing considering that, most of what we know about the incident has been provided by Russia. For example, it was Russia that provided the information about the two Su25 interceptors and the US satellite. It was also Russia that came up with the photographic evidence that showed Kiev had deployed anti-air missile systems (BUK) around the area where flight MH17 was downed. The Kiev government has repeatedly denied claims that it had BUK systems in the area, but on Friday, Russian military analysts released satellite images that made mincemeat of those denials. Here’s the story from RT:

“Satellite images Kiev published as ‘proof’ it didn’t deploy anti-aircraft batteries around the MH17 crash site carry altered time-stamps and are from days after the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Defense Ministry has revealed.

The images, which Kiev claims were taken by its satellites at the same time as those taken by Russian satellites, are neither Ukrainian nor authentic, according to a Moscow statement.

The Defense Ministry said the images were apparently made by an American KeyHole reconnaissance satellite, because the two Ukrainian satellites currently in orbit, Sich-1 and Sich-2, were not positioned over the part of Ukraine’s Donetsk Region shown in the pictures….

At least one of the images published by Ukraine shows signs of being altered by an image editor, the statement added.” (“‘Wrong time, altered images’ Moscow slams Kiev’s MH17 satellite data“, RT)

Ask yourself this, dear reader: Why would you provide “altered” photos that were taken on a different day to prove your innocence if you weren’t guilty as hell? And why would the US go along with this farce unless they were involved too?

Like we said earlier, there’s photographic evidence that Kiev had BUK systems operating in the area at the time of the crash. These “new” fake photos only increase the probability that it was a Ukrainian missile that brought down MH17. That’s why the administration hasn’t released any of its radar data or satellite imagery. It’s because they know the truth.

Consider this: The Obama administration has never inquired about the communications recordings between Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the aircrew of MH17.

Why? Don’t they want to know what happened?

Nor have they asked for:

“The information on the specific instructions from the Ukraine Aviation Administration to the air traffic control units of Ukraine with relation to the imposed restrictions on the airspace utilization in the area of Donetsk and Lugansk.” (RT)

Nor are they interested in why MH17 was rerouted over a warzone, 200 kilometers north of all previous flights for the last two weeks. Or whether MH17 was in fact being followed by Ukrainian warplanes. Or whether Ukrainian SAM units were active in the area before the incident took place.

How does one explain the Obama administration’s total lack of interest in any area of the current investigation? Doesn’t that suggest that they already know what happened? And doesn’t that also suggest that they’re trying to prevent the facts from leaking out?

Readers should take a quick look at the 28 questions that Russia’s Air Transport Agency would like the Ukrainian government to answer in order to clarify what happened to MH17. (See questions here.) This is the approach the Obama administration would take if they were genuinely interested in finding out what happened. The reason the administration hasn’t taken this approach, is because they’re not really interested in what happened. Why is that?

Most of the lies about MH17 have been coming from the State Department, where just last Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows claiming that Moscow had sent “a convoy of about 150 vehicles with armored personnel carriers, multiple rocket launchers, tanks, artillery, all of which crossed over from Russia into the eastern part of Ukraine and was turned over to the separatists.”

Imagine making a bold statement like that on five different news programs without even one of the hosts demanding evidence to support the claim. Such is the state of the media in the US today.

So far, neither Kerry nor any of the US Intel agencies have produced proof that Russia is providing material support for rebels in east Ukraine. Zilch. It’s all uncorroborated speculation and unsubstantiated rumor.

Do you remember Kerry said he had proof that the Syrian government was responsible for the Aug. 21 Sarin gas attack outside Damascus, an incident that he hoped would lead the US to launch a war against Syria?

It was a lie. Here’s a clip from Robert Parry:

“A new report by two American weapons specialists, entitled “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack,” makes clear that the case presented by Kerry and the Obama administration was scientifically impossible because the range of the key rocket carrying Sarin was less than a third of what the U.S. government was claiming.” (“The Mistaken Guns of Last August“, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

And what about Kerry’s grandstanding repudiation of the fake leaflets in Donetsk that said “Jews had to identify themselves as Jews … or suffer the consequences.”

Right. That was another whopper Kerry used to promote his attack on Russia.

And what about this from CNN: “Kerry: ‘Drunken separatists’ interfering at MH17 crash site“. Or this from Vice News “MH17 Crash Site Reportedly Looted by Rebels“.

It’s all just more outlandish speculation intended to smear Russia. There’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal by journalist Paul Sonne titled “After Flight 17 Crash, Agony, Debris and Heartbreak in Ukraine Villages” that dispels a lot of the lies that have popped up in the media in the last couple weeks. First of all, the rebels have not prevented inspectors from accessing the site (as Kerry claims) Here’s Sonne in an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Wednesday:

“The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has actually gotten very good access to the site with the exception of the first day they showed up, which was the day after the crash where their time there was limited to 75 minutes, and they said that they weren’t given access to every piece of the crash site that they had wanted to see. So after the sort of first day standoff that they experienced with some of the rebel militants, it did seem like they were getting pretty full access to the crash site. The problem was that the investigation team, which is now being led by the Netherlands, wasn’t ready and didn’t, in fact, really arrive in Donetsk until a few days ago. And after they finally assembled in Donetsk, it took, you know, about a week or more. Then, fighting had already started to encompass the crash site. And the reason that they’re not getting access to the crash site now is not because the rebels are not allowing them to go to the crash site. It’s because the crash site has turned into an active, violent fighting zone.”

So the inspectors have had access to the site the whole time except just recently when US-backed goons from the Ukrainian army resumed hostilities in violation of their promise to honor a temporary ceasefire. It sounds like Kiev might have something they want to hide at the crash site, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, according to the Independent, “John Kerry accused the separatists of displaying “an appalling disrespect for human decency” in carrying on fighting close to the area.”

Is Kerry lying again or is he just confused about the facts?

As far as the looting and drunken disrespect for the corpses of the victims; that’s all BS too. Sonne paints an entirely different picture of what took place on the ground. Just check out some of his description and see if it squares with Kerry’s breakdown:

“The plane’s cockpit and dozens of bodies plummeted into Rozsypne, about 2 miles from Petropavlivka. One body fell through a woman’s roof. A pilot strapped to a seat wound up next to a flight attendant in a nearby field. …Charred remains of an engine, landing gear and wings fell in a fireball next to Hrabove, with a tumbling storm cloud of at least 70 bodies, some of them largely intact…

No villagers on the ground died, but they are scared of what they might find next…

“We thought it was the end of the world,” the Orthodox priest says. He stayed on the ground in prayer, preparing to meet God, and then ran up the hill as burning pieces of the plane’s undercarriage and landing gear pelted a field like bombs. Then came a hail of bodies: arms, heads and fingers.

Farmers dashed to the village, afraid it would be engulfed by an inferno. Hrabove Mayor Vladimir Berezhnoi screamed at drivers and motorcyclists to get off the road as fire rolled across a field. When he saw bodies, Mr. Berezhnoi yelled at adults to take their children home.

A few miles away, Oleg Miroshnichenko, a retired miner who became the mayor of Rozsypne about 13 years ago, felt panic as he heard two loud blasts and watched the remains of about 40 passengers rain down on yards and homes. His phone started ringing off the hook.

“There’s a body here, a body there, another body,” he says…

“In mines, you don’t remove a body until they investigate it,” he says.

Villagers and emergency workers decided to start bagging bodies that were rotting in the sun. Local miners joined the effort. Heartbroken residents had been pleading in tears for the bodies’ removal.” (“After Flight 17 Crash, Agony, Debris and Heartbreak in Ukraine Villages“, Wall Street Journal)

See? These people were deeply traumatized by the experience, they weren’t throwing bodies around and disrespecting the dead. That’s pure bunkum, just like the claims that Russia has been firing rounds into Ukraine is bunkum. Just like the leaflets ordering “Jews to register or face deportation” were bunkum. It’s all bunkum. For whatever reason, the State Department doesn’t give a rip about its credibility anymore. They’ll say just about anything as long as they can skewer Moscow.

On Friday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf was challenged by Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee, who demanded that Harf back up her claims that Russia has been firing rounds into Ukraine with something more substantial than the rubbish she’d read on Twitter. Here’s what the AP journalist said:

“I think that it would be best for all concerned here if when you make an allegation like that you’re able to make it up with something more than just ‘because I said so. You guys get up at the UN security council making these allegations , the secretary [of the State Dept., John Kerry] gets on the Sunday shows and makes these allegations, and then when you present your evidence to back up those allegations, it has appeared to, at least for some, fall short of definitive proof.”

The clearly-flummoxed Harf started backpeddling like crazy, unable to provide any hard evidence that her claims of Russian complicity were anything more than a complete fabrication. As it happens, the so called “satellite imagery data” and “electronic intelligence” that was used to incriminate Moscow was originally posted on coup-backer Geoffrey Pyatt’s Twitter account, which further underlines the fact that the real objective was to shape public opinion with propaganda not to reveal the truth. Here’s a bit more from Antiwar.com:

“During the past several days, there has not been a single report out of Ukraine of an artillery strike against any of their military bases, anywhere in the country. …And this is Ukraine we’re talking about, which comes up with its own dubious stories of Russian attacks on a near daily basis. If Russia was carried out concerted shelling against Ukrainian military targets, Ukraine would be harping on about it constantly. They aren’t even alleging anything close to that is happening. (“US Invents Reports of Russia Attacking Ukraine Bases“, antiwar.com)

A Twitter account, for god sakes! The US State Department is basing its theory on the crap they picked up on Twitter. It’s ridiculous.

Then there’s the State Department’s claim that Russia is massing troops along the border, another fairy tale that’s turned out to be complete baloney. In fact, an International team of inspectors were sent to Russia to check things out and here’s what the found:

“No instances of violations by Russia along the Ukrainian border had been registered by the inspectors,” the ministry said. “The last four months have witnessed 18 separate inspections along the Ukrainian border with the Russian Federation, all in line with the Vienna Open Skies Treaty and the Vienna agreement of 2011.” (RT)

If you’re starting to think that everything you’ve read about the MH17 crash is bullshit, you’re probably right. There’s not much truth to most of it.

But why would the administration lie about things that are so easy to disprove? What’s the point? Are they just getting sloppy and apathetic or is something else going on here?

To get a handle on what’s really going on, we have to understand that Ukraine is not just another bloody afterthought like Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria, none of which would dramatically impact the US’s role as the world’s only superpower. Ukraine is different. Ukraine is an essential part of Washington’s plan to pivot to Asia. If Washington is unable to achieve its objectives in Ukraine — create a chokepoint for vital resources flowing from Russia to the EU, establish NATO bases in the heart of Eurasia, and drive a wedge between Moscow and Brussels — then the plan to maintain US global hegemony for the next century will fail. And if the plan fails, then China will gradually become the world’s biggest and most powerful economy, economic ties between Moscow and Europe grow stronger, and the US will slide into irreversible decline. Get the picture?

This is the scenario that Washington wants to avoid at all cost. That’s why the anti-Russia hysteria in the media has been so ferocious and unrelenting. That’s why the State Department assisted in the coup d’état that toppled the Ukrainian government and triggered the crisis. And that’s why ruling elites of all stripes have thrown their support behind a policy that recklessly pits one nuclear-armed adversary against another. It’s because the bigshot money-guys who run this country are bound and determined to be the Kingfish for the next hundred years even if it means plunging the world into the abyss of a third world war. That’s just a chance they’re willing to take.

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

This week it became clear that the head of the CIA, John Brennan lied when he said:

“As far as the allegations of CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the scope of reason.”

Yes, it is beyond the scope of reason, but it turns out that in fact the CIA was spying on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Last year, James Clapper, the head of the NSA, responded falsely to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden when he claimed that the NSA did not spy on Americans. Sen. Ron Wyden asked whether the National Security Agency “collected data on millions of Americans.” Clapper testified falsely, saying: “No sir, not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect but not wittingly.” Documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed his statement to be false and in fact Americans are subjected to dragnet surveillance by the NSA.

President Obama has expressed his full support for both men, the Department of Justice has taken no action to investigate or prosecute either. Join us in demanding that President Obama fire Brennan and Clapper.

These are not minor lies. The separation of powers that gives Congress the power to be a check on the executive branch is foundational to the US Constitution. We are supposed to have three equal branches in order to prevent abuse. How can there be any check on the intelligence community if they spy on Congress and then lie about it in congressional testimony? Already intelligence oversight is too weak and allows intelligence abuse, this practice will surely intimidate Congress and create an even weaker check on intelligence agencies.

And, the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution which was clearly designed to prevent law enforcement searches of Americans unless there is a warrant based on probable cause loses all its meaning if an intelligence agency can conduct dragnet surveillance of the American people as the NSA is doing.  The Fourth Amendment has been weakened over the years by courts interpreting it to allow searches based on less than probable cause, without warrants or based on warrants justified by anonymous sources; but the NSA went further to decimate it of all meaning.

President Obama who advertised himself as a constitutional scholar has put an imprimatur of approval on the actions by the leaders of the CIA and NSA by not demanding their resignation. His actions are an affront to the Constitution and to every American. Does he really see these lies as minor offenses that do not require action to hold Clapper and Brennan responsible? Is President Obama, for some reason, afraid of the intelligence agencies?

Surely there must be some people in the field of US intelligence who could replace these men and bring some integrity to these agencies. What message is President Obama sending to the people who work in the CIA and NSA about the need to respond honestly when testifying before Congress? Or, the necessity of telling the truth to the American people? The failure to demand accountability ensures these practices will grow.

US intelligence agencies are in a crisis. Their role in foreign affairs has included supporting coups of democratic governments, spying on foreign leaders, taking leadership in illegal actions such as torture and drone murders as well as other unethical actions. The massive intelligence complex, closely intertwined with corporate security and intelligence actions, put the privacy of all Americans at risk. We cannot have leaders who have shown deep ethical failures. It is time for Clapper and Brennan to go. This makes it even more important for Obama to demand the resignations of the heads of the CIA and FBI.

In the United States, natural-gas production from shale rock has increased by more than 700 percent since 2007. Yet scientists still do not fully understand the industry’s effects on nature and wildlife, according to a report in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

As gas extraction continues to vastly outpace scientific examination, a team of eight conservation biologists from various organizations and institutions, including Princeton University, concluded that determining the environmental impact of gas-drilling sites — such as chemical contamination from spills, well-casing failures and other accidents — must be a top research priority.

With shale-gas production projected to surge during the next 30 years, the authors call on scientists, industry representatives and policymakers to cooperate on determining — and minimizing — the damage inflicted on the natural world by gas operations such as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” A major environmental concern, hydraulic fracturing releases natural gas from shale by breaking the rock up with a high-pressure blend of water, sand and other chemicals, which can include carcinogens and radioactive substances.

Fracking diagram

Eight conservation biologists from various organizations and institutions, including Princeton University, found that shale-gas extraction in the United States has vastly outpaced scientists’ understanding of the industry’s environmental impact. Each gas well can act as a source of air, water, noise and light pollution (above) that — individually and collectively — can interfere with wild animal health, habitats and reproduction. Of particular concern is the fluid and wastewater associated with hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a technique that releases natural gas from shale by breaking the rock up with a high-pressure blend of water, sand and other chemicals. (Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment )

“We can’t let shale development outpace our understanding of its environmental impacts,” said co-author Morgan Tingley, a postdoctoral research associate in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy in Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

“The past has taught us that environmental impacts of large-scale development and resource extraction, whether coal plants, large dams or biofuel monocultures, are more than the sum of their parts,” Tingley said.

The researchers found that there are significant “knowledge gaps” when it comes to direct and quantifiable evidence of how the natural world responds to shale-gas operations. A major impediment to research has been the lack of accessible and reliable information on spills, wastewater disposal and the composition of fracturing fluids. Of the 24 American states with active shale-gas reservoirs, only five — Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Texas — maintain public records of spills and accidents, the researchers report.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s website is one of the best sources of publicly available information on shale-gas spills and accidents in the nation. Even so, gas companies failed to report more than one-third of spills in the last year,” said first author Sara Souther, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“How many more unreported spills occurred, but were not detected during well inspections?” Souther asked. “We need accurate data on the release of fracturing chemicals into the environment before we can understand impacts to plants and animals.”

One of the greatest threats to animal and plant life identified in the study is the impact of rapid and widespread shale development, which has disproportionately affected rural and natural areas. A single gas well results in the clearance of 3.7 to 7.6 acres (1.5 to 3.1 hectares) of vegetation, and each well contributes to a collective mass of air, water, noise and light pollution that has or can interfere with wild animal health, habitats and reproduction, the researchers report.

“If you look down on a heavily ‘fracked’ landscape, you see a web of well pads, access roads and pipelines that create islands out of what was, in some cases, contiguous habitat,” Souther said. “What are the combined effects of numerous wells and their supporting infrastructure on wide-ranging or sensitive species, like the pronghorn antelope or the hellbender salamander?”

The chemical makeup of fracturing fluid and wastewater is often unknown. The authors reviewed chemical-disclosure statements for 150 wells in three of the top gas-producing states and found that an average of two out of every three wells were fractured with at least one undisclosed chemical. The exact effect of fracturing fluid on natural water systems as well as drinking water supplies remains unclear even though improper wastewater disposal and pollution-prevention measures are among the top state-recorded violations at drilling sites, the researchers found.

“Some of the wells in the chemical disclosure registry were fractured with fluid containing 20 or more undisclosed chemicals,” said senior author Kimberly Terrell, a researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. “This is an arbitrary and inconsistent standard of chemical disclosure.”

The paper’s co-authors also include researchers from the University of Bucharest in Romania, Colorado State University, the University of Washington, and the Society for Conservation Biology. The work was supported by the David H. Smith Fellowship program administered by the Society for Conservation Biology and funded by the Cedar Tree Foundation; and by a Policy Fellowship from the Wilburforce Foundation to the Society for Conservation Biology.

Souther, Sara, Morgan W. Tingley, Viorel D. Popescu, David T.S. Hyman, Maureen E. Ryan, Tabitha A. Graves, Brett Hartl, Kimberly Terrell. 2014. Biotic impacts of energy development from shale: research priorities and knowledge gaps. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Article published online Aug. 1, 2014. DOI: 10.1890/130324. 

The United States has started to avoid the burden of looking for evidence in case it wants to accuse someone of criminal activities. In recent years the US has become accustomed to ignore legal responsibility. The pretext of fighting terrorists has been used to allow detaining «potential criminals», putting them into secret jails and using cruel torture to get confession. The whole US security system has been affected. The leaders of American special services have got accumulated the experience of detaining (legally or not) people abroad and bringing them into the United States to make face trial. But there are failures suffered on the way and lessons to be learned.

Aruba, which is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is located 27km (17 miles) north of Venezuela. Top Venezuelan official Gen Hugo Carvajal was detained at Aruba airport on July 24 upon his arrival. Reinforced police detachment accompanied him to jail letting know the action was undertaken upon the extradition request that had come from the United States.

The island’s Dutch authorities were notified in February that Carvajal was assigned by Venezuela to become its consular general in Aruba. There was plenty of time to inform his assignment as unacceptable if that was the case. Then no conflict would have taken place.

Carvajal was close with former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. They had gone through military service together and shared a lot of common ideas. Chavez knew he could count on his brother-in-arms in a pinch. Carvajal was the head of Venezuelan military intelligence in 2004-2009; he countered the activities of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Central Intelligence Agency, US military intelligence, including the National Security Agency. He never let the conflict with Colombia spread inside the Venezuelan territory. He always had information to prevent the adversary’s actions. The ultra-right para-military groups were effectively beaten back suffering great losses when they tried to cross inside the Venezuelan territory. He also effectively fought the drug dealers often acting under the control of US Drug Enforcement Administration. As a result of Carvajal’s efforts, the Drug Enforcement Administration was forbidden to operate in Venezuela. It brought about large-scale orchestrated campaign to denigrate the General and use black propaganda methods to make him look like a Venezuelan drug baron.

Reading the media used by US special services for propaganda efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean one can understand what the Venezuelan enemies wanted Carvajal to be arrested for. They planned a deal with the US justice: to mitigate the sentence he was to cooperate on all charges giving evidence against Chavez, Maduro and other Bolivarian leaders. A US team came to Aruba with a package of proposals and guarantees. According to Venezuelan official sources, the US intelligence in Willemstad (the island of Curacao) had conducted some activities aimed at detaining and isolating Carvajal. The Willemstad station area of responsibility includes Aruba and Bonaire. The main target for recruitment are Venezuelans. These islands are also used for arranging the meetings with Venezuelan opposition activists, involved in conspiracy activities aimed at toppling the Maduro government.

The Curacao residence has good reputation. It is headed by James R. Moore, the US consul general with the thirty years of diplomatic work and intelligence activities behind. The leading intelligence officials are Solmaz Sharifi, chief of Political and Economic Section, DEA section chief J. Gregory Garza, Head of Information Management/Programs Office Jeffrey Yacobucci etc.

This station is responsible for getting Carvajal detained. They started to put pressure on him so that he would ask for political asylum. He was promised to be immediately flown to Miami in case he agrees to cooperate. At the same time they made a fake go around in media saying Carvajal had a passport with another name and showed his real identification document only after being detained by police. Media said he had 20 thousand dollars in the luggage (no doubt the money belonged to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela and was destined for embassy and consulate needs). There was another invented story made go around in Caracas saying that a few recent months he had been secretly discussing the details of escape to the United States.

Carvajal did not cede to blackmail and demanded to give him an opportunity to meet Venezuelan officials. Calixto Ortega, Venezuelan deputy chancellor for Europe, immediately went to the island to solve the situation and prevent the acts of coercion to make Carvajal go to the United States (as often practiced by the Central Intelligence Agency). Peter Blanken, chief prosecutor in Aruba, who had relation to the Carvajal’s detention and who at first danced to the tune of US Central Intelligence Agency, decided to call his superiors in the Netherlands. At first he was told the Venezuelan had no diplomatic immunity. Then he was explained that the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs got the necessary permission in February and the diplomatic immunity status was in force. The US representatives made vibrant attempts to exert pressure on Aruba authorities to let Carvajal be taken to Miami. A campaign in support of the Venezuelan diplomat was started in the islands. Venezuela is an old friend of Curacao and Aruba, the tourists from Venezuela are an important source of income, and Caracas had sent signals it was going to react in case of unfriendly actions.

President Nicolas Maduro said that the Carvajal case was a special operation conducted by the United States to blackmail and intimidate the top military leadership of Venezuela. Either reject your principles and join the anti-government conspiracy, or we’ll charge you and make face the Empire’s kangaroo trials on trumped-up charges. The Carvajal case was provoked to show how it is done in practice, there were threats voiced against Rangel Silva and Rodriguez Chacin.

Meanwhile, Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said via Twitter that the liberation of Carvajal was a misapplication and a mockery of the immunity principle. The US State Department affirmed Aruba, the Netherlands and some other countries were threatened by Venezuela to make them free Carvajal. «We are also disturbed by credible reports that have come to us indicating the Venezuelan Government threatened the governments of Aruba, the Netherlands, and others to obtain this result. This is not the way law-enforcement matters should be handled, and we will certainly continue our efforts to bring him to justice,» said US State Department spokesman Jen Psaki on July 28 at the daily press briefing.

The imperturbability of Washington playing the role of world order protector may only make people laugh their heads off.

Washington has not refused the idea to pursue Carvajal and other Venezuelan politicians fallen out of US favor. Some media outlets spread around «official documents» accusing Venezuelan military and security services of cooperating with FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo, FARC–EP and FARC) providing the group with sanctuaries on the Venezuelan territory. To corroborate the affirmations they use the evidence provided by deserters, double agents and fishy personalities trying to make a buck. The information concocted by US special services is not of great quality (the reports on Ukraine is an example). Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro never tried to hide the fact that there is fighting going on from time to time, but not with guerrilla movement fighters. Venezuelans fought ultra-right groups which coordinated their activities with drug dealers. True there were sporadic skirmishes with the guerrillas; especially at the time Chavez tried to start a dialogue between the belligerents.

The Carvajal case showed once more that US special services use dirty tricks operating abroad. The strategic goal is global dominance; other things are of no importance.

Anti-Semitism: The Ultimate Zionist Weapon

August 3rd, 2014 by William Hanna

Differentiating between Zionism and Judaism requires recognition of certain basic facts. To begin with, Theodor Herzl (the founder of Zionism) was an atheist whose personal awareness of Jewishness appears to have been awakened during the 1894 trial, wrongful conviction, and imprisonment on Devil’s Island of Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent accused of spying for Germany. In his diaries, Herzl makes no secret of his intention to use Jewish suffering as a means of furthering Zionist ideology. His vision for a Jewish state had nothing to do with “ … I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it” (Jeremiah 30:3). Herzl actually considered various other locations such as Uganda and Argentina for his Zionist state and his view of Zionism and Judaism was more akin to that of Chaim Chassas who in 1943 in the Zionist newspaper, Ha’Arutz, said:

“Zionism and Judaism is not one thing but two different things. And of course two contradicting one another. Zionism starts at the place where Judaism is destroyed … one thing is certain, Zionism is not a continuation or healing of wounded Judaism, but rather an uprooting.”

Zionism has never had any qualms about the loss of Jewish lives so long as that loss furthered the cause of Zionism. In the book 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, editor Lenni Brenner, uses actual historic documents to demonstrate the betrayal of Jews by Zionists — before during, and after the Holocaust — even to the extent of offering to fight for the Nazis on the understanding that after Germany won the war, Zionism would be rewarded with Palestine.

“If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transporting them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not the numbers of these children, but the historic reckoning of the people of Israel.” – from Israeli historian Shabtai Teveth’s book on Ben-Gurion.

Zionist Apartheid Israel’s deliberate long-term policy of periodic military attacks against the largely unarmed Palestinian people — including the current cowardly and barbarous assault which even the Nazis would have struggled to match — has absolutely nothing to do with “self defence” because even the pitiful Hamas rocket attacks are rendered ineffective by Israel’s American taxpayer-funded Iron Dome Missile Shield. The real reason for such attacks is to fulfill Zionist ideology by avoiding any kind of negotiated peace that might forestall the illegal Israeli land grabs and ethnic cleansing required for the creation of a “Greater Israel” devoid of Palestinians. To add insult to injury, these unashamed Zionist savages also have the barefaced audacity to refer to Palestinians as “animals” and to themselves as “God’s Chosen People.” History has repeatedly shown that whenever one ethnic group regards itself as being superior to others — be it a “Master Race” or a “Chosen People” — then after much death and destruction it will eventually perish as was the case with the Third Reich.

Zionist Israel’s evil racist intentions have remained constant ever since its inception with its primary founder and first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion emphatically stating that “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” This “Father of the nation” and now (if there is an afterlife) guest of the Devil, must be very proud of the tenacity with which his “God-Chosen” compatriots have stuck to their task by pillaging and murdering their way southwards into the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The successful selling to the world of blatant Israeli lies and fabricated justifications has been achieved by an assault on all possible fronts including the gross distortion of archaeological facts and Biblical narrative.

“Appropriations of the past as part of the politics of the present . . . could be illustrated for most parts of the globe. One further example which is of particular interest to this study, is the way in which archeology and biblical history have become of such importance to the modern state of Israel. It is this combination which has been such a powerful factor in silencing Palestinian history.” – Keith W. Whitelam1

“De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents. Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that King David built a city there some 3,000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3,000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.” – Miko Peled, Israeli peace activist and author (Born Jerusalem, 1961)

The most successful Zionist ploy has been to equate itself with Judaism and to hijack and hide behind Judaic aspects starting with sacred emblems such as the Menorah and then to demean the memory of the Holocaust whose constant, cynical invocation is used to silence criticism of barbaric Israeli crimes and even to evoke illusionary justification for the cold, calculated genocide of the Palestinian people.

“Israelis and American Jews fully agree that the memory of the Holocaust is an indispensable weapon — one that must be used relentlessly against their common enemy … Jewish organisations and individuals thus labor continuously to remind the world of it. In America, the perpetuation of the Holocaust memory is now a $100-million-a-year enterprise, part of which is government funded.”

According to Israeli author Moshe Leshem, the expansion of Israeli power is commensurate with the expansion of the “Holocaust” propaganda2

“Ever since the Jews invented the libel charge of “anti- Semitism” in the 1880s. It was first published in the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901 Vol. 1, p. 641), and has been built up with Jewish money, organizations, propaganda and lies (such as the Holocaust — Holohoax), so that now the word is like a snake venom which paralyses one’s nervous system. Even the mention of the word “Jew” is shunned unless used in a most favorable and positive context.” – Charles A. Weisman3

The continued use of “anti-Semitism” as a weapon against its critics — even to the extent of the recent invention of a “New anti-Semitism” — is essential for the survival of Zionism because it serves to deflect attention from the lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, war profiteering, blatant violations of international law, and barbaric crimes against humanity. Yet despite such overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of Israel’s unabated criminality, Jews everywhere continue to decline from equating Zionism with Judaism, and most of those who do recognise the difference, lack the courage to say so; the corporate mass media continues to refuse to do the right thing by unconditionally reporting the facts; so-called political leaders — led by Israel’s “Uncle Tom” Barack Obama and Canada’s noxiously obsequious Prime Minister, Stephen Harper — continue with blinkered eyes to fawn over and commend Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people; and as for the most of the rest of us, by quietly accepting Israel’s propaganda lies, we become complicit in its crimes while obediently supping from a Zionist trough that is overflowing with Palestinian blood.

Notes

  1. The Invention of Ancient Israel: the Silencing of Palestinian History, Routledge, London, 1996. []
  2. Balaam’s Curse: How Israel Lost its Way, and How it Can find it Again, Simon & Schuster, 1989. []
  3. Who is Esau-Edom?, Weisman Publications, 1966. []

William Hanna is a freelance writer with a recently published book theHiramic Brotherhood of the Third Temple. He can be reached at:[email protected]Read other articles by William, or visit William’s website.

“With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public.” Julian Assange, July 29, 2014

The Westminster system has always been seen, in some select circles, as a model for freedom and expression. It has been everything but. In Australia, whose institutions do still pride themselves on an antiquated obsession with aspects of English gagging, suppression orders do retain a certain mystique. They certainly do in the Australian state of Victoria, which is said to throw “suppression orders around like confetti”.1

The absurdity of its application has become all too evident with the publication by WikiLeaks of the super injunction covering allegations of corruption dealing with leaders from Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.  All had multi-million dollar dealings of a purportedly inappropriate nature with subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).  These supposedly involved the alleged bribery of foreign officials concerned with banknote printing contracts.  The top brass from these countries, including, for instance, “any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia”, “Truong Tan San, currently President of Vietnam”, “Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, currently President of Indonesia (since 2004)”, and “Megawati Sukarnoputri, a former President of Indonesia”.

The suppression order has formidable currency in the English law canon. It is used to shut people up. It is used to keep silence golden.  It is intended as a self-censoring measure that uses the cudgel of the law to keep people, and the media, in tow.  WikiLeaks has fronted this legal remedy before, notably in the case of Trafigura3, a multinational which had been more than happy to use African bases as dumping grounds for its toxic waste.  The company attempted, unsuccessfully, to keep discussion of its exploits under wraps.

In the post-analogue age, it remains to be seen how far such orders can genuinely go – there is more than enough oxygen for publicity to go around, and social media has proven positively inflammatory on the subject of the money printing order.  Any prosecution against either a social media user or publisher for discussing the case would not only be futile but dangerous.  Because of the threat, Australia journalists have been tiptoeing like ballerinas on the subject of what to reveal.

This has meant that journalists in Australia can report that WikiLeaks has released a document disclosing details on a suppression order, but are unable to discuss it without legal consequences.  Such details cannot be disclosed, despite the absurd situation of a global conversation taking place on that very order.  (Witness, for instance, a vigorous discussion taking place on the order in the Malaysian press.4)  As with all matters regarding censorship, absurdity, and a good degree of spinelessness, tend to be the only victors.

The super injunction has had several famed appearances. The absurdity was well exposed when it came to such programs as the British quiz show Have I Got News For You. There, the super injunction has been discussed, only to disappear at the behest of legal advice to participants on the program.  Ian Hislop, veteran editor of the hilariously wicked Private Eye tended to, as he still does, sail close to the legal wind on several occasions.

The super injunction has certainly been the favoured form of restraint on the press from celebrities.  The situation with such figures is far less relevant than that of political subjects – what Ryan Giggs, former Manchester United player did or did not so in his sex life can hardly be said to be a matter of grand public interest.  Such figures, in their dubiousness, are certainly entitled to what shreds of privacy they might have left, even if the resort to the Human Rights Act 1998 may seem gratuitous.  The same can’t be said for political representatives who use their offices to pursue goals outside the remit of their election.  Their relationship with constituents is both bond and undertaking.

There are always concessions to be made when allegations are reported. Material alleged has to be material proved.  The respective evidentiary onus on the parties has to be discharged. This will happen, it is hoped, in the fullness of time, in so far as time is generous in such proceedings.

But the assumption that the province of law is somehow meditative and hermetic, that it exists outside the time and workings of politics, is at best a childish notion.  Embarrassment masquerades as matters of national security.  As the document itself states, “The purpose of these orders is to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings.” Naturally, terms such as “justice” are used liberally, though the primary object is less justice than the necessity to “prevent prejudice to the interests of the Commonwealth in relation to national security.”

The governments in question – those of Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam –  want silence on the matter.  Canberra is particularly worried, feeling that their business partners might be unnecessarily impugned.  They have managed, in part, to secure that reticence through the channel of Australian, and more specifically Victorian, law.  They are desperate to chill, if not kill, the matter.  Alleged misconduct has effectively been cloaked from public scrutiny.

Time and time again, orders of restraint and injunctions have been sought to restrain the publication of information that would have informed public discussion on matters of crucial political performance.  That discussion can still, as it should, take place irrespective of whether the charges are proven in court. The very fact that the governments in question are all receiving the comforts of immunity in an Australian court room needs to be seriously questioned. Don’t expect Australian media outlets to heed that point.

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

Notes:

1 http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/07/30/wikileaks-reveals-not-so-superinjunction/

2 https://wikileaks.org/aus-suppression-order/

3 http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/oct/13/trafigura-drops-gag-guardian-oil

4 http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/australia-muzzles-press-on-bribery-case-involving-malaysian-regional-leader

The Logic of Israeli Violence

August 3rd, 2014 by Greg Shupak

“I have to go, I said: I have to. The barbarians are besieging time and place, besieging this rapid breathing in the side-alleys of frustration’s long journey. Explosions ripple, fear controls the situation. Justified and upstanding fear in the face of history at a great crossroads. They monitor us and we monitor them and we besiege their glory with our weakness. Tank shells and small-arms fire and their hatred, all these roll before the demolition machines.

I will go now. Many children, half asleep and stumbling and falling as you hurry them from their houses at the hour of dawn. Houses that will be levelled like accusations in just a moment.

A father carries his children and rushes like a missile out of what will shortly be a pile of cement… “  — Excerpt from “Camp Block 5” by Othman Hussein. (Translated by Henry King and Sarah Irving.)

One could be forgiven for understanding Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip as butchery for its own sake. That’s a plausible interpretation of the killing of 1,284 Palestinians, at least 75 per cent of whom are civilians, and injuring another 7,100.

Seeing Israel as engaging in senseless bloodletting might seem an even more reasonable conclusion in light of the massacre of sixty-three people in Shujaiya after “the extensive use of artillery fire on dozens of populated areas across the Gaza Strip” that left bodies “scattered on streets,” or the bombing of United Nations shelters for those fleeing the violence. That conclusion is also tempting based on reports out of Khuza’a, a hamlet in the hinterlands of the Strip that was the scene of another Israeli massacre.

But describing such violence as aimless misses the underlying logic of Israel’s conduct throughout Operation Protective Edge and, indeed, for much of its history.

As Darryl Li points out, “Since 2005, Israel has developed an unusual, and perhaps unprecedented, experiment in colonial management in the Gaza Strip,” seeking to “isolate Palestinians there from the outside world, render them utterly dependent on external benevolence,” and at the same time “absolve Israel of responsibility toward them.”

This strategy, Li goes on to argue, is one way that Israel is working to maintain a Jewish majority in the territories it controls so that it can continue to deny equal rights for the rest of the population.

Israeli Colonialism and U.S. Militarism

The suppression of Palestinian resistance is crucial to the success of the Israeli experiment. But there is a corollary, which is a cyclical interaction between Israeli colonialism and U.S. militarism. As Bashir Abu-Manneh explains, there is a relationship between American imperialism and Zionist policies. American policymakers believe that an alliance with Israel helps the U.S. control the Middle East. So the United States enables Israeli colonialism and occupation, which in turn creates contexts for further U.S. interventions in the region that can be used to try to deepen American hegemony.

He points out, furthermore, that the “United States has been determining major economic and political outcomes” in the region since at least 1967, and that Israel plays a “crucial role in their realization. In Israel-Palestine, this has meant that force and colonial peace have alternated as main instruments of policy.” Yet all the while the main objective remains “a constant: Jewish supremacy in Palestine – as much land as possible, as few Palestinians as possible.”

What both Li and Abu-Manneh highlight is Israel’s concern with keeping Palestinians in a state of powerlessness. Driven by both its own settler-colonial agenda and by its function as an American partner in the geopolitical system, Israel strives to balance its desire to maximize the territory it controls against the imperative of minimizing the number of Palestinians living in the territories it seeks to use for its own purposes.

One way to destroy any sign of Palestinian power has been on display during Protective Edge, during which Israeli violence has sought to stamp out signs of Palestinian independence – hence Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s call for “defeating Hamas.”

The result is that Palestinians are not merely subject to extreme violence. Rather, their capacity to live autonomously in historic Palestine is being attacked. The destruction of infrastructure, as in the recent attack on the Gaza Strip’s lone power plant, is one index of that. Not only does the current Israeli onslaught end the physical existence of specific Palestinian individuals, it aims to obliterate Palestinians as a people with the capacity to live independently in their homeland.

While denying refugees their legally protected and natural right of return is the most overt tactic that Israel uses to maintain its desired demographic picture, creating conditions inhospitable to the autonomous existence of Palestinians can also in the long run secure for Israel “as much land as possible, [and] as few Palestinians as possible.”

Violence that abides by this logic is not unique to Zionism. It is central to settler-colonialism and finds historic parallels in, for example, the American Trail of Tears or in Canada, the clearing of the plains through the deliberate starvation of Aboriginal peoples. The meaning of Protective Edge is similar.

Preventing a people from providing for themselves is a way of sabotaging their ability to live autonomously. That is how we should understand Israel’s assaults on forty-six of Gaza’s fishing boats or its attacks on Day Sixteen of Protective Edge against agricultural sites in the Northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City, the Central Gaza Strip, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. That is how we should understand Israel rendering two-thirds of Gaza’s wheat mills inoperative and the need of 3,000 of Gaza’s herders for animal feed (to say nothing of the value of animal life itself). That is how we should understand this intensification of what Harvard’s Dr. Sara Roy describes as the long-running deliberate destruction and de-development of the Gaza Strip’s economy that, unless funding for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) is increased, could cause mass starvation.

To make it so that Palestinians cannot care for themselves or each other is also to take from them the ability to function on their own. That is the implication of “[p]sychotropic drugs for patients with mental illness, trauma and anxiety” being “in critically short supply” and of leaving Shifa hospital “urgently” needing “neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, plastic and general surgeons, and orthopedic specialists, as well as twenty ICU beds, a digital C-ARM machine for orthopedic surgeries, three operation tables and a lighting system for the five operation rooms.”

That is the implication of – as Doctors Without Borders reports in their call on Israel to “stop bombing trapped civilians” – killing two paramedics and wounding two others while they tried to retrieve wounded from Ash Shuja’iyeh. That is the implication of Israel damaging twenty-two health facilities, including a direct strike on al-Aqsa hospital and destroying el-Wafa rehabilitation hospital with strikes on multiple days, all of which has lead to an open letter being released through one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals in which twenty-four doctors and scientists report being “appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists,” a “massacre [that] spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals.”

Attacks on Palestinian Independence

Attacks on religious institutions, a feature of all settler-colonial projects, are another way of interfering with Palestinian independence. Eighty-eight of Gaza’s mosques have been damaged, which is to say that damage has been done to eighty-eight sites at which Gaza’s communities congregate and engage with one another.

Israel’s assault on Palestinian culture can also be understood as acts of violence against the Palestinians as a people. Cultures are not static but participate in the unending process of making, unmaking, and re-making texts, and their interpretations is one way that groups understand themselves as distinct and one way that they are understood as such by non-members.

The ability of a group to tell their own stories about themselves is a key aspect of their autonomous existence. Impeding the capacity of Palestinians to undertake these practices is what Israel does when it destroys the home of the poet Othman Hussein and that of the artist Raed Issa; when it kills cameraman Khaled Reyadh Hamad in Shujaiya and a driver for Gaza’s Media 24 news agency named Hamdi Shihab; when it attacks Arabic-speaking journalists at al-Jazeera and the BBC; or when it destroys the building that’s home to the Sawt al-Watan radio station.

Undermining the ability of a people to educate their young, to train them for work, and to teach them to think critically is furthermore a way of stifling their independent existence. This is the implication of the 133 schools that have been hit.

While destroying cultural and educational institutions keeps a people from symbolically re-producing itself, Israel’s mass murder of 229 Palestinian children and injuring of 1,949 others is the most grotesque, most literal impediment to the capacity of Palestinians to continue to exist as a group in Palestine going forward. That is what it means for Israel to have put 194,000 children in need of psychological support. That is what it means for maternity care to be restricted “for an estimated 45,000 pregnant women in the Gaza Strip, of whom approximately 5,000 have been displaced.”

That is what it means to obstruct family life by destroying or severely damaging the homes of 3,695 families and creating conditions that render it virtually impossible to conduct the day-to-day activities constitutive of generational continuity, such as causing 1.2 million people to have “no or very limited access to water or sanitation services due to damage to the electricity system or lack of fuel to run generators.”

That is what it means for the number of displaced people in UNRWA shelters to be “approaching 10% of the entire population of Gaza, with approximately 170,461 in 82 schools” that are “without adequate water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in place and without sufficient space.” That is what it means for all of Gaza’s 1.8 million people to be affected by the war.

Those of us who are citizens of states that help Israel do all of this need to compel our governments to stop. Until then we all share responsibility for its horrifically logical violence.

Greg Shupak teaches media studies at the University of Guelph in Canada. This article was first published on Jacobin.

The 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip collapsed yesterday morning within hours of coming into force resulting in an intensification of the Israeli military’s slaughter of Palestinians. At least 140 Palestinians were killed on Friday bringing the overall death toll to more than 1,600, mostly civilians, and at least 8,000 wounded since Israel launched its attacks on Gaza on July 8.

The renewed Israeli offensive has been accompanied by a barrage of lies blaming Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, for breaching the ceasefire agreement. Just two hours after it came into effect, the Israeli military seized on a clash with Palestinian militants, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed and one possibly captured, to declare that the truce was over.

Confident that it has the backing of Washington and the international media, the Israeli government was never serious about abiding by the ceasefire or entering talks with Palestinian factions in Egypt over a longer term settlement. On Thursday, a further 16,000 reservists were called up to boost Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip.

The ceasefire was jointly announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday afternoon to give “innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence” and to allow “the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured and restocking food supplies.”

However, no sooner had the truce come into force and people begun to emerge on the streets than the Israeli military renewed its operations with even greater ferocity.

Under the terms of the ceasefire, Israel and Hamas agreed to end all offensive operations at 8 a.m. local time. For Israel that meant its troops on the ground could continue to destroy tunnels, but only those that were behind their defensive lines and led into Israel. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Thursday that the military would completely destroy Hamas’s tunnel networks “with or without a cease-fire.”

Israel blamed Hamas for a clash involving Israeli troops searching for tunnels in no-man’s land east of the city of Rafah on the Egyptian-Gaza border. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner claimed that several Palestinian militants emerged from a shaft, killed two soldiers and captured an officer.

Hamas spokesmen emphatically rejected Israel’s claims that their fighters had been involved in aggressive operations. Fawzi Barhom said: “The Palestinian resistance is acting on the ground in order to defend themselves. Another spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri declared that Israel was attempting “to mislead and justify its violation of the truce and to cover their savage massacres in Rafah.”

The Israel military immediately used the incident as the pretext to advance deeper into southern Gaza with airstrikes along the Egypt-Gaza border as well as heavy tank and artillery shelling continuing into the night.

Rafah resident Ayman al-Arja told the Associated Press: “We are under fire, every minute or so tanks fire shells at us… Now we are sitting in the stairwell, 11 members of my family, my brother, his nine children and wife. We just have water to drink and the radio to hear the news.”

According to Gaza Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra, at least 70 Palestinians were killed and 440 wounded in Israeli attacks on Friday in the Rafah area. The dead include a paramedic killed when an Israeli tank shell hit the ambulance in which he was travelling. Another 70 Palestinians were killed elsewhere in Gaza.

US President Obama immediately defended Israel, justified its continued operations to destroy tunnels as “entirely right” and blamed the collapse of the ceasefire on Hamas. He “unequivocally condemned” Hamas and called on it to release the captured Israeli soldier.

Putting pressure on Hamas to make concessions, Obama declared that it would be “very hard to put back a ceasefire back together if the Israelis and the international community can’t feel confident Hamas can follow through on a ceasefire commitment.”

In a cynical gesture to widespread international outrage over Israel’s murderous offensive, Obama added: “It’s hard to reconcile Israel’s legitimate need to defend itself with our concerns for those civilians.”

Despite this handwringing, the US, however, continues to give its unqualified support for Israel and its relentless efforts to completely crush any Palestinian resistance by terrorising the entire population of the Gaza Strip. Washington has authorised the replenishing of Israel’s stocks of ammunition and military supplies from a US stockpile in the country.

Moreover, the US Senate unanimously voted $225 million in emergency funds for Israel to bolster its Iron Dome anti-missile system. The Israeli government is justifying its military aggression in the Gaza Strip on the basis of stopping Palestinian militants from launching crude rocket attacks on Israel as well as uprooting “terrorist tunnels.”

With the full backing of the US, the Israeli military is carrying out atrocities against a civilian population on a daily basis. Israeli war planes, tanks and artillery have laid waste to buildings and vital infrastructure in one of the most densely populated urban areas on the globe with complete disregard for civilian lives.

In a statement to the UN Security Council on Thursday, Valerie Amos, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, detailed Israeli attacks on more than 103 UN facilities, including a school on Wednesday that killed 19 people and injured more than 100.

Much of the Gaza Strip has less than two hours electricity a day and medicine and safe water are increasingly scarce. The UN estimates that more than 400,000 people of a population of 1.8 million have been displaced from their homes, with about half staying with relatives and a quarter of a million in shelters run by local government.

The Israeli military’s brutal operations undoubtedly constitute war crimes for which the Obama administration and its allies also bear a central responsibility.

U.S. Busted Faking Satellite Photographs In Both Iraq Wars

U.S. government claims that satellite photographs prove that Russian separatists are responsible for the shootdown of the Malaysian airplane over Ukraine, and that Russia has fired artillery into Ukraine.

Russia claims that the photos are fake.

While we don’t have the necessary expertise to know who’s right, it’s worth noting that the U.S. government has repeatedly lied about satellite photos as a basis for war.

For example, in the run up to the Iraq war, the U.S. claimed that satellite images showed that Saddam possessed bunkers and trucks loaded with chemical weapons … but none were found.

And the same thing happened in the first Gulf War.  The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2002:

When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf – to reverse Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait – part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.

Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid–September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.

But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border – just empty desert.

“It was a pretty serious fib,” says Jean Heller, the Times journalist who broke the story.

***

Shortly before US strikes began in the Gulf War, for example, the St. Petersburg Times asked two experts to examine the satellite images of the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia border area taken in mid-September 1990, a month and a half after the Iraqi invasion. The experts, including a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who specialized in desert warfare, pointed out the US build-up – jet fighters standing wing-tip to wing-tip at Saudi bases – but were surprised to see almost no sign of the Iraqis.

“That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn’t exist,” Ms. Heller says. Three times Heller contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis – offering to hold the story if proven wrong.

The official response: “Trust us.” To this day, the Pentagon’s photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup remain classified.

***

“This administration is capable of any lie … in order to advance its war goal in Iraq,” says a US government source in Washington with some two decades of experience in intelligence, who would not be further identified.

(And see this report from the Guardian.)

Indeed, U.S. intelligence agencies have REPEATEDLY lied as a way to justify war, and on other issues of vital national concern.

The Myth of Russian Aggression

August 3rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

The term “Russian aggression” has been inundating headlines across the Western media and even graces the title of a US Senate bill introduce this year - S.2277 – Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014.

But what “aggression” is the West referring to? A cursory look at Russian history over the past 500 years compared to say, Britain, France, or even America and its “Manifest Destiny,” portrays Russia as a nation preoccupied within and along its borders, not in hegemonic, global expansion.

The idea of far-flung former colonies is one unique to the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish. Even today geopolitical, socioeconomic, and even outright military intervention in these former colonies is exclusively the pursuit of the United States and Europe.

The United States alone has hundreds of military bases around the world, has been permanently occupying Germany and Japan for a half century, Afghanistan for over a decade, and had invaded and occupied Iraq for nearly as long.

“Russian Aggression” is a Marketing Gimmick 

Canadian PM Stephan Harper’s “op-ed” in the Globe and Mail titled, “Our duty is to stand firm in the face of Russian aggression,” fallaciously states:

The world is saddened and rightfully outraged by images of the charred remnants of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and by the loss of almost 300 people from 11 countries, strewn across fields in eastern Ukraine. While the grim work of identifying victims’ remains and tracking down the perpetrators of this appalling crime is just beginning, the world can be certain of one thing: There can be no weakening of our resolve to punish the Putin regime for threatening the peace and security of eastern and central Europe.

Harper’s disingenuous attempt to link Russia to the MH17 disaster reveals the truth behind “Russian aggression,” a marketing campaign implemented by the West to undermine an obstruction to its very real, very demonstrable global aggression. The fact that Harper presides over the nation of Canada, which is in no way threatened by “Russian aggression” real or imagined, further exposes the disingenuous nature of the narrative peddled by the West.

Aggressors Playing the Victim – From Hitler to NATO

From Libya, to Mali, to Syria, Egypt, Ukraine, and beyond – the West has engaged in direct and indirect geopolitical meddling and manipulation through various forms of force including covert military and intelligence operations to proxy terrorism, and even outright direct military intervention. As the West nears the boundaries of nations capable of defending themselves and a defense is in fact mounted, pundits and politicians have begun framing it as “aggression.” The impediment of Western expansion across Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America is framed as “aggression” just as Adolf Hitler did in regards to nations chaffing against expanding Nazism during the 1930′s.
Ultimately, legitimate claims of “aggression” and “expansionism” could easily be enumerated. A map for instance, of Europe over the past several decades showing the expansion of Russian territory would be such an indicator. However, such a map instead shows precisely the opposite – with NATO visibly encroaching upon Russia’s very borders behind the overt pretense of “a Europe whole and free.”

For pundits and politicians who respond that NATO’s expansion was not executed through “aggression,” but rather through the voluntary will and aspirations of the people within these new NATO members, the US itself admits this isn’t the case. So-called “color revolutions” from Serbia, to Georgia, to Ukraine itself have been engineered, funded, and executed by the US and other members of NATO to overthrow political orders and opposition fronts that oppose NATO, and to install political orders that embrace it – nothing less than what any empire throughout human history has done through viceroys and other forms of proxy imperial administration.

In fact, the Guardian would admit in its 2004 article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” that (emphasis added):

…while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes. 

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box. 

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze. 

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko. 

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade. 

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev. 

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

In other words, from Belarus, to Georgia, to Ukraine, and Serbia, the US has been insidiously overthrowing governments not through outright military aggression, but through covert military, political, and intelligence operations aimed at manipulating elections and overrunning regimes that refuse to accept the subsequently skewed results. Surely, then, regimes resulting from such a practice are not then “voluntarily” joining NATO – and NATO is surely expanding itself through a campaign of insidious, violent, lawless subversion of sovereign nations, one at a time with Ukraine once again in its sights.

Nazis At the Gates (Again)   

The parallels between NATO and Nazi Germany are unfortunately more than merely academic. In Ukraine, the current regime in Kiev backed by NATO and the European Union are quite literally Nazis. From the “Fatherland Party” to the overtly Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and their various militant wings including the now notorious Right Sector front, ultra-right fascism is once again the leading edge of expansionism into, not out of, Russian territory.

Current attempts by the West to portray Russia’s concern over Ukraine and the Nazi menace festering on their doorstep to Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s invasion of Poland aim to stir up anti-Communist, anti-Soviet fears and hysteria long programmed into the psyches of Western audiences – but incidentally provide a valuable historical parallel. While the invasion of Poland was a violation of Polish national sovereignty and an act of war – it was done to create a barrier between the Soviet Union and the rise of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. Such a barrier was arguably one of several factors that allowed the Soviets to mobilize a counteroffensive to Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of Russia, a counteroffensive that ultimately turned the tide against Hitler and led to the downfall of fascism in Europe.

Besides cause and effect, there are few other similarities between Stalin’s invasion of Poland and the modern day Russian Federation’s political support of eastern Ukrainians who have been fighting the regime in Kiev for months with increasing success. Besides the same variety of dubious accounts the West fabricated against nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria as a pretext for war, little in terms of evidence has been produced by Washington, London, or Brussels to affirm accusations that Russia is “invading” eastern Ukraine. Russia has instead chosen restraint despite multiple attempts by the West to bait it into overt military intervention in Ukraine - and in this restraint, has secured a growing global consensus long driven weary by the West’s attempts to dress up its own global aggression and expansionism as “democracy promotion” and “humanitarian interventions.”

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

Devils’ Dance on the Malaysian Plane Tragedy

August 2nd, 2014 by Arun Mohanty

It is interesting to watch that after a week of full-blown Russia-bashing following the Malaysian Boeing crash in Donbas sky that took 298 innocent lives, there is an intriguing lull in the international media in its campaign to malign Kremlin for the tragedy.

There were irresponsible and unfounded accusations by the US, Ukraine and international media that made Russia directly responsible and then targeted the pro-Russian rebels in the east of Ukraine for the Malaysian Boeing crash that took place on July 17, 2014.

The Ukraine Government used some bogus taped conversation between the pro-Russian rebels in the east of Ukraine and Russian intelligence agency representatives to prove Russian involvement in the shooting of the plane, which turned out to be absolutely fake. After that Kiev is maintaining stoic silence over the fabricated tape.

Then the Ukraine Government claimed that they have caught Russian military experts on the border; involved in firing the Buk missile to shoot down the Malaysian passenger plane, which was subsequently proved to be a blatant lie. Later there were accusations that the pro-Russian rebels were destroying evidence and deliberately delaying the collection of dead bodies and creating obstacles for the arrival of international experts at the crash site. But the truth is that the representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, who control the crash site, were asked by the OSCE represen-tatives not to collect the dead bodies till international experts arrive on the spot, and these OSCE representatives have testified that the accusation against the rebels destroying evidence was unfounded. The rebels were accused of handing over the flight black box to Moscow and tampering with the same. Malaysian experts, to whom the black boxes were handed over by the rebel representatives, have confirmed that the black boxes were absolutely intact, and those have been handed over to the Netherlands officials, who on their part have testified that the black boxes were not tampered with by any means.

The Netherlands handed over the black boxes for examination to a laboratory in Britain, a close ally of the US that looks increasingly to be behind the provocation. It is difficult to believe that Britain would withstand the pressure exerted on it by the US for the sake of manipulating the findings of the black boxes of the flight, although it may not be all that easy. In any case, Russian experts have raised their eyebrows over the fact that the Netherlands handed over the black boxes to Britain for decoding.

A new series of sectoral sanctions has been imposed on Russia as if its complicity in shooting down the Malaysian jet has been established even before the start of the international investigation. These sanctions—affecting energy, defence, banking sectors—would hit the Russian economy badly. There is a famous Russian proverb that says bez vini vinobat which means ‘to declare somebody a criminal without any crime’. Indeed Russia has been declared a criminal without its crime being proved so far in the Malaysian aircraft tragedy. It looks increasingly clear that the whole conspiracy to nail Russia and punish it for a crime that it has not committed. Some Russian experts strongly believe that the entire conspi-racy, of course not without US connivance, had the sole objective of holding Russia responsible for the tragedy by any means.

But unsurprisingly, the devils’ dance on this human tragedy through the orchestrated media hysteria against Russia has suddenly come to a halt, triggering suspicions about its motive. The media trial of Russia on the tragedy has abruptly ended, generating suspicious thoughts about a well-planned provocation. Moreover, ten days after the tragedy the US, which was earlier insisting that Ukraine had neither the possibility nor the motivation for shooting the Malaysian plane, has confirmed the authenticity of the satellite data presented in the special briefing by the Russian Defence Ministry on July 21 when it was revealed that the Ukraine Army’s anti-air defence system near Donetsk had four divisions of Buk-MI complex. White House spokesperson Josh Ernest in a statement has said that a rocket was fired from the rebel-controlled territory at a time when Ukraine’s anti-air defence system was not in operation. Thus the US has now indirectly admitted for the first time about the presence of Ukraine’s anti-air defence system on Donetsk territory, said a highly placed source in the Russian Defence Ministry.

In the meantime, Russia has raised a number of issues in connection with the Malaysian plane tragedy. Along with the presentation of ‘objective control’ data of its satellite monitoring, the Russian Defence Ministry has asked ten questions, while Rusavia, Russia’s official avi-ation body, has raised as many as 26 questions, which remain unanswered till date by both the US as well as Ukraine. The Russian Defence Ministry presentation has made it clear to the US as well as Ukraine that Moscow has certain evidence at its disposal about what had happened in the Donbas sky on that fateful day.

Russia has officially, with impeccable technical evidence, rebutted the US allegations about its complicity in the air tragedy. Interestingly, Washington has recently toned down its accusation of Russian complicity in the tragedy by stating that the US does not have any evidence of Russian complicity in the incident and about the direct evidence of Russian presence at the site of firing of the rocket that hit the Malaysian plane or that Russia helped the rebels to operate the Buk missiles. More than that, the US intelligence has recently admitted that it has no evidence of movement of Buk missile systems across the Russian-Ukrainian border to the Ukrainian side. How-ever, all pertinent questions raised by the Russian side remain unanswered till date.

The US State Department representative Merry Harf’s claim that they have “huge amount of evidence from open as well as secret sources about Russian complicity” in the air crash has fallen flat in the backdrop of the US failure to produce any evidence in that direction. As if US President Obama never accused Russia in the Malaysian plane tragedy.

However, if the US and Ukraine are thinking that they would get away by throwing dust in the eyes of the international community on the issue, that is not going to happen. The thief’s tactics of shouting ‘to hold the thief’, adopted by the US and Ukraine, is most likely going to be exposed in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, UN SC resolution No 2166 on the air crash, while condemning the incident, has demanded an independent comprehensive international investigation of the tragedy in accordance with the principles of international civil aviation; it has called for immediate ceasefire in the territory around the air crash in order to ensure security for facilitating inter-national investigation.

Apparently the Ukraine side has violated the resolution by intensifying flights in the territory as it is clear that the insurgents are just defen-ding their positions against the attacks launched by the Ukrainian forces. Latest reports suggest that the Ukrainian forces have succeeded in capturing part of the territory around the crash site. Heavy fighting around the crash site would no doubt hamper the work of the international inspectors.

This resolution, originally moved by Australia, is a result of compromise after Russia’s demand for involving the International Civil Aviation Committee for ensuring impartial investigation was incorporated into it. Russia’s Permanent Representative at the UNSC, Vitaly Churkin, in his address emphasised on the leading role of the International Civil Aviation Committee along with all those interested in establishing the truth. He demanded that all material evidence including the black boxes be kept under strict control of the international civil aviation organisation for promoting unbiased international investigation, and called for creating all necessary conditions to ensure full security that would facilitate the work of the international investigators at the crash site. Churkin has alleged that the shock emanating from the Malaysian plane tragedy is unfortunately being used by Ukraine for intensifying its punitive operations in the east of the country. Dozens of innocent people are being killed every day as a result of the use of heavy artillery and air strikes by the Ukrainian forces, notwithstanding the UNSC statement that Kiev would maintain ‘restraint’ in its military operations.

Vitaly Churkin, speaking in the UNSC, raised certain questions before Ukraine regarding the activities of its aviation dispatchers and reasons for the transfer of Ukrainian Buk missile battery in the region adjacent to the territory controlled by the rebels. Why did the battery leave the region immediately after the air-crash on July 17? Why did the Radio-Location System of Ukraine’s anti-air defence system work with maximum intensity on July 17? The Russian Defence Ministry has asked several more questions related to the issue to Ukraine on the basis of images received from its satellites. These questions include why did the Ukrainian dispatchers give the instruction for deviating from the designed air corridor and lower the altitude of the flight? What was the reason for relocation of the Ukrainian radio-location station 9C 18 “Kupol—MI“ of the Buk missile system on July 17 ? What was the objective of Ukraine’s SU-25 military aircraft flying close to the Malaysian passenger plane?

The Ukrainian authorities are absolutely silent on the issues, and have apparently imposed a ban on disclosing its dispatchers data. In the meantime, the man working as dispatcher in Kiev’s Borispol airport, who had revealed about SU-25 military aircraft flying next to the Malaysian flight have reportedly gone missing along with some dispatchers at Dnepropetrovsk ground service controlling the Malaysian flight.

One of the most intriguing questions is: why is the US silent about the images of its own satellite that was flying over Donetsk region on the fateful day. Russia has proof of the US satellite’s presence over the crash site. What is that the US is trying to hide from the international community, although the satellite images can definitely shed light on many crucial issues? The well-orchestrated vilification campaign against Russia on the shooting down of the Malaysian plane has done huge damage to Russia’s international prestige, and most importantly helped Washington in imposing new sanctions that would no doubt affect the Russian economy adversely.

In this backdrop, India has done well by opposing imposition of sanctions, calling them counter-productive. But this cannot be enough given the special and privileged nature of our strategic partnership. Some foreign policy experts and national dailies have advised that the Government of India should use its strategic partnership to exert pressure on Russia not to interfere in Ukraine.

These experts should not forget that the Soviet Union was the first country that had extended its support and solidarity to us when Sikim was merged with India. It was the Soviet Union which exercised its veto power in the UNSC time and again to defend India on the Kashmir issue. It is Moscow that had provided enormous assistance to India during the Bangladesh war in 1971 when India was absolutely isolated in the world in the backdrop of the emergence of the US-China-Pakistan axis designed against India and the presence of the US 7th fleet in the Bay of Bengal.

Again it is Russia alone which opposed the international sanctions imposed on India in the wake of the Pokhran II nuclear tests and went ahead in providing assistance for building the Kudankulam nuclear plant. It is time for India to repay the debt by extending more tangible support to Russia and President Putin who are now victims of a well-calculated and well-conceived vilification campaign. The Indian Government should take a clearer stand in defence of Russia, and the Indian public at large should raise their voice against the way Russia and President Putin are being demonised, discredited by the international media through a media campaign based on half-truths and blatant lies. Our policy-makers need to have a better understanding of the US game-plan in Ukraine which is nothing but the containment of Russia.

We should show sensitivity to the security concerns of our closest strategic partner, Russia, on the Ukrainian issue at the moment. This policy would pay us handsome dividends in the long run while strengthening our autonomy in the domain of foreign policy-making.

The author is the Chairperson, Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Argentina must not follow NY Court’s dictated path to ‘bankruptcy’

Why would Argentina default on debt that was settled more than 10 years ago? – Not to everybody’s content, for sure, but settlement all the same. Settlement agreements were reached with 93% of all creditors.

Why would a New York Court have jurisdiction over a sovereign country? – Basically declaring it bankrupt if it doesn’t pay up – pay up 100% of outstanding debt, when all other creditors agreed to an average 20% repayment – which Argentina is honoring and is planning to continue honoring.

 And why would Judge Griesa make his case in favor of NML Capital and similar Vulture funds? – Vulture is exactly what the term expresses – a merciless predator.

 Because Argentina does not align with US foreign policy? – Does not subscribe to Washington’s exceptionalism? – Does not submit to Obama’s illusions of supremacy? – So, Argentina must be punished. The White House’s ever so blinding short-sightedness of sanctions and punishment.

There is no bankruptcy law for sovereign nations. In fact the sovereignty of a country is untouchable, according to one of the key declarations of the League of Nations which later became the United Nations.

Washington’s arrogance is beyond bounds. It threatens not only Argentina, but the impact of this ruling might boomerang to the US’ own banks, Wall Street – and send ripples through globalized banks around the world. And this only, because the current corrupt western monetary system is still bound to the long defunct and over-indebted fiat dollar, under which all international transactions whether involving the US economy or not, whether dollar denominated or not – have to transit through a New York bank.

That’s where the jurisdiction comes from. That’s why criminally behaving Vulture funds can buy a judge in New York to rule the unrulable for them – to the detriment of all the other creditors, who agreed with Argentina’s goodwill settlement, but are now not allowed to be paid, unless the vulture is paid in full, i.e. at 100%! – Unbelievable, if it wouldn’t be coming from Washington, the capital of the only real rogue state in the world, the exceptional nation with the exceptional people, for whom no rule of international law and behavior applies.

The nation that can go on killing sprees with its armies and its financial instruments and send proxies for them to kill and start wars, wars with deadly artillery, war planes and bombs; and wars with deadly financial weapons, manipulated by the tail that wags the dog, the owners of Wall Street, of the Fed and of the Bank for International settlement (BIS) — the exceptional nation and the exceptional ‘tail’ that nobody dares to stop — because all are puppets. Foremost, the Europeans. Europe has ‘leaders’ (sic) with the pants down and some of them as naked as the emperor himself.

If this happens, if judge Griesa’s decision prevails – it may set a nasty precedent, one that not only may backfire on the US, but on the rest of the western economy. It would create chaos. Every debtor nation could reason, why should we honor a debt amortization agreement, if there is a US judge and US jurisdiction that can undo at will earlier agreements among sovereign nations?

 But there is hope. Russia and China are not playing along. They are not puppets. In fact, they are the last fortifications that the dying beast, headed by Obama is vying to defeat with all means possible to achieve world hegemony – the One World Order; with propaganda lies and falsehoods, slandering of true world leaders, and – of course – with ‘sanctions’, ridiculous self-defeating sanctions.

Rather sooner than later the world will seek an alternative monetary system, one completely delinked from the dollar; from Wall Street, from the US all-usurping dictate. It’s already happening. When another outrageous US court punished the French bank BNP Paribas with a salty US$ 9 billion-plus fine for dealing with Iran, the French Central Bank started negotiating with the Chinese Central Bank for Euro-Yuan swaps which would allow them in the future to transit directly through Beijing for international payments, sidelining the dollar and the New York banks.

Argentina must not obey judge Griesa, or any US ruling interfering in its sovereignty – in its handling of sovereign debt. Argentina may seek dollar-ruble and yuan swap arrangements with the central banks of Russia and China, and honor its debt amortization by moving debt payment transactions from New York to Beijing and Moscow.

Delinked from New York. Delinked from the dollar. End of story.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources, including widely in Latin America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

In a video recording dated in 2012, Netanyahu can be seen speaking to what presumably are family members, women and children, completely unawares to the fact that his remarks are being recorded the entire time.

Netanyahu explains that, “The main thing, first of all, is to hit them [the Arabs].  Not just one blow, but blows that are so painful that the price will be too heavy to be borne,” a policy doctrine we are now seeing play out in Israel’s current assault on Gaza in which the ‘price’ that is intended to be ‘too heavy to be borne,’ is measured in the indiscriminate murder of innocent civilian lives- their homes, their playgrounds, their beaches, their schools, their mosques, their hospitals; Israel has shown in Protective Edge that no one and no place in Gaza, not even children’s playgrounds and hospitals in which no militants whatsoever are present, is immune from the all-powerful roar of the highly-tuned, well-oiled and technologically sophisticated multi-billion dollar US-made killing machine that it has now descended upon the mostly defenseless, economically strangled, and poverty-induced population of Gaza (a WikiLeaks cable quoted an Israeli official in 2008 telling the US that they would “keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse,” to ensure that the economy was “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”)

The UN reports as of 29 July that a total of 1,118 people have been killed in the now 23 day assault on Gaza, 827 (or 74%) of which are innocent civilians.  Updated figures for 30 July from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights put the current death toll at 1324, of which 1130 (or 85%) are innocent civilians, along with 5,924 wounded; Gaza’s Health Ministry has confirmed the death of at least 1,359; a number of 7,677 wounded has been confirmed by emergency service spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

These figures clearly tell us that only a very small amount of the targets are actually military targets, Hamas militants or resistance fighters, given that they account for only 20-25% of the deaths.  The vast majority of those killed have been innocent civilians, this despite the IDF’s sophisticated US-made and financed military technology capable of precision striking and advanced intelligence capabilities, including joint cooperation between Mossad and the NSA.

These figures make more sense however when you put them in the context of advice given to the IDF from Israeli lawyers and statements by top military and political officials.

Don’t Make Me Shoot You

Nafeez Ahmed reports that,

White highlights a Ha’aretz report from 2009 which revealed that “IDF officers were receiving legal advice that allowed for large numbers of civilian casualties and the targeting of government buildings.”

“The people who go into a house despite a warning do not have to be taken into account in terms of injury to civilians, because they are voluntary human shields,”

said one senior official of the international law division (ILD) of the Israeli Military Advocate General’s Office.

“From the legal point of view, I do not have to show consideration for them. In the case of people who return to their home in order to protect it, they are taking part in the fighting.” (emphasis added)

This statement presupposes that Israel has the right to order people out of their homes, without having to give a justification, without having to prove that it is a military outpost, just an arbitrary pronouncement by the military and either the civilians must flee or be murdered in cold blood by the IDF, in which case they will be referred to as ‘human shields’ and their extrajudicial slaughter justified in the eyes of the military machine and its legal aides; even if the civilian does flee, Israel presupposes the right to destroy their homes, property, and belongings- in other words, their property (and as well their lives) belong to us, because we say so.

According to U.S. Army Manuals terrorism is defined as, the

“calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies … [to attain] political, religious, or ideological goals.” [U.S. Army Field Manual No. FM 3-0, Chapter 9, 37 (14 June 2001).]

Israel’s actions are therefore the exact definition of terrorism according to the U.S. army, where even just the threat of violence to obtain political goals is terrorism; Israel is saying to the civilian population “leave your homes, or else,” while then presupposing that if their orders are not heeded they are thus absolved from the responsibility of the murder which they will then go about committing.  Even if they were just to threaten the use of violence to get people out of their homes it would be an extreme terroristic crime, let alone when they actually go through with the bombing, indiscriminate of who is inside.

What this amounts to is basically the military/war-time equivalent of holding a gun to someone’s head and saying “don’t make me shoot you,” and then demanding that they give you their wallet… or else.  When the person doesn’t comply with your terror demands and use of intimidation, you then shoot them dead and claim that it was their fault for not giving you the money, I wonder how well that defense would hold up in a US court of law?  Yet this is exactly what Israel is doing in Gaza, this is exactly what their lawyers and military generals are attempting to justify and codify into law.

Take Away Half the Land; Say the Dead Killed Themselves

Israel has used this terror tactic in order to take away 44% of Gaza’s land, drawing up a 3km buffer zone around the borders and then proceeding to hold the gun to the head of every innocent civilian living within that area and saying “don’t make us shoot you,” instructing them to leave their homes “immediately” or thus end up as ‘human shields,’ in which case, according to the IDF and their lawyers, their deaths will be their own fault.

Pepe Escobar thus points out,

“Translation: Israel, in one stroke, is creating OVER 400,000 REFUGEES. But refugees INSIDE the same cage/concentration camp/gulag – a major CRIME under international law. This huge area is now off-limits. All civilians staying behind will be deemed as “combatants”.”

Just as a 75-80% civilian death rate figure falsifies the claim that only military infrastructure and personnel are being targeted, so too does this 3km buffer zone falsify that claim as well; there is no justifiable military reason to annex almost half of Gaza’s land to military invasion and wholesale destruction, the whole ‘tunnel’ argument the least of which as it is pure nonsense coming from a military perspective, and one that has also been used previously,

“The pretext for the [November 4, 2008] raid was that Israel had detected a tunnel in Gaza that might have been intended for use to capture another Israeli soldier. The pretext is transparently absurd, as a number of commentators have noted. If such a tunnel existed, and reached the border, Israel could easily have barred it right there. But as usual, the ludicrous Israeli pretext was deemed credible.” (Noam Chomsky, Peace News, February 2009)

Murder Civilians; Put Pressure on Hamas

In an exchange between former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and former Isreali UN Ambassador and Isreali Labor Party Foreign Minister Abba Eban, published in the Israeli press in August of 1981, Mr. Eban wrote,

“The picture that emerges is of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr. Begin nor I would dare to mention by name.”(1) (emphases added)

Prominent and noted scholar Edward Herman analyzes further the exchange,

“Eban is harshly critical of Begin’s letter because of the support it gives to Arab propaganda; he does not contest the facts. He even defends the earlier Israeli attacks on civilians with the exact logic which orthodox analysts of terrorism attribute to-and use to condemn-retail terrorists: namely, that deliberate attacks may properly be made on innocent parties in order to achieve higher ends. Eban writes that, “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that afflicted populations [i.e., innocent civilians deliberately bombed] would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities.

“Begin’s list is indeed “partial.” It is supplemented by former Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur, whom stated that “For 30 years, from the War of Independence until today, we have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities,” offering as examples the bombardments that cleared the Jordan valley of all inhabitants and that drove a million and a half civilians from the Suez canal area, in 1970, among others. The Israeli military analyst Zeev Schiff summarized General Gur’s comments as follows:

In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved itthe importance of Gur’s remarks is the admission that the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously the Army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets [but] purposely attacked civilian targets when Israeli settlements had not been struck.(2) (emphases added)

This history is particularly important, it gives a clear context to the recent historical findings which echo the exact same sentiments, and thus prove that the strategic military doctrine has not much changed throughout the years, and that these genocidal policies are instead longstanding and rooted in tradition.

An independent investigation into the IDF by the Jerusalem-based Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) in the wake of Operation Cast Lead states that, “The policy of protecting soldiers’ lives, even at the cost of harming uninvolved civilians, cannot by itself explain the large number of casualties,” and so too can this statement be ascribed to the current death toll figures.  The report explains this discrepancy however, “in the beginning of October 2008, the Commanding Officer of the IDF’s Northern Command, Maj. General Gadi Eisenkott, gave an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, in which he unveiled what he called the “Dahiye Doctrine”:

“What happened in the Dahiye Quarter of Beirut in 2006, will happen in every village from which shots are fired on Israel. We will use disproportionate force against it and we will cause immense damage and destruction. From our point of view these are not civilian villages but military bases.

“This is not a recommendation, this is the plan, and it has already been authorized.” (Yedioth Ahronoth (Hebrew), I have incredible power, I’ll have no excuse,, Saturday Supplement, October 3, 2008, by Alex Fishman and Ariela Ringel-Hoffman.)

According to the approach expressed in the Dahiye Doctrine,

“Israel has to employ tremendous force disproportionate to the magnitude of the enemy’s actions. The intent of this… is to harm the civilian population to such an extent that it will bring pressure to bear on the enemy combatants. Furthermore, this policy is intended to create deterrence regarding future attacks against Israel, through the damage and destruction of civilian and military infrastructures which necessitate long and expensive reconstruction actions which would crush the will of those who wish to act against Israel.” (emphasis added)

“…two months before Operation Cast Lead, the Institute for National Security Studies, a think-tank at the Tel Aviv University which reflects the mainstream of Israeli military thinking, published an article by Dr. Gabriel Siboni, a colonel in IDF reserves.  In the article Siboni expresses an identical approach to that of Eisenkott, which he relates in greater detail:

“With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher.  Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… attacks should both aim at Hezbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centers of civilian power that support the organization.”

After “What happened in the Dahiye Quarter of Beirut in 2006,” Israel’s then Army Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Dan Halutz threatened that his military would “turn back the clock on Lebanon by 20 years.”  A troubling statement given the next paragraph of the PCATI’s report, “Siboni makes it clear that: “This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well.

Dan Halutz also made a previous appearance in a 2002 Hareetz article when he was asked to describe the emotions that are felt by a pilot that drops a bomb that kills civilians, one which perhaps gives more insight into this psychology, Dan replied,

“No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked. But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.” (emphases added)

In the opening days of Operation Cast Lead of December ’08 – January ’09 the head of the Israeli army command in Gaza, Yoav Galant, echoed Lt-Gen Halutz’s statements when he confirmed that the attack was designed to “send Gaza decades into the past.”

With the recent headlines depicting the carnage and the slaughter currently plaguing Gaza today, one would be hard pressed to doubt the seriousness of these statements.

They Will Say We Are Defending

Understanding the civilian death toll in this context makes much more sense than listening to the Israeli governments pronouncements of using all necessary means to protect civilian life (a claim which is usually followed by some form of ‘under law’ or ‘all necessary lawful means,’ which given the above is equally as troubling.)  However all of this is predicated upon the fact that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” since “Hamas struck first,” but as respected scholar Nafeez Ahmed points out, “Then three Israeli boys were kidnapped in early June of this year. As an investigation by the Jewish Daily Forward found, Netanyahu’s government knew almost immediately that the boys had been killed, and who had killed them – but pretended to know neither to justify a brutal crackdown.

“It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus.”

Thus ensued an 18-day ‘search-and-rescue operation,’ involving soldiers entering “thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals.” To justify the operation, Netanyahu “maintained the fiction” that they hoped to find the boys alive “as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.”

In the process, the IDF killed more than half a dozen Palestinians – while a Palestinian teenager was burned to death by settlers.”

And these crimes were then followed by Israel’s unprovoked attacks on Gaza, as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recounts,

“On 11 June, the Israeli Air Force targeted an alleged member of an armed group riding on a motorcycle together with a ten-year old child, in the Beit Lahiya area. The man died instantly and the child, who sustained serious injuries, died three days later; two civilian bystanders were also injured.

Following this incident and through the rest of the week, Palestinian armed groups launched a number of rockets at southern Israel.” (emphasis added)

As I noted here, despite all of these provocations and attacks, Hamas still did not fire any rockets and therefore had abided by the 2012 November ceasefire… until Israel struck them first.  After the month long military attack and raid of the West Bank, and the subsequent military aerial bombing raids in Gaza that provoked other Palestinian armed groups to retaliate, on June 29th an Israeli air strike killed 3 Hamas militants, after which Hamas launched its first rocket attack on Israel since 2012, in retaliation to Israel’s attack.  Hamas then immediately called for the institution of a ceasefire, their conditions: that the stipulations of the 2012 ceasefire be re-instated, the same one that Israel repeatedly broke.  Israel considered the proposal, but later refused, instead deciding to launch another air strike against Hamas on July 6th, Hamas responded the next day, and the day after Operation Protective Edge was launched.

It is within this context that the first round of Hamas rockets were unleashed, and it is through this that we must analyze the claims that Israel is acting defensively.

In the leaked recording of Netanyahu mentioned at the beginning of this report, the Prime Minister further clarifies the ‘pain’ he wished to inflict upon the Arabs, “A broad attack on the Palestinian Authority, to bring them to the point of being afraid that everything is collapsing.”  A women can then be heard asking the question, “Wait a moment, but then the world will say ‘how come you’re conquering again?’”

Netanyahu’s reply?

The world won’t say a thing.  The world will say we’re defending.”

Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst based in Chicago, IL.  He is an undergraduate of International Studies at Roosevelt University and is a regular writer and blogger on geopolitics and important social matters.  His writings can be found at undergroundreports.blogspot.com, find him on Twitter @stevechovanec.

Notes:

1.)    Abba Eban, “Morality and warfare,” The Jerusalem Post, August 16, 1981 in cited in Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77.

2.)   Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77-78. For further discussion of what Edward Herman describes as “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” see p. 76-79.

[This article was made possible by the contributions and reporting of Eva Bartlett at http://ingaza.wordpress.com/, Twitter - @EvaBartlettGaza]

Obama Defends CIA Torturers

August 2nd, 2014 by Patrick Martin

President Barack Obama went before the television cameras Friday afternoon to defend CIA Director John Brennan and the agency itself, while admitting for the first time that the CIA tortured prisoners at secret “black site” prisons. “We tortured some folks,” Obama declared almost casually. He then proceeded to excuse and justify the torturers.

In the course of his White House press conference, Obama declared his “full confidence” in Brennan only one day after the release of a CIA inspector general’s report that exposed the CIA chief as a brazen liar. Brennan had denounced claims by the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, of illegal and unconstitutional CIA spying on the committee staff, which was investigating the CIA torture program carried out during the administration of George W. Bush. The inspector general’s report admitted that the spying had taken place.

The CIA’s surveillance of the Senate, which is legally mandated to oversee the agency, is a stark expression of the unchecked powers of the unelected spooks and generals who run the intelligence and military agencies. The fact that the top US spy agency can carry out secret torture programs, act to sabotage a congressional probe of this criminal activity, and then go scot-free reflects the disintegration of American democracy and the emergence, behind the formal trappings of elections, etc., of the framework of a police state.

Obama’s discussion of torture deserves to be considered in some detail, because his argument summarizes in a few sentences the sophistries and lies employed by official Washington to cover up its crimes against the world’s population.

He began: “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

Torture was not a blemish on the otherwise pristine “values” of American imperialism, but an expression of its violent and reactionary character. The US government has killed many millions of people in imperialist wars over the past half-century, from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to torturing prisoners directly, it has subcontracted out the dirty work to dozens of murderous regimes, from Pinochet in Chile to the Shah of Iran to the Saudi monarchs and Egyptian generals of today.

Obama continued: “I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this.”

The “pressure” on the CIA to engage in torture did not come from the “people,” however, but from top officials of the Bush administration, starting with President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Leading congressional Democrats were kept well informed of what was taking place at CIA “black sites” overseas, but the American people were deliberately kept in the dark by the US government so that it could conduct its repressive measures with a minimum of opposition.

Obama added: “It’s important for us to not feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong.”

This was aimed at reassuring the CIA that there would be no consequences arising from the release next week of a declassified version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the torture program, known in agency jargon as Rendition/Detention/Interrogation (RDI).

The full 6,300-page report will remain classified, but a 400-page summary is to be released after heavy editing by CIA officials, including many of those directly responsible for the “black sites.” The New York Times reported last week that as many as 200 agents active in the torture program still work at the CIA, many of them now occupying senior positions.

Among them is Brennan himself, who, as a high-level official in the CIA during the Bush administration, helped oversee the torture program and publicly defended it. Obama had wanted to promote Brennan to the top post in the CIA at the beginning of his first term in 2009, but withdrew his nomination at the time because of Brennan’s association with Bush-era torture programs and concerns that he might fail to secure Senate ratification.

Instead, Obama made Brennan his top counter-terrorism adviser, where he oversaw the administration’s drone assassination program. Once reelected, Obama moved to place Brennan at the head of the main US spy agency. The Senate ratified the nomination by a comfortable margin, with the overwhelming support of Senate Democrats.

Obama’s admission that “we tortured some folks” has definite significance under the International Convention on Torture. If the US government declines to prosecute the torturers—as Obama has repeatedly indicated—this could trigger legal actions by other governments or international tribunals.

Obama concluded his remarks by claiming, in a particularly obscene comment, that “we have to, as a country, take responsibility.” This from the president who declared in 2009 that no one should be prosecuted for any of the crimes committed under the Bush administration—wars based on lies, torture, illegal surveillance—because his administration wanted to “look forward, not backward.”

Obama’s claim to have halted the torture of alleged terrorists is absurd and worthless under conditions where he not only acts to shield the torturers from criminal prosecution, or, indeed, any other form of accountability, but promotes them to head the US intelligence apparatus. His own words—following his admission of ordering the drone assassination of US citizens—brand him as a war criminal.

The American people are not responsible for torture by the CIA, or for drone missile assassinations, imperialist wars and other crimes committed by the US military-intelligence apparatus. The American people do not control the machinery of violence and repression headquartered in Washington. Proof of that lies in the fact, as the revelations of Edward Snowden have made clear, that the main target of US government surveillance efforts—and ultimately of US government violence—is the American population itself.

On July 10–11, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a two-day conference on the South China Sea, from which they published a 22-page report entitled “Recent Trends in the South China Sea and US Policy.”

The CSIS has played a key role in the Obama administration’s ‘pivot’ to Asia. Their concrete recommendations for the provocative escalation of the US military encirclement and diplomatic isolation of China have been consistently carried out. A report on US policy in the South China Sea from the CSIS should be regarded as having semi-official status.

The report opens with a contrived history of the events of the past year in the South China Sea, at every turn blaming escalating regional tensions on the aggressiveness and intransigence of Beijing. The truth is that the drive to war in the region has been pushed at every turn by Washington, with the CSIS playing a leading role.

In the past six months there have been repeated armed standoffs in the South China Sea between Beijing and both Manila and Hanoi. Manila has filed a legal case—drawn up by Washington—disputing China’s claims to the sea before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). And Washington has signed a deal—the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)—with Manila, allowing for the basing of unlimited numbers of US forces anywhere in the country.

In the new report, the CSIS is laying out an even more aggressive agenda for Washington, with two basic thrusts: establishing the legal pretext for rejecting Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea, and escalating the US military presence in the region.

Since former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the ‘pivot’, Washington has always maintained that it was neutral with regards territorial claims in the South China Sea and only had an interest in securing “freedom of navigation.”

The filing of the ITLOS case by Manila represented the beginning of a drive by Washington to legally invalidate nearly the entirety of the Chinese territorial claim. Building on this, the CSIS called on the State Department to draw up a map of the regional disputes “based strictly upon the overlap of coastal EEZs [Exclusive Economic Zones]/continental shelves and the potential maritime entitlements of disputed islands.”

There is pointedly no reference in this to historic maritime claims, which are the basis of the so-called 9-dash map of the South China Sea used by China. A map drawn up as official US policy on the strict criteria laid out by the CSIS would invalidate over 90 percent of Beijing’s territorial claim.

The CSIS called for a freeze on construction activities in the disputed areas, presenting this as a measure to defuse tensions. It is nothing of the sort. Rather this is meant to shore up the legal case before ITLOS, which is based on the argument that Beijing’s claimed territory are simply rocks and not islands, and thus have no territorial baseline.

The concern of Washington and Manila is that Beijing’s constructions in the Spratly islands may expand these ‘rocks’ into ‘islands.’ At the same time, the report approvingly noted that both Taiwan and the Philippines are constructing airstrips on disputed land features. The report claimed that Secretary of State John Kerry will “undoubtedly raise this issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)” on August 10.

The CSIS is pushing to couple this aggressive legal drive with increased military moves to tighten the noose around China.

The report called for the re-examination of the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam. This would assist Vietnam in becoming “a credible deterrent against Chinese aggression.”

Washington’s pretext for the ban on the sale of lethal weaponry to Hanoi is Vietnam’s human rights record. Washington, while carrying out bloody warfare, assassination, rendition and torture in every corner of the globe, trots out its concern for human rights whenever it wishes to enforce its political and economic dictates. To speak of a concern for human rights in Vietnam—a country whose experience of the United States was characterized by Agent Orange, napalm, and over a decade of imperialist war—is particularly hypocritical.

As it did with Burma last year, Washington is prepared to upgrade Vietnam’s human rights status in exchange for economic concessions. Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Ossius, made this clear in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations committee on June 17. He called for upgrading Hanoi’s human rights status, declaring: “There’s really no better time than this year given the Vietnamese interest in a deepening partnership with us.” The proof he cited of Vietnamese interest was their willingness to work to join the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Particularly provocative was the CSIS recommendation that the United States clarify that it would “consider itself obligated to respond under the terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty [MDT] with the Philippines if unprovoked Chinese actions in disputed areas led directly or injury of Philippine troops.” The terms of the MDT obligate the United States to go to war if the Philippines is attacked in the Pacific or in its islands. There has been much concern expressed by the Philippine bourgeoisie that the terms of the MDT do not apply to the South China Sea.

The CSIS is advocating extending this war-trigger treaty to the contested waters, where for the past two years Philippine forces have almost routinely been at armed standoff with Chinese.

The document calls for using EDCA to develop a base at Oyster Bay on the island of Palawan for the immediate deployment of US forces into the South China Sea.

Finally, the CSIS advocates the installation of additional signals intelligence facilities throughout the region in order to establish real-time surveillance of the entire sea. Negotiations with the Philippines have made clear that this would also include the use of aerial surveillance drones.

The CSIS report is a war-mongering document that clearly reflects the agenda of the Obama White House and all Washington to tighten the screws on China. This was made especially clear by a panel hosted during the conference which featured a former assistant secretary of state under Obama, an assistant secretary of National Intelligence under Bill Clinton, a special national security advisor to George W. Bush, and the former commander of the US Marine forces in the Pacific.

The panel staged a diplomatic simulation of war games in the South China Sea. In the simulation, Manila arrested 12 Chinese fishermen for poaching and Beijing responded by having its coast guard blockade eight Filipino Marines stationed on a derelict ship in the South China Sea. These events are pulled directly from the headlines of the past four months.

The panel stated that they needed to “impose a cost” on Beijing, and that the stranded Filipino Marines provided a humanitarian justification for intervention. They mobilized Littoral Combat Ships from Singapore, a portion of the US fleet from Okinawa, some of the Marines from Darwin in northern Australia and a battleship from the Subic Bay base in the Philippines to break up the Chinese blockade. The simulation concluded with the expectation that China would back down. There was applause.

Unlike the display of polite optimism among the warmongers of the CSIS, such a scenario would not end so neatly. It could quite easily escalate into global war.

While millions of people are deeply shocked by the brutal bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli army, politicians and media commentators in Germany have attacked opponents of the war. Isolated anti-Jewish slogans have been highlighted in order to brand demonstrations as anti-Semitic and condemn them.

After thousands demonstrated around the world against the war last weekend, the Israeli army intensified its attacks on Gaza on Monday night. Press reports were of a night of terror, with non-stop bombardments and artillery fire.

Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu warned the population on television the previous evening to prepare for a lengthy military operation, which would not be halted until Hamas had been fully disarmed.

The brutal air, sea and land war against Gaza is an outrageous war crime. For three weeks, the Israeli army has been bombarding densely populated Palestinian residential areas with highly modern technology. On Tuesday, the number of Palestinian deaths rose to 1,110, with many children included among the victims. This is the official figure, and no one knows how many dead lie buried under the rubble. The number of those injured was given as 6,000, including many seriously injured.

The German government fears that the Israeli government’s horrific crimes could provoke an anti-war movement not limited to criticising the Netanyahu government, but also directed against Berlin’s support for Israel and the return of German militarism. Therefore, they are building up the threat of anti-Semitism to suppress all opposition to war.

Midway through last week, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, “After days of anti-Semitic propaganda at demonstrations against Israel’s military offensive, German President Joachim Gauck sent a strong signal.” Gauck had called upon all Germans to demonstrate against anti-Semitism and not the Israeli government.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democrats) said that Israel had the right to defend itself, which should not be called into question “under any circumstances.” State prosecutors, the police and the authorities had to take strong action against all forms of open or concealed anti-Semitism.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas (Social Democrats, SPD) declared that “anti-Jewish hate speech” was absolutely unacceptable and could not be justified by anything. Anti-Semitism could never be tolerated again in Germany. Freedom of speech did not justify any hatred of peoples and certainly no violence. The justice minister commented that anti-Jewish slogans had to result in criminal charges. Anyone taking on Judaism in this way was also taking on Germany’s constitutional order.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) also warned jointly with his colleagues from France and Italy against anti-Jewish slogans in Europe. Nothing, including the Gaza conflict, justified the demonisation of Jews.

A glance at Ukraine shows how dishonest this campaign is. There, the German government is cooperating closely with anti-Semitic and fascist organisations. Svoboda, a party that praises Hitler and the Nazi regime, was the most significant political force in the Maidan protests, which assisted in toppling Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovitch early this year.

Last year, the World Jewish Congress demanded the banning of Svoboda. But this did not prevent Steinmeier or representatives of the European Union (EU) and US from cooperating closely with the party’s founder, Oleh Tyahnybok. On several occasions, Tyahnybok has noted his determination to destroy the “Russian-Jewish Mafia which controls Ukraine.” When he took over the chairmanship of Svoboda 10 years ago, he said in a speech to supporters, “Grab your guns, fight the Russian swines, the Germans, the Jewish swines and other sub-humans.”

Tyahnybok called John Demjanjuk, who was convicted for the murder of more than 30,000 mainly Jewish prisoners in the Sobibor concentration camp, a hero. His deputy, Yuri Michaltshisin, founded a think tank called the Josef Goebbels Political Research Centre.

Although all of these facts are known, important ministerial posts were reserved for Svoboda in exchange for it providing the shock troops for the coup in Ukraine. They are now playing a central role in the terrorisation of the population in eastern Ukraine.

When it serves German interests, the government does not have the slightest qualms about cooperating with anti-Semites and fascists. They are also doing so in Hungary, where the neo-fascist party Jobbik won 20 percent of the vote in April. Throughout Europe, right-wing parties are emerging as a direct response to the anti-social policies of the German government and EU.

The current campaign over anti-Semitism thus has absolutely nothing to do with genuine concerns about the potential threat to Jewish citizens. Rather, it is aimed at criminalising protests against war and imperialist crimes, restricting the right to assembly and intensifying police state measures.

In the same cynical manner in which the call “never again Auschwitz!” was used in the 1990s to justify the intervention of the German army outside NATO territory, the supposed struggle against anti-Semitism is a pretext for the abolition of democratic rights and the build-up of the state.

At some of the demonstrations in recent days, thousands of police in uniform and in civilian clothes were on duty. In Berlin last weekend, the ratio of police to demonstrators was one to one. Prior to the start of the demonstration, the police assumed the right to review the banners and placards and then to decide if slogans were permissible or not.

According to a report in the Stuttgarter Zeitung, a state prosecutor and a translator were at the latest demonstration in Stuttgart, along with a large police presence, in order to be able to intervene immediately and take judicial measures.

If the dishonest campaign over anti-Semitism is put to one side, it is obvious that the attacks by politicians and the media are directed against the anti-war nature of the demonstrations. At the beginning of the year, Gauck, Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen stated that the period of German military restraint was over, and that in the future Germany would once again intervene militarily in the world’s crisis regions independently and with self-confidence.

The support for the governments in Kiev and Jerusalem shows what this means. The German government is preparing comparable war crimes and intends to suppress all opposition from the outset.

The return of German militarism is not only directed against targets abroad but also at home—i.e., it is linked to the abolition of democratic rights. Already a century ago, prior to the First World War, opponents of war were imprisoned. In preparation for the Second World War, democratic structures were completely destroyed and a fascist dictatorship was established.

A key role in the campaign of lies over anti-Semitism and attacks on demonstrators is being played by the Left Party.

Immediately after the beginning of the bombardment of Gaza, the Left Party’s leading trio of Gregor Gysy, Katja Kipping and Berndt Riexinger warned of a one-sided critique. “The international community would be well advised not to falsely encourage either side with one-sided declarations of blame,” they stated. This was “nothing other than encouraging a refusal to make peace. No one is conducting a just war in this war.”

This call to abstain in a conflict between a heavily armed military and a virtually defenceless population, which has been starved, cut off from electricity and water, and bombarded continuously, signifies the toleration and support for war crimes.

The leader of the Left Party in Berlin, Klaus Lederer, went a step further last Friday. He demonstratively took part in a pro-Israel rally in Berlin. He claimed to decisively oppose the one-sided condemnation of Israel in the current conflict. The fact that calls to demonstrate against the current war made a one-sided condemnation of Israel resulted in all sorts of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic organisations being drawn in, he declared. Regardless of what was said by the organisers, they were right-wing protests.

The support of the Left Party’s leader in Berlin for Israel’s war policy and reign of terror makes clear how right wing the Left Party is.

On Monday, the party’s organ Neues Deutschland published an interview about the demonstrations with the Israeli political scientist Rafael Seligmann. It had the headline, “This is pure hatred and scurrilous.”

The Left Party is using the current situation to signal its unconditional support for the government.

If Nuclear War Doesn’t Exterminate Us The Ebola Virus Might

August 2nd, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

I just heard on National Public Radio two things that have totally destroyed what tiny bit of belief I still had in American leadership.  I have concluded that the term “intelligent American” is an oxymoron. 

American elites have decided that Americans are not sufficiently threatened by war and economic chaos, so they are bringing the ebola virus to America. National Public Radio reported that two people infected with the ebola virus, which cannot be cured and is usually deadly, are being brought to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

 All it takes is one cough, one sneeze, one drop of saliva, and the virus is loose in one of the main transportation centers of the US.

 Pandemic anyone? Little doubt but that most of the world would emit a great sigh of relief to be rid of Washington.

Allegedly the ebola carriers will be quarantined in special rooms.  But we already know that American hospitals cannot even contain staph infections.  What happens to the utensils, plates, cups, and glasses with which the ebola infected persons eat and drink?  And who gets to clean the bed pans?  One slip-up by one person, one tear in a rubber glove, and the virus is loose.

 If we don’t die from ebola, we still have to dodge nuclear war.  I heard part of Obama’s press conference.  Obama accused Putin of doing everything that only Obama is doing.

If Obama believes what he told the press, he is utterly disinformed by his advisors.  If he doesn’t believe the crude propaganda that he speaks, he is consciously leading the drive to war with Russia which probably means war with China as well and the end of us all.

Keep in mind that after eight years the US military was unable to successfully occupy Iraq and that after 13 years the US is unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban in Afghanistan.

 Russia and China are not Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan.

War with Russia will be nuclear.  Washington has prepared for it. Washington has abandoned the ABM treaty, created what it thinks is an ABM shield, and changed its war doctrine to permit US nuclear first strike.  All of this is obviously directed at Russia, and the Russian government knows it.  How long will Russia sit there waiting for Washington’s first strike?

 Russia hasn’t done anything except get in the way, belatedly, of Washington’s lies that Washington uses to start wars.  Russia (and China) went along with Washington’s lies

about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.  Russia (and China) went along with Washington’s lies that Washington’s 13-year attempted conquest and occupation of Afghanistan had to do with finding Osama bin Laden.  Washington (and China) fell for Washington’s deception that a UN resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya was for the purpose of preventing Gaddafi’s air force from bombing his own people, only to discover that Washington misused the resolution to send the NATO air force to overthrow the Libyan government.

 When Washington drew a “red line” in the sand with regard to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against the outside forces that Washington had organized and sent into Syria to overthrow the government, all the while pretending that these Islamists mercenaries were the true spokesmen for democracy in Syria, most of the world knew that Washington was about to organize a chemical attack and blame Assad.  When the Washington orchestrated attack happened on schedule, this time Russia and China did not fall for it.  And neither did the British Parliament.  Washington was unable to produce any evidence for the charges that Washington made and hoped would bring in at least the British to support Washington’s military assault on Syria.  Russia, however, was able to produce evidence, and the evidence foiled Washington’s plot against Syria.

 Russia’s intervention angered Washington, as did Russia’s intervention that blocked

Washington’s plot to attack Iran.  Washington, devoid of all evidence and in contradiction to the reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency from inspectors on the ground in Iran that there was no diversion of uranium from the legal energy program to a weapons program, had Iran set up for attack.  Iran was surrounded by about 40 US military bases and two of Washington’s fleets off its coast.

 But in stepped Russia and worked out a deal, which Washington had to accept, that kept Iranian uranium enrichment at the low level used for energy, a level far below weapons requirements.

 Two black marks against Russia whose government prevented wars that Washington wanted. Russia (and China) were supposed to endorse Washington’s lies like the puppet states of Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, countries that long ago gave up their sovereignty to Washington.

Unfortunately for Russia, Russia demonstrated that Russia had achieved sufficient power and influence to block Washington’s war plans and, thereby, brought into action against Russia the Wolfowitz Doctrine.  I have cited this doctrine in recent columns, but you can google it and read it for yourself.  The doctrine is the basis for Washington’s foreign policy and declares that the principle goal of Washington’s foreign policy is to prevent the rise of any country that could serve as a check on Washington’s hegemony over the world. (The doctrine explicitly mentions Russia but also applies to China.)

Washington is disturbed that Russia has twice foiled Washington’s war intentions and that the Parliament of the US Puppet State of Great Britain voted with the Russians.

Washington is also concerned with the growing economic and political relations between Washington’s EU puppet states and Russia.  EU countries, especially Germany, have numerous and profitable economic connections with Russia, and all of Europe is dependent on Russian supplied energy.

 

Washington concluded that Washington was in danger of losing its control over Europe.

While the Russian government was asleep at the switch enjoying the Olympics, Washington pulled off its coup in Kiev.

 

Neoconservative Victoria Nuland, appointed by Obama as Assistant Secretary of State,

announced at a press conference last December that Washington had spent $5 billion

purchasing fifth column Ukrainian NGOs that can be put into street demonstrations to destabilize a government and on grooming and purchasing Ukrainian politicians who will serve as Washington’s stooges. Nuland, of course, described Washington’s purchase of Ukraine as “furthering democracy” in Ukraine.

 

Washington’s coup against a democratically elected government brought to power extreme elements that proclaimed their hatred of Jews and Russians.  These elements destroyed Russian war memorials erected to remember Russia’s liberation of Ukraine from the Third Reich, passed legislation outlawing Russian as an official language, and engaged in violent physical attacks on the Russian speaking population.

 

Ukraine has always been an area of changing borders. As some have put it, “Ukraine is a country in search of borders.” When Ukraine was a Soviet province, Soviet leaders attached, for various reasons, traditional Russian provinces to the Ukraine Socialist Soviet Republic.  When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, pressure from Washington on a weak Russia resulted in the separation of Ukraine from Russia and this included Crimea, a part of Russia since the 1700s and Russia’s warm water port.

The Russian populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet leaders foolishly attached to Ukraine were alarmed by the extreme Russophobia of the government that Washington established in Kiev.  The former Russian territories voted to rejoin their mother country and to depart the Russophobic US puppet state established in Kiev.

The Russian government accepted the request from Crimea, but not the requests  from the other former Russian provinces in order to demonstrate to Europe that Russia was not provocative and not the source of the crisis.  Putin even had the Russian Duma rescind his power to intervene militarily in Ukraine in order to protect the secessionist provinces.

This restraint hurt rather than helped the Russian government’s position. Washington

used its propaganda machine to label self-determination by Crimeans as “invasion and annexation by Russia of Crimea.”

 

Russia’s restraint with regard to requests to rejoin Russia from the other former Russian  provinces resulted in a Washington encouraged military attack by its puppet government in Kiev against the separatist provinces that Russia refused to accept. Washington’s propaganda then succeeded in blaming Russia for the war that Washington launched on the separatist provinces.

Washington is not interested in the truth, and Russia cannot win a propaganda war with Washington which controls the world language, which is English, the language of Washington’s propaganda. The Western media consists of idiots who are enabling Washington’s drive toward war and the extermination of life on earth.

 

If the Russian government had accepted the separatist provinces request, there would be no war.  The Ukrainian government is demented and controlled by Washington, but it is not going to attack territories acknowledged by Russia as its territory.

By showing restraint, Russia has convinced Washington that Russia is weak, and Washington has increased the pressure. Russia has convinced Europe that there is

no cost from Russia to Europe’s complying with Washington’s sanctions.  By relying on good will, reasonableness, truth and evidence, Russia has misread Washington and its craven European puppets.

 What Obama meant in his White House Press Conference today (August 1) when he said that Putin should use diplomacy–which Putin has been using to no effect–is that Putin should hand Crimea, over the objection of Crimeans and the Russian people, to Washington’s puppet government in Kiev so that Washington can evict Russia from its warm weather port and access to the Mediterranean Sea, thus making redundant Russia’s naval base at Tartus, Syria.  Obama also wants Putin to send into the separatist areas of Ukraine, areas that traditionally were part of Russia, Russian military forces  to subdue the breakaway territories for Washington’s puppet government in Kiev.

 This is Washington’s “diplomatic” position.  Only a totally demented person could regard Obama’s position as realistic.

 As a person who is considered fair-minded by world media and who arrives at reasonable conclusions independently of Washington’s propaganda, I am often interviewed by foreign as well as US independent media organizations.  As of late, the Russian media has turned to me on a number of occasions.  What I have learned is that the Russian media is perplexed by Washington’s hostility to Russia.

Russia is not operating in the old Confederate South trying to turn the American South

against Washington for Washington’s rapine, murder, and destruction of the Southern culture, but Washington is operating in the Russian South trying to turn Ukraine, long a part of Russia, against Russia.

As Russians, except perhaps for the government, are unaware of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, they do not know that the main goal of Washington is to prevent the rise of all other powers that could limit Washington’s role as sole Unipower, Hegemon over Earth.

 Instead of realizing the real threat, Russian media organizations ask me if the Russian budget can stand responding to sanctions from Washington and the EU by cutting off the energy supply to Europe.

Each time I hear this question I am astonished.  Russia can shut down much of European industry and deprive the Europeans of heat in winter, and Russian media ask me if Russia can afford it?

Can Russia afford to be demonized by lies, to be driven into the ground by propagandistic sanctions that will hurt Europe and some US corporations, to convey the

image that Russia is so weak as to be helpless in the face of Western sanctions as to accept the sanctions without demonstrating the cost to Europe and the US?

 Does Washington even have Russians brainwashed?

I am concerned about the crisis that Washington has orchestrated, because I believe it is leading to war, which will be nuclear.  Are you ready to be destroyed over Washington’s lies about one Malaysian airliner?  I am convinced that Washington is behind the destruction of MH-17, because Washington’s propaganda show was already ready and was instantly in performance.  That Washington is responsible is the reason that Washington will not release its satellite photos of the area during the moment of the airliner’s destruction.  That Washington is responsible is the reason that Washington replies to Russian hard evidence with lies and propaganda. It is Obama and Obama’s stooges in Kiev that refuse to negotiate, not Russia.

 Russia has as many nuclear warheads as Washington, and Washington’s “ABM shield” is a farce.  If the insane American government drives a crisis, which Washington alone created, to war, we will all die, and for what?  The answer is: for a Washington LIE.

Do you want to die for a lie? Another Washington lie?

If you don’t, you had better let Washington know.

Russia cannot end this crisis unless it puts its foot down.  I have previously made the case that Russia should take its case to the UN.  Alternatively, the Russian government needs to engage Europe in two questions.  One is does Europe want its energy supplies from Russia cut off, energy that Washington, despite its lies, cannot replace for 3 or more years if at all..  The other is does Europe want war with Russia and does Europe think that those idiotic countries that host Washington’s missiles won’t be nuked and exterminated?

 The crisis in Ukraine will continue to Russia’s and all of humanity’s cost until Russia explains to the stupid, arrogant, hubris-filled West that the West’s criminal and aggressive actions against Russia bear a real cost, and that Russia is prepared to impose the cost.

The propagandized people in the West have no idea of the fate toward which their demented governments are driving them.  Russia needs to make it clear to the brainwashed propagandized peoples in the West that Russia is not going to be a puppet state of the West or to accept gratuitous aggression from the White House Fool.

 It would help to save life on Earth if China also made this clear.

The sooner the better.

Unless the world reins in the demented criminals in Washington, the world has signed its own death warrant.

We’ve seen these tricks before and the images they conjure for the unwary. 

Not only are these supposed “massive tunnel networks” they’re screaming about “secret and hidden”, but like stories about the big ogre we only hear about but never see, these fake “intelligence reports” can paint any illusory monster they want with their bombardment of misinformation and propaganda.

Where did we hear about this “tunnel” scheme before? Oh yeah, the massive underground bunkers in Afghanistan.

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With this and other false allegations they bombed the hell out of that innocent country in order to find the Osama bin Ogre. Of course he was hidden in his plush tunnel network from whence he masterminded and bamboozled, by cell phone no less, the entire western megalomilitary machine. And of course these massive, heavily armed, elaborate and sophisticated hideouts were never found, nor were any weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. But who needs proof once you’ve got the excuse and the war is under way?

You don’t need to provide any evidence in today’s “mediotic” world, just a big enough microphone, as in the Zionist controlled mass-hysteria media. Just look at this nonsense propaganda being passed on as reliable information that clearly indicates and attempts to justify their “need” to bomb Gaza until it’s one massive crater to “really get the job done” in order to destroy this “massive tunnel system” located under every inch of “terrorist” Gaza.

bunker634x411

Found! With photo op! Part of Bin Laden’s massive labyrinth of evil, as publicized by the mainstream media after the 9/11 “retaliation”.

In the following excerpt by the Washington Times, the focus is on Hamas’ secret tunnels:

Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network

Israeli military intelligence is facing criticism for failing to comprehend the network of tunnels and other underground facilities built by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

“We’ll see when the war was over,” Mr. Pollak said in an interview, “but it is clear that the underground tunnel complex was far more extensive than Israeli military intelligence understood.”

Information that Israel Defense Forces reportedly obtained from captured Hamas fighters revealed that the group was planning to use several Gaza tunnels that extend under Israeli territory for a major attack timed with the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, on Sept. 24.

The plan called for Hamas fighters to surface from the tunnels in Israel and kill as many people as possible. The plot was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

Israel’s military operation against Hamas in Gaza has gone on longer than expected because of the discovery of the extensive tunnel network, which is estimated to have cost as much as $2 billion to construct. (Source)

So, You Wanna Go Looking in Caves and Tunnels, Do You?

The 9/11 hoax was perhaps the biggest open display of outright trauma based mind control ever perpetrated on humanity.

Aaron Russo, a true hero of our time, was laughingly told they’d be “looking in caves” for invented terrorists following 9/11 by a very well placed insider, a Rockefeller. Go to 3 minutes in if you’d like to cut to that point. The whole video is mindblowingly good.

They apparently like the caves and tunnels meme to hide their fake enemies in. After all, you’ll never see them, only imagine them. And that feeds the entrained program.

But Wait…There’s More!

“Let’s also get that suicide bomber thing out there, that always works, and massive secret troop reserves readying to conduct raids on poor innocent Israelis. It’s worked for decades, why not pile on the BS as long as we’re at it. After all, we’re ready to wipe Gaza right off the map, we might need it for PR and getting even more weapons and money from the US stooges…”

The following excerpt is from CNN:

Israeli Analyst: Hamas Has 3,000 Elite Soldiers Ready to Die in Suicide Attacks on Israel

An Israeli analyst told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday morning that he received information from reliable sources that 3,000 Hamas elite soldiers told their families goodbye and appear ready to carry out suicide attacks on Israel.

Middle East analyst Gershon Baskin said that all the fighters were equipped with suicide vests and that they had expected to die in terrorist attacks.

Baskin spoke just hours after a Hamas suicide attack, believed to have been conducted by the group’s militant wing Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, killed two Israeli soldiers. During the surprise Hamas attack, which happened two hours into the 72-hour agreement for a cease fire, the militants captured an Israeli officer.

“You say these elite fighting forces they’re all prepared– they all go in with suicided*** vests ready to kill themselves in order to kill Israelis?” Blitzer asked as Baskin nodded.

“I was told by someone who had spoke to al-Qassam, the military wing of officer who said that before the ground operation began they were all instructed to go to their families and say goodbye to their families with the intent that they would not be returning alive from this battle,” Baskin told Blitzer in an news report airing live from Israel. “This is one of the very difficult things about fighting with an organization like Hamas, particularly these very dedicated soldiers, combatants who are not afraid to die.”

“We will do what needs to be done to protect our people,” Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Blitzer after Baskin’s interview. (Source)

After all, Zionist Wolf Blitzer echoed it on mainstain news, it must be true. Why would anyone make something like this up? And the horrific echo at the end: “We will do what needs to be done to protect our people.”

More Absolute Madness – Telegenics and “Human Shields”

That Netankillyoo would even consider saying the Palestinians are deliberately allowing themselves to be decimated to create a “telegenic” effect that “makes Israel look bad” is beyond belief. Yet the media carries this crap as if it deserves conscious attention.

Dead women, dead children, dead babies. Limbs missing, brains missing, guts spilled out on the floor. It’s impossible to put a positive spin on those kinds of images, unless you’re Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two days ago, Bibi sought to explain why, in the space of a few hours, Israeli soldiers, under his orders, massacred 63 people, including 17 children, in the Shuja’iya neighborhood to the east of Gaza City. He said:

“We have to protect ourselves. We try to target the rocketeers, we do. And all civilian casualties are not intended by us but actually intended by Hamas who want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can because somebody said they use telegenically dead Palestinians for the cause. They want the more dead the better.”

Think about that for a moment, and while you do so, consider this image of a Palestinian girl in her father’s arms. Half of her head was blown off by Netanyahu’s soldiers in the Shuja’iya neighborhood two days ago.

What Netanyahu is saying is “the Palestinians are MAKING us kill them”. Many parallels could be drawn with this statement. The rapist who accuses his victim of ‘making him do it’ or ‘asking for it’; the psychologically deranged murderer who claims that he killed prostitutes ‘to save them’. When it raises its ugly head in civil society, this kind of twisted psychopathic thinking provokes revulsion and is universally condemned, yet when Netanyahu employs it in relation to the Israeli attack on Gaza, it’s accepted as a reasonable argument that absolves him and his shock troops of the mass murder of civilians. (Source)

That’s the mad world in which we’re living in a mad nutshell.

If that’s not bad enough, he claims the Palestinian resistance is using their own as “human shields”, when that is exactly what Israel has been documented doing time and again, which only adds fuel to their funeral pyre.

From the Israel Defense Force’s own website:

The IDF is currently engaged in Operation Protective Edge against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Hamas places weapons and missile launchers in densely populated areas. They also send men, women and children to act as human shields for terrorists.

Innocent bystanders can be killed as a result of Hamas’ abuse of its own civilians. Instead of keeping its citizens out of harm’s way, Hamas encourages and even forces Gazans to join its violent resistance against Israel.

During Operation Protective Edge, evidence of Hamas’ and other terror organizations’ use of human shields has surfaced. (Source)

That crap is supposed to justify gratuitous mass murder anywhere they want to aim their genocidal weaponry. Is anybody even paying attention?

The irony is that this is exactly what Israel is perpetrating. Creating these very illusions of “telegenic” death while literally using Palestinians as human shields in every possible form.

Headscratching, or Heart Rending?

The entire premise with which this usurping Zionist machine is exerting itself is based on one huge lie. Every aspect of it, from the religiously privileged malarkey, the poor, persecuted minority propaganda, to the defense of a literally stolen homeland charade. That realization will take most people some time, the propaganda has been so thorough and for so long. They very cleverly entrenched this fabrication inside of embedded emotional responses and fear based social programming over time, best exemplified now by so-called “political correctness”, a mainstay of the modern propaganda machine.

I think anyone with a conscience can sense this massive, aggressive disinformation campaign can’t be real, but they buy into it anyway, feeling it’s the safe, comfortable and accepted way to think. After all, look at the consequences. The Zio-minions have even released street gangs just to up the ante of backlash if you dare to oppose this projected scheme, never mind the public humiliation of anyone who dares to speak up against these ongoing atrocities and their source.

They’re now (again) turning the natural human outrage of an obviously cold and calculated land grabbing genocide by Israel into a form of anti-semitism. As in post 9/11 American jingoism, anyone not pro-Israel is now considered sympathetic to the cleverly demonized Hamas, no doubt infiltrated and controlled as in the case of fabricated al Qaida. Same old game. Controlled opposition is perhaps fascism’s most powerful tool, along with propaganda. Create the problems as they suit your ends using any means necessary. Then enact “the solution”.

Rallying their propaganda troops to dismantle any protest as either racially biased or an outright crime becomes a walk in the park. Georgie Bush’s “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists” comes quickly to mind. The post staged 9/11 false choice of ages.

Decimation Tells the Tale – Snap Out of It

Look where that pre-planned staged 9/11 campaign based on psyops and staged events led – the decimation of nation after nation which continues to this day. The Israeli’s are only following their own corrupt lying script and again campaigning on these worn out propaganda lies and distortions. It’s time people snapped out of this fear-based hypnosis and called a spade a spade.

This type of social steering is happening on so many fronts they’re hard to count. It’s all propaganda warfare first and foremost, and as stunned humanity swallows this barrage of words and false images it holds them at bay long enough to accomplish their desired results. The repercussions afterwards are a piece of cake to handle. History attests to this time and again.

They’re fucking with humanity, primarily in its mind, as spiritually based parasites do. These ongoing horrific atrocities we’re witnessing then follow their pre-determined lead as does permission and condoning on the part of complicit, cowering humanity.

Take Heart – The Wake Up Is Going Viral

Realizing these types of truths can be devastating and leave you feeling helpless and alone. Don’t let it. We are many, and our ranks are growing by the minute. Hungry sincere souls are watching anxiously and looking for resolution in some form to spare the dear people of Palestine. But most of all, hearts long for a virtual splitting of the veil, a massive awakening where we can all bask in the light of truth together as these dark machinations are exposed and thereby destroyed.

As I’ve said before, the battlefield of awakening is you. And me. Keep that close to your heart and know that that is where true empowerment and solutions are awaiting anybody and everybody. It happens one heart at a time, but this beautiful awakening of humanity is now reaching critical mass.

Don’t look for confirmation in the media. You’ll know it in your heart. It’s time to fully awaken and activate, and do the part we’re each called and compelled to do.

This is an opportunity of the ages. Let’s not miss it. Charge the breach – consciously.

This is a call for an immediate, thorough, and independent investigation of Tulane University researchers (see here and here) and their Fort Detrick associates in the US biowarfare research community, who have been operating in West Africa during the past several years.

What exactly have they been doing?

Exactly what diagnostic tests have they been performing on citizens of Sierra Leone?

Why do we have reports that the government of Sierra Leone has recently told Tulane researchers to stop this testing?

Have Tulane researchers and their associates attempted any experimental treatments (e.g., injecting monoclonal antibodies) using citizens of the region? If so, what adverse events have occurred?

The research program, occurring in Sierra Leone, the Republic of Guinea, and Liberia—said to be the epicenter of the 2014 Ebola outbreak—has the announced purpose, among others, of detecting the future use of fever-viruses as bioweapons.

Is this purely defensive research? Or as we have seen in the past, is this research being covertly used to develop offensive bioweapons?

For the last several years, researchers from Tulane University have been active in the African areas where Ebola is said to have broken out in 2014.

These researchers are working with other institutions, one of which is USAMRIID, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, a well-known center for biowar research, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

In Sierra Leone, the Tulane group has been researching new diagnostic tests for hemorrhagic fevers.

Note: Lassa Fever, Ebola, and other labels are applied to a spectrum of illness that result in hemorrhaging.

Tulane researchers have also been investigating the use of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for these fevers—but not on-site in Africa, according to Tulane press releases.

Here are excerpts from supporting documents.

Tulane University, Oct. 12, 2012, “Dean’s Update: Update on Lassa Fever Research” (.pdf here):

“In 2009, researchers received a five-year $7,073,538 grant from the National Institute of Health to fund the continued development of detection kits for Lassa viral hemorrhagic fever.

“Since that time, much has been done to study the disease. Dr. Robert Garry, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Dr. James Robinson, Professor of Pediatrics, have been involved in the research of Lassa fever. Together the two have recently been able to create what are called human monoclonal antibodies. After isolating the B-cells from patients that have survived the disease, they have utilized molecular cloning methods to isolate the antibodies and reproduce them in the laboratory. These antibodies have been tested on guinea pigs at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and shown to help prevent them from dying of Lassa fever…

“Most recently, a new Lassa fever ward is being constructed in Sierra Leone at the Kenema Government Hospital. When finished, it will be better equipped to assist patients affected by the disease and will hopefully help to end the spread of it.” [The Kenema Hospital is one of the centers of the Ebola outbreak.]

Here is another release from Tulane University, this one dated Oct. 18, 2007. “New Test Moves Forward to Detect Bioterrorism Threats.”

“The initial round of clinical testing has been completed for the first diagnostic test kits that will aid in bioterrorism defense against a deadly viral disease. Tulane University researchers are collaborating in the project.

“Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University, is principal investigator in a federally funded study to develop new tests for viral hemorrhagic fevers.

“Corgenix Medical Corp., a worldwide developer and marketer of diagnostic test kits, announced that the first test kits for detection of hemorrhagic fever have competed initial clinical testing in West Africa.

“The kits, developed under a $3.8 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health, involve work by Corgenix in collaboration with Tulane University, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, BioFactura Inc. and Autoimmune Technologies.

“Clinical reports from the studies in Sierra Leone continue to show amazing results,” says Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the grant.

“We believe this remarkable collaboration will result in detection products that will truly have a meaningful impact on the healthcare in West Africa, but will also fill a badly needed gap in the bioterrorism defense.

“…The clinical studies are being conducted at the Mano River Union Lassa Fever Network in Sierra Leone. Tulane, under contract with the World Health Organization, implements the program in the Mano River Union countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) to develop national and regional prevention and control strategies for Lassa fever and other important regional diseases.

“Clinical testing on the new recombinant technology demonstrates that our collaboration is working,” says Douglass Simpson, president of Corgenix. “We have combined the skills of different parties, resulting in development of some remarkable test kits in a surprisingly short period of time. As a group we intend to expand this program to address other important infectious agents with both clinical health issues and threat of bioterrorism such as ebola.”

The third document is found on the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation Facebook page (no login required), dated July 23 at 1:35pm. It lays out emergency measures to be taken. We find this curious statement: “Tulane University to stop Ebola testing during the current Ebola outbreak.”

Why? Are the tests issuing false results? Are they frightening the population? Have Tulane researchers done something to endanger public health?

In addition to an investigation of these matters, another probe needs to be launched into all vaccine campaigns in the Ebola Zone. For example. HPV vaccine programs have been ongoing. Vials of vaccine must be tested to discover ALL ingredients. Additionally, it’s well known that giving vaccines to people whose immune systems are already severely compromised is dangerous and deadly.

Thanks to birdflu666.wordpress.com for discovering hidden elements of the Ebola story.

Jon Rappoport

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

World public attention is now fixed on the aftermath of the destruction of  Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Donbass in the midst of the Ukrainian civil war. This horrific event is doubtless an immense tragedy worthy of unequivocal condemnation. Before any serious investigation to ascertain direct culpability was established, though, the regime in Kiev and its Western puppet masters spared no time in cynically exploiting this tragedy to gain the maximum dividends to bolster their increasingly weakened position.

Unsurprisingly, and with great alacrity, the Kiev regime and the West made not tentative statements, but bold and often hysterical declarations blaming Russia and the militias of Donbass for the tragedy. At the same time, much of the Western and Kiev regime’s tenuous “social media” evidence is already discredited by discerning analysts. [1]

Regarding the tragedy of Flight MH17, context is not only instructive but indispensable. Overall, it is no exaggeration to say that at no historical junction since World War II has global political, geopolitical, diplomatic, and economic conditions converged in such a manner to produce conditions conducive to the outbreak of a general world war. With the world’s unabated transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, the diminishing of Anglo-American hegemony continues to drive the Empire towards increasingly exporting chaos and conflict to prop itself up. One need only look, inter alia, at East Asia’s militarization, Iraq, HondurasVenezuela on multiple fronts, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine itself—the state of which is the direct result of a US-NATO ‘regime change’ operation.

More specifically, the MH17 tragedy’s immediate response should be viewed as part of a long-term US project to geopolitically checkmate Russia—the only great power with the wherewithal and historical dynamism to consistently oppose Western hegemony. MH17 accelerates a strategy that acts through multiple vectors: encirclement through aggressive NATO expansion; subversion through “illegal instruments of soft-power; economic warfare through unilateral sanctions; and ultimately dismemberment via partition — the so-called “Brzezinski Plan.” This ambitious project to impose a Carthaginian peace on the Russian Federation was faltering when the MH17 tragedy struck.

As we shall see, the Kiev regime and its puppet masters in Washington faced defeat on all levels. Internationally, the recent Obama regime effort to “isolate” Russia into becoming a pariah state was an abject failure: Moscow continued its path of economic and strategic cooperation with a multitude of emerging and status quo states in the world’s transitioning multipolar framework. Notably, Russia solidified its strategic alliance with China through a colossal $400 billion dollar economic energy deal. Additionally—in what is a world historical watershed—Moscow helped to broker the BRICS multilateral development bank. This is the first challenge to the “economic hit men” of the Western dominated IMF-World Bank complex—a sinew of continued Western and Anglo-American hegemony. Additionally, Washington’s attempt to recruit Europe in its bid to “isolate” Russia was unsuccessful with the general European response being tepid at best.

On the ground in Donbass, the Ukrainian armed forces faced tremendous losses and encirclement. They also faced mounting international awareness of the wanton savagery and human rights violations of its punitive ethnic cleansing operation against the entire population of Donbass—which in Orwellian terms it calls an “Anti-Terrorist Operation.” Additionally, signs of a domestic backlash against the human cost of this so-called “ATO” and its forced conscription started to manifest. Meanwhile, the Ukraine’s economy continues a downward economic spiral with the effects of the Western demanded neoliberal austerity regime already being felt by the general populace – and only beginning.

The West and Kiev’s exploitation of the MH17 tragedy is intended to reverse these defeats. The tragedy is a boon to the NATO bloc on a number of levels: it provides justification for Russia’s US assigned bête noire status on the international level; increased US militarization of Eastern Europe, including a potential direct NATO troop presence in Ukraine; while also preparing US public opinion for increased confrontation with Russia; and it gives impetus to Europe adopting a more virulently anti-Russian position. For the Kiev regime the tragedy lends itself to its unmitigated vilification of all things Russian; it conceals their losses on the ground and notably attempts to legitimize their wanton slaughter of the population of Donbass. Through blaming the destruction of MH17—a terrorist-like attack eliciting deep emotional reactions—on Russia and the Donbass militias, it permits the Kiev regime to associate Donbass’s armed resistance against Kiev’s authority with outright terrorism. The Kiev regime’s contention that it is waging an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in Donbass is thus given credence.

“Isolating” Russia

An omnipresent Western ambition for the expansion of their strategic ‘bridgehead’ into the Eurasian super-continent reached its apex with the onset of the Ukraine crisis. To begin with, the current regime in Kiev is the product of yet another Washington engineered ‘regime change’ operation to create a NATO state (official or de facto) with anti-Russian animus directly within Russia’s ‘soft-underbelly.’ As it continued its path of conducting independent foreign policy, Russia refused to accept NATO’s Ukraine ‘regime change’ scenario in toto—which, inter alia, would have rendered the Black Sea a NATO lake. This refusal was expressed through Russia’s reunification with Crimea. As a result, the US began a qualitative escalation in geopolitically checkmating Russia: “isolation.” US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of measures to “isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically” while the New York Times reported, the Obama regime preparing to “retrofit” a “containment” [2] of Russia by holding “together an international consensus against Russia, including even China.”

The US subsequently began an aggressive campaign to pursue this policy. “President Barack Obama gathered with world leaders in a day of delicate diplomacy, as he sought to rally the international community Monday around efforts to isolate Russia,” AP reported. Obama made stops in Asia for his far-fetched attempt to recruit China for this strategy, the London Guardian reported: “The White House has added meetings with the leaders of China and Japan to Barack Obama’s visit to Europe and Saudi Arabia next week, as it seeks to use the six-day trip to build an international coalition and isolate Russia.” Obama also visited close Moscow ally Kazakhstan as “part of ongoing effort to isolate Russia.”

This attempt to “isolate” Russia — territorially the largest nation-state in the world, with the 6th largest economy — and the limiting of its supposed “expansionist” designs (never mind the fact that a democratically elected leader was overthrown through Washington’s machinations) ended in abject failure. Moscow’s path of economic and strategic cooperation with emerging states and Europe continued apace.

In the MENA region Russia clinched an investment cooperation deal with US Gulf state ally Bahrain, to US consternation. Regarding this development, a State Department official noted “this is not the time for any country to conduct business as usual with Russia.” Russia also notably continued to cultivate its burgeoning rapprochement with Egypt under the administration Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, clinching a deal for a below market rate gas export deal. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy had previously stated Egypt would “seek to nurture and leverage” ties to Moscow. Furthermore, there exists the prospect of increased military cooperation, akin to Moscow’s relationship with Egypt during the apex of Egypt’s influence in the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Crucially, Russia solidified what is now in fact a strategic alliance against the US “Empire of Chaos” with China. This took form through a $400 billion energy deal in addition to economic development for Crimea and industrial cooperation in the field of aviation with China. This deal, called by one analyst the manifestation of a “new Eurasian century-in-the-making” included provisions whereby “the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018…the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s massive gas exports to all of Europe.” Additionally, the major Chinese and Russian central banks clinched deals to begin making payments in their own domestic currencies. RT reported:

VTB, Russia’s second biggest lender, has signed a deal with Bank of China, which includes an agreement to pay each other in domestic currencies. ‘Under the agreement, the banks plan to develop their partnership in a number of areas, including cooperation on ruble and renminbi settlements, investment banking, inter-bank lending, trade finance and capital-markets transactions,’ says the official VTB statement.

Implicitly, the dollar, a sinew of US world supremacy, is excluded from this immense forthcoming deepening of Sino-Russian economic cooperation. That Russia and China committed to a colossal 30 year $400 billion deal signifies a long-term partnership between the two world powers that speaks of a strategic component.

At the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures, China called for a new regional security pact including Russia and Iran. “We need to innovate our security cooperation (and) establish new regional security cooperation architecture,” Chinese President Xi Xinping remarked. Xi also issued a veiled warning against the US’s anti-Chinese militarization in East Asia, asserting “To beef up military alliances targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security in the region.” The facts speak of a Chinese recognition that the same vectors of subversion and encirclement arrayed against Russia are arrayed against it. Far from aiding in the “isolation” of Russia, or other quixotic American dream scenarios, China understands it must lean on Russia in a mutually beneficial relationship to check the “Empire of Chaos.” Indeed, it was US theoretician Zbigniew Brzezinksi, an eminence grise of Obama regime foreign policy, who once referred to a potential Russo-Chinese-Iranian alliance as the most “dangerous scenario” for US primacy on the Eurasian super-continent. [3]

Such a harrowing anti-US strategic framework is arguably beginning to take form, albeit still inchoate. In the wake of the US attempt to “isolate” Russia, signs of a Russo-Iranian rapprochement emerged. As the New York Times reported Russia began negotiating an $8 billion to $10 billion energy deal with Iran. The deal also included a provision for Moscow to export 500 megawatts of electricity and the construction of new hydroelectric and thermal generating plants with a transition network in Iran. Russo-Iranian relations have been mixed with disagreements over the Busheir nuclear reactor and the Moscow’s non-fulfillment of a contract for the shipment of Russia’s advanced S-300 SAM. The US’s increasingly aggressive posture against Russia increases Moscow’s willingness to adopt a position more beneficial to Iran in both cases.

Meanwhile, India—a stalwart Moscow ally—under the new administration of Prime Minister Narenda Modi expressed a desire to deepen its ties with Russia on a multitude of levels. After placing Russia as “our country’s greatest friend,” Modi indicated India was keen to deepen Russo-Indian cooperation including in the areas of defense, investment, trade, and nuclear energy. A prospective $40 billion major Russia-India energy pipeline is also in discussion, and the Indian Navy will have arrived in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East for naval exercises. In another positive development, after years of mutual acrimony with Japan due to issues such as territorial disputes, rapprochement between the two neighbors continued with Japan already procuring 9.5 percent of its liquefied natural gas from Russia. Also worth noting is the signing of the treaty by Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that brings into being the Eurasian Economic Union, pending the ratification of each country’s respective parliaments. This is Moscow’s answer to large economic blocs which increasingly come to dominate the international political landscape. This effectively nullifies the Obama regime’s Kazakhstan avenue of “isolation” against Russia.

Outside of the Eurasian super-continent Russian President Vladimir Putin also made successful inroads with a tour of Latin America. Putin began his Latin American tour by writing off 90% of Cuba’s debt, a figure of $32 billion. Putin also signed an agreement for oil exploration in Caribbean waters which contain most of the estimated 124 million barrels of Cuba’s crude.

Putin met with Uruguay’s President Pepe Mujixa to discuss the construction of a deep-water port. The Russian president made a stop in Nicaragua with an unannounced visit to President Daniel Ortega. The leaders discussed the deliveries of agricultural machinery, the placement of GLONASS land stations on the territories of Nicaragua, as well as interaction in other areas such as pharmacology. Putin met also with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales among others.

In Argentina, Putin and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed an agreement for peaceful nuclear energy with Russia helping to build its third nuclear reactor. Russia will aid in areas such as the design, operation, and decommissioning of old nuclear power plants. Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom will also tender for the construction of two nuclear power plants. According to Reuters, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom would offer “comfortable” financial terms to Argentina. In Brazil, Putin signed a memorandum of understanding with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff regarding Rosatom and Brazil’s Camargo Correa, envisioning the construction of a nuclear power plant and a spent fuel storage facility in Brazil.

The BRICS Alternative

Perhaps, the most potentially threatening to the “Empire of Chaos”—yet auspicious for the developing world—was the establishment of the BRICS development bank as an alternative to the draconian and predatory IMF-World Bank complex. The US and the West have long been criticized of implementing policies of ‘neo-colonialism’ acting through these postwar Bretton Woods institutions. IMF/World Bank economic prescriptions for the ‘developing’ world, known as the ‘Washington consensus,’ have notoriously failed to facilitate economic development and have often been characterized as instruments of draconian economic exploitation.

For the developing world the establishment of the BRICS development bank represents the first significant systematic challenge or counterpoise to this US dollar and private central bank dominated arrangement. And, as Russian President Putin explained, it should become “a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies.” A Nobel Prize winning economist described the BRICS bank as a “fundamental change in global economic and political power.” According to one analyst: “Way beyond economy and finance, this is essentially about geopolitics – as in emerging powers offering an alternative to the failed Washington consensus. Or, as consensus apologists say, the BRICS may be able to ‘alleviate challenges’ they face from the ‘international financial system.’ The strategy also happens to be one of the key nodes of the progressively solidified China-Russia alliance.” Taken in context, “For Russia, the creation of a $100 billion BRICS development bank and a reserve currency fund worth another $100 billion is a political coup. Just as the West freezes Russia out of its own economic system as punishment for its politics in Ukraine… Russia is tying itself into the financial superstructure of the next generation of economic heavyweights: India, Brazil, China and South Africa.” Overall, these developments pose an enormous challenge to the Western-dominated economic order since the end of World War II.

(To be continued)

Chris Macavel is an independent political analyst. He writes for the blog “The Nation-State” at thenationalstate.wordpress.com. He seeks to enlighten about the growing dangers of NATO imperialist ambitions and Wall Street domination in American political life. He is the author of the forthcoming book “The Myth of the “Arab Spring: How the Empire Guided the MENA Uprisings”.

 Notes

[1] For example see: “Key Piece of Video “Evidence” for Russian Responsibility for Malaysian Plane Shootdown Debunked,”  “Audio ‘Proof’ of Ukrainian Rebel Responsibility for Malaysian Flight Downing is Fake,” “US Admits Its MH17 ‘Evidence’ is Based on YouTube Clips & Social Media Posts: AP Journalist Challenges State Department Spokesperson on official narrative,” “Ukraine: No “Western” Interest In INvestigating MH17,” “The Most Pathetic Case of Backpedaling I have Seen in My Life,” “The Catastrophe of MH17: BBC in the Search of “BUK” — The Video Report Censored by BBC,” “The Russian Military Finally Speaks!” “Evidence Continues to Emerge MH17 Is a False Flag Operation,” “Multiple Reports: Ukrainian Fighter Jets Were With Malaysian Flight 17 When it Was Shot Down,”among others.

[2] It must be said that this is not a policy of “containment,” but encirclement. Despite the New York Times’s claim that the Obama regime pursues a retrofitting of George F. Kennan’s strategy of “containment,” Kennan – architect of  “containment”– was firmly against continuing NATO expansion against Russia. He argued this policy demonstrated profound ignorance of Russia. The Obama regime’s current policy can be understood as a militant and aggressive policy of NATO expansion against Russia in opposition to Kennan.

[3] See Zbigniew Brzezinski , The Grand Chessboard, pp., 55. “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an “antihegemonic” coalition united not by ideology but by complimentary grievances…Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously,” wrote Brzezinski.

 “Black Boxes Show Shrapnel Destroyed Malaysia Airlines Plane, Ukraine Says”

 That headline in the Wall Street Journal of July 28 creates the immediate false impression that there is new information: shrapnel destroyed plane! Before the headline is over, the WSJ begins backtracking – “Ukraine Says” ­– a reference that yellow-flags a less than credible source. As the story continues, it reveals that there’s no actual news here, starting with the sub-head: “Older Flight Recorders on Plane Likely to Provide Limited Data” – so is there reliable data or not? Then the story reverses direction again, with this riddle-filled lede:

 MOSCOW—Ukrainian authorities said Monday that data retrieved from the black boxes aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 showed the plane was destroyed by “massive explosive decompression” caused by shrapnel from a missile.

Moscow? Nothing about the story relates to Moscow, except perhaps the location of the reporter. He does not say where the “Ukrainian authorities” are, and identifies only one: “Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.” The reporter says Lysenko “revealed” the evidence of a missile explosion, although there is little possibility Lysenko has any direct knowledge of the black box contents, since the black boxes have never been in the possession of Ukraine officials.

 The reporter admits he has no news, since the black boxes are in the United Kingdom and the investigators have not confirmed Lysenko’s claim. In a sentence as slippery as it is empty, the reporter repeats the official American story: “The U.S. has blamed Russia for providing the Buk missile system to the rebels, a claim that Moscow denies.” This is a dog whistle to those who say pro-Russians shot down the plane, but the actual accusation here is only that Russia gave the rebels a Buk missile system, which proves nothing. The possibility of an air-to-air missile goes unmentioned.

The reporter also does not mention that the Ukraine government has the same or equivalent air-to-ground missile systems, provided by Russia when the countries had warmer relations. The reporter stops short of embracing the blame-Russia scenario, but offers no alternative. As a whole, his story illustrates what he fails to say: that almost two weeks after the shoot-down, there is less certainty than ever as to who was responsible.

Lacking anything like solid evidence, U.S. media just wing it and pray

The same day (July 28), Time links to the WSJ story as if it was fact. Under the headline – “Ukraine: MH17 Downed by ‘Massive Explosive Decompression’” – the report begins:

 As U.N. human-rights chief suggests downing of the plane may be a “war crime” – Ukrainian authorities said Monday that black-box data from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 revealed shrapnel from a missile caused “massive explosive decompression” onboard, as the U.N. human-rights chief said the aircraft’s shooting down “may amount to a war crime.”

[repetition in original]

Unlike the Journal, Time makes an effort to explain what a “massive explosive decompression” is – “Explosive decompression happens when the air inside an aircraft depressurizes at an extremely fast rate, with results similar to a bomb detonation.” Whatever happened, the plane and its 298 passengers came down in hundreds of pieces, from large to tiny, over a crash site of a dozen square miles or more.

Shrapnel, certainly, from any source, could create a condition leading very quickly to massive explosive decompression. So could 30 mm anti-tank weapons fire from a Ukrainian Su-25 jet fighter. This is the explanation for the downing of MH17 offered by a German pilot who examined a photo of the MH17 cockpit on the ground and determined that there were bullet holes, entry and exit, suggesting that MH17 was caught in a crossfire. The pilot’s argument is rational and straightforward, and subject to verification by an examination of the evidence. Circumstantially, his argument provides a credible motive for the apparent urgency of Ukrainian forces to secure the crash site before outside forensic investigators can get there.

German media have reported variations of this story, focusing on the one or two Su-25s flying near MH17. The evidence for an Su-25 close to MH17 comes from a July 21 briefing by the Russian military that was widely reported at the time, from the Wall Street Journal to Veterans Today. A week later Time, like the Journal, makes no mention of any Su-25 or of the potentially confirmatory satellite imagery still being withheld by the U.S.

Unlike the Journal, Time adds the gratuitous reference to “a war crime,” without meaningful context. Shooting down an airliner is pretty much, by definition, a war crime or a crime against humanity. Merely labeling it as such, as Time does, only repeats the obvious, with no indication of who might have committed the crime. Time allows for this thought only obliquely in a context that implicitly endorses the official story:

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that “this violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime. It is imperative that a prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation be conducted into this event.”

Time omits broad dimensions of Ukrainian crisis

While Time quotes accurately from and links to the UN human rights press release with this comment from Pillay, Time gives no hint that the subject of the release is a 65-page report from the Human Rights Commissioner’s office detailing the state of human rights in Ukraine as disastrous, with violations on all sides, but especially by “armed groups” who are among the separatists, but not identified as such:

A total breakdown of law and order and a reign of fear and terror have been inflicted by armed groups on the population of eastern Ukraine,  according to a new report issued today….

The report documents how these armed groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and “to exercise their power over the population in raw and brutal ways.” Well organized and well equipped militarily, these armed groups have intensified their challenge to the Government of Ukraine, the report says. In response, there has been an acceleration of Government security operations during July in the areas still under the control of the armed groups, with heavy fighting located in and around population centres, resulting in loss of life, property and infrastructure and causing thousands to flee….

“Both sides must take great care to prevent more civilians from being killed or injured,” [Pillay] added. “Already increasing numbers of people are being killed with serious damage to civilian infrastructure, which – depending on circumstances – could amount to violations of international humanitarian law. The fighting must stop.”

According to the human rights report, more than 100,000 people have fled their homes in eastern Ukraine (86%) and Crimea (24%). These people are now internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are the responsibility of the Ukraine government that can ill afford to take care of them. That government started coming apart July 24, when the prime minister resigned, saying in part: “because laws have not been passed, we now have no means with which to pay soldiers, doctors, police, we have no fuel for armored vehicles, and no way of freeing ourselves from dependence on Russian gas.”

 The human rights report does not address estimates of as many as another 500,000 people from eastern Ukraine seeking shelter in Russia since April. Russia reported July 29 that it has given refugee status to 233,114 Ukrainians, including 34,503 children. Ukraine’s total population of more than 45 million has been declining for about two decades. (The BBC reports, without attribution: “The conflict has displaced more than 200,000 people, many of whom have fled east to neighbouring Russia.”)

As with Gaza, UN concern is with impunity for human rights crimes

The UN report is the fourth on human rights conditions in eastern Ukraine since mid-March, when the high commissioner deployed a 39-member Human Rights Monitoring Mission there. The mission had documented at least 1,129 killings, 3,442 woundings, and 812 abductions over a four month period ending July 15. The report points out that the armed groups in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are able to commit human rights crimes with impunity, leading to “a collapse of the rule of law.” The report also includes allegations that the armed groups have forced detainees to dig trenches or fight on the front lines; and that there are cases of apparently illegal detention by the Ukrainian armed forces as well.

Elsewhere in Ukraine the UN mission found that most Ukrainians were relatively free, but saw worrisome trends:

 … the level of hate speech has escalated dramatically, especially on social media, but also in demonstrations and protests and even in Parliament….  the level of ‘anti-Russia’ rhetoric has increased along with the physical targeting of Russian-owned banks and businesses on the grounds that they are ‘financing terrorism.’

Harassment, intimidation, manipulation, abductions, detentions and enforced disappearances of journalists have continued to occur in the east, and at least five journalists have been killed since the fighting began in April.

Since the end of period of the report, fist fights have erupted in Parliament at least twice. After two political parties dropped out of the ruling coalition, the prime minister resigned. Nevertheless, he remains in office pending a parliamentary vote to accept his resignation. That would presumably lead to the election of a new parliament in the fall.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk voiced deep anger at the parliament for failing to pass laws that would address the country’s need for liberalization. He accused  members of betraying the goals and ideals of the Maidan that led to the overthrow of the elected government in March. President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the break-up of the ruling coalition, hoping it would lead to a purge of “Moscow agents” in parliament. The Poroshenko government routinely refers to separatists in the east as “terrorists,” reflecting the UN’s concern over hate speech.

Increased polarization may lead to deadly ethnic cleansing

Since July 15, the end of the UN reporting period, the Ukrainian armed forces have apparently made significant advances and may have the advantage over the “armed groups.” Reporting on this war is scant and unreliable. Claims of ethnic cleansing of pro-Russian Ukrainians are unverifiable. The fighting has been fierce and widespread enough in the region to prevent MH17 crash site investigators from reaching the crash site for days on end.

None of these developments bode well for the UN’s offer of a somewhat hopeful outlook, that its report:

… also discusses new legislation being introduced as part of the Government’s reform. It notes the recent signing of the trade agreement with the European Union that completes the Association process and the publication of the much anticipated new proposed amendments to the Constitution that provide for a degree of regional autonomy and the increased use of local languages. These latter two issues were at the centre of demands being made by the residents of eastern Ukraine and their not being addressed led to the current conflict….

The report notes that the Government “needs to address the wider systemic problems facing the country with respect to good governance, rule of law and human rights. This requires deep and badly needed reforms, especially as Ukraine seeks to fulfill its EU aspirations and establish a democratic and pluralistic society.”

The Time report mentioned earlier omits virtually all of this context (Time mentions the continuing fighting as if it was a deliberate tactic to “block outside authorities” from investigating the site). Time ends its short report with the last paragraph of Human Rights Commissioner’s press release out of context, as if it related only to MH17:

 “I would like to stress to all those involved in the conflict, including foreign fighters, that every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are,” the High Commissioner added. “I urge all sides to bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

Forensic investigators may finally get to crash site

As the Russian agency RT News put it July 29:

“Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said Kiev is finally ready for a cease-fire at the MH17 crash site after Russia’s numerous calls. Kiev continued its military offensive even after the UNSC [Security Council] urged a halt to fighting in the area last week.”

According to RT, reporting on a Ukrainian press service, Petroshenko promised, in a phone call with the prime ministers of Australia and the Netherland, that he would declare a unilateral ceasefire for a crash site zone with a 20 km radius (about 24 square miles). RT reported no date for the cease-fire to begin, but that Petroshenko said on the phone that Kiev “is making every effort possible to accelerate the international experts’ access of to the crash site.”

On July 30, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced that its observers had begun working at border crossings between Ukraine and Russia. The same day, forensic investigators again failed to reach the crash site because fighting continued in the area. According to the Canadian CTV News:

 Even the rebels — who initially oversaw the collection of more than 200 of the 298 bodies in a disorganized, widely criticized effort — have stopped their work, saying attacks from the Ukrainian military have forced them to focus on defending themselves….

Recent offensives by the Ukrainian army have enabled it to take back swaths of territory from the rebels. But the fighting has edged ever closer to the crash zone.

The Ukrainian government is accusing the rebels of planting landmines around the crash site. The Ukrainians and the Russians continue to accuse each other of shelling each other’s territory

Whatever the U.S. is doing isn’t having noticeable effect

As for the United States, if there’s nothing useful the U.S. can do, then it’s succeeding admirably. Summing up what seems to be the official American attitude, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, recently said, “Putin can end this with one phone call.”

That assumes the crisis is all Putin’s fault. That assumes Putin has operational control over enough of the Ukraine rebels to make a difference. That assumes that both Ukraine and the U.S. would take “Yes” for an answer.

Based on the record to date, all those assumptions are false. Ukraine and the U.S. won’t even implement a cease-fire to collect the dead. The Ukraine rebels do not seem to be a coherent entity, or answerable to anyone. And Putin is hardly responsible for 20 years of the U.S. and Europe holding a NATO dagger to Russia’s throat.

And besides, “one phone call”? Who is Putin supposed to call? The answer to that question might reveal the essence of American policy, assuming there is one. Suppose Putin calls Obama, does anyone think Obama has more control over Kiev than the Russians have over the Ukraine rebels? Or suppose Putin calls Poroshenko, does anyone think he is free to make peace, over objections by hardline Ukrainians or Americans?

Whomever Putin might call, what does Pyatt expect him to say? Would Pyatt or his imaginary surrogate accept anything other than something like Putin saying, “OK, you’re right, I’m wrong, I give up, dasvidaniya.”

Pyatt’s “one phone call” comment is just a polite lie. That’s his job. He made another, more trenchant remark that was, unintentionally probably, an example of his doing exactly what he was complaining about: missing the chance to “take this crisis as an opportunity to put things back on a diplomatic track – instead what we have seen from the Kremlin is the pouring of gasoline on the fire.”

Until the United States shows some sign of being willing to back off from 20 years of creeping aggression along Russia’s western border, the likelihood of the confrontation resolving itself peacefully seems slim to nil.

When Putin has his back to the wall, what does the U.S. expect?

Without the Russians as a mitigating factor, the United States in the past few years might well have found itself launching a war against Syria, or a war against Iran, or both. That’s a weird thought, but it’s real enough. What is American foreign policy about, if anything? Is there a U.S. faction that’s mad at Russia now for interfering with another American war or two in the Middle East? Does the United States have any principle at stake, or even any Machiavellian goal in mind as it dithers around the world seeming to make pretty much everything worse?

 Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired U.S. intelligence officers organized in 2003 in response to the abuse of intelligence to go to war on Iraq, see much the same manipulation and dishonesty happening now. On July 29, nine of these intelligence officers signed a lengthy letter to President Obama, responding directly to the administration’s mishandling of the MH17 shoot-down and explaining in detail why they are “troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up – some of it via ‘social media.’”

 The crux of the intelligence officers’ critique is simple: either provide credible evidence for blaming the Russians, or stop spreading lies that only make the confrontation more dangerous:

 … your administration still has issued no coordinated intelligence assessment summarizing what evidence exists to determine who was responsible – much less to convincingly support repeated claims that the plane was downed by a Russian-supplied missile in the hands of Ukrainian separatists.

Your administration has not provided any satellite imagery showing that the separatists had such weaponry, and there are several other “dogs that have not barked.” Washington’s credibility, and your own, will continue to erode, should you be unwilling – or unable – to present more tangible evidence behind administration claims….

If the intelligence on the shoot-down is as weak as it appears judging from the fuzzy scraps that have been released, we strongly suggest you call off the propaganda war and await the findings of those charged with investigating the shoot-down. If, on the other hand, your administration has more concrete, probative intelligence, we strongly suggest that you consider approving it for release, even if there may be some risk of damage to “sources and methods.” Too often this consideration is used to prevent information from entering the public domain where, as in this case, it belongs.

We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties.  [emphasis added]

The president did not respond to the May 4 letter from these intelligence professionals, who requested the courtesy of a reply to this one. Somewhere in the middle of this one is a single sentence that gives perspective to all the other details, small or large:

 In our view, the strategic danger here dwarfs all other considerations.

Being intelligence professionals, they don’t spell out a strategic danger that is obvious to anyone who can conceive of a logical, worst-case scenario. Without addressing strategic danger, the president’s nominee for Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, told a Senate hearing July 29 that the United States would “never accept” Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Apparently for this 40-year foreign service officer and hardliner, Crimea dwarfs the strategic danger. Forever?

At the Nation on July 30, the question is framed more directly: “Why is Washington Risking War With Russia”?

What You Need to Know …

Obama said today:

We tortured some folks ….

We did some things that were contrary to our values.

We applaud Obama admitting to this unsavory chapter in U.S. history. 

The government has denied for years that the U.S. tortures … even though we in the alternative media exposed the torture 10 years ago.

But there’s a lot that Obama didn’t say …

Initially, it wasn’t just “some folks” we tortured.  The torture was widespread and systemic.

And it wasn’t just bad guys who were tortured:

  • U.S. military files show that many Guantánamo prisoners were held on the flimsiest grounds such as wearing a Casio watch, being a  prisoner in a Taliban jail, driving cabs in certain geographic regions, or being Al Jazeera reporters

Torture INTERFERES With Our Ability to Fight Terrorism, Obtain Intelligence Information and Protect Our National Security

We’ve repeatedly noted that virtually all of the top interrogation experts – both conservatives and liberals (except for those trying to escape war crimes prosecution) – say that torture doesn’t work:

“Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

  • The C.I.A.’s 1963 interrogation manual stated:

Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex ‘admissions’ that take still longer to disprove.

  • According to the Washington Post, the CIA’s top spy – Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service – said that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration. “I don’t think we’ve suffered at all from an intelligence standpoint.”
  • A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks (Milton Bearden) says(as quoted by senior CIA agent and Presidential briefer Ray McGovern):

It is irresponsible for any administration not to tell a credible story that would convince critics at home and abroad that this torture has served some useful purpose.

***

The old hands overwhelmingly believe that torture doesn’t work ….

  • A former high-level CIA officer (Philip Giraldi) states:

Many governments that have routinely tortured to obtain information have abandoned the practice when they discovered that other approaches actually worked better for extracting information. Israel prohibited torturing Palestinian terrorist suspects in 1999. Even the German Gestapo stopped torturing French resistance captives when it determined that treating prisoners well actually produced more and better intelligence.

  • Another former high-level CIA official (Bob Baer) says:

And torture — I just don’t think it really works … you don’t get the truth. What happens when you torture people is, they figure out what you want to hear and they tell you.

  • Michael Scheuer, formerly a senior CIA official in the Counter-Terrorism Center, says:

“I personally think that any information gotten through extreme methods of torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be someone telling you what you wanted to hear.”

  • A retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002 (Glenn L. Carle) says:

[Coercive techniques] didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information…Everyone was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.”

  • A former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has conducted hundreds of interrogations of high ranking Al Qaida members and supervising more than one thousand, and wrote a book called How to Break a Terrorist writes:

As the senior interrogator in Iraq for a task force charged with hunting down Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the former Al Qaida leader and mass murderer, I listened time and time again to captured foreign fighters cite the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as their main reason for coming to Iraq to fight. Consider that 90 percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq are these foreign fighters and you can easily conclude that we have lost hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives because of our policy of torture and abuse. But that’s only the past.Somewhere in the world there are other young Muslims who have joined Al Qaida because we tortured and abused prisoners. These men will certainly carry out future attacks against Americans, either in Iraq, Afghanistan, or possibly even here. And that’s not to mention numerous other Muslims who support Al Qaida, either financially or in other ways, because they are outraged that the United States tortured and abused Muslim prisoners.

In addition, torture and abuse has made us less safe because detainees are less likely to cooperate during interrogations if they don’t trust us. I know from having conducted hundreds of interrogations of high ranking Al Qaida members and supervising more than one thousand, that when a captured Al Qaida member sees us live up to our stated principles they are more willing to negotiate and cooperate with us. When we torture or abuse them, it hardens their resolve and reaffirms why they picked up arms.

He also says:

[Torture is] extremely ineffective, and it’s counter-productive to what we’re trying to accomplish.When we torture somebody, it hardens their resolve … The information that you get is unreliable. … And even if you do get reliable information, you’re able to stop a terrorist attack, al Qaeda’s then going to use the fact that we torture people to recruit new members.

And he repeats:

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

And:

They don’t want to talk about the long term consequences that cost the lives of Americans…. The way the U.S. treated its prisoners “was al-Qaeda’s number-one recruiting tool and brought in thousands of foreign fighters who killed American soldiers.

  • The FBI interrogators who actually interviewed some of the 9/11 suspects say torture didn’t work
  • Another FBI interrogator of 9/11 suspects said:

I was in the middle of this, and it’s not true that these [aggressive] techniques were effective

  • The FBI warned military interrogators in 2003 that enhanced interrogation techniques are “of questionable effectiveness” and cited a “lack of evidence of [enhanced techniques’] success.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously found that torture doesn’t work, stating:

The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.

  • General Petraeus says that torture is unnecessary
  • Retired 4-star General Barry McCaffrey – who Schwarzkopf called he hero of Desert Storm – agrees
  • Former Navy Judge Advocate General Admiral John Hutson says:

Fundamentally, those kinds of techniques are ineffective. If the goal is to gain actionable intelligence, and it is, and if that’s important, and it is, then we have to use the techniques that are most effective. Torture is the technique of choice of the lazy, stupid and pseudo-tough.

He also says:

Another objection is that torture doesn’t work. All the literature and experts say that if we really want usable information, we should go exactly the opposite way and try to gain the trust and confidence of the prisoners.

  • Army Colonel Stuart Herrington – a military intelligence specialist who interrogated generals under the command of Saddam Hussein and evaluated US detention operations at Guantánamo – notes that the process of obtaining information is hampered, not helped, by practices such as “slapping someone in the face and stripping them naked”. Herrington and other former US military interrogators say:

We know from experience that it is very difficult to elicit information from a detainee who has been abused. The abuse often only strengthens their resolve and makes it that much harder for an interrogator to find a way to elicit useful information.

  • Major General Thomas Romig, former Army JAG, said:

If you torture somebody, they’ll tell you anything. I don’t know anybody that is good at interrogation, has done it a lot, that will say that that’s an effective means of getting information. … So I don’t think it’s effective.

  • The first head of the Department of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge – says we were wrong to torture
  • The former British intelligence chairman says that waterboarding didn’t stop terror plots
  • A spokesman for the National Security Council (Tommy Vietor) says:

The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003.

In researching this article, I spoke to numerous counterterrorist officials from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Their conclusion is unanimous: not only have coercive methods failed to generate significant and actionable intelligence, they have also caused the squandering of resources on a massive scale through false leads, chimerical plots, and unnecessary safety alerts…Here, they say, far from exposing a deadly plot, all torture did was lead to more torture of his supposed accomplices while also providing some misleading “information” that boosted the administration’s argument for invading Iraq.

  • Neuroscientists have found that torture physically and chemically interferes with the prisoner’s ability to tell the truth
  • An Army psychologist – Major Paul Burney, Army’s Behavior Science Consulting Team psychologist – said (page 78 & 83):

was stressed to me time and time again that psychological investigations have proven that harsh interrogations do not work. At best it will get you information that a prisoner thinks you want to hear to make the interrogation stop, but that information is strongly likely to be false.***

Interrogation techniques that rely on physical or adverse consequences are likely to garner inaccurate information and create an increased level of resistance…There is no evidence that the level of fear or discomfort evoked by a given technique has any consistent correlation to the volume or quality of information obtained.

  • An expert on resisting torture – Terrence Russell, JPRA’s manager for research and development and a SERE specialist – said (page 209):

History has shown us that physical pressures are not effective for compelling an individual to give information or to do something’ and are not effective for gaining accurate, actionable intelligence.

Indeed, it has been known for hundreds of years that torture doesn’t work:

  • As a former CIA analyst notes:

During the Inquisition there were many confessed witches, and many others were named by those tortured as other witches. Unsurprisingly, when these new claimed witches were tortured, they also confessed. Confirmation of some statement made under torture, when that confirmation is extracted by another case of torture, is invalid information and cannot be trusted.

  • The head of Britain’s wartime interrogation center in London said:

“Violence is taboo. Not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information.”

  • The national security adviser to Vice President George H.W. Bush (Donald P. Gregg) wrote:

During wartime service with the CIA in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972, I was in charge of intelligence operations in the 10 provinces surrounding Saigon. One of my tasks was to prevent rocket attacks on Saigon’s port.Keeping Saigon safe required human intelligence, most often from captured prisoners. I had a running debate about how North Vietnamese prisoners should be treated with the South Vietnamese colonel who conducted interrogations. This colonel routinely tortured prisoners, producing a flood of information, much of it totally false. I argued for better treatment and pressed for key prisoners to be turned over to the CIA, where humane interrogation methods were the rule – and more accurate intelligence was the result.

The colonel finally relented and turned over a battered prisoner to me, saying, “This man knows a lot, but he will not talk to me.”

We treated the prisoner’s wounds, reunited him with his family, and allowed him to make his first visit to Saigon. Surprised by the city’s affluence, he said he would tell us anything we asked. The result was a flood of actionable intelligence that allowed us to disrupt planned operations, including rocket attacks against Saigon.

Admittedly, it would be hard to make a story from nearly 40 years ago into a definitive case study. But there is a useful reminder here. The key to successful interrogation is for the interrogator – even as he controls the situation – to recognize a prisoner’s humanity, to understand his culture, background and language. Torture makes this impossible.

There’s a sad twist here. Cheney forgets that the Bush administration followed this approach with some success. A high-value prisoner subjected to patient interrogation by an Arabic-speaking FBI agent yielded highly useful information, including the final word on Iraq’s weapons programs.

His name was Saddam Hussein.

  • Top interrogators got information from a high-level Al Qaeda suspects through building rapport, even if they hated the person they were interrogating by treating them as human

Senator John McCain explains, based upon his own years of torture:

I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear — true or false — if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading.

According to the experts, torture is unnecessary even to prevent “ticking time bombs” from exploding (see this, this and this).   Indeed, a top expert says that torture would fail in a real ‘ticking time-bomb’ situation. (And, no … it did NOT help get Bin Laden).

In fact, torture reduces our national security:

  • The head of all U.S. intelligence said:

“The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world,” [Director of National Intelligence Dennis] Blair said in the statement. “The damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

  • A top counter-terrorism expert says torture increases the risk of terrorism (and see this).
  • One of the top military interrogators said that torture by Americans of innocent Iraqis is the main reason that foreign fighters started fighting against Americans in Iraq in the first place (and see this).
  • Former counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke says that America’s indefinite detention without trial and abuse of prisoners is a leading Al Qaeda recruiting tool
  • A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks, says:

Torture creates more terrorists and fosters more acts of terror than it could possibly neutralize.

Torture puts our troops in danger, torture makes our troops less safe, torture creates terrorists. It’s used so widely as a propaganda tool now in Afghanistan. All too often, detainees have pamphlets on them, depicting what happened at Guantanamo.

“The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies … strengthened the hand of our enemies.”

  • General Petraeus said that torture hurts our national security
  • The reporter who broke Iran-Contra and other stories says that torture actually helped Al Qaeda, by giving false leads to the U.S. which diverted its military, intelligence and economic resources into wild goose chases
  • Raw Story says that torture might have resulted in false terror alerts
  • Hundreds of other experts have said the same things

U.S. Officials Launched a Systematic Program of Torture Using Specialized Techniques Which Produce False Confessions … to Justify the Iraq War

Not only did Bush, Cheney and other top government officials lie about us into the Iraq war by making a false linkage between Iraq and 9/11, but they carried out a systematic program of torture in order to intentionally create false evidence of that allegation.

Indeed, the entire purpose behind the U.S. torture program was to obtain false confessions.

And the torture techniques used were Communist techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions.

Senator Levin, in commenting on a Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture in 2009, dropped the following bombshell:

With last week’s release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape “SERE” training – a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations – by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.

In SERE training, U.S. troops are briefly exposed, in a highly controlled setting, to abusive interrogation techniques used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting false confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. Until recently, the Navy SERE school also used waterboarding. The purpose of the SERE program is to provide U.S. troops who might be captured a taste of the treatment they might face so that they might have a better chance of surviving captivity and resisting abusive and coercive interrogations.

Senator Levin then documents that SERE techniques were deployed as part of an official policy on detainees, and that SERE instructors helped to implement the interrogation programs. He noted:

The senior Army SERE psychologist warned in 2002 against using SERE training techniques during interrogations in an email to personnel at Guantanamo Bay, because:

[T]he use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects… When individuals are gradually exposed to increasing levels of discomfort, it is more common for them to resist harder… If individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain. This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain… Bottom line: the likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high… (p. 53).

McClatchy filled in some of the details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.

The Washington Post reported the same year:

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.

So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.

***

Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.

Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.

As Truth Out reported:

Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).

Kearns and his boss, Roger Aldrich, the head of the Air Force Intelligence’s Special Survial Training Program (SSTP), based out of Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, hired Jessen in May 1989. Kearns, who was head of operations at SSTP and trained thousands of service members, said Jessen was brought into the program due to an increase in the number of new SERE courses being taught and “the fact that it required psychological expertise on hand in a full-time basis.”

Jessen, then the chief of Psychology Service at the US Air Force Survival School, immediately started to work directly with Kearns on “a new course for special mission units (SMUs), which had as its goal individual resistance to terrorist exploitation.”

The course, known as SV-91, was developed for the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) branch of the US Air Force Intelligence Agency, which acted as the Executive Agent Action Office for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jessen’s notes formed the basis for one part of SV-91, “Psychological Aspects of Detention.”

***

Kearns was one of only two officers within DoD qualified to teach all three SERE-related courses within SSTP on a worldwide basis, according to a copy of a 1989 letter written Aldrich, who nominated him officer of the year.

***

The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is exploitation, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”

***

Jessen wrote that cooperation is the “end goal” of the detainer, who wants the detainee “to see that [the detainer] has ‘total’ control of you because you are completely dependent on him, and thus you must comply with his wishes. Therefore, it is absolutely inevitable that you must cooperate with him in some way (propaganda, special favors, confession, etc.).”

***

Kearns said, based on what he has read in declassified government documents and news reports about the role SERE played in the Bush administration’s torture program, Jessen clearly “reverse-engineered” his lesson plan and used resistance methods to abuse “war on terror” detainees.

So we have the two main Air Force insiders concerning the genesis of the torture program confirming – with original notes – that the whole purpose of the torture program was to extract false confessions.

And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.

For example:

And the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.

Torture Has Been Recognized As Terrorism for Thousands of Years

Moreover, torture has been recognize for thousands of years as a form of terrorism. Indeed, America’s newly-leaked criteria for putting people on the terror watchlist says torture is terror (page 47-48):

***

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xzYmpoKRY0E/TeqaWZGn5CI/AAAAAAAAAOA/oG5Z7x3j81k/s1600/statue+of+liberty+crying.jpg

Torture Is a War Crime … Which Can STILL Be Prosecuted

Many argue that the statute of limitations on Bush and Cheney’s crimes of torture have all run … so it is too late to prosecute them.

However, the United States War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.

The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who ORDER IT, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.

18 U.S.C. § 2441 has no statute of limitations, which means that a war crimes complaint can be filed at any time.

The penalty may be life imprisonment or — if a single prisoner dies due to torture — death. Given that there are numerous, documented cases of prisoners being tortured to death by U.S. soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that means that the death penalty would be appropriate for anyone found guilty of carrying out, ordering, or sanctioning such conduct.

Here’s a brief round-up showing that prisoners were injured – and killed – due to U.S. torture:

Waterboarding IS Torture

Not Just Waterboarding

Children, Too

People Died While Being Tortured

The ACLU wrote in 2005:

The American Civil Liberties Union today made public an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated.  The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions.

There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.  “High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable.

***

The documents released today include 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of individuals apprehended in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and “OGA” (Other Governmental Agency) — a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA.

According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides.   Eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, in some instances, by the CIA, Navy Seals and Military Intelligence personnel.  The autopsy reports list deaths by “strangulation,” “asphyxiation” and “blunt force injuries.”  An overwhelming majority of the so-called “natural deaths” were attributed to “Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.”

While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, today’s documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too.

Spiegel reported in 2009:

At least two men died during imprisonment. One of them, a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar, was suspended by his hands from the ceiling for four days, during which US military personnel repeatedly beat his legs. Dilawar died on Dec. 10, 2002. In the autopsy report, a military doctor wrote that the tissue on his legs had basically been “pulpified.” As it happens, his interrogators had already known — and later testified — that there was no evidence against Dilawar …

And see this. And it is now clear that the CIA covered up murders at Guantanamo.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 limited the applicability of the War Crimes Act, but still made the following unlawful:  torture, cruel or inhumane treatment, murder, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily harm, rape, sexual assault or abuse.

The Nuremberg Tribunal which convicted and sentenced Nazis leaders to death conceived of wars of aggression – i.e. wars not launched in self-defense – defined the following as “crimes against peace”, or war crimes:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)

The Tribunal considered wars of aggression to be the ultimate war crime, which encompassed all other crimes:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Judgment of October 1, 1946, International Military Tribunal Judgment and Sentence, 22 IMTTRIALS, supra note 7, at 498, reprinted in 41 AM. J. INT’LL. 172, 186 (1947).

Given that Iraq had no connection with 9/11 and possessed no weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq war was a crime of aggression and – under the standards by which Nazi leaders were convicted by the Nuremberg Tribunal – the American leaders who lied us into that war are guilty of war crimes.

Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials, declared:

A prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity — that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.

See this, this, and this.

The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court – Luis Moreno-Ocampo – told the Sunday Telegraph in 2007:

That he would be willing to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague. Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued.

As a Japan Times Op/Ed noted in 2009:

In January 2003, a group of American law professors warned President George W. Bush that he and senior officials of his government could be prosecuted for war crimes if their military tactics violated international humanitarian law.

Eminent legal scholars such as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of law Lawrence Velvel have since stated that high-level Bush administration officials did commit war crimes in relation to the Iraq war.

Torture is – of course – a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which make it illegal to inflict mental or physical torture or inhuman treatment. It is clearly-established that waterboarding is torture. The torture was, in fact, systematic, and included widespread sexual humiliation, murder and other unambiguous forms of torture.

Velvel and many other legal experts say that the torture which was carried out after 9/11 is a war crime.

Colin Powell’s former chief of staff stated that Dick Cheney is guilty of war crimes for overseeing torture policies.

Matthew Alexander – a former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – notes that government officials knew they are vulnerable for war crime prosecution:

They have, from the beginning, been trying to prevent an investigation into war crimes.

A Malaysian war crimes commission also found Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and five administration attorneys guilty of war crimes (although but the commission has no power to enforce its judgment).

Postscript: Torture is also apparently continuing under Obama. See this and this.

The Ukraine Civil War: Latest Developments

August 2nd, 2014 by Global Research News

We bring to the attention of our readers information concerning the Ukraine civil war. 

We are not in a position to corroborate the statements contained in this report from Rebel HQ of the Ministry of  Defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

At night, 31st of July to 1st  of August, units of the 1st Reconnaissance Company (rebel) carried out an attack  on an enemy checkpoint near Andriivka, to South of Donetsk. The checkpoint s  destroyed. 1 tank and 2 BMPs blown up.

Around Shahtersk, Snezhne and  Torez fighting continues against the partly-encircled UA forces. Inside the  encirclement ended up a parts of the 25th Airmobile Brigade,of the ” More..Dniepr-1″ battalion and supply units. Currently the full  encirclement of the the enemy battlegroup from the north is nearing  completion.

South of Snezhne our forces continued to carry out artillery  strikes against enemy positions around Stepanovka, Saurovka, Amvrosiivka,  Blagodatnoe and around Saur-Mogila. The enemy was inflicted substantial losses  in equipment and manpower.

In the first half of the day there was an  exchange of bodies of those slain in the fighting around Stepanovka and  Latishevo. Ukrainian side handed the rebels bodies of 13 slain fighters. During  the inspection there was undeniable evidence that some of the dead were captured  when still alive, but were savagely finished off. Some of the bodies were tied  up like a “butterfly” and had multiple knife wounds on their bodies. At the same  time the three captured conscripts of the 25th Airmobile brigade were safely  delivered to Donetsk, where two of them, those that were injured received  qualified medical help.

Today, starting from 13:00, the enemy began an  offensive on the South-Western outskirts of Donetsk, from the side of Pobeda and  Karlovka settlements. Around 40 units of armor were deployed. Currently the  enemy was able to capture a checkpoint South-West of Maryinka. Also an enemy  attack is taking place against Krasnogorovka. Rebel units have retreated into  the above mentioned settlements. The battle continues.

At 13:00 near  Shahtersk an enemy UAV was shot down and captured.

Around Amvrosiivka an  enemy artillery positions were hit by rebel counter-battery fire. Up to 5  artillery systems and 2 munition stores were destroyed.

Saur-Mogila  remains in our hand. This height is held by forces of the “Vostok”  battalion.”

http://icorpus.ru/svodka-ot-shtaba-opolcheniya-mo-dnr-01-08-2014-1630-msk/

The UK’s parliamentary Defence Committee has demanded that Western military powers strengthen NATO to prepare for confrontation with Russia.

The report by the cross-party group of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs complains that the “NATO alliance has not considered Russia as an adversary or a potential territorial threat to its Member States for twenty years” and has now only been “forced to do so as a result of Russia’s recent actions” in eastern Ukraine.

In the interim, NATO alliance has been weakened as member states have cut their defence budgets leaving it “ill-prepared” to face up to Russian “aggression” and potentially lacking the “collective political will to take concerted action…”

To remedy these supposed failings, the Defence Committee calls on September’s NATO summit in Wales to expand the “existing NATO rapid reaction force”, undertake the “pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States”, establish a “continuous (if not technically ‘permanent’) presence of NATO troops in the Baltics” and re-establish “large-scale military exercises including representatives from all NATO Member States.” It also advocates an increase in defence spending by all member states.

Most significant is the committee’s proposal that the alliance should broaden the terms of Articles 4 and 5 in its founding treaty, which trigger collective action in the event of an “armed attack” on a NATO ally.

The “criteria, doctrine and responses to calls under Article 4 for ‘collective security’ support against asymmetric attacks” must be re-examined, it states. In particular, it argues that the word “armed” should be removed from Article 5 so as to enable action in response to any form of attack. This should include Russia’s ability to “paralyse an opponent in the pursuit of its interests with a range of tools including psychological operations, information warfare and intimidation with massing of conventional forces,” even where such actions are not “attributable”.

The report gives the lie to Prime Minister David Cameron’s supposed reassurances that Britain is not “going to start World War Three” with Russia over Ukraine.

After comparing the crisis in Ukraine to the crises that triggered World War I and World War II, Cameron stated Wednesday: “We are not about to launch a European war, we are not about to send the fleet to the Black Sea, we are not looking for a military confrontation, but what we should do is use the economic power that we have.”

The Defence Committee’s report is part of an ever more frenzied propaganda campaign aimed at accelerating NATO’s long-standing geostrategic designs on the Russian Federation, including through military confrontation.

Contrary to the Defence Committee’s presentation of NATO standing on the sidelines of events, the alliance has pursued this strategy ever since the liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1991. Beginning that year, the Western powers—with the US and Germany in the lead—set about dismantling Yugoslavia by recognising the breakaway states of Slovenia, Croatia and then Bosnia, and culminating in the NATO bombardment of Serbia in 1999.

This was followed by the sponsoring of the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2003, and the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine in 2004—both aimed at bringing to power pro-Western regimes. In August 2008, the US encouraged a Georgian assault on the breakaway South Ossetia province.

Pushed onto a back foot by the failure of the Georgian operation, as well as the disastrous outcomes of Western interventions against Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO ambitions were revived when Russia blocked its plans for direct military intervention against Syria last August.

Washington and the EU activated plans for regime change in Ukraine, after then President Viktor Yanukovych rejected proposals for closer EU ties that involved the imposition of draconian austerity measures against the population.

As Washington’s top US State Department official Victoria Nuland admitted in her infamous “fuck the EU” phone conversation, the US had spent $5 billion building up pro-Western “opposition” forces and seized the moment.

With the support of Germany, the US backed the so-called Maidan protests, relying on fascist thugs and provocateurs to violently engineer Yanukovych’s removal and install a government of extreme right-wingers and oligarchs.

Now, in the latest stage of this conspiracy, NATO and the EU have seized on the tragic crash of Malaysia MH17 in eastern Ukraine to further their criminal objectives.

Two weeks on, the Western powers have not produced a shred of substantive evidence to back their claims that pro-Russian separatists, backed by Moscow, were responsible for the deaths of the 298 people on board. In fact, satellite and intelligence evidence provided by Russia, coupled with the aggressive actions of the Ukrainian regime to prevent access to the crash site—including the systematic bombardment of towns and cities in the vicinity—point to the likelihood that forces aligned with Kiev were responsible for downing the aircraft.

Nonetheless, Washington and the EU have announced sweeping sanctions against Moscow in the wake of the crash.

The immediate aim of the financial sanctions announced in the last weeks is to encourage Russia’s oligarchs to depose President Vladimir Putin and install a more pro-Western regime.

But as the UK Defence Committee report makes clear, the US and the major European powers are not only prepared to wreck the Russian economy, with potentially grave consequences for the world economy as a whole. Nor are they restrained by the possibility that their actions will lead to civil war within Russia itself.

Their ultimate goal is the dismemberment of the Russian Federation and the seizure of its vital resources, even if their reckless gambit risks nuclear war.

General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander in Europe, told a briefing in Naples last week that the alliance’s base in Szczecin, Poland is to be transformed into a staging post with “pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces”.

The UK is playing a central role in these provocations. In October, NATO’s Exercise Black Eagle will begin in Poland, in what has been described as a “show of strength” against Russia.

The British government has announced it is sending a “battle-ready” unit to participate—comprising 1,350 troops and more than 350 armoured and other vehicles, its largest commitment in the region since the Georgian provocation in 2008.

Light infantry troops from the UK’s 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, are also participating later this month in the US-led Exercise Sabre Junction in Poland, involving 16 NATO and partner nations.

A report by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) marks a significant escalation in the constitutional crisis over the systematic cover-up of the CIA’s widespread torture programs.

According to the Inspector General David Buckley, five CIA officials surreptitiously gained access to the computers used by Senate staff investigators while compiling a still-classified 6,300-page report on CIA torture. Two CIA attorneys and three CIA information technology employees created fake accounts in order to follow the movements of Senate staff as they worked.

The OIG weakly asserts that the employees were “acting in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” brokered between the CIA and the Senate.

What is involved is not a breach of a “common understanding,” but a breach of laws and the Constitution. Not only did the spying violate the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of unreasonable searches and seizures and laws that prohibit domestic spying by the CIA, it also violated the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers—in this case, a clear intrusion by the executive branch on the investigatory powers of the legislature.

The gravity of the CIA’s actions is amplified by the fact that the Senate was investigating actions of the executive branch that already violated the Eighth Amendment’s proscription on cruel and unusual punishment.

The OIG report provides proof that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, lied as part of the cover-up. When first faced with allegations of CIA spying, Brennan declared: “When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”

In fact, this is exactly what the CIA was doing, and there is every indication that it was done at the direction of Brennan himself.

Each individual layer of illegality implicates top officials in the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment and criminal prosecution of high-ranking officials.

This includes the president himself. From the beginning, the Obama administration and the White House have functioned as an auxiliary agency of the intelligence agency. Not only has the Obama administration defended the CIA throughout the scandal, the White House itself withheld documents from the Senate investigation. After sitting on the Senate report for as long as it could, the White House has set up private sessions where the CIA is allowed to read through the evidence and redact the most incriminating sections.

Then, just two weeks ago, the US Department of Justice announced that it would not launch a criminal investigation into the CIA spying—an act that was no doubt taken with foreknowledge of the conclusions of the inspector general report. On Thursday, the White House again jumped to defend Brennan, with press secretary Josh Earnest saying that the report proved that Brennan had “done what is necessary to get to the bottom of what exactly happened,” and that he showed the kind of “proactive leadership that the president would expect.”

As for Congress, after Senator Dianne Feinstein revealed the illegal spying in a speech on the floor of the Senate in March—accusing the CIA of illegal and unconstitutional activities—the issue was completely dropped. The prostration of the legislative branch before the intelligence apparatus was expressed in Feinstein’s statement that the OIG report “corrects the record.” She praised Brennan for taking “positive first steps.”

The whole affair reveals a political system in which the trappings of democracy are a thin cover for a state that is controlled by a gigantic military-intelligence apparatus (including the CIA, NSA, Defense Department and associated agencies) that operates as a law unto itself.

Consider what has happened. In the midst of a series of illegal wars, the CIA under the direction of the Bush administration established an international network of secret prisons and torture centers. This network operated effectively as a separate organization within the government to which the law—both domestic and international—did not apply. Conscious that what they were doing was illegal, high-ranking CIA officials destroyed evidence (including video tapes) of the torture.

Many of the victims of torture were held indefinitely with no semblance of due process and without ever being charged with committing a crime. In those cases where the victim could not stand the pain, the torturers became executioners. Leaks made by those who have read the Senate report have described the methods as “brutal” for inducing “excruciating” pain at “sprawling” black site prisons.

None of those who ordered these illegal actions or carried them out have been prosecuted. The Obama administration, while nominally ending the torture program, continues it in different forms while vastly expanding the illegal drone assassination and domestic spying programs.

Then, after all of this, Senate investigators into the torture program were spied on and threatened, their computers hacked.

The CIA torture cover-up reveals the collapse of democratic forms in the United States, the consequence of unending war abroad and extreme levels of social inequality at home.

Under the auspices of the “war on terror,” practically every democratic right has been effectively repealed by a collection of scoundrels and political criminals. The state is overseen by a spying apparatus that seeks to monitor all communications and a president that declares the right to assassinate without due process. The entire political establishment is complicit in torture and other illegal activities, and there is not a hint of opposition from the corporate media. Policy is dictated by a cabal that lives in constant fear of the social explosions that will arise inevitably out of the policies that it has pursued.

The breakdown of democracy is one expression of the protracted crisis of American capitalism and a ruling class that, in its determination to defend its interests at home and abroad, is dispensing with all legality.

Eric London

Genocide against Palestinian has become of a “New Normal” according to an Op Ed article published by the Times of Israel. 

Under certain circumstances –according to the Times of Israel article–“Genocide is Permissible” because it is directed against Palestinians who are “terrorists” and who should be “obliterated”.

Implementing a policy of genocide against terrorists including innocent civilians is permissible to”achieve responsible goals” as determined by the Netanyahu government. “What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?”

Excerpts from the article below (emphasis added):

We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people. Nothing, then, can be considered disproportionate when we are fighting for our very right to live.
The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more regarding its interests than even they do. But there’s going to have to come a time where Israel feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings – because this is life or death….

Most of the reports coming from Gazan officials and leaders since the start of this operation have been either largely exaggerated or patently false. The truth is, it’s not their fault, falsehood and deceit is part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change….

History is there to teach us lessons and the lesson here is that when your enemy swears to destroy you – you take him seriously.

Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life. What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?

News anchors such as those from CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera have not missed an opportunity to point out the majority of innocent civilians who have lost their lives as a result of this war. But anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilian. If you’ll counter, that Hamas has been seen abusing civilians who have attempted to leave their homes in response to Israeli warnings to leave – well then, your beginning to come to terms with the nature of this enemy which should automatically cause the rules of standard warfare to be suspended.

Everyone agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself as well as the right to exercise that right. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has declared it, Obama and Kerry have clearly stated that no one could be expected to sit idle as thousands of rockets rain down on the heads of its citizens, placing them in clear and present danger. It seems then that the only point of contention is regarding the measure of punishment meted out in this situation.

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

by Yochanan Gordon

https://archive.today/RPf3M#selection-586.1-619.15

Copyright Times of Israel 2014

The post was apparently removed and is not accessible on the Times of Israel’s website. It is accessible on the cache version.

For the record we are including the complete article in Annex below.


When Genocide is Permissible

by Yochanan Gordon

Times of Israel, August 1, 2014

Judging by the numbers of casualties on both sides in this almost one-month old war one would be led to the conclusion that Israel has resorted to disproportionate means in fighting a far less- capable enemy. That is as far as what meets the eye. But, it’s now obvious that the US and the UN are completely out of touch with the nature of this foe and are therefore not qualified to dictate or enforce the rules of this war – because when it comes to terror there is much more than meets the eye.

I wasn’t aware of this, but it seems that the nature of warfare has undergone a major shift over the years. Where wars were usually waged to defeat the opposing side, today it seems – and judging by the number of foul calls it would indicate – that today’s wars are fought to a draw. I mean, whoever heard of a timeout in war? An NBA Basketball game allows six timeouts for each team during the course of a game, but last I checked this is a war! We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people. Nothing, then, can be considered disproportionate when we are fighting for our very right to live.

The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more regarding its interests than even they do. But there’s going to have to come a time where Israel feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings – because this is life or death.

Most of the reports coming from Gazan officials and leaders since the start of this operation have been either largely exaggerated or patently false. The truth is, it’s not their fault, falsehood and deceit is part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change. Still however, despite their propensity to lie, when your enemy tells you that they are bent on your destruction you believe them. Similarly, when Khaled Meshal declares that no physical damage to Gaza will dampen their morale or weaken their resolve – they have to be believed. Our sage Gedalia the son of Achikam was given intelligence that Yishmael Ben Nesanyah was plotting to kill him. However, in his piety or rather naiveté Gedalia dismissed the report as a random act of gossip and paid no attention to it. To this day, the day following Rosh Hashana is commemorated as a fast day in the memory of Gedalia who was killed in cold blood on the second day of Rosh Hashana during the meal. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over. History is there to teach us lessons and the lesson here is that when your enemy swears to destroy you – you take him seriously.
Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life.  What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?

News anchors such as those from CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera have not missed an opportunity to point out the majority of innocent civilians who have lost their lives as a result of this war. But anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilian. If you’ll counter, that Hamas has been seen abusing civilians who have attempted to leave their homes in response to Israeli warnings to leave – well then, your beginning to come to terms with the nature of this enemy which should automatically cause the rules of standard warfare to be suspended.

Everyone agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself as well as the right to exercise that right. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has declared it, Obama and Kerry have clearly stated that no one could be expected to sit idle as thousands of rockets rain down on the heads of its citizens, placing them in clear and present danger. It seems then that the only point of contention is regarding the measure of punishment meted out in this situation.

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

Copyright Times of Israel, 2014

Vanishing Aircraft

We have been told by much of Western MSM that Air Algerie flight 5017 (hereinafter AH 5017) and its 117 passengers (according to the airline) lost contact with the ground and subsequently crashed in Mali on 7/24due to heavy weather.

A simple, tidy story that; and for all one knows the MSM soporific might even be true.

And yet, true to the times, meaningful questions remain.

Via CNN on 7/24 we have:

“1:17 a.m. local time, Air Algerie Flight 5017 left Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso bound for Algiers. It was supposed to be a four-hour overnight flight but about 50 minutes of takeoff, it disappeared from radar over Mali close to a zone of ongoing conflict between Islamist rebels and the government.”

The Guardian chimed in on 7/29 with:

Radar recordings show the plane’s last contact at 1.47am local time. A witness reported seeing a ball of flame in the crash area at about 1.50am, suggesting the tragedy happened in minutes.

One witness said it was “as if a bomb had fallen” on the desert, and that the plane had hit the ground at a steep angle and at full speed, ruling out any attempt at an emergency landing.

Police investigators and gendarmes at the scene say the plane was “pulverised” and they have found no bodies. Even finding traces of the victims – who included one Briton and 54 French people, including entire families – is proving a challenge, with stifling heat alternating with torrential rain in a remote area.

The Guardian’s reportage that the plane was pulverized echoed Le Monde’s7/26 assertion that the wreckage was indicative of disintegration.

Matters are so compromised with respect to the status of bodily evidence that France now thinks it could take from three to five months for forensic processes to produce the first identifications.

And then we have the facts that it took hours for airline and government officials to make AH 5017’s disappearance public, there were 51 French passengers, and France, declaring victory, had very recently terminated Operation Serval (a counterterrorism adventure in Mali).

Finally, we have the pending performance on a France/Russia deal whereby Russia is to receive delivery of two Mistral warships.  Maybe certain elitist elements would rather see France breach the contract?

Might the demise of AH 5017 be attributable to an act of terror, and might there be additional links to the vanishing aircraft of MH 17, MH 370, and veryconceivably even Air France 447Newsweek on AH 5017:

“General Gilbert Diendere, head of Burkina Faso’s crisis cell, said radar data showed that the plane appeared to try to fly around the bad weather before reverting to its initial course, which took it back into the eye of the storm.

“Perhaps the pilot thought that he had completely avoided it and wanted to return to the original route,” Diendere said, according to the website of French radio RFI. “The accident took place while the plane performed this maneuver.”

Diendere said the last contact with the plane at its altitude of 10,000 meters was at 0147 GMT and the crash was reported by witnesses to have taken place at 0150.

“That means that (plane) fell from an altitude of 10,000 meters to zero in about three minutes, which is a steep fall given the size of the plane,” he added.”

10,000 meters is just about 33,000 feet, so, if the preceding sentence is true, AH 5017 lost altitude at an average of 11,000 feet per minute before being ostensibly destroyed.

The same thing happened to Air France 447.

A quick refresher on that flight from the Huffington Post:

“On the evening of May 31, 2009 [it was in the early hours of 6/1/2009 that the flight went missing], 216 passengers and 12 crew members boarded an Air France Airbus 330 at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The flight, Air France 447, departed at 7.29 p.m. local time for a scheduled 11-hour trip to Paris. It never arrived. At 7 o’clock the next morning, when the aircraft failed to appear on the radar screens of air traffic controllers in Europe, Air France began to worry and contacted civil aviation authorities. By 11 a.m., they concluded that AF447 had gone missing somewhere over the vast emptiness of the South Atlantic.

How, in the age of satellite navigation and instantaneous global communication, could a state-of-the art airliner simply vanish? It was a mystery that lasted for two years.”

Air France 447, like MH 370, MH 17, and AH 5017 also “vanished without a word from the crew.” Perhaps, then, the official report regarding Air France 447, which explained the affair in terms of heavy weather, a high altitude stall, and pilot error also happens to more or less describe what occurred with AH 5017?

Then again, it was reported regarding Air France 447 that:

“Two pilots of an Air Comet flight from Lima to Lisbon saw a bright flash of light in the area where Flight 447 went down, the Madrid-based airline told CNN. The pilots have turned in their report to authorities.

“Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds,” the captain wrote in the report.

The flash of light contributes to the theory that an explosion is what brought down Flight 447, which was carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.”

To be sure, these reports have gone down the memory hole.

Intrepid readers will have little difficulty locating other disturbing claims about Flight 447, but to be honest it’s difficult to decisively separate mere rumors from plausible alternative accounts.

Be that as it may, what follows may amount to nothing more than a mirage of coincidences (some of them possibly forced)—but it might also suggest something quite significant.

“Numerology”

An earlier contribution to Global Research on the subject of MH 17 stated:

Next, here are a few other curious tidbits.  The flight 17 crash shares an anniversary with the demise of TWA 800, which AT’s own Jack Cashill has compellingly argued was, in fact, brought down by a missile on July 17, 1996 and subsequently covered up by the US government.  And, the maiden flight of flight 17 occurred in 1997 on the date of, you guessed it, July 17.

[Moreover Russia's last ruling monarch of the Romanov family Tsar Nicholas II, together with his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei were executed on 17 July 1918. Subliminal message to Putin? No doubt it's another "coincidence"]

So “17s” are everywhere.  To be sure, though, each of the items in the last paragraph is easily ranged under the heading “coincidence.”

With respect to AH 5017, we obviously encounter “17” again in the number of the flight.  And, we have the fact that the flight left at 1:17 AM.  Plus, some early reports indicated 117 passengers.

In a related vein, as previous quotes show, “7s” and “11s” seem to reverberate around facts pertaining to Air France 447 and AH 5017.  And, MH 370 was lost on 3/7/2014 at 17:20 UTC.

Of course, many other numerical facts connected with the three flights have nothing to do with 7s, 11s, or 17s.

It is unquestionably easy to get carried away with this sort of thing; one very serious problem is that in the absence of a consistently applied, rationally based rule for combining digits and assigning times, it is easy to mold phenomena so as to reach conspiratorial conclusions when nothing obtains other than coincidence (and perhaps not even that).

In short, we do not want to consume witches’ brews or magicians’ potions; instead, we should ask whether there might be scientifically sensible reasons as to why intelligence enterprises and their associates might want to play numerological games.

Rare events and events that are meaningfully singular in their description (such as the vanishing of MH 370) are next to impossible to predict statistically, especially if one is attempting to predict the precise time, date, and place of occurrence (almost by definition there’s not enough data to support valid statistical analyses).  It is just such “black swan” events, though, that often exert the greatest, and most reverberating, impacts on global dynamics.  Because such events are difficult to predict even with a great deal of information in hand, they are difficult to prevent—even with a tremendous amount of information.

With these thoughts in mind, consider that when singular, rare events such as plane vanishings that receive intensive coverage take place, the threshold geopolitical question is really whether the occurrence was accidental or in some way planned.  It is here that “numerological” factors may come into play.  It may be that the numerological properties of events can function as ways of indicating human agency, even though such agency will, of necessity, be invisible to algorithms and associated databases.  If human consciousness, on the basis of ironically non-quantifiable meaning, considers an event to be too significant to perfunctorily ascribe to an accident, it will react accordingly even if the “data” and surface authorities (such as certain visible bureaucrats and news anchors with far more proximate connections to the public) say otherwise.

If these ruminations are accurate, it may be that the degree of brazenness of “numerological” ties functions as a measure of the danger we confront.  Surface authority, in spite of its nearly universal mathematical illiteracy, has been successfully conditioned to believe that the only measures of scientific significance are those that can be quantified.  Therefore, it is blind to many potential indications of agency that could indicate covert conflict.

However, had a flight numbered 7077 crashed on 7/7/2014 after having disappeared from radar at 7:07 PM, even surface authorities might have been forced to acknowledge design—even if they were told in so many terms by deep authority that “Big Data” could not back it up.  Since even the dimwits of surface authority would be talking design, the risk of overt hot war would rise substantially.  It is for reasons such as these that the rather glaring 17s surrounding MH 17 are unsettling.

The Global Elite

Now consider these utterly bizarre remarks made by none other than IMF chief Christine Lagarde at a 1/15/2014 National Press Club speech:

“Now, I’m going to test your numerology skills by asking you to think about the magic seven, okay? Most of you will know that seven is quite a number in all sorts of themes, religions. And I’m sure that you can compress numbers as well. So if we think about 2014, all right, I’m just giving you 2014, you drop the zero, 14, two times 7. Okay,that’s just by way of example, and we’re going to carry on. (Laughter) So 2014 will be a milestone and hopefully a magic year in many respects. It will mark the hundredth anniversary of the First World War back in 1914. It will note the 70thanniversary, drop the zero, seven– of the Breton Woods conference that actually gave birth to the IMF. And it will be the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, 25th, okay. It will also mark the seventh anniversary of the financial market jitters that quickly turned into the greatest global economic calamity since the Great Depression. The crisis still lingers. Yet, optimism is in the air. We’ve left the deep freeze behind us and the horizon looks just a bit brighter. So my hope and my wish for 2014 is that after those seven miserable years, weak and fragile, we have seven strong years. I don’t know whether the G7 will have anything to do with it, or whether it will be the G20. I certainly hope that the IMF will have something to do with it.”

Can anyone recall the last time a global elitist of the stature of Lagarde made such bombastic reference to numerological notions during a speech, whether “jokingly” or not?  That someone like her would even speak in such terms is decidedly odd—conceivably even unprecedented—irrespective of the particulars.

Aside from the very audacity of even mentioning numerology, the key 1/15/2014 language may very well be the G7/G20 wording; Lagarde states the alternative pretty starkly in terms of either/or but not both—and the G20 does not include Russia.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals.  His current empirical research interests include active shootings.   You can reach him at[email protected].

The latest Israeli massacres in Gaza have once again laid bare the genocidal policies of the Zionist regime and its imperial backers in the United States-led NATO alliance.

Since its violent colonial inception in 1948, known as the Nakba,  يوم النكبة catastrophe –  the historical event which thoroughly debunks the false perception of a peace-seeking Israeli state surrounded by “inhospitable Arabs” – the Zionist leadership has in fact had no intention of a “durable peace” with the Palestinians or their Arab neighbours. As over 66 years of ethnic cleansing, periodic mass murder, endless kidnappings and incarceration, land theft and wars of aggression have clearly shown — “peace”, let alone the possibility of genuine Palestinian autonomy within the Bantustans and ghettos the Israeli’s have created in historic Palestine, has never been on the Zionist or imperialist agenda.

Only a crude revisionist or devout partisan of the highest order is able to analyse the historical and present policies of Israel and its imperial backers and come to any other conclusion that the full expulsion and expropriation of the Palestinian people and their land is the desired end-goal. Indeed, over the years many an Israeli politician, militarist or policy planner have openly revealed as much, and such zealous policy is reflected in the views and ideology of the occupying Israeli population – evidenced once more in recent polls showing the overwhelming majority of Israelis support the massacres and wish for them to continue (1). This is to say nothing of the blatant xenophobia so pervasive within Israeli society and the widespread scenes of racist Israeli mobs cheering on the massacres from grandstands with popcorn or freely chanting “Death to the Arabs” and worse throughout the streets of Tel Aviv. Yet a common perspective still held in the west toward the latest slaughter in Gaza – even within so-called “Left” circles – is largely one of shock and disbelief, as if this most recent bout of imperial-sanctioned fascist brutality is the exception, and not the longstanding rule.

As Greg Shupak points out:

“describing such violence as aimless misses the underlying logic of Israel’s conduct throughout Operation Protective Edge and, indeed, for much of its history.

Driven by both its own settler-colonial agenda and by its function as an American partner in the geopolitical system, Israel strives to balance its desire to maximize the territory it controls against the imperative of minimizing the number of Palestinians living in the territories it seeks to use for its own purposes.

The result is that Palestinians are not merely subject to extreme violence. Rather, their capacity to live autonomously in historic Palestine is being attacked. … Not only does the current Israeli onslaught end the physical existence of specific Palestinian individuals, it aims to obliterate Palestinians as a people with the capacity to live independently in their homeland.” (2)

Yet despite this, the western liberal “Left” commentariat is by no means averse to the aforementioned reductionist strain of analysis. As an example, leading propagandist of the UK Labour Party Owen Jones has once again been kind enough to provide the Guardian’s white-western liberal readership with a typically opportunist variation on dissent. (3) Using his platform to build false equivalence and portray racist Israeli occupiers as victims, Jones informs that Israel’s premeditated mass murder is merely an “offensive” with a “rationale” that “must be understood”.

According to Jones, the “rationale” behind Israel’s colonial aggression must also be immediately understood not from the point of view of the oppressed Palestinians, but from the point of view of the oppressor. And what is this “rationale” one might ask? Well, of course it is the historical persecution of the Jews; the Holocaust, the pogroms of tsarist Russia etc, and more importantly the appropriated victimhood that follows. Apparently, “the moral corruption that comes with any occupation has fused with the collective trauma of the Jewish people”, says Jones, and there are indeed several liberal Zionists that back him up on this matter (evidently, there are never any Palestinians in Jones’ articles on the subject). But once again this is purely an attempt to mitigate and make excuses for Zionist colonialism by conflating the racist occupiers of today with the Jewish victims of yesterday. Jones crassly attempts to conflate the history of Jewish persecution with the Zionist regime and its zealous subjects in order to afford the latter with false moral legitimacy.

This false perception has proven to be a fundamental one in legitimizing the Zionist project since its very beginnings; promoted by the Zionist leadership and their cohorts to furnish what would otherwise be considered colonial genocidaires with a moral smokescreen to continue their murderous policies unabated. What Jones demands is that the Israeli regime, the violent racist settlers, and the twisted ideology they hold be afforded “understanding” due to the “collective trauma” inflicted upon Jews throughout history – it is to make Jews and Zionists one and the same. Not only does Jones attempt to propagate this revolting conflation of persecuted Jews with racist Zionists but he does it under the guise of feigned “Left” condemnation – purporting to be on a quest to understand it, he merely repeats the Israeli-line without offering an ounce of criticism.

Simply put, the desired effect of regurgitating the supremacist ideological basis for the “Jewish State” and asking for “understanding” is to depict racist settlers as Jewish victims, to whitewash and sanitize, to excuse, to empathise with the Zionists imperial-sanctioned systematic brutality and oppression in Palestine and validate their warped rationalizations. In reality, of course, the history of Jewish persecution has absolutely no relevance to Zionism other than when it is used to legitimise the fascistic policies and ideology of the latter.

The duplicity is taken a step further as Jones forwards the idea that Israeli colonialism can be compared with the British empire’s oppression and colonialism in Ireland. While there is indeed a correlation between the two forms of colonialism this anachronistic comparison detached from any wider context is nothing but an attempt to portray Israel as a legitimate state; as if the Israeli state existed before it usurped Palestine and may return to a post-colonial incarnation once the occupation has quietly ended – presumably to the borders of 1967. This point of view is further evidenced by Jones’ explicit wording regarding “an end to the occupation and the dismantling of every settlement” — how very two-state solution.  But Israel the state, its culture and ideology, born in 1948, are entirely a product of colonial occupation and would not exist in any form if that occupation and ongoing policy of colonisation were to be ended in full. Jones wants to portray Israel as merely a legitimate state occupying another, not an entirely illegitimate state built from the wholesale theft of another, and the oppression murder and expulsion of its people.

Such opportunism is further exposed by Jones’ positions toward Palestinian resistance group Hamas. Jones’ liberal Zionist source tells us that to Israelis “Gaza residents are homogenised as Hamas supporters – even though most were not of voting age when the group was elected in 2006 – justifying collective punishment.” But Jones fails to offer any clarification that this is a fundamentally wrongheaded way to think, he just leaves it floating for the reader to assume the justification is valid, in that collective punishment for the “crime” of supporting Hamas is a somewhat “understandable” position to take and should be empathized with, because after all Hamas are “terrorists” and Israelis are just poor victims.

This is of course not a position to be merely “understood”, or to be at all empathized with; it is a position intrinsic to an underlying racist ideology that is to be vehemently opposed. But Jones and Co. simply lack the backbone. In a revealing quote from an earlier piece Jones also tells us that “there is no defence for Hamas firing rockets into civilian areas”(4), thereby not only bolstering the Israeli regime’s lies that Hamas targets Israeli civilians – in fact they have gone to great lengths to target occupation forces while the occupation forces have mercilessly slaughtered women and children from planes and tanks – but also negating the Palestinians right, by International Law no less, to engage in armed resistance to occupation. What self-respecting “Leftist” denies Palestinians the right to resist a fascist military occupation? A social-chauvinist, social-imperialist “Leftist”, that’s who.

Citing Netanyahu’s use of the Holocaust to depict Israelis as threatened victims, Jones almost appears to “understand the rationale” but he is avoiding calling it by its real name: ideology. It is not simply a metaphysical “rationale” that engenders Israeli massacres in Gaza, it is a pervasive racist colonial ideology called Zionism, but Jones doesn’t want to name it because his interest is in hiding the full consequences of confronting that depraved ideology – moreover its specific material causes – behind liberal platitudes and empty condemnations.

There is of course no attempt whatsoever from the social imperialists at “understanding” the economic material causes that engender Zionist barbarity, and this is largely due to the fact that exposing such causes would make a mockery of the imperial-extricating bourgeois propaganda they sell. Zionism is, and has always been used in a strictly colonial sense, in that it forms the culture, ideology and state structure for the entire imperialist-sponsored Israeli project. Zionism is fascism, and to call-out the Israeli state as a fascist colonial manifestation that is reliant on western imperialism is simply too far a stretch for Oxford-educated Labour Party propagandists.

By no means the only western “Left” pundit to employ this conflation of Jewish persecution and Zionism, Jones’ liberal-imperialist propagandist-in-arms Laurie Penny decided to take up the baton in much the same way, but with far less subtlety. Employing the same perfidious conflation of Jews and Zionists under the guise of “Left” condemnation, Penny concocts a call for Jewish guilt, informing us that “Jews are better placed than anyone else to articulate a powerful call for ceasefire” (5). Thus, Penny bolsters the Zionist regimes’ propaganda and supremacist ideology by validating the perception that Israel represents Jews, and then demands that they take responsibility for Zionism. By associating Zionists with historically persecuted Jews Penny attempts to surreptitiously justify Zionist aggression and colonialism, and in turn bolster Israel’s false moral justification: its use of the “fear” of Jewish annihilation to obscure and mitigate its aggressive policies.

In what can only be seen as a massive oversight, Penny invokes the same false moralism as Jones in crudely positing that the “The moral basis for Israel’s persecution of the Palestinian people is eroding fast.” As if such a “moral basis” for Israeli persecution of Palestinians has ever existed outside the depraved mindset of Zionists and white supremacist imperialists, or two-state-solution enthusiasts, also known as liberal Zionists.

Jones and Co. seek “understanding” for this ideology and leave it at that, there is no real analysis of what this ideology is, where it stems from and why it has been employed by Zionist ruling classes and their imperial counterparts to produce the massacres and incremental genocide of the last 66 years. Zionism’s inherent racism and the effect it has on the occupying population is largely ignored; there is no understanding, just feeble pleas to the reader. Jones wants to whitewash it, furnish it with Jewish victimhood and then sweep it under the carpet. But not only does Jones the social chauvinist attempt to whitewash the true extent of this ideology and its vital relationship with western imperialism, but he totally ignores the material causes that bring it about.

Contrary to Jones’ apolitical non-materialist approach to Israeli “rationales”, there is a fundamental economic material cause that buttresses and sustains Israeli fascism, and that is western imperialism. The Israeli state has provided western capital with its most crucial foothold in the resource-rich Middle East since its inception. Initially used by the British as a bulwark against the rising tide of Arab nationalism and national liberation movements, and to uphold a position of military/strategic dominance over the region’s massive resources, then taken fully into the fold of American imperialism with the decline of the British empire to meet the same ends — the Zionist leadership have provided the west with a reliable client willing to go to great lengths in aiding western imperial hegemony in return for maintaining its sponsorship and support for its colonial agenda.

As Bashir Abu-Manneh explains of “imperialism-colonialism”:

“The United States has been determining major economic and political outcomes in the Middle East since at least 1967, with Israel continuing to play a crucial role in their realization. In Israel-Palestine, this has meant that force and colonial peace have alternated as main instruments of policy, with the main objective being a constant: Jewish supremacy in Palestine—as much land as possible, as few Palestinians as possible. The United States has exploited this Zionist imperative for its own interests in the region, and has fostered a militarized and fundamentalist Israel in the process.”

The dynamic of American Empire/Israeli colonialism is, therefore, circular: U.S. support reinforces Israeli colonialism and occupation, which bolsters Israeli militarization of state and society, which generates new ideological and political justifications and breeds new religious fanaticisms, leading to further indigenous resistance and to more U.S. interventions in the region. A cycle of violence if ever there was one, ultimately determined by U.S. imperialism. The United States thus becomes both a necessary and sufficient condition for Israel’s colonial expansionism. Without it, Israel would be a pariah state. Without it, conditions of peaceful coexistence in the region are much more likely. Without it, Israeli militarism and Jewish fundamentalism in Israel would be on the defensive; and the mobilization of internal domestic forces calling for the abandonment of the “national security” ethic and the rejection of living by the sword would have a real chance of gaining political ascendancy in Israel.”(6)

The results of such policies and the co-dependent “circular” relationship between US imperialism and Zionist colonialism are clear for all to see: an ever-diminishing Palestine and a constant Israeli attack on the Palestinians’ very means of existence. The latest bombardment yet again provides explicit evidence of this genocidal policy; from the intentional bombing of civilian infrastructure,  the wholesale destruction of urban zones, cultural and educational facilities, to the deliberate targeting of children – even when under the supposed safety of UN protection – are all colonial policies designed to prevent the survival of, or permanently expel the Palestinian population. The dependency on US imperialism is also as clear as day; without the US’ Orwellian diplomatic and media cover public outcry would be far greater within the west; the now largely defunct and thoroughly subordinated UN – which has always primarily provided the “Great Powers”, now mainly the US and its NATO lackeys, with a dominant position over the “lesser” nations – could have perhaps been more effective in countering Israeli colonialism if it weren’t for American security council vetoes. More importantly still, without US military and economic support Israel would certainly be far less able to sustain its dominant military posture, thereby its aggression and meddling toward its Arab neighbours, let alone pursue a genocidal policy of expansionism.

On the other side of the bargain, and providing the most crucial return in supporting Zionism for the western imperial class, is the furthering of regional chaos, antagonism, and conflict, thereby weakened subordinated Arab states and peoples that western capital seeks to repress – to force down the road of political reaction and to exploit. In one form or another Israel has provided western imperialism with its most reliable asset in the repression and exploitation of the Middle East. Until this colonial manifestation of western imperialism is abolished in full, and its racist ideological structure along with it, thereby freeing the Palestinians and Arabs from western imperialism and Zionist oppression, there will be no “durable peace”.

The western “Left”  liberals and social chauvinists seeking mere “understanding” of the oppressor and affording it false equivalence aim to mitigate and obscure both the inherently fascistic character of Zionism and the Israeli State, and its critical role in buttressing western imperial domination of the Middle East.

 Notes

1.) Over 90% of Israelis say Gaza Op justified. – Times of Israel.

2.) The Logic of Israeli Violence. – Greg Shupak

3.) How the occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier. – Owen Jones.

4.) Israel is under renewed Hamas attack, says the BBC, more balance is needed. – Owen Jones.

5.) As Israel’s assault on Gaza intensifies, its not anti-semitic to say not in my name. – Laurie Penny.

6.) Israel in the US Empire. – Bashir Abu-Manneh

If there were an anti-war movement in the US, the Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014 (S.2277) which will cost American taxpayers $117 billion, might be at the top of the list for defeat as a totally provocative, irrational piece of legislation that can only be viewed as paving the road for a preemptive first strike on Russia.

But as the Obama foreign policy has crossed the threshold of madness in its prevarications of geopolitical crises into costly wars and escalations of US global domination; amazingly alas, there is no anti war movement. The most militarized, most blatantly pro-war country on the planet, perhaps in the history of the world, has not one prominent voice for peace – except the American people who, in every poll, are consistently opposed to more war.

In what is destined to be a lose-lose for world peace, 23 Senate Republicans have co-sponsored Sen. Bob Corker’s legislation that seeks to prevent “further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia.” If there is any reader who believes that Russia has been the aggressor in Ukraine or elsewhere, this graphic video of civilian atrocities committed by Ukraine’s neo nazi National Guard ought to be enough to shake even the most apathetic population out of their indifference.

To date, no Democrat has co-sponsored the bill but that is not to say that neither will they object to its intent. With Congressional recess tentatively scheduled for Labor Day weekend until after the midterm elections, the odds are that S.2277 may not be adopted any time soon.

But what its existence does do is to provide political cover for the Obama Administration which has already moved to adopt a number of its provisions as it follows the bill’s outline that sets the stage for a direct military conflict with Russia – with no Senate presence to object to the ominous rumblings that S 2277 evokes – not the liberal darling du jour Elizabeth Warren nor any other Senator with enough inner grit or integrity to dare challenge Obama’s narcissistic abuse of power.

Here are some disturbing reasons for concern:

* Directs the President to submit a plan to Congress for accelerating NATO and European missile defense efforts.

“Accelerating …missile defense efforts” confirms that additional anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs), already in Poland and the Czech Republic, will be deployed elsewhere in eastern Europe as a provision to block retaliation from Russia after a US first strike.

As if NATO needs any accelerating, on a recent European trip, the globe-trotting president assured Poland and other eastern European countries of an extra $1 billion to pay for an increased US military presence. It is no secret that eastern European leaders see Uncle Sam handouts as the gift that keeps on giving, a gravy train of empowerment – more jobs, more influence and greater prestige. While Obama softly chastised its members to “do its fair share” and “step up,” each NATO country is required to contribute 2% of its GDP to defense, most have reduced rather than increased their payment. The largesse of the US taxpayer carries 75% of the NATO budget load.

* Directs the President to impose significantly increased sanctions if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from the eastern border of Ukraine, or if agents of the Russian Federation do not cease actions to destabilize the control of the government of Ukraine over eastern Ukraine, and if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from Crimea – all within seven days after enactment.

Here we have a deliriously myopic cock-eyed view of reality that Russia is on the doorstep of NATO rather than NATO being the interloper. On that same European trip, the president threatened additional sanctions in an effort to weaken the ruble and destabilize the Russian economy, if Russia continued ‘actively destabilizing its neighbors” again predating Corker’s legislation.

The requirement that Russia withdraw from Crimea, a tenet of the Neanderthal School of Foreign Policy, reveals a pitiful ignorance of the 200 year history of the Crimea as part of Russia and that the Donbas in east Ukraine has been a dominant Russian-speaking industrial epicenter since the 1930’s. The US has informed the Putin government that it would not accept the legitimacy of the Crimea vote for secession to Russia with the time-honored concept of self-determination now verboten at the US State Department.

Speaking of efforts at destabilizing Ukraine, the currently-in-shambles Kiev government is doing a pretty good job of destabilizing itself with the resignation of prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the recent upheaval in the Ukraine parliament including a series of fistfights over its failure to agree on the war in east Ukraine and allowing western control of the country’s pipeline infrastructure.

* Directs the President to halt all redeployments of combat forces from Europe, and develop a plan to correct any deficiencies in the Armed Forces’ ability to respond to contingencies in Europe and Eurasia

* Directs DOD to assess the capabilities and needs of the Ukrainian armed forces and authorizes the President to provide military assistance to Ukraine.

* Provides non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer of defense articles or services as well as to increase U.S. armed forces interactions with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

In toto, the above three points all reflect the preliminary bureaucratic process necessary to prepare for war.

Once formal ‘ally’ status has been conferred, the US can then justify its own and NATO military action coming to the aid of an ‘ally’ under a specious attack from Russia. The addition of nine other countries for increased military assistance is a worrisome signal that the coming conflict is expected to be more widespread than just Ukraine.   On July 29, CNN reported that Ukraine military initiated firing short range ballistic missiles capable of carrying up to 1000 pound warheads; and yet if Russia retaliated, a momentous perhaps irreversible confrontation would be inevitable.

* Secretary of State shall increase efforts, directly or through nongovernmental organizations, to improve democratic governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts in the Russian Federation; strengthen democratic institutions and political and civil society organizations in the Russian Federation; expand uncensored Internet access in Russia; and expand free and unfettered access to independent media of all kinds in Russia, including through increasing United States Government-supported broadcasting activities, and to assist with the protection of journalists and civil society activists who have been targeted for free speech activities.

All of the above would be hilarious if it were not so pathetically hypocritical. Every element of ‘improving democratic governance” is sorely needed in the US but then the American government excels at pointing the finger at others and laying blame when the US itself has been guilty of exactly what it accuses others of.

* Amends the Natural Gas Act for expedited application and approval process for export to World Trade Organization members as well as urge the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction for “promotion of US private sector participation in energy development in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova” for exploitation of natural gas and oil reserves.

So herein lies the real nub of the matter: that is, in what the Pentagon calls ‘full spectrum dominance,” the US pursues ultimate control of the entire world’s supply of petroleum resources and production facilities.  It is intriguing to note that the Natural Gas Act section includes not just energy development in Ukraine but Georgia which has a mere 35 billion barrels of crude oil reserves ranking 81st on the list of countries with proved oil reserves and that Moldova has virtually no petroleum reserves, imports all of its energy from Russia and ranks 141 according to the CIA World Factbook.  The goal here, of course, is to eliminate any dependency on Russia’s export of oil as well as to draw Georgia and Moldova into the fight.

This June, 2014 video of Sergei Glazyev, economic assistant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, provides rare insight into Russia’s interpretation of current geopolitical realities in east Ukraine with an alarming prediction of the US response.

His view is that Ukraine should be considered a US ‘occupied’ state with significant CIA and military advisors in key positions as they direct the war and the likelihood that after the Donbass and its courageous rebellion has been totally extinguished, there will be an invasion of the Crimea. The equally alarming news that the US Star Wars (aka ABM’s designed to intercept ICBM’s but may also be used as an offensive weapon), was tested ten days ago and deployed to the Romanian Russian border is further indicative of President Obama’s apocalyptic plans.

But the truly mind-numbing possibility is that an inexperienced, ineffectual President will be easily swayed to believe that the US can prevail in a limited nuclear first strike.

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

A rising wave of antiwar and anti-conscription protest is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine.

The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko ten days ago that a “third” military mobilization is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an “anti-terrorist operation.”

The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders.

Antiwar protest in city of Mykolaiv (Nikolaev), Ukraine, July 25, 2014, blocking traffic bridge over Bug RiverPoroshenko’s mobilization proposal was approved by the Ukraine Rada on July 22. The measure means that more people will be conscripted into military service and that more reserve army units will be thrown into the battle theatre.

Since the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Kyiv has embarked on a frenzied military push into southeast Ukraine to try and defeat a pro-autonomy rebellion there. It is blocking access by investigators to the MH17 crash site and the forward line of its military push consists of intense and random bombardments of towns and cities amounting to war crimes on a massive scale.

This video of shelling of an apartment block in the city of Donetsk on July 29 is an example of what is occurring. Buzzfeed reports, “Tuesday’s attack was the first time that shelling hit central Donetsk, a hitherto tranquil rebel stronghold. It left three people dead and wounded 15. The nearby city of Horlivka declared three days of mourning after heavy fire killed 17 overnight and wounded several dozen others. At least four more people died in shelling in the Donetsk suburb of Yasynuvata.”

Kyiv is in a race to defeat the rebellion before the crippling cost of it all as well as rising antiwar protests and army desertions bring its offensive to a halt. It also has to worry about anticipated revolts by the Ukraine population as a whole once the harsh consequences of the economic association agreement that Kyiv signed with the European Union on June 30 bite deeper and deeper.

Protests on the rise

Although the propaganda websites of the Kyiv government boast of the successes of its now three-month long “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine (which it dubs its “ATO”), the special mobilization measure approved last week shows its war is in trouble. More fighting units are needed, the national treasury is effectively bankrupted by it all and there are rising numbers of desertions from the army and growing protests by mothers, wives, friends and neighbours of conscript soldiers. ICTV reports that the advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Anton Gerashenko, has announced that anyone in Ukraine who agitates on social media against the regime’s war will be arrested.

The expanding protests have multiple messages. Some oppose the war outright. Others are specifically addressing the harsh and dangerous conditions that soldiers are facing in the east.

One of the most dramatic of the many protests since the “third mobilization” measure was announced has been in the port and shipbuilding city of Mykolaiv (also spelled Nikolaev), on the Black Sea, east of Odessa. Mothers and wives of soldiers repeatedly blocked the Varvarovsky Bridge over the Bug River for three days beginning July 25. They demanded a return of their sons or husbands from lengthy tours of duty in the 79th Paratroop Regiment. The tours have been extended and the regiment has suffered intense combat.

The women went on foot to the bridge carrying placards reading “Save our boys!” and used a pedestrian crossing to block traffic. Tussles with police and militia took place. (See dramatic video footage here from July 25.)

On the first day of the protest, the women drafted a letter to President Poroshenko which the mayor of the city and regional governor agreed to deliver. The women said their action would not end until they received a satisfactory reply. They didn’t receive that. A police mobilization ended the blockade on July 27. Some protesters were arrested.

The websites Hronika.info and ZIK.ua report that in the town of Bohorodchany in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast (region) [1], in southwest Ukraine bordering the Carpathia region, angry people attacked the military registration office and the premises of other local organs of power on July 22. They burned conscription documents. (Ukraine language report here.)

It’s a rural region and protesters sounded a theme that is common to many of the anti-conscription protests: they say their menfolk lack proper training and equipment and therefore face “certain death” when sent to the east.

“Certain death” faced by soldiers is not a sign of a war going well. It also suggests that the most recent report of the Office United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reporting “at least” 1,129 killed by the war in Ukraine is seriously understated. It’s a fact that the report’s claim of “100,000″ people made refugee by the war is laughingly low — Russia says more than 500,000 refugees have crossed its border since the war began in April and Ukraine admits to nearly 100,000 internal refugees.

Russia has condemned this latest report by the OUNCHR, saying, “Its key message is that the government of Ukraine is permitted to legitimately use force to restore law and order in the east of the country.”

Also on July 22, residents of the village of Skobychivka linked arms and formed a human chain to block the road from Ivano-Frankivsk to Bohorodchany, causing a kilometre-long traffic jam. The protesters held placards reading: “No Afghanistan in Ukraine!” “Send call-up notices to the children of the higher-ups!” “Return our children to us,” and “Stop the bloodshed.” A common slogan in the protests is “Refuse!”

A separate report in Vesti quoted the relatives of soldiers saying their sons were being used as “cannon fodder.” The report said people were also protesting in Yaremcha, in the same region, and in Sambor, Lviv region.

Not far from that area, in Bukovina region, residents in seven villages blocked roads on July 28. That region is southwest Ukraine includes a significant population of Romanian descent.

A video published by 112.UA shows soldiers’ relatives blocking a road in Obukhivs’kyi district, near Kyiv on July 24 demanding a return of soldiers from lengthy duty.

Protesters in the Odessa region blocked the Black Sea coastal highway for hours on July 28.

Residents of six villages in Sokyryanskyi region (Chernivtsi oblast) — Bilousivka, Lomachyntsi, Mykhalkove, Serbychany, Korman and Romankivtsi — blocked the highway between Chernivtsi and Novodnistrovsk on the morning of July 25, demanding that their menfolk not be sent to war.

Protests have gripped the entire region of Chernivtsi in southwest Ukraine. A video recording showed people saying, “We don’t war — we want peace” and “We did not raise our children for war. We will not give them our children.”

This video (screen below) shows a group of people, mostly women, from Chernivtsi who gather to confront a local military recruitment officer. They are carrying their sons or husbands’ conscription orders.

“Go fight your own war,” they tell the conscription officer, who tells locals to “go to the Internet” if they want to find out why the new mobilization is happening. He is referring to the Kyiv regime’s intensely propagandistic websites devoted to all things “ATO.” But the protesters are having none of that. They gather dozens of blue-coloured conscription orders into a pile and burn them.

As they stand around watching the flames, they’re all voicing their opinions. One mother says, “[Kyiv authorities] are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, but they come here to take our sons and send them to death. They made the mess and now they need us to clean it up.” The conscription officer stands by helplessly. What can he do? He is following orders.

In the settlement of Marshintsi in the Novoselytskyy region of Chernivtsi, protesters blocked the entry of soldiers and police. Residents brought tyres and barricaded the road leading into the village. Many wrote letters of refusal, describing the events in the south-east as a “slaughter”.

On July 20, the Kyiv-Chop highway was blocked by local residents, mainly women, in the vicinity of the village of Hamaliivka near Lviv. A protest last month also blocked the highway. The same highway was blocked on July 28, in the villages of Rakoshyno and Znyatsevo, near the border of Slovakia and Hungary.

Here is one of the latest videos to be published on YouTube, of a protest in the town of Town of Novoselytsya in Chernivtsi oblast on July 30.

Many protests are voicing a “No Afghanistan in Ukraine” demand. This harkens back to the ten-year war that the Soviet Union fought against the people of Afghanistan, beginning in 1980. Altogether, 14,500 soldiers of the Soviet Union’s army died, 54,000 were wounded and many, many more Afghans died. The war was a major factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which happened not long after it withdrew from Afghanistan in ignominious defeat in 1988.

Post-Soviet, independent Ukraine later joined the U.S.-led occupation and war in Afghanistan. A small force still participates.

The well-known Ukrainian television journalist and commentator Ostap Drozdov has called for a boycott of the latest mobilization decree. The website Russkaya Vesna reports him saying: “My program yesterday (on the regional television channel ZIK) can be considered the start of an informal campaign to boycott the mobilisation. I state my intention to give my utmost support to this initiative, which goes by the provisional name “Mobilisation Equals Genocide.’”

He said, “It is very important that people who speak out against the mobilisation of the civilian population should see that they are not isolated. There are a great many of them.”

Army in trouble

Exact numbers of army desertions are not known and are the subject of considerable debate and counter-debate. This website report, for example, publishes a purported Ukraine army report saying that close to 3,500 soldiers deserted in the third week of July and that 1,600 soldiers died and 4,700 were wounded in that same time. Sources in Russia say the documents it cites are not authentic.

Here is a brief news report in which several Ukraine soldiers speak of their decision to take asylum in Russia. (Many videos of the fighting in eastern Ukraine are posted here on the “Anti-Maidan YouTube Channel.”)

This video records a protest in Kyiv of relatives of the 72nd Army Brigade that suffered heavy losses from a rocket attack some days ago. The protesters chant “Help the heroes”. A poster reads: “Send [Rada] deputies and generals to the battlefield!” They pray, and sing the Ukraine national anthem.

The Brigade was caught in a grisly cauldron in southeast Ukraine with many killed and injured and some survivors taking refuge in Russia. In this video, soldiers of the brigade speak for 13 minutes of their difficult and disturbing combat experience.

The pro-Kyiv, Interfax news service reports on 18 Ukraine soldiers who took refuge in Russia and received medical treatment.

Russia Today reported several days ago of this group of 40 soldiers who entered Russia and requested asylum.

Recasted fascist introduces conscription bill

Andriy Parubiy introduced the “third” mobilization bill to the Rada. He is Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, a key advisory body to the President and the Parliament on military matters. He says the measure will mobilize 15 more army combat units and 44 combat support units.

Parabuiy is a renowned fascist in Ukraine who has modified his image in the past year and risen to prominence in the Kyiv regime that seized power in February of this year. Last year, he joined the Fatherland party of former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and was elected to the Rada. Fatherland is a neo-conservative coalition/party.

U.S. journalist Robert Parry wrote of Paruiby earlier this year, “Parubiy is himself a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols.

“Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding [in 2007] of the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’ to World War Two Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose own paramilitary forces exterminated thousands of Jews and Poles in pursuit of a racially pure Ukraine.”

The United States is boosting its military aid and training to Ukraine. The announcement came from U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on July 25. The U.S. already committed to $23 million in equipment; that will now rise to $33 million. It is also intervening in the countries it dominates in the region to boost the training and equipping of their armed forces, including Moldova and Romania on Ukraine’s southwest frontier and Poland on the northwest.

Kyiv’s ruthless shelling and bombing of towns and cities is running out of time due to the war’s huge financial cost. Describing Ukraine’s economy, the Washington Post wrote on July 26:

“The IMF forecasts that Ukraine’s annual GDP will drop by 6.5% this year, while the government deficit is projected at 10.1% of GDP. This week, the government announced that it would need at least 800 million dollars to continue its counterinsurgency operation and asked the parliament to further increase taxes and cut public spending. The deputies’ refusal to appropriate needed funds yesterday triggered Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation as he recognized that soldiers would receive no pay next month. The reconstruction of Donbas is even more uncertain as the government promised to turn to foreign donors for funds in the coming fall.”

In a remarkable admission last week, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadym Prystaiko, told the Globe and Mail, “We are pouring all the money in our budget… into the anti-terrorism campaign.”

The war is scandalously riding roughshod over the international investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Investigators were blocked from reaching the site on July 27 and in the days following by the relentless shellings and other bombings by the Ukraine army in the region.

As reported by international media, inspectors are lodged in hotels in Donetsk each night and the passed easily through self defense lines surrounding the city to get to the site. But as the days wore on, the international media reported the blockage as due to “fighting” and “clashes.”

On July 30, Kyiv propaganda began saying that rebel fighters had placed mines on the crash site and were shelling it. That story evaporated the following day when, in circumstances unexplained, inspectors finally reached the site.

The grim reality of Kyiv’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine has been airbrushed out of mainstream news reporting. Little or no visual presentation of bombardments or other war crimes is allowed to pass through editorial filters. The war and its consequences are explained away in the vacuous language of “fighting” or “clashes” taking place. The Toronto Star’s Tanya Talaga began a front-page article on July 30 with, “The European Union and western nations joined on [July 29] to try to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his military aggression in Ukraine…” (Inside the same edition, the Star published a factual account of the bombardments of cities and towns.)

The European Union is matching the Ukraine army offensive by upping its economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions are punishment for Russia’s refusal to obey U.S. and European demands that it police the pro-autonomy movements in eastern Ukraine and pressure them to surrender. They are also part of the long-standing drive by the member countries of the NATO military alliance to weaken and isolate Russia.

The rising antiwar movement in Ukraine has profound consequences for the future of the country. Will protests stop Kyiv’s war before southeast Ukraine is reduced to ruin? Will Ukrainian as well as international protests give pause to the military planners at NATO who are increasingly training their sites on Russia?

Ukraine’s economic elite has made a sharp turn to embrace austerity Europe. The kind of austerity consequences that have ravaged Greece and other countries of southern Europe await the Ukrainian people. How will the antiwar protesters and other ordinary Ukrainians react as the government deepens unpopular cuts to social programs and subsidies that reduce the cost of essential items?

Protests around the world are needed to stay the hands of the warmakers in southeast Ukraine. Solidarity actions can stop the killings. They can also help Ukrainians to chart a different path of economic and social development. That would be fitting because anti-austerity sentiment was at the heart of the rebellion in eastern Ukraine in the first place.

A new, 80-minute video compilation, Ukraine Crisis, has been produced that provides a powerful record of the war in eastern Ukraine during the past month. A warning, there are some scenes of death and destruction caused by the Kyiv government’s shelling that are disturbing, particularly in the four to six minute section, inclusively. The testimony of the woman who speaks for five minutes at the 1’17″30 mark is especially insightful and heartrending. She has lost her son to the war, not knowing since March if he is dead or alive. She asks, “What has become of this Ukraine nation?”

This article draws in part from a July 28, 2014 article from the Russian website Rabkor (“Worker Correspondent”) which was translated into English by Renfrey Clarke.

Notes:

[1] Ukraine is subdivided into 25 regions: 24 oblasts (regions, or provinces) and one city with special status, Kyiv. Two former oblasts — Donetsk and Luhansk — voted in May for autonomy. The ferocity of Kyiv’s war is driving those two regions to a de facto secession.

Gaza: “It’s not Really Violence, It’s a Massacre”

August 1st, 2014 by Norman Finkelstein

 Some people have suggested that instead of writing up my analyses I use video in order to convey what I think is going on in the current Israeli massacre in Gaza. And so this will be my first attempt, and we’ll see how successful it is. I’ll try each time I go on the web to focus on one particular issue, and today I would like to look at the proposals that Secretary of State Kerry has being putting forth, the various proposals for ending the current round of violence. (It’s not really violence, it’s a massacre.)

There have been many versions of this Kerry proposal that are circulating on the web, and it’s impossible to determine—for an outsider to determine—which is the accurate version of the proposal Kerry put to the Israeli cabinet.

But in fact it’s pretty much beside the point, because the bottom line of all the proposals is the same. The bottom line is the quid pro quo: in order for Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza, basically the Palestinians have been told they have to—the current language usage is—“address Israel’s security concerns,” which is just a euphemism for “the Palestinians have to disarm.” So I want to look first at the issue of the blockade, and then look at the issue of whether the Palestinians have to disarm.

On the question of the blockade, it’s pretty straightforward under international law. The blockade of Gaza constitutes a form of collective punishment, and therefore is illegal under international law. That seems to be the legal consensus (with the exception, of course of Israel and its apologists): the blockade is illegal, and so there can’t be any qualifications, any caveats, any ifs, ands or buts. The blockade, being a form of collective punishment, has to be lifted.

It’s important to keep in mind that in prior agreements—the ceasefire agreement in June 2008, the ceasefire agreement in November 2012—in both of the ceasefire agreements, it was never demanded of the Palestinians that they had to disarm in exchange for the end of the blockade. Each of the agreements did stipulate that the blockade of Gaza was supposed to end gradually. As it happens, in both cases, Israel reneged on that condition. But neither of the ceasefire agreements, either in June 2008 or in November 2012, neither of those agreements called on the Palestinians to disarm as a condition for ending the blockade.

So this condition that’s now been entered—“addressing all Israel’s security concerns,” which is separate from a ceasefire; “addressing all Israel’s security concerns,” which in effect means the Palestinians must disarm—that’s unprecedented and obviously has no basis in international law, because the blockade is illegal and the blockade has to be lifted regardless of Israel’s security concerns.

Let’s now turn to this issue of Israel’s security concerns. Does Israel have the right to demand of the Palestinians of Hamas, of the Palestinian militant groups, does Israel have the right to demand of them that they have to disarm?

The international law is perfectly clear at this point. Under international law, a people engaged in struggle for self-determination is not legally bound not to use force. Under international law, people struggling for self-determination—either the law is neutral on the subject, or it says that those struggling for self-determination have [the right] to use force. But what’s clear is that under international law it is not illegal for those struggling for self-determination to use force.

On the other side, under international law, a state that’s trying to suppress the struggle for self-determination, in this case Israel, a state trying to suppress a self-determination struggle, they’re not allowed to use force. So what you have here is exactly and precisely an inversion of international law. Those struggling for self-determination are in effect being told that as a condition for lifting the blockade they have to renounce force, but no such demand is being made on the power which is suppressing the struggle for self-determination.

In effect, this euphemism, “addressing all Israel’s security concerns,” what that’s actually saying is “Israel has the right to secure the occupation,” and that’s a contradiction in terms, literally. Because under international law the most fundamental characteristic, most fundamental trait of an occupation—when you open any textbook of international law, the first thing it says—is, an occupation is supposed to be temporary. In a word, an occupation is supposed to end. If the occupation does not end, it’s not an occupation, it’s an annexation, and annexation under international law is illegal. So when Israel talks about its right to have all its security concerns addressed, it’s not talking about the right to protect its country, it’s talking about its right to secure its occupation.

Now concretely, what does that mean? Let’s just look at the last round of negotiations that occurred just prior to the outbreak of the current hostilities—or the outbreak of Israel’s launching of its latest massacre. Let’s look at the negotiations. The record is not crystal-clear, but it’s pretty clear. The Palestinian side, the Palestinian Authority, was willing to concede all of Israel’s major demands. It was willing to concede to Israel the settlement blocks; it was willing to concede to Israel the nullification of the Palestinian right of return.

So in effect the Palestinians were offering Israel, not a settlement on the basis of international law, Palestinians were offering Israel a surrender—and the Israelis refused a Palestinian surrender, determined to maintain the occupation through eternity. That was obvious even from the statements of Secretary of State Kerry: when Secretary of State Kerry spoke before the congressional committee, he said, “Poof!” It was the Israelis who, in effect, ended the negotiations and made a settlement of the conflict impossible.

So one thing can be established I think with what one might call almost scientific certainty: under no circumstances will Israel end the occupation. So when Israel says it demands that all its security concerns be addressed, that means Israel’s demanding its right to maintain the occupation through eternity, and it’s demanding simultaneously that the Palestinians disarm themselves, and the Palestinians cease to resist the occupation, the Palestinians cease their struggle for self-determination.

That’s the real meaning when Israel says it wants all its security concerns addressed, because Israel conceives any expression of Palestinian struggling for self-determination, it conceives any expression of a self-determination struggle, it conceives that as threatening its security, or its “security concerns.” So, what’s in effect being said now is, Israel will lift the blockade of Gaza if and when the Palestinians cease struggling for self-determination, cease struggling for independence, cease struggling for statehood, and the Palestinians accept that the occupation will go on through eternity.

Leaving aside the moral issue, as a legal question it makes no sense. If Israel is demanding that all its security concerns be addressed, and that all its security concerns include any Palestinian manifestation of its struggle for self-determination, and if that means the occupation will go on through eternity, that means it’s not an occupation. It’s an annexation, and annexation is flagrantly, blatantly, incontrovertibly illegal under international law. It’s the most elementary principle of the UN Charter as it was expressed in UN Resolution 242: it’s inadmissible for a country to acquire territory by war. Israel acquired the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem in a war; it has no title to that territory. If in effect it’s demanding its right to annex that territory, then it’s clearly, blatantly, and flagrantly violating international law.

Transcription by Michael Keefer. The video from which this transcription was made is available at http://normanfinkelstein.com, and also at http://rt.com/news/176372-israel-racist-chant-gaza/.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl inspects the damage at an UNRWA school following an Israeli strike. (Photo: AFP-Mohammed Abed)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says it had sent 17 communiqués that included the coordinates of the Abu Hussein UN-run school in the Jabalia refugee camp to the Israelis to avoid bombing it. The last of these warnings was communicated a few hours before the massacre, according to UNRWA. The deadly Israeli air strike on the school prompted the UN agency to break its silence and challenge the Israeli account of what had happened.

Gaza – This the third time that UNRWA schools have been bombed during this war. The first attack did not lead to casualties, as the Israeli occupation army had sent warnings to the Maghazi School in the central Gaza Strip before shelling it.

The second attack turned into a massacre in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, killing around 15 refugees. At the time, UNRWA was equivocal about the cause of the attack, and relied on the Israeli account that claimed there had been military activity there. But Wednesday’s massacre took place in a refugee camp that does not have enough room for even a single bullet to be fired. The shelling claimed the lives of 17 people and injured dozens, many critically.When the worshippers had finished their prayers at dawn in the mosques of the northern part of the Jabalia refugee camp, and made their way to the shelters at the elementary Abu Hussein School, they did not know they were about to become the victims of a horrific massacre.

In the beginning, the shells were not directed toward the school, but were random and hit houses in the surrounding area. Suddenly, the Israeli artillery decided to target the school directly, destroying the outer gate, two classrooms at the front and center of the school and adjacent toilets, in addition to three homes near the school. It was a bloodbath with body parts everywhere. Injured people, whose arms or legs were blown off, were paralyzed from shock and could not even scream. Even some animals that were near the gate were killed, and their corpses mingled with those of people.

Mohammed Awad, a journalist who lives in the area, rushed to document the incident. He said what he had seen was probably the “worst massacre” he encountered since the start of the war. He told Al-Akhbarthat he counted up to 15 shells that landed on the school and the street that separates it from surrounding homes, adding, “The strikes were sudden and random. People did not realize what was happening and they could not escape.”

Awad said that members from both the Najjar and Amoudi families were killed in the attack, in addition to the school’s janitor who was on UNRWA’s payroll, adding, “Eight people died in a single classroom.” The journalist also pointed out that fires broke out at the school as a result, and spread to a fuel tank and an electricity generator.

According to Awad, the majority of families that sought shelter in the school came from the farmlands in the north, “fleeing with their carts, horses, and donkeys, the source of their livelihoods.” Awad also stressed that there had been no prior warning issued to the school.

Mohammed Muhanna also witnessed the massacre. He said, “Those who know the area know that it is crowded, and that there is no room to fire rockets from it. The entire area is civilian and the occupation knows it.” Muhanna was among the first to arrive at the scene, and helped transport the injured. He also told Al-Akhbar that there were officials from UNRWA who were checking the schools and surrounding areas to verify whether there was any threat to people’s lives.

Fuad Abu Qleiq, who was sheltering in the school, said that he stayed behind to collect the body parts at the scene, and expressed his sorrow for the fate of the families that came seeking shelter under UNRWA’s roof. He said angrily, “UNRWA should have protected us, but it couldn’t, and Israel did not show any respect for it.”

Medical sources put the death toll at 17 and said 65 people were injured as a result of the massacre. The sources said that most injuries were critical, some requiring urgent surgery, including cases that cannot be treated in Gaza’s hospitals.

Faced with the third attack of its kind on its schools, UNRWA blamed Israel for killing women and children at the Abu Hussein School and called for holding Israel accountable, as an UNRWA delegation examined the scene and collected evidence. According to an UNRWA statement, the delegation analyzed shrapnel samples and examined craters from the shelling and other damage.

The UNRWA statement said, “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”

The statement continued, “We have visited the site and gathered evidence…Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge…These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.”

UNRWA stressed that the Israeli army had been notified of the exact location of the school and its coordinates, saying, “The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times, to ensure its protection; the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.”In the same vein, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.” Krähenbühl added, “This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed. Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue.”

Krähenbühl concluded, “We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”

Meanwhile, UNRWA spokesperson Adnan Abu Hasna said that the agency held an emergency meeting, and came out with several decisions including measures to assist the family of the slain janitor, who he said “was the responsibility of the agency.” Abu Hasna said that UNRWA would need to provide for his nine children and offer them support and compensation.

It should be noted that UNRWA had claimed during the current conflict that it had found weapons in one of its schools. UNRWA rushed to announce this in a statement without investigating the incident following protocol, which helped the Israeli side justify its attacks in front of public opinion. However, the massacre at Abu Hussein was clearly unprovoked and unjustified even by UNRWA and Israeli standards.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

In classical and historical view of international law, any form of aggression that affected assets or legitimate interests of a particular nation done by external parties is tantamount to an “act of war” or in its original Latin – casus belli.

After the world was ravaged by two world wars in the early 20th century, the creation of the United Nations has led to the establishment of a charter of international law on casus belli which is binding to all of its members.

Article 51 of UN Charter recognizes only three lawful justifications for waging war: self-defense, defense of an ally required by the terms of a treaty and an approval by UN itself.

But such charter despite of its effectiveness in curbing total war between nations have failed to curtail some geopolitical actors in circumventing it by using other forms and means that still can be regarded as an “act of war”.

The United States of America (US) is one such country that has continuously circumvented this law either by conducting their “Black Ops” under the guise of classified US Special Operations or Proxy Wars, famously fought across all continents during the Cold War era and still is today. Cuba, Afghanistan, Vietnam and many other nations became its battleground not only in ideological battles between liberal-democracy of US against the communism of Soviet Union, but also a real battleground fought with guns, tanks and Apache.

In fact US under the former administration of President George W Bush, this charter was disregarded by invading Iraq without ever formally declaring war.

The word “war” was pretty much muted in the run up to and throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom in the mouthpieces of American mainstream media. No matter what the justifications Washington and its allies had given, the international community still regard the invasion as a real “act of war” that was forged with the lies of Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) and in violatation of Article 51 as Washington went against the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

If we were to take along the pessimistic and aggressive tones as shown by Washington and its European NATO allies towards the Kremlin, we can clearly ascertain that the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is definitely an “act of war” – a war which has nothing to do with Malaysia and its people but nonetheless a war fought between US through its proxy, the newly-installed Ukraine government against Russia and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist.

Sadly, many geopolitical observers have dwarfed Malaysia’s position, the owner of the downed MH17 as a mere mishap war casualty that was caught in the crossfire.

Over the span of four months, Malaysian Airlines has been beset with two downed flights (including the yet-to-be found MH370) which carried and embodied Malaysia’s sovereignty in the international arena. Must we regard the downing of MH17 as simply a tragic incident that can be merely relegated to the level of “collateral damage” in a proxy war between US-NATO and Russia?

In geopolitical matters, tragedies or accidents could not be left as fated or mere chance. Given the fact we have seen numerous incidents in the past that suggested almost similar kind of events that can hardly be denied as “staged” or pretext for a more sinister goal. One of the glaring examples can be seen during the Vietnam War under the administration of former US President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The casus belli cited by the US against Communist-backed North Vietnam was the Gulf of Tonkin incident in which the US authorities claimed that the USS Maddox was attacked by two Vietnamese gunboats that were sunk by the US Navy.  Despite North Vietnam’s denial, the US pursued its cause of declaring a war against them without proving conclusively that North Vietnam was the guilty party. Recently declassified documents has proven that the casus belli was based on deception.

Compare this to what is currently happening in Ukraine, the US and NATO have been drumming the war beat through their own mainstream media in trying to frame the downing of MH17 as a casus belli for the US and NATO to push forward and closer to the Russian border of Eastern Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been mulling since May this year on the option to invoke NATO’s Article 5, a mutual defense clause that is tied to UN Charter 51 against the escalating unrest in Eastern Ukraine in which he blamed Kremlin for continuously stoking the fire.

Not only that: Rasmussen has dished out a strong statement with regard to the crisis of Ukraine where he viewed it to be a “geo-political game changer” for NATO Allies. But NATO Council members especially Germany gave a lukewarm and cautionary response towards Rasmussen’s proposal.

But the downing of MH17 indeed has really become a game-changer for US and NATO as they have been issuing strong statements and rallying their allies in demanding greater responsibilities from Kremlin to sort out the mess in its own backyard of Eastern Ukraine.

The downing of MH17 can definitely not be viewed as a mere “friendly fire” or just a “collateral damage” as purported by US and NATO that have constantly alleged the pro-Russian separatists and Russia to be the guilty parties in shooting yet-to-be proven Buk missiles towards a civilian airplane that flew far above the combat zone.

Russian military officials have provided concrete amount of satellite data as an act of defense against accusations leveled by US and NATO. Even US senior officials who have been tasked to conduct assessment on the incident have backtracked their allegation and downplay the role of Russia and pro-Russian separatists on their capability and military means to down the MH17.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak diplomatic coup over the Ukrainian separatist has drawn applaud from the international community but will Malaysia still be able to pursue what Najib has demanded earlier – a “swift justice” for the downing of MH17?

Such daring task will be highly dependent upon Malaysia’s strong political and diplomatic maneuver on the international stage. One of the ways is to establish a valid casus belli against both sides of warring parties of US/NATO-backed Ukraine and Russia and pro-Russian separatists of Eastern Ukraine. Through this move, Malaysia’s interest with respect to the downed MH17 shall no longer be dwarfed as a mere “collateral damage”.

Malaysia’s access to the crash sites is crucial in order to collect necessary evidence. Such move should not be regarded, interpreted and framed as an effort to further escalate the conflict in Ukraine but rather as a mean to accord proper recognition on the downed MH17, especially towards the grieving families of the innocent victims and as a mean to solicit more concrete supports and commitment from international communities to assist in this investigation so that no stones will be left unturned or being swept under the carpet of history.

Thus far only the Russian government has given a strong signal to cooperate with the investigation by providing necessary data. The US, NATO and its Ukraine ally have thus far failed to match Russia’s commitment in assisting with this investigation by providing more tangible data that can be evaluated and inspected by independent commissions and international bodies like International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and UN Security Council.

Malaysia being a small nation will surely need help and support from other superpowers especially among the members of UN Security Council, notably the Five-Veto Nations.

Prime Minister Najib has signaled that Malaysia should be regarded as a middle-power nation within ASEAN region and Malaysia’s position as chairman of ASEAN coming 2015 will be tested sooner than expected on how best Malaysia will persistently pursue a “swift justice” for the downing of MH17.

Wan Ahmad Fayhsal  is a fellow at Putra Business School, Malaysia.

Among those who cheer when a cease-fire ends and killing resumes are those who want more Palestinians slaughtered as a form of mass punishment for fictional offenses.  Also among those cheering are certain mainstream U.S. newspaper columnists.  In fact, at least one person is clearly in both of the above categories.

My local newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., printed a column on Friday from Thomas Sowell, distributed by Creators Syndicate but actually written for the right-wing Jewish World Review. Sowell writes:

“It is understandable that today many people in many lands just want the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians to stop. Calls for a cease-fire are ringing out from the United Nations and from Washington, as well as from ordinary people in many places around the world. According to the New York Times, Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping for a cease-fire to ‘open the door to Israeli and Palestinian negotiations for a long-term solution.’ President Obama has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have an ‘immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire’ — again, with the idea of pursuing some long-lasting agreement.”

Here is where Sowell might logically object to Washington shipping Israel more weaponry in the midst of proposing cease-fires and mumbling quietly about the inappropriateness of particular bits of the mass-murder underway.  John Kerry doesn’t hope for a long-term solution any more than he knew Syria used chemical weapons or Putin shot down a plane or Iraq deserved to be destroyed before it didn’t but after it did.  John Kerry knows the U.S. provides the weaponry and the criminal immunity to a nation intent on completing the process of eliminating its native peoples, as Kerry’s own nation effectively did long ago.  There’s no solution possible in that context other than a Final Solution for Palestinians. But this is not what Sowell goes on to say.

“If this was the first outbreak of violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, such hopes might make sense. But where have the U.N., Kerry and Obama been during all these decades of endlessly repeated Middle East carnage?”

Well, the same place all of their Republican and Democratic predecessors have been, supporting endless armaments for Israel and most of its neighbors, and vetoing any U.N. resolutions that would impose any consequences for Israel’s occupation, blockade, and Apartheid repression on the basis of religion and race.

“The Middle East must lead the world in cease-fires. If cease-fires were the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet.”

Stop for a moment and appreciate the unfathomable stupidity of that remark.  One might as well say the Middle East must lead the world in U.S. weapons imports or the Middle East must lead the world in wars.  If these were paths to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet.  One might also just as easily say the Middle East must lead the world in the brevity of its cease-fires, with cease-fires elsewhere lasting longer, and with as many broken agreements lying in the sand of the Middle East as anywhere since the last big batch of promises made to Native Americans.  One might even just as easily say the Middle East must lead the world in resumptions of fighting, rather than in halts to fighting. But that’s not where Sowell is headed.  He’s out to reverse Benjamin Franklin’s notion that there has never been a good war or a bad peace.

“‘Cease-fire’ and ‘negotiations’ are magic words to ‘the international community.’ But just what do cease-fires actually accomplish? In the short run, they save some lives. But in the long run they cost far more lives, by lowering the cost of aggression.”

Here it comes.  Just as the Jewish World Review wants to make poor people “self-sufficient” by denying them any assistance, Sowell wants to teach the people of Palestine a lesson for their own good.  Of course people dispossessed of their land, made refugees, entrapped and blockaded, and targeted with missiles that level their homes and explode in their schools and hospitals and shelters are unusual suspects to accuse of aggression.  And for those who shoot rockets, so ineffectively and counter-productively, into Israel, the lesson Sowell wants to teach through mass slaughter is demonstrably not taught.  Everyone in Gaza will tell you that Israeli violence increases support for Palestinian violence.  Not every Palestinian understands that the reverse is also true, that the rockets fuel Israeli attacks, but that hardly justifies their murder or creates a lesson where Sowell imagines Israeli missiles teaching one.

“At one time, launching a military attack on another nation risked not only retaliation but annihilation. When Carthage attacked Rome, that was the end of Carthage.”

Ah, the good old days, when any colony or challenger that stepped out of line could be wiped out, starved out, and cleansed from the earth.

“But when Hamas or some other terrorist group launches an attack on Israel, they know in advance that whatever Israel does in response will be limited by calls for a cease-fire, backed by political and economic pressures from the United States.”

The political pressure of Kerry groveling before Netanyahu? Of Susan Rice explaining to the world that Kerry never meant to negotiate and has always been 100% in Israel’s camp? Of Obama joining Sowell in blaming the victims? The economic pressure of the free weapons continuing to flow from the U.S. to Israel?  What sort of fantasy is this?

One possibility is that it’s a fantasy of racism or culturalism.  Americans are rational beings in this fantasy.  It would only make sense to apply obvious points of pressure for a cease-fire once you’ve proposed one.  Arming the Middle East for peace would be insanity.  So, Sowell perhaps fantasizes that sanity and rationality prevail.  Except in places like Palestine or Iran:

“Those who say that we can contain a nuclear Iran, as we contained a nuclear Soviet Union, are acting as if they are discussing abstract people in an abstract world. Whatever the Soviets were, they were not suicidal fanatics, ready to see their own cities destroyed in order to destroy ours. . . .  Even if the Israelis were all saints — and sainthood is not common in any branch of the human race — the cold fact is that they are far more advanced than their neighbors, and groups that cannot tolerate even subordinate Christian minorities can hardly be expected to tolerate an independent, and more advanced, Jewish state that is a daily rebuke to their egos.”

Since when does Iran not tolerate minorities? Since when is it populated by 76 million suicidal fanatics?

You see, not only do the Gazans want to die, in the view of Sowell and so many others we’ve been hearing from via our so-called public airwaves, because it makes good footage, because they have a culture of martyrdom — you’ve heard all the explanations for Gazans stubbornly remaining in their homes and hospitals rather than swimming to Cyprus as normal people would do — but the source of Gazans’ irrational aggression against the benevolent power that stole their land and starves their children and bans the importation of books is — wait for it — jealousy. It’s wounded egos.  Just as poor Americans are jealous of the success of those with the wisdom and fortitude to be born into the families of billionaires, so Palestinians resent the superiority, the Ubermenschness of the people who have been clever enough to get born into Pentagon subsidies.

As a contrasting view of the world to Sowell’s allow me to offer this new Willie Nelson video (http://youtu.be/MezGqmMCrwo):

Five Latin American Countries Withdraw Envoys from Israel

August 1st, 2014 by Global Research News

The decision of the Latin American countries to recall their ambassadors in Tel Aviv is a “deep disappointment”, says Israel.

El Salvador on Wednesday became the fifth Latin American country to withdraw its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the move encourages Hamas; “this decision encourages Hamas which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by several countries. The countries standing against terror must act responsibly and should not reward them. While Hamas has been responsible for hindering a ceasfire, El Salvador, Peru and Chile were expected to support international attitude for peace and demilitarization of Gaza”, the statement said.

Earlier Israel criticized Brazil over its decision to recall its ambassador in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Brazil was one of 29 countries in the UN Human Rights Council that voted last Wednesday to investigate Israel over its military offensive in Gaza.

During a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 17, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country was “profoundly concerned by the dramatic events” in Gaza.

The Palestinian death toll from a devastating Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip rose to 1283, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman.

According to the spokesman, at least 7170 Palestinians have also been injured in the ongoing Israeli attacks since July 7.

Syndicated from Anadolu Agency

Ebola 2: Here Come the “Global Pandemic” Promoters

August 1st, 2014 by Jon Rappoport

Now in the UK, the government has absurdly decided it wants to hunt for 30,000 people who might have “come in contact” with air traveler Patrick Sawyer, who is said to have died from Ebola.

At first, the search was going to be aimed at only several hundred, but now they’ve multiplied the hysteria factor.

Here is one predictable outcome: at clinics and hospitals, frightened people who arrive with what are labeled “early signs” of Ebola will be labeled as probable cases. What are those symptoms? Fever, chill, sore throat, cough, headache, joint pain. Sound familiar? Normally, this would just be called the flu.

What’s (intentionally) missing in all this an understanding of the immune system. Generally speaking, a germ doesn’t stand a chance of causing serious illness when the immune system is strong.

Of course, you won’t hear about that. Instead, news accounts will feature shock and awe: “perfectly healthy people” who suddenly succumbed to the “killer germ.”

The fact is, unless a serious, honest, and highly competent practitioner does a complete workup on a patient, he has no idea whether that person is healthy and has a strong immune system.

While researching my first book in 1987, AIDS Inc.: Scandal of the Century, I read published summaries of “the first AIDS cases,” all of whom had been patients at UCLA Hospital. To a man, these patients were labeled “formerly otherwise healthy.” That was sheer propaganda. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The lists of their prior medical drugs put the lie to that in short order.

In areas of the world where severe malnutrition, starvation, lack of basic sanitation, contaminated water, overcrowding, heavy pollution are present, people fall ill and die routinely.

These conditions destroy the immune system—and then any germ that sweeps through the area causes illness and death, because body’s defenses are shot. That’s the real problem.

Here’s another point you won’t see discussed on the mainstream news: the reliability of tests used to diagnose Ebola.

Two of those tests—antibody and PCR—are notoriously unreliable.

Antibody tests will register positive for disease because they ping on factors that have nothing to do with the disease being looked for. And even when cross-reaction ping doesn’t occur, a positive test merely shows that the patient came in contact with the germ in question. It says nothing about whether he’s ill or is going to become ill.

In fact, before 1984, when the science was turned on its head, antibody-positive status was taken to mean the patient’s immune system had successfully warded off the germ.

The PCR test is a sophisticated way of amplifying tiny, tiny bits of what are assumed to be viral material, so they can be observed. The problem here is this: if only tiny bits of material could be found in the patient’s body in the first place, there is no reason to suppose they’re enough to cause disease. Very, very large amounts of virus are necessary to begin to suspect the patient is ill or is going to become ill.

Bottom line: huge numbers of people on whom these tests are done are going to be falsely diagnosed with Ebola.

And in a pandemic scare, diagnostic tests are going to be ignored altogether. “Eyeball” assessment becomes the order of the day.

This is exactly what happened in the US, in the summer of 2009, when the Swine Flu scare was at its height.

The Centers for Disease Control, without informing the public, just stopped doing tests and stopped counting numbers of American Swine Flu cases. Yet, on the basis of zero evidence, they claimed the disease was an expanding nightmare.

Sharyl Attkisson, star investigative reporter for CBS at the time, broke this story—and her network shut her off. There was much more she could have exposed, but it didn’t happen.

Here’s what did happen. The CDC, shaken to its core by Attkisson’s revelations, doubled down, employing a time honored strategy: if a lie doesn’t work, tell a much bigger lie.

The CDC suddenly claimed that its (unverified) total of tens of thousands of Swine Flu cases in America were really “tens of millions of cases.”

As the days and weeks pass, you’re going to hear and see all manner of outrageous propaganda about Ebola. “People of interest” and “possible carriers” and “people who might have come in contact with someone who has Ebola” will morph into “suspected cases of Ebola” and “victims of Ebola.”

The psyop warriors and their dupes will scream “global pandemic” every fifteen seconds.

To exert control over the population and obtain compliance (stay indoors, don’t travel, avoid contact with people who might be ill, etc.), they’ll say anything.

Every so-called “pandemic” is a test: how well will the population follow orders?

That’s the whole point.

The World Health Organization and the CDC are the spear points of the operation. They float the lies and the lies about lies.

The World Health Organization is also in charge of doing damage to national economies. “Shut down the airports. No planes should take off or land. Keep the ships in the harbors.”

Disruption, fear, damage.

Chaos—then new Order imposed on the chaos.

In 1987, I warned that medical propaganda ops are, in the long run, the most dangerous. They appear to be neutral. They wave no political banners. They claim to be science. For these reasons, they can accomplish the goals of overt fascism without arousing suspicion.

The “pandemic” is a high-value strategy in the medical psyop playbook.

The doctor is a foot soldier. In most cases, he has no idea how he’s being used. He’s learned his lessons well in medical school, where he’s also learned how to be arrogant and immune to uncomfortable truths.

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.

As the Ebola outbreak continues to cause concern, President Barack Obama has signed an amendment to an executive order that would allow him to mandate the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of “respiratory illness.”

The executive order, titled Revised List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases, amends executive order 13295, passed by George W. Bush in April 2003, which allows for the, “apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases.”

The amendment signed by Obama replaces subsection (b) of the original Bush executive order which referred only to SARS. Obama’s amendment allows for the detention of Americans who display,

“Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled.”

Although Ebola was listed on the original executive order signed by Bush, Obama’s amendment ensures that Americans who merely show signs of respiratory illness, with the exception of influenza, can be forcibly detained by medical authorities.

Although the quarantining of people suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus seems like a perfectly logical move, the actual preconditions for this to happen aren’t restricted to just those suffering from the disease.

As we highlighted earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has measures in place for dealing with an outbreak of a communicable disease which allow for the quarantine of “well persons” who “do not show symptoms” of the disease.

In addition, under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, public health authorities and governors would be given expanded police powers to seize control of communications devices, public and private property, as well as a host of other draconian measures in the event of a public health emergency.

When the legislation was introduced, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons warned that it “could turn governors into dictators.”

Yesterday it was reported that Emory University Hospital in Atlanta was set to receive a patient infected with Ebola. A hospital in Germany also accepted an infected patient earlier this week. Some critics have raised concerns about the risk of deliberately importing infected individuals into the west.

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