Proof that NSA is Still Lying About Spying on Americans

July 14th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

The NSA has been caught in lie after lie about its surveillance on Americans. This is nothing new. An NSA whistleblower told Washington’s Blog:

They were asked 40 years ago whether NSA had bugged Congress. And, of course, they lied. They lied through their teeth.”

Two of NSA’s current lies are:

(1)  NSA only accidentally and incidentally collects information about Americans, and it is really only focused on foreigners;

and

(2) NSA only spies on Americans’ metadata … not content

But high-level NSA whistleblowers Bill Binney, Thomas Drake and Russell Tice have all told Washington’s Blog that the NSA is spying on the content of Americans’ phone calls and emails.

And it is clear that the NSA – and other government agencies – have been spying – and keepinginformation - on all Americans.

The Guardian reports:

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

***

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said ….

Washington’s Blog asked William Binney about NSA’s claims that it doesn’t spy on Americans.

BILL BINNEY:  Fairview is the program they use that produces most of the content and metadata on US citizens. Note the distribution of tape points in the lower 48 states.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG:  The US 990-Fairview slide certainly shows NSA sucking up alot of data from within America.

But the press characterizes Fairview as gathering info solely on foreigners. Sounds like this is false?

In other words, Fairview sucks up information – content and metadata – on Americans and foreigners, and then NSA simply retains and stores the info?

BILL BINNEY:  If NSA was after only foreigners, then they would have collection points on the east and west coasts at points where the transoceanic cables surface. Anythingother than that is collecting domestic communications – the PSTN phone network and the world wide web.

Washington’s Blog made very crude mock-up of what the Fairview map might look like if it was only focused on gathering foreign communications … with collection points solely on the east and west coasts at points where the transoceanic cables surface:

Compare that to the actual map, above.

Back to our conversation with Binney …

BILL BINNEY:

You could argue that Stormbrew [another "upstream" collection program ... see below] is targeted at foreign by the distribution. But, some of that is also questionable. This does not count input from cooperative countries (second and third parties) on domestic activity collected by them as well. To the point, they have done nothing but lie to us.

In other words, the Stormbrew map is a pretty good proxy for what foreign surveillance locations shouldlook like. But the Fairview map shows many more collection points all over the country … proving that the NSA is specifically collecting information on Americans living on U.S. soil.

(Fairview and Stormbrew are both “upstream” collection programs, meaning that data is pulled directly from fiber-optic cables and top-level communications infrastructure … which sucks in a lot more information than is available through individual websites or computers. The NSA slides on Fairview and Stormbrew were leaked by Edward Snowden.  But Binney is one of the people with the most expertise necessary to interpret the slides.  After all, Binney was the technical director for the NSA, the chief of its global digital data gathering program, and a 37-year agency veteran.)

For background on what Binney means by “input from cooperative countries (second and third parties) on domestic activity”, see thisthis and this:

Senior NSA executive Thomas Drake confirms the importance of Fairview:

According to Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency senior executive who blew the whistle on the agency’s reckless spending and spying in 2006, a previously unknown NSA surveillance program known as FAIRVIEW aims to “own the Internet.”

***

Drake pointed out that FAIRVIEW is also the method through which the NSA receives the information it has collected, essentially co-opting the fiber optic cables to transmit the data back to the agency to be analyzed by data mining programs.

So what’s the big picture?

Binney and Drake have both told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has become a police state. They both say that the U.S. government has become like the Stasis or Soviets.  And Binney says that the NSA has become like “J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids.”

If there is still any question about what the NSA is doing, history provides context.  For example:

  • The NSA director admitted that the mass surveillance is a power grab
  • Indeed – for 5,000 years straight – mass surveillance of one’s own people has always been used by tyrants to crush dissent

Estados Unidos acaba de colocar otra vez a Cuba en la lista de los países implicados en el tráfico de seres humanos. No obstante, las instituciones internacionales contradicen el punto de vista de Washington.

En su informe 2014 sobre el tráfico de seres humanos en el mundo, el Departamento de Estado incluyó de nuevo a Cuba  en su lista, ubicándola en la peor categoría (3). Según Washington, “adultos y niños son víctimas de tráfico sexual y de trabajos forzados” en la isla. “La prostitución infantil y el turismo sexual son una realidad en Cuba y hubo alegaciones de trabajos forzados durante misiones en el exterior que realizó el gobierno cubano”.[1]

No obstante, Washington reconoce la falta de fiabilidad de sus informaciones:

“Algunos cubanos que participan en esas misiones de trabajo declararon que su presencia era voluntaria y que el puesto estaba bien remunerado en comparación con los empleos en Cuba. Otros afirman que las autoridades cubanas les obligaron a participar en las misiones, quitándoles sus pasaportes y limitando sus movimientos. Algunos profesionales de la salud que participaban en esas misiones pudieron beneficiarse de visas estadounidenses y de algunas facilidades migratorias para viajar a Estados Unidos con sus pasaportes, lo que indica que al menos algunos profesionales de la salud conservan sus pasaportes. Los informes sobre la coacción impuesta por las autoridades cubanos no parecen reflejar una política gubernamental uniforme. Conviene apuntar que carecemos de información al respecto”.[2]

El informe se refiere, entre otros, al Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program (CMPP). En efecto, desde 2006 Washington elaboró una política destinada a despojar a la isla de su capital humano facilitando la emigración de su personal médico hacia Estados Unidos. Este programa prioriza particularmente a los 30.000 médicos cubanos y otro personal de salud que trabajan en cerca de 60 países del Tercer Mundo, en el marco de una vasta campaña humanitaria destinada a curar a los desheredados del planeta.[3]

Así, a pesar de la falta de información fiable, el informe 2014 concluye que “el Gobierno de Cuba no cumple los estándares mínimos para eliminar el tráfico de seres humanos y no realiza los esfuerzos necesarios para ello”.[4]

El punto de vista de la UNICEF

La acusación más grave concierne a la prostitución infantil. Ahora bien, la UNICEF – Fondo de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia – no comparte este punto de vista y saluda, al contrario, los avances de Cuba en la protección de la niñez. Según el organismo de la ONU, “Cuba es un ejemplo en la protección de la niñez”.[5] Según Juan José Ortiz, representante de la UNICEF en La Habana, “la desnutrición severa no existe en Cuba [pues] hay una voluntad política” de eliminarla. “Aquí, no hay ningún niño en las calles. En Cuba los niños son todavía una prioridad y por eso no sufren las carencias de millones de niños de América Latina, trabajando, explotados o en redes de prostitución”.[6]

Ortiz comparte su experiencia al respecto:

Hay millones de niños son explotados diariamente, que no irán nunca a la escuela; millones de chicos y chicas que ni siquiera tienen identidad, que no existen pues no han sido registrados.[7]

Cuba, desde hace más de 50 años, ha sido un modelo de la defensa y la promoción de los derechos de la infancia. Las políticas públicas a favor de la infancia han sido una prioridad desde hace muchos años. Por tanto, se ha conseguido algo verdaderamente inaudito en el mundo en desarrollo.

Entre los cientos de millones de niños y niñas que sufren gravísimas vulneraciones de sus derechos, que llegan incluso a morir diariamente por causas absolutamente evitables, ninguno de esos niños es cubano. Es la demostración clara que sí es posible si los Estados priorizan la atención y el desarrollo de la infancia.

[…] Cuba demuestra que a pesar de las crisis internacionales, a pesar de la gravedad del impacto del bloqueo [sanciones económicas] sobre el desarrollo de la infancia, a pesar de ese agravante pues es el único país que lo tiene, sí se puede garantizar plenamente los derechos de la infancia y conseguir niveles de desarrollo humano cada vez mayores. Cuba es un ejemplo para el mundo de cómo se puede trabajar para garantizar los derechos para la infancia y su desarrollo pleno. El pueblo cubano disfruta de un tesoro que tiene y a veces no se da cuenta. Los niños, las niñas y adolescentes son unos privilegiados en comparación con el mundo.[8]

20.000 niños van a morir en el mundo [hoy] y la inmensa mayoría de esas muertes podrían evitarse. Es criminal dejar que mueran niños cuando tenemos los recursos para salvarlos. Si la cuestión de la infancia fuese una prioridad a nivel mundial, los problemas de los cuales son víctimas los niños estarían resueltos desde hace mucho tiempo, como es el caso en Cuba.

Cuba siempre ha sido un ejemplo en el sector del desarrollo social, con nivel de igualdad similar al de los países más desarrollados. […]

El trabajo realizado en cuba con los menores delincuentes (otro gran tema y desafío para América Latina y el Caribe) es ejemplar. Aquí, no hay rejas para los niños. El sistema preconiza la rehabilitación de los jóvenes extraviados […]. De mismo modo, todos los niños discapacitados son atendidos, y ello en la misma casa si el niño no puede moverse. Es aquí un avance excepcional […]. Es el único país que conozco donde podemos celebrar el Día Internacional de la Infancia bailando […].[9]

El representante de la UNICEF subraya también lo siguiente: “A causa de mi trabajo, he dedicado mi tiempo a sepultar a niños en todos los países. No obstante, en Cuba, dedico mi tiempo a jugar con ellos. No vacila en calificar a la isla de “paraíso de la infancia en América Latina”.[10] La UNICEF recuerda que Cuba es el único país de América Latina y del Tercer Mundo que ha erradicado la desnutrición infantil.[11]

Respuesta de La Habana

Por parte de La Habana, las autoridades condenaron la nueva inclusión de Cuba, presente en la lista negra desde 2003, en el grupo de países implicados en el tráfico de seres humanos y calificaron el informe de “manipulador y unilateral[12]”:

“El Departamento de Estado decidió, una vez más, incluir a Cuba en la peor de las categorías de su informe anual sobre los países que “no cumplen completamente los estándares mínimos para la eliminación de la trata de personas y no hacen esfuerzos significativos con ese fin”, haciendo caso omiso del reconocimiento y prestigio alcanzados por nuestro país por su desempeño destacado en la protección a la niñez, la juventud y la mujer.

Cuba no ha solicitado la evaluación de Estados Unidos ni necesita las recomendaciones del gobierno de uno de los países con mayores problemas de trata de niños, niñas y mujeres en el mundo. Estados Unidos no tiene moral para calificar a Cuba, ni para sugerirnos “planes” de ninguna índole, cuando se estima que el número de ciudadanos norteamericanos con los que se trafica dentro de ese país es cercano a los 200.000, donde la explotación laboral es la forma de trata de personas más extendida, en el cual el 85% de los procesos legales que se entablan en este tema corresponden a casos de explotación sexual, y donde más de 300.000 niños, del millón que abandonan sus hogares, están sujetos a alguna forma de explotación. […]

La inclusión en esta lista, por motivaciones totalmente políticas, como lo es también la designación de Cuba como Estado patrocinador del terrorismo internacional, está dirigida a justificar la política de bloqueo […], [que provoca] afectaciones severas a nuestra niñez, juventud, mujeres y a todo nuestro pueblo”.[13]

Washington reconoce el carácter frágil de su informe y la UNICEF desmiente las acusaciones contra Cuba. Además, la implicación de Estados Unidos en el tráfico de seres humanos y en la explotación legal de niños a partir de los 12 años perjudica su autoridad moral y asesta un severo golpe a su credibilidad.

Salim Lamrani

 

Sigue: « Cuba, Estados Unidos y el tráfico de seres humanos 2/2 »

 

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

http://www.amazon.fr/Cuba-m%C3%A9dias-face-d%C3%A9fi-limpartialit%C3%A9/dp/2953128433/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376731937&sr=1-1

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]

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[1] State Department, « Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 », junio 2014. http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm (sitio consultado el 27 de junio de 2014), p. 148.

[2] Ibid., p. 148-149.

[3] United States Department of State, “Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program”, 26 de junio de 2009. http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/fs/2009/115414.htm (sitio consultado el 2 de julio de 2014).

[4] State Department, « Trafficking in Persons Report 2014 », junio de 2014, op. cit., p. 149.

[5] José A. De la Osa, « Cuba es ejemplo en la protección a la infancia », Granma, 12 de abril de 2008.

[6] Fernando Ravsberg, « UNICEF: Cuba sin desnutrición infantil », BBC, 26 de enero de 2010.

[7] Radio Havane Cuba, « L’UNICEF signale que Cuba est un exemple en matière des droits de l’homme », 1de junio de 2012.

[8] Cubainformación, « Entrevista a representante de UNICEF en Cuba », 4 de junio de 2012. http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43657&Itemid=86 (sitio consultado el 2 de enero de 2013.

[9] Lisandra Fariña Acosta, « Ce pays est un laboratoire de développement social », Granma, 7 de junio de 2012. http://www.granma.cu/frances/cuba-f/7jun-Ce%20pays.html (sitio consultado el 2 de enero de 2013).

[10] Marcos Alfonso, « Cuba: ejemplo de la protección de la infancia, reconoce UNICEF », AIN, 18 de julio de 2010.

[11] UNICEF, Progreso para la infancia. Un balance sobre la nutrición, 2011.

[12] Agence France Presse, « Cuba califica de ‘manipulador y unilateral’ informe de EEUU », 21 de junio de 2014.

[13] Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, « Declaración de la Directora General de Estados Unidos del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba », República de Cuba, 21 de junio de 2014.

Os Estados Unidos consideram prioritária a luta contra o tráfico de seres humanos. Segundo John F. Kerry, os Estados “têm uma obrigação moral de aceitar esse desafio já que o tráfico de seres humanos é um ataque contra nossos valores mais caros como a liberdade e a dignidade humana”. 1

Foto : Divulgação/Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch fez relatório com um alerta sobre a exploração de menores de idade nas plantações de tabaco nos EUA

Leia a primeira parte do artigo de Salim Lamrani: 
‘Os EUA não têm moral’, diz Cuba sobre acusação de tráfico de seres humanos

Entretanto, o próprio relatório do Departamento de Estado é esmagador para Washington. De fato, os “EUA são fonte, trânsito e destino de homens, mulheres e crianças — tanto cidadãos estadunidenses quanto residentes estrangeiros — vítimas de tráfico sexual e trabalhos forçados”.2

Segundo esse mesmo relatório,

Os meios de comunicação informaram sobre abusos dos quais foram vítimas indivíduos estrangeiros que trabalham para o exército estadunidense no Afeganistão. Várias ONGs reportaram que os detentores de visto que trabalham como serventes foram submetidos a trabalhos forçados pelos funcionários das missões diplomáticas e das organizações internacionais presentes nos Estados Unidos. Mulheres e meninas indo-americanas foram submetidas ao comercio sexual e a juventude LGBT tem sido particularmente vulnerável aos traficantes. 3

O relatório do Human Rights Watch

Por outro lado, os EUA são, sem dúvida, o único país desenvolvido onde as crianças podem ser exploradas no trabalho a partir dos 12 anos de idade. A Human Rigts Watch, organização de defesa dos direitos humanos, denunciou a exploração das crianças nos campos de tabaco. Segundo a entidade, elas têm em média 13 anos de idade e trabalham até 60 horas por semana.

Segundo uma investigação do HRW, 53% deles são expostas a pesticidas; 66% sofrem de sintomas recorrentes tais como “náuseas, vômitos, dores de cabeça, tonturas e perdas de apetite”, devido à exposição à nicotina; e 73% já estiveram doentes por “náuseas, dores de cabeça, enfermidades respiratórias, problemas de pele e outros sintomas”. 4

Segundo o HRW, as crianças “trabalham longas jornadas sem que sejam remuneradas pelas horas extras, sob um calor extremo, sem sombra ou pausas suficientes e sem proteção adequada”. Terminam “expostas a uma nicotina perigosa sem ter fumado um único cigarro”. As crianças também são obrigadas a manipular “ferramentas e máquinas perigosas, levantar cargas pesadas, escalar vários níveis sem proteção para pendurar o tabaco nas granjas”. 5

A organização acrescenta que “os tratores derramaram pesticidas perto das regiões de trabalho dos campos”, afetando gravemente a saúde das crianças, que ressaltaram que “o spray os alcançava diretamente, causando vômitos, tonturas e provocando dificuldades respiratórias e uma sensação de irritação nos olhos”. Além disso, a maioria dos pesticidas usados na produção de tabaco são “neurotóxicos notórios, venenos que alteram o sistema nervoso”.

Semelhante exposição pode provocar, no longo prazo, “câncer, problemas cognitivos e de aprendizagem e esterilidade”. O HRW ressalta que “as crianças são particularmente vulneráveis, já que seus corpos e cérebros ainda não terminaram de se desenvolver”. Por outro lado, “a maioria das crianças entrevistadas pelo Human Rights Watch declararam que não tinham tido acesso a banheiros ou a algum lugar para lavar as mãos nas áreas de trabalho, ficando com resíduos de tabaco e pesticidas nas mãos, inclusive durante os períodos de refeição”. 6

Vídeo feito pela HRW sobre plantações de tabaco:

Em 2012, 70% das crianças com menos de 18 anos mortas em acidentes de trabalho eram trabalhadores agrícolas. O Código de Trabalho dos EUA não oferece proteção suficiente. Assim, as crianças podem ser exploradas na agricultura a partir dos 12 anos e trabalhar “por longas horas, com um salário inferior, em condições mais perigosas que qualquer outra indústria”. 7

A inclusão de Cuba na lista dos países envolvidos no tráfico de seres humanos parece estar mais motivada por considerações políticas e ideológicas que por uma base factual precisa e verificável. De fato, as organizações internacionais, particularmente as encarregadas da proteção da infância, como o UNICEF, contradizem as afirmações da Washington em relação à exploração de menores. Ao contrário, louvam a política social a favor da proteção das pessoas na ilha do Caribe.

Por outro lado, os Estados Unidos, centro do tráfico dos seres humanos segundo o Departamento do Estado, é o único país desenvolvido que autoriza a exploração de crianças a partir dos 12 anos, o que joga assim uma sombra em sua credibilidade quando se trata da defesa dos direitos humanos.

1. Le Monde, “Le rapport américain sur la traite d’humains provoque un tollé”, 20 de junho de 2013.
2. State Department, “Trafficking in Persons Report 2014″, junho de 2014. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/226849.pdf (site consultado em 30 de junho de 2014), p. 30-36.
3. Ibid.
4. Human Rights Watch, “US: Child Workers in Danger on Tobacco Farms”, 14 de mayo de 2014. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/05/14/us-child-workers-danger-tobacco-farms#infographic (site consultado el 30 de junio de 2014).
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.

* Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Contato: [email protected] ; [email protected]

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Foto : Efe (05/07/2014) De acordo com o UNICEF, Cuba é o único país da América Latina e do Terceiro Mundo que erradicou a desnutrição infantil 

Em seu relatório de 2014 sobre o tráfico de seres humanos no mundo, o Departamento do Estado inclui novamente Cuba em sua lista, situando-a na pior categoria (3). Segundo Washington, “adultos e crianças são vítimas de tráfico sexual e de trabalhos forçados” na ilha. “A prostituição infantil e o turismo sexual são uma realidade em Cuba e houve alegações de trabalhos forçados durante as missões no exterior que o governo cubano realizou”. 1

Entretanto, Washington reconhece a falta de credibilidade de suas informações:

Alguns cubanos que participam dessas missões de trabalho declararam que sua presença era voluntária e que o trabalho estava sendo bem remunerado em comparação a outros empregos em Cuba. Outros afirmaram que as autoridades cubanas os obrigaram a participar das missões, confiscando seus passaportes e limitando sua movimentação. Alguns profissionais da saúde que participavam dessas missões puderam se beneficiar de vistos estadunidenses e de algumas facilidades migratórias para viajar aos Estados Unidos com seus passaportes, o que indica que pelo menos alguns profissionais da saúde conservam seus passaportes. Os relatórios sobre coação imposta pelas autoridades cubanas não parecem refletir uma política governamental uniforme. Convêm ressaltar que carecemos de informação a respeito. 2

O relatório se refere, entre outros ao Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program (Programa de Liberdade para os Profissionais Médicos Cubanos, em tradução livre) (CMPP). De fato, desde 2006 Washington elaborou uma política destinada a tirar da ilha seu capital humano, facilitando a emigração de seus médicos para os EUA. Este programa prioriza particularmente os 30 mil médicos cubanos e outros funcionários de saúde que trabalham em cerca de 60 países do Terceiro Mundo, no marco de uma vasta campanha humanitária destinada a curar os despossuídos do planeta. 3

Assim, apesar da falta de informação confiável, o relatório de 2014 conclui que “o governo de Cuba não cumpre os padrões mínimos para eliminar o tráfico de seres humanos e não realiza os esforços necessários para isso”. 4

O ponto de vista da UNICEF

A acusação mais grave é relativa à prostituição infantil. Entretanto, a UNICEF (Fundo das Nações Unidas para a Infância) não compartilha desse ponto de vista e, pelo contrário, saúda os avanços de Cuba na proteção da infância. Segundo o organismo da ONU, “Cuba é um exemplo na proteção da infância”.  Segundo Juan José Ortiz, representante da UNICEF em Havana, “a desnutrição severa não existe em Cuba porque há vontade política” de eliminá-la. “Aqui não há criança nas ruas. Em Cuba as crianças ainda são prioridade e por isso não sofrem as carências de milhões de crianças na América Latina, trabalhando, explorados ou em redes de prostituição”. 6

Ortiz compartilha sua experiência a esse respeito:

Há milhões de crianças exploradas diariamente, que nunca irão a escola; milhões de meninos e meninas que nem sequer têm identidade, que não existem já que não foram registrados. 7

Cuba, há mais de 50 anos, tem sido um modelo de defesa e de promoção dos direitos da infância. As políticas públicas a favor da infância têm sido prioridade há muitos anos. Assim, conseguiu-se algo verdadeiramente inédito no mundo em desenvolvimento.

Entre as centenas de milhares de crianças que sofrem gravíssimas violações de seus direitos, que chegam inclusive a morrer diariamente de causas absolutamente evitáveis, nenhuma é cubana. É a demonstração clara de que é possível, sim, que os Estados priorizem a atenção à infância e o seu desenvolvimento.

[…] Cuba demonstra que, apesar da crise internacional, apesar da gravidade do impacto do bloqueio [sanções econômicas] sobre o desenvolvimento da infância, apesar desse agravante, uma vez que é o único país a tê-lo, pode garantir plenamente os direitos da infância e conseguir níveis de desenvolvimento humano cada vez maiores. Cuba é um exemplo para o mundo de como é possível trabalhar para garantir os direitos da infância e seu pleno desenvolvimento. O povo cubano disfruta de um tesouro do qual às vezes não se dá conta. Os meninos, as meninas e os adolescentes são privilegiados em comparação ao mundo. 8

20.000 meninos e meninas vão morrer no mundo hoje e a imensa maioria dessas mortes poderia ser evitada. É criminoso deixar que as crianças morram se temos recursos para salvá-las. Se a questão da infância fosse uma prioridade mundial, os problemas dos quais elas são vítimas estariam resolvidos há muito tempo, como é o caso de Cuba.

Cuba sempre foi um exemplo no setor de desenvolvimento social, com nível de igualdade semelhante à dos países mais desenvolvidos […].

O trabalho realizado em Cuba com os menores delinquentes (outra grande questão e desafio para a América Latina e o Caribe) é exemplar. Aqui, não há prisões para crianças. O sistema defende a reabilitação dos jovens extraviados […]. Da mesma maneira, todas as crianças descapacitadas são atendidas, e isso dentro da própria casa se o menino não pode se mover. É um avanço excepcional […]. É o único país que eu conheço onde se pode celebrar o Dia da Criança dançando […]. 9

O representante da UNICEF ressalta também o seguinte: “Por causa do meu trabalho, dediquei meu tempo a sepultar crianças em todos os países. Entretanto, em Cuba, dedico meu tempo a brincar com eles”. Ele não exita em classificar a ilha como “paraíso da infância na América Latina”.10 O UNICEF lembra que Cuba é o único país da América Latina e do Terceiro Mundo que erradicou a desnutrição infantil11

Resposta de Havana

Em Havana, as autoridades condenaram a nova inclusão de Cuba, presente na lista negra desde 2003, no grupo de países envolvidos no tráfico de seres humanos e qualificaram o relatório de “manipulador e unilateral ”: 12

O Departamento de Estado decidiu, outra vez, incluir Cuba na pior das categorias de seu relatório anual sobre os países que “não cumprem completamente os padrões mínimos para a eliminação do tráfico de pessoas e não fazem esforços significativos para esse fim”, fazendo caso omisso do reconhecimento e prestígio alcançados por nosso país por seu desempenho destacado na proteção da infância, da juventude e da mulher.

Efe (05/07)

“Os EUA não têm moral para qualificar Cuba”, afirmou governo do país sobre relatório. Na foto, o presidente Raúl Castro

Cuba não solicitou a avaliação dos EUA nem necessita das recomendações de um dos países com maiores problemas no tráfico de meninos, meninas e mulheres no mundo. Os EUA não têm moral para qualificar Cuba, nem para nos sugerir “planos” de nenhuma índole, quando se estima que o número de cidadãos norte-americanos traficados dentro desse país está próximo a 200 mil, onde a exploração sexual, e onde mais de 300 mil crianças, do milhão que abandonam seus lares, estão sujeitas a alguma forma de exploração […].

A inclusão nessa lista, por motivações totalmente políticas, como é também a designação de Cuba como Estado patrocinador do terrorismo internacional, é dirigida a justificar a política de bloqueio […], que afeta severamente a nossa infância, juventude, nossas mulheres e todo o nosso povo. 13

Washington reconhece o caráter frágil de seu relatório e o UNICEF desmente as acusações contra Cuba. Além disso, o envolvimento dos EUA no tráfico de seres humanos e na exploração legal de crianças a partir dos 12 anos prejudica sua autoridade moral e dá um golpe severo em sua credibilidade.

Salim Lamrani

Leia a segunda parte do artigo de Salim Lamrani:
HRW: EUA são único país desenvolvido que autoriza exploração de crianças a partir dos 12

1. State Department, “Trafficking in Persons Report 2014″, junho de 2014. http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm (site consultado em 27 de junho de 2014), p. 148.
2. Ibid., p. 148-149.
3. United States Department of State, “Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program”, 26 de junho de 2009. http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/fs/2009/115414.htm (site consultado dia 2 de julho de 2014).
4. State Department, “Trafficking in Persons Report 2014″, junho de 2014, op. cit., p. 149.
5. José A. De la Osa, “Cuba es ejemplo en la protección a la infancia”, Granma, 12 de abril de 2008.
6. Fernando Ravsberg, “UNICEF: Cuba sin desnutrición infantil”, BBC, 26 de janeiro de 2010.
7. Radio Havane Cuba, “L’UNICEF signale que Cuba est un exemple en matière des droits de l’homme”, 1de junho de 2012.
8. Cubainformación, “Entrevista a representante de UNICEF en Cuba”, 4 de junho de 2012. http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43657&Itemid=86 (site consultado dia 2 de janeiro de 2013.
9. Lisandra Fariña Acosta, “Ce pays est un laboratoire de développement social”, Granma, 7 de junho de 2012. http://www.granma.cu/frances/cuba-f/7jun-Ce%20pays.html (site consultado dia 2 de janeiro de 2013).
10. Marcos Alfonso, “Cuba: ejemplo de la protección de la infancia, reconoce UNICEF”, AIN, 18 de julho de 2010.
11. UNICEF, Progreso para la infancia. Un balance sobre la nutrición, 2011.
12. Agence France Presse, “Cuba califica de ‘manipulador y unilateral’ informe de EEUU”, 21 de junho de 2014.
13. Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, “Declaración de la Directora General de Estados Unidos del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba”, República de Cuba, 21 de junho de 2014.

Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Contato: [email protected] ; [email protected]

Página no Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

 Leading management consultants, top government officials and prominent financial journalists are proposing, what they dub, “labor reforms” as the solution for double-digit unemployment and underemployment, economic stagnation and the decline of capital investments.

“Labor Reform” as the Concentration of Power and Profits

            First of all, the term “labor reform” is just a euphemism for labor regression, the reversal  of laws and practices that workers and employees secured through decades of struggle against employers.

            The idea that “labor reforms” would create jobs for the unemployed has been tried and disproven over the past decade.    Throughout Europe, in particular Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and France, laws facilitating firings, pay differentials between short-term and long-term contract workers and speed-ups have not reduced unemployment, which still remains at depression levels.

            What neo-liberal economists and journalists call “labor market flexibility” is really all about  increasing the power of the bosses to impose reductions in wages, dominate and dictate work rules, intensify management bullying in the workplace and  fire workers without just cause or redress.  Likewise “wage flexibility” means giving management the exclusive power to unilaterally lower wages, to alter work contracts, to stratify payments between workers , to downgrade job categories in order to lower wages and to increase output, and to pit unemployed workers against employed workers, temporary workers against long-term workers.

The Consequences of “Labor Reform”:  Rising Inequalities

            “Labor reforms” are not policies designed to end unemployment, encourage economic recovery and increase capital expenditure.  They are not an economic strategy.  The principle goal is to concentrate power in the hands of the bosses in order to lower labor costs, increase profits and double-up production from a reduced workforce.

            The growing disparity of power between capital and labor resulting from “labor reforms” is the key factor producing inequality.  Neo-liberals attribute growing inequality to technological changes, ignoring the fact that it is the growing power of capital that determines how productivity gains, from the introduction of technological innovations, are distributed between capital and labor.

Labor Reform” and the Astronomical Rise of Workplace Bullying

            Most liberals focus on the problems of sexual harassment and intra-working class bullying.  These problems certainly require attention and correction.  But far more pervasive and with far-reaching consequential is management harassment of all workers of both genders. Because ‘labor reforms’ allow management to fire workers without due process and because union shop stewards do not exist in 88% of the private and public workplaces, management intervenes in everyday workplaces, arbitrarily increasing work assignments and downgrading work performance. And many times it does so with verbal and some times, physical abuse.  Management no longer faces workplace solidarity:  it can abuse workers, isolate and harangue them, threaten and dictate ultimatums.  Any self-defense is immediately interpreted as insubordination and the worker is fired – an example to others to unconditionally submit.  Intimidation takes the form of hiring temporary low-wage workers to compete with permanent employees, or threatening to ‘relocate’ the factory.  Macro and micro personal bullying is today an integral part of capital- labor relations.

            Bullying has an economic function – it is designed to increase output, inculcate obedience and raise profits.  But management bullying has profound negative psycho-social effects on workers.  Verbal abuse, face to face intimidation, arbitrary downgrading without recourse and other everyday indignities cause depression, a loss of self-worth dignity.  This leads  to self-abuse, worker and family violence and/or a ‘chain of bullying’ of those below … children, spouses, neighbors and outsiders (immigrants).

            The bullying by management does not merely express itself in victimizing workers but also in forcing them to enter in “co-operative relations” where they are supposed to “share” tasks, responsibilities and innovations, without rewards or say in the distribution of material benefits or in the shaping of workplace power relations.  It’s bad enough to be bullied and exploited, its worse to be forced to co-operate with management bullies, to smile at indignities and praise the degrading relationships.

The Most Vulnerable:  Unemployed, Temporary and Young Workers

            The most brutalized sectors of the workforce are the unemployed and temporary young workers, which the neo-liberal ideologues argue will be the beneficiaries of “labor market flexibility”.  In fact, lowering the status of employed workers has not created jobs for the unemployed.  Temporary workers are hired at the lowest level, paid less than half the wage of permanent workers and can be fired with no notice.  Most young ‘temps’ work with the promise of a permanent job and are driven to compete with a multitude of others . . .  yet only a few are rehired when the contract ends and, even among them, it is usually another temporary contract.  Unemployed workers are subject to intense interviews that go far beyond their work capabilities:  they are interrogated regarding their readiness to obey, submit and collaborate with management—this is a key factor in getting hired.  Temporary workers are encouraged by management to exceed existing work norms, to work overtime without extra payment, thus fostering animosity and hostility among permanent workers.  The unemployed are there to pressure the temp; the temp is employed to compete with the permanent; the young are hired to replace older workers near retirement age to lower pension payments .Veteran workers fear that the younger workers they are assigned to train will then take their jobs or force them into early retirement with a loss of their pension and benefits.  Management fosters distrust, hostility, competition and bullying among workers which undermines solidarity by dividing workers between temps and ‘permanent’ workers so they can dominate, intimidate and exploit both.

            The on-going drive to strip workers of all protective social legislation and eliminate trade union organization in order to increase profits has allowed capitalists to lessen capital investments in job creating activities.  Management bullying at the workplace has become endemic because individual workers have no redress, lack solidarity and have the “choice” of submitting to daily abuse until it become unbearable, or quitting.  Management can always find cheap replacements that are more submissive, more willing to endure added job tasks for lesser pay.  In many cases, especially among public sector employees, management bullying is a tool to remove and replace competent professionals with political or family cronies.  Organizational loyalty replaces professional competence, leading to a decline of public service and advocacy for the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

 Labor Market Reform as a Cover for the Failures of Capital

            As we have noted, stripping labor of its rights and concentrating power in the hands of management has not created jobs.  The reason is that unemployment and underemployment is a result of the behavior of the capitalist class.  They are not investing in job creation!

            Instead CEO’s are paying higher dividends to big stockholders, investment bankers and hedge funds.  Corporate directors are channeling billions into acquisitions, buying out competitors and monopolizing markets or simply “broadening the portfolio”.  They reap huge salaries and bonuses.

            Corporate strategic planners and accountants relocate corporate offices overseas and stash hundreds of billions of dollars offshore to avoid taxes while reducing the availability of capital for job-creating investments at home.

            The corporate elite relocates plants and operations “off-shore” to low-wage countries, in the process firing millions of workers and thus creating a massive pool of unemployed workers.  ‘Capital flexibility’,  not ‘labor inflexibility’ (job protection), is the decisive factor generating and maintaining high unemployment and underemployment:  Capital has the “flexibility” to acquire existing firms instead of creating new plants and jobs; it has the ‘flexibility’ to ‘offshore’ its operations and displace millions and it has the ‘flexibility’ to hoard funds and profits overseas, hidden from domestic taxes.

Conclusion

            The entire argument for “labor reform” and labor flexibility to create jobs is entirely without merit.  Worse it is a subterfuge to cover up the fact that it is “capital flexibility”, which is the cause of unemployment.

            Moreover, the vast imbalance between financial and productive investments has led to the diminution of stable well-paying jobs in productive sectors.  The movement by the corporate and financial elite toward a high unemployment strategy is predicated on its supreme control over the executive branch of government at the top and iron-fisted control over the workplace at the bottom.

            Political-corporate integration is at its highest point in history: “flexible capital”, unrestrained movements of capital, is the dominant state ideology.  The inability of trade unions and other organized sectors to challenge state policy has led to their total subjection to threats of capital flight and their acceptance of the imposition of “labor reforms” destroying the social basis for organization.

            Capital-State integration at the top is accompanied by worker fragmentation and isolation at the workplace.  Here “labor reform” plays a major role in sustaining management absolutism: corporate power at the top corrupts and absolute power at the workplace absolutely corrupts – to paraphrase and adapt Lord Acton to the 21st century.

            Workplace bullying by management, is the starting point in an extended chain or domination and exploitation that stretches from the highest levels of corporate headquarters to the lowest office and workplace. Frustrated atomized workers suffering indignities do not strike and do not vote.  They are the silent majority who tell the pollsters they oppose Wall Street, they want a national health system for their family, affordable higher education for their children and stable, secure employment for themselves—but feel powerless and voiceless!

            This majority needs a movement to impose ‘capital reforms’: an end to capital flight, mergers, acquisitions and hoarding instead of capital investments.  Perhaps the starting point is workplace reform:  organizing and fighting management bullying in every day work.

            Another response to the escalation of managements workplace bullying is the growth of self-employment, as skilled workers turn to small-scale enterprises and self-managed co-operatives to free themselves from managers constantly looking over their shoulders, barking for greater output and demanding “extra hours and overtime” without compensation.

Decades earlier, a whole generation was raised with the understanding that employment in a larger firm was a collegial experience of sharing knowledge and advancing through meritorious achievements.  Today, few skilled workers hold that view:  corporate employment involves a merciless “grind”, abrupt changes in ownership, radical restructuring, high stress workloads and perpetual job insecurity.

            The risk of exiting to small-scale individual enterprises may be preferable to the strains and indignities of everyday corporate bullying, even in the public sector. But the bankruptcy rates for small independents remain high.

Socialism anybody?

Consumer demand for organic foods is partially driven by perceptions that they are more nutritious. Now a peer-reviewed study just published in the British Journal of Nutrition [1], a leading international journal of nutritional science, has shown that organic crops and crop-based foods are between 18 to 69 percent higher in a number of key antioxidants such as polyphenolics than conventionally-grown crops. 

Numerous studies have linked antioxidants to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers. The research team concluded that a switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals – and food made from them – would provide additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between one and two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Moreover, significantly lower levels of a range of toxic heavy metals were found in organic crops. For instance, cadmium is one of only three metal contaminants, along with lead and mercury, for which the European Commission has set maximum permitted contamination levels in food. It was found to be almost 50 percent lower in organic crops.

Nitrogen concentrations were also found to be significantly lower in organic crops. Concentrations of total nitrogen were 10 percent, nitrate 30 percent and nitrite 87 percent lower in organic compared to conventional crops.  The study also found that pesticide residues were four times more likely to be found in conventional crops than organic ones.

The study is the biggest of its kind ever undertaken. The international team of experts led by Newcastle University in the UK analysed 343 studies into the compositional differences between organic and conventional crops.

Carlo Leifert, Professor of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, says:

“This study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals. This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers which until now has been confusing and in many cases is conflicting.”

New methods were used to analyse the data. The findings are based on the most extensive analysis of the nutrient content in organic vs conventionally-produced foods ever undertaken and result from a groundbreaking new systematic literature review and meta-analysis by the international team.  

The findings contradict those of a 2009 UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) commissioned study which found there were no substantial differences or significant nutritional benefits from organic food. The FSA commissioned study based its conclusions on only 46 publications covering crops, meat and dairy, while the Newcastle University-led meta-analysis is based on data from 343 peer-reviewed publications on composition difference between organic and conventional crops.

Professor Leifert continues:

“The main difference between the two studies is time. Research in this area has been slow to take off the ground and we have far more data available to us now than five years ago.”

Dr Gavin Stewart, a Lecturer in Evidence Synthesis and the meta-analysis expert in the Newcastle team, added:

“The much larger evidence base available in this synthesis allowed us to use more appropriate statistical methods to draw more definitive conclusions regarding the differences between organic and conventional crops”

Professor Charles Benbrook, one of the authors of the study and a leading scientist based at Washington State University, explains:

“Our results are highly relevant and significant and will help both scientists and consumers sort through the often conflicting information currently available on the nutrient density of organic and conventional plant-based foods.”

Professor Leifert concludes:

“The organic vs non-organic debate has rumbled on for decades now but the evidence from this study is overwhelming – that organic food is high in antioxidants and lower in toxic metals and pesticides.”

The entire database generated and used for this analysis is freely available to the public [2].

There has been for a long time serious concerns about the health impacts of eating food that has been contaminated with petro-chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Over the past 60 years, agriculture has changed more than it did during the previous 12,000. And much of that change has come about due to the so-called ‘green revolution’, which has entailed soaking crops with chemicals. Coinciding with these changes has been the onset and proliferation of numerous diseases and allergies.

There are numerous studies that point to strong associations between chemical pesticides and serious health consequences, including endocrine disruption and fertility problems, birth defects, brain tumours and various types of cancer [3]. A few years ago, a Canadian parliamentary committee heard testimony from 85 witnesses and analysed over 50 briefs, which produced a frightening overview on the effects of pesticides and their pervasiveness in the environment [4].

Evidence also demonstrates a potentially dangerous link between many pesticides and naturally occurring substances. For example, a British study done way back in the 1970s and reported in the journal ‘Nature’ indicated that the insecticide carbaryl can combine with nitrites from food additives in the stomach and create a carcinogenic and highly mutagenic substance. Moreover, petro-chemical agriculture appears to result in today’s food having less nutritional value [5].

The new study shows without doubt there are composition differences between organic and conventional crops. Professor Leifert rightly says there is an urgent need to carry out well-controlled human dietary intervention and cohort studies specifically designed to identify and quantify the health impacts of switching to organic food.

Notes

[1] http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF/documents/14-06-12%20Final%20Crops%20Paper%20BJN5552.pdf

[2] http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF/documents/14-05-06%20Supplementary%20Data%20-%20Crops%20paper%20accepted%20by%20BJN.pdf

[3] http://www.beyondpesticides.org/health/index.php

[4]http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031697&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=2&File=75

[5] http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1880145,00.html

This article was first published by GR in February 2010

Is offshore outsourcing good or harmful for America? To convince Americans of outsourcing’s benefits, corporate outsourcers sponsor misleading one-sided “studies.”

Only a small handful of people have looked objectively at the issue. These few and the large number of Americans whose careers have been destroyed by outsourcing have a different view of outsourcing’s impact. But so far there has been no debate, just a shouting down of skeptics as “protectionists.”

Now comes an important new book, Outsourcing America, published by the American Management Association. The authors, two brothers, Ron and Anil Hira, are experts on the subject. One is a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the other is professor at Simon Fraser University.

The authors note that despite the enormity of the stakes for all Americans, a state of denial exists among policymakers and outsourcing’s corporate champions about the adverse effects on the US. The Hira brothers succeed in their task of interjecting harsh reality where delusion has ruled.

In what might be an underestimate, a University of California study concludes that 14 million white-collar jobs are vulnerable to being outsourced offshore. These are not only call-center operators, customer service and back-office jobs, but also information technology, accounting, architecture, advanced engineering design, news reporting, stock analysis, and medical and legal services. The authors note that these are the jobs of the American Dream, the jobs of upward mobility that generate the bulk of the tax revenues that fund our education, health, infrastructure, and social security systems.

The loss of these jobs “is fool’s gold for companies.” Corporate America’s short-term mentality, stemming from bonuses tied to quarterly results, is causing US companies to lose not only their best employees-their human capital-but also the consumers who buy their products. Employees displaced by foreigners and left unemployed or in lower paid work have a reduced presence in the consumer market. They provide fewer retirement savings for new investment.

Nothink economists assume that new, better jobs are on the way for displaced Americans, but no economists can identify these jobs. The authors point out that “the track record for the re-employment of displaced US workers is abysmal: “The Department of Labor reports that more than one in three workers who are displaced remains unemployed, and many of those who are lucky enough to find jobs take major pay cuts. Many former manufacturing workers who were displaced a decade ago because of manufacturing that went offshore took training courses and found jobs in the information technology sector. They are now facing the unenviable situation of having their second career disappear overseas.”

American economists are so inattentive to outsourcing’s perils that they fail to realize that the same incentive that leads to the outsourcing of one tradable good or service holds for all tradable goods and services. In the 21st century the US economy has only been able to create jobs in nontradable domestic services-the hallmark of a third world labor force.

Prior to the advent of offshore outsourcing, US employees were shielded against low wage foreign labor. Americans worked with more capital and better technology, and their higher productivity protected their higher wages.

Outsourcing forces Americans to “compete head-to-head with foreign workers” by “undermining US workers’ primary competitive advantage over foreign workers: their physical presence in the US” and “by providing those overseas workers with the same technologies.”

The result is a lose-lose situation for American employees, American businesses, and the American government. Outsourcing has brought about record unemployment in engineering fields and a major drop in university enrollments in technical and scientific disciplines. Even many of the remaining jobs are being filled by lower paid foreigners brought in on H-1b and L-1 visas. American employees are discharged after being forced to train their foreign replacements.

US corporations justify their offshore operations as essential to gain a foothold in emerging Asian markets. The Hira brothers believe this is self-delusion. “There is no evidence that they will be able to outcompete local Chinese and Indian companies, who are very rapidly assimilating the technology and know-how from the local US plants. In fact, studies show that Indian IT companies have been consistently outcompeting their US counterparts, even in US markets. Thus, it is time for CEOs to start thinking about whether they are fine with their own jobs being outsourced as well.”

The authors note that the national security implications of outsourcing “have been largely ignored.”

Outsourcing is rapidly eroding America’s superpower status. Beginning in 2002 the US began running trade deficits in advanced technology products with Asia, Mexico and Ireland. As these countries are not leaders in advanced technology, the deficits obviously stem from US offshore manufacturing. In effect, the US is giving away its technology, which is rapidly being captured, while US firms reduce themselves to a brand name with a sales force.

In an appendix, the authors provide a devastating expose of the three “studies” that have been used to silence doubts about offshore outsourcing-the Global Insight study (March 2004) for the Information Technology Association of America, the Catherine Mann study (December 2003) for the Institute for International Economics, and the McKinsey Global Institute study (August 2003).

The ITAA is a lobbying group for outsourcing. The ITAA spun the results of the study by releasing only the executive summary to reporters who agreed not to seek outside opinion prior to writing their stories.

Mann’s study is “an unreasonably optimistic forecast based on faulty logic and a poor understanding of technology and strategy.”

The McKinsey report “should be viewed as a self-interested lobbying document that presents an unrealistically optimistic estimate of the impact of offshore outsourcing and an undeveloped and politically unviable solution to the problems they identify.”

Outsourcing America is a powerful work. Only fools will continue clinging to the premise that outsourcing is good for America.

Dr. Paul Craig  Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His latest book, “How The Economy Was Lost,” has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press.

Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip killed 52 people Saturday, including two severely handicapped women in a care facility, medics said.

The toll made Saturday the bloodiest day yet in the five-day conflict, and hiked the overall toll to 157.

The deadliest strike came in the Tuffah district in eastern Gaza City, where 18 people were killed in strikes that hit a home and a mosque, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Among at least 50 people injured in the strike was Hamas police chief Tayseer al-Batsh, who was reportedly in critical condition.

Elsewhere, three people were killed in Rafah in southern Gaza, and one person in Jabalia, in the north of the coastal enclave.

The evening strikes came after defiant fighters in Gaza responded to the relentless Israeli assault by firing rockets towards Israeli occupied territories, including long range armaments that hit Tel Aviv.

Earlier, eight people were killed in raids on Gaza City, central al-Bureij and northern Jabalia.

They included a woman aged 25, and a 16-year-old, Qudra said.

photo from Quds News Network

And six men, including two nephews of former Hamas premier Ismail Haniya, were killed in an afternoon strike on the Sheikh Radwan district of western Gaza City.

Aged from 21 to 58, they were sitting outside their homes in the area when the strike hit, eyewitnesses said.

Their deaths followed an early morning strike that killed two women at a charitable association housing the disabled in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

The women, Suha Abu Saada and Ola Washahi, both had severe mental and physical handicaps, association director Jamila Alaywa said.

Four others were wounded in the attack — three residents and a helper, she said.

Another three people were killed in eastern Gaza City and three in an attack on the western side of town in early Saturday attacks.

Earlier, Qudra announced the deaths of eight other Palestinians in raids that hit targets including a bank, two mosques and the houses of Hamas officials.

On Friday, the United Nations said 77 percent of those killed in the Israeli raids were civilians.

No Israelis have been killed.

***

Dr. Mona El-Farra: “The medical resources are exhausted”: LISTEN HERE

***

photos from Quds News Network:

Israeli occupation forces target a residential house in the eastern ‪#‎Gaza‬ Strip belongs to Taysir al-Batsh, killing 18 of his family members.

6 children and 4 women among them

List of martyrs:

1. Anas Alla’a al-Batsh, 10
2. Qusai Isam al-Batsh, 12
3. Manar Majed al-Batsh, 13
4. Muhammad Isam al-Batsh, 17
5. Ibrahim Majed al-Batsh18
6. Yahyia Ala’a al-Batsh, 18
7. Khaled Majed al-Batsh, 20
8. Zakaria Ala’a al-Batsh, 20
9. Mahmoud Majed al-Batsh, 22
10. Marwa Majed al-Batsh, 25
11. Jalal Majed al-Batsh, 26
12. Ahmed Neman al-Batsh, 27
13. Baha’a Majed al-Batsh, 28
14. Nahed Naim al-Batsh, 41
15. Amal Hassan al-Batsh, 49
16. Aziza Yousef al-Batsh, 59
17. Majed Subhi al-Batsh
18. Qusai Ala’a al-Batsh

***

Israel tell northern Gaza residents to evacuate:

**Benevolent, and all, but where shall they go??

The Israeli military says it is ordering Palestinians living in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate the area “for their own safety.”
In a statement Saturday, the military said it would send messages to residents overnight to leave the area.
Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, the chief military spokesman, said Israel planned to hit the area with heavy force in the next 24 hours as it steps up an offensive against Gaza militants.

First published in September 2013

A photo circulating that purports to show Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) linked Commander Muhajireen Kavkaz wa Sham inside a USAID tent.

If this image is real, then it confirms the worst fears about U.S. aid to Syria falling into the hands of terrorists.

Recent images from the front line of the Syrian war suggest that terrorists are enjoying the small comforts of U.S. equipment and supplies that are meant to aide legitimate rebels, who are part of the Free Syrian Army. This appears to prove all the concerns among U.S. lawmakers and analysts that aid to the Syrian rebels could end up in the hands of Al Qaeda.

The photograph allegedly shows Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) linked Commander Muhajireen Kavkaz wa Sham, along with other rebels dawning battle-gear and an RPG, inside a USAID tent.

The terror group is known inside Syria by its acronym, ISIS. It is an Al Qaeda-linked jihad organization and recently it announced a campaign of “cleansing evil” at pro-Western opposition groups inside Syria.

The authenticity and location of this photo obtained by TheBlaze, which is circulating on the web, has not been officially confirmed. U.S. officials, however, told TheBlaze that this rebel commander is believed to be in Syria at this time.

More Americans are fed up with the phony democracy that exists in the United States. Across the nation people are engaged in democracy rebellions as many re-examine the nation’s roots, especially with the 4th of July weekend just passing.

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that when a government does not support the rights and needs of the people, then

“it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Rolling Rebellion banner at FCC protest seeking to ensure net neutrality. Act now, public comments end July 15th, http://www.popularresistance.org/popular-resistance-fcc-comments-the-internet-is-a-common-carrier/

Rolling Rebellion banner at FCC protest seeking to ensure net neutrality. Act now, public comments end July 15th

Have we reached that point? Many think so.  A recent poll found 74% of Americans agree the broken political system needs to be fixed first. The poll found that “corruption of government by big money and frustration with the abuses of the political ruling class: incumbent politicians, lobbyists, the elite media, big business, big banks, big unions, and big special interests unites Americans.”  And, “the battle lines of the new political order are emerging. When presented with the proposition that ‘the real struggle for America is not between Democrats and Republicans but mainstream America and the ruling political elites,’ over 66% of voters agree.”

According to the poll, Americans see the sad reality of the state of the country and are ready to rebel:

-         “Eighty-six percent of all voters believe political leaders are more interested in protecting their power than in doing what’s right for the American people.

-         Eighty-three percent believe the country is run by an alliance of incumbent politicians, media pundits, lobbyists, and other interests for their own gain.

-         Further, 79% believe that powerful interests from Wall Street banks to corporations, unions, and PACs use campaign and lobbying money to rig the system to serve themselves and that they loot the national treasury at the expense of every American.”

Rolling Rebellion was part of the Occupy Venice Beach 4th of July Parade 'Rebel Alliance'

Rolling Rebellion was part of the Occupy Venice Beach 4th of July Parade ‘Rebel Alliance’

We have highlighted how representative democracy often does the opposite of what super-majorities of the people want (see also this and this). The people see this lack of representation and turn off — half do not register to vote and in most elections tiny minorities of registered voters bother to vote. Recently there have been reports about how government no longer represents the people but represents a small minority of the wealthy (see these three reports herehere and here). Academics are beginning to describe the United States as an oligarchy, plutocracy or managed democracy.  All this adds up to: The US government has lost its democratic legitimacy.

Americans Faced Blatantly Undemocratic Actions

Repeatedly the people of the United States are shown how anti-democratic the government really is.  We saw this multiple times just in the last week.

The power of the big business corporate interests is regularly seen in the government where there is massive crony capitalism and corporate welfare. Policies are designed to help the corporate interests even if it means undermining jobs at home and expanding the wealth divide. The government is pursuing rigged corporate trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership in secret. This week, TPP negotiators fled thousands of miles across Canada to avoid protesters and public scrutiny.

We also see it with President Obama’s landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act.  While sold to the public as providing healthcare to all and controlling the costs of healthcare, Obamacare will do neither. It is really a market-based approach to healthcare which enriches the corporations, e.g. insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit hospitals. Although fewer people are uninsured, they still face financial barriers that make necessary care unaffordable.

Rolling Rebellion was part of the 'Love in Action' July 4th parade in Taos where they won award for Most Patriotic

Rolling Rebellion was part of the ‘Love in Action’ July 4th parade in Taos where they won award for Most Patriotic

In addition to corporatism, the US security state is an affront to real democracy. Thanks toEdward Snowden who blew the whistle on the NSA, we now know the government is conducting dragnet surveillance of our Internet communications and telephone calls.  This week it was revealed that most of the people caught in the targeted NSA surveillance (not the dragnet searches) were not terrorists or people threatening the United States but commonplace Americans.  We also learned that in the Muslim community, no matter how patriotic someone was, they were likely to be targeted for surveillance.

The Snowden case, and other cases involving whistleblowers, show another failed aspect of US governance – the courts.

Hillary Clinton joined John Kerry in urging Snowden to come home and face prosecution claiming he could defend himself in court. The reality is there is no way he could receive a fair trial. In fact, prosecution of whistleblowers has proven itself to be more like the court in Alice in Wonderland which was a mockery of due process and where the trial concluded with the Queen calling out: ‘Sentence first, verdict later.’

This week Snowden applied to have his political asylum extended in Russia and it is likely to be granted, because people around the world see how unjust the United States has become. A government official in Russia said that Edward Snowden’s temporary asylum is likely to be extended on the grounds that “his life is endangered.”

The North Texas Light Bridgade put out the truth about US democracy as part of the Rolling Rebellion

The North Texas Light Bridgade put out the truth about US democracy as part of the Rolling Rebellion

It is not likely that Snowden could have gone through the system to expose the NSA’s crimes. CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Scudder tried that approach and was ruined.  He is a sad example of what happens to people who try to work within the current system to expose the truth.

The good news is people are not being cowered by the attack on whistleblowers and journalists who cover them.  This week a new NSA leak was released that did not come from Snowden, indicating that there may be a new NSA whistleblower.

Also this week, a set of billboards have gone up around the DC area featuring Daniel Ellsberg, urging more whistleblowers and providing a safe way for people to blow the whistle. We hope that more people who believe in real democracy, human rights and the rule of law will expose the truth either anonymously using SecureDrop or openly with public support (Visit the Courage Foundation to support Snowden, whistleblowers and our right to information).

Rebellion for Real DemocracyOhio Move to Amend groups joined the Rolling Rebellion to send a message

Ohio Move to Amend groups joined the Rolling Rebellion to send a message

People across the country are rebelling for real democracy with creative protests demanding an end to government corrupted by big money and corporate power.

We are in the midst of a week of wonderful spectacle actions to raise awareness of the need for real democracy. The Rolling Rebellion for Read Democracy is a new campaign that will be ongoing and will build over coming months to confront the corruption of government.  In Venice Beach, CA, activists dressed as characters from the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars and marched in the Fourth of July parade taking on democracy-killing entities such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and money in politics. Activists inSeattle, WA also marched with giant puppets and talking TV heads.

Hundreds marched from LA to Sacramento for real democracy this spring. They completed their walk and after a series of acts of civil disobedience made some progress, including the state legislature becoming the second to call for a constitutional convention.

Hundreds marched in begin the 16-mile New Hampshire Rebellion along the Seacoast at Hampton Beach the walk ended at Fort Constitution in New Castle. Photo by  Suzanne Laurent.

Hundreds marched in begin the 16-mile New Hampshire Rebellion along the Seacoast at Hampton Beach the walk ended at Fort Constitution in New Castle. Photo by Suzanne Laurent.

Hundreds marched in the New Hampshire Rebellion organized by Lawrence Lessig. In addition to marches to raise awareness, his approach to getting money out of politics includes raising millions to elect candidates that will work to end the ‘rule of money.’  He met the first hurdle this week when he raised $12 million for his ‘PAC to end all PACS.’ Now he has to show the campaign can elect politicians who will effectively confront the problem. The plan is for the tactic to grow in the next election after testing it in 2014.

A march to stop construction of a high-pressure fracked gas pipeline is underway across the state of Massachusetts. This march is rolling from town to town along the path of the proposed pipeline and will end on July 30 with a rally at the State House. Click here for information on how to join it. Another march will take place in DC this Sunday to protest the construction of a liquefied fracked gas export facility in Maryland.

The Moral Monday Movement is devoting its energies to protecting the basic right to vote. While this is an important part of the work for democracy, it will be insufficient. Voting is problematic in North Carolina where the two party system has made it impossible for third parties to participate. North Carolina has already seen the failure of corrupt Democratic Party rule, so activists know replacing horrendous Republicans with corporatist Democrats will not improve their lives. Moral Monday has defined themselves as an independent movement, and independence from the duopoly is essential to be a truly transformative movement.

What Would a Real Democracy Look Like?

The Rolling Rebellion in New Hampshire gets to the root cause: Money is not speech.

The Rolling Rebellion in New Hampshire gets to the root cause: Money is not speech.

People in the United States are talking about amending or even replacing the US Constitution. The idea of a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics is making progress in the Senate, with a proposed amendment going to the senate floor. This may be election year theatrics by the Democrats, trying to show their base they are on the side of getting money out of politics, since Democratic Party voters and most Americans support that view. They know it will not pass the Senate or even get to the House floor, but it makes a point most Americans agree with. It is strange they picked Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) to be the spokesperson for the campaign since he is known in Washington, DC to be Wall Street’s Senator.

People around the world are thinking seriously about how to create real democracy, where the people rule their own lives. An American academic currently living in Italy,Steven Colatrella, has written a first draft of a new constitution that does away with nation-states and creates world governance by a series of what he calls Cosmopolis governments. The goal is: “A Civilization based on Self-Governing Cities and Townships, Cooperative Self-Governed Workplaces and Public Finance, Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Energy and Universal Access to Citizenship, Income and Subsistence.” He hopes to start a conversation about this, so review his article and constitution and share your comments.

Rolling Rebellion Seattle 'Big Money Bought Congress' by CastKing

Rolling Rebellion Seattle ‘Big Money Bought Congress’ by CastKing

Activists in Spain have gone through a process of holding thirty workshops over a year to develop a “Charter for Democracy.” The Indignado Movement, their version of Occupy, was really a “Movimiento por la Democracia” (Movement for Democracy) where the seeds for this process were planted. Their movement, like ours, occurred because of a non-responsive two-party system, politics that was a disguise for domination by big business and the wealthy, resulting in austerity, high unemployment and increases in poverty, homelessness and economic suffering.  They want their Charter to be the beginning of a discussion, a living document that evolves with more input.

They do not believe that working within the current framework will bring positive results. They seek a constitution that is “founded on participation, citizen control and equal rights:”

“Faced with this institutional stonewalling and the growing separation between the rulers and the ruled, it seems there’s only one way out: a deep expansion of democracy based on citizen control over political and economic power. Surely, since what’s left of democracy is constantly shrinking and attempts at internal reform would only mean repeating the same mistakes, we must take a chance on changing the rules of the game – a democratic change, geared toward returning to society the effective decision-making ability overall which concerns it.”

Rolling Rebellion Hits Two Key Foundations of Corruption of Government. Photo by Alex Garland

Rolling Rebellion Hits Two Key Foundations of Corruption of Government. Photo by Alex Garland

Just as the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution came from the experience of that era, where colonists experienced abusive searches, unfair trials, lack of due process and the monarchy curtailing their freedoms of speech and assembly, a constitution written today would reflect the challenges of our era. The Spanish put forward basic principles which “inspire a new, robust Bill of Rights” which include universality and diversity, equality, guaranteed democratic infrastructure and financial sufficiency. They conclude,

“Finally, it is understood that a subject of rights is also a subject of responsibilities, insofar as she or he is part of a community built around a common project. These responsibilities extend to the environment we inhabit, and include accepting the responsibility to care for it, protect it and enable its reproduction, and in doing so, our own. Such responsibility involves all citizens, but is distributed according to the differences of wealth and ability.”

Another document that came from the Spanish Democracy Movement is “Last Call: A Manifesto for Social Transformation” signed by more than 250 academicians, activists (including both of us) and others declaring the urgent need to create sustainable and just systems. It is available in English and you are invited to sign on if you agree.

In Los Angeles, Rolling Rebellion held a democracy performance

In Los Angeles, Rolling Rebellion held a democracy performance

The Spanish Declaration and the Cosmopolis Constitution are recent examples from around the world. But, there are a lot of experiences we can learn from.  Iceland actually went through a process of crowdsourcing a new constitution using social media and town hall events. The people created a very progressive constitution which has so far been blocked by the legislature.

We have often thought about what a constitutional convention – of the people – would look like in the United States. Going through the process designed by the Constitution would unfortunately result in a convention made up of the wealthy as they would be chosen through an electoral process that is dominated by money. Thus, the result would not be a constitution of the people, but another one created by the oligarchs.

Instead, we’d like to see a process that came from the grassroots – an online process using wiki technology and social media to create a framework for a new constitution, followed by assemblies or town halls held across the country that put details on that framework, then a return to a wiki process to meld these ideas together into a final document. What would a new people-powered constitution created by the American public look like? Looking at polls of the public, we think we’d like the result.

We are constantly covering movements all over the US and world, follow us on twitter @PopResistance for up-to-date news and sign up for our daily news summary here. This article is produced by Popular Resistance in conjunction with AlterNet.  It is a weekly review of the activities of the resistance movement. 

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. They tweet at@KBZeese and MFlowers8.

The Mass Protests in Brazil in June-July 2013

July 13th, 2014 by Socialist Project

by Alfredo Saad Filho

The mass movements starting in June 2013 were the largest and most significant protests in Brazil in a generation, and they have shaken up the country’s political system. Their explosive growth, size and extraordinary reach caught everyone – the left, the right, and the government – by surprise. This article examines these movements in light of the achievements and shortcomings of the democratic transition, in the mid-1980s, and the experience of the federal administrations led by the Workers’ Party since 2003.

July 11: National Day of Struggle

July 11: National Day of Struggle.

 A Summary of the Facts

On 6 June, the radical left Free Fare Movement (Movimento Passe Livre, MPL), an autonomist non-party organization that has been active in the country for several years led a small demonstration demanding the reversal of a recent increase in public transport fares in the city of São Paulo, from R$3 to R$3.20. The movement was criticized by the press for blocking the traffic and making unrealistic demands, and the demonstration was attacked by the police. The MPL returned in larger numbers in the following days, and the police responded with increasing brutality, beating up demonstrators and passers-by indiscriminately, and wounding several journalists.

In two weeks, the demonstrations had exploded in size while also spreading across the country. They attracted well over one million people in hundreds of cities, and movements are still taking place almost every day, including a large national mobilization led by the left on 11 July. They involve mainly young workers, students and the middle class, and localized movements of poor communities and categories of workers with demands that may be more or less specific to their circumstances (bus drivers, lorry drivers, health sector workers, and so on).

In mid-June, the mainstream press and TV networks suddenly changed sides, and started supporting the movement. They immediately engaged in a full-scale attempt to lead the movement, offering blanket coverage, effectively calling people to the streets, and – very importantly – sponsoring the multiplication and de-radicalization of demands, toward a cacophony focusing on broad citizenship issues and, especially, state inefficiency and corruption, in order to drown out the left and delegitimize the federal government.

From this moment on, the demonstrations became much more white and middle-class in composition. They included banners about a whole range of issues, among them public services (for); FIFA, the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup (against); gay rights and the legalization of drugs (mainly for, but most churches are against); compulsory voting (mostly against); abortion and religious issues (all over the place); public spending, privatizations and the state monopolies (unclear); president Dilma Rousseff and the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) (strongly against), the return of military rule (an ultra-right-wing pipe-dream), and, especially, corruption (against which everyone can happily march together). Anyone could come up with their own demand, and if they were individualist and anti-political this was even better TV. It was especially paradoxical to see middle class people expressing indignation over public services that they do not currently use, and have no intention of using any time soon.

In common with recent movements elsewhere, the Brazilian demonstrations were largely organized through social media and TV. Unusually, they often had no clear leaders and no speeches. Frequently, groups of people organized themselves on Facebook and Twitter, met somewhere, and then marched in directions that were frequently unclear, depending on decisions made by unknown persons more or less on the spot.

Police repression was sometimes accompanied by riots, and then the police pulled back, partly because of concerns with their public image; at other times, the police would attack the demonstrators while leaving the rioters alone. Infiltration by the police and the far-right was both evident and widespread. Some marches were, somehow, proclaimed to be ‘party-free,’ and left-wing militants and trade unionists were harassed and beaten up by thugs screaming ‘my party is my country.’ During this period, the mobilizations continued to grow; as they did so, they became both more radicalized and more fragmented. When the federal government finally pushed São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to reverse the transport fare increases, by offering them tax breaks accompanied by the threat of leaving them alone to sort out the mess, the mobilizations were already out of control.

In late June, the left made a co-ordinated effort to regain leadership of the movement, while the presidency attempted to take the initiative from above with a call for political reform and initiatives to increase spending in public services and improve health provision. The demonstrations have subsequently dwindled in size, except for the large nationwide strike on 11 July.

Three Lessons

The first lesson from the movements is that they have confirmed the unremitting rejection of former president Lula da Silva, president Dilma Rousseff and the PT by large segments of the upper and middle classes, and the mainstream media. Their hatred, which has been displayed prominently in the marches and in the accompanying press coverage, is not due to narrow economic concerns. Lula has plausibly insisted that the Brazilian elite never made so much money as they did during his administration, and this may still hold true under Dilma. Nevertheless, fractions of the bourgeoisie and the middle classes resent their loss of privilege because of the expansion of citizenship since the democratization of the country and, especially, under the federal administrations led by the PT. To their profound irritation, the Brazilian elites have realized that they can no longer drive Brazilian politics alone.

The redistribution of income and the expansion of social programmes in the last ten years, marginal as they have been, have benefitted tens of millions of people, while consumer credit, perverse as it is, has allowed many poor people to visit shopping centres, fly across the country, and buy a small car. The left ought to criticize some of these aspirations, and point out that they may be socially undesirable, environmentally unsustainable, or both, that they have not been accompanied by the expanded provision of infrastructure, and that they were often promoted by the government in order to support large capital – but, at this point in time, they express the demands and aspirations of tens of millions of people. The result is that Brazilian roads and airports are full, and their previous (elite) users complain bitterly about the lack of space to accommodate all those poor people moving about, and now with a sense of entitlement.

While large capital did well economically in the last decade, and even longer, the middle class did not. So-called ‘good jobs’ in the private and public sectors are relatively scarce, higher education is no longer a guarantee of ‘good’ income, and the young find it hard to do better economically than their parents did. Middle class groups desperately want economic growth, but they remain ideologically attached to a neoliberal-globalist project which slows down growth. They are also frightened by the supposed ‘radicalism’ of the government, despite the PT’s extraordinary moderation, and terrified of Brazil becoming another Venezuela.

The second lesson from the protests is that, under favourable economic circumstances the ‘left neoliberal’ policies implemented by the PT, and the greater legitimacy of the state which has accompanied Lula’s election, can disarm the political right and disconnect the radical left from the masses of the population. Lula ended his second administration, in 2010, with approval rates touching on 90%, and Dilma Rousseff had 60-70% approval rates until recently, which had never happened to any Brazilian president in their third year in office. No party has ever prospered to the left of the PT and, until recently, the right-wing opposition was hopelessly disorganized. For a brief period, the PT achieved something close to political hegemony in Brazil. Now the PT and the country are locked in political confusion.

The third lesson is that the achievements of the PT administrations have raised expectations as well as incomes. The emerging poor want to consume more, larger masses of people want social inclusion, and both want better public services. The middle classes oscillate between indifference and open hostility to the poor, but would like to benefit from good public services at some point in the future. They are, however, absolutely opposed to paying higher taxes in order to have them. They claim that they pay too much already, that corruption spirits away a large chunk of the government’s revenues, and that ‘their’ taxes have been supporting a parasitic mass of undeserving poor through the federal transfer programmes. At the same time, the press and the middle class completely disregard the fact that nearly half of the federal budget is committed to servicing the domestic public debt – effectively a welfare programme for the rich – and that this dwarfs the cost of social spending and federal transfer programmes.

These enormous demands upon the state come in the wake of the decomposition of the traditional working-class and the demoralization and disorganization of the left parties and trade unions, after the transition to democracy, the transition to neoliberalism, and the elections of Lula and Dilma. Their outcome is that, while the middle class is confused, angry and disorganized, the workers are unhappy, mostly for different reasons, marginalized, and also disorganized. This is a recipe for political volatility, and it poses difficult problems for the left.

Left Dilemmas

Dilma Rousseff was elected president by Lula’s social base, mainly the poor, with the support of large capital. But Dilma had a limitation: she has always been a technocrat, had never been elected to public office, and did not have her own political base. Even worse, the economy was bound to decelerate during her administration, after the boom years in the mid-2000s, and Brazil’s extraordinarily successful bounce-back after the 2008 global crisis.

The economic slowdown would necessarily create social and political tensions because of existing dissatisfactions and conflicting aspirations, and the shrinking ability of the state to address them, for example, because the entire (broad) left controls less than one-third of seats in Congress. This makes it impossible for the PT to govern without alliances with undisciplined right-wing parties and unsavoury individuals, which have to be managed under the gaze of a relentlessly hostile press and the scrutiny of a right-wing judicial system.

The space to manage these contradictions has shrunk further in recent months. Inflation, the current account deficit and the fiscal deficit are rising, and the currency is falling because of the global decline in commodity prices, poor exports, growth slowdown in China, and capital outflows because of the unwinding of quantitative easing in the U.S., UK and the Eurozone. This has led the Central Bank of Brazil to raise interest rates, state-owned banks to cut lending, and the federal government and the state-owned enterprises to cut spending and public investment. The economy has stalled, and it has become difficult to continue to reduce inequality without directly hurting established privileges. These difficulties have been magnified by a relentless press campaign suggesting that the government is out of touch, that corruption is more prevalent than usual, and that the economy is out of control. Dilma’s approval in the opinion polls has plummeted.

Let us now return to the demonstrations. Although they had complex, overlapping and contradictory determinants, we can now identify four of their political implications.

There is also a narrowing of ambition among this class, and a widespread rejection of collective aspirations to change society: their goals tend to be limited by the frame of reference imposed by neoliberalism.

First, confusion, which has been intensified by the lack of organized working-class intervention. Under neoliberalism, the restructuring of capital has reconfigured the working-class, disabled its traditional mechanisms of representation, including trade unions, associations and left-wing parties, and largely destroyed the workers’ sense of collectivity. Brazil now has a working-class socialized under neoliberalism, atomized, inexperienced in collective action, attached to direct web-based communication, and reluctant to accept traditional mechanisms of representation, including parties and trade unions. There is also a narrowing of ambition among this class, and a widespread rejection of collective aspirations to change society: their goals tend to be limited by the frame of reference imposed by neoliberalism. This makes it difficult to articulate class demands and campaign effectively, both because the targets have become more diffuse under neoliberalism, and because the workers are predisposed against collective action.

Second, the protests express a confluence of dissatisfactions, including against the expansion of citizenship, which has squeezed the middle class and, on the part of the workers and the poor, demands for the further widening of citizenship, better public services and improved living conditions. Both groups also protest together, because of their perception of dysfunctionality and corruption in state institutions, which the right-wing press has highlighted with gusto, as if they were new and had been created by the PT. These contradictory demands could probably be managed if the Brazilian economy was growing, but it is not, which makes every grievance more urgent, and every constraint tighter.

Third, there is political confusion to the right of the government, and a political vacuum to the left.

Fourth, the common factor across most of the demands and dissatisfactions expressed in the June-July movement is the state – not just current state policy, but the structure of the Brazilian state. In this sense, whether implicitly or explicitly, the demonstrations are about controlling the state and, secondarily, controlling state policy.

If the movement were united, if it had a clear working-class character, and if it were led by left organizations, Brazil could be moving toward a revolutionary crisis. But this is not happening: there is no revolutionary party able to mobilize and lead the working-class, no perception that the state must no longer be dominated by bourgeois class interests, and no shared programme for social, economic and political transformation.

Summing Up

The protest movements in Brazil express deep frustrations and even despair, because it has become impossible to channel discontent through the traditional forms of social representation, which are either tightly controlled by the elite or have been disempowered by the neoliberal reforms. Yet, dissatisfaction without organization tends to be fruitless, and spontaneous mass movements with a mixed class base and fuelled by unfocused anger can be destabilizing without being constructive.

The need for organization, delegation of power and compromise within the movement and with outside institutions suggests that recomposing the working-class, and overcoming its material fragmentation and the cultural separations imposed by neoliberalism, requires collectivity in practice. This means talking and doing things together, more than interacting through web-based media. Twitter and Facebook are good ways to exchange discrete morsels of information, but they do not allow the exchange of ideas and the formation of bonds of trust.

The Brazilian left has reacted with maturity to the challenges posed by the protests and by the attempted kidnap of the movement by the mainstream media and the far-right. Left initiatives have been focusing on the convergence of sectional programmes, especially through common activities and a national co-ordination of movements, organizations and parties, to propose specific goals for the movement around political reform, the limitation of working hours, state investment in health, transport and education, the decommodification of public services, democratization of the media, and reform of the police. The point, now, is to identify platforms which can bring together the workers and the poor, marginalize and fragment the middle class and the right, and put pressure on the federal government, while allowing a radical working-class movement to work together with some state institutions in order to raise, from below, its influence over policy formulation and implementation.

The left ought to stick to this approach instead of falling into an infantile (and, fortunately, marginal) radicalism, targeting the federal government and, inevitably – because of their insufficient weight – joining in a subordinate position the destabilization campaign being led by the political right, the middle class, and the right-wing media. There is no doubt that left-wing administrations tend to implement more progressive policies and be more accommodating of mass movements than right-wing ones. If the current government lost coherence and became paralysed, this is extremely unlikely to foster a socialist revolution in Brazil, because there is no ideological, organizational, social, material or international basis for it to happen now. It would, instead, almost certainly facilitate a right-wing victory in the presidential elections next year, and contribute to the demoralization and disorganization of the Brazilian left.

The response of the federal government to the movements, after considerable hesitation, was precisely to seek left support, and propose a programme of political reforms and expansion of public service provision which could bring concrete gains to the workers and the poor. The left should engage in a dialogue with the government, while insisting that a predominantly parliamentary strategy to effect these Constitutional reforms is bound to fail. The government must, instead, align itself with the workers’ organizations and the left, in order to push through democratic reforms including state funding for the political parties, the break-up of the media monopolies, and improved education, health and public transport services.

It is disappointing, but also sobering, to conclude that Brazil is not going through a revolutionary crisis, and that the current political mobilizations are unlikely to trigger one. Nevertheless, this is unquestionably the most important social movement in Brazil in the last thirty years. The point, now, is to continue to fight on the streets, workplaces and schools, continue to broaden and radicalize the movement, bring out the working-class with its specific demands, defeat the right and disorganize and attract part of the middle classes, and push for progressive constitutional and policy changes. If this can be achieved, it would shift the political balance in the country, and it could lead to concrete long-term gains to the workers and the left in Brazil. •

Alfredo Saad Filho teaches in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London.

The international media outlets speak of a new Middle Eastern war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas organization, which rules a tiny strip of Palestine adjacent the Mediterranean Sea that resembles rather a large open-air prison than a state-like entity.  Are we really witnesses of a “war” or an attack by a brutal colonial regime against a defenseless and helpless community of people in the Middle East?  In order to provide its criminal operations with a veneer of legitimacy, the Israeli government is using war terminology.

According to international law, an enemy can be destroyed and killed according to certain principles that are codified in the Geneva Convention of 1949. The State of Israel has ratified these conventions in 1951 but did not ratify the first and the second protocol. Palestine as a non sovereign state is not party to international agreements in general and the Geneva Convention of 1949 in particular. After it had been granted observer status by the General Assembly of the United Nations it applied in 2009 to recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague but its application was rejected by the ICC in 2012.

The establishment of the so-called Palestinian Authority has not relieved Israel from its international responsibility for the welfare of the people under occupation. Under the laws of occupation, which are incorporated in the Hague Convention (1907) and in the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), the occupying power bears a general responsibility for the safety and welfare of civilians living in the occupied territory. The laws of occupation apply if a state has “effective control” over the territory in question. A certain area may be deemed occupied even if the army does not have a fixed presence throughout the whole area. Effective control may also exist when the army controls key points in a particular area, reflecting its power over the entire area and preventing an alternative central government from formulating and carrying out its powers. By enclosing the Gaza Strip and preventing its inhabitants to enter and exit from that area, Israel exercises „effective control“ over this area.

The attack against the population of the occupied Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupiers disregards both norms of humanitarian law and norms of human rights that it must respect towards the captive population of Gaza.  Such an attack does not constitute war but gross violations of human rights and humanitarian norms, which may amount to crimes against humanity under customary law.

The ineffectual rocket attacks by Hamas against Israeli targets are militarily irrelevant and do not transform the relationship between the captive population of Gaza and the Israeli State into an international conflict or war. Many well-meaning observers have rightly pointed out the huge discrepancy between the hapless rocket attacks by Hamas and the massively deadly Israeli bombings of Gaza, often disregarded by Western media. Such focus obfuscates the responsibility of Israel under international law towards the population of Gaza and tends to limit Israel’s breaches to that of using excessive force.

Within a five year period, Israel has launched the third devastating attack on the ruling Hamas government and on the population of the Gaza Strip without any convincing results. Israel’s political leadership pretends that it wants to destroy the “terrorist” infrastructure. But is this really the case? Can’t Hamas be seen as an implied ally of Israel? The Israeli government needs Hamas as a pretext not to seek peace. This could be seen immediately after Fatah and Hamas formed a unity government. Netanyahu right away started demonizing Hamas but to no avail. This time the Obama administration and the European Union did not fall in line with his extremist stance and kept on working with the Palestinians. What Netanyahu wishes, however, is to demoralize the population of Gaza and prod it to acts of despair against Hamas.

According to Israel’s defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, the next agreement with Hamas will be signed exclusively on Israeli terms. This attitude shows, however, the political stubbornness of some Israeli politicians in regard to peace with the Palestinians. The rejectionism of the political and military ruling elite has been a key element of all Israeli governments since the proclamation of the State of Israel.

When this massacre of the population of Gaza will be over, “peace talks” must be resumed to solve the Middle Eastern problem. In order to achieve a comprehensive arrangement, the partners have to tackle not only the exclusivist and expansionist Zionist ideology, but also some teachings of Judaism. The late Israel Shahak has shown in his groundbreaking book “Jewish History, Jewish Religion. The Weight of Three Thousand Years” (Pluto Press 1994; fourth edition 2008), that the latent racism within Israeli society does not derive alone from Zionism but is inherent in some teachings of Judaism. Although this raises politically awkward questions, they need to be addressed anyway.

By the way: Don’t the US and its Western allies bear responsibility for the behavior of a jingoistic Israeli leadership that pretends to belong to a so-called community of shared values? If this holds true, shouldn’t one exclude the alleged partner, before losing the last remaining of his own credibility?

 Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog “between the lines” http://between-the-lines-ludwig-watzal.blogspot.de/

 

On Thursday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry announced that it was conducting a “total assault” on “multiple fronts” against Donetsk and Luhansk, the two strongholds of pro-Russian separatists. In consultation with its allies in Europe and the US, the Ukrainian army is launching a brutal offensive.

AFP reporters near Donetsk reported heavy artillery fire as convoys of tanks and troop carriers advanced on the city. The Interior Ministry is expecting a month-long campaign to bring the two cities under government control. Spokespersons for the numerically inferior separatists said they would conduct fierce resistance.

The Kiev regime’s attacks have claimed numerous civilian casualties. In the Luhansk region, a bus taking miners to work was hit by artillery, and four workers died. The mining company DTEK subsequently announced the temporary closure of four mines to ensure employees’ safety. The press service of the insurgents in Luhansk also reported that a cancer centre was hit during the bombardment of the city.

The anti-Kiev regime rebels have been able to regroup and undertake their own military actions. In one incident, insurgents attacked a military convoy of government troops that was seeking to surround the rebels close to the Russian border.

“The column has been destroyed,” declared a spokesman of the people’s militia in Luhansk. The government confirmed that the incident was one of the most serious attacks for weeks, resulting in the death of at least 30 soldiers. Bloody battles also broke out near the Luhansk airport, which is controlled by the regime. In addition, the people’s militia reported it had shot down a Ukrainian military aircraft.

An adviser to the government denounced the separatists as “bloodthirsty scum,” threatening retaliation for the attacks. The regime had already announced at the beginning of the week that it has “nasty surprises” up its sleeve.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported the artillery shelling of a border station by the Ukrainian army. At the time of the attack 230 refugees were present at the Gukowo checkpoint, the ministry said. Previously, dozens of shots had been fired at Russian territory.

There are also unconfirmed reports by the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta that Ukrainian troops would be mobilized near the Crimean peninsula. Crimea has been controlled by Russia since March, but the Ukrainian government continues to claim the peninsula, and Ukrainian officials have previously pledged to retake it.

The consequences of the Kiev regime’s offensive are already catastrophic. Military expert Dmitri Tymtschuk estimates that since mid-April, a total of about 200 military personnel have been killed and another 500 wounded in eastern Ukraine. Other estimates state that hundreds of insurgents have also been killed.

On Thursday the Deputy Health Minister Vasily Lasorischinez announced that at least 478 civilians had been killed since March this year. This figure includes 30 women and seven children. The figures were later denied by the ministry, with authorities claiming they lacked reliable figures.

On Friday, Amnesty International published a report claiming that both sides, the separatists in the east and the Ukrainian army, had carried out abductions and torture. The descriptions given by victims were “shocking,” the report said, including extreme humiliation and physical abuse.

Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes. Many have fled to Russia or to relatives and friends. With Donetsk and Luhansk now besieged, the supply situation is once again worsening. In Slavyansk, which the government finally retook after besieging the city and devastating it with artillery bombardments for months, the entire supply of electricity, gas, and water has broken down.

Intensified repression is bearing down on areas taken by the Ukrainian army last week. Authorities are demanding that Ukrainians inform on fellow countrymen who supported the separatists. According to Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, all officials, police officers, judges and regional deputies are to be investigated and, if necessary, charged with treason.

The brutality of the offensive exposes the character of the Ukrainian government brought to power by the Western-backed coup in February. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is in constant contact with his allies in Europe and the United States. On Thursday, the White House confirmed that Poroshenko telephoned US Secretary of State Joe Biden to discuss international action against Russia.

On the same day, the Ukrainian president declared in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he was prepared to accept a cease-fire agreed by both sides. According to a German government spokesman, Merkel had asked Poroshenko “to demonstrate proportionality and protect the civilian population in its legitimate action against the separatists.” However, events on the ground tell a very different story.

In an interview with Euro News, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated that the military alliance must be prepared to consider Russia an adversary, and that it had modernized its armed forces in recent years. “This is why I urge the allies of NATO to increase their defense budgets and accelerate the modernization of our armed forces,” he said.

Russia’s reaction to the threats has been very defensive. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the country was ready to allow the Ukrainian-Russian border to be monitored by representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Ukrainian border guards would be accepted only when a stable ceasefire was agreed.

Yatsenyuk is using the military offensive in the east to escalate attacks on workers across Ukraine. At the All-Ukrainian Agricultural Forum, the premier announced on Thursday that his government would carry out the most extensive privatization of state enterprises in the country’s history. A bill listing the companies concerned is to be made public next week.

The US Department of Justice announced Thursday that it would not investigate charges that the CIA had spied on members of the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, whitewashing the brazenly illegal actions of the US intelligence apparatus. “The department carefully reviewed the matters referred to us and did not find sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation,” read the Justice Department statement.

The department will also not investigate countercharges by the CIA that Senate staffers had gained unauthorized access to CIA documents, effectively equating the two and prompting the corporate-controlled media (which has largely buried the story) to portray the action as a neutral, “hands-off” position in a murky dispute between the Senate and the CIA.

The CIA surveillance of the activities of the Senate committee—which is charged by law with oversight of the CIA—was such a flagrant violation of the constitutional separation of powers that the panel’s chairman, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, took the extraordinary step of denouncing the agency in an hour-long speech on the Senate floor on March 11.

A longtime hardline defender of the intelligence apparatus, Feinstein was visibly disturbed by what she had learned of the CIA’s actions, which she said “may well have violated the separation-of-powers principle embodied in the United States Constitution,” and also “the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance.”

The conflict arose over the four-year campaign by the CIA to stall the Senate committee’s inquiry into torture of prisoners at secret CIA-run prisons (“black sites”) between 2002 and 2006 under the Bush administration. Dozens of prisoners captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries were taken to these secret prisons in a half dozen countries—Thailand, Romania and Poland among them—and subjected to waterboarding and other forms of torture.

Bush ordered the “black sites” shut down and most of their prisoners transferred to Guantanamo in 2006, after the existence of the secret prisons became public knowledge. The Senate Intelligence Committee began an investigation in 2009 and has drafted a voluminous report, comprising more than 6,300 pages, including extensive details of both the torture operation and the efforts by the CIA to cover it up and lie to Congress and the American people.

The report was completed in 2012, but its publication has been repeatedly delayed by CIA stonewalling. At some point in 2013, staff members of the Senate committee became aware of an internal CIA document, dubbed the “Panetta review” after Leon Panetta, the CIA director who commissioned it, giving a summary of the evidence of torture. The review contradicted the official CIA position that the operations at the black sites conformed to international and US law.

When the Senate committee pressed for official release of the “Panetta review,” they were told that the document was privileged material for executive branch use only. CIA Director John Brennan told Feinstein in January 2014 that the CIA had conducted a search of the Senate committee’s computers in an effort to determine how the staff had obtained the document.

This search was a flagrant violation of the separation of powers set down in the US Constitution, which bars the executive branch from interfering in the internal operations and deliberations of the legislative branch.

Even more ominously, after the CIA inspector general filed a criminal referral to the Justice Department over the surveillance of the Senate committee staff, the CIA general counsel retaliated with its own criminal referral, seeking federal prosecution of the Senate staff members for alleged illegal access to classified documents. In other words, the CIA sought to criminalize any effort by Congress to supervise the CIA’s own operations.

Feinstein’s March 11 speech was a protest against this second referral, but it has been followed by four months of silence, both from congressional leaders, Democratic and Republican, and from the Obama administration. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify its torture report, but the White House handed over responsibility for declassification to the CIA itself—allowing the agency to decide what portions of the report criticizing its actions should be made public. No date has yet been set for final publication of what will be a severely redacted document.

Even the way the Justice Department announced its decision underscores the supremacy of the intelligence apparatus over the elected institutions that nominally hold sway in Washington. The department informed the CIA Wednesday that it would not investigate either criminal referral, but it waited to tell the Senate committee until Thursday.

The response of leading Senate Democrats was a further demonstration of their prostration before the intelligence agencies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared, “I think what the CIA did to my senators is wrong. I’m going to drop it at that.”

Feinstein issued no official statement, but commented briefly to reporters, calling the Justice Department decision “good,” because it ended the possibility of prosecution of her staff: “We have a lot of young people, with families, and with this it’s a very hard thing to have hanging over your head. And they’ve done a very good job. It’s just a good day.”

The California senator said nothing about the whitewash of the constitutional issues involved in the CIA spying on the Senate committee, which she had made the axis of her Senate speech four months before.

The two leading “critics” of the CIA on the Senate panel did address that issue, although in terms that indicated they accepted the refusal of the Obama administration to investigate.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said the CIA “still has some very serious questions to answer about the unauthorized search of Senate files and whether CIA officials believe they have the authority to do this again.”

Senator Mark Udall of Colorado said, “The Justice Department’s decision is troubling and draws a false equivalency between congressional staff fulfilling their constitutional obligations and an executive branch agency potentially breaking the law.”

However, Udall made it clear that his concern was to restore credibility to the CIA torturers, assassins and spymasters, not to hold them accountable for their crimes. “Independent oversight of our intelligence agencies is essential for the American people to trust what they’re doing to protect our national security,” he concluded.

The Justice Department action was greeted by most of the press with a yawn. There were perfunctory accounts published Friday by the New York Times (on page 8) and the Washington Post (a four-paragraph wire service story). The television networks ignored the issue.

When Feinstein made her speech on the Senate floor, the World Socialist Web Site pointed to the significance of the fundamental constitutional issues raised. We wrote: “The trajectory of this conflict is an ominous warning: the criminality of the military-intelligence apparatus is metastasizing into an open onslaught on constitutional principles, including such fundamental precepts as the separation of powers.”

But we warned, “Neither Feinstein nor any other capitalist politician in Washington, Democratic or Republican, is capable of serious resistance to the emergence of a police state in the United States… democratic rights are increasingly incompatible with the capitalist profit system, characterized by rampant social inequality and deepening economic crisis.”

This warning has been amply vindicated in the whitewash announced by the Obama administration, and the virtual silence that has followed it. The defense of democratic rights, abandoned by every representative and faction of big business politics, must be taken up by the working class, fighting in its own class and social interests.

  • Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) is occupied Palestinian territory under international law, determined by the vast majority of the world, as well as the highest court in the world, the UN’s International Court of Justice. Gaza cannot commit aggression against Israel, since Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers – see “Rain of Fire” by Human Rights Watch). As documented by Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch, and many others, Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.
  • But, even ignoring international law and that Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did:
    • Western/US/Israeli propaganda says the violence started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths on June 12th. That is a lie:
    • On May 20th, the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens, one on video, and wounded a third.
    • The firing of pathetic scrap metal rockets from impoverished Gaza, which have killed no one, were in fact launched in response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.
  • Since the year 2000, Israel has killed 1,500 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 132 Israeli children. That means Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa.
  • According to a landmark, comprehensive study of all of Israel’s wars, by Zeev Maoz, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis, former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and former academic director of the M.A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forces’ National Defense College:
    • “. most of the wars in which Israel was involved were the result of deliberate Israeli aggressive design . None of these wars – with the possible exception of the 1948 War of independence – was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Berah (war of necessity). They were all wars of choice . ” – Defending the Holy Land, pg. 35, (bold added)
    • “I review a number of peace-related opportunities ranging from the Zionist-Hashemite collusion in 1947 through the collapse of the Oslo Process in 2000. In all those cases I find that Israeli decision makers – who had been willing to embark upon bold and daring military adventures – were extremely reluctant to make even the smallest concessions for peace . I also find in many cases Israel was engaged in systematic violations of agreements and tacit understandings between itself and its neighbors.” – Defending the Holy Land, pg. 40
  • Israel has violated more UN resolutions than any other country. That includes Iraq under Hussein.
  • Hamas is the government elected by Gaza in elections that Jimmy Carter (and many others) observed and said were completely fair and free. Israel constantly says Hamas uses human shields. But in Israel’s biggest massacre of Gaza, the one in 2009, all the human rights organizations, including Amnesty, HRW, and the jurist Richard Goldstone, found that Hamas DID NOT use human shields. On the contrary, Israel used human shields, which is a regular practice for Israel. Israel uses civilians as human shields.
    • Israel forced Palestinian civilians to dig and lay naked in trenches around Israeli tanks. See here at 6:45.
      • XIV. THE USE OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS AS HUMAN SHIELDS
      • “The Mission received allegations that in two areas in north Gaza Israeli troops used Palestinian men as human shields… The Mission found the foregoing witnesses to be credible and reliable. It has no reason to doubt the veracity of their accounts and found that the different stories serve to support the allegation that Palestinians were used as human shields.”
  • Noam Chomsky: “Hamas is regularly described as ‘Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.’ One will be hard put to find something like ‘democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus’—blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.”
  • In the history of all rocket and mortar fire into Israel, 26 people, total, have been killed. And remember, Palestine breaks ceasefires far less often than Israel, as documented above.
    • This number of 26 is in contrast to the minimum number of 1,400 people who were murdered by Israel in a single one of its terrorist atrocities, the 2009 Gaza Massacre.
    • Noting that in the current massacre, zero Israelis and over 100 Palestinians have thus far been killed, and noting that Gaza is a concentration camp – Israel allows no one to enter or leave – Dan Sanchez gives a perfect description of the disparity in arms between the US/Israeli war machine and Palestinian scrap metal projectiles: “They [the Gazans] are like fish in a barrel, being blasted by a shotgun from above. It’s like some of the fish in the barrel pathetically spitting water at the gunman, and [US media calls] that a “shooting battle.”
  • The rhetoric and tactics of Hamas and other groups resisting Israeli occupation and colonization can be brutal (though far less so than Israel). Propagandists try to attribute this to anti-Semitism, to distract from the fact that these groups are resisting having their country stolen and their people dispossessed and annihilated. Native American resistance to European colonizers was sometimes extremely brutal, as was their rhetoric, but everyone universally recognizes that this was not because of “anti-White-ism”, or “anti-European-ism”, but because they were having their land stolen and their people massacred, the same thing that Israel is doing to the Palestinians.
    • Palestinians have the right under international law to resist occupation, ethnic cleansing, colonization, aggression, and annexation. Miko Peled, son of an Israeli general, recently stated that if Israel doesn’t Like rockets, they should decolonize Palestine. Dr. Norman Finkelstein notes that “The Palestinians have the right to use arms to resist an occupation . However, the fact that morally and legally they have that right doesn’t mean that it’s the most prudent strategy. In my opinion, a national Palestinian leadership committed to mobilizing nonviolent resistance can defeat the Israeli occupation if those of us living abroad lend support to it.”
  • In 1948, the people who wanted to form a Jewish state carried out a massive terror and ethnic cleansing campaign against the occupants of Palestine, expelling about half of them (750,000) from their land and into concentrated areas (Gaza and West Bank). Israel has slowly continued colonizing even those areas, which were specifically reserved by the UN for Palestinians. Israel takes all the best land and resources, such as water. Here is a visualization of what has happened, and is currently happening with massive support from Obama:

  • Israeli settlement building in Palestine is a war crime under international law. Under Obama, Israeli settlement building is up over 130%.
  • For about 40 years, there has been an international consensus that Israel must stop colonizing territory outside its 1967 borders. The consensus has been blocked by the United States, in isolation from the international community (much like the USA’s isolated, strong support for South African Apartheid). Every year there is a UN vote on the issue, and every year it goes about 165 to 2, the world against the US and Israel. This continues under Obama. All human rights groups support the consensus, as does Hamas, the Arab League, Iran, the Organization of the Islamic Conference… Virtually everyone, except the US and Israel. (More details on this page.)
  • Palestinians are brutalized, repressed and impoverished by Israel. To get a quick visual understanding of the difference between Gaza and Israel, take a look at the images of people and cities being wantonly pummeled by Israeli terrorism when you search the word “Gaza“, and the images of opulence, wealth and luxury that come up when you search “Tel Aviv“.
  • Israel, whose government intentionally targets, tortures, and murders civilians, including children, including with chemical weapons, and whose government uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and whose government is the last entity on Earth carrying out old-style ethnic cleansing and colonization of foreign countries, is the single biggest recipient of US aid, at over three billion dollars a year and huge amounts of lethal weaponry such as attack helicopters and white phosphorous chemical explosives.
  • To reiterate, Obama requested more military aid for Israel than any president ever. This is not because Obama and the USA love Jewish people. Obama was recently an accomplice in a literal neo-Nazi-led coup d’etat in Ukraine, and is currently fully supporting the junta-integrated Ukrainian government, which is staffed with several neo-Nazis in high ministries, and which uses neo-Nazi paramilitaries to carry out massacres (and possibly genocide) against people resistant to the junta. The actual reason the US supports Israel is discussed below.
  • As Amnesty International has noted, all aid to Israel is illegal under international (and US) law, because Israel is a consistent violator of human rights.

Amnesty International also noted that Israel’s 2009 massacre of Gaza would not have been possible without the illegal funding (money and weapons) and support Israel gets from the USA.

This is also true of the current massacre Israel is committing in Gaza.

However, in a way, that is good news.

That means US citizens can STOP the massacres.

If we stop our money and weapons-flow to Israel, which is illegal anyway, we stop Israeli terrorism! All we have to do is stop committing a crime, and we will stop more crimes! That’s great news.

Here is a previous example of how this has worked: When the USA cut its funding for Indonesia’s genocide against East Timor, which the USA was funding almost exclusively, Indonesia was forced to stop and withdraw. All it took was cutting off our illegal flow of money and weapons to the criminals.

The same thing would happen if we cut our illegal funding for Israel’s genocides and acts of terrorism, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and annexation against Palestine.

But since the USA is an anti-democratic country, the only way to stop US plutocrats from using our money to fund Israeli terrorism is to force it through massive, non-violent pressure.

One way it happens is when it becomes too politically costly for the plutocracy to keep funding genocide and terror, meaning the costs of their illegal support outweigh the benefits, as in Indonesia. In that case, massive publicity and indigenous resistance accomplished the goal.

But Israel is the USA’s main imperial – and nuclear – base for controlling the Middle East, which US planners, in 1945, called the greatest material prize in world history, due to the oil and gas. Thus, it might require more, as in non-violently making our country into a democracy so that people control their own institutions and money, and thus the way we operate as a society and interact with the world.

Last note: To be clear, Israel is a legal state, but only within the borders allotted to it by the United Nations – the Pre-1967 borders, which existed before Israel started eating away, through terror, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and annexation, at the areas reserved by the United Nations for Palestinians, as well as areas of other countries, such as Syria (the Golan Heights).

Per international law, US domestic law, and common sense, Israel doesn’t deserve any support until it abandons isolationism and accepts that it can’t steal other people’s countries, and stops blockading and withdraws its soldiers and settlers, all there illegally, from those countries.

Israel is, militarily, the most powerful country in the Middle East, by far. Removing our support for the Israeli government (which we are legally required to do) will not put Israelis in danger. It will pressure the Israeli government to stop doing what endangers Israelis, which is committing aggressive acts against Israel’s neighbors.

If Israel ends its status as a consistent violator of human rights, decolonizes Palestine, and respects its neighbors, it could be a pleasure – and legal – to work with and support Israel.

Germany, Japan, and South Africa went from being the most reviled countries on Earth to being some of the most admired. Maybe Israel could undergo the same transformation, but not unless we, US citizens, help by ceasing to enable Israeli terrorism and war crimes by illegally supporting them.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, July 8, 2014: “In my travels as secretary of state, I have seen as never before the thirst for American leadership in the world.”

President Barack Obama, May 28, 2014: “Here’s my bottom line, America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.”

Nicholas Burns, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, May 8, 2014: “Where is American power and leadership when the world needs it most?”

Mitt Romney, Republican Party candidate for President, September 13, 2012:  “The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keep us admired throughout the world.”

Paul Ryan, Congressman, Republican Party candidate for Vice President, September 12, 2012: “We need to be reminded that the world needs American leadership.”

John McCain, Senator, September 9, 2012: “The situation in Syria and elsewhere ‘cries out for American leadership’.”

Hillary Clinton, September 8, 2010: “Let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century. Indeed, the complexities and connections of today’s world have yielded a new American Moment — a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.”

Senator Barack Obama, April 23, 2007: “In the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good. I still believe that America is the last, best hope of Earth.”

Gallup poll, 2013: Question asked: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”

Replies:

  • United States 24%
  • Pakistan 8%
  • China 6%
  • Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, each 5%
  • India, Iraq, Japan, each 4%
  • Syria 3%
  • Russia 2%
  • Australia, Germany, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Korea, UK, each 1%

The question is not what pacifism has achieved throughout history, but what has war achieved?

Remark made to a pacifist: “If only everyone else would live in the way you recommend, I would gladly live that way as well – but not until everyone else does.”

The Pacifist’s reply: “Why then, sir, you would be the last man on earth to do good. I would rather be one of the first.”

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.

But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.”… various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.”… Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.”…

In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force.And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals.

If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.

The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present.

Yankee Blowback

The number of children attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2010) about 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. The US Department of Homeland Security estimates for the fiscal year 2014 the detention of as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador. The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, after he did things like raising the minimum wage, giving subsidies to small farmers, and instituting free education. The coup – like so many others in Latin America – was led by a graduate of Washington’s infamous School of the Americas.

As per the standard Western Hemisphere script, the Honduran coup was followed by the abusive policies of the new regime, loyally supported by the United States. The State Department was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere in not unequivocally condemning the Honduran coup. Indeed, the Obama administration has refused to call it a coup, which, under American law, would tie Washington’s hands as to the amount of support it could give the coup government. This denial of reality still persists even though a US embassy cable released by Wikileaks in 2010 declared: “There is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 [2009] in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”. Washington’s support of the far-right Honduran government has been unwavering ever since.

The questions concerning immigration into the United States from south of the border go on year after year, with the same issues argued back and forth: What’s the best way to block the flow into the country? How shall we punish those caught here illegally? Should we separate families, which happens when parents are deported but their American-born children remain? Should the police and various other institutions have the right to ask for proof of legal residence from anyone they suspect of being here illegally? Should we punish employers who hire illegal immigrants? Should we grant amnesty to at least some of the immigrants already here for years? … on and on, round and round it goes, decade after decade. Those in the US generally opposed to immigration make it a point to declare that the United States does not have any moral obligation to take in these Latino immigrants.

But the counter-argument to this last point is almost never mentioned: Yes, the United States does indeed have a moral obligation because so many of the immigrants are escaping a situation in their homeland made hopeless by American intervention and policy. In addition to Honduras, Washington overthrew progressive governments which were sincerely committed to fighting poverty in Guatemala and Nicaragua; while in El Salvador the US played a major role in suppressing a movement striving to install such a government. And in Mexico, though Washington has not intervened militarily since 1919, over the years the US has been providing training, arms, and surveillance technology to Mexico’s police and armed forces to better their ability to suppress their own people’s aspirations, as in Chiapas, and this has added to the influx of the oppressed to the United States, irony notwithstanding.

Moreover, Washington’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has brought a flood of cheap, subsidized US agricultural products into Mexico, ravaging campesino communities and driving many Mexican farmers off the land when they couldn’t compete with the giant from the north. The subsequent Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has brought the same joys to the people of that area.

These “free trade” agreements – as they do all over the world – also result in government enterprises being privatized, the regulation of corporations being reduced, and cuts to the social budget. Add to this the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects and the drastic US-led militarization of the War on Drugs with accompanying violence and you have the perfect storm of suffering followed by the attempt to escape from suffering.

It’s not that all these people prefer to live in the United States. They’d much rather remain with their families and friends, be able to speak their native language at all times, and avoid the hardships imposed on them by American police and other right-wingers.

M’lady Hillary

Madame Clinton, in her new memoir, referring to her 2002 Senate vote supporting military action in Iraq, says: “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

In a 2006 TV interview, Clinton said: “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote. And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”

On October 16, 2002 the US Congress adopted a joint resolution titled “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq”. This was done in the face of numerous protests and other political events against an American invasion.

On February 15, 2003, a month before the actual invasion, there was a coordinated protest around the world in which people in some 60 countries marched in a last desperate attempt to stop the war from happening. It has been described as “the largest protest event in human history.” Estimations of the total number of participants involved reach 30 million. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history. Madrid hosted the second largest rally with more than 1½ million protesters. About half a million marched in the United States. How many demonstrations in support of the war can be cited? It can be said that the day was one of humanity’s finest moments.

So what did all these people know that Hillary Clinton didn’t know? What information did they have access to that she as a member of Congress did not have?

The answer to both questions is of course “Nothing”. She voted the way she did because she was, as she remains today, a wholly committed supporter of the Empire and its unending wars.

And what did the actual war teach her? Here she is in 2007, after four years of horrible death, destruction and torture:

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded.”

And she spoke the above words at a conference of liberals, committed liberal Democrats and others further left. She didn’t have to cater to them with any flag-waving pro-war rhetoric; they wanted to hear anti-war rhetoric (and she of course gave them a tiny bit of that as well out of the other side of her mouth), so we can assume that this is how she really feels, if indeed the woman feels anything. The audience, it should be noted, booed her, for the second year in a row.

“We came, we saw, he died.” – Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State, giggling, as she referred to the uncivilized and utterly depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of September 11, 2001: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died, ha-ha.”

Save Gaza Today; Tomorrow May Be Too Late!

July 13th, 2014 by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Emma Bull was right when she said: “Coincidence is the word we use when we can’t see the levers and pulleys.” The timing of Israel’s recent assault on Gaza is not coincidental.  It is the culmination of several factors:  The Hamas-Fatah unity; Israel’s escalation of illegal construction in occupied territory; the collapse of the peace talks; the success of the BDS movement; and the growing number of Europeans warning against investment in occupied territories.

Israel’s expansionist agenda was at odds with the growing lack of sympathy around the world.  So it pulled out is best card — the victim card.    On June 12, three Israeli teens were kidnapped, thought by many to be another Israeli false flag operation.    According to Israeli police records, “the voice of MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) could be heard who was being interviewed by Israel Radio as the kidnapping took place” (Jerusalem Post).

During the phone conversation, shots were heard while Hebrew language was blaring in the background.  A gag order was put on this call.  Immediately, Netanyahu launched on a campaign to solicit sympathy for this ‘victimization’ and to invoke outrage from world leaders blaming the kidnapping on Hamas (who denied responsibility), all the while giving the impression that the teens were alive.

 Without provocation, on June 17, Reuters reported that Israel cracks down on Hamas “in a mobilisation on a scale not seen in years” to find the abducted shot teens.   As sentiments of solidarity toward Israel and disgust toward Hamas increased, victim card in hand, IDF boots marched into Palestinian houses turning them into military observation posts, making arbitrary arrests and putting up road blocks to increase pressure on Hamas.

It took more than two weeks for the very competent IDF to find the dead bodies of the teens in a tiny area – and identifying all the ins and outs of Palestinians households. More sympathy and condemnation pored in as the teens’ bodies were found on June 30th.    Standing center stage amidst Western media, Netanyahu said: “May God avenge their blood”.   Thinking of himself as God, on July 1 arrest raids were ordered, hundreds arrested and a ‘Hamas member killed’.     All hell broke loose.

 The sympathies and framing of events on the ground by the Western media and sympathies of Western leaders gave justification to the bombing of Gaza. The burning alive of a teenage Palestinian boy got a passing mention in the press.    As the death toll in Gaza keeps rising, always,  not only must Palestinians defend their lives and livelihoods, but they must also contend with fighting the pro-Israel media narrative.

Meanwhile, the UN utters a pathetic whim but remains idle as bombs are dropped on toddlers.    After all, they take their cue from their paymasters with US contributing 25% to the United Nations (the next largest contributors being Japan (12.53%), Germany (8.018%), the United Kingdom (6.604%), and France (6.112%).  Lending their support in fratricide are the Arab leaders fratricide as their continued silence echoes the call to Genocide by Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked.

 As Israel is set for a ground invasion of Gaza, the alarming call of aHoly War is heard from an Israeli commander who tells his soldiers that they are engaged in a war to “wipe out” an “enemy who defames” God.   Jewish extremism has always been concealed, and with it, the dangers. But the threat is very real – and very well understood even by those supporting this growing danger.

 A 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against a religious, right wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious in the military increases[i]. They have been on the increase.  In 2009, it was reported “Israel’s army is changing. Once proudly secular, its combat units are now filling with those who believe Israel’s wars are “God’s wars”. If Israel determines “God’s wars”, none are safe.

 World leaders have warned that the conflict could engulf the entire region, but Israel is not heeding their warnings.   Perhaps Netanyahu is smug in the knowledge that even if all in the region (and beyond) perish, Israeli Jews, or at least some, will be safe in its Site 911. Site 911, funded by America, due for completion soon, “will have five levels buried underground and six additional outbuildings on the above grounds, within the perimeter. At about 127,000 square feet, the first three floors will house classrooms, an auditorium, and a laboratory — all wedged behind shock resistant doors — with radiation protection and massive security.  Each door of the facility will have a detailed description of the mezuzahs written in “in-erasable ink”.

 With the growing extremism in Israeli military, their “holy wars” and nukes, it is not just Gaza that is burning – this is a war on humanity and perhaps even human race.  If we do not stop it today, tomorrow may be too late.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

From the rehabilitation hospital he heads, Dr. Basman Alashi can see where Gaza ends and Israel begins. If he needed a reminder of just how close the border is, it came early Friday morning, when Israel fired two “warning” rockets at the El Wafa Hospital, stoking fears that its 14 remaining patients – all elderly and all dependent on round-the-clock professional care to survive – would become the next victims of a bombing campaign that has so-far killed more than 120 people.

I spoke with Dr. Alashi Saturday afternoon, and he told me about one patient whose situation sums up the sense of dread – and determination – at the hospital.

Basman Alashi, executive director of el-Wafa Hospital in eastern Gaza City, comforts a patient hours after an Israeli projectile struck the hospital's fourth floor Friday evening, demolishing a wall and damaging doors and windows. (photo: Joe Catron)

“Her name is Hiba Kalli, and she is 85 years old. Every time a bomb explodes, she’s transported back to memories of the many wars she’s survived. You can see the panic in her face. When I hold her hand, she won’t let go, murmuring ‘please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.’ I am not going to leave my patients. We either stay together, or we leave this world together.”

Hoping to dissuade Israel from attacking the facility, international solidarity activists “have planned a shift system to maintain a presence at the hospital,” according to one of the activists, American Joe Catron.

Trained in Michigan, Dr. Alashi reminded me that, under international law, Israel is prohibited from targeting facilities like El Wafa. But Friday’s “knock on the roof” – a Kafkaesque euphemism for Israeli munitions landing on inhabited buildings – was followed by a strike later that evening which blew a hole in the ceiling and shattered windows on the hospital’s top floor.

Fortunately, that floor was evacuated on Wednesday, and Dr. Alashi sent home all but the most critical patients. Those who remain, like Hiba, include stroke victims who – like all of Gaza’s residents – have had no respite from the constant bombs, missiles, and naval shelling, which by some estimates have fallen, on average, every 5.5 minutes for the past five days.

As the bombing continues, hospitals and other patient care facilities throughout Gaza are bracing for the worst. Even if they are spared direct attack, they are running short on medical supplies, which have been restricted by Israel’s longstanding siege of the 25-mile-long strip. Before the latest attacks, the United Nations estimated that 28 percent of Gaza’s essential medicines “were at zero stock.”

Western leaders have frequently used the pretext of ‘protecting civilians’ to carry out their aggressive and illegal military interventions, such as directly in Libya, Iraq, and indirectly in Syria by supporting extremists.

It has already been established that this pretext was nothing more than an excuse to carry out regime change that would benefit Washington. The current violence in Ukraine and Israel, where the Ukrainian and Israeli governments are shelling and killing civilians, while the West turns a blind eye, further illustrates the hypocritical and immoral nature of Western governments.Ukraine

The Western-backed Kiev government, which was installed after an illegal coup, continues to bomb its own civilians with complete disregard for innocent lives lost. In the most recent attack by the government, at least four people died when a suburb of the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk was badly damaged by rockets. Apartment blocks were hit as the bombardment continued through the night.

Those who are bombing their own citizens into oblivion continue to act with malfeasance and complete impunity as they carry out their war crimes and their merciless punitive operation against their own civilians. Kiev authorities continue to act with complete disregard for any law whatsoever as they kill women and children and conduct air strikes on civilians, while those sitting comfortably in their plush offices across the Atlantic continue to support Kiev and not a dissenting word is heard. Even after US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki stated that Kiev has the right to conduct airstrikes on civilians, using the logic of territorial integrity and national unity, not a single word of protest was voiced. Is it now official US policy to bomb civilians? Or is it okay only if it is done by a coup government that they have installed?

Last week Pro-Kiev’s military opened artillery fire on residential buildings in east Ukraine’s Lugansk. At least 80 people, including 56 civilians and 24 self-defense fighters, had been taken to Lugansk hospitals as a result of bombings and shelling by the Ukrainian military. Despite the blatant failure to protect his own civilians, Ukrainian President Poroshenko received full support from US Vice President Joe Biden who informed Poroshenko of ongoing US diplomatic efforts to work with international partners to impose costs on Russia if it continues on its current course of providing the separatists with heavy weapons and equipment. Despite Biden being one of the first to condemn Syrian President Assad for apparent “butchering” of his own people, he failed to condemn the Ukrainian leadership for precisely the same crime.

Ultimately, the United States is supporting an illegitimate junta carrying out the brutal military “punishment” of entire populations as they attempt to “clear” the eastern part of their own country.
Israel

Meanwhile, Israel is continuing<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/13/israeli-troops-clash-with-hamas-as-gaza-death-toll-continues-to-spiral> its brutal and aggressive bombing of Gaza, with the death toll passing 160 on the Palestinian side, with no Israeli fatalities reported.

In the most recent attack, the Palestinian health ministry says two people were killed<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10963427/Israel-air-strike-hits-charitable-association-for-disabled-in-Gaza.html> when Israel hit<http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28275837> a residential home for disabled people in Beit Lahiya. Furthermore, an Israeli warplane flattened the home of Gaza police chief Taysir al-Batsh and damaged a nearby mosque as evening prayers ended, killing at least 18 people and wounding 50. Collective punishment of the Palestinian collective has always been the norm in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The principle of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty only applies to the Jewish citizens of Israel and the colonizers in the West Bank.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said that “no international pressure will prevent us from striking, with all force”.  Netanyahu does not need to worry about any pressure coming from Washington, as the United States once again has given its full support for Israel to butcher as many Palestinians as Israel feels necessary. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said<http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-backs-israeli-right-to-defend-itself-un-chief-condemns-rockets/>: “We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza.” The spokesman also backed Israel’s right to respond to the attacks.
Washington’s immoral stance is becoming more isolated however. Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights has said<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/11/israeli-air-strikes-gaza-continue-us-barack-obama-offers-broker-ceasefire> that Israel’s  air campaign in Gaza  may violate international laws prohibiting the targeting of civilians. She said: “We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes. Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”

In addition, major human rights organizations have condemned Israel. Amnesty International has urged  the UN to urgently mandate an independent international investigation into Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes. Amnesty said that despite claims by Israel that its operation “Protective Edge”, launched June 8, targets Hamas militants, most of more than a hundred Palestinians killed in airstrikes on Gaza are civilians, adding that at least 24 children and 16 women were among the casualties.  Amnesty added:  “Unless the Israeli authorities can provide specific information to show how a home is being used to make an effective contribution to military actions, deliberately attacking civilian homes constitutes a war crime and also amounts to collective punishment against the families.”

Furthermore, Bill Van Esveld, Israel, Palestine researcher at Human Rights Watch also stated that intentional attacks on the Palestinian population can be deemed a war crime and accountability for violations of international law must be imposed.

Despite constantly spouting the usual rhetoric of promoting human rights and international law, Western leaders under the umbrella protection of Washington have completely abandoned these principles. Western-backed war criminals in Israel and Ukrainian governments continue to defy international law and human rights, resulting in bloodshed and destruction. Just like many times in the past, the United States has blood on its hands.

Alexander Clackson is the founder of Global Political Insight, a political media and research organisation. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations. Alexander works as a political consultant and frequently contributes to think-tank and media outlets.

Morocco on High Alert: Radicals Aim to set up ISIL-like State

July 13th, 2014 by Global Research News

Morocco has put its security services on high alert after intelligence reports revealed a “serious terror threat” from Islamist militants returning home after fighting in Iraq and Syria, the government said, Al-Alam reports.

“The threats are linked to the increasing numbers of Moroccans belonging to organizations in Syria and Iraq,” said a statement issued after the weekly cabinet meeting.

“Many of these fighters, including some who are leading those organizations, don’t hide their willingness to perpetrate terrorist attacks against our country.”

An al-Qaeda offshoot now calling itself the Islamic State has proclaimed a “caliphate” on territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria after a lightning advance last month. Moroccans fighting with the group have posted videos on social media showing their weapons and promising they will return to create an Islamic state in Morocco.

“We will bring this back to you in the kingdom of Mohammed VI,” one militant with a northern Moroccan accent said in a video posted last week, referring to the Moroccan king. Moroccan authorities say they have dismantled dozens of Islamist militant cells that sent fighters to Syria and Iraq. “

Authorities have arrested around 160 members who returned home,” said Abderrahim Ghazali, spokesman for an association of families and former detainees that defends the rights of jailed Islamists. “Most of them have been arrested when their plane landed at Moroccan airports.”

Two years after President Barack Obama declared that his administration had ended the catastrophic US war in Iraq “responsibly… leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant” government, the US has rushed emergency shipments of Hellfire missiles to Baghdad and appears to be preparing for a possible renewal of direct military intervention in the form of drone missile attacks.

These measures are a response to an appeal from the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the New York Times reported Thursday, and come in the face of a rise in violence to a level not seen since the US military “surge” of 2008, with over 8,000 Iraqis having lost their lives over the last year.

A shipment of 75 Hellfire missiles arrived in Iraq last week, according to the Times report. The Pentagon is also set to deliver dozens of reconnaissance drones to the Baghdad regime in the coming year, along with F-16 fighters and Apache helicopter gunships. US intelligence is also providing targeting information for Iraqi air strikes.

Military experts cited by the Times, however, expressed skepticism that the Iraqi military, even with such material assistance, will prove capable of defeating a growing Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgency in the country’s predominantly Sunni Anbar province.

The prospect for a more direct US military intervention through the launching of a drone airstrike campaign has been raised in recent months by Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari.

Last Sunday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki signaled the escalating US involvement in Iraq, declaring that Al Qaeda-connected insurgents were “seeking to gain control of territory inside the borders of Iraq” and describing these elements as the “common enemy of the United States and the Republic of Iraq, and a threat to the greater Middle East region.”

This “threat,” however, is one of Washington’s own making, and the “common enemy” in Iraq has been the de facto proxy force of US imperialism’s war for regime-change in neighboring Syria.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known by the initials ISIS, has claimed responsibility for some of the latest terrorist attacks inside Iraq, including the bombing on Monday of two television stations in Baghdad in which five journalists died. The group was suspected of being behind the horrific Christmas Day bombings in Christian areas of the Iraqi capital that killed at least 38 on Wednesday, including 24 who died from a bomb that went off as they left Christmas mass.

The ISIS had its origins in Iraq during the US military occupation of the country. Its resurgence has come as a byproduct of the US-backed war for regime-change in Syria, across Iraq’s eastern border, where it has battled forces loyal to the Syrian government and seized swathes of territory. Last month, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) described the ISIS, which includes thousands of foreign jihadis from as far away as Russia and Western Europe, as “the strongest group in Northern Syria.”

From Syria, the group has dispatched suicide bombers to attack government targets in Iraq as well as Shia and Christian communities.

The group has also revived its training camps and hideouts in the western desert of Anbar province. In an ambush there last Saturday, it killed some 18 Iraqi military personnel, including a major general who commanded the local army division and several other senior officers.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi government ordered the military to close the country’s border with Syria as part of a major military operation against Al Qaeda-associated forces in the area dubbed “Avenge the Leader Mohammed,” after Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Karawi, the division commander killed in last Saturday’s attack.

Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told the AFP news agency that the military had detected “the arrival of weapons and advanced equipment from Syria to the desert of western Anbar and the border of Nineveh province.” He added that intelligence indicated that “whenever there is pressure on armed groups in Syria, they withdraw to Iraq … to regroup and then carry out terrorist operations in the two countries.”

The US aid to the counterinsurgency operation by the Iraqi military is being carried out in conjunction with the reconfiguration of US policy toward the Syrian civil war in the wake of the Obama administration’s pullback from direct US military intervention last September and its reaching of agreements both on the chemical disarmament of the Syrian regime and the Iranian nuclear program.

Washington has also been forced to confront the rout of the so-called “moderate” forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which it had officially been backing against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and the growing dominance of Islamists of various stripes among the so-called “rebels.” Earlier this month, the Obama administration cut off aid to the Syrian armed opposition after Islamist guerrillas of the recently formed Islamic Front overran a compound and a dozen weapons warehouses of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council in Babisqa, just south of the strategic Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey. US-backed commander Gen. Salim Idriss, the titular head of the FSA, was sent fleeing across the border into Turkey.

With the FSA and its political arm, the National Coalition, exposed as representing virtually nothing outside of a clique of Syrian exiles tied to the CIA and other western intelligence agencies, the Obama administration instructed its Syrian envoy Robert Ford to make contact with the Islamic Front in the hope of developing it as a Western-aligned “third force” between Al Qaeda and the Syrian regime.

Of immediate concern is next month’s US-Russian brokered talks, known as “Geneva II,” in which representatives of the Syrian government have agreed to sit down with opposition delegates. The negotiators for both sides are supposed to be named today, December 27. The problem confronting the US and the other Western powers is that the forces they have backed are being exposed as having virtually no support within Syria itself, either among those carrying out attacks against the regime or in the society at large.

The Islamic Front, which is apparently funded by Saudi Arabia, rejected the US overtures and has reportedly established a close working relationship with the ISIS and the Al Nusra Front, another Al Qaeda-associated force in Syria.

In backing the Iraqi regime, which has aligned itself with the Assad government in Syria and the Iranian government against the Sunni Islamists, the Obama administration is attempting to at least contain the catastrophic sectarian civil war it has unleashed upon Syria. There remain deep divisions in Washington over how to handle this debacle, with some elements still denouncing Obama for failing to make good on his vow that Assad would be toppled, and others arguing that Assad staying in power would be preferable to the fall of Syria to the jihadists.

In aiding the corrupt, sectarian and dictatorial government of al-Maliki, however, Washington is only deepening the crisis in the region. Al Qaeda’s resurgence in Iraq is driven by not only the US-backed war in neighboring Syria, but also by the political marginalization of and heavy-handed repression against Iraq’s Sunni minority.

In launching the latest offensive in Anbar, Prime Minister al-Maliki issued a simultaneous threat to unleash a bloodbath against an ongoing sit-in protest in Ramadi, Anbar’s largest city. In a statement broadcast on Iraqi television last Sunday, al-Maliki declared that the sit-in “has turned into a headquarters for the leadership of Al Qaeda.” He demanded that all those not involved in “sabotage” evacuate the protest camp “so that Al Qaeda stays alone,” adding that protesters had a “very short period” in which they could escape the implied threat of repression.

Last April, the army raided a similar Sunni protest encampment in Hawija, west of Kirkuk, leaving at least 42 people dead and 153 wounded. In clashes that followed over the next two days, hundreds more were killed.

Depois dos atentados de 11 de setembro nós estivemos assistindo a uma transformação da maneira na qual a mídia, como coletivo, rende conta e reproduz os acontecimentos da atualidade. A mídia está nos encerrando no irreal. Ela baseia uma verdade não sobre a coerência dos fatos, ou do exposto, mas sim sobre uma qualidade de poder levantar surpresa e susto. Isso faz com que o sujeito submetido a isso fique petrificado, não conseguindo mais estabelecer uma relação, ou ligação, com a realidade.

A mídia está nos mentindo, mas ao mesmo tempo a mostrar que nos está mentindo. Não se trataria aqui de modificar a percepção dos fatos para obter a nossa adesão, mas de nos encerrar na total potência do poder. A exibição dessa destruição da razão, se apoia aqui em imagens que são não reais mas imaginadas, as quais tem como função a substituição dos fatos por algo não real. A “informação” não é mais usada como capacidade de perceber e representar uma coisa real, mas como a necessidade de experimentar, e pôr a prova, talvez então principalmente de pôr a prova através dessa operação de mudar os fatos pelo imaginado, ou desejado.

De Bin Laden à Merah, passando pelo ”tirano” Bashar al-Assad, o discurso da mídia se tornou numa permanente produção de fetiches, dando ordens para uma entrega total sobre o que ”dá o ton”, ou seja, ao poder. Isso não tem, como a propaganda o tem, o objetivo de convencer. O discurso apresentado dá simplesmente uma ordem ao sujeito para que dê carne e osso a imagem de uma ”guerra de civilizações”. O dispositivo discursivo da ”guerra do bem contra o mal” actualiza o processo orweliano da dualidade do pensamento. Essa dualidade do pensamento, do qual mais será dito abaixo, deverá então vir a ser a nova realidade, que des-estrutura o conjunto da nossa existência e da nossa vida quotidiana, assim como as suas ligações com a política global.

Esse saber-como-fazer [know-how ou savoir-faire] tornou-se omnipresente, existindo por tudo, vê-se isso claramente no que se relaciona a guerra da Síria. O procedimento consiste em anular a idéia expressa, ao mesmo tempo em que a mesma é pronunciada, mas ao mesmo tempo também mantendo o que foi anteriormente dito, ou dado a subentender. [Isso, em termos psicológicos, seria o equivalente a dizer ”eu te amo” conquanto retrocedendo o corpo num ato de repulsão]. Aqui o indivíduo deverá ter, ou adquirir, a capacidade de aceitar elementos que se opõem, sem pôr em questão a contradição expressa. A linguagem é assim reduzida a comunicação do que é dito, não conseguindo mais realizar sua função de representação. Isso significaria também uma des-construção da capacidade de simbolizar, impedindo toda e qualquer proteção em relação a realidade, ao mesmo tempo em que nos livra da mesma.

Anunciar ao mesmo tempo uma coisa e seu contrário

Na apresentação do conflito da Síria, o uso da dualidade do pensamento faz-se de maneira muito extensiva. Anuncia-se ao mesmo tempo uma coisa, e seu contrário, produzindo uma desintegração automática da consciência. Aqui já não é mais possível o perceber, e o analisar da realidade. Sendo incapazes de nos distanciar das nossas emoções, não podemos fazer mais do que, mesmo se pondo a realidade a prova, a nos submeter a mesma.

Os em oposição ao regime de Bashar al-Assad são denominados como “combatentes da liberdade” ao mesmo tempo em que são chamados de fundamentalistas islâmicos, inimigos da democracia. Usa-se esse mesmo procedimento em relação ao uso de armas químicas, pelos beligerantes. A mídia, sem provas, apresenta uma certeza absoluta quanto a culpa do regime sírio, apesar de que mencionem o uso de tais armas pelos “rebeldes.” A mídia substituiu as declarações da magistrada Carla Del Ponte, membro da comissão de pesquisa independente da ONU sobre a violência na Síria, a qual declarou, em 5 de maio de 2013, para a televisão suíça que: “de acordo com os testemunhos que recolhemos os rebeldes utilizaram armas químicas, usando gás sarim”. Essa magistrada, que também é a ex-procuradora do Tribunal Penal Internacional para a ex-Iugoslávia, poderá dificilmente ser caracterizada como complacente ao regime de Bashar al-Assad. ”Nossas pesquisas deverão ainda ser aprofundadas, verificadas e confirmadas através de novos testemunhos, mas de acordo com o que pudemos estabelecer até esse momento são os em oposição ao regime que utilizaram o gás sarim [1]” ela acrescentou.

Quanto a Casa Branca, essa não quis saber desses testemunhos, exprimindo uma posição inversa. Dessa maneira, ao que diz respeito ao massacre de Ghouta, ela difundiu um comunicado explicando que haveriam “muitas poucas dúvidas” do uso de armas químicas pelo governo da Síria, contra a oposição. O comunicado acrescentava que a aceitação síria para deixar que os inspectores da ONU entrassem na zona em questão, tinha vindo “muito tarde para ter credibilidade”. [Isso então sendo de quando o governo sírio já tinha dito que tratava-se de uma zona de combate, e que como governo tinham a obrigação de proteger os inspectores internacionais, nessa situação.]

Redução do qualitativo ao quantitativo.

Quanto ao uso em 21 de agosto de 2013 de armas químicas em subúrbios de Damasco, o secretário de estado dos Estados Unidos, o Sr. Kerry, reafirmou a “forte certeza” dos Estados Unidos quanto a responsabilidade do regime sírio. Um relatório do serviço de reconhecimento americano, difundido pela Casa Branca, dizendo basear-se em ”múltiplas” fontes, também afirmou que o governo sírio tinha recorrido a gases neurotóxicos nesse ataque, onde seria “altamente improvável” que esse tivesse sido cometido pelos rebeldes. [2]

Nessas condições o indivíduo perde a sua capacidade de diferenciar a realidade através da linguagem. O qualitativo, a certeza, é reduzida ao quantitativo, aos “diferentes graus de certeza” anteriormente exprimidas por Obama, até a “forte certeza” pronunciada por J. Kerry. O se ter “muito poucas dúvidas”, quanto a culpabilidade do regime sírio, espelha a responsabilidade “altamente improvável” atribuídas a oposição. A qualidade fica assim restringida a uma diferença em quantidade. A qualidade, a que é, torna-se, ao mesmo tempo, o que não é, ou pelo menos, o que não pode ser, porque ela exprime mais uma certeza, mais um grau ou, uma certa quantidade de certeza, ou de duvida. Se produz assim uma equivalência entre esses termos opostos, certeza e dúvida. A diferença qualitativa [vida vs morte por exemplo] se reduz a uma distância entre quantidades [pouco morto, muito morto, absolutamente morto, para deixar o caso bem explícito]. Não há aqui então nenhuma outra qualidade, do que a da medida quantitativa.

Essa redução do qualitativo ao quantitativo, de muitas maneiras, já invadiu nossa vida quotidiana. Não há mais pobres, mas “menos favorizados”. Da mesma maneira que já não encontramos inválidos, mas “menos válidos”. Os trabalhos não qualificados são atualmente aureolados por uma denominação operacional negando a des-qualificação. Dessa maneira uma mulher trabalhadora se torna numa ”técnica de área”, a denominação caixa some em benefício da denominação “a recepcionista da caixa” enquanto o trabalhador é promovido simplesmente com a nova denominação, “operador de produção”.

O poder separador da linguagem está aqui sendo destruido. As palavras estão sendo transformadas em locuções verbais, as quais estão construindo um mundo homogeneizado. Nós vivemos num universo no qual todos são favorizados. Já não há mais diferenças qualitativas entre as exitências, mas sómente quantitativas. A visão de um mundo de uma perfeita homogeneização, onde não existiria mais do que iguais, que já não se diferenciam de maneira outra senão a quantitativa, já tinha sido antecipada por Georges Orwell no seu ”La ferme des animaux : touts sont des égaux, mais certains le seraient plus que d´autres”. [3] Aqui traduzido como ”A quinta dos animais : todos são iguais, mas alguns os seriam mais do que outros.”

Certeza absoluta em falta de provas.

As palavras, que qualificam e diferenciam as coisas, foram substituidas por uma imagem, pelo que é tudo, em não sendo nada. Ao contrário de uma palavra que se refere a um objeto, o grau de certeza não leva a nada outro que ao sentimento de quem fala. Essas expressões verbais não tem como objetivo o designar as coisas externas, mas de colocar a pessoa que recebe a mensagem no ponto de vista daquele que fala, fechando-a numa torção dos sentidos, efetuada por essa manobra.

A certeza exprimida pode estar separada dos fatos, e se apresenta como puramente subjetiva. Essa certeza não se relaciona a uma observação, mas faz referência a um afeto, o qual então se apresenta como objetivo graças a uma operacionalização de quantificação.

A certeza das autoridades estadunidenses, e aqui no caso também as das francesas, se especifica pelo fato de que ela é construida sobre dados equívocos, invocando provas de responsabilidade do regime sírio, se bem que eles aceitem, em algum nível, a impossibilidade de saber quem efetuou os ataques, e como foi que as armas químicas foram utilizadas, mas certezas eles as tem. Não é então possível de se construir uma certeza objetiva, porque as observações dos fatos já foram neutralizadas, deixando lugar só para a surpresa e susto do indivíduo a isso submetido. A certeza exprimida não mais separa o que é verdadeiro do que é falso, porque a capacidade racional de julgamento do indivíduo foi suspensa, pela necessidade desse ter que aceitar simultaneamente duas proposições que se excluem.

Tem-se aqui que a certeza subjetiva e objetiva ficaram, através da linguagem, indiferenciadas, não se diferenciando mais uma da outra. Não se trata aqui de ter que acreditar no que foi dito, mas de acreditar na autoridade de quem fala, o que quer que seja que diga. As declarações dos presidentes Obama e Hollande se dão imediatamente como certezas absolutas, isso é o mesmo que dizer que elas ocupam o lugar que Descartes deu a Deus - comme principe de garantie de la vérité objective du vécu subjectif – aqui traduzido como o princípio de garantia da verdade objetiva do vivido subjetivamente… [4] . A questão de se passar para a etapa da verificação objetiva, através do julgamento da existência, não se põe, na medida em que a certeza anunciada está liberada de todo e qualquer restrição espacial e temporal. Essa certeza é posta com ausência de limites, numa ausência do que a psicoanálise denomina de Tiers”, no sentido (do lugar) Do Outro”. Tiers podendo talvez ser entendido também como de terceiros, de outros. [5]

Eliminação do lugar do “Outro” 

A certeza absoluta, se apresenta em tudo, instalada na negação do real, do que se nos escapa. Ela não reconhece a perda. Constituir-se em nós, já não é mais possível, porque ela não pode ser formada pelo que falta. A mónada [termo da filosofia de Leibnitz, que vê o espírito como irremediavelmente só e incomunicável] não tem falta de nada, porque está ligada a potência do estado. Os fetiches fabricados pelas “informações” tocam e destroem o fundo do real, ocupam o lugar da falta, e operam em negação “do outro”.

A certeza absoluta se opõe a constituição de uma ordem simbólica integrante do “outro” [6], no sentido do lugar da linguagem. A função da linguagem é a de simbolizar o real. A palavra não é real em si mesma, mas o meio pelo qual o real pode ser apresentado, a palavra é assim um símbolo do real. Jacques Lacan exprime essa necessidade pelo aforismo Il faut que la chose se perde pour être représentée” [7] Aqui traduzido como É necessário que a coisa se perca para que possa ser representada”

De maneira contrária, a certeza absoluta, sem provas, gruda as palavras as coisas, fazendo do real e da palavra uma só coisa, não se apercebendo então de suas relações básicas, ou seja, da palavra como um símbolo para o real. Na ausência ou falta “do outro” ela impede qualquer articulação do real através do simbolismo. Essa falta do devido lugar do outro, ou seja do lugar da palavra como símbolo do real, leva a formação de uma psicose social, na qual o dito pelo poder, se transforma na realidade. Essa falta de ligação ou conexão com a realidade, através das palavras, permite também o aparecimento de uma estrutura perversa, que destrói a função das palavras, impedindo também que se denomine o real, ou seja que se reconheça o real, separando-o da psicose…

Essa manobra, feita então principalmente por intermédio da mídia, nos encerra assim numa psicose [de carácter coletivo]. Os discursos das autoridades francesas e americanas levantam e aumentam uma negação perversa. Isso constitue um “golpe, de força, contra a linguagem. “golpe de força porque [ess]a negação se situa no nível do fundamento lógico da linguagem. [8]” O desmentir da realidade se efetua por um fazer da linguagem uma coisa ou objeto, não como em verdade ela é, como um símbolo de uma coisa ou objeto. Esse cínico golpe de força consiste em “perverter pelo que se expressa pela lei, fazendo da linguagem um discurso razoável, do que é desarrazoado, [9]” tal por exemplo como o falar da guerra humanitária, ou da luta contra o terrorismo.

As legislações antiterroristas apresentam-se como ações racionais, mas estabelecem e tiram proveito do direito da fabricação de imagens, direito esse que não deveriam ter, dado a função básica da linguagem como símbolo do real. O Direito dos Estados Unidos é particularmente rico em construções imaginárias, tal como “lobo solitário” -um terrorista isolado incorporando-se numa esfera de influência internacional – “o inimigo combatente”, ou o “ilegal beligerante” os quais tem sua existência dado que assim são denominados como tal pelo presidente dos Estados Unidos. O combatente inimigo, assim como o ilegal beligerante, talvez um cidadão americano, pode nunca jamais ter estado em qualquer tipo de campo de batalha, de onde uma “ação guerreira” poderia se resumir a um ato de protesto contra um compromisso militar. O afastar-se do dito pelo poder, já não parece mais possível. Na mesma, toda a proteção contra essa ameaça foram retiradas. O real se manifesta agora sem coberturas, sem véus, e não mais através da função da palavra de simbolizar o real, e isso pode então nos petrificar.

A supressão do Outro reduz o indivíduo a uma monada [o conceito filosófico de Leibnitz, acima mencionado] não tendo mais nenhum outro que a potência estatal, o que permite ao poder, como se viu no que diz respeito ao discurso sobre a Síria, de fabricar uma nova realidade. As provas da culpabilidade do regime sírio exitem, porque ela, a potência estatal, assim o diz.

Uma “perturbadora não-familiaridade”

A ausência do “Tiers”, do outro, nos instala numa transparência, para além da linguagem. Essa ausência suprime a articulação entre o interior e o exterior. A expressão do acumulado e concentrado poder do presidente americano, a sua vontade, a sua libertação dos limites da linguagem, e de toda e qualquer ordem jurídica, nos faz deparar com a nossa condição, e sua redução a “vida nua”. Produz-se aqui então “uma particular variedade de coisas e momentos assustadores” o que Freud denominava como Unheimliche [10], termo sem equivalente no francês [de onde vem esse original] traduzido no francês então tanto por ”inquiétante étrangeté” como por ”inquiétante familiarité”. Ao pé da letra, essa expressão alemã, unheimlich, usada por Freud, que tinha o alemão como língua  em português seria medonho, pavoroso, lúgubre e ou sinistro, o que faz com que a expressão “perturbadora não-familiaridade” possa parecer apropriada em português, sendo que tem-se então também a outra alternativa “perturbadora familiaridade”, como no original francês

Ela, essa perturbadora não-familiaridade, essa unheimlichkeit, seria, de acordo com a definição de Schelling, qualquer coisa que tivesse estado escondida e que agora reaparecia. As coisas do mundo aparecem agora, depois de terem estado por detrás das palavras, na sua presença bruta, desligadas das palavras como símbolos. Lá onde o indivíduo se crê em sua própria companhia, ele poderá se sentir, de um só golpe, escondido de si mesmo, tornando-se estrangeiro para si mesmo. A interioridade da nossa condição, o nosso nada, fica exorbitante e muito grande, de quando jogados ao exterior, o qual nos aparece agora sobre a forma de uma manifestação de desfrute do total poder do executivo estadunidense. Tem-se que uma inquietude não-familiar, se nos apresenta vindo do que nos é mais familiar. A nossa intimidade é suprimida e substituída por essa perturbadora não-familiaridade.

Freud evocou uma dissociação do ego, do eu. Esse ego poderá afastar-se, esconder-se, e poderá então deixar de espelhar o Real. Isso é sentido como uma ameaça que petrifica. Freud pensa na formação de um Ego, um eu, como que estrangeiro, que pode se transformar numa consciência moral, e tratar as outras partes (da personalidade do indivíduo) como um objeto. Trata-se então, para Freud, de um Super-ego, de uma internalização, ou incorporação da autoridade parental. [11]

Esse mecanismo inicia um retorno ao arcaico indesejado, aquele que tem por objetivo o esconder o perigo, e a aflição, originados na criança de peito. A inquietante não-familiaridade, produzida pelo discurso de Obama, é do mesmo tipo. Ele instrumentaliza o que se passou no Iraque, tentando impedir toda a recordação de nossa impotência. Isso da mesma maneira como se instrumentaliza também o conforto do “retorno permanente a si mesmo” ameaçado agora com o sentimento da inquietante não-familiaridade. O procedimento repetitivo, explicado pelo mecanismo freudiano, se apresentaria também aqui, como um processo inexorável, como um encontro com um poder que o indivíduo sente que não pode confrontar.

Jacque Lacan confirmou essa interpretação. Retornando ao trabalho de Freud sobre a inquietude não-familiar, ele mostra que a angústia surge quando o sujeito é confrontado com uma “falta da falta” ou carência da carência” [”manque du manque” no original] quer dizer, a uma des-associação de si mesmo [como se a pessoa fosse estranha a si mesma] que a invade ao ponto de destruir nela toda a capacidade de desejo. [12]

Realmente, as duas interpretações da palavra alemã unheimlich em francês, a primeira ressaltando o estranho, desconhecido ou estrangeiro, e a segunda ressaltando o seu carácter familiar, fazem com que se possa caracterizar um aspecto dessa específica angústia. Vê-se que é possível se aproximar dela graças a uma noção de transparência, onde o interior e o exterior se confundem. O indivíduo se sente estranho a si mesmo por ver sua impotência, por ter sua carência interna exibida, também no exterior de si mesmo, e pela colonização do seu íntimo pela humilhação, tornada familiar pela potência do ”outro”.

Negação e divisão de si mesmo

A dissociação é uma tentativa arcaica de defesa frente a uma situação de potência, a qual a pessoa não consegue enfrentar. Essa desintegração do Ego, do eu, permite um retorno ao “já visto”, a uma regressão ao já visto, e vivido então. Isso faz também com que possamos nos olhar como de quando muito crianças, como aquele que não falava, com todos os sentimentos de então, provocando em nosso ser um sentimento de inquietude, familiar ou não-familiar.

Frente ao imperativo de ter que crer na responsabilidade de Bashar al Assad, o indivíduo terá como que suspender as informações contrárias, e as tratar como se elas não existissem. Nessa situação o indivíduo começa por negar tudo o que possa realçar a diferença, entrando então, em termos emocionais, numa posição regressiva, que em termos analíticos corresponderia a uma volta a total união com a mãe, no estado anterior ao da linguagem, o de antes da entrada, emocional, da função do pai.

O negar a contradição que existe entre uma coisa e seu contrário – como no caso da responsabilidade do governo sírio e a utilização de armas químicas pelos rebeldes – é um ato mental de se recusar a aceitar a realidade da sua própria percepção, negando-a, porque essa fica sendo entendida, pelo processo mental do indivíduo, como perigosa, uma vez que essa compreensão da situação real, tal como ela é, já o estaria colocando em situação de afronta contra a potência do poder estabelecido. Para conter a angústia produzida por esse fato desconcertante, assustador, e inquietante, o indivíduo é obrigado a justapor dois raciocínios contrários, e paralelos. O indivíduo passa a ter então duas visões incompatíveis, e nega toda e qualquer relação entre elas. O negar da situação de oposição entre elas acaba com toda a situação de conflito, porque essa negação permite que essas duas afirmações opostas, que se excluem então, possam coexistir em mim, em justaposição, sem que influenciem uma a outra. Essa raciocínio se apoia no que em termos psicoanalíticos se denomina como a dissociação ou “divisão do ego, do eu”

Esse tipo de divisão ou compartimentalização – de “clivage” no original francês – dá a possibilidade de que a pessoa viva nesses dois registros, que ela põe então lado a lado, tendo de um lado um “saber” – no caso da Síria o uso de gás sarim pelos rebeldes – e do outro lado, um “saber-fazer” – no caso o saber se esquivar de uma confrontação – através de uma suspensão de julgamento lógico da informação. Para o indivíduo trata-se de impedir toda e qualquer luta, toda e qualquer simbolização, para que possa então gozar de todo o prazer vindo da total potência do poder. Entretanto, na ausência da percepção de uma falta, no que se nos afirma, já nos encontramos numa situação de conflito, e num processo de anulação de todo e qualquer julgamento [julgamento esse que seria então um processo natural, espontâneo, lógico, e cognitivo, da mente humana, o qual então estamos tentando negar e anular, o que traz naturalmente consequências, no caso emocionais, como as apresentadas acima].

Esse procedimento foi também apresentado por Orwell na sua definição da “duplicidade do pensamento”, double pensée no original. Essa duplicidade consiste em “manter simultaneamente duas opiniões que se anulam, de quando se sabe que são contraditórias, acreditando nas duas”, estando ainda capaz de esquecer uma, de quando a ordem do super-ego se manifesta, super-ego sendo, como apresentado acima, a autoridade internalizada, ou incorporada, pelo indivíduo. Depois é conveniente esquecer o que se está esquecendo, ou seja de “persuadir conscientemente o sub-consciente, para que esse se mantenha inconsciente do ato de hipnose que foi perpetrado. [14]”

Essa situaçao de divisão mental volta sempre nos discursos da guerra da Síria. As coisas são regularmente afirmadas, ao mesmo tempo em que negadas, sem que nenhuma relação seja estabelecida entre as diferentes afirmações. Contrariamente as declarações de Carla Del Ponte, Washington chega “com os seus diferentes graus de certeza” a conclusão de que as forças governamentais sírias fizeram uso de gás sarim contra seu próprio povo. Entretanto, tem-se que Barack Obama, no mesmo tempo, declarava que os Estados Unidos não “sabiam como [essas armas] tinham sido utilizadas, quando elas foram utilizadas, nem quem as tinham utilizado [15]”. Essa operação coloca o sujeito numa divisão mental, numa incapacidade de reagir aos próprios sentidos, frente ao que se diz, e ao que se mostra, ou entende. Não se pode ter uma certeza que se revindique numa ausência do saber.

A conversão da lógica na construção da linguagem torna-se numa manifestação do poder do executivo estadunidense. Ele exibe uma capacidade de se libertar de toda e qualquer organização da linguagem, o que significa então de toda a ordem simbólica. O absurdo reivindicado nas declarações apresenta-se como um golpe brutal contra os fundamentos lógicos da linguagem. Isso tem um efeito de petrificação sobre as pessoas e as fecha numa psicose.

Jean-Claude PayeTülay Umay

Artigo original em francês:

bachar_obamaDiscours de la guerre et double pensée. L’exemple de la Syrie. 29 de Junho de 2014

 Traduzido por Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.com, para Mondialisation.ca

 

[1]    « Les rebelles syriens ont utilisé du gaz sarin, selon Carla Del Ponte », Le Monde.fr avec Reuters | 06.05.2013, http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/05/06/les-rebelles-syriens-ont-utilise-du-gaz-sarin-selon-carla-del-ponte_3171289_3218.html

[2]    « Syrie : les Etats-Unis ont la “forte certitude” que Damas a eu recours à des armes chimiques », Le Monde.fr | 30.08.2013,http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/08/30/syrie-les-etats-unis-ont-la-forte-certitude-que-damas-a-eu-recours-a-des-armes-chimiques_3469202_3218.html

[3]           « Tous les animaux sont égaux, mais certains animaux le sont plus que d’autres », Georges Orwell, La ferme des animaux. Gallimard Folio 1984.

[4]    Charles-Éric de Saint Germain, L’avènement de la vérité Hegel, Kierkegaard, Heidegger,,L’Harmattan 2003, p. 37.

[5]    Dominique Temple, “Lacan et la réciprocité”, Lacan et la réciprocité, 2008,    http://dominique.temple.free.fr/reciprocite.php?page=reciprocite_2&id_article=202

[6]           Le « Tiers » est ce qui défusionne l’enfant de la mère, lui donnant ainsi accès au champ du langage et de la parole. Il permet l’assujettissement du sujet à un ordre symbolique

[7]    Jacques Lacan,  Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse – in : Écrits – Le Seuil – Paris,1966].

[8]    Houriya Abdellouahed, « La tactilité d’une parole. Le pervers et la substance », in Cliniques méditerranéennes N° 72,     Érès , p.5, http://www.cairn.info/revue-cliniques-mediterraneennes-2005-2.htm

[9]    Op. Cit., p. 8.

[10]   Unheimliche est un adjectif substantivé, formé à partir de deux termes : le préfixe Un, exprimant la privation et l’adjectif heimlich (familier). La traduction « l’inquiétante étrangeté, » d’abord proposée par Marie Bonaparte, ne tient compte ni de la familiarité signifié par heimlich, ni de la négation marquée par le Un.. Aussi d’autres traductions ont été proposées telle que « l’inquiétante familiarité ». Lire les remarques préliminaires de François Stirn à la traduction de « Une inquiétante étrangeté » par Marie Bonaparte et E. Marty, Profil Textes Philosophiques, Philosophie, octobre 2008, www.esparedes.pt/escola/images/freud_etrangete.pdf

[11]          Le partage en deux éléments séparés a pour conséquence « que l’un participe au savoir, aux sentiments et aux expériences de l’autre, de l’unification à une autre personne, de sorte que l’on ne sait plus à quoi s’en tenir quant au moi propre, ou qu’on met le moi étranger à la place du Moi propre-donc dédoublement du Moi, division du Moi, permutation du Moi-et enfin, le retour permanent du même, » S. Freud, « Inquiétante étrangeté et clivage »,in L’inquiétante étrangeté et autres essais, Gallimard 1988, p. 236.

[12]   Régine Detambel, Sigmund Freud, L’inquiétante étrangeté, Gallimard 1988, http://www.detambel.com/f/index.php?sp=liv&livre_id=656

[13]   « Inquiétante étrangeté et clivage », http://theses.univ-lyon2.fr/documents/getpart.php?id=lyon2.2002.ravit_m&part=66598

[14]   « Retenir simultanément deux opinions qui s’annulent alors qu’on les sait contradictoires et croire à toutes deux... Oublier tout ce qu’il est nécessaire d’oublier, puis le rappeler à sa mémoire quand on en a besoin, pour l’oublier plus rapidement encore. Surtout, appliquer le même processus au processus lui-même. Là, était l’ultime subtilité. Persuader consciemment l’inconscient, puis devenir ensuite inconscient de l’acte d’hypnose que l’on vient de perpétrer. La compréhension même du mot « double pensée » impliquait l’emploi de la double pensée.», George Orwell, 1984, première partie, chapitre III, Gallimard Folio 1980, p.55.

[15]   « Les rebelles syriens ont utilisé du gaz sarin, selon Carla Del Ponte »,Op. Cit..

 

July 7, 2005, nine years ago, the London 7/7 bombings. 

Was there advanced knowledge of the attacks? Was it a conspiracy?

The following text was first published by Global Research on August 8, 2005

*      *      *

A fictional “scenario” of multiple bomb attacks on London’s underground took place at exactly the same time as the bomb attack on July 7, 2005.

Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants, a private firm on contract to the London Metropolitan Police, described in a BBC interview how he had organized and conducted the anti-terror drill, on behalf of an unnamed business client.

The fictional scenario was based on simultaneous bombs going off at exactly the same time at the underground stations where the real attacks were occurring:

POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now.

HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running an exercise to see how you would cope with this and it happened while you were running the exercise?

POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine this morning, we planned this for a company and for obvious reasons I don’t want to reveal their name but they’re listening and they’ll know it. And we had a room full of crisis managers for the first time they’d met and so within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decision that this is the real one and so we went through the correct drills of activating crisis management procedures to jump from slow time to quick time thinking and so on.

(BBC Radio Interview, 7 July 2005)

In response to the flood of incoming email messages, Peter Power –who is a former senior Scotland Yard official specializing in counterterrorism– responded in the form of the following “automatic reply”:

“Thank you for your message. Given the volume of emails about events on 7 July and a commonly expressed misguided belief that our exercise revealed prescient behaviour, or was somehow a conspiracy (noting that several websites interpreted our work that day in an inaccurate / naive / ignorant / hostile manner) it has been decided to issue a single email response as follows:

It is confirmed that a short number of ‘walk through’ scenarios planed [sic] well in advance had commenced that morning for a private company in London (as part of a wider project that remains confidential) and that two scenarios related directly to terrorist bombs at the same time as the ones that actually detonated with such tragic results. One scenario in particular, was very similar to real time events.

However, anyone with knowledge about such ongoing threats to our capital city will be aware that (a) the emergency services have already practiced several of their own exercises based on bombs in the underground system (also reported by the main news channels) and (b) a few months ago the BBC broadcast a similar documentary on the same theme, although with much worse consequences [??]. It is hardly surprising therefore, that we chose a feasible scenario – but the timing and script was nonetheless, a little disconcerting.

In short, our exercise (which involved just a few people as crisis managers actually responding to a simulated series of activities involving, on paper, 1000 staff) quickly became the real thing and the players that morning responded very well indeed to the sudden reality of events.

Beyond this no further comment will be made and based on the extraordinary number of messages from ill informed people, no replies will henceforth be given to anyone unable to demonstrate a bona fide reason for asking (e.g. accredited journalist / academic).

[ signed ] Peter Power”

(quoted in London Underground Exercises: Peter Power Responds, Jon Rappoport, July 13 2005
http://www.infowars.com/articles/London_attack/power_responds_terror_drills.htm)

Mock Terror Drills

There was nothing “routine” in the so-called “walk through” scenarios. Visor’s mock terror drills (held on the very same day as the real attack) was by no means an isolated “coincidence”. Power’s email response suggests that mock drills are undertaken very frequently, as a matter of routine, and that there was nothing particularly out of the ordinary in the exercise conducted on July 7th, which just so happened to coincide with the real terror attacks.

There have indeed been several documented high profile cases of mock terror drills in the US and the UK, held prior or on exactly the same day and at the same time as the actual terror event. In the three previous cases reviewed below, the mock drills bear a canny resemblance to the real time terror attacks.

 1. CIA Sponsored Exercise on the Morning of 9/11

On the morning of September 11 2001, within minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the CIA had been running “a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building”. The simulation was held at the CIA Chantilly Virginia Reconnaissance Office.

The Bush administration described the event as “a bizarre coincidence”. The matter was not mentioned by the media.(AP, 22 August 2002)

The CIA sponsored simulation consisted in a “scheduled exercise” held on the morning of September 11, 2001, where “a small corporate jet crashed into one of the four towers at the agency’s headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure.” (Quoted in Associated Press, 22 August 2002.)

The news concerning the 9/11 Chantilly aircraft crashing simulation was hushed up. It was not made public at the time. It was revealed almost a year later, in the form of an innocuous announcement of a Homeland Security Conference. The latter entitled “Homeland Security: America’s Leadership Challenge” was held in Chicago on September 6, 2002, barely a few days before the commemoration of the tragic events of 9/11.

The promotional literature for the conference under the auspices of the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute (NLESI) stated what nobody in America knew about. On the morning of 9/11, the CIA was conducting a pre-planned simulation of a plane striking a building. One of the key speakers at the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute conference was CIA’s John Fulton, Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance Office a specialist in risk and threat response analysis, scenario gaming, and strategic planning.

(See . The National Law Enforcement and Security Institute website is: http://www.nlsi.net/ See also The Memory Hole at http://www.thememoryhole.org/911/cia-simulation.htm):

On the morning of September 11th 2001, Mr. Fulton and his team at the CIA were running a pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building. Little did they know that the scenario would come true in a dramatic way that day. Information is the most powerful tool available in the homeland security effort. At the core of every initiative currently underway to protect our country and its citizens is the challenge of getting the right information to the right people at the right time. How can so much information from around the world be captured and processed in meaningful and timely ways? Mr. Fulton shares his insights into the intelligence community, and shares a vision of how today’s information systems will be developed into even better counter-terrorism tools of tomorrow. (Ibid)

 2. October 2000 Mock Terror Attack on the Pentagon

In late October 2000 (more than ten months prior to 9/11), a military exercise was conducted which consisted in establishing the scenario of a simulated passenger plane crashing into the Pentagon. The Defense Protective Services Police and the Pentagon’s Command Emergency Response Team coordinated the exercise. According to a detailed report by Dennis Ryan of Fort Myer Military Community’s Pentagram, “the Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, as the crash was called, was just one of several scenarios that emergency response teams were exposed to on Oct. 24-26 [2000]“:

The fire and smoke from the downed passenger aircraft billows from the Pentagon courtyard. Defense Protective Services Police seal the crash sight. Army medics, nurses and doctors scramble to organize aid. (…) Don Abbott, of Command Emergency Response Training, walks over to the Pentagon and extinguishes the flames. The Pentagon was a model and the “plane crash” was a simulated one.

On Oct. 24, there was a mock terrorist incident at the Pentagon Metro stop and a construction accident to name just some of the scenarios that were practiced to better prepare local agencies for real incidents.

(Dennis Ryan, “Contingency planning, Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates scenarios in preparing for emergencies”, MDW NEWS 3 Nov 2000. http://www.mdw.army.mil/ )

3. Britain’s Atlantic Blue, April 2005

In Britain, there were several documented exercises of terror attacks on London’s underground system.

In addition to the 7/7 exercise conducted by Visor Consultants, a similar mock terror drill on London’s transportation system entitled “Atlantic Blue” was held in April 2005, barely three months prior to the real attacks. In 2003, a mock terror drill labelled OSIRIS 2 was conducted. It consisted, according to Peter Power in testing the “equipment and people deep in the Underground of London”. It involved the participation of several hundred people. (Interview with Peter Power, CTV, 11 July 2005).

“Atlantic Blue” was part of a much larger US sponsored emergency preparedness exercise labelled TOPOFF 3, which included the participation of Britain and Canada. It had been ordered by the UK Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mr. Charles Clarke, in close coordination with his US counterpart Michael Chertoff.

The assumptions of the Visor Consultants mock drill conducted on the morning of July 7th were similar to those conducted under “Atlantic Blue”. This should come as no surprise since Visor Consultants was involved, on contract to the British government, in the organisation and conduct of Atlantic Blue and in coordination with the US Department of Homeland Security.

As in the case of the 9/11 simulation organized by the CIA, the July 7, 2005 Visor mock terror drill, was casually dismissed by the media, without further investigation, as a mere “coincidence”, with no relationship to the real event.

Foreknowledge of the 7/7 Attack?

According to a report of the Associated Press correspondent in Jerusalem, the Israeli embassy in London had been advised in advance by Scotland Yard of an impending bomb attack:

Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.(AP, 7 July 2005)

Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned by his embassy not to attend an attend an economic conference organized by the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in collaboration with the Israeli embassy and Deutsche Bank.

Netanyahu was staying at the Aldridge Hotel in Mayfair. The conference venue was a few miles away at the Great Eastern Hotel close to the Liverpool subway station, where one of the bomb blasts occurred.

Rudolph Giuliani’s London Visit

Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was staying at the Great Eastern hotel on the 7th of July, where TASE was hosting its economic conference, with Israel’s Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as keynote speaker.

Giuliani was having a business breakfast meeting in his room at the Great Eastern Hotel, close to Liverpool Street station when the bombs went off:

“I didn’t hear the Liverpool Street bomb go off,” he explains. “One of my security people came into the room and informed me that there had been an explosion. We went outside and they pointed in the direction of where they thought the incident had happened. There was no panic. I went back in to my breakfast. At that stage, the information coming in to us was very ambiguous.” (quoted in the Evening Standard, 11 July 2005.)

Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rudolph Giuliani knew each other. Giuliani had officially welcomed Netanyahu when he visited New York City as Prime Minister of Israel in 1996. There was no indication, however, from news reports that the two men met in London at the Great Eastern. On the day prior to the London attacks, July 6th, Giuliani was in North Yorkshire at a meeting.

After completing his term as mayor of New York City, Rudi Giuliani established a security outfit: Giuliani Security and Safety. The latter is a subsidary of Giuliani Partners LLC. headed by former New York head of the FBI, Pasquale D’Amuro.

After 9/11, D’Amuro was appointed Inspector in Charge of the FBI’s investigation of 9/11. He later served as Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters and, Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence. D’Amuro had close links to the Neocons in the Bush adminstration.

It is worth noting that Visor Consultants and Giuliani Security and Safety LLC specialize in similar “mock terror drills” and “emergency preparedness” procedures. Both Giuliani and Power were in London at the same time within a short distance of one of the bombing sites. While there is no evidence that Giuliani and Power met in London, the two companies have had prior business contacts in the area of emergency preparedness. Peter Power served on the Advisory Board to the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness (CCEP), together with Richard Sheirer, Senior Vice President of Giuliani and Partners. who was previously Commissioner at the NYC Office of Emergency Management, and Director of New York City Homeland Security.

(See CCEP at http://www.ccep.ca/ccep_shei.html)

Concluding Remarks

One should not at this stage of the investigation draw hasty conclusions regarding the mock terror drill of a terror attack on the London underground, held on the same day and at the same time as the real time attacks.

The issue cannot, however, be dismissed. One would expect that it be addressed in a serious and professional fashion by the police investigation and that the matter be the object of a formal clarification by the British authorities.

The issue of foreknowledge raised in the Associated Press report also requires investigation.

More generally, an independent public inquiry into the London bomb attacks is required.

We bring to the attention of our readers a report by Amnesty International first published in December 2013 concerning the atrocities committed by the ISIS Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in Syria.

Ironically, while Amnesty International acknowledges that the US sponsored rebels have committed these atrocities, it points its finger at Bashar al Assad and calls upon the Syrian government to “end its violations of human rights and international law, including the use of torture in its own detention centers”,

AI fails to acknowledge that these atrocities were committed by rebel groups which are recruited, trained, armed and financed by the Western military alliance. 

The ISIS is a creation of US intelligence. Among its main architects are John Negroponte and the former ambassador to Syria Robert Stephen Ford.

These crimes against  humanity were ordered by US-NATO-Israel-Saudi Arabia.  These rebel detention centres were set up with their knowledge and support.

While Amnesty International draws up so-called recommendations requesting the terrorists to stop the killings and atrocities, the political handlers of these rebels, including Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels, which are involved in their training and financing are not explicitly mentioned.

AI nonetheless calls upon the governments of the Gulf States including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to cease financing and training the terrorists. This statement on the part of Amnesty , constitutes a tacit acknowledgment that the rebels are supported covertly by the Gulf States, which are allies of US and NATO”

Publicly renounce the provision of any financial or material support, including arms transfers, to ISIS and all other armed groups alleged to be responsible for committing war crimes or  grave human rights abuses in Syria.

 Take effective measures to prevent the transfer of financial or material support to ISIS and other armed groups alleged to be committing war crimes and serious human rights abuses in Syria.”

Download the complet AI Report here

Michel Chossudovsky, December 20, 2013


Torture, flogging, and summary killings are rife in secret prisons run by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an armed group that controls large areas of northern Syria , said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.

ISIS , which claims to apply strict Shari’a (Islamic law) in areas it controls, has ruthlessly flouted the rights of local people. In the 18-page briefing, Rule of fear: ISIS abuses in detention in northern Syria , Amnesty International identifies seven detention facilities that ISIS uses in al-Raqqa governorate and Aleppo .

“Those abducted and detained by ISIS include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa .

Torture, flogging, and summary killings are rife in secret prisons run in Syria by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Former detainees describe a shocking catalogue of abuses in which they or others were flogged with rubber generator belts or cables, tortured with electric shocks or forced to adopt a painful stress position known as aqrab (scorpion), in which a detainee’s wrists are secured together over one shoulder.

Some of those held by ISIS are suspected of theft or other crimes; others are accused of “crimes” against Islam, such as smoking cigarettes or zina, sex outside marriage. Others were seized for challenging ISIS ‘s rule or because they belonged to rival armed groups opposed to the Syrian government. ISIS is also suspected of abducting and detaining foreign nationals, including journalists covering the fighting in Syria .

Several children were among detainees who received severe floggings, according to testimonies obtained by Amnesty International. On one occasion, an anguished father had to endure screams of pain as ISIS captors tormented his son in a nearby room. Two detainees related how they witnessed a child of about 14 receive a flogging of more than 90 lashes during interrogation at Sadd al-Ba’ath, an ISIS prison in al-Raqqa governorate. Another child of about 14 who ISIS accused of stealing a motorbike was repeatedly flogged over several days.

“Flogging anyone, let alone children, is cruel and inhuman, and a gross abuse of human rights,” said Philip Luther. “ ISIS should cease its use of flogging and other cruel punishments.”

Amnesty International is calling on ISIS to end its appalling treatment of detainees and for the group’s leaders to instruct their forces to respect human rights and abide by international humanitarian law.

Several former detainees told the organization that they were seized by masked gunmen who took them to undisclosed locations, where they were held for periods of up to 55 days. Some never learnt where they were but Amnesty International has identified ISIS prisons at seven locations: Mabna al-Mohafaza, Idarat al-Markabat and al-Mer’ab, all in al-Raqqa city; Sadd al Ba’ath and al-‘Akershi oil facility, both elsewhere in al-Raqqa governorate; and Mashfa al-Atfal and Maqar Ahmed Qaddour in Aleppo .

The Sadd al-Ba’ath prison is beside a dam on the Euphrates River at al-Mansura, where the local Shari’a court judge, who invariably appeared wearing an explosives belt, has instituted a reign of terror over its detainees.

Former detainees accuse him of presiding over grotesquely unfair “trials” lasting no more than a few minutes as other detainees look on, and handing down death penalties which are subsequently carried out. At his direction, detainees have been mercilessly flogged; on at least one occasion, he is said to have personally joined in the flogging.

At al-‘Akershi oil facility, which ISIS also appears to use as a military training ground, detainees were subjected to the aqrab as a means of torture, according to the testimonies of two men who were held there in recent months. One spent 40 days in solitary confinement, for part of which he was chained up in a tiny room full of electrical equipment with fuel on the floor.

“After years in which they were prey to the brutality of the al-Assad regime, the people of al-Raqqa and Aleppo are now suffering under a new form of tyranny imposed on them by ISIS , in which arbitrary detention, torture and executions have become the order of the day,” said Philip Luther.

Amnesty International is calling on the international community to take concrete steps to block the flow of arms and other support to ISIS and other armed groups implicated in committing war crimes and other serious human rights abuses.

“The Turkish government, in particular, should prevent its territory being used by ISIS to bring in arms and recruits to Syria ,” said Philip Luther.

“As well, Gulf states that have voiced support for the armed groups fighting against the Syrian government should take action to prevent arms flows, equipment or other support reaching ISIS in view of its appalling human rights record.”

Amnesty International also renews its call to the Syrian government to allow unfettered access to Syria by the independent international Commission of Inquiry and by international humanitarian and human rights organizations, and to end its violations of human rights and international law, including the use of torture in its own detention centers.

 Recommendations

Amnesty International makes the following recommendations:

TO THE ISLAMIC STATE IN IRAQ AND AL-SHAM

Publicly condemn, from the highest level of leadership, all human rights abuses and
violations of international humanitarian law committed by ISIS forces, including
abductions, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair “trials”, summary
killings, and the use of cruel and inhuman punishments such as flogging.
 Instruct all ISIS fighters and officials that such abuses will not be tolerated under any
circumstances and those who commit such abuses will be held fully accountable.

Allow independent international inspection of all places of detention and ensure that
conditions and the treatment of detainees at all places conform to relevant international
standards, such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and
that all detainees are fully protected against torture or other ill-treatment in custody.
 End the use of punishments, such as flogging, that violate the prohibition of torture and
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Immediately and unconditionally release all detainees held on account of their peaceful
exercise of the right to freedom of expression or other human rights.

 Issue clear instructions to ISIS members to treat all detainees humanely, including
captured fighters from rival armed groups and other armed forces, including the FSA and
Syrian government forces, and afford all detainees the protection due to them under
international humanitarian law.

Inform families about the fate of missing relatives, including those who have died,
disclosing the circumstances of their deaths, and the location of their burial place.
 Remove from the ranks ISIS fighters and officials suspected of responsibility for ordering
or committing serious violations of international humanitarian law, including possible war
crimes.

Co-operate with independent and impartial investigations into violations of international
humanitarian, including by the independent international Commission of Inquiry.

TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY

Investigate and prosecute members of ISIS suspected of committing, being complicit in
or having command responsibility for war crimes in al-Raqqa, Aleppo and elsewhere in
Syria.

Prevent the entry of fighters and arms flows to ISIS forces in Syria and to other armed
groups believed to be responsible for committing war crimes in Syria.

TO THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE GULF STATES

Publicly renounce the provision of any financial or material support, including arms
transfers, to ISIS and all other armed groups alleged to be responsible for committing war
crimes or grave human rights abuses in Syria.

 Take effective measures to prevent the transfer of financial or material support to ISIS
and other armed groups alleged to be committing war crimes and serious human rights
abuses in Syria.

TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SYRIA

Cease government violations of human rights and grant prompt and unfettered access to
the independent international Commission of Inquiry, humanitarian and human rights
organizations, and to international media to visit areas all of Syria, including access to all
government-controlled places of detention by international humanitarian organizations
with relevant expertise.

TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL

 Refer the situation in Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
 Call on states to suspend arms transfers to ISIS and other armed groups implicated in the
commission of war crimes and serious human rights abuses.

TO ALL GOVERNMENTS

 Accept a shared responsibility to investigate and prosecute war crimes and other crimes
under international law committed in Syria and elsewhere in the world. In particular, seek
to exercise universal jurisdiction over these crimes before national courts in fair trials and
without recourse to the death penalty.

 As part of this shared responsibility, establish joint international investigation and
prosecution teams to investigate crimes under international law committed in Syria to
improve the effectiveness of investigation, improve the chances of arrest and co-ordinate
prosecutions.

Download the report here

It is heartbreaking this week, despite the insatiable Signals Intelligence fiefdoms exposed by Edward Snowden, to see our elected lawmakers scrabbling for yet more mass surveillance of UK citizens.

Time and time again we are told Islamic extremists are threatening our very way of life and time after time the evidence before our eyes is that our only real threat is the home grown, party political poodles of the police state.

In this case all the emergency ‘Data Retention and Investigation Powers’ bill (DRIP) will do, if passed into law, is bring what European lawmakers say could be illegal activities of British data retention within the law. Worried that they will be prosecuted for stealing data about who innocent citizens are communicating with and when, they are rushing to shift the legal goalposts so they are no longer breaking it, hoping that crimes they already committed will be overlooked.

What a blatant abuse of power by our lawmakers. Labour’s bloodhound MP Tom Watson rightly smelt a rat when he spotted House of Commons timetables being shifted around but Downing Street knows which side its bread is buttered. Confirmation that the emergency DRIP bill was about to be bounced through parliament was handed to the London media almost 24 hours before it was announced to the Members of Parliament who have to scrutinize and vote on it in a matter of days.

And you can see why they tell the press before they tell parliament too. London’s mainstream media have forgotten how to pose questions to the securocrats. Even when earlier this week former Director General of MI6 Sir Richard Dearlove told the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) that the Islamic terror threat to Britain was grossly inflated, and that ‘Britons’ Cameron included presumably, ‘spreading blood-curdling terrorism messages should be ignored.’ By the end of the week that was all forgotten and the Islamic threat had expanded again so much that emergency legislation was now necessary to sacrifice our freedoms by Monday.

 

A video grab from CCTV shows smoke and dust filling the platform moments after one of the 2005 July 7 bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, detonated his bomb on an eastbound Circle Line train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations (Reuters)A video grab from CCTV shows smoke and dust filling the platform moments after one of the 2005 July 7 bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, detonated his bomb on an eastbound Circle Line train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations (Reuters)

The 7/7 bombings? Big questions never asked, let alone answered

Nine years ago this week, London saw four devastating bomb attacks which killed 56 people on three London Underground trains and a bus. To mark the occasion graffiti was daubed on the Hyde Park 7/7 memorial, saying “Blair lied thousands died” and “Four innocent Muslims”. These are views which, though quite common on the streets, particularly of Leeds where three of the four alleged bombers came from, they are never articulated in the British mass media at all.

Questions, objections and evidence raised by the long standing July 7th Truth Campaign, families of the victims and some of those caught up in the attacks still hits a cold hard wall of police, government and security service silence. Nine years and fifty broken families on, national media discussion has been reduced to safe questions about amounts of compensation money paid to families and how far to curtail civil liberties to stop ‘this kind of attack,’ as if it’s all done and dusted, ever happening again.

When the government’s so-called ‘narrative’ was published in May 2006 researchers immediately spotted glaring errors with the alleged bombers journey into London. Home Secretary John Reid was forced into the House of Commons to announce that the train the police said they caught did not run that morning. Although the official story had it they were ‘clean skins,’ it later transpired MI5 had been following them for years. Those were just two in a series of shameful omissions and embarrassing errors in a police investigation and Home Office narrative with a frighteningly short shelf life.

 

Graffiti and slogans are seen painted on Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, in Glen Coe, Scotland October 29, 2012 (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)Graffiti and slogans are seen painted on Alt-na-reigh, the cottage owned by the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile, in Glen Coe, Scotland October 29, 2012 (Reuters / Russell Cheyne)

The London Underground CCTV cameras bristling every few yards on the tube and every bus has several, so why were no CCTV pictures ever produced which showed any of the alleged bombers in or getting onto the bombed trains or bus? Verint Systems, an Israeli firm, won the private CCTV contract five months before the attack but no questions appear to have been asked during their vetting, despite Verint’s group chairman, Kobi Alexander, running off with tens of millions of dollars, wanted by Interpol, the FBI and Wall Street regulators the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On the morning of 7/7, Associated Press in Jerusalem reported Israel’s then Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who happened to be in London that day, had received a warning from Scotland Yard before the bombs went off. Bibi changed his plans and stayed in his hotel, the report said, instead of setting off for a conference he was due to be attending at the Great Eastern Hotel at Liverpool Street Station.

Later that day, and subsequently on the BBC’s 2009 ‘Conspiracy Files’ documentary the Israeli embassy denied getting that warning but in the German newspaper ‘Bild am Sonntag’, Mossad chief Meir Dagan confirmed – yes they got the warning and passed it to Netanyahu in his hotel before the bombs went off. Even more embarrassing than this inability to get the story straight was that the official Home Office narrative, as well as all the evidence produced at the inquest, said there was no warning: the bombings were a surprise attack.

Former police officer Peter Power, sacked from his job in the Dorset constabulary after fiddling his expenses, appeared across global television on 7/7 representing his private security firm ‘Visor Consultants’. He described a terror drill exercise he was supposedly conducting that morning envisaging bombs at the same three tube stations where the real bombs went off.

With 275 stations on the London tube network, the chances of this really being as he said, a coincidence, come out around 275 to the power of three multiplied by the number of days in the year, 365 – around a cool eight billion to one, Peter. He described it on one TV network that day as a ‘spooky coincidence.’ An oblique reference perhaps to ‘spooks,’ the nickname given to the secret services?

 

Sunshine reflects from the pillars of the memorial to the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, in Hyde Park, central London (Reuters / Andrew Winning)Sunshine reflects from the pillars of the memorial to the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, in Hyde Park, central London (Reuters / Andrew Winning)

He subsequently revealed to the BBC that his ‘terror drill’ had been sponsored by event organizers and publishers Reed Elsevier who, until 2007, ran Britain’s biggest arms fair, the Defence Security Equipment Exhibition (DSEI), where private military companies advertise everything, right up to fighting nuclear wars for you, and by the way torture equipment is openly on sale.

The proper judicial procedure would have been a public inquiry into the attacks, which would consider evidence systematically in front of a jury. Instead an inquest, designed to investigate a single death was convened in October 2010 under Lady Justice Heather Hallett, but her all-important jury was mysteriously missing. As the inquest dragged on through 52 separate hearings, survivors, and families of the victims, complained their big questions were not being addressed.

Previous attacks in public places and on public transport across Europe such as the 1980 Bologna railway station bomb, which killed 85 people and the 1985 Brabant Supermarket massacres which killed 16, have been conclusively traced to NATO intelligence by parliamentary enquiries in Italy, Belgium and Switzerland.

If the spooks had planted the 7/7 London bombs, it would not be the first time the network of NATO & Swiss secret services known as the ‘Club of Berne’, have done so. Under the guise of national security, they live a publicly funded life far from democratic oversight, and have been proven to run secret armies, immune from prosecution, in structures that run parallel to the regular armed forces.

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game,” stated NATO Operation Gladio soldier, Italian fascist Vincezo Vinciguerra. The objective, he explained from jail in a 1992 BBC Timewatch documentary, was “to force the people to turn to the state to ask for greater security.” Back in the 1980s the fake enemy was the Soviet Union, today it’s Islamic Extremists.

Controversial privacy law blasts pedophile enquiry questions out of the news

On the same day of this week’s ninth anniversary of 7/7, Home Secretary Theresa May announced in the House of Commons two enquiries into elite pedophile rings believed to be rooted in Westminster, connected to prominent public figures and said to have been centered around Elm Guest House in South West London. But May’s first choices to lead these enquiries are entirely unsuitable establishment figures themselves. The first, Peter Wanless, was Principle Private Secretary to three cabinet ministers including Michael Portillo and the second, Lady Butler-Sloss’s brother was attorney general when the abuse was allegedly taking place.

With all talk of who will or will not head up pedophile enquiries forgotten, the new emergency, we are being told by Prime Minister David Cameron, is that if terrorists were to attack Britain in the near future, like another 7/7, he would not want to say he had not done everything to stop them. But what Cameron isn’t saying is that his DRIP law will also help the secret state to keep a close eye on victims of child abuse, whistleblowers and their support networks.

What if this week’s real emergency is that criminals inside the Metropolitan police and secret state have known about and facilitated child abuse rings, used for political blackmail, for decades; that the two enquiries Home Secretary Theresa May set up this week might have their pliable leadership, overturned and get some real teeth, as the recent Hillsborough Independent Panel did. That the ‘well respected’ public figures that protected Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith and the rest may be about to be winkled out and jailed at last.

 

Jimmy Savile (Reuters / Paul Hackett)Jimmy Savile (Reuters / Paul Hackett)

 

Jordan Kingdom of Shadows and Submissiveness

July 12th, 2014 by Andre Vltchek

“A brilliant place for shopping”, a European expatriate, a U.N. expert living in Amman, tells me. “I get here anything I want. Life is good…”

“We have no water”, laments a Bedouin refugee, embracing his children on the outskirts of one of the biggest and most brutal refugee camps on earth – Zataari, just a few kilometers from the Syrian border. “In Zataari, we have to pay for everything now, and those Syrians who are controlling the camp are charging us, all of us who are needy and desperate, for everything… They take advantage of us. They have no mercy… That is why we are living in this tent, outside the camp. Only our children work, because both Syrian ‘refugees’ and Jordanians pay them close to nothing…”

• WATCH THE SLIDE SHOW ON THIS REPORTAGE

5 star Taj mall at sunset Several well-groomed ladies wearing hijab are smoking water pipe at one of the smartest malls in the Middle East – “Taj”. It is at top of Amman’s ‘snob index’. Yes, there is one, proudly published on line.

There are plenty of snobs in the capital. Country of some 8 million is producing close to nothing, but many locals are living high life here, thanks to their collaborating with the West and with Saudi Arabia. To be on good terms with Israel is another lucrative business. And to have US military bases on its territory, and to have US army and air force ‘visiting’ Jordanian bases, is also one great way to get cash (Jordanian military receives tremendous funding from abroad, but it is strictly discouraged to investigate exactly ‘how much’?)…

Refugees, old and new, are great business. Not for the poor Jordanians, not for the majority, but for the elites.

It goes without saying that helping the West and Saudis to destabilize Syria (like Turkey, Jordan has some training camps for Syrian ‘opposition’, not just refugee camps, and part of Zataari is actually functioning as a training camp) is enormously lucrative business.

Building new road to Iraq...

Building new road to Iraq…

Even AP, at one point, could not shut-up, anymore, and snapped:

“Jordan is… officially denying that any training of anti-Assad fighters takes place on its soil, though both Jordanian and American officials have acknowledged it does.”

As we look at Jericho, from the top of one of the hills near the border, I breathe deeply while feeling goose bumps on my back: “Palestine!”

“Israel”, utters my driver, phlegmatically. Then, as he passes Jordanian military control, he calls the soldier “habibi”, which literally means ‘my beloved’.

Christian religious sites are huge business here, too, and to get to the River Jordan and to the place where Mr. Jesus Christ was allegedly baptized (if one believes in fairytales), it is necessary to endure steep fees and outrageous arrogance of Jordanian intelligence agents (the site is on the border between Jordan and ‘Israel’, as my driver calls it).

empty water tank - Syrian Beduine refugees outside Zataari camp

Empty water tank – Syrian Bedouin refugees outside Zataari camp. The Syrian war and Mideast chaos have caused a massive displacement of persons across the area.

Jordan is hardly a pride of Arab world. Palestinians are discriminated here, relentlessly, to the point that even the UN is occasionally protesting. There is also discrimination against Bedouins.

“We love Americans here”, explains Ahmed, an owner of a small café right in front of the ancient Roman theatre in Amman. “Many of us worked for them. I served as an interpreter on one of their bases in Iraq…” I heard similar story in Uganda, recently…

To trash Iran and Syria is in vogue here. I guess it is expected from you, if you want to get a decent job. But enormous military airports between Amman and the Syrian or Iraqi border are something one should not discuss… The West is not criticized here; to do it publicly is taboo. ‘One does not bite the hand that feeds you’ mentality…

One also does not comment on who is now building al-Azraaq refugee camp, designed for over 100.000 souls. Nor what purpose is it going to serve, exactly. Who finances it, who is constructing it, and who is profiting: hush, hush, and hush…

As I chat with Philippine and Kenyan waiters at a plush bar at Marriott hotel on the shore of Dead Sea, everything becomes clear. “It is mostly for foreigners,” I am being told. Resort is packed with expatriates on weekend outing, and with Israeli tourists. Poor Dead Sea is endlessly fucked, and soon will be truly dead, dry, as it is sinking by one meter a year. But while even at ‘Israeli side’ there appears to be almost no construction, Jordan is slamming one new enormous hotel after another and now even constructing shiny US-style shopping malls. ‘Who cares about environment? Foreign military and expatriates need some fresh air and booze.’ Gomorrah and Sodom are at the opposite shore, but this is their latest variety.

If you drive towards Petra and then Aqaba, it is all desert and misery, villages covered with dust and poverty on roughly Yemeni level. You drive towards Syria and it is approximately the same: miserable towns, military airports and refugee camps.

But back in Amman, it is 8 of what is called ‘5-star malls’, while several new ones are being built. The country is totally grotesque, but it is actually not something unique – just a condensed reality of the Middle East, or at least of the client states of the West in this part of the world.

Christopher Black, a leading international lawyer based in Toronto, Canada, explained for this report:

King Abdullah is acting as the cat’s paw of Anglo – American – Israeli aggression in the region by his support of the vicious war against Syria and its violation of the UN Charter and international law by allowing his territory to be used to launch attacks by US proxy forces and American “advisers” against Syria, by harboring armed guerrilla and terrorist groups and by facilitating the movement of Israeli forces on its common borders with Syria.

The wisdom here is simple: If you are member of the elites, serve Europe and the US well, then get yourself a Range Rover, buy few Michael Kors bags for your wife, Bally shoes for yourself, have a drink or two in order to appear very secular and very progressive, cover your head with Vuitton scarf if you are a female, and don’t forget to smoke a few rounds of aromatic water pipe.

And tell everyone how much you love your (actually, our) King. Otherwise, shut up, habibi! Or you will get your country into real trouble; if you don’t collaborate, it may end up like Iraq or Libya, Syria or Iran.

Special Correspondent Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: “Fighting Against Western Imperialism ‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

 

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” –

General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied
Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia .

Gen. Wesley Clark Weighs Presidential Bid: “I Think About It Everyday”

Complete Video Interview:
click below

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Short version of video interview on U-Tube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE

Complete Transcript of Program, Democracy Now.

Today we spend the hour with General Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general. He was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War. In 2004 he unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. He recently edited a series of books about famous U.S. generals including Dwight Eisenhower and Ulysses Grant – both of whom became president after their military careers ended.

Well for the rest of the hour we are going to hear General Wesley Clark on the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran, the impeachment of President Bush, the use of cluster bombs, the bombing of Radio Television Serbia during the Kosovo War and much more. I interviewed Wesley Clark on Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y in New York.

  • Gen. Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star US Army general. Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War.

AMY GOODMAN: Today, an exclusive hour with General Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general. He was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2004, he unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. He recently edited a series of books about famous US generals, including Dwight Eisenhower and Ulysses Grant, both of whom became president after their military careers ended.

On Tuesday, I interviewed Wesley Clark at the 92nd Street Y Cultural Center here in New York City before a live audience and asked him about his presidential ambitions.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of these generals who run for president?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I like them. It’s happened before.

AMY GOODMAN: Will it happen again?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It might.

AMY GOODMAN: Later in the interview, I followed up on that question.

AMY GOODMAN: Will you announce for president?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I haven’t said I won’t.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you waiting for?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I’m waiting for several different preconditions, which I’m not at liberty to discuss. But I will tell you this: I think about it every single day.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, for the rest of the hour, we’ll hear General Wesley Clark in his own words on the possibility of a US attack on Iran; the impeachment of President Bush; the use of cluster bombs; the bombing of Radio Television Serbia during the Kosovo War under his command; and much more. I interviewed General Clark on Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y in New York.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, let’s talk about Iran. You have a whole website devoted to stopping war.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Www.stopiranwar.com.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a replay in what happened in the lead-up to the war with Iraq — the allegations of the weapons of mass destruction, the media leaping onto the bandwagon?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, in a way. But, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself exactly twice. What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.

I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

AMY GOODMAN: I’m sorry. What did you say his name was?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I’m not going to give you his name.

AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran. So when you look at Iran, you say, “Is it a replay?” It’s not exactly a replay. But here’s the truth: that Iran, from the beginning, has seen that the presence of the United States in Iraq was a threat — a blessing, because we took out Saddam Hussein and the Baathists. They couldn’t handle them. We took care of it for them. But also a threat, because they knew that they were next on the hit list. And so, of course, they got engaged. They lost a million people during the war with Iraq, and they’ve got a long and unprotectable, unsecurable border. So it was in their vital interest to be deeply involved inside Iraq. They tolerated our attacks on the Baathists. They were happy we captured Saddam Hussein.

But they’re building up their own network of influence, and to cement it, they occasionally give some military assistance and training and advice, either directly or indirectly, to both the insurgents and to the militias. And in that sense, it’s not exactly parallel, because there has been, I believe, continuous Iranian engagement, some of it legitimate, some of it illegitimate. I mean, you can hardly fault Iran because they’re offering to do eye operations for Iraqis who need medical attention. That’s not an offense that you can go to war over, perhaps. But it is an effort to gain influence.

And the administration has stubbornly refused to talk with Iran about their perception, in part because they don’t want to pay the price with their domestic — our US domestic political base, the rightwing base, but also because they don’t want to legitimate a government that they’ve been trying to overthrow. If you were Iran, you’d probably believe that you were mostly already at war with the United States anyway, since we’ve asserted that their government needs regime change, and we’ve asked congress to appropriate $75 million to do it, and we are supporting terrorist groups, apparently, who are infiltrating and blowing up things inside Iraq — Iran. And if we’re not doing it, let’s put it this way: we’re probably cognizant of it and encouraging it. So it’s not surprising that we’re moving to a point of confrontation and crisis with Iran.

My point on this is not that the Iranians are good guys — they’re not — but that you shouldn’t use force, except as a last, last, last resort. There is a military option, but it’s a bad one.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Seymour Hersh’s piece in The New Yorker to two key points this week, reporting the Pentagon’s established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran, that this is coming as the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations into many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shias — some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda — fighting the Shias by funding with Prince Bandar and then with US money not approved by Congress, funding the Sunnis connected to al-Qaeda.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don’t have any direct information to confirm it or deny it. It’s certainly plausible. The Saudis have taken a more active role. You know, the Saudis have –

AMY GOODMAN: You were just in Saudi Arabia.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Hmm?

AMY GOODMAN: You just came back from Saudi Arabia.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. Well, the Saudis have basically recognized that they have an enormous stake in the outcome in Iraq, and they don’t particularly trust the judgment of the United States in this area. We haven’t exactly proved our competence in Iraq. So they’re trying to take matters into their own hands.

The real danger is, and one of the reasons this is so complicated is because — let’s say we did follow the desires of some people who say, “Just pull out, and pull out now.” Well, yeah. We could mechanically do that. It would be ugly, and it might take three or four months, but you could line up the battalions on the road one by one, and you could put the gunners in the Humvees and load and cock their weapons and shoot their way out of Iraq. You’d have a few roadside bombs. But if you line everybody up there won’t be any roadside bombs. Maybe some sniping. You can fly helicopters over, do your air cover. You’d probably get safely out of there. But when you leave, the Saudis have got to find someone to fight the Shias. Who are they going to find? Al-Qaeda, because the groups of Sunnis who would be extremists and willing to fight would probably be the groups connected to al-Qaeda. So one of the weird inconsistencies in this is that were we to get out early, we’d be intensifying the threat against us of a super powerful Sunni extremist group, which was now legitimated by overt Saudi funding in an effort to hang onto a toehold inside Iraq and block Iranian expansionism.

AMY GOODMAN: And interestingly, today, John Negroponte has just become the number two man, resigning his post as National Intelligence Director to go to the State Department, Seymour Hersh says, because of his discomfort that the administration’s covert actions in the Middle East so closely echo the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, and Negroponte was involved with that.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’m sure there are a lot of reasons why John would go back to the State Department. John’s a good — he’s a good man. But, you know, the question is, in government is, can you — are you bigger than your job? Because if you’re not bigger than your job, you get trapped by the pressures of events and processes into going along with actions that you know you shouldn’t. And I don’t know. I don’t know why he left the National Intelligence Director’s position. He started in the State Department. Maybe he’s got a fondness to return and finish off his career in State.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about — do you know who the generals are, who are threatening to resign if the United States attacks Iran?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: No, I don’t. No, I don’t. And I don’t want to know.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you agree with them?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’ll put it this way. On Labor Day weekend of 1994, when I was the J5 — I was a three-star general. I was in the Pentagon. And it was a Saturday morning, and so I was in the office. Walt Kross was the director of the Joint Staff, and he was in the office. And I think it was either Howell Estes or Jack Sheehan who was the J3 at the time. The three of us — I think it was Jack still on the job for the last couple of days. And the three of us were in Shalikashvili’s office about 11:00 in the morning on a Saturday morning, and he had just come back from a White House meeting. And he was all fired up in the way that Shali could be. And he said, “So,” he said, “we will see who will be the real soldiers this weekend! There’s much work to be done! This operation on Haiti has to be completed! The planning must be done correctly, and it must be done this weekend! So we will see who are the real soldiers!”

Then the phone buzzed, and he got up from this little round table the four of us were sitting at to take the call from the White House. We started looking at each other. We said, “Gosh, I wonder where this came from.” I mean, we were all getting ready to check out of the building in an hour or so. We had finished off the messages and paperwork. And we just usually got together because there was normally a crisis every Saturday anyway, and so we normally would come in for the Saturday morning crisis. And so, Shali came back, and so I said to him, I said, “Well, sir, we’ve been talking amongst ourselves, and we’re happy to work all weekend to get all this done, but this is just a drill, right, on Haiti?”

He looked at me, and he said, “Wes,” he said, “this is no drill.” He said, “I’m not authorized to tell you this. But,” he said “the decision has been made, and the United States will invade Haiti. The date is the 20th” — I think it was this date — “of the 20th of September. And the planning must be done, and it must be done now. And if any of you have reservations about this, this is the time to leave.” So I looked at Jack, and I looked at Walt. They looked at me. I mean, we kind of shrugged our shoulders and said, “OK, if you want to invade Haiti, I mean, it’s not illegal. It’s not the country we’d most like to invade. The opposition there consists of five armored vehicles. But sure, I mean, if the President says to do it, yeah, we’re not going resign over it.” And so, we didn’t resign. Nobody resigned.

But Shali was a very smart man. He knew. He knew he was bigger than his job, and he knew that you had to ask yourself the moral, legal and ethical questions first. And so, I’m encouraged by the fact that some of these generals have said this about Iran. They should be asking these questions first.

AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark. He says he thinks about running for president again every day. We’ll come back to my interview with him in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: We go back to my interview with General Wesley Clark.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the soldiers who are saying no to going to Iraq right now?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Iraq?

AMY GOODMAN: To going to Iraq. People like First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, first commissioned officer to say no to deploy. And they just declared a mistrial in his court-martial. He will face another court-martial in a few weeks. What do you think of these young men and women — there are now thousands — who are refusing? But, for example, Ehren Watada, who says he feels it’s wrong. He feels it’s illegal and immoral, and he doesn’t want to lead men and women there.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think, you know, he’s certainly made a personally courageous statement. And he’ll pay with the consequences of it.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he should have to go to jail for that?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think that you have to have an effective armed forces. And I think that it’s not up to the men and women in the Armed Forces to choose where they’ll go to war, because at the very time you need the Armed Forces the most is — there will be a certain number of people who will see it the other way. And so, I support his right to refuse to go, and I support the government’s effort to bring charges against him. This is the way the system works.

Now, the difference is, the case that I described with Shalikashvili is, we would have been given the chance to retire. We would have left our jobs. We might not have retired as three-star generals, because we hadn’t done our duty. But we weren’t in the same circumstance that he is, so there wasn’t necessarily going to be charges brought against us.

But an armed forces has to have discipline. It’s a voluntary organization to join. But it’s not voluntary unless it’s illegal. And you can bring — the trouble with Iraq is it’s not illegal. It was authorized by the United States Congress. It was authorized by the United Nations Security Council resolution. It’s an illegitimate war, but not an illegal war.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it’s wrong?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It’s wrong to fight in Iraq? Well, I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s a bad strategy. I think it’s brought us a lot of grief, and it will bring us a lot more grief. I think it’s been a tremendous distraction from the war on terror, a diversion of resources, and it’s reinforced our enemies. But on the other hand, his case is a moral case, not a legal case. And if you’re going to be a conscientious objector morally like this, then what makes it commendable is that you’ll take your stand on principle and pay the price. If there’s no price to be paid for it, then the courage of your act isn’t self-evident. So he’s taken a very personally courageous stand. But on the other hand, you have to also appreciate the fact that the Armed Forces has to be able to function.

So, you know, in World War I in France, there were a series of terribly misplaced offensives, and they brought — they failed again and again and again. The French took incredible losses. And these were conscript armies. And after one of these failures, a group of thousands of soldiers simply said, “We’re not doing this again. It’s wrong.” You know what the French did? They did what they call decimation. They lined up the troops. They took every tenth soldier, and they shot them. Now, the general who ordered that, he suffered some severe repercussions, personally, morally, but after that the soldiers in France didn’t disobey. Had the army disintegrated at that point, Germany would have occupied France. So when you’re dealing with the use of force, there is an element of compulsion in the Armed Forces.

AMY GOODMAN: But if the politicians will not stop it — as you pointed out, the Democrats joined with the Republicans in authorizing the war — then it’s quite significant, I think, that you, as a general, are saying that this man has taken a courageous act. Then it’s up to the people who are being sent to go to say no.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. But the courage that we need is not his courage. We need the courage of the leaders in the United States government: the generals who could affect the policy, the people in Congress who could force the President to change his strategy. That’s the current — that’s the courage that’s needed.

AMY GOODMAN: And how could they do that?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, you start with a non-binding resolution in the United States Congress, and you build your momentum from there. And you keep hammering it. The Congress has three principal powers. It has the power to appoint, power to investigate, power to fund. And you go after all three. On all three fronts, you find out what the President needs, until he takes it seriously. I think it’s a difficult maneuver to use a scalpel and say, “Well, we’re going to support funding, but we’re not going to support funding for the surge,” because that’s requiring a degree of micro-management that Congress can’t do.

But you can certainly put enough squeeze on the President that he finally calls in the leaders of the Congress and says, “OK, OK, what’s it going to take? I’ve got to get my White House budget passed. I’ve got to get thirty judges, federal judges, confirmed. I’ve got to get these federal prosecutors — you know, the ones that I caused to resign so I could handle it — they’ve got to get replacements in place. What do I have to do to get some support here?” I mean, it could be done. It’s hard bare-knuckle government.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think Congress should stop funding the war?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I think Congress should take a strong stand to get the strategy changed. I don’t think that if you cut off funding for the war, it’s in the — right now that’s not in the United States’ interest. What is in the United States’ interest is to change the strategy in the war. You cannot succeed by simply stopping the funding and saying, “You’ve got six months to get the Americans out.” That’s not going to end the misery in Iraq. It’s not going to restore the lives that have been lost. And it’s not going to give us the power in the region to prevent later threats.

What we do have to do is have a strategy that uses all the elements of America’s power: diplomatic, economic, legal and military. I would send a high-level diplomatic team into the region right now. I’d have no-holds-barred and no-preconditioned discussion with Iran and Syria. And I would let it be known that I’ve got in my bag all the tricks, including putting another 50,000 troops in Iraq and pulling all 150,000 troops out. And we’re going to reach an agreement on a statement of principles that brings stability and peace and order to the region. So let’s just sit down and start doing it. Now, that could be done with the right administrative leadership. It just hasn’t been done.

You know, think of it this way. You’re on a ship crossing the Atlantic. It’s a new ship. And it’s at night. And you’re looking out ahead of the ship, and you notice that there’s a part of the horizon. It’s a beautiful, starry night, except that there’s a part of the horizon, a sort of a regular hump out there where there are no stars visible. And you notice, as the ship plows through the water at thirty knots, that this area where there are no stars is getting larger. And finally, it hits you that there must be something out there that’s blocking the starlight, like an iceberg. So you run to the captain. And you say, “Captain, captain, there’s an iceberg, and we’re driving right toward it.” And he says, “Look, I can’t be bothered with the iceberg right now. We’re having an argument about the number of deck chairs on the fore deck versus the aft deck.” And you say, “But you’re going to hit an iceberg.” He says, “I’m sorry. Get out of here.” So you go to the first officer, and he says, “I’m fighting with the captain on the number of deck chairs.”

You know, we’re approaching an iceberg in the Middle East in our policy, and we’ve got Congress and the United States — and the President of the United States fighting over troop strength in Iraq. It’s the wrong issue. The issue is the strategy, not the troop strength.

AMY GOODMAN: General Clark, do you think Guantanamo Bay should be closed?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: If Congress cut off funds for the prison there, it would be closed. Should they?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think the first thing Congress should do is repeal the Military Commissions Act. I’m very disturbed that a number of people who are looking at the highest office in the land have supported an act which advertently or inadvertently authorizes the admission into evidence of information gained through torture. That’s not the America that I believe in. And the America that I believe in doesn’t detain people indefinitely without charges. So I’d start with the Military Commissions Act.

Then I’d get our NATO allies into the act. They’ve said they don’t like Guantanamo either. So I’d like to create an international tribunal, not a kangaroo court of military commissions. And let’s go back through the evidence. And let’s lay it out. Who are these people that have been held down there? And what have they been held for? And which ones can be released? And which ones should be tried in court and convicted?

You see, essentially, you cannot win the war on terror by military force. It is first and foremost a battle of ideas. It is secondly a law enforcement effort and a cooperative effort among nations. And only as a last resort do you use military force. This president has distorted the capabilities of the United States Armed Forces. He’s used our men and women in uniform improperly in Guantanamo and engaged in actions that I think are totally against the Uniform Code of Military Justice and against what we stand for as the American people.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that President Bush should be impeached?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think we ought to do first thing’s first, which is, we really need to understand and finish the job that Congress started with respect to the Iraq war investigation. Do you remember that there was going to be a study released by the Senate, that the senator from Iowa or from Kansas who was the Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee was going to do this study to determine whether the administration had, in fact, misused the intelligence information to mislead us into the war with Iraq? Well, I’ve never seen that study. I’d like to know where that study is. I’d like to know why we’ve spent three years investigating Scooter Libby, when we should have been investigating why this country went to war in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a complaint against Donald Rumsfeld, General Miller and others in a German court, because they have universal jurisdiction. Do you think that Donald Rumsfeld should be tried for war crimes?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’d like to see what the evidence is against Rumsfeld. I do know this, that there was a lot of pressure put on the men and women in uniform to come up with intelligence. I remember — I think it was either General Sanchez or General Abizaid, who stated that we don’t need more troops — this is the fall of 2003 — we just need better information. Well, to me, that was immediate code words that we were really trying to soak these people for information.

And it’s only a short step from there to all the kinds of mistreatment that occur at places like Abu Ghraib. So we know that Al Gonzales wrote a couple of really — or authored, or his people authored and he approved, a couple of outrageous memos that attempted to define torture as deliberately inflicted pain, the equivalent of the loss of a major bodily organ or limb, which is — it’s not an adequate definition of torture. And we know that he authorized, to some degree, some coercive methods, which we have — and we know President Bush himself accepted implicitly in a signing statement to a 2005 act on military detainees that he would use whatever methods were appropriate or necessary. So there’s been some official condoning of these actions.

I think it’s a violation of international law and a violation of American law and a violation of the principles of good government in America. There have always been evidences of mistreatment of prisoners. Every army has probably done it in history. But our country hasn’t ever done it as a matter of deliberate policy. George Washington told his soldiers, when they captured the Hessians and the men wanted to run them through, because the Hessians were brutal and ruthless, he said, “No, treat them well.” He said, “They’ll join our side.” And many of them did. It was a smart policy, not only the right thing to do, but a smart policy to treat the enemy well. We’ve made countless enemies in that part of the world by the way we’ve treated people and disregarded them. It’s bad, bad policy.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask — you’re a FOX News contributor now?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Oh, at least.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you what you think of the dean of West Point, Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, together with a military interrogator named Tony Lagouranis and the group Human Rights First, going to the heads of the program 24, very popular hit show on FOX, to tell them that what they’re doing on this program, glorifying torture, is inspiring young men and women to go to Iraq and torture soldiers there, and to stop it?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: And not only that, but it doesn’t work. Yeah, Pat Finnegan is one of my heroes.

AMY GOODMAN: So what do you think about that?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I think it’s great.

AMY GOODMAN: And have you been involved in the conversation internally at FOX, which runs 24, to stop it?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, as far as I know, they actually put out a call to all the writers in Hollywood. My son’s a writer, and he was one of them who got a call. They were all told: stop talking about torture. It doesn’t work. So I think it was an effective move by Pat Finnegan.

AMY GOODMAN: So you support it?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark. I’m interviewing him at the 92nd Street Y. We’re going to come back to the conclusion of that interview in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark recently edited a series of books about famous US generals: Grant, LeMay, Patton and Eisenhower. When I interviewed him at the 92nd Street Y, I asked him a question about the presidency of General Dwight Eisenhower

AMY GOODMAN: 1953 was also a seminal date for today, and that was when Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, went to Iran and led a coup against Mohammed Mossadegh under Eisenhower.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: People make mistakes. And one of the mistakes that the United States consistently made was that it could intervene and somehow adjust people’s governments, especially in the Middle East. I don’t know why we felt that — you can understand Latin America, because Latin America was always an area in which people would come to the United States, say, “You’ve got to help us down there. These are banditos, and they don’t know anything. And, you know, they don’t have a government. Just intervene and save our property.” And the United States did it a lot in the ’20s. Of course, Eisenhower was part of that culture. He had seen it.

But in the Middle East, we had never been there. We established a relationship during World War II, of course, to keep the Germans out of Iran. And so, the Soviets and the Brits put an Allied mission together. At the end of World War II, the Soviets didn’t want to withdraw, and Truman called their bluff in the United Nations. And Eisenhower knew all of this. And Iran somehow became incorporated into the American defense perimeter. And so, his view would have been, we couldn’t allow a communist to take over.

AMY GOODMAN: But wasn’t it more about British Petroleum?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Oh, it’s always — there are always interests. The truth is, about the Middle East is, had there been no oil there, it would be like Africa. Nobody is threatening to intervene in Africa. The problem is the opposite. We keep asking for people to intervene and stop it. There’s no question that the presence of petroleum throughout the region has sparked great power involvement. Whether that was the specific motivation for the coup or not, I can’t tell you. But there was definitely — there’s always been this attitude that somehow we could intervene and use force in the region. I mean, that was true with — I mean, imagine us arming and creating the Mujahideen to keep the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Why would we think we could do that? But we did. And, you know, my lesson on it is, whenever you use force, there are unintended consequences, so you should use force as a last resort. Whether it’s overt or covert, you pay enormous consequences for using force.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about what you think of the response to Jimmy Carter’s book, Peace, Not Apartheid.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’m sorry to say I haven’t read the book. And it’s one of the things I’ve been meaning to read, and I just haven’t. I will tell you this, that we’re in a very, very difficult position in Israel. I say “we,” because every American president has committed to the protection and survival of the state of Israel. And I think that’s right. And I certainly feel that way, and I’m a very strong supporter of Israel.

But somehow we’ve got to move off top dead center in terms of these discussions with the Palestinians. And this administration has failed to lead. They came into office basically determined not to do anything that Bill Clinton did. I think that was the basic guideline. And so, they have allowed unremitting violence between Israel and the Palestinians with hardly an effort to stop that through US leadership. And now, it’s almost too late. So Condi was over there the other day, and she didn’t achieve what she wanted to achieve, and people want to blame the Saudis. But at least the Saudis tried to do something at Mecca by putting together a unity government. So I fault the administration.

Jimmy Carter has taken a lot of heat from people. I don’t know exactly what he said in the book. But people are very sensitive about Israel in this country. And I understand that. A lot of my friends have explained it to me and have explained to me the psychology of people who were in this country and saw what was happening in World War II, and maybe they didn’t feel like they spoke out strongly enough, soon enough, to stop it. And it’s not going to happen again.

AMY GOODMAN: General Clark, I wanted to ask you a tough question about journalists.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, now, that would be the first tough question you’ve asked me tonight.

AMY GOODMAN: There are more than a hundred journalists and media workers in Iraq who have died. And particularly hard hit are Arab journalists. I mean, you had Tariq Ayoub, the Al Jazeera reporter, who died on the roof of Al Jazeera when the US military shelled Al Jazeera, then went on to shell the Palestine Hotel and killed two reporters, a Reuters cameraman and one from Telecinco in Spain named Jose Couso. Many Arab journalists feel like they have been targeted, the idea of shooting the messenger. But this tough question goes back to your being Supreme Allied Commander in Yugoslavia and the bombing of Radio Television Serbia. Do you regret that that happened, that you did that?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: No, I don’t regret that at all. That was part of the Serb command and control network. And not only that, I was asked to take out that television by a lot of important political leaders. And before I took it out, I twice warned the Serbs we were going to take it out. We stopped, at one news conference in the Pentagon, we planted the question to get the attention of the Serbs, that we were going to target Serb Radio and Television.

AMY GOODMAN: RTS.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. And that night, in fact, Milosevic got the warning, because he summoned all the foreign journalists to come to a special mandatory party at RTS that night. But we weren’t bombing that night. We put the word out twice before we actually I did it.

AMY GOODMAN: You told CNN, which was also there, to leave?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I told — I used — I think I used CNN to plant the story and to leak it at the Pentagon press conference. But we didn’t tell anyone specifically to leave. What we told them was it’s now a target. And it was Milosevic who determined that he would keep people there in the middle of the night just so there would be someone killed if we struck it. So we struck it during the hours where there were not supposed to be anybody there.

AMY GOODMAN: But you killed civilians.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Six people died.

AMY GOODMAN: I think sixteen. But I think it’s the media — it’s the beauticians, the technicians. It was a civilian target.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah, they were ordered to stay there by Milosevic. Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: But it was a civilian target.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It was not a civilian target. It was a military target. It was part of the Serb command and control network

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of Amnesty International calling it a war crime?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think it was investigated by the International Criminal Tribunal in Yugoslavia and found to be a legitimate target. So I think it’s perfectly alright for Amnesty International to have their say, but everything we did was approved by lawyers, and every target was blessed. We would not have committed a war crime.

AMY GOODMAN: Upon reflection now and knowing who died there, the young people, the people who worked for RTS, who — as you said, if Milosevic wanted people to stay there, they were just following orders.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, it was a tragedy. But I’ll tell you something. If you want to talk about tragedies, how about this one? We bombed what we thought was a Serb police station in Kosovo. We saw the Serb vehicles. We flew unmanned aerial vehicles over it. And we did everything we could to identify it. And we found that there were Serb police vehicles parked there at night, so we sent an F-16 in, dropped two 500-pound laser-guided bombs and took it out. We killed eighty Albanians who had been imprisoned by the Serbs there. They were trying to escape, and the Serbs locked them up in this farmhouse and surrounded them with vehicles. So, I regret every single innocent person who died, and I prayed every night that there wouldn’t be any innocent people who died. But this is why I say you must use force only as a last resort.

I told this story to the high school kids earlier, but it bears repeating, I guess. We had a malfunction with a cluster bomb unit, and a couple of grenades fell on a schoolyard, and some, I think three, schoolchildren were killed in Nish. And two weeks later, I got a letter from a Serb grandfather. He said, “You’ve killed my granddaughter.” He said, “I hate you for this, and I’ll kill you.” And I got this in the middle of the war. And it made me very, very sad. We certainly never wanted to do anything like that. But in war, accidents happen. And that’s why you shouldn’t undertake military operations unless every other alternative has been exhausted, because innocent people do die. And I think the United States military was as humane and careful as it possibly could have been in the Kosovo campaign. But still, civilians died. And I’ll always regret that.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think cluster bombs should be banned?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: You know, we used, I think 1,400-plus cluster bombs. And there’s a time when you have to use cluster bombs: when they’re the most appropriate and humane weapon. But I think you have to control the use very carefully. And I think we did in Yugoslavia.

AMY GOODMAN: Right now, the US has rejected an international call to ban the use of cluster bombs. On Friday, forty-six countries were in Oslo to develop a new international treaty to ban the use of cluster munitions by — I think it’s 2008. Would you support that?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, you know, people who are against war often make the case by trying to attack the weapons of war and stripping away the legitimacy of those weapons. I’ve participated in some of that. I’d like to get rid of landmines. I did participate in getting rid of laser blinding weapons. And I was part of the team that put together the agreement that got rid of laser blinding weapons. I’d like to get rid of nuclear weapons. But I can’t agree with those who say that force has no place in international affairs. It simply does for this country. And I would like to work to make it so that it doesn’t. But the truth is, for now it does. And so, I can’t go against giving our men and women in uniform the appropriate weapons they need to fight, to fight effectively to succeed on the battlefield, and to minimize their own casualties.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll have to leave it there. I thank you very much, General Wesley Clark.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark. I interviewed him at the 92nd Street Y, the cultural center here in New York, on the publication of the Great General Series, on Grant, LeMay, Patton and Eisenhower.

A Call for Assistance in the Efforts to Halt Racism, Racial Discrimination and Acts of Genocide Directed Towards the People of the City of Detroit in the United States of America

The following draft appeal was submitted and accepted by the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) to be included in their report related to the gross human rights violations being committed inside the country. This appeal is an important contribution to the annual submission by the USHRN that is designed to point out the violations by the U.S. government of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The appeal requests the direct intervention by relevant UN agencies including, but not limited to, the High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Geneva, Switzerland.

This appeal is directed towards the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and all other agencies of this international body concerned with the prevention and halting of institutional racism, racial discrimination and genocide. Two organizations which have played a leading role in opposition to the imposition of austerity, the racist denial of the right to vote and due process under the law in defense against the predatory actions of multi-national corporations and international financial institutions in the City of Detroit, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), founded in 2002 and the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs, founded in 2008, are making this appeal to the United Nations due to the failure of the local, state and federal governmental structures to uphold the fundamental civil and human rights of the majority African American population of Detroit, but not limited to this predominant segment of the people, and encompassing all those who are impacted by the current policies enacted by a system of emergency management, forced bankruptcy and restructuring of the City of Detroit.

We are charging that deliberate actions by the State of Michigan through its Governor Rick Snyder and majority right-wing legislative bodies are calculated and well-planned to foster the disempowerment of the African American people. This program is specifically designed to destroy the political and social gains made by the African American people, but also severely impacts negatively the labor movement, social justice organizations and all other historically affected groups facing national discrimination and class oppression in the United States.

The Nullification of the Elections of November 2012

These policies implemented by the State of Michigan are being carried out against the political will of the majority of people not only in the City of Detroit but throughout the state. In November 2012, an election was held on a proposal to change the Michigan state constitution specifically designed to take full control of municipalities such as Detroit with majority African American populations and impose emergency managers who are non-elected officials appointed by the Governor who work exclusively on behalf of the interests of banks and large corporations and results in their unjust further enrichment through the seizure of public properties, homes, school systems, municipal pension funds and healthcare programs.

The Michigan statewide election of November 2012 voted down decisively the emergency manager bill known as Public Act 4. Despite this overwhelming vote against emergency management that is tantamount to municipal and school systems dictatorship, the right-wing Governor and legislative body drafted a new law, Public Act 436, which essentially re-imposed the same legislative proposal rejected by the state electorate. The imposition of Public Act 436 was designed so that it would be referendum proof. Efforts to overturn Public Act 436 within the federal courts have been met with judicial stalling allowing the total eradication of fundamental civil and human rights within the City of Detroit and those impacted cities in the State of Michigan.

Since the implementation of Public Act 436 the erosion of the civil and human rights of the residents of the City of Detroit has been implemented with rapidity and without consideration of the popular will of the people of the City and the State. Governor Snyder in March 2013 appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy lawyer, to manage all aspects of the affairs of the City of Detroit. Orr is a former partner of the Jones Day law firm which is currently administering the affairs of the City of Detroit in contravention to the wishes of the majority of the people within the municipality.

Later in July 2013, Orr filed for municipal bankruptcy when the emergency manager office was subjected to numerous legal challenges and broad public opposition to the imposition of this form of dictatorial rule. Later in December 2013, Federal Court Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that the bankruptcy filing done by Jones Day law firm was legitimate and deemed that the largest of such bankruptcies in U.S. municipal history could go forward.

The Denial of Due Process Purportedly Protected Under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

In the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War during 1861-1865, there was the passage of the 13th Amendment which ostensibly granted freedom to nearly four million Africans from chattel slavery. Later in 1868, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by Congress to grant purported citizenship rights to the former enslaved Africans and other people of African descent recognizing the right to due process, i.e., the right to have access to public institutions, to serve on juries and to be treated equally under the fundamental constitutional law of the U.S.

These petitioners are claiming that the letter and spirit of the 14th Amendment guarantees are being denied to the majority African American population of Detroit and others who reside inside the City. These attacks on the right to due process are manifested in the action being implemented through emergency management.

During the course of the federal court hearings on whether the City of Detroit was eligible for bankruptcy restructuring, hundreds of people had filed legal objections to this effort. Mass demonstrations were held opposing the bankruptcy filing outside the federal court between July and December of 2013 involving City of Detroit retirees, municipal workers, community activists, religious figures, etc. There were no demonstrations held in support of the bankruptcy or the continuation of emergency management.

Actions Implemented by the Emergency Management System Causing Great Bodily Harm and Mental Distress to the People of Detroit

Since the appointment of the emergency manager and the forced bankruptcy, a series of actions have been taken against the residents of Detroit, its employees and retirees. In March 2014, the healthcare coverage of the more than 30,000 municipal retirees and their families were abruptly cancelled even through these medical programs stemmed from contractual agreements that had been in force for several decades.

The cancellation of medical coverage for tens of thousands of retirees and their families has caused grave hardships on these former City employees. At present the federal court bankruptcy Judge Rhodes has allowed the cancellation of these healthcare programs despite the fact that a final “plan of adjustment” aimed at ostensibly “restructuring of the City of Detroit” has not been decided on by the court. A hearing on the plan of adjustment is not scheduled until mid-August of 2014.

Many former employees of the City of Detroit suffered injuries on the job which necessitates ongoing and specialized medical attention. Lifesaving medications which are essential for the survival of these retirees and their families are no longer being paid for by the City of Detroit despite previous contractual agreements. Other employees, many of whom are of advanced age, have been left with no medical coverage or forced to enroll in the federal government’s Affordable Care Act healthcare programs, which are not affordable.

Former employees are being required to pay insurance premiums to private firms anywhere ranging from $600-$3,000 per month in order to maintain coverage through the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare. Most retirees and their families are not able to pay such high premiums and are now facing the possibility of worsening healthcare crises and even death.

Other actions taken by the emergency manager at the aegis of the Governor include the massive shut-off of water services to thousands of households throughout Detroit in an effort to break-up and privatize a publically-owned water system which is one of the most advanced in the U.S. The United Nations has already spoken out against the inhumane character of the massive water shut-offs which are endangering the health and well-being not only of the households impacted but the overall population and environmental quality of all residents of the City of Detroit and its environs.

Efforts aimed at the privatization of the public water system in Detroit which provides fresh water to suburban and other regional communities has not been seriously questioned or halted by the federal bankruptcy court. These efforts related to the water system are being also carried out against other publically-owned assets of the City of Detroit.

Belle Isle, a large public park located between the city and Ontario, Canada, has been seized by the State of Michigan over and above the desire of the City Council and the people of Detroit. The Detroit Public Lighting (DPL) System is currently being privatized and may be taken over by the DTE Energy Corporation, one of the largest utility firms in the U.S. which has over $20 billion in assets.

The Detroit Public Works (DPW) has been privatized as well. In addition, the world-renowned Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is being threatened with seizure by the emergency manager where the treasured art works worth billions of dollars could be sold on auction by the dictatorial imposed leadership from State in order to pay off questionable and illegal debts to the banks.

The Favoring of the Banks and Corporations in the Bankruptcy Process

It is the contention of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and MECAWI, that the egregious policies of the banks and corporations are responsible for the underdevelopment and impoverishment in the City of Detroit. The targeting of Detroit and other majority African American municipalities in the U.S. by banks has been well-documented in numerous legal actions where financial institutions have agreed to pay billions of dollars in damages not necessarily to the victims of such actions but to the federal and state governments.

Resources which should be utilized to keep people in their homes who have been subjected to predatory lending, as well as the payment of restitution and reparations to communities negatively and disproportionately affected by the actions of unscrupulous banks, has not taken place. In the State of Michigan over $500 million allocated through the so-called “hardest hit” program to assist distressed homeowners have not been utilized to prevent mortgage or tax foreclosures.

These same funds however now, are being utilized to identify homes to be torn down, many of these houses and small business were abandoned as a direct result of the predatory actions of the banks. A Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) has been established and is currently seizing thousands of homes and vacant lots without any consultations with residents of the affected neighborhoods in Detroit.

A Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, which works in conjunction with the DLBA, has been established with open collaboration of the administration of President Barack Obama. A private meeting held involving Dan Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans, one of the many predatory loan firms operating in Detroit and around the country, along with other corporate heads, was convened at the White House in early 2014. With the endorsement of the White House, the wholesale seizure of monies supposedly designed to assist distressed homeowners are being utilized to obtain title and raze properties. These actions raise serious questions about the role of the Obama administration in the ongoing emergency management and forced bankruptcy of Detroit.

The Obama administration submitted a brief in the federal bankruptcy during 2013 saying that actions taken by the emergency manager in Detroit was constitutional. No consideration of the blatant violation of the 14th amendment protections of due process were taken into consideration.

The 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed by an act of Congress in 1870 was designed to grant the right to vote to the former enslaved Africans. Despite the nullification of the statewide vote in December 2012 against emergency management, the U.S. Justice Department and the White House are apparently collaborating with State of Michigan officials by fostering the blatant violation of the 15th Amendment along with the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

An appeal to the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 by several elected political officials requesting the intervention of the federal government in reviewing the denial of the right to vote and due process as protected under the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, and other acts of Congress including Civil Rights and Voting Rights laws, has gone unanswered. In addition to the legal brief submitted to the federal bankruptcy court by the Obama administration in support of the emergency management and forced bankruptcy of Detroit, the administration has endorsed the privatization of the administration of federal grants that had been previously handled by the City of Detroit departments and employees. The expropriation of these federal grants from the City of Detroit and turning them over to private foundations located outside the City has resulted in the termination of employees and departments that previously administered such grants where employees paid into the pension systems that are now under attack by the emergency manager.

At present retirees are being threatened with the theft of their pensions. As early 2013, the emergency manager Kevyn Orr had warned that pensioners could suffer up to an 84 percent cut in their monthly checks. Public pensions are protected by the state constitution of Michigan yet federal bankruptcy Judge Rhodes ruled in conjunction with the eligibility for bankruptcy that the pensions of municipal retirees could be impaired.

Nonetheless, the banks and corporation which are responsible for the destruction of the city through the outsourcing of jobs, the closing of factories, schools and other businesses and the targeting of the City of Detroit through usurious municipal financial loans and bond issues have gone unpunished by the emergency manager, the State of Michigan, the federal government and the Jones Day law firm which is administering the municipality.

In a series of hearings on the status of an interest-rate swap deal in operation from 2005-2014 issued by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) beginning in late 2013 and early 2014, it was exposed by Atty. Jerome Goldberg acting on behalf of City of Detroit retiree David Sole, that the predatory nature of such financial deals had and still does have a detrimental impact on the residents of the City. After rejecting two previous proposals to terminate the interest-rate swap deal drafted by Jones Day and the banks, federal Judge Rhodes agreed to turn over another $85 million to these financial institutions despite the fact that the City of Detroit residents through their tax dollars had already paid over $300 million to these banks which help to drag the City into financial distress.

Although Judge Rhodes appeared to have agreed with the arguments put forward by Atty. Goldberg acting on behalf of David Sole in his Jan. 16, 2014 ruling, this was reversed in a later ruling in March 2014 which allowed Jones Day law firm to turn over the additional $85 million to the banks. In the earlier ruling Rhodes intimated that the City of Detroit, or Jones Day, which is acting illegally on behalf of the City of Detroit, would have solid legal grounds in pursuing actions against Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS for the predatory character of the interest-rate swaps, however, this was dropped in the later ruling.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition has put forward the demand that the illegitimate debt purportedly owed to the banks should be cancelled. If such actions were carried out the City of Detroit would have adequate resources to re-structure the municipality based upon the interests of the residents of the City, its employees and retirees.

Actions Requested by the United Nations to Address the Gross Human Rights Violations in Detroit

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition and MECAWI are requesting specific actions by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, other agencies concerned with the prevention of racism, racial discrimination and genocide, sympathetic governments and non-governmental organizations affiliated with the international body. We are requesting that sanctions be implemented against the U.S. government for its failure to protect the residents of the City of Detroit, in particular its majority African American population.

These sanctions could involve the denial of recognition of the U.S. within relevant United Nations agencies and activities. Sympathetic governments could refuse to trade and engage in investments in the United States and its interests outside the country.

A statement condemning the failure to protect the civil and human rights of the people of Detroit and the complicity of the Obama administration, the State of Michigan, the emergency manager Kevyn Orr in the deliberate denial of these rights, should be introduced and passed within the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly. These sanctions and resolutions of condemnation should be based on the violations of not only U.S. Constitutional law but those Conventions within the United Nations system designed to prevent racism, racial discrimination and genocide.

According to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination drafted in 1965 and fully adopted in 1969, all relevant member-states of the United Nations in accordance with Article 2 requires that:

“1. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and, to this end: (a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation; (b) Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations;

“(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;

“(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;

“(e) Each State Party undertakes to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.

“2. States Parties shall, when the circumstances so warrant, take, in the social, economic, cultural and other fields, special and concrete measures to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or individuals belonging to them, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These measures shall in no case entail as a consequence the maintenance of unequal or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved. “

Since the local, State and Federal governments of the U.S. including its courts have apparently conspired to deny the fundamental rights under domestic law to protect the rights of the residents of this majority African American municipality, it is necessary that the United Nations undertake immediate actions design to halt such gross violations of both civil and human rights laws and conventions. As was demonstrated during anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles during the period of the 1960s through the 1990s, the United Nations is well within its authority to enact sanctions against States which deliberately engage in racism, racial discrimination and acts of genocide against population groups.

Also we firmly believe that the calculated denial of such rights constitute a conspiracy to commit genocide against the majority African American population of Detroit, but not limited to this racial group, but all other nationalities residing in the City as well as former employees now residing outside the City. Passed in December 1948 and enforced by the United Nations as of January 1951, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is extremely relevant to the conditions being imposed on the people of the City of Detroit through the denial of basic civil and human rights.

The Convention defines genocide within Article II stating that “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Sections a, b and c are particularly relevant to the conditions being imposed on the people of Detroit and its majority African American population but not limited to this segment of the population and impacting all residents and retirees of the City of Detroit. The Convention also provides guidance on the acts committed which are punishable by the United Nations related to acts of genocide.

A section with the Convention notes that:

Article III: The following acts shall be punishable: (a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide.

The contention of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and MECAWI is that these actions enacted by the emergency manager, the State of Michigan, the multi-national corporations and banks with the complicity of the federal government and courts constitute deliberate acts designed to further oppress and repress City of Detroit residents through the denial of due process, the nullification of votes, the privatization of public assets, the theft of healthcare systems and pension funds from employees as well as the termination of thousands of household’s water services, is and will further result, in the causing of great bodily harm, mass deaths and the forced and systematic removal of the majority of the population currently residing in the City.

Finally, we are requesting that the United Nations Human Rights agencies with deliberate speed convene an International Tribunal on the Crimes of Racism, Racial Discrimination and Genocide being perpetuated against the people of Detroit and the State of Michigan. This tribunal should be held in the City of Detroit and be open for testimony and observation by all residents of the City of Detroit as well as all other interested parties, governments, non-governmental organizations and other relevant United Nations agencies.

Submitted on Monday June 30, 2014 by: Abayomi Azikiwe on Behalf of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) [email protected]

What Americans Need to Know About Iran

July 12th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Stunning Facts About Iran You’ve Never Heard Before

Preface: I was born in the U.S., and have lived here my whole life.  I am a patriotic American, and put America first. I come from a Judeo-Christian background, and I am not a Muslim. I’ve never been to Iran, or anywhere in the Middle East or Northern Africa, or to any Muslim country. 

However, I believe that learning about other people and other countries builds bridges that prevent costly and unnecessary war.

If Americans knew the following facts about Iran, it would change their opinion:

Does Iran Have Much History Or Culture?

What Did the Founding Fathers Think of Muslims?

The Founding Fathers were not anti-Islam. Ted Widmer reported in the Boston Globe:

The Founders were way ahead of us. They thought hard about how to build a country of many different faiths. And to advance that vision to the fullest, they read the Koran, and studied Islam with a calm intelligence that today’s over-hyped Americans can only begin to imagine. They knew something that we do not. To a remarkable degree, the Koran is not alien to American history — but inside it.

No book states the case more plainly than a single volume, tucked away deep within the citadel of Copley Square — the Boston Public Library. The book known as Adams 281.1 is a copy of the Koran, from the personal collection of John Adams.

***

They, like we, lived in a complicated and often hostile global environment, dominated by religious strife, terror, and the bloodsport of competing empires. Yet better than we, they saw the world as it is, and refused the temptation to enlarge our enemies into Satanic monsters, or simply pretend they didn’t exist.

***

Why would John Adams and a cluster of farmers in the Connecticut valley have bought copies of the Koran in 1806? Surprisingly, there was a long tradition of New Englanders reading in the Islamic scripture.

***

This theory was eloquently expressed around the time the Constitution was written. One of its models was the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution, which John Adams had helped to create, and which, in the words of one of its drafters, Theophilus Parsons, was designed to ensure “the most ample of liberty of conscience” for “Deists, Mahometans [i.e. Muslims] Jews and Christians.”

As the Founders deliberated over what types of people would ultimately populate the strange new country they were creating, they cited Muslims as an extreme of foreign-ness whom it would be important to protect in the future. Perhaps, they daydreamed, a Muslim or a Catholic might even be president someday? Like everything, they debated it. Some disapproved, but Richard Henry Lee insisted that “true freedom embraces the Mahometan and Gentoo [Hindu] as well as the Christian religion.” George Washington went out of his way to praise Muslims on several occasions, and suggested that he would welcome them at Mount Vernon if they were willing to work. Benjamin Franklin argued that Muslims should be able to preach to Christians if we insisted on the right to preach to them. Near the end of his life, he impersonated a Muslim essayist, to mock American hypocrisy over slavery.

Thomas Jefferson, especially, had a familiarity with Islam that borders on the astonishing. Like Adams, he owned a Koran …. Jefferson even tried to learn Arabic, and wrote his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom to protect “the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”

Lynn Parramore – founding editor of the economic blog New Deal 2.0 – points out that this American tolerance of Islam continued for hundreds of years:

Muslims have been in America for so long they could almost have formed a welcoming committee to the Daughters of the Revolution.

Consider this: Anthony “The Turk” Janszoon van Salee, son of the president of the Republic of Salé in Morocco, was among the earliest and richest settlers of Manhattan island, a devout Muslim, and the ancestor of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Whitneys, Humphrey Bogart, and, according to family lore, Jacqueline Bouvier [i.e. Kenney]. That’s right: the Lady of Camelot apparently had a mixed-race Muslim as an ancestor! One of van Salee’s first properties was a farm in lower Manhattan acquired in 1638 located on the north side of the stockade along present-day Wall Street, just blocks from the Park Place Islamic center characterized by Geller as a foreign presence on sacred American soil. A defender of minorities, van Salee became the first settler of Brooklyn. Coney Island, which abutted his property, was known as “Turk’s Island” until the 19th century.

***

Followers of Muhammed were living here before the arrival of English in Spanish-controlled Florida and French Louisiana, where slaves were imported from the Senegambia region of Africa, home to a large Muslim population.

Influenced by the tolerance of the Enlightenment, America’s founders considered Islam’s place in the new republic despite widespread fear of Barbary pirates and a sense of European rivalry with the Ottoman Empire. As befitting a student of law in a religiously diverse land, Thomas Jefferson purchased a Quran to learn about the Islamic legal code – the same Quran that was used in the swearing in of Muslim Keith Ellison to the U.S. Congress. In 1776, John Adams published “Thoughts on Government,” which praised the prophet Muhammad as a “sober inquirer after truth.” Ben Franklin set up a non-sectarian meeting house in Philadelphia, declaring in his autobiography that “even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”

***

Islam is inextricably woven into the fabric of American history, from the distinctive service of Muslims in all American wars, including the Revolution….

***

The real foreign presence is Islamophobia, which is completely at odds with America’s founding principles.

Is Iran a Warmonger?

  • Iran is fighting the worst terrorists on the planet: ISIS, the brutal murderers who have taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria (admittedly, Iran backs Hamas and Hezbollah, which are Shia terrorist groups)
  • The CIA admits that the U.S. overthrew the moderate, suit-and-tie-wearing, Democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. He was overthrown because he had nationalized Iran’s oil, which had previously been controlled by BP and other Western oil companies. As part of that action, the CIA admits that it hired Iranians to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its prime minister
  • If the U.S. hadn’t overthrown the moderate Iranian government, the fundamentalist Mullahs would have never taken over. (Moreover, the U.S. has had a large hand in strengthening radical Islam in the Middle East by supporting radicals to fight the Soviets and others)

Isn’t Iran On the Verge of Having the Bomb?

  • Contrary to widespread claims, there is that Iran is building a nuclear weapon.  Even Israel  that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb.  And the former that Iran is 10 years away from having a nuclear bomb
  • that Iran poses very little threat to the West or Israel . Top American and Israeli military and intelligence officials say that – even if Iran did build a nuclear bomb – it would not be that dangerous, because Israel and America have so many more nukes. And see this

Who Started the Recent Confrontation with Iran?

  • The U.S. armed and supported Iraq after it invaded Iran and engaged in a long, bloody war which included the use of chemical weapons. Here is former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein in the 1980′s, several months after Saddam had used chemical weapons in a massacre:

  • Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says that the Bush administration (and especially Dick Cheney) helped to fund terrorist groups within Iran (see confirming articles here and here)
  • The New York Times, Washington Post and others are reporting, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey – who all said that the terrorists were going to get us if we didn’t jettison the liberties granted under the Bill of Rights – are now supporting terrorists in Iran

Who’s Pushing War?

  • The people pushing for war against Iran are the same neocons who pushed for war against Iraq based on false statements that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. See this, this and this
  • Some say that the war against Iran has already begun. See this, this and this

What Would the Consequences Be If We Attack Iran?

Breaking the Canadian University Links with Israeli Institutions

July 12th, 2014 by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Faculty for Palestine

1. Israel must be held accountable for its measures of collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

2. Attacks on Palestinian academic freedom and their right to education are endemic to Israel’s regime of occupation and oppression.

3. Canadian universities should not foster institutional links with Israel’s academic establishment under these conditions. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the Association of University Heads, Israel (AUH) of July 8, 2013 should be rescinded.

On June 12, Israel launched a massive military operation called “Operation Brother’s Keeper.” Since then, the Israeli state has bombed the Gaza Strip, killed a rapidly rising number of Palestinians, arrested more than 500 others, and violently invaded 1,300 Palestinian sites, including three university campuses. The immediate pretext for this brutality against Palestinians was the kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis. As the Israeli military’s campaign continues, so too has racist rhetoric and Israeli violence on the ground escalated, including the June 30 kidnapping and murder of sixteen-year old Palestinian Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. On July 8, as this statement goes to press, Israel has increased the level of deadly violence and destruction on Gaza with the launch of its new bombing campaign, “Operation Protective Edge.”

Collective Punishment

This most recent episode of collective punishment of Palestinian society highlights, yet again, how attacks on the academic freedom and the right to education of Palestinians are weapons of the apartheid regime. As part of Operation Brother’s Keeper, the Israeli military invaded Al Quds University (Jerusalem), the Arab American University (Jenin), and Birzeit University. According to Professor Samia Botmeh of Birzeit University, who is also a member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) steering committee:

“Israel’s latest violations against Palestinian universities are part of its long history of oppression aimed at Palestinian education. Closure of universities for periods stretching to years, murder and detention of students and professors, destruction of universities’ properties and labs as well as the banning of lists of books have been Israel’s systematic policies targeting Palestinian education.”

Clearly this is not a time to be forging institutional links with Israeli academic institutions.

And yet, July 8, 2014, marks the first anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and the Association of University Heads, Israel (AUH). Signed by Canadian university presidents last summer during a visit to Tel Aviv, this new framework agreement marks a dangerous shift toward the institutionalization and normalization of Canadian university complicity in Israeli occupation and apartheid. If unchallenged, the framework agreement would allow the AUCC to act as a host and central site for creating and expanding the sorts of relations that Palestinian civil society urges us to boycott, including the coordination and regularization of research, teaching, conferences and other academic ties.

Opposition to AUCC Agreement

Faculty for Palestine (F4P) marks our opposition to the AUCC agreement by remembering other anniversaries this week. On July 9, 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations issued a call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to pressure the Israeli state to recognize fundamental Palestinian rights. This call was issued one year after the July 9, 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, which found the wall Israel built on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal. Palestinian organizations have asked the global community to join them in challenging Israel’s brutality and its ongoing violations of international law.

In solidarity with the Palestinian people, Faculty for Palestine joins the Month Against the Apartheid Wall campaign issued by the BDS National Committee. As our contribution to the campaign, we call on the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to rescind its Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of University Heads, Israel (AUH). As recent events clearly demonstrate, pressure is required to push Israel to accept the framework of international law and recognize the basic rights of Palestinians. •

For more information visit the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) website. Send inquiries to [email protected].

Nine Years Ago, the 7/7 London Bombing

This article is dedicated to former South Yorkshire terror analyst Tony Farrell who lost his job but kept his integrity, and with thanks to the documentation provided by the July 7th Truth Campaign

“:One intriguing aspect of the London Bombing report is the fact that the MI5 codename for the event is “Stepford”. The four “bombers” are referred to as the “Stepford four”.

Why is this the case? … the MI5 codename is very revealing in that it suggests the operation was a carefully coordinated and controlled one with four compliant and malleable patsies following direct orders.

Now if MI5 has no idea who was behind the operation or whether there were any orders coming from a mastermind, why would they give the event the codename “Stepford”? ” (Steve Watson, January 30, 2006 Prison Planet)

Background

The word was out that there was easy money to be made by Muslims taking part in an emergency- preparedness operation. Mohammad Sidique Khan — better known by his western nickname “Sid” –  had been approached by his contact, probably Haroon Rashid Aswat who was in town, about a big emergency preparedness operation that was looking for local Pakistanis who might take the part of pretend “suicide bombers” for the enactment.  The call was somewhat unusual: not just anyone was to be asked.  The people running this wanted “young men who were conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably had some higher education”. It looked as if it might be one of the ones related to Visor Consultants, which had a history of holding such events.   Sid’s wife, Hasina Patel, had been experiencing complications in her second pregnancy; he wondered if she might be better off getting help through expensive, private doctors.  He agreed to take part in it and to recruit others.

Did he smell a rat?  Khan asked only men of Pakistani descent who were single.  His friend and younger sidekick Shezad Tanweer, who had just graduated from university, agreed.  He had just racked up a big car repair bill on his beloved red Mercedes and could use the money.  Eighteen-year old Hasib Hussain was a good guy who was awaiting his exams for entry into Leeds University that September; he could use the money for a car he had been looking at for the commute. Ejaz Fiaz, who was known for sometimes dyeing his hair blonde for parties, also agreed.  He was a bit flakey but he seemed to fit the bill.  Khan gave their names as volunteers.

What could go wrong?  Aswat was well connected with British security and had to be reliable. But he had felt somewhat compromised by his and Tanweer’s work with security people the previous year.  No one was more patriotic than he and Tanweer.  They loved their country and wanted to help their government in any way.  They had allowed themselves to be taped in 2004, but he didn’t feel good about it.  He and Tanweer had been acting in good faith in getting other Muslims, like Omar Khyam, to talk on tape, but he started to realize that security people were basically trying to find Muslims to set up for their “War on Terror.” It had become dangerous for Muslims, even for patriots like him and Tanweer. He wondered whether the work they did for security had made them safer or put them in a more precarious position. Tapes the two of them had made for security guys the year before bothered him, tapes that had made them look like some kind of crazy terrorists, dressed up half like pirates and half like Palestinians, with red kifieh’s wrapped around their heads. They had been talked into being photographed like that against his better judgement — of course, they had also gotten paid for it.  He  hoped that those tapes were lying somewhere, forgotten.

But what could anyone do to him?  Everybody knew him; his reputation was such that he had to be untouchable.  He had been featured in a Sunday Times educational supplement for his excellent work in counseling children of immigrants; he was known for fixing dangerous situations, including conflict resolution with troubled teenagers, and he had even been able to help get kids off drugs. Kids knew he cared about their problems when he talked to them.   He also knew important people and was even a friend of his Member of Parliament.  His mother-in-law knew the Queen and had special recognition for her progressive work with Muslim women. If there was anyone in the Muslim community who had to be beyond any suspicion for any funny business, it had to be him.

Still, it would be naive to think that there were no risks at all involved.  It chilled him, wondering why an emergency preparedness operation really needed fake “suicide bombers”.   Khan got the word out that he and Hasina had separated.  He didn’t want her harassed if anything went wrong and he was being set up.

Fiaz, the party guy, ended up cancelling out in the end, so Khan contacted Jamal (or, using his non-Muslim name, Germaine) Lindsay, a burly, black bodybuilder who had been born in Jamaica, to take Fiaz’s place.  He wasn’t of Pakistani origin, but he was Muslim, anyway.  His wife Samantha Lewthwaite was about to deliver their second child, so Lindsay was happy to get extra money.

All of the guys volunteering knew the security contacts; it looked as if it might be fun while they were helping out and making a bit of extra money.

Timeline

Thursday, July 7th, 2005, is a day people still talk about in London, England.  A meeting of the G8 had started in Gleneagles and London had just been named as the city for the next summer Olympics. It was all good.

At about 8:50 am, Scotland Yard’s office put a call through to their Mossad contacts at the Israeli embassy. (Sheva, 2005)  Benjamin Netanyahu, then serving as Israel’s Finance Minister, was in London to address a conference near Liverpool Station.  They warned the Israeli officials that explosions were about to happen.  Netanyahu remained in his room that morning.

London’s commuters weren’t as lucky.  About five minutes later, explosions started to rip through London Transport subway cars and busses.  At around 9 a.m., London Transport put out the word that there seemed to be a “power surge” problem.  The Gold Team of London’s Metropolitan police (the “Met”) shut down the mobile phone system for at least an hour in central London — which they initially denied.

At 9:47 a.m., an explosion ripped through a No. 30 bus in Tavistock Square, near the office of the British Medical Association and also the offices of various security operations.  Featuring a giant ad for a terror film, the bus seemed to be the only one that had strayed off of its normal route that day. The driver had just stuck his neck out to ask directions, when the back of the upper deck exploded.  Photographs of the bus show it with varying degrees of damage. (Antagonist, 2005)

Soon after the Bus No. 30 explosion, the public was notified about that as well as about explosions on subways over the past 50 minutes; the entire London Transport system would be shut down

There had been reports of explosions in three busses and at least six subway cars.  The subway explosions seemed to be on trains which could have started from King’s Cross station, although that would not be clear, given witness accounts, with some travelling in opposite directions or even on different subway lines.  In addition, the FBI’s Vincent Cannistraro would report the further discovery of two unexploded bombs as well as mechanical timing devices. (Muir et al, 2005)

At 11 a.m. there were reports about police marksmen having killed from 1-4 “suicide bombers” at Canary Wharf, a media center. (Shortnews, 2005)  The story made it to numerous international newspapers, including Toronto’s Globe & Mail. (Rook, 2005) The New Zealand Herald also reported that Canary Wharf workers were told to remain away from windows for six hours.  (N Z Herald, 2005)

By noon,

  • Ÿ  Police Commissioner Ian Blair noted that there had been “about six” explosions and  people were asked to stay out of London.
  • Ÿ  Also around noon, police inexplicably moved Lindsay’s parked car, with a valid parking ticket on it, from Luton’s commuter parking lot to a restricted parking lot at Leighton Buzzard.
  • Ÿ  And around that time, “Sid” Khan’s wife Hasina Patel called the police Missing Persons hotline to report her husband missing; she had lost the baby;
  • Ÿ  Some hours later, Hasib Hussain’s mother joined 115,000 frantic hotline callers to report Hasib missing.

Later that afternoon, the head of the security-related Visor Consultants, Peter Power, spoke on radio and TV.  Incredibly, his company had been commissioned to carry out an emergency preparedness operation for simultaneous bombings at 9 a.m. at the very stations that were affected by the blasts: Edgware, Aldgate and Piccadilly.  (Statisticians have noted that the probability of that being a coincidence are close to zero.)  Power, it turned out, had practice making this announcement.  He had been part of a mock exercise in April 2004 with the same bombing scenario of three subways and a bus that had been featured on a BBC Panorama program.  He had also taken part in joint US/UK London emergency preparedness operations as recently as two months before. (Chossudovsky, 8/8 2005) Power was a veteran of British intelligence until his founding of Visor Consultants in 1995.

Everyone “knew” it was Al Qaeda

By the end of the day, the government claimed that “Islamic extremists” were responsible for four explosions in London that morning. ” Prime Minister Tony Blair was “incensed” at the suggestion by the head of the Opposition that an independent investigation might be appropriate.  Since “everyone” knew that the Muslims had done it, it would be an insult to the security services, as well as a waste of time and money.  Besides, one month before, The Inquiries Act became law, giving the Prime Minister full control of all inquiries; a truly independent inquiry would not be possible.

The London explosions — which Scotland Yard claimed it had had no advance notice of — was claimed to have killed 52 commuters and injured 700 — 300 of them seriously.  The death toll from the bus was initially declared to be two but mysteriously increased to “13 or 14″; Ian Blair called it a complicated situation — without further elaboration.  It took several hours for some of the injured to receive help, a possible factor in the death toll that would be investigated at the 2010 Hallett Inquest.  The government had not only rejected any inquiry, they were also busy destroying evidence.  The bombed vehicles were immediately taken off and disposed of — apparently sent out of Britain to be sold as scrap — without any photographs or documentation of the damage.  There were no autopsies of the dead, and no records collected of the survivors’ injuries for forensic purposes.

The day after the explosions, Friday July 8th,  Scotland Yard sent off its voluminous “Operation Crevice” files on Omar Khyam and his group, which included information on Khan and Tanweer, to the RCMP in Canada for the Khawaja trial;  not long after that, police removed an electronic monitoring device from Khan’s car;   Hasib Hussain’s exam results arrived; he had scored high marks in four out of the five exams;

Ÿ  There was a big police operation in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Lindsay’s home:

Chief Superintendent Simon Chesterman, the most senior police officer in Bucks, arrived at his office at Aylesbury Police Station [on Friday, July 8th] to be confronted by Scotland Yard’s counter terrorism unit. Detectives believed that Lindsay, the Kings Cross bomber who killed 26 people, was, in fact, a fifth bomber, was still alive and posed an immediate threat to public safety. Officers had discovered the car of Germaine Lindsay, who lived in Northern Road, abandoned at Luton train station, where he travelled to London with three other bombers. What followed, said Chief Supt Chesterman, was the biggest police operation he had ever witnessed in 22 years on the force.” (Bucks Herald, 2005)

Christophe Chaboud, a French anti-terrorism expert called in to help with the investigation, quickly noted the expertise of the London bombs. He reported that the bombmaker was sophisticated and the explosives high-grade, and specifically not homemade.  That evaluation was shared by other explosives experts and confirmed with the identification of an unusual variant of the military plastic explosive C4 at all four bomb sites.  The remains of timing devices were also found at the subway blast sites, which meant that no one had to die in those explosions.

 Identifying the accused

On Monday, July 11th, 800 detectives gathered to watch 5,000 Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) tapes to see if they could spot something suspicious: people walking in with large bags and walking out — perhaps at another station — without them.  The exercise, which looked like mission impossible, was expected to take a couple of weeks. That night, however, they claimed they were lucky; they spotted four to five men of Asian descent — four with identical backpacks — (similar to those used by the British military) at Luton Station on their way to King’s Cross, which they took to be the origin point of the subway bombings.

Police claimed they had a “lucky break” with Hussain’s mother’s call, which put a name to one of the four men shown in the footage, (which they refused to show to the public.)  Police claimed that they then found the identity cards of three of the men, which they could connect to the various blasts: a Mohammad Sidique Khan at Edgware, a Shezad Tanweer at Aldgate, and Hasib Hussain, on the bus. Police claimed that all were “clean skins” or, unknown to the police. (Scotland Yard was embarrassed when Nicholas Sarkozy, then French Minister of the Interior, publicly reminded them that Khan and Tanweer had been known through their “Operation Crevice”.)  After the announcement, police noted that Khan’s body was not to be found at the Edgware Road site where he was supposed to have died.  (BBC, 7, 2005) Only his ID, which was subsequently found on the bus and, reportedly also at Aldgate. Tanweer’s ID, was not only found at Aldgate, but also on the bus, which exploded almost an hour after he was supposed to have died.  Police did not bother with ID cards of others also found at the sites.

The Piccadilly site’s “fourth bomber”

At first, the identity of the fourth bomber was a mystery.  One paper named Ejaz Fiaz as the fourth bomber, but noted that the name had not been confirmed.  Police claimed that the body of the fourth “suicide bomber” had been so “shredded” at the Piccadilly blast that his identity required DNA analysis. The DNA sample was reportedly taken from the parking stub from the car the police had towed on July 7th (J7 Profile: Lindsay)

The next morning, Wed., July 13th,  The Independent published a stunning article that challenged the previous day’s DNA claim. “The suicide plot hatched in Yorkshire” quoted Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist branch:

“The investigation is moving at great speed. “We are trying to establish the movements of the suspects in the run-up to last week’s attack and specifically to establish whether they all died in the explosions.” The article noted: “The four young British men, all thought to be of Pakistani origin, are believed to have blown themselves up with rucksack bombs” … [the body of the fourth bomber] “is thought to be among the remains in the wreckage on the Piccadilly line…” (Bennetto, Herbert, 2005) (emphasis added)

On July 12th, police did not appear to have a body to do DNA testing on!  People were wondering why it was taking British police so long to identify the London bombing victims.  While the 190 victims of the Madrid bombings had been identified within 24 hours, it would take almost another week, until July 19th, for police to identify the 52 victims of the London bombings.  Was it because British police could not find bodies they were looking for?

On Tuesday, July 12th, Lindsay’s wife Samantha Lewthwaite had called police to report her husband Germaine (“Jamal”) missing.  Police searched their home immediately. The next day, on July 14th, police announced that they had Lindsay’s ID and he was the fourth bomber. Lewthwaite was incredulous and refused to believe the accusation without DNA proof.  The police identification was stunning because they had been claiming that all of the suspects looked Pakistani; there was no way anyone could mistake the big, black Lindsay for an Asian. What had police been looking at?

After Lindsay’s identification was “confirmed”, police provided Lewthwaite with “protection,” presumably monitoring those who tried to contact her.  They also arrested Naveed Fiaz, Ejaz’s brother.  He was held for one week before being released with no charges.

The Fallout from “Homegrown suicide bombers”

The British public was incensed at the news that British-born citizens could have turned on them; one Muslim man was kicked to death soon after that announcement.  The public abuse of Pakistani- British was so ugly that within two months, two thirds of them considered leaving the UK.

Tony Blair, on the other hand, was riding high. The headlines up to July 7th described the political “humiliation” Blair faced from his “anti-terror” (and anti-civil-liberties) legislation.  Civil libertarians had been amassing a public war chest of one million pounds Sterling to fight his new legislation. Suddenly, he found the vast majority of the public behind him.  Buoyed by the polls, he made vicious comments about Islam and described further legislation he would like: criminalizing speech describing why those under occupation might want to kill themselves; criminalizing the word “martyr”; criminalizing “extremism” — which seemed to mean only “anti-Israeli”. “The game has changed,” Blair declared, and he started to produce legislation that would jettison Britain’s obligations under international humanitarian law.

Identifications of the accused “confirmed”

The fast identification of the accused seemed to be confirmed by the police identification of two cars connected to the accused, one in Luton car park reportedly with “home made” explosives in the trunk, the other parked in Leighton Buzzard.  Police had also raided what they claimed was the “bomb factory” — a bathtub filled with what they also claimed was “explosives” in an apartment in Alexandra Grove, Leeds.  While Police Commissioner Ian Blair quickly backed off the identification of the explosives that police claimed they had found in the Luton car and Leeds’ bathtub, the story of the London bombs nevertheless changed to “homemade” — bombs which would have left a TATP residue. Despite the fact that TATP residue was not identified, the previous identification of C4 was buried.

The Alexandra Grove apartment with the “bomb factory” bathtub was found to belong to Magdy al-Nashar, an Egyptian who had just received his PhD in biochemistry from Leeds University and was on the list of Leeds’ faculty. He had been forced to leave Britain because of a visa problem the previous month, but was trying to return to resume his job. His apartment had been vacant for about a month.  Banner headlines throughout the media claimed that al-Nashar would demonstrate the al Quada link. It fizzled when he was immediately exonerated, and his name was forgotten. While the fingerprints of the accused were identified at their friend al-Nashar’s apartment, they were not found on any containers of chemicals or “explosives.” (Investigating the terror, 2012)

Police came out with further confirmation of the identity of the accused; they claimed that they had both CCTV footage as well as eyewitness confirmation that the accused caught either the 7:40 a.m. or 7:48 a.m. Luton commuter trains to King’s Cross on the morning of July 7th.  People wondered why police refused to show any footage that showed any of the men in London that day. The reason became apparent when commuters claimed that those trains had not been running on schedule (if at all) that morning!  If the men had expected to catch those particular trains, they could not have made it onto the exploding subway cars.  The police refusal to show their footage publicly was becoming increasingly clear: they couldn’t have been looking at CCTV footage! And their earlier claim that the CCTV footage only showed suspicious Asians was confirmation of that fact.

Hasib Hussain and the No. 30 bus

Witnesses claimed that the bus explosion seemed to come from under a seat, possibly from a backpack lying on the ground.  The coroner examining the bodies from the No. 30 bus noted that two bodies were particularly badly damaged; either one of them might have been responsible for bringing a bomb.  People remarked that a terrorist trying to inflict maximum damage would have chosen to bomb the front bottom of a bus, not the rear top; this placement did not made sense. When Hasib Hussain was named as the bus bomber, witnesses came forward with descriptions: Hussain was either clean shaven or had stubble; he had a huge bag or a small bag; he was wearing a dark suit or a flashy top; he was either fidgeting with his bag or something exploded when he sat down.  It became clear that the most publicized witness, a Richard Jones, could not have seen Hussain on the bus.

The bus should have had four CCTV cameras operating; police claimed that they had no footage from any of them, so there was no proof that Hussain had been on the bus and there was no indication of what had caused the explosion.

Because the bus explosion came about 50 minutes after the subway explosions, Hussain became separated from Khan, Tanweer and Lindsay.  According to phone records, Hussain tried repeatedly to call the three of them around 9 a.m. — after the explosions –  without success, with the phone system shut down.  He clearly assumed they were all alive and wondered what was going on.  Hussain’s actions between 9 a.m. and the No. 30 explosion at 10:47 a.m. should have been picked up by dozens if not hundreds of CCTV cameras.  Although many witnesses claim they saw Hussain at 9 a.m., the July 7th pictures of Hussain appear to have all been  “photo-shopped”– digitally created or altered.  No  one knows what actually happened to Hussain.  (Kollerstrom, pp. 57, 64)

Hasib Hussain’s family and friends found the accusation against him unbelievable; his family insists that he will be shown to be innocent when further information comes out.

 The events of July 21st

On Thursday, July 21st, two weeks after the London bombings, Police Commissioner Ian Blair met with Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss an urgent matter of business. A situation needed to be dealt with.  Police had to be sure that their officers would be fully protected legally from killing what might be described as “suspected suicide bombers.” Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigators, mandated by law to investigate police killings — had to be blocked from the scene of such a killing.  The meeting went smoothly.

At around noon that day, four North African immigrants tried to blow up three London subways and a bus.  These bombs were laughable duds; they made a popping sound like champagne being opened then started oozing like wet bread dough. They had been made with chapati flour.  The men scattered when they realized that the bombs didn’t work.  One donned a burqa and fled to Birmingham. But on that day, all of the CCTVs were working and produced 18,000 hours of footage.  All of the men were quickly picked up with the exception of Hussein Osman, who reached Italy.

Although the official police story was that they had no foreknowledge about the attempted bombings, The Mirror’s July 22, 2005 edition showed detailed foreknowledge demonstrated by the British government.  Nafeez Ahmed quotes the article,

“Despite the government’s official insistence that it had no prior knowledge of the attacks of 21 July 2005, anonymous British security sources revealed that Scotland Yard had obtained precise advanced warning of replica bomb attacks on the Tube network that would almost certainly be executed on Thursday of that week. . . Indeed, only two hours before the terrorist strikes, Home Secretary Charles Clarke ‘warned senior cabinet colleagues the capital could face another terror onslaught’ in a confidential briefing. … Most surprisingly, the Home Secretary had specifically ‘hinted at fears there could be copycat attacks in the wake of the July 7 atrocities’…. Indeed, police were racing on the morning of the 21 to locate at least one of the bomber suspects, several hours before the detonations … .’ At 9:29 a.m. an armed unit raced to Farrington station as they closed in on the suspected bomber — but narrowly missed him.’

The incident indicates the extent of the detail apparently available to the police.  How did they know that a suspect would pass through Farrington?  If they had information of such precision, did it extend to other elements of the plot?’”  (Ahmed, pp. 103,104)

The grooming of the would-be “copycat” bombers

Before Hussein Osman was extradited from Italy, he gave interviews which provided some insights into the operation.  He claimed that he, along with four others were fed for “some weeks”– a steady diet of graphic films that portrayed mutilated Iraqi victims of American and British military actions.  The men were instructed not to tell anyone about these mysterious films, which reportedly came from the banned al Mouhajiroun, a group that many believe was linked to British intelligence.  By July 21, four of the men were prepared to act in unison to protest the atrocities that the US and UK were committing in Iraq. Although Osman claimed that he only intended to scare people and not cause actual damage, at least some of the men did expect to die: Ramzi Mohammed wrote a suicide note to his girlfriend and the mother of his children.

A report by Italian judges authorising Osman’s extradition to Britain confirmed that the devices, ” which were created with flour, hair lotion, nails, nuts and bolts, and attached to a primitive device with a battery and unidentified powder which could be used as a detonator when attached manually to electrical wires –  contained no chemical explosive material.” This description missed a key ingredient: hydrogen peroxide.

The explosive link between the London bombings and the “copycat”

The most interesting part of this story is the recipe for the dud bombs: the only time such a recipe had ever been seen before was the “explosive” found in the Luton car and Leeds’ bathtub.  This recipe turned out to a unique use of hydrogen peroxide that explosives experts had never seen before. The discovery that the unique explosive connected to both the July 7th and the July 21st operations was known only to “government scientists” (Casciani,2007) indicates the role of the British government in both operations, and contradicts the British government’s claim that laymen concocted this recipe.

The other significant part of the “copycat bombings” was the police cover story of Hussein Osman’s gym bag that he left behind.  According to police, they didn’t get to examine Osman’s gym bag until 4 a.m. the next day, at which time they found a gym membership card belonging to Osman’s friend Abdi Omar.  According to some sources, there was no such card in his bag. Also, the two men were members of the same gym club and would not have needed to share cards.  In any case, police claimed that Abdi Omar lived at 21 Scotia Road, and they wanted to stake out his apartment in order to question him about Hussein Osman.

The July 22 stakeout at 21 Scotia Road “for Abdi Omar”

By 6 a.m. the morning of Friday, July 22, several of Britain’s most elite intelligence units were operating around 21 Scotia Road. A surveillance unit had a video feed to the Metropolitan Police’s Gold Team unit with Designated Service Officer (DSO) Cressida Dick in charge.  While they were supposedly on the lookout for the North African man, Dick activated the tracking units — one on foot, the other by car — when a man described as a “Northern European” white male exited the building around 9:30 am.  The targeted man, who would later be identified as a freelance Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, strolled to a nearby bus stop and took a bus to a subway station.  The subway station was closed “for security reasons”, so he called his uncle to tell him he would be delayed, then retraced his steps to get back on the next bus to reach the next subway.  By the time he reached the Stockwell subway station, it had taken him about half an hour.

He might have noticed a police car parked in front of the station; a marksman was awaiting his arrival.  Suspecting nothing, he picked up a free newspaper, showed his identifying “Oyster” subway card at the ticket office and strolled to the subway platform.  The subway car seemed to be parked there, so he made a quick call on his mobile before taking his seat in the car and settling in with his newspaper.  The subway driver had arrived at 10 a.m. to find the light red, so he wasn’t moving.  The light remained red until the 10:06 killing.

 The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes

There were about 17 other passengers in the subway car.  One witness, Anna Dunwoodie, noticed a jumpy, frightened-looking man sitting near her.  When what looked like a bunch of rowdies approached their car, he jumped up and pointed de Menezes out to them. Without a word, they surrounded de Menezes, who looked up at them calmly questioningly.  He was suddenly pinned down and the shots started.  The “rowdies” pumped eleven dumdum bullets into de Menezes, with at least five hitting his head. According to an eye witness who had to insist that her testimony be included in the IPCC report, the shots came at about three-second intervals and lasted for 30 seconds.

The other passengers ran for their lives. One of the police killers chased the terrified subway driver into the tunnel, where he ran across live subway wires and the paths of oncoming trains to escape the “terrorists”.

Pathologist Dr. Kenneth Shorrock was called to look at de Menezes’ body when it was still on the train floor.  He claimed that the police officers at the scene — including the senior investigation officer — lied to him about the circumstances of de Menezes’ death (Morgan, Davis, 2008) claiming that de Menezes had been running away from them.  When he looked at the contents of Jean Charles’ pockets, only his passport and loose change remained; police had taken De Menezes’ cell phone.

There was a sign at the scene of the murder which read: ‘Directed by Detective Superintendent Wolfenden not to allow access to the IPCC, authority of commissioner and prime minister.” (Percival, 11/2008).  Chief Inspector Stephen Costello claimed that the Prime Minister was consulted over a decision to bar to IPCC from entering Stockwell subway station after the shooting and issued a directive. In fact, the police not only banned the IPCC from the site of the execution, but they also refused to turn over their internal documents, as required by law. (Mitchell, 2007)

The police killers, meanwhile, headed for a lawyer’s office to come up with a story that would protect them all.  They had been assured before the operation that whatever happened they would be protected legally. Their story — repeated subsequently under oath by all of them — was that they had called out that they were “police” to de Menezes but that he then reacted in a threatening way which led them to make the decision to kill him. That they had been fitted out with the banned dum dum bullets, used for lethal encounters, was overlooked.

Abdi Omar, the supposed target of the stakeout at 21 Scotia Road, had been out of the UK on business for the past week.  A swat team knew where his wife and children were, however, and paid them a visit later that day, putting the mother-in-law in hospital with a heart attack.  Omar returned some days later and asked police if they wanted to speak with him; they didn’t.

Police realized at some point that they had a problem: Abdi Omar had only been wanted for questioning and had not been a suicide bombing suspect.  For their legal protection — their “get out of jail free card” –  they had to have been chasing Hussein Osman, who had made it to Italy. Luckily, their last names both started with “O”.  There was disappointingly little notice taken when police changed the name of their supposed target from “Omar ” to “Osman”.

The evening of the killing, a retired Scotland Yard officer on BBC News challenged the government’s claim that the killing had been done by a Scotland Yard officer and there would be no investigation.  Impossible, he said; if the killing had been done by a Yard officer, there would automatically be an investigation. Evidence began to indicate that at least two elite British intelligence units had been involved in the murder, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) which specializes in surveillance and “false flag operations” and the newly-formed police marksmen’s unit, C019 (or referred to as S019), trained by the elite SAS. The weapons pictured on the agents as well as the manner of the killing pointed to British special forces carrying out the de Menezes’ execution.  (Norton-Taylor, 8/2005)

When people heard about the public police killing of a suspected terrorist, they assumed that the victim had to be black and Muslim. A self-proclaimed eyewitness quickly came forward to say that the targeted man was wearing a “puffy jacket with wires hanging out” and had been chased by police into the Stockwell Subway station, a chase that sounded no more than a few minutes.  Police claimed that the CCTV cameras were not operating. Unfortunately for them, this time they were.

There was shock as the news dribbled out that the victim had been a young white man who had been followed by elite units for half an hour, allegedly mistaking him for a North African.  Police tried to smear him: he was an illegal; he looked suspicious. One after another, they turned out to be lies.  A whistleblower released a photo of the dead De Menezes; he had been wearing a light denim jacket — not any “puffy jacket” with wires.  She was quickly fired and harassed. The CCTVs showed him strolling leisurely into the subway; it had been the police leaping over barriers, not de Menezes.  The police version was that an interminable number of miscommunications had occurred leading to the deadly mistake. If one believed that the Gold Team had been as incompetent as they claimed, the person in charge would have faced a career disaster.  Instead, Cressida Dick was promoted to Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; her associate was also rewarded with a promotion. No one was to be held accountable in any way for Jean Charles’ murder.

Slowly, over a period of years, the police lies were exposed despite their refusal to give their information to the IPCC.  The truth came out as easily as the pulling of police teeth, painfully with small parts of the story being extracted with the various official inquiries. The most dramatic would be the 2008 inquest into Jean Charles de Menezes’ death, the first time witnesses would be heard.

Meanwhile, what had happened to the bodies of the accused?

By August, people started to ask questions about what had happened to the bodies of the accused.  None of the families had been allowed to identify them; they had not even been given the bodies for burial.  Khan’s family, suspicious, asked for an independent autopsy to be performed; it was not done.  On August 24th, when the corpses would have been over six weeks old, The Guardian reported that the Metropolitan police claimed that they were holding the bodies of the accused  to reassemble their body parts to analyse their positions on the bombs’ detonations.  It would not be until the 2010 Hallett inquest that the shocking details would come out.

Of the accused, only Tanweer and Hussain had family burials.  In both cases, the burials were accompanied by security personnel.

  • Ÿ  At the end of October 2005, Tanweer’s body was taken to Pakistan for interment in a family grave; security personnel accompanied the body to Pakistan and guarded the site for days after the interment.  The family never saw the remains.
  • Ÿ  Six police oversaw the funeral of Hasib Hussain, “ensuring the service remained private.”

The Khan Tape (Sept. 1, 2005)

British newspapers had been slowly coming out with stories that questioned whether the accused men thought they were going to die.  All of the men had round-trip tickets and they had paid for their cars to be parked for the day.  There were no suicide notes and their families all expected them home. And then there was the question of motive: there was none. The men were known to be secular and even apolitical. Khan and Tanweer were both known to be particularly patriotic; all were peace-loving.

Khan’s wife Hasina Patel said she had never heard “Sid” criticize the actions of the British government or its role in world events. In excerpts from an interview with Sky news, Patel said  “… I kept thinking that something was wrong, I don’t know, that maybe it was a set up, … I didn’t even have any inkling towards his views even going in that direction  … I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams, never.”  (Sky, 2007)

On September 1st a short video surfaced showing Khan dressed up in red Palestinian-like scarf used as a head bandana.  A crude, hand-woven rug was in the background and he was stabbing the air with a pen, complaining about British crimes towards Muslims.  There was no mention of any action that would be taken. The tape, which included an edited-in clip of Al Qaeda’s al Zwahiri, was not shown in its entirety.

It was obvious that at least in some sections, Khan’s words did not match his lip movements.  His friends noticed that judging by Khan’s appearance, the tape had to have been made in  2004, the year Khan and Tanweer were taped by police.  They also claimed that the tape didn’t sound like Khan and was a fraud.

 The government responses

The government claimed that the four accused had worked alone, with Khan as the “ringleader”, and that the tape showed that Khan’s motive was to martyr himself for Islam. They also claimed that a tape of Tanweer existed.  Their claims that the accused worked alone begged the question of who released the tape of Khan, how they knew of Tanweer’s tape and who controlled it.

The following May, two government reports confirmed their official version of the July 7th bombings and recommend a higher security budget.

The Tanweer tape (July 6, 2006)

On July 5, 2006, a U.S. broadcaster with a reputation for security links claimed that a tape of Shezad Tanweer was expected to be shown the next day on Al Jazeera.

On July 6, 2006, the eve of the anniversary of the London bombings, al Jazeera showed part of a video of Tanweer. The shots, also taken in 2004, are strikingly similar to the one released the previous year of “Sid” Khan; Tanweer is wearing the identical Palestinian-like red scarf around his head, with the identical background rug and making the same strange stabbing movements with a pen.  The video includes edited-in clips of the al Qaeda leader al Zwahiri as well as a self-proclaimed American member of al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn. (While Gadahn is also known to the FBI as “Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki, Abu Suhayb, Yihya Majadin Adams and Yayah”, he was born Adam Pearlman.) There were also silly shots meant to appear ominous such as a disembodied hand on maps, etc.   Again, words do not match the lip movements.  Shezad Tanweer’s family has not publicly commented on it.

Both the Khan and Tanweer tapes were released at politically opportune times for the British government. So while the tapes supposedly show Khan and Tanweer’s support for Al Qaeda, and perhaps Palestinians, the tapes’ origins and releases both implicate British security services.

 The 2008 De Menezes’ inquest

The De Menezes’ family had kept up their pressure on the government for an inquest into their son’s murder; finally, in September, 2008, the inquest opened.  The purpose of this inquest, presided over by Coroner Sir Michael Wright, was to allow jurors to decide whether or not the police had killed Jean Charles de Menezes lawfully. Previous inquests had established that no one, including DSO Cressida Dick, would be held personally responsible for Jean Charles’ death.

Sir Ian Blair, who had been hanging onto his job as Police Commissioner, toughing out troubling challenges to his integrity on this issue, finally quit at the start of that inquiry. He must have figured that the jig would be up when certain information came out — information that included his meeting with Tony Blair to give police legal protection for a killing, police perjury, police manipulation of events around the death and tampering with police records. It would be the first time that eye witnesses to this event were allowed to testify.  Over fifty agents were given identity protection for testifying and the identity-protected killers were not allowed to be either seen or photographed at the site.

Despite the profoundly shocking information that came out at this inquest, Sir Michael Wright did his best to ensure jurors gave the police a favorable ruling. His actions included:

Ÿ  informing jurors that they would only be allowed to return a verdict either of lawful killing or an “open” verdict: they were not permitted to rule against the police;

Ÿ  warning jurors that they were not to attach criminal or civil fault to responsible individuals such as DSO Cressida Dick;

Ÿ  giving the jury secret advice and suggesting that police perjury might have been committed for selfless motives.

The De Menezes’ inquest results

The jury returned an “open” verdict, much to the relief of the police.  Given the evidence, they had been prepared for an “unlawful” verdict, despite the Coroner’s charge to the jury.  Despite the agents’ perjury and admitted destruction of evidence, they will not face charges.

The De Menezes’ family finally gave up their fight for justice on November 23, 2009 with a settlement with the Metropolitan police for one hundred thousand pounds plus legal expenses.

The Jean Charles de Menezes inquiry exposed the government betrayal of the public through manipulation of the police, of the justice system and the media:

The media obediently played along as the facts came out.  While they did report the stories that showed that de Menezes had been the real target, that police perjured themselves, and that Tony Blair had apparently played a role, each article ended with the mantra that De Menezes’ killing had merely been the result of unfortunate mistakes.  The story that the most elite security teams in Britain claimed that they thought a “North European” white male was a North African after a half hour surveillance was not challenged.

The papers never asked why Jean Charles had been targeted. Could a recent job have related to the July 7th “power surges”? No one knew where he had been working.  The Guardian approached that subject obliquely in December, 2008, noting that de Menezes’ friends were “terrified”; they understood that the public killing of their friend was a warning not to talk.

 The 2010 Hallett Inquest into the security services

In May 2010, Lady Justice Hallett called for an inquest into the activities of the British security services the year prior to the July 7th bombings. The inquest, which the security services warned would “encourage terrorists,” was held in the fall of 2010; the hearings were public but there was no jury.  The families of 52 of the victims were allowed to take part; the families of the accused were barred from participating, and so unable to challenge any witnesses.  Lady Hallett said she might consider a future inquest to include them. Lady Justice Hallett and QC Hugo Keith controlled the proceedings.

The inquest was expected to answer questions on the timing, the location and the makeup of the bombs; instead, it raised even more questions:

Ÿ  Since the discovery of the “homemade explosive”, the government had claimed that the London bombs had been homemade; in fact, the traces of TATP that should have been found if they had been homemade were not identified at the blast sites;

Ÿ  While the government produced some new CCTV evidence, investigators noticed suspicious cuts at key parts of much of it, especially when the accused were meeting other people;

Ÿ  The scope of the missing CCTV evidence was staggering, with none of dozens (if not hundreds!) of CCTV cameras allegedly functioning at any of the affected subway stations until after the bombings were over;

Ÿ  The government’s destruction of evidence and lack of documentation made it impossible to resolve discrepancies between the government’s claims of damage and witnesses’ accounts.

Ÿ  The absence of autopsies and documentation of injury made it difficult to confirm eyewitness accounts that the train explosions originated under the floors.

Ÿ  One investigator noticed that the Metropolitan Police diagrams reconstructing the subway explosions did not match the official Home Office description of those killed and injured. Taking the Liverpool/ Aldgate explosion as an example, he noted that the Met diagram only showed a total of 43 people in the carriage while the Home Office narrative claimed that “the blast killed 8 people, including Tanweer, with 171 injured.” According to the police diagram, the two standing on either side of Tanweer survived, one with only minor injuries. The investigator noted that if the blast killed 8 of the 43, that left only 35 potentially- injured in that carriage.  The implication is that the other 136 injured at that site must have been occupants of another three cars in that train with a similar occupancy. “  (Investigating the terror, 2012)

Ÿ Evidence pointed to more than three damaged subway cars; Did the government reduce the number of events to correspond to the number of Muslims that volunteered for this event?

While this inquest did produce stunning information about the death counts and the state of the corpses of some accused, it specifically excluded how police came to identify the accused.

 On Hasib Hussain and the No. 30 bus

Ÿ  The inquest was shown photos which were claimed to be of Hussain’s body separated from other bodies and under a blue blanket. No one knew who had identified him, who placed him there, or who put the special blanket on him. Or if his body was, in fact, under it.

Ÿ  Lisa French, a witness seated no further than five seats in front of the explosion, testified that when she was getting off the bus, police discouraged her from helping a “pile” of people, indicating that they were already dead. (Addley, 2011)  Could these have been the extra bodies?

Ÿ  At the 2010 inquest, it was discovered that another Asian youth had been sitting at the back of the top deck at the time of the explosion.

 On Khan and Tanweer

Witnesses testified that the initial death counts at the Edgware and Aldgate sites included only commuters, not the bodies of “suicide bombers”. Police added one to each of these tallies later that day so that the accused would be included in the count.  A day or two after the bombings, body parts of the accused would be located at the private, off-limit subway sites.

 Ÿ  “Sid” Khan’s remains at Edgware:

Ÿ  A large part of Khan’s corpse –without hands, head, or even teeth– was found on 6 am July 8th; police turned over the remains at an unspecified date, identifying it when presented to the Home Office Forensic Science Service as belonging to Mohammed Sidique Khan, with a request to confirm the identification through DNA links his parents. (Police apparently were not aware that Khan’s father had married a woman with the same name as Khan’s biological mother.)  The identification was not done using DNA known to be Khan’s.  (J7 blogspot: Khan)

Ÿ  The Edgware death count confirms what had been published.  Police had identified Khan as a “suicide bomber” on Tuesday, July 12 even though police then acknowledged that Khan’s body was missing from the Edgware site. (BBC, 7,2005)

Ÿ  Khan’s intact ID papers were apparently planted at Edgware, Aldgate and on the bus.

 Shazad Tanweer’s remains at Aldgate:

Ÿ  On Saturday, July 9th, only a 1.8 Kg spinal fragment allegedly belonging to Tanweer was found on the train; the DNA lab work, dated July 13 to 28th, included no indication of how police had already identified the remains as belonging to Tanweer; (J7 blogspot: Tanweer)

Ÿ  Note that Tanweer’s identification cards – found at both Aldgate and the No. 30 bus — survived the virtually total disintegration of his body.

The damage to Khan’s and Tanweer’s bodies was not consistent with the state of the other corpses.  Despite the fact that others – the dead as well as survivors — had been close to the sources of the explosions, the bodies of all other victims had remained basically intact and easily identifiable.  It was ironic that the police had initially implied that the bodies of Khan and Tanweer were easy to identify and did not require the assistance of DNA analysis.  Could the state of their corpses be explained as efforts to hide bullet wounds the men might have sustained at Canary Wharf?

On Germaine/”Jamal” Lindsay

Interestingly, there was reportedly no “life extinct” count at Piccadilly taken on July 7th as there had been at the other sites; there had to have been a count of the dead at some point, why did it not made it to this inquest?

According to the original police story, the identification of Lindsay required DNA analysis. Although his wife understood that this analysis had confirmed Lindsay’s participation in the events of July 7th, a BBC article on July 14th, 2005, “Fourth bomber’s name disclosed” implied that police might not have had the DNA results that Samantha Lewthwaite thought they did.

The absence of similar DNA information that was provided for Khan and Tanweer appears to be significant, particularly because police admitted that they did not possess Lindsay’s body on July 12th (Bennetto, Herbert, 2005); and that police believed that Lindsay survived July 7th (Jones, 2005) and (Bucks Herald, 2005).  Were police marksmen at Canary Wharf looking only for Pakistanis?

 The Hallett verdict and outcomes

In May 2011 the Hallett Inquest determined that 52 of the 56 London deaths had been “unlawful”, the fault only of the “bombers” rather than of the hours-long medical response time or a lack of diligence of the security services. Hallett refused to hold any investigation for the families of the accused.

The Hallett Inquiry ultimately demonstrated pervasive government manipulation and/or mistreatment of the evidence.  On August 2, 2011 a legal challenge by victims’ families to force the British government to hold a public inquiry into the July 7 attacks was abandoned “acknowledging that the proceedings would likely be unsuccessful.”

In 2012-2013, Jamal Lindsay’s wife Samantha Lewthwaite, now remarried and the mother of three (the father of her third child, born in 2009, was not identified), is described in the media as a major terrorist living in East Africa and is reportedly hunted –  to be killed on sight — by dozens of MI5 and MI6, the CIA, police from Kenya and detectives from South Africa! This hunt appears to relate to the 7/7 bombings: police claim they found “key chemicals” [sic] related to the London bombings such as “acetone and hydrogen peroxide” at a raid on her home.  Does she possess information that makes such a hunt worth the  cost?

The evidence of responsibility points to the British government

There was a history of government-run terror exercises in London, including ones that closely mirrored the London bombings’ scenario;

Ÿ There was extensive evidence of police foreknowledge, including Scotland Yard’s warning to the Israeli embassy before the blasts; the police allowed the London bombings to happen;

It was only “government scientists” that knew the recipe of the “unique” hydrogen-peroxide based “explosives” that were in the Luton car, the Leeds bathtub and the “copycat” “bombs;”

Ÿ  The government removed, destroyed and neglected to keep important evidence; evidence shown to the public has been shown to be falsified or tampered with;

Ÿ  The government has refused to hold any independent, public investigation into the bombings;

Ÿ  The government labelling of the London bombings as “suicide bombings” (and the accused, “homegrown suicide bombers”) with no evidence that there had been suicide bombs demonstrated the agenda that allowed Tony Blair to then follow through with his “anti-terror” legislation:

As a result of the July 7th London bombings, the British government eliminated traditional civil liberties and expanded its security services.

In 2007, the July 7th Truth Campaign described the post-7/7 state of British freedoms in “Capitalising on Terror”:  In less than two years the UK has descended into a police state. Taking photographs of landmarks is now classified as ‘terrorist reconnaisance’, being caught in possession of a map has been prosecuted as ‘having information likely to be useful to a terrorist’. Protesting outside the people’s Parliament is now a crime unless the state has first granted permission and you can be arrested for wearing a t-shirt a policeman doesn’t like. Your DNA and fingerprints will be taken and stored indefinitely. Everyone from young children to old age pensioners are actively being targeted under anti-terrorist legislation and this legislation is being used to suppress dissent and opposition to the government, its policies and the way it enforces them. Blair has talked of implementing private police forces and police powers have been given to thousands of non-police entities including amongst others traffic wardens, landlords and council officials. …

Recently the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, suggested that modern day Britain is comparable to Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda. Around the same time the leader of Birmingham Central Mosque, Dr Mohammed Naseem, compared life for Muslims in the UK to that of the life of Jews in Nazi Germany. In among the furore that ensued among the liberal intelligentsia, the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, gently reminded everyone that the laws don’t just apply to Muslims, or terrorists, the laws apply to everyone. If you are reading this in Britain, that means you. (J7,2007)

Notes:

Addley, Esther.  2011. “7/7 bus bomber jostled passengers with deadly backpack, inquest told” The Guardian. January 12. Retrieved August 25, 2012 at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/12/77-july-7-bomber-inquest?INTCMP=SRCH

Ahmed, Nafeez Mosaddeq. 2006. The London Bombings, London: Duckworth p103/104/274

BBC, 7/2005. Police release bus bomber images. 14 July, 2005. BBC News. retrieved July 6, 2008 at:

Http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4683555.stm

Antagonist. 2005.  London 7/7: Number 30 Bus Explosion – Photos & Questions.  1 September 2005. Anything that defies my sense of reason. , retrieved July 5, 2008 at:

Http://antagonise.blogspot.com/2005/09/london-77-number-30-bus-explosion.html

Bennetto, J, Herbert, I, 2005. The suicide bomb plot hatched in Yorkshire. 13 July. The Independent. Retrieved July 9, 2008 at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-suicide-bomb-plot-hatched-in-yorkshire-498616.html

Bucks Herald, The. 2005. Aylesbury was ’30 minutes from evacuation’.  Tuesday, 25 October. The Bucks Herald. Retrieved July 28, 2011 at:

http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/aylesbury_was_30_minutes_from_evacuation_1_600516

Casbolt, J. A Message of Love to my Asian Brothers and Sisters: The true inside facts about the 7/7 London bombings,  February 18, 2007. Jamescasbolt.  retrieved June 26, 2008 at: Http://www.jamescasbolt.com/bombings.htm

Casciani, Dominic, 2007. Was it linked to 7/7?  Wednesday, 11 July 2007. Retrieved at:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6249118.stm 21/7

Chossudovsky, Michel. 8/8 2005.  7/7 Mock Terror Drill: What Relationship to the Real Time Terror Attacks? 8 Aug.  Centre for Research on Globalisation. Retrieved June 26, 2008 at:

Http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050808&articleId=821

Televised interview “Peter Power 7/7 Terror Rehearsal” at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKvkhe3rqtc

Chossudovsky, 8/1 2005. Chossudovsky, M, London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence? August 1, Centre for Research on Globalisation. retrieved July 7, 2008 at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20050801&articleId=782

J7 blogspot Khan. The identification of Mohammed Sidique Khan.:J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign.  Tuesday, November 30, 2010.  retrieved on July 4, 2013 at:

http://77inquests.blogspot.com/2010/11/identification-of-mohammed-sidique-khan.html

J7 blogspot Tanweer. 7/7 Inquests: The Disintegration of Shezad Tanweer. J7: The 7/7 Inquests Blog.  Monday, Nov. 8, 2010. Accessed July 28, 2011 at:  Http://77inquests.blogspot.com/2010/11/77-inquests-disintegration-of-shehzad.html

July 7th Truth Campaign. Capitalising on Terror: Who is Really Destroying our freedoms?  Feb. 25, 2007. Retrieved on July 3, 2012 at: http://julyseventh.co.uk/july-7-article-capitalising-on-terror.html

J7 Profile: Jamal/Germaine Lindsay. J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign, 2006 retrieved July 6, 2008 at:    Http://julyseventh.co.uk/7-7-profile-germaine-lindsay.html

Jones, Sam 2005. Aylesbury house is searched in effort to find associates. Thursday, July 14. The Guardian. Retreived on July 28, 2011 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jul/14/july7.uksecurity11

Kollerstrom, Nick. 2012. Terror on the Tube. Palm Desert, California. Progressive.

McGrory, D., and Evans, M. 2005. Hunt for the master of explosives. 13 July. The Times. retrieved June 26, 2008  at:  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1692033,00.html

Mitchell, P. Police Chief “Cleared” of De Menezes Killing. February 26th, 2007. Ukwatch. retrieved June 26, 2008 at: http://www.ukwatch.net/article/police_chief_%2526quot%3Bcleared%2526quot%3B_of_de_menezes_killing

Morgan, Tom and Davis, Margaret, 2008. Pathologist given false details over Menezes death, inquest told. November 5. The Independent retrieved Nov. 6, 2008 at: Http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/pathologist-given-false-details-over-menezes-death-inquest-told-993987.html

Norton-Taylor, R. 2005. New special forces unit tailed Brazilian. August 4. The Guardian retrieved June 26, 2008 at: Http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/aug/04/july7.menezes

N Z Herald, 2005.  ‘Police shot bombers’ reports New Zealander. July 9, 2005. New Zealand Herald. retrieved on July 7, 2008 at  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10334992

Pallister, David 2005. UK-based dissident denies link to website that carried al-Qaida claim. The Guardian. Saturday July 9. Retrieved at July 28 at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jul/09/july7.uksecurity11

Percival, Jenny and agencies, 11/2008. Orders given to police who shot Jean Charles de Menezes were ‘ambiguous’ November 5. The Guardian retrieved Nov. 7, 2008 at:  Http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/nov/05/de-menezes-pathologist-inquest

Rook, Katie, 2005. A massive rush of policemen. July 7. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on July 7, 2008 at: Http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050707.wcanar0707/PPVStory?URL_Article_ID=RTGAM.20050707.wcanar0707&DENIED=1

Sheva, Arutz. 2005. Report: Israel Was Warned Ahead of First Blast.  7 July 2005. Propaganda Matrix.  retrieved July 2, 2013: Http://www.propagandamatrix.com/articles/july2005/070705israelwarned.htm

Investigating the terror, 2012. ” 7/7: Seven Documents that Prove that the Official Story Cannot be True”. www.investigatingtheterror.com. June 30 . Retrieved July 4, 2013 at: www.investigatingtheterror.com/articles/7_7__seven__documents_that_prove_the_official_story_cannot_be_true.htm

Shortnews, 2005.  ’Suicide Bomber Neutralized’ in Canary Wharf, London. July 10, 2005. Shortnews. retrieved June 25, 2008 at: http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=49029

Sky, 2007. Full Text Of July 7 Widow’s Interview With Sky: Here is the full transcript of Hasina Patel’s interview with Julie Etchingham.  Friday July 27. Sky News.  retrieved April 14, 2009 at http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Full-Text-Of-July-7-Widows-Interview-With-Sky/Article/20070741277315

Sparrow, Andrew. 2005.  “New law to stop flow of volunteers to terror camps.” Sunday July 16, Daily Telegraph. Retrieved Sept. 10, 2012 at:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1494129/New-law-to-stop-flow-of-volunteers-to-terror-camps.html

Woods, R, Leppard, D., Smith, M. 2005. Tangled web that still leaves worrying loose ends: The arrest of Haroon Rashid Aswat sets numerous questions.  July 31. The Sunday Times. retrieved June 26, 2008:   http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article549996.ece)

Karin Brothers is a freelance writer who was in England throughout the events related to the London bombings.

The number of victims of Israel’s merciless bombing of Gaza reached ninety fatalities as of this writing, several members of individual families among the dead.

One such family is that of 75-year-old Muhammad Hamad of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Six members of his family were killed when Israel bombed the home of his thirty-year-old son Abd al-Hafez Hamad, a commander with the armed group Islamic Jihad, on Tuesday.

“The missile fell on my family with no warning,” he told the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem (full testimony below).

A boy observes damage inflicted on Gaza City by Israeli airstrikes, 10 July.

(Ezz Zanoun / APA images)

There is no safe refuge in the Gaza Strip, and no escape for its more than 1.7 million residents.

Defence for Children International Palestine reported earlier today that at least eighteen children were confirmed to have been killed in Gaza since Monday:

Aseel Ibrahim Fayek al-Masri, 16, whose 14-year-old brother died in an attack on the family home in Beit Hanoun on Wednesday, died after sustaining injuries in the same incident.

Suleiman Salim Mousa al-Astal, 17, and Mousa Mohammad Taher al-Astal, 14, were killed after being hit by a missile as they sat watching the World Cup with friends on the beach overnight on Thursday. The two boys were among eight reported fatalities after an Israeli aircraft bombed the crowd of people watching the football game.

Abdullah Ramadan Jamil Abu Ghazal, 4, was with his mother in their home when he was hit by shrapnel fragments from an Israeli missile that exploded nearby. Abdullah died instantly when he sustained head injuries.

The United Nations stated in a situation report that “the targeting and destruction of residential properties in Gaza is the main cause of civilian casualties.”

Israeli military propagandists have had a hard time spinning the images of dead children being pulled from the rubble in their favor.

Via its spokesperson’s Twitter account, the Israeli army has published crude and unconvincing attempts to justify its bombing of civilian homes:

Six children were among eight killed on Tuesday when a missile struck the home of an alleged Hamas activist in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. Five families reside in the building bombed by the Israeli military, which claims that the home was the residence of Hamas commander Odeh Kaware.

As the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights stated today, a home cannot be classified as a military target because it is owned by a fighter. The lack of secondary explosions in homes targeted by Israel gives the lie to Israel’s claim that the houses were used for weapons storage.

The rights group says the houses are being destroyed as a punitive measure targeting members of armed groups in Gaza and their families.

140710-hamad-family.jpg

Muhammad Hamad mourns during the funeral of members of his family killed in an Israeli air strike, 9 July.

(Ali Jadallah / APA images)

Muhammad Hamad described to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem how a missile fell on the family without warning:

In the evening, especially during Ramadan, we usually sit outside near the entrance to our house. We have two sofas there.

On Tuesday evening, 8 July 2014, I was sitting there as usual with my wife, Rasmiya (62), and my sons and their families: ‘Abd al-Hafez (30), his wife, Suha, and their daughter, Nur (5); Mahdi (46) and his children Rakan (2), Kinan (4) and Dina (16); and Ibrahim (22).

We sat and talked. At 11:00 P.M., the power was cut off because the electricity supply runs on rotation. We sat there a while longer and then I got up and called the little ones – Rakan, Nur and Kinan – to come inside with me to get ready for bed. We went in to the house, spread out our mattresses and sat on them for a while. Then Rakan and Nur got up and went to the door leading to the yard. Kinan stayed inside with me.

About three minutes later, I heard a loud explosion. I grabbed Kinan and went out into the street with him. It was full of smoke and dust. I walked on bits of glass. I left Kinan with people in the street and went back into the yard to check on the rest of the family. I found bodies lying on the ground covered in blood, with their clothes torn. Everything was full of shrapnel and blood. Some neighbors came with flashlights. When they lit up the yard, I was shocked – I saw the bodies of my three sons, ‘Abd al-Hafez, Mahdi and Ibrahim, my wife, my granddaughter Dina, and my daughter-in-law Suha. The two other little ones, Rakan and Nur, were lightly injured.

I went into shock. The neighbors held me because I couldn’t stand. I felt like I was going to faint from the horror of it. The missile fell on my family with no warning. I assume they wanted to hit ‘Abd al-Hafez, but what did the rest of the family do wrong? Why did they kill an entire family?

Srebrenica: 19-Year-Blueprint for US Intervention

July 12th, 2014 by Stephen Karganovic

On July 11, 1995, two NATO warplanes bombed Serbian forces, advancing on Srebrenica. But due to the bad weather and the fact that Serbian forces were holding French and Dutch prisoners of war, NATO called off what was to be a massive bombing campaign. Late in the afternoon, Serbian general Mladic and other commanders entered into Srebrenica. They had won, for the moment. This loss by NATO could not accept and through indirect manipulation and false representation of the facts, US and NATO slandered the Serbs and successfully changed the presentation of a legal military operation. Radio Voice of Russia spoke to Stephen Karganovic on the history of Srebrenica in this special interview on the nineteenth anniversary of those events.

John Robles: Hello sir, how are you this evening?

Stephen Karganovic: I am fine, thank you very much.

We have an anniversary of a very tragic event coming up on July, 11. Some might say it was a part of or the beginning of the rule of international lawlessness and wanton impunity by the architects of Yugoslavia’s and Serbia’s destruction by the US and NATO. Why do you think that is important and give us some of the history, please?

Srebrenica Genocide Memorial

Srebrenica Genocide Memorial

© Photo Юлия Петровская
03:09 11/07/2014

Yes, it is definitely what you have just said and it has become the starting point for a process in international relations. I wouldn’t quite say in international law because, as you correctly put it, the process involves the breakdown of law, lawlessness in fact. What happened was that Srebrenica became a propaganda paradigm that was then used to justify military interventions under the guise of the “right to protect” and as a result it served as the rationale for a couple of very destructive military adventures: Kosovo in 1999, and Iraq, then Libya, and now in Syria, and who knows what is next, and the basic rationale for all these adventures was “We must prevent another Srebrenica”.

Well, the ironic thing is that the death toll in Srebrenica, if you take it at its highest, would be about 8,000. And as you and your listeners, probably, know, the death toll in each of these interventions was far more than that. If you are talking about Syria, you can add another zero to the Srebrenica 8,000 and you probably still would not come close to the carnage that occurred there over the last three years. I just might remind you that it was motivated in large part by the presumed need to “prevent another Srebrenica” as the forces of the current president there supposedly were slaughtering their own people. Much the same thing happened in Libya. According to some estimates, the death toll in Libya was 40,000 or 50,000, a bit more modest, and needless to say in Iraq it was enormous. The figure is still controversial, but nobody puts it at less than 100,000 and some estimates go as far as a million, and so on and so forth.

Oh yes, let’s not forget Kosovo. There the death toll was relatively modest but you have to calculate the impact of depleted uranium bombs that were dispersed all over the country and that over the next couple of thousand years will be killing every living thing there, and people are already massively dying of cancer. So you can imagine that too should be attributed to the “humanitarian intervention” that was conducted there.

So Srebrenica has huge geopolitical implications. I am not saying that there was an idea to turn it into that, but it was an opportunistic move. The potential for Srebrenica, once it took shape as a propaganda concept, to serve in that role as the rationale for future “humanitarian interventions” was seen and seized upon. So that would be part of the answer to your question.

The other part is what actually happened in Srebrenica: there is no doubt that what happened was a massacre. That is not controversial. What is controversial – how many people were killed and – even more important – the legal character of the crime that was committed. As you and your listeners are aware, by now whenever the word “Srebrenica” is mentioned we are all indoctrinated to associate it with genocide. That is precisely the way it works, and in its geopolitical application that I mentioned earlier that is the key point. Whenever they get ready to bomb a country and take it over for its resources they say “Well, we have to prevent the genocide that is being perpetrated by the local rulers, so we have to remove them and install a group of people that would be friendly to us and willing to obey our orders”. And – of course – deliver the goods that we covet in that particular country.

So genocide is a very important point when you are talking about Srebrenica and it so happens that, the judgments of the Hague Tribunal takes place, notwithstanding, no evidence was produced for genocide after about half a dozen or more Srebrenica trials. So what we can say with a fair degree of certainty is that after a bitter inter-communal war in that part of Bosnia that lasted for about three years the Serbs took over Srebrenica, and some of them took the law into their own hands, so to speak, and decided to take revenge for all the people on their side that, previous to that, were murdered in raids that were conducted by the units of the Bosnian Muslim army that were operating from Srebrenica. That doesn’t justify a single murder, but it explains it in a far better way than the idea of genocide. There was no intention of exterminating Bosnian Muslims. The most that happened there was that neighbors were very angry at other neighbors and they decided to let them have it for what they had been doing to them over the previous three years. In three or four days they killed, we estimate, up to a thousand Muslim prisoners, which is without the slightest justification, but certainly it was not genocide and there is no forensic or any other type of evidence to support the figure of 8,000 executed prisoners that you hear about all the time.

What was the actual number, then?

We can only go by the forensic investigations that were conducted by experts of the Hague Tribunal, of the Prosecution, between 1996, beginning right after the massacre that occurred in 1995, and their exhumations of mass graves that went on until 2001. In that period they uncovered the physical remains of about 1,920 individuals. However, we then looked at the pattern of injury. That is very important because at the same time that this massacre of prisoners was going on another significant event was occurring as well. The division of the Bosnian Muslim army that was in Srebrenica was conducting a military breakout from Srebrenica to Muslim-held territory in Tuzla, which is about 60 kilometers away. Along their way they had many clashes with Serbian forces, which used guns and other implements of war, as they were entitled to do, against the military column. As a result of these clashes, thousands of Muslim soldiers and the civilians who were with them were killed, and I just want to make the point that when you have a mixed military-civilian column, the opposing army is entitled to shoot at it. That is not a war crime, it is a legitimate military operation, so everyone that was killed in the breakout of the Muslim army unit was a legitimate casualty, which sounds very bad, I know, in human terms, and it is, but in international law terms that is the way it is. What they have been doing, in effect, was to exhume the graves where the casualties from the fighting were buried and then they would use them to reinforce the numbers of those who were really executed, in order to boost the figure, essentially. So that’s what has been going on.

Thank you very much for that detailed answer. Now, would you characterize Srebrenica. Not by itself, but the entire situation surrounding it, as a blueprint for what we are seeing now in multiple countries, in particular in Ukraine?

Well, it is different and yet there are striking similarities.

But the thinking behind it. Unless it is just to destroy as many people as possible.

I think that destroying people is something that occurs naturally when you undertake such a brutal operation which aims only at achieving a certain political effect and doesn’t ask about the human cost. So yes, people will be killed, Muslims, Christians, whatever they may happen to be, and that is a huge tragedy. But to return to your original question as I understood it, Srebrenica in Bosnia has become a huge stumbling block to the reconciliation and peaceful coexistence of the ethnic and religious communities, mainly the Serbs and the Muslims. Croats are not a part of that because there were not any to speak of in that area during the war. So, by creating this narrative that Srebrenica signifies genocide of Muslims by Serbs, you can see how that makes it very difficult for the two communities to come together on any issue, and that is perfectly natural. How could you just calmly sit and have coffee with someone who has committed genocide on your family?

So that makes it very important to clarify what happened, not to minimize the crime – call it by its right name, put it in the proper perspective, and make sure that all sides are aware that they committed crimes in that particular area. Each community committed crimes against the other community and people should be punished as individuals for the crimes that they committed in both communities. And we should not try to impose on one community the burden of a particularly heinous crime just for political effect. And the political effect is pretty obvious: as long as they cannot get together on anything, you need a foreign arbitrator to keep them in check. So, Srebrenica is an example of how the classical “divide and rule” technique operates and in this particular case as long as Muslims hang on to the genocidal narrative they are never going to come to the same table with their Serbian neighbors and plan either a common future, or a civilized divorce, or whatever, although they can still be good neighbors, they can still cooperate and be on good terms even if they live in separate states instead of in a common Bosnian state. That is a completely separate issue. However, as long you have this burden of genocide that is not likely to happen. But what is very likely is that foreign tutelage, and foreign arbitration, and foreign interference in the internal interference and lives of these people is going to go on for a very, very long time and that is a tragedy because they need to seize control of their own destiny and to be masters in their own house.

Is there any realistic way that we can stop all this meddling? We are seeing it in the Ukraine all over again.

Of course, taking into account the local peculiarities, which they always do, that is roughly the scenario that is taking place in the Ukraine. In Ukraine you don’t have two completely different religions, not that Islam and Christianity are so completely different, in Ukraine you have varieties of the Christian religion. But people have been indoctrinated to exaggerate the differences and to downplay the similarities. As long as you brainwash them in those terms you can always use them as political pawns for your purposes.

Nana has published a video (featured in this Hebrew article) of the brutal beating of U.S. citizen, Tariq Khdeir, the cousin of Mohamed Abu Khdeir, who was murdered by Israeli extremists a few days ago in East Jerusalem.  His parents says he was in the yard of his uncle when he was assaulted mercilessly by two Border Police wielding truncheons.  They repeatedly kicked and beat him in a display videotaped for posterity.  I’ve tweeted to AP State Department correspondent Matt Lee asking him to bring this up at the Monday press briefing.

UPDATE: Apparently spurred to action by the plethora of world media reports on this story, the State Department released a statement that it was “profoundly troubled” by the beating of the Palestinian-American.  That and a few bucks will buy you a Starbucks coffee.  How about “outraged?”  “Appalled?”  How about “behavior that cannot be accepted among civilized nations?”  A tad stronger rhetoric may be called for, no?  Since Obama likes to use his daughters in his political speeches, perhaps he might give some thought if it was one of them beaten senseless and brought almost unconscious to Hadassah Hospital?  Would the response be a bit more muscular?

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the burning alive of Abu Khdeir elicits almost no response from the world press. But this brutal beating of a U.S. citizen finally gets the world to take some notice. Whatever it takes, I guess.

You also will not hear much about the mass riots swirling throughout East Jerusalem and environs in which hundreds of Palestinians are burning and pillaging whatever they can get their hands on. The Jerusalem light rail stop in Shuafat, where the martyred boy lived has been burned to the ground. Protesters are even cutting down the electricity pole to eliminate any chance of restoring the system to full operation. This signifies the rejection of the Israeli attempt to exert full sovereignty over the entire city, especially the Palestinians neighborhoods.

Ironically, in a story reported exclusively here, a clever Israeli or Palestinian hacker once inserted a message endorsing the Right of Return into the LED messages that flash in the Jerusalem light rail stations.  A small act of resistance.

In response to the civil unrest, Israel is resorting to the only thing it knows: violence.  It’s installed a massive presence of Occupation forces blanketing the Palestinian areas with tear gas, rubber bullets and truncheon wielding goons.  Beating the native population into submission seems to be the operative form of pacification for Israel.  Let’s also remember that the Jerusalem police’s Arab liaison is Doron Zahavi, the notorious IDF rapist of Mustafa Dirani.  That gives you some idea of the methods the police are using against Palestinians.

UPDATE: Electronic Intifada has published a video displaying the faces of the likely Israeli killers of Mohemad Abu Khdeir.  They appear to be quite young, possibly around the same age (22) as the Palestinian killers of the three Israeli teens.

Despite a gag order on details of the killing, details are beginning to emerge.  We already know that Abu Khdeir was burned alive by his torturer-murderers.  Now Nana reports that security forces have confirmed the killers were radical Jewish terrorists.   Because of the gag, Nana treads delicately.  But it does say that certain details known to the Shabak point to this being a “nationalist” crime (Hebrew code for “Jewish terror”).  It also notes that the IDF has been enlisted to take part in the pursuit of the killers.  Involvement of the IDF in the crime implies the search has entered the West Bank (the military would not be involved in solving a crime within the Green Line) and that the terrorists are being harbored in a radical West Bank settlement.  I said from the beginning they’d be found in Yitzhar or a place like it.

Another detail reported by Palestinians is that eyewitnesses gave the license plate of the getaway car to police.  Given that they are searching the West Bank, it’s highly likely the license plate was Israeli, attesting to the fact that the killers are Jewish terrorists.  Knowing the make, model and license plate of the vehicle should give the Shabak a huge advantage in locating the killers.  There are only a handful of hardcore settlements that would harbor such villains.  In fact, in light of the fact that the Shabak has had the above video from the beginning of the investigation I’d bet that the Jewish terror unit could identify these faces and knows who the killers are.  It’s shameful there has not yet been a break in the case.  It’s even more shameful that a Jewish settlement may be harboring these terrorist fugitives.

This should not take a feat of epic police work to solve this crime.  But given the tortuous dissembling engaged in by the police and Israeli terror sympathizers thus far, it’s no wonder it’s taken this long and will likely take longer.

What I don’t understand is the report that the police, having Abu Khdeir’s cell phone number, could track the getaway car as it sped to the Jerusalem forest.  If they knew where the car was, why couldn’t they have stopped it before it reached the killing ground?

We don’t get a script or set of talking points sent out from a handful of corporate think-tanks – we work each story as it comes from our own perspectives allowing readers to judge the veracity of our work through researching our references and thinking for themselves. Each of us has our own style because there is no “school of alternative media.” And each of us has our own way of dealing with criticism, attacks, and efforts to undermine our work.

Each style, like each weapon or battle formation on the battlefield, has a role to play:

+The “alternative academics” with deep research, many references, and a high-level vocabulary and level of analysis serves as a good fundamental basis and reference for the rest of the alternative media. They can provide the underpinnings of more popular and simplified messages.

+The “alternative journalist” tries to be objective and report both sides of every issue minus the spin.

+The “alternative sensationalists” try to get the completely indoctrinated, brainwashed masses interested in issues their TV and regular websites don’t/won’t cover. They provide a large and steady stream of readers for the other two. They may be slightly lowbrow in their methods, but think of them as the infantry and artillery in the trenches, everyday slugging it out with the corporate media for the minds of the vast public – it would be very difficult to live in those trenches and not get a little dirty.

No one style could undermine and replace corporate dominated propaganda on their own. They must work together – just as infantry, warplanes, tanks, and artillery work together on the battlefield. In the barracks they may not be able to stomach one another, but on the battlefield, infighting will spell defeat.

There is organic infighting, and then there is establishment cognitive infiltration where propagandists posing as alternative media infiltrate our efforts and attempt to pit us against one another. This causes us to expend our energy on each other before ever scratching the establishment.

Be highly suspicious/cautious of those in the alternative media who spend an inordinate amount of time attacking other alternative media organizations and personalities – they are either cognitive infiltrators or victims of their own ego – either way, strategically, they are hurting, not helping the cause.

When entire regions are engaged in armed conflict and people are dying, there is no time for infighting. Stay focused on the mission, on the cause, on the struggle.

The 9th of July 2014 marked a decade since the International Court of Justice issued an Advisory Opinion regarding the construction of the Apartheid Wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As if the onslaught currently being wreaked upon the people of Gaza weren’t evidence enough of the degree of exceptionalism afforded to Israel by the international community, the anniversary of the ICJ verdict further underscores Israel’s effective exemption from the most basic norms of international law and human rights. The conclusions reached by the ICJ were unambiguous: the wall constitutes a violation of international law, Israel should cease its construction, tear down those sections already built and pay reparations for the damages caused by its construction thus far.

In addition to affirming the illegality of the wall itself, the ICJ stated that the manner in which it is traced serves to effectively annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel, thereby converting the illegal West Bank settlements into irreversible “facts on the ground.” This constitutes a grave breach of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is a “flagrant violation” of international law according to the ICJ, echoing the wording of previous United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning the settlements.

International complacency

One would be forgiven for assuming that in the wake of such an unequivocal condemnation by the highest judicial authority in the world, the international community would have taken some concrete measures to compel Israel to meet its international law obligations, seeing as it has consistently failed to do so.  Indeed, according to the opinion of the ICJ, such action is legally required of the international community:

“Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.”(p. 13)

In spite of this however, the ten years since the ICJ ruling have instead seen an unabated expansion of the Apartheid Wall and its “associated regime” of illegal settlements, all with the tacit consent of the international community and at the expense of the Palestinians whose daily lives have been rendered unliveable by the wall’s physical presence.

The devastating impact that the Apartheid Wall has had on such families and communities has been well documented by human rights groups such as AmnestyHuman Rights WatchB’tselem and al Haq. There would appear to be a general consensus among such organisations that the real function it serves is to aid Israel in realising its territorial ambitions, while brazenly violating the Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement, as well as numerous other inalienable human rights in the process.

Ending Impunity

In the face of utter complacency on the part of the international community of sovereign states, Palestinians have called upon international civil society to come to their aid in obliging Israel to respect international law and human rights norms. Exactly one year after the ICJ issued the Advisory Opinion, a broad-based coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations issued a call for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to be initiated against Israel, akin to that which helped topple the Apartheid Regime in South Africa.

The international BDS campaign has gathered consistent momentum as international civil society has mobilised in response to the call. To cite but a few recent examples: in June 2014, the American Presbyterian Church, the most prominent religious group in the USA, voted to divest from three large companies (Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Caterpillar) whose products are used by Israel in the Occupied Territories; a few weeks prior to that, the Bill Gates Foundation announced that it would sell its entire stake in G4S, the controversial security company that is contracted by Israel to run numerous services in its prisons and along the Apartheid Wall; in December 2013, the American Studies Association, the largest association of scholars of American culture in the United States, voted in favour of an academic boycott of Israel, while similarly here in Ireland, the Teachers Union of Ireland became the first European trade union to call for an academic boycott of Israel in April 2013.

Irish complicity in Apartheid

Meanwhile, the Irish company Cement Roadstone Holdings continues to refuse to divest its 25% stake in the Mashav group, which is a holding company for Nesher cement, the sole producer of cement in Israel. The implication of CRH’s stake in a company that is directly involved in the construction Israel’s Apartheid Wall is clear: CRH is heavily complicit in the process of keeping Palestinians in an increasingly ghettoized state of subjugation, and as a result, is in contravention of international law. The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has long called upon CRH to abide by international law by heeding the Palestinians’ BDS call.

Irish universities are equally implicated in these violations through participation in EU funded research projects, which include among their beneficiaries Israeli security and surveillance companies whose technologies are vital to the infrastructure of the Apartheid Wall and illegal settlement project. Researchers at the University of Limerick have collaborated with Israel Aerospace Industries, which helps provide surveillance systems for the wall, while academics at Trinity have collaborated with Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems, one of the top profiteers of the Israeli occupation. The recently formed Academics for Palestine have done work to raise awareness about the extent of the complicity of Irish universities in Israeli war crimes, while also coordinating adherence to the BDS call among academics in Ireland through an academic boycott pledge.

The examples cited above are but a few of the many ways in which Ireland is complicit in the international law violations outlined by the ICJ. And the tenth anniversary of the ICJ’s verdict serves as a stark reminder that we have thus far ignored international law and Palestinian human rights by choosing to side with the Israeli occupation.

‘Against international law’?

Viewed against the context of the abject failure of the peace process to achieve anything other than a guise under which Israel’s sustained violations of international law can be carried out with impunity, the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion and the subsequent Palestinian BDS call offer a far more optimistic and pragmatic framework for a humane and sustainable resolution to be implemented. The escalation in violence we are currently witnessing only compounds this failure, and demonstrates the grim consequences of the dogmatic insistence upon a solution that caters exclusively to the interests of the occupying power.

The true nature of the US-brokered peace talks can be seen in a statement made by Tzipi Livni in response to a request by Palestinian negotiators that a reference to international law be included in negotiation documents: “I was the minister of justice. I am a lawyer … But I am against law – international law in particular. Law in general.” That such an opinion is held by a negotiator on the purportedly liberal end of the Israeli political spectrum further highlights the need for an alternative approach to be taken that is unequivocally based on international law and human rights norms.

Hassan Ould Moctar is media officer of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Three women of one family were cold-bloodedly slaughtered by an armed terrorist group who sneaked into their town in the southern countryside of Hama.

The killing, which took place in Taqsis town, came as another horrific massacre lay hours away which terrorists perpetrated against 14 civilians including women and children in Khattab village in northwestern countryside of the province.

SANA reporter quoted a Police Command source as saying that an armed terrorist group infiltrated Taqsis town from al-Rastan side and “slaughtered three women of one family, beheaded them and mutilated their bodies.”

The terrorists also shot another woman, leaving her injured, and kidnapped a fourth member of the family, the source added.

Director of the General Commission of Hama National Hospital Salim Khallouf told SANA that the bodies of three women from Taqsis town arrived in the hospital showing signs of gunshot wounds, mutilation and decapitation.

Another woman was admitted to the hospital sustaining a gunshot wound in the mouth, Khallouf added, noting that the woman is in a coma.

The signs of torture are similar to those shown on the bodies of some of the victims of yesterday’s massacre.

A citizen killed in terrorists’ shell attack in Idleb

In another context, a civilian was killed and two others got injured on Wednesday in a shell attack launched by terrorists on the city of Idleb.

According to a Police Command source, terrorists fired a number of explosive shells on Idleb city, leaving a citizen dead and two others wounded, in addition to causing damage to a number of cars and citizens’ properties in the site.

Terrorists assassinate member of national reconciliation sub-committee in Damascus Countryside

An armed terrorist group on Thursday assassinated member of the national reconciliation sub-committee in Qudsaiya city in Damascus Countryside Mohammad Marwan Hammoudeh.

A source Damascus Countryside police command told SANA that an armed terrorist group broke into Hammoudeh’s house at dawn opened fire on him after trying to kidnap him, causing his immediate death.

Last May, members of the national reconciliation sub-committee in Qudsaiya Isam al-Salihani and Khaled al-Bushi were injured due to attacks by the armed terrorists groups.

In a relevant context, terrorists set fire in the car of Adel Misto, the head the national reconciliation sub-committee in Qudsaiya city.

National reconciliation committee member assassinated along with son and citizen in al-Tal city outside Damascus

Moreover, a member of a local national reconciliation committee was assassinated, along with his son and a third civilian, by terrorists’ gunfire near al-Basha Mosque in al-Tal area, Damascus countryside.

Ammar al-Khatib, member of the National Reconciliation Committee in al-Tal area, was shot dead, along with his son Israa, 14, when terrorists opened fire on them that also mowed down a third citizen who happened to be in the place.

Terrorists have been following a pattern of assassinating heads and members of national reconciliation committees established to bridge communal gaps and heal divisions spawned by the current crisis.

The attack on the U.S. labor movement just sharpened with the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court decision, aimed at the heart of concentrated union power — public sector unions. When you add in the Obama-led assault on public school teachers unions and the Koch brother-funded “Right to Work” laws, the labor movement appears to be facing imminent ruin.  

At the same time, however, a powerful counter-force has emerged: the union movement has won significant victories around the fight for $15 minimum wage in Seattle and Los Angeles, and is poised to win in San Francisco where the strongest measure yet is headed for the November ballot. These wins and prospective wins have sent shock waves through the country, showing what’s possible if unions and community groups take the initiative and focus on inspiring demands that resonate through the broader community.

The 2012 the Chicago teachers’ strike set an equally powerful example for unions, which has been studied by unionists across the country. Chicago teachers re-taught the labor movement the importance of the strike and the prerequisite internal democratic organization of union members. Once organized internally, members rallied community groups and the broader population over popular demands like stopping school closures.

These advances for unions in the face of intensifying corporate attacks are forcing labor relations to a crescendo. Organized labor has, at long last, realized that fighting back is their only salvation. The tension inherent in this dynamic is volatile, and will inevitably explode as corporations relentlessly attempt to boost profits at the expense of workers’ wages and benefits.

The above examples of labor’s involvement in the ‘Fight for $15’ and the Chicago teachers’ strike encapsulates all that unions need to do to re-gain their lost status as organizations that represent the broader working class, as they did to a significant extent in the 1930s, the 1940s, and the 1950s. The strategy is simple: workers inside unions need to be organized and inspired sufficiently to be able to strike, if necessary, while simultaneously fighting for demands for the broader community, like the $15 minimum wage.

Unions do not need flashy gimmicks or to re-invent the wheel. Of course, technological advances must be used while new demands and creative forms of protest should be experimented with, but Twitter and Facebook cannot replace face-to-face organizing and collective action, only complement it.

For years union leaders convinced themselves that “strikes don’t work,” based on the many that were misled and then lost. Instead union leaders searched in vain for labor’s equivalent to the philosopher’s stone, that magic “something” that would save the labor movement if only it were discovered. Since nothing “new” was discovered, in practice union leaders resorted to making backroom concessionary deals with politicians and corporations, and labor’s power slid further into the mire.

And while many unions seem intent on breaking out of this organizational-political straitjacket, others seem suicidally comfortable repeating the same failed tactics.

For example, there is no reason that organized labor should not immediately put the $15 minimum wage up for a statewide referendum in all 24 states that have the ballot initiative process. The ballot initiative should also be used to raise taxes on the rich and corporations so that cuts to services and education can be prevented and reversed, and to create more public sector jobs building roads, fixing infrastructure, etc.

The only reason this isn’t being done everywhere is because some labor leaders still have a “partnership” with Democratic politicians who are adamantly against the $15 minimum wage, not to mention opposing taxing the rich and corporations. These labor leaders still believe, delusionally, that they can get more from politicians than they could get by going over their heads, directly to voters.

An additional barrier that unions need to overcome in utilizing the full strength of the ballot initiative is the idea of using ballot measures as bargaining chips, where unions use the threat of progressive ballot initiatives to pressure politicians to make union-specific concessions.

For example, in Oregon SEIU filed for progressive taxation ballot measures that were later withdrawn, ostensibly in exchange for the right wing to drop their Right to Work initiative, a “deal” which was brokered by a Democratic governor.

This union “strategy” was also mentioned by the president of the United Healthcare Workers of SEIU, Dave Regan, in his “Live Better Together” proposal for the labor movement.

And while Regan’s proposal contains many good ideas, the “ballot initiative as bargaining chip” isn’t one of them. The anti-union Bloomberg website made several good points in attacking the tactic:

“…But, of course, this strategy is not free for the SEIU, either; you can spend a lot of money on fake initiatives, have your bluff called, and end up with no money and no more members.”

More importantly, using populist ballot initiatives as bargaining chips unfairly raise expectations for the broader community, which then gets upset when the initiatives are removed in exchange for something that appears to benefit union members only, as was done in Oregon. Lastly, fake ballot initiatives do not mobilize union members or the community at large, and resorting to backroom dealing with politicians inspires nobody.

The years of bad habits that unions have accumulated can be shed quickly, but not if the process is done bureaucratically, behind closed doors and without the involvement of rank-and-file members and community allies. Most unions still have a long way to go to actively engage their memberships like the Chicago teachers have done. But without the buy-in from rank-and-file members, a union is a paper tiger in a time where the real thing is needed.

Ultimately a union without an actively engaged membership that fails to connect with the broader community will not survive the corporate onslaught. And any labor leader that stops the process of internal union democratization and external community mobilization is destined to be exposed as incompetent, unable to lead labor out of this period of crisis.

 

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at [email protected]

Hamas Had Nothing to Gain – And Everything to Lose – By Starting Violence Now

While Israel has claimed that Hamas was behind the murder of 3 Israeli boys and subsequent rocket attacks, the Times of Israel reported last week:

A new Palestinian jihadist group pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIL) [or "ISIS"] has claimed responsibility for the killing of three Israeli teenagers last month in the West Bank, as well as other recent deadly attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Hamas has denied responsibility for the attacks.

The New York Times also reported on Wednesday:

On Tuesday evening, Israel’s antimissile system, called Iron Dome, intercepted a rocket “over the Tel Aviv area,” the army said, showing the reach of Gazan rocketry. The rocket was believed to be of Iranian design, a Fajr-5, and Islamic Jihad claimed credit. Tel Aviv opened some public shelters, and in a city near Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion, people were instructed to leave the beach.

Given that countries all over the world – including Israel and Muslim countries – have admitted to carrying out false flag attacks, we should carefully investigate who was responsible before cheering on a new Arab-Israeli war. (And the head of Mossad had predicted such an occurrence shortly before it happened.)

Palestine has gained a lot of support recently.  For example, Palestine was accorded observer nation status by the United Nations.  The movement to boycott and divest from companies doing business with Israel has gathered tremendous momentum. And the two main factions in Palestinian politics – Hamas and Fatah – have formed a unity government.

As Michael Rivero points out, it makes no sense for Hamas to have committed brutal acts of violence when it is winning through peaceful political means:

HAMAS and FATAH formed a unity government. They need the support of the world right now, and neither HAMAS or FATAH is going to carry out an act that would wreck the very public support they need. It’s like George Washington trying to kick out the British by shooting students in the colonial schools; it is just not going to happen.

And the Jewish Daily Forward notes that – if rogue Hamas members did carry out the murders – it was not with the permission or knowledge of Hamas leadership:

In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”

That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”

***

It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus. Hamas’ Hebron branch — more a crime family than a clandestine organization — had a history of acting without the leaders’ knowledge, sometimes against their interests. Yet Netanyahu repeatedly insisted Hamas was responsible for the crime and would pay for it.

Originally published by Who What Why

A poll in Boston turned up a surprising finding—42 percent of those polled are unsure if Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Dzohkhar Tsarnaev is guilty. That’s a shock given the dominant media narrative that says he’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet the case is still full of lots of contradictions and unanswered questions that beg for answers.

A recent poll conducted by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team, part of an effort to force a change of venue for his trial, found that a majority of Bostonians—58 percent—are already convinced the accused Marathon bomber is “definitely guilty.”

That may be persuasive to the presiding judge. But what’s perhaps more interesting is that the poll found a sizable number of Boston residents—42 percent—are still “unsure,” indicating that even the population with the closest proximity to the April 15, 2013, act of terrorism still harbor doubts about the “official” version of events.

Without seeing the evidence the government claims to have of the younger Tsarnaev’s guilt, and due to many anomalies and lingering questions about the bombing and its aftermath, we’re siding with the 42 percent who just aren’t sure yet. -

Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe recently expressed surprise about the poll’s results in a column in which he wrote: “Call me Pollyanna, but I’m shocked they were able to find the 42 percent who don’t think he’s guilty.” While people answering that they’re unsure about Tsarnaev’s guilt isn’t the same as thinking he’s innocent, it does reflect a substantial feeling that the jury is still out in many Bostonians’ minds.

Cullen’s surprise makes sense when one considers the nature of the event, with its gut-wrenching imagery and suspenseful days-long manhunt. After an experience like that, it’s understandable that Bostonians would want someone to hang.

And from the beginning, law-enforcement along with the vast majority of the media have implied that the evidence against Tsarnaev is so airtight, and that his guilt is so self-evident, that it’s bordering on the absurd to assert some things in the official version may not be exactly as we’ve been told.

Read The Rest

When intelligence chiefs step out from behind the well worn desk and start to front more conspicuous authorities, some take notice. Away from the dramas of intrusive surveillance and careless monitoring techniques, the chiefs can engage in rarefied thinking and look at the broad stretch of history. We are away from the mechanists and the tool specialists. We can talk big things.

Britain’s former M16 chief, Sir Richard Dearlove (yes, the stuff of Ian Fleming’s Bond – closed combination rooms with port, cigars, afters and gossip), current Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge struggles to see what the fuss is about. If anything, he sees it as counterproductive, needless attention shed upon a misunderstood topic. Some Britons might be spreading “blood-curdling” jihadist messages like soft butter, but it would be ridiculous to entertain them. Hysteria can be so unbecoming.

His arguments, made before the Royal United Services Institute in London, is that, since the Arab Spring, the threat has shifted from being a maniacally driven project to undermine the West (whatever on earth that means), making societies such as those of Britain “marginally affected”. The attacks of September 11, 2001 in the US and July 7, 2005 in Britain were now distant matters in the strategic landscape. What we are instead entertained to are the rants and actions of “misguided young men, rather pathetic figures” who were obtaining exposure beyond “their wildest dreams.”

Accordingly, Dearlove sees the angry brigades of young men in ISIS as a matter of “essentially one Muslim on Muslim” (Guardian, Jul 7), suggesting that killing is not a problem as long as it takes place elsewhere, off the common green. Let the jihadists sort it out amongst themselves. It matters not a jot what we do.

The problem with Dearlove’s assessment here is that things done to the situation in Middle East did, and do, matter. His speech insisted that the US and British-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 had “probably small significance” regarding the creation of such groups as ISIS. That is where his analysis is weak, refusing to believe that, under his watch as chief, Pandora’s Box was opened by a combination of carelessness and good, old-fashioned stupidity.

Dearlove had some convincing to do about his image of armed but childish attention seekers. The neoconservatives are itching to get back into the fight. The Tories want a cause to strike at. The have individuals such as Abdul Raqib Amin of Aberdeen keen to express on Good Morning Britain how he

“left the UK to fight for the sake of Allah, to give everything I have for the sake of Allah. One of the happiest moments of my life was when the plane took off from Gatwick airport. I was so happy, as a Muslim you cannot live in the country of kuffars (non-believers).”

This counter-current is far from soft and tepid. Examinations of the problem in a domestic setting, specifically the threat of radicalisation or the efforts of Islamic communities in the “West” abound. The policy brief of December 2011 from the Quarterly Journal of the Belfer Center argues that, “Despite warnings by public officials and terrorism analysts, there is little evidence that the risk of terrorist attacks in the Untied States by American Muslims is especially serious or growing.”

It also points out that, in exaggerating the threat, “serious risks” are created, among them estranging local Muslim communities who have “demonstrated willingness to expose aspiring militants”. Information is thereby cut off, and good will lost.

Researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reached similar conclusions in a study in 2010. Since the events of September 11, 2001, the study found that 139 American Muslims had committed violent terrorist acts (Time Magazine, Jan 6, 2010). The flipside of a negligible threat was that of a plausible one in the event of heavy-handed counter-terrorism measures. The exaggerated threat becomes an furious one. “Our research,” claimed David Schanzer, director of Duke University’s Triangle Centre on Terrorism and Homeland Security “suggests that initiatives that treat Muslim-Americans as part of the solution to the problem are far more likely to be successful.”

Dearlove’s beef, then, is with the media, who is seen to be leading the security establishment by the chain. They provide unnecessary “oxygen”. Certainly, the moguls and media outlets would be thrilled to have such control. Certainly, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has a different view, as do leaders in other countries concerned about a string of recruits keen to blood themselves in the Syrian and Iraq conflicts. “The number of foreign fighters in that area, the number of foreign fighters including those from the UK who could try to return to the UK is a real threat to our country.”

Dearlove’s summation, if rooted in an old-school appraisal of Western interventions in an area seen as a necessary playground, is more sound than most. Keep coverage of the Middle East “as a political requirement”, he suggests, “but without putting the incipient terrorist threat to ourselves at the centre of the picture and, in particular, without demonising our own Muslim community on account of the small number of their young men who were tragically sucked into the conflict and risk returning home in an ugly and dangerous frame of mind.” Wise words, but it remains to be seen whether they stick.

 

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

Abusing Partners: Spying on Germany

July 11th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

It is a rare thing when an ally tells another that one of their embassy individuals should be sent packing from their plumb surrounds. The French did it in 1995, when it expelled several US officials on the grounds of suspected espionage.  ut French-US relations during the post-World War II period have been periodically icy, making such an act less of a surprise than something of a clarifying gesture.

The order of expulsion was executed on Thursday, when it was revealed in the German press that a CIA station chief was, for all intents and purposes, given his marching orders. While embassies are to spies what honey is to bees, the manner of its execution raised a few eyebrows.

Clemens Binninger, chair of the committee that oversees the intelligence services of Angela Markel’s Christian Democrats, said at a press conference in Berlin that the action was occasioned by Washington’s ‘failure to cooperate on resolving various allegations, starting with the NSA and up to the latest incidents’. The head of the SPD parliamentary group, Thomas Opperman, is beside himself. ‘It is a degrading spectacle to watch US spies being exposed on a weekly basis.’ Much of this rage, however, must be seen as the indignation of impotence.

Steffen Seibert confirmed the decision in an official statement. ‘The government takes these activities very seriously. It is essential and in the interest of the security of its citizens and its forces abroad for Germany to collaborate closely and trustfully with its western partners, especially the US.’ Seibert emphasised that openness was fundamental to the relationship. But that is where he is simply wrong. Washington has been selectively open with its German ally, as it has been from the start.

This follows revelations of espionage in Die Welt about a German soldier who was sniffed out by the German military counter-intelligence service. Some days prior, it was revealed that an employee of the German BND had been funneling files to the CIA, the sort of arrangement that went well and truly beyond the bounds of the alliance.

The BND employee in question was supposedly labouring under a physical disability and speech impediment, but received some 25,000 euros for 218 confidential documents. The psychological profile of the individual in question was less one of greed than egomania. Both characteristics often feature when those privy to information wish to do the dirty on their employees.

The US ambassador to Berlin, John Emerson, has been doing the rounds, placating officials even as his masters take a good long dump on the German-US relationship. In a speech on Tuesday, he conceded that ‘ that the German-American relationship is now undergoing a difficult challenge’. The CIA chief, John Brennan, has also been doing his share of pacifying.

The Clintons, always masters at the power game, have bought into denouncing the NSA for its conduct regarding Germany. Hillary has taken to the press, arguing in Der Spiegel that such conduct, notably regarding the tapping of Merkel’s phone, was unwarranted. Not, mind you, that Merkel deserved an apology from the Obama administration.  That is just not the done thing. Wounding in a relationship should be taken in your stride. The not so hidden suggestion here is that the Germans are better than all that.

It was clear, according to Clinton, that the US had ‘to do a much better job in working together between Germany and the United States to sort out what the appropriate lines of cooperation are on intelligence and security. I think the cooperation is necessary for our security, but we don’t want to undermine it by raising doubts again and again.’

In truth, neither side intends a separation. There will be tiffs, a few tears perhaps, and a stony glance here and there. But the abused and abusive will still come together in the field of security cooperation, if it can be called that. Social workers tend to be avoided in the field of diplomatic consultancy, since abusive relationships are deemed workable. Even the decision on the part of the US government to refuse access to a request by the German chancellor to access her NSA file will, at the end of the day, be accepted.

Power, with its distorting tendencies, corrupts, sometimes in spectacular fashion. But usually it is a poison that operates over a considerable amount of time, taking hold of the body, paralyzing it in parts while allowing others aspects of it to function. Neither Merkel, nor her allies, wishes to find the true antidote to the situation.  The spies will be replaced, and new recruits found. They are no doubt on their way. The important thing is to keep up the pretense of anger – and be very convincing.

 

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

The other night, I saw George Orwells’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in 1984. “Democracy” is now a rhetorical device.  Peace is “perpetual war”. “Global” is imperial. The once hopeful concept of “reform” now means regression, even destruction. “Austerity” is the imposition of extreme capitalism on the poor and the gift of socialism for the rich: an ingenious system under which the majority service the debts of the few.

In the arts, hostility to political truth-telling is an article of bourgeois faith.  “Picasso’s red period,” says an Observer headline, “and why politics don’t make good art.” Consider this in a newspaper that promoted the bloodbath in Iraq as a liberal crusade. Picasso’s lifelong opposition to fascism is a footnote, just as Orwell’s radicalism has faded from the prize that appropriated his name.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life”. No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron damns the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin reveal the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was the last to raise his voice.  Among the insistent voices of consumer- feminism, none echoes Virginia Woolf, who described “the arts of dominating other people … of ruling, of killing, of acquiring land and capital”.

At the National Theatre, a new play, Great Britain, satirises the phone hacking scandal that has seen journalists tried and convicted, including a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Described as a “farce with fangs [that] puts the whole incestuous [media] culture in the dock and subjects it to merciless ridicule”, the play’s targets are the “blessedly funny” characters in Britain’s tabloid press. That is well and good, and so familiar. What of the non-tabloid media that regards itself as reputable and credible, yet serves a parallel role as an arm of state and corporate power, as in the promotion of illegal war?

The Leveson inquiry into phone hacking glimpsed this unmentionable. Tony Blair was giving evidence, complaining to His Lordship about the tabloids’ harassment of his wife, when he was interrupted by a voice from the public gallery. David Lawley-Wakelin, a film-maker, demanded Blair’s arrest and prosecution for war crimes. There was a long pause: the shock of truth. Lord Leveson leapt to his feet and ordered the truth-teller thrown out and apologised to the war criminal. Lawley-Wakelin was prosecuted; Blair went free.

Blair’s enduring accomplices are more respectable than the phone hackers. When the BBC arts presenter, Kirsty Wark, interviewed him on the tenth anniversary of his invasion of Iraq, she gifted him a moment he could only dream of; she allowed him to agonise over his “difficult” decision on Iraq rather than call him to account for his epic crime. This evoked the procession of BBC journalists who in 2003 declared that Blair could feel “vindicated”, and the subsequent, “seminal” BBC series, The Blair Years, for which David Aaronovitch was chosen as the writer, presenter and interviewer. A Murdoch retainer who campaigned for military attacks on Iraq, Libya and Syria, Aaronovitch fawned expertly.

Since the invasion of Iraq – the exemplar of an act of unprovoked aggression the Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson called “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” — Blair and his mouthpiece and principal accomplice, Alastair Campbell, have been afforded generous space in the Guardian to rehabilitate their reputations. Described as a Labour Party “star”, Campbell has sought the sympathy of readers for his depression and displayed his interests, though not his current assignment as advisor, with Blair, to the Egyptian military tyranny.

As Iraq is dismembered as a consequence of the Blair/Bush invasion, a Guardian headline declares: “Toppling Saddam was right, but we pulled out too soon”. This ran across a prominent article on 13 June by a former Blair functionary, John McTernan, who also served Iraq’s CIA installed dictator Iyad Allawi. In calling for a repeat invasion of a country his former master helped destroy , he made no reference to the deaths of at least 700,000 people, the flight of four million refugees and sectarian turmoil in a nation once proud of its communal tolerance.

“Blair embodies corruption and war,” wrote the radical Guardian columnist Seumas Milne in a spirited piece on 3 July. This is known in the trade as “balance”. The following day, the paper published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the bomber were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This other embodiment of “corruption and war” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered people across the developing world.

In a village in Afghanistan, inhabited by the poorest of the poor, I filmed Orifa, kneeling at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, seven other members of her family, including six children, and two children who were killed in the adjacent house. A “precision” 500-pound bomb fell directly on their small mud, stone and straw house, leaving a crater 50 feet wide. Lockheed Martin, the plane’s manufacturer’s, had pride of place in the Guardian’s advertisement.

The former US secretary of state and aspiring president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, was recently on the BBC’s Women’s Hour, the quintessence of media respectability. The presenter, Jenni Murray, presented Clinton as a beacon of female achievement. She did not remind her listeners about Clinton’s profanity that Afghanistan was invaded to “liberate” women like Orifa. She asked  Clinton nothing about her administration’s terror campaign using drones to kill women, men and children. There was no mention of Clinton’s idle threat, while campaigning to be the first female president, to “eliminate” Iran, and nothing about her support for illegal mass surveillance and the pursuit of whistle-blowers.

Murray did ask one finger-to-the-lips question. Had Clinton forgiven Monica Lewinsky for having an affair with husband? “Forgiveness is a choice,” said Clinton, “for me, it was absolutely the right choice.” This recalled the 1990s and the years consumed by the Lewinsky “scandal”. President Bill Clinton was then invading Haiti, and bombing the Balkans, Africa and Iraq. He was also destroying the lives of Iraqi children; Unicef reported the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five as a result of an embargo led by the US and Britain.

The children were media unpeople, just as Hillary Clinton’s victims in the invasions she supported and promoted – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia — are media unpeople. Murray made no reference to them. A photograph of her and her distinguished guest, beaming, appears on the BBC website.

In politics as in journalism and the arts, it seems that dissent once tolerated in the “mainstream” has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. When I began a career in Britain’s Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was acceptable to critique western power as a rapacious force. Read James Cameron’s celebrated reports of the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the American bombing of North Vietnam. Today’s grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal.

In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill wrote: “Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.” The “barbarians” were large sections of humanity of whom “implicit obedience” was required.  “It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,” wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, “but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature: its conviction that it represents a superior form of life.” He had in mind a speech by Blair in which the then prime minister promised to “reorder the world around us” according to his “moral values”.

Richard Falk, the respected authority on international law and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, once described a “a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence”. It is “so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable”.

Tenure and patronage reward the guardians. On BBC Radio 4, Razia Iqbal interviewed Toni Morrison, the African-American Nobel Laureate. Morrison wondered why people were “so angry” with Barack Obama, who was “cool” and wished to build a “strong economy and health care”. Morrison was proud to have talked on the phone with her hero, who had read one of her books and invited her to his inauguration.

Neither she nor her interviewer mentioned Obama’s seven wars, including his terror campaign by drone, in which whole families, their rescuers and mourners have been murdered. What seemed to matter was that a “finely spoken” man of colour had risen to the commanding heights of power. In The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon wrote that the “historic mission” of the colonised was to serve as a “transmission line” to those who ruled and oppressed. In the modern era, the employment of ethnic difference in western power and propaganda systems is now seen as essential. Obama epitomises this, though the cabinet of George W. Bush – his warmongering clique – was the most multiracial in presidential history.

As the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the jihadists of ISIS, Obama said, “The American people made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better destiny.” How “cool” is that lie? How “finely spoken” was Obama’s speech at the West Point military academy on 28 May. Delivering his “state of the world” address at the graduation ceremony of those who “will take American leadership” across the world, Obama said, “The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it. International opinion matters, but America will never ask permission …”

In repudiating international law and the rights of independent nations, the American president claims a divinity based on the might of his “indispensable nation”. It is a familiar message of imperial impunity, though always bracing to hear. Evoking the rise of fascism in the 1930s, Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being.”  Historian Norman Pollack wrote:

“For goose-steppers, substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manqué, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”

In February, the US mounted one of its “colour” coups against the elected government in Ukraine, exploiting genuine protests against corruption in Kiev. Obama’s national security adviser Victoria Nuland personally selected the leader of an “interim government”. She nicknamed him “Yats”. Vice President Joe Biden came to Kiev, as did CIA Director John Brennan. The shock troops of their putsch were Ukrainian fascists.

For the first time since 1945, a neo-Nazi, openly anti-Semitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital.  No Western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism in the borderland through which Hitler’s invading Nazis took millions of Russian lives. They were supported by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), responsible for the massacre of Jews and Russians they called “vermin”. The UPA is the historical inspiration of the present-day Svoboda Party and its fellow-travelling Right Sector. Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato Enlargement Project. Reneging on a promise made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has, in effect, militarily occupied eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato’s expansion is the biggest military build-up since the Second World War.

A Nato Membership Action Plan is Washington’s gift to the coup-regime in Kiev. In August, “Operation Rapid Trident” will put American and British troops on Ukraine’s Russian border and “Sea Breeze” will send US warships within sight of Russian ports. Imagine the response if these acts of provocation, or intimidation, were carried out on America’s borders.

In reclaiming Crimea — which Nikita Kruschev illegally detached from Russia in 1954 – the Russians defended themselves as they have done for almost a century. More than 90 per cent of the population of Crimea voted to return the territory to Russia. Crimea is the home of the Black Sea Fleet and its loss would mean life or death for the Russian Navy and a prize for Nato. Confounding the war parties in Washington and Kiev, Vladimir Putin withdrew troops from the Ukrainian border and urged ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to abandon separatism.

In Orwellian fashion, this has been inverted in the west to the “Russian threat”. Hillary Clinton likened Putin to Hitler. Without irony, right-wing German commentators said as much. In the media, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis are sanitised as “nationalists” or “ultra nationalists”. What they fear is that Putin is skilfully seeking a diplomatic solution, and may succeed. On 27 June, responding to Putin’s latest accommodation – his request to the Russian Parliament to rescind legislation that gave him the power to intervene on behalf of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians – Secretary of State John Kerry issued another of his ultimatums. Russia must “act within the next few hours, literally” to end the revolt in eastern Ukraine. Notwithstanding that Kerry is widely recognised as a buffoon, the serious purpose of these “warnings” is to confer pariah status on Russia and suppress news of the Kiev regime’s war on its own people.

A third of the population of Ukraine are Russian-speaking and bilingual. They have long sought a democratic federation that reflects Ukraine’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are neither “separatists” nor “rebels” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland. Separatism is a reaction to the Kiev junta’s attacks on them, causing as many as 110,000 (UN estimate) to flee across the border into Russia. Typically, they are traumatised women and children.

Like Iraq’s embargoed infants, and Afghanistan’s “liberated” women and girls, terrorised by the CIA’s warlords, these ethnic people of Ukraine are media unpeople in the west, their suffering and the atrocities committed against them minimised, or suppressed. No sense of the scale of the regime’s assault is reported in the mainstream western media. This is not unprecedented. Reading again Phillip Knightley’s masterly The First Casualty: the war correspondent as hero, propagandist and mythmaker, I renewed my admiration for the Manchester Guardian’s Morgan Philips Price, the only western reporter to remain in Russia during the 1917 revolution and report the truth of a disastrous invasion by the western allies. Fair-minded and courageous, Philips Price alone disturbed what Knightley calls an anti-Russian “dark silence” in the west.

On 2 May, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. There is horrifying video evidence. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine). The New York Times buried it, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.

On 28 June, the Guardian devoted most of a page to declarations by the Kiev regime’s “president”, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko. Again, Orwell’s rule of inversion applied. There was no putsch; no war against Ukraine’s minority; the Russians were to blame for everything. “We want to modernise my country,” said Poroshenko. “We want to introduce freedom, democracy and European values. Somebody doesn’t like that. Somebody doesn’t like us for that.”

According to his report, the Guardian’s reporter, Luke Harding, did not challenge these assertions, or mention the Odessa atrocity, the regime’s air and artillery attacks on residential areas, the killing and kidnapping of journalists, the firebombing of an opposition newspaper and his threat to “free Ukraine from dirt and parasites”. The enemy are “rebels”, “militants”, “insurgents”, “terrorists” and stooges of the Kremlin. Summon from history the ghosts of Vietnam, Chile, East Timor, southern Africa, Iraq; note the same tags. Palestine is the lodestone of this unchanging deceit. On 11 July, following the latest Israeli, American equipped slaughter in Gaza – 80 people including six children in one family — an Israeli general writes in the Guardian under the headline, “A necessary show of force”.

In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; it was her Triumph of the Will that reputedly cast Hitler’s spell. I asked her about propaganda in societies that imagined themselves superior. She replied that the “messages” in her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on a “submissive void” in the German population. “Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked. “Everyone,” she replied, “and of course the intelligentsia.”

Israel, the land of smoke and mirrors, named a new commander for its elite Shayetet 13 naval commando unit eight months ago. Shayetet 13 is the equivalent of SEAL Team 6, which [allegedly] assassinated Osama bin Laden. The Israeli force was responsible for the murder of nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara.

Out of fear of exposure to the gaze of the International Criminal Court, and to protect their security, Israel refuses to publicly name many of its military commanders or security officials. Eight months ago the Israeli media called him “G.”  I called him by his real name, Lt. Col. Gur Schreibman. The officer has been involved with many high profile counter-terror operations including the Mavi Marmara. He also received a special Chief of Staff citation for his service during Operation Cast Lead. One wonders who he had to assassinate to earn that. Peace activists have given him a different type of “honor:” he’s ranked 67th out of 200 on a list of Israeli military commanders involved in Cast Lead.

A few days ago, the Israeli Navy held an official ceremony (Hebrew) handing off responsibility for Shayetet 13 from the current commander to Schreibman. There’s even a video documenting the event. But it’s one of the strangest videos I’ve ever seen. When you watch it your first thought is that whoever did the video was four feet tall and didn’t aim the camera straight. The entire video shows only the bodies of those filmed. There are no heads. There’s even a commander filmed speaking to the audience. He too is headless. One wonders why the IDF even bothered. Does anyone want to watch a video of headless bodies?

I’m tempted to make a crack about this being an allegory for Israel’s overall military-security strategy. But I’ll let it go at that.

But there is one obvious casualty of Israel’s cult of military secrecy: accountability. If you don’t know who’s responsible for a possible war crime you can’t find them culpable. This is what the Israeli security state prefers: anonymity and opacity.  And that’s precisely what I aim to combat. Transparency, like sunshine, is the best disinfectant for such impunity.

Admittedly, America has always devised creative means to execute its vast array of crimes against other nations – coups, wars, occupation, exploitation, terrorism, genocide, and so forth. One crime often neglected is America’s creative extortion. America has made a legal judgment to rob Iran of $1.75 billion.

According to Courthouse News Service, a U.S. court has awarded this money to families of victims killed in the 1983 marine barracks bombing. This judgment is devilish in design; not only is this an elaborate scheme to justify extortion, but the judgment also lays the blame of what happened in Beirut in 1983 on Hezbollah and Iran. America can disguise thievery as law, but it cannot conceal the truth of what happened in 1983 – which as follows.

Upon taking office, Ronald Reagan decided to launch a ‘second Cold War’ in the Middle East. He moved combat forces into the region and armed ‘allies’ while initiating a strategic cooperation agreement with Israel. Soviets invasions of Afghanistan, the Iranian Revolution and the assassination of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat had made the U.S. jittery prompting Reagan to reward those Middle Eastern governments that joined the ‘Strategic Consensus” against the Soviet Union.

This did not sit well with Israel who had enjoyed the status of being the predominant ally of the U.S. The November 30, 1981 Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation signed by Weinberger and Ariel Sharon set the stage for a joint military collaboration between Israel and the U.S. The Reagan administration’s campaign against “international terrorism” and Saddam Hossein’s actions provided the excuse for Israeli strikes into Lebanon.

In May 1982, Saddam was looking for a way out of the war he had initiated with Iran. According to a report, on June 3, three men led by an Iraqi intelligence officer made an assassination attempt against the Israeli ambassador to Britain with the hope of provoking Israel to invade Lebanon so that Iran and Iraq would end their hostilities and join forces against Israel[i]. The plan worked in as far as giving Israel the excuse to march into Lebanon.

The Israeli occupation of Lebanon under false pretexts met with a wave of protests from within Israel. In a June 25, 1982 Haaretz  editorial, Professor Yehoshwar Porat openly challenged the rationale for the Israel’s attack on Lebanon.

“[I]t did not even result from the need to retaliate against Palestinian shellings of the Galilee, because there was no such shelling since and agreement [cease fire agreement between the Palestinians and the Israeli government]. So what was the reason? I think the Israeli government’s {or more precisely, its two leaders’) decision resulted from that cease fire.”[ii]

Regardless, soon after the Israeli invasion, on August 20, U.S. Marines landed in Beirut with a clearly defined mission – to supervise the evacuation of the PLO ‘guerillas’. This was accomplished at the end of the first week of September. There was no longer a need for a peacekeeping force.

Yet, 19 days later, after the Israeli invasion and occupation of West Beirut, and the brutal Sabra – Sahtila massacres under the supervision of Ariel Sharon, a larger US force returned to Beirut – this was with a very different mission in mind. Theirs was not only to secure the airport, but to help the new Gemayel regime ‘consolidate’ power .

In line with the Reagan strategy, the additional forces were showing a permanent US presence in the Middle with some 100 field grade US Army and Special Forces officers training “the most highly motivated” Lebanese brigades, that is, those with strong Phalangist militia components[iii]. According to the ‘Britannica Concise Encyclopedia’, these were the same militias who under Sharon’s supervision had massacred 800- several thousand women, children and elderly at Sabra and Sahtila.[iv] In short, the US Special Forces were training terrorists.

By September 1983, U.S. warships were shelling Syrian and Druze militia positions outside Beirut, and Marine ground forces were trading artillery and sniper fire with Shi’a (Hezbollah) and Druze fighters[v]. On October 23, 1983, two trucks hit a building housing US Marines killing most  “peace-keepers”.

Immoral and bankrupt, the United States is holding Iran responsible for what ensued after the occupation of Lebanon, the butchering of innocent civilians, and resistance to shelling from American warships by Lebanese defending their lives and their soil. William Shakespeare must have been looking to the future and to America when he said:

“Lawless are they that make their wills their law.”

 

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy

Notes:

[i] Stephen Shalom, “The Iran-Iraq War”, (Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle”, Boston: South End Press, 1983, 197n).

[ii] Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, No. 4, [Also Vol. 12, no. 1]. Special Issue: The War in Lebanon. (Summer – Autumn, 1982), pp. 214-221.

[iii] Lawson, Fred.  MERIP, No128, The Deadly Connection; Reagan and the Middle East 9Nov. Dec. 1984) pp 27-34

[iv] http://www.answers.com/topic/sabra-and-shatila-massacre

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6985808.stm

[v] Lawson, Fred.

Tom Vilsack is the US Agriculture Secretary. In an attempt to support giant agritech and food corporations’ aims to eliminate all ‘unnecessary’ barriers to trade and investment between the US and EU via the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP),  Vilsack has stated in public that he wants “sound science” to underpin any rules governing food trade. On a visit to Brussels last month, he came out with the following statement:

“Science is a common language… we will be working towards making sure that whatever agreements are reached, they are consistent with sound science.”

However, it seems he is very selective in applying “sound science” to certain issues. Consumer rights groups in the US are pushing for the labelling of GMO foods, but Vilsack says that putting a label on a foodstuff containing a genetically modified product “risks sending a wrong impression that this was a safety issue.” It is highly convenient to parrot the slick PR claims of the powerful GMO biotech industry. Science does in fact show that GMOs are indeed a big safety issue and what’s more are also having grave environmental, social and economic consequences [eg, 1,2,3,4].

By not wanting to respond to widespread consumer demands to know what they are eating and risk “sending a wrong impression,” Vislack is trying to prevent proper debate about issues that corporate backers would find unpalatable: profits would collapse if consumers had the choice to reject the poisons being force-fed them.

Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University says:

“The main reason some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate – and science itself.” [2]

Coming from the GMO biotech industry, or its political mouthpieces, the term “sound science” rings extremely hollow. The industry conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’ [5], while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products [6,7]. It has also engaged in fakery [8], bribery [9] and intimidation [10] as well as the the distortion [11] and censorship of science [12]. If “sound science” is to be held in such high regard, why resort to these methods?

The answer is because the GMO biotech industry cannot deal with science when it really is ‘sound’ and would not win any debate that is genuinely scientific, least of all because there is no scientific consensus in favour of GMOs, despite the pro-GMO lobby often claiming otherwise.

The notion of “sound science” thus becomes hijacked to form part of a corporate agenda. Science writer Colin Macilwain says:

“The term ‘sound science’ has become Orwellian double-speak for various forms of pro-business spin.” [13]

While there are demands for strong rules for confidentiality of business information within the TTIP, biotech, pesticide and food lobbies have made their opposition known to an initiative by the European Food and Safety Agency to facilitate public access to data from safety studies done by the industry [14]. The public has for too long been kept in the dark about industry-backed ‘science’ that has been used to gain regulatory approvals to get its products onto the commercial market.

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) points out on its website:

“Tom Vilsack’s very reasonable-sounding “sound science” talking point is a catch-phrase rooted in the US food industry’s opposition to Europe’s more cautious, risk-averse approach to regulating the food supply chain. The key concept is the ‘precautionary principle’, which Europe applies in developing regulations, but the US does not apply. This principle holds that where the possibility of a harmful effect exists, risk management strategies may be adopted. The US views the use of the ‘precautionary principle’ as a basis for scientifically unjustified barriers to trade.” (paraphrased) [14]

As CEO argues, when US farm lobbyists push for “sound science” as the basis for food supply trade rules, what they mean by this term is that they want Europe to eliminate all restrictions on imports of food from the US and to adopt a US-style food supply regulatory regime, stripped of the precautionary principle. US corporations want to make it difficult for European consumers to identify whether what they’re eating is food that was produced using health-damaging practices EU consumers are against, like GMO maize, chlorine-washed chicken and meat from animals treated with growth hormone.

The food and agriculture trade provisions of TTIP will affect almost everyone in Europe. We can only hope that proper precautionary measures are made more robust and science which is genuinely sound prevails.

 

Notes

[1] http://www.globalresearch.ca/potential-health-hazards-of-genetically-engineered-foods/8148

[2] http://www.earthopensource.org/index.php/news/150

[3] http://www.genewatch.org/sub-532322

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vandana-shiva/from-seeds-of-suicide-to_b_192419.html

[5] http://gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15519-the-glyphosate-toxicity-studies-you-re-not-allowed-to-see

[6] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/roundup-herbicide-125-times-more-toxic-regulators-say?page=2

[7] http://www.gmoevidence.com/

[8]http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/Monsanto+%27faked%27+data+for+approvals+claims+its+ex-chief/1/83093.html

[9] http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/GA20Ae04.html

[10] http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-researchers-attacked-evidence-denied-and-a-population-at-risk/5305324

[11] http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/07/monsanto-a-contemporary-east-india-company-and-corporate-knowledge-in-india/

[12] http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-scandal-the-long-term-effects-of-genetically-modified-food-on-humans/14570

[13] http://www.nature.com/news/beware-of-backroom-deals-in-the-name-of-science-1.15046

[14] http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2014/07/ttip-lose-lose-deal-food-and-farming

Detroit activists concerned about the massive water shutoffs across the economically devastated city blocked entrances into the yard of Homrich, a firm given a nearly $6million contract to terminate services for hundreds of thousands of people. The firm was hired by emergency manager Kevyn Orr who was appointed by right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder in March 2013 who later forced the city into the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history a year ago.

A picket line set up before 7:00 a.m. on July 10 blocked the entrance to Homrich for over an hour. Eventually police arrived and attempted to force demonstrators out of the driveway prompting resistance leading to ten arrests.

Protesters were taken into custody and charged with disturbing the peace. A hearing has set for July 21.

Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit said that he would gladly get arrested again in order to further the cause of stopping the shut-offs. Also arrested was Elena Herrada, a member of the Detroit Board of Education in exile and a candidate for Michigan state representative.

Image: David Sole of Moratorium NOW! outside Homrcih

The actions are part of a citywide efforts to declare a moratorium on water shut-offs. The ninth week of Freedom Friday protests are scheduled for July 11.

On July 15 hundreds will gather outside the federal courthouse in conjunction with a bankruptcy hearing where at least 60 people will present legal objections to the so-called “plan of adjustment”. The plan, if approved, would implement huge cuts in retirees’ pensions and further disempower and expropriate Detroit residents of city assets and municipal governance rights.

Already Belle Isle, the Detroit Public Lighting, Detroit Public Works, Human Services and the city health department have been taken over and privatized. Tens of thousands of retirees have had their healthcare programs cancelled and are also facing substantial cuts to pension benefits.

There is currently an effort to privatize the management of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). The water department was struck hard when $530 million was taken out of the system in 2012 to terminate yet another fraudulent interest-rate swap deal controlled by JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and other banks.

The July 18 Freedom Friday will be held in conjunction with the Net Roots Nation conference taking place in Detroit where thousands attending the event are being encouraged to come out into the streets and join protests against emergency management, the banks and forced privatization of the city.

The newly-published revelations from Edward Snowden show that the NSA and FBI spied on an American citizen running for political office:

The NSA also surveilled a U.S. citizen while he ran for political office:

https://t.co/UzFya8ltmjpic.twitter.com/3jZdsYxQRG

The Washington Post’s report last week also shows that the NSA also collected information on President Obama, both as president-elect and as president:

A “minimized U.S. president-elect” begins to appear in the files in early 2009, and references to the current “minimized U.S. president” appear 1,227 times in the following four years.

While the particular NSA reports discussed by the Washington Post don’t specifically mention Obama by name, the Post notes:

[These minimization attempts] border on the absurd, using titles that could apply to only one man.

Of course, the NSA has pretty much admitted to spying on Congress. And see this.

And even the raw data on American citizens collected by the NSA is shared with Israel.  This likelyincludes Congress members and other politicians, as well.

But these new reports add some weight to the allegations of high-level NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, who told Washington’s Blog that NSA surveillance allows the government to target:

  • “[CIA head] General Petraeus and General Allen and others like [New York State Attorney General] Elliot Spitzer”
  • “Supreme Court Judges, other judges, Senators, Representatives, law firms and lawyers, and just anybody you don’t like … reporters included”

Binney also told us on Monday:

Bulk collection of everything gives law enforcement all the data they need on every citizen in the country.  And, it gives NSA all that info on everyone too.  Makes them akin to a J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids.

FBI head Hoover was famous for blackmailing everyone … including politicians.  The New York Timesreports:

J. Edgar Hoover compiled secret dossiers on the sexual peccadillos and private misbehavior of those he labeled as enemies — really dangerous people like … President John F. Kennedy, for example.

Alfred McCoy – Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – provides details:

Upon taking office on Roosevelt’s death in early 1945, Harry Truman soon learned the extraordinary extent of FBI surveillance. “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police,” Truman wrote in his diary that May. “FBI is tending in that direction. They aredabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail.”

After a quarter of a century of warrantless wiretaps, Hoover built up a veritable archive of sexual preferences among America’s powerful and used it to shape the direction of U.S. politics.  He distributed a dossier on Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson’s alleged homosexuality to assure his defeat in the 1952 presidential elections,circulated audio tapes of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philandering, and monitoredPresident Kennedy’s affair with mafia mistress Judith Exner. And these are just a small sampling of Hoover’s uses of scandal to keep the Washington power elite under his influence.

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator,” recalled William Sullivan, the FBI’s chief of domestic intelligence during the 1960s, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter…’ From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.” After his death, an official tally found Hoover had 883 such files on senators and 722 more on congressmen.

***

With a few hundred cable probes and computerized decryption, the NSA can now capture the kind of gritty details of private life that J. Edgar Hoover so treasured and provide the sort of comprehensive coverage of populations once epitomized by secret police like East Germany’s Stasi. And yet, such comparisons only go so far.

After all, once FBI agents had tapped thousands of phones, stenographers had typed up countless transcripts, and clerks had stored this salacious paper harvest in floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets, J. Edgar Hoover still only knew about the inner-workings of the elite in one city: Washington, D.C.  To gain the same intimate detail for an entire country, the Stasi had to employ one police informer for every six East Germans — an unsustainable allocation of human resources. By contrast, the marriage of the NSA’s technology to the Internet’s data hubs now allows the agency’s 37,000 employees a similarly close coverage of the entire globe with just one operative for every 200,000 people on the planet.

***

In the Obama years, the first signs have appeared that NSA surveillance will use the information gathered to traffic in scandal, much as Hoover’s FBI once did. In September 2013, the New York Times reported that the NSA has, since 2010, applied sophisticated software to create “social network diagrams…, unlock as many secrets about individuals as possible…, and pick up sensitive information likeregular calls to a psychiatrist’s office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner.”

***

By collecting knowledge — routine, intimate, or scandalous — about foreign leaders, imperial proconsuls from ancient Rome to modern America have gained both the intelligence and aura of authority necessary for dominion over alien societies. The importance, and challenge, of controlling these local elites cannot be overstated. During its pacification of the Philippines after 1898, for instance, the U.S. colonial regime subdued contentious Filipino leaders via pervasive policing that swept up both political intelligence and personal scandal. And that, of course, was just what J. Edgar Hoover was doing in Washington during the 1950s and 1960s.

***

According to James Bamford, author of two authoritative books on the agency, “TheNSA’s operation is eerily similar to the FBI’s operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to ‘neutralize’ their targets.”

The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer has warned that a president might “ask the NSA to use the fruits of surveillance to discredit a political opponent, journalist, or human rights activist. The NSA has used its power that way in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn’t use its power that way in the future.” Even President Obama’s recently convened executive review of the NSA admitted: “[I]n light of the lessons of our own history… at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking.”

Indeed, whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused the NSA of actually conducting such surveillance.  In a December 2013 letter to the Brazilian people, he wrote, “They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.” If Snowden is right, then one key goal of NSA surveillance of world leaders is not U.S. national security but political blackmail— as it has been since 1898.

Postscript: NSA whistleblower Russell Tice (a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping), also says:

  • The NSA is spying on and blackmailing its overseers in Washington, as well as Supreme Court judges, generals and others
  • The agency started spying on Barack Obama when he was just a candidate for the Senate

Funeral for four children of the al-Dalu family, killed when an Israeli airstrike leveled their Gaza City home on November 19, 2012.  (Electronic Intifada and Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

The tables below are updated monthly. For more detailed statistics, please contact the DCI-Palestine ‘s Documentation Unit.

Tables 1 to 4 show the number of children killed as a result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising against occupation, or Intifada, according to DCI-Palestine’s documentation. These tables do not include children killed while involved in hostilities.

Table 5 shows the number of children killed while involved in hostilities since 2008, according to DCI-Palestine’s documentation.

1. Distribution of Palestinian child fatalities by month:

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 35 45 11 94
2001 3 3 8 12 9 5 8 8 12 6 9 15 98
2002 3 9 35 36 15 10 13 10 12 19 16 14 192
2003 11 12 18 14 17 8 1 6 7 15 9 12 130
2004 6 3 15 14 36 8 13 9 25 21 6 6 162
2005 20 4 2 3 2 1 6 6 3 4 1 0 52
2006 3 3 5 6 2 9 40 14 10 5 24 3 124
2007 4 1 5 2 9 10 2 8 4 2 3 0 50
2008 6 10 22 21 4 4 2 1 2 0 0 40 112
2009 301 4 1 1 0 2 1 1 2 1 1 0 315
2010 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 8
2011 2 0 4 2 1 0 0 4 1 0 0 1 15
2012 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 35 1 43
2013 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 5
2014 1 0 1 0 2 2 1 7

Total: 1407

2. Distribution of Palestinian child fatalities by age group:

Year 0-8 9-12 13 – 15 16 – 17 Total
2000 4 9 34 47 94
2001 13 21 31 33 98
2002 50 33 62 47 192
2003 16 22 47 45 130
2004 13 29 58 62 162
2005 2 10 19 21 52
2006 26 12 40 46 124
2007 3 8 17 22 50
2008 22 13 38 39 112
2009 93 63 83 76 315
2010 0 0 3 5 8
2011 2 3 6 4 15
2012 18 8 8 9 43
2013 1 0 2 2 5
2014 0 1 2 4 7

Total: 1407

3. Distribution of Palestinian child fatalities by region:

Year

Gaza

Hebron Bethlehem Jericho Jerusalem Ramallah Salfit Nablus Tulkarm Qalqilia Jenin Inside Israel

Total

2000 43 9 4 0 3 7 3 8 6 5 5 1 94
2001 64 9 5 0 4 6 0 1 0 3 6 0 98
2002 84 13 6 0 3 11 0 33 10 1 31 0 192
2003 74 3 1 0 3 5 2 16 9 3 14 0 130
2004 130 2 0 0 1 2 0 19 3 0 5 0 162
2005 28 4 0 1 0 5 1 3 4 1 5 0 52
2006 105 0 2 1 1 1 0 9 1 0 4 0 124
2007 33 2 0 0 2 7 0 0 2 0 4 0 50
2008 101 4 2 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 112
2009 310 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 315
2010 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 8
2011 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15
2012 40 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 43
2013 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 5
2014 2 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 7

Total: 1407

4. Distribution of Palestinian child fatalities according to circumstances of death:

Year Clashes

Air and Ground Attacks

During Assassination Attempts

Gun Fire Opened Randomly

Closures Unexploded Ordnance Other Total
2000 80 4 0 9 1 0 0 94
2001 42 17 12 17 3 7 0 98
2002 30 67 19 50 9 12 5 192
2003 36 37 14 38 3 2 0 130
2004 36 76 9 39 0 2 0 162
2005 6 10 7 23 0 6 0 52
2006 10 66 22 23 0 3 0 124
2007 6 19 4 15 1 5 0 50
2008 9 86 1 13 1 2 0 112
2009 2 270 21 15 1 5 1 315
2010 3 3 0 0 0 2 0 8
2011 0 12 0 2 0 1 0 15
2012 0 39 0 2 0 2 0 43
2013 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 5
2014 3 0 1 2 0 0 1 7

Total: 1407

5. Distribution of Palestinian Children killed while participating in hostilities:

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2008 4 0 7 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 16
2009 15 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 18
2010 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2011 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2012 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3
2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2014 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Total: 40

Organ Harvesting in Ukraine Goes Unreported

July 10th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Unlike the terrorist offenses in Libya, Syria, and now Iraq, backed by the United States, the UK, the EU, members of NATO as well as regional collaborators such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Qatar, where any attempts to stop extremists from seizing entire nations is met by the West’s howling indignation and accusations of “human rights abuses,” the unmitigated brutality executed by literal Nazis in Ukraine against breakaway provinces in the east are accompanied by a hypocritical silence from the West. Refugees streaming away from encircled and bombarded populated centers tell tales of mass murder, indiscriminate targeting of civilians, and even grisly accounts of forced organ harvesting taking place from the bodies of those killed by Kiev’s combined arms offensive, or from those kidnapped by criminal gangs operating in the vacuum of impunity afforded by the West’s silence.

Unlike in Libya, Syria, and now Iraq where the Western media eagerly reported “activist” accounts as unquestionable truth, and even participated in flagrant fabrications to justify further military intervention, particularly in Libya and Syria, networks like the BBC dismiss Ukrainian refugee accounts as hearsay not warranting any further investigation. In the BBC’s article, “The Ukrainian refugees escaping to Russia,” it states:

They claim that masses of Polish snipers have been shooting civilians, that children have been abducted and flown to America to have their organs removed, and that the Ukrainian army has been killing refugees who have been trying to escape.

There is no evidence to support any of these wild claims. But what they prove is a deep-seated mistrust of Kiev.

What could be considered more “wild” is the BBC’s outrageous hypocrisy, their lack of investigating claims – considering they claim to be journalists – and their lack of explanation as to just why the people of eastern Ukraine harbor a “deep-seated mistrust of Kiev.” Why would thousands of eastern Ukrainians, hostile or distrusting of Kiev, flee their homes in the first place had Kiev not been carrying out a policy of criminal brutality?

Forced Organ Harvesting – Real Horror Deliberately Dismissed by the BBC

Russian sources tell a different story, explaining the details of the ongoing horror the BBC mentions in passing but failed to either qualify or dispel with anything resembling evidence. In Pravda’s article, “In Ukraine, human organs don’t stink,” it is reported that:

Shocking information appeared on the social networks saying that the militia from Slavyansk found hundreds of corpses of National Guard soldiers during a night reconnaissance operation. The soldiers had had their stomachs ripped open and internal organs removed. In addition, the people living in the troubled territories, have seen well-equipped ambulance vehicles, armored cash collection vans and other special vehicles near hospitals of the Ukrainian army.Employees of international airports, for example, in Boryspil, said that there were many small aircraft chartered to transport special refrigerators that are used for transporting human organs.

3453453These would be the same “social networks” frequently cited by the Western media to substantiate claims made against the targeted governments of Libya and Syria. Now that Western interests are backing a regime trying to consolidate its power against armed fighters, such stories are “wild” and unworthy of further investigation. Pravda notes that the impoverished state of Ukraine’s military – unable to provide even matching uniforms or food – makes the increased medical presence around Kiev’s forces very unlikely the result of interest in preserving the well-being of both its own fighters as well as those caught in their path.

Instead, considering the immense corruption and lawlessness that existed even before the so-called “Euromaidan” and the rise of an ultra-right client regime operating in utter disarray, it is more likely organ harvesting for profit is taking place. Eastern Europe has been one of several global epicenters for forced organ harvesting for years. A November 2011 Bloomberg article titled, “Organ Gangs Force Poor to Sell Kidneys for Desperate Israelis,” reported that:

Investigators on five continents say they have uncovered intertwining criminal rings run by Israelis and eastern Europeans that move people across borders — sometimes against their will — to sell a kidney.

“The criminal here is the middleman who profits from the sick and the poor,” says Bahat, who investigated an organ- trafficking ring in Jerusalem. “It touches my heart that people will sell part of their body because they need money to live.”

Criminals see an opportunity to make big money in the organ trade, where they can sell a kidney for 15 to 20 times what they pay, police throughout Europe say.

“They recognize the obscene profit that can be made in the expanding black market in body parts,” says Jonathan Ratel, a Pristina, Kosovo-based prosecutor who has been investigating organ trafficking over the past two years. “It keeps happening because there is so much money in this.”

Traffickers typically pay $10,000 to a seller for a kidney and collect $150,000 when selling it to a patient.

In fact, amid the chaos of Ukraine’s armed conflict, it would be unthinkable that these same criminal gangs would not be scouring the battlefields and hospitals for potential victims. The BBC’s failure to investigate the very plausible claims of desperate refugees suggests both utter journalistic incompetence and even complicity in covering up atrocities being committed as part of Kiev’s brutal, unwarranted, and deadly bid to consolidate power.

The state of forced organ harvesting as described by Bloomberg in 2011 implicated criminal gangs in Ukraine specifically, as have other reports. Ukrainian hospitals and doctors have been long-implicated as well. How then does the BBC call accounts of organ harvesting “wild claims” when nothing has been done to stop such practices since 2011, and especially with conditions in Ukraine today setting the stage for such criminality to flourish unchecked?

History Repeating Itself 

Just as the ultra-right taking power in Kiev signifies the resurgence of Nazism in Europe, fully backed by the European Union and NATO, the covering up of forced organ harvesting and other horrors is torn straight from the playbook of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, including the likes of the notorious Josef Mengele. History is repeating itself, specifically because of the ignorance of Western audiences and the complicity of journalists charged with reporting the truth who instead, bury it under propaganda.

Since organ harvesting is undoubtedly taking place in Ukraine today – since it was taking place on record before the conflict even began – the BBC’s dismissal of this tale of horror may mean Polish snipers supported by NATO may also be carrying out atrocities, and the regime of Petro Poroshenko may very well be carrying out campaigns of racially motivated genocide.

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

The member banks of the Federal Reserve System are private corporations / banks.  According to US Supreme Court, I found out, said this on January 3, 1928 in the case “United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation v. Western Union Telegraph Co.“:

Instrumentalities like the national banks or the federal reserve banks, in which there are private interests, are not departments of the government. They are private corporations in which the government has an interest. Compare Bank of the United States v. Planters’ Bank, 9 Wheat. 904, 907, 6 L. Ed. 244. (Click here for further details)

Connected to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case “Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)“, Bloomberg reported in May 2009:

The New York Fed is one of 12 regional Federal Reserve banks and the one charged with monitoring capital markets. It is also managing $1.7 trillion of emergency lending programs. While the Fed’s Washington-based Board of Governors is a federal agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act and other government rules, the New York Fed and other regional banks maintain they are separate institutions, owned by their member banks, and not subject to federal restrictions. (Click here for further details)

In another FOIA case, Yvonne Mizusawa, Senior Council of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, stated on January 11, 2010 that the regional banks of the Federal Reserve System are indeed “private banks“. (See here) .

Moreover, I’ve asked today Nomi Prins, the author of the book “All the Presidents’ Bankers“, the following:

Do you think it is right to say that the Federal Reserve System includes private member banks, which receive a 6% dividend for their shares from the profits that the regional fed banks are making on their market operations?

Nomi Prins responded:

As I understand Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act, that is the case. Stockholders, or member banks, of the Federal Reserve System are entitled to receive a 6% per annum dividend on their paid-in capital stock, and any surplus fund can be used to pay dividends in the event that any year’s current earnings of the Federal Reserve System are insufficient to cover funds for that year.

See the early 1922 letter from its General Counsel, here:

The material portions of Section 7 of the Federal Reserve Act read as follows:

“After all necessary expenses of a Federal reserve bank have been paid or provided for, the stockholders shall be entitled to receive an annual dividend of six per centum on the paid-in capital stock, which dividend shall be cumulative. After the aforesaid dividend claims have been fully met, the net earnings shall be paid to the United States as a franchise tax except that the whole of such net earnings, including those for the year ending December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and eighteen, shall be paid into a surplus fund until it shall amount to one hundred per centum or the subscribed capital stock of such bank, and that thereafter ten per centum of such net earnings shall be paid into the surplus.

“…Should a Federal reserve bank be dissolved or go into liquidation, any surplus remaining, after the payment of all debts, dividend requirements as hereinbefore provided, as the par value of the stock, shall be paid to and become the property of the United States and shall be similarly applied.” See here.

As additional information on the dividends, the law requires dividends are paid to reserve member banks, before the Fed transfers any excess earnings to the Treasury Dept. as interest on Federal Reserve notes, (see p 398 of the Fed’s 2013 annual report)… It should be noted that the amounts aren’t huge, for 2013, annual dividends were $1.65 billion. See here.

Last night and while Israeli army forces launched military attacks all over Gaza, by sea, air and artillery shelling, hundreds of thousands of children were unable to sleep inside their roof tinned homes, clinging to their parents, crying, terrified. The shelling of last night was so strong and went through the tiny strip from north to south, east and west. At least 100 attacks took place.

In Gaza we do not have shelters to escape to, during the attack.

These attacks come on top of a deteriorating economic situation. Right now it is Ramadan, the month of fasting and an increasing number of families have difficulty to get basic food, survival is a constant fight.

Thousands of government employees could not reach banks to have their salaries. I know the salaries are affected by internal problems between Fatah and Hamas, but the outcome is severe hardship – in the meantime the bombs keep dropping on top of our heads. The feeling of insecurity throws its shadow against all the population.

The military operation continues with threats of its expansion in the coming few days, and no news about any ceasefire.

Prior to the attack the local council authorities warned people swimming in the Gaza sea (the only recreational outlet for the 1.7 million population, most of whom are children) that it had now become so polluted with sewage water, that the authority had to pump it untreated into the sea, due to a lack of fuel to pump it to treating basins before dumping it into the sea.

  • 95% of water is unsuitable for drinking.
  • Unemployment is 55%.
  • Many jobs are irregular or almost unpaid placements, there’s no real economy.
  • Food insecurity affects 70% of the population.

Through the Middle East Children’s Alliance we’re continuing to implement the water purification systems in schools and kindergartens, to provide thousands of Palestinian children with clean water. Although at the moment it is summer holidays, the community has accessibility to our school units.

Because of our deep understanding of the poor recreational facilities for Palestinian children in general and especially in these difficult times, we are carrying on. We are making sure our educational, entertainment and recreational activities with our partners inside community centres are there to help the children when they need it most, to attract their attention away from the night’s shelling. The support from Meca for these ongoing programmes in the north centre and south of Gaza strip is especially important now.

While we help the children and support them we take care of the mothers too, via psychological courses all over the Gaza Strip. The courses aim to educate women about trauma, and how to deal with the family and children during crisis times.

Different health facilities have just announced their need for more emergency supplies, which was already lacking because of the closure of the borders and siege of Gaza. We were fortunate that just before the attack Meca managed to send some highly needed emergency medications to the Red Crescent Society.

The Meca team as well as all humanitarian and health organisations in Gaza are going through a very difficult situation. We are physically unsafe and we cannot sleep. We work hard to support people in these very difficult times.

The streets of Gaza are empty, few cars are here and there, Israel continues their assassination policy as well as the many home demolitions by air raids. Recently many of the attacks have been hitting civilian areas with countless injuries. This makes it so hard for all of us living in Gaza, as the majority of the population live in very crowded areas.

While they hit their targets, civilians pay the big price. We have had 18 casualties so far and the toll is increasing. As I write, news is coming in all the time – a car has just been attacked with 4 killed in Wehda street which is a crowded market area and there are reports of many injured. I have just returned from the Red Crescent now where life is paralysed, in the car I was worried about attacks against any moving vehicle. We are hearing the bombings continue around us. No place is safe and no street is safe.

My message is for people who are looking from the outside to have a conscience and not stand for what is happening to the Palestinian people again under the eyes of the world. It is not about charity it is about solidarity with us and what we are facing not just under this brutal onslaught but day in day out.

Small and big efforts to create massive international mobilisation are the only way to reduce the extent of the horror and loss facing the Palestinians of Gaza, whether its demonstrations, pressuring the powerful, boycotts and through amplifying our voices and testimonies from beneath the bombs, whose words cannot always carry without your help.

This is not a war or a military operation the foreign media suggests. It is collective punishment and a brutal attack against all Palestinian people again, and it is civilians and the vulnerable who always pay the PRICE.

US Withdrawal from Afghanistan not to be Peaceful

July 10th, 2014 by Rick Rozoff

The killing of 4 NATO troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday shows that the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is not to be peaceful, said an analyst.

A blast in eastern Afghanistan killed four NATO soldiers, two Afghan policemen and ten civilians. The Taliban has claimed the responsibility for the attack through a text message sent to Reuters. A spokeswoman for the Czech general staff has confirmed that the dead troopers were all Czech.

“The fact that foreign soldiers assigned to the international security assistance force which is run by NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, were killed yesterday [sic] suggests that the withdrawal of foreign troops, the US-led military coalition in Afghanistan is not to be a peaceful or uneventful one,”

Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO International Network told Press TV on Tuesday.

“Taliban and other opposition groups are going to pursuing them as they leave” the country, he added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rozoff pointed to the presidential election in Afghanistan saying that the US somewhat manipulates the election.

The US officials “basically structure the elections of a client regime, oversea them perhaps even determine in advance who is to win them but at the same time make accusations of voter irregularities so as to put the incoming head of state on the back foot,” he stated.

“The US essentially tarnishes the reputation of the president who has won the election fairly or otherwise so as to keep him under their thumb and make them all more dependent on US aid and US approval,” he noted.

“The US expects rather compliance from the new government in Kabul and to toe the line according to what the US demands,” Rozoff stated.

Former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani won the June 14 poll with over fifty six percent of the votes. However, his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, has rejected the outcome, calling it a coup. Meanwhile, electoral officials say the tally might change when the final results come out on July 22.

Watch video here

The commons is not just a battlefield between corporate predators and those who resist them – it is also a source of hope for those willing to imagine a world beyond capitalism. It represents a space between the private market and the political state in which humanity can control and democratically root our common wealth. Both the market and the state have proved inadequate for this purpose. In different ways, they have both led to a centralization of power and decision-making. Both private monopolies and state bureaucracies have proved incapable of maintaining the ecological health of the commons or managing the fair and equitable distribution of its benefits.

The conservative ecologist Garrett Hardin’s belief that the commons is facing a tragedy was based on the notion that individual self-interest in exploiting common resources was undercutting the overall health of those limited resources.[1] Hardin maintained that individual self-interest trumps any more thoughtful notion of preserving resources for future use. External restraints needed to be imposed. To prove his point, Hardin used the example of the individual herder taking more than their share of pastureland. It assumes a human behavior that is all too familiar to those who have seen the global fishery depleted and seen watersheds destroyed by those hungry for land to grow crops.

Hardin’s solution was to divide up the commons into private property and public goods administered through the market and the state. But it scarcely seems to follow that if the commons is turned into private property or put under the supervision of some distant state bureaucracy that it will fare much better. These days, the two will likely form a ‘public-private partnership’ and any regime of fair-use regulation will go out the window. There is also a question of scale. Is it better to have many small inshore artisanal fishers or to turn the fishery over to Big Capital and the high-tech trawler fleets? How could it make sense to push small farmers off food-producing land so that large biofuel producers can help keep our unsustainable love affair with the private automobile alive? When Hardin’s self-interested human nature is combined with large-scale private ownership, it is likely to yield ever more short-sighted results. It is no way to manage the commons.

Managing the Commons

It is far better to rethink how the commons is managed and to include as many of the players as possible so as to achieve a better result. If decisions rested with local communities or regions, in combination with users of various types both local and remote (environmentalists, fishers, miners, farmers, consumers), and were placed within a legal framework that takes future generations into account, it would seem likely to produce a more durable form of stewardship. This might also in the long run develop other potentialities of human behavior than the narrow self-interest that Hardin so feared.

An alternative to capitalism must in the end be based on a more complex sense of the human than orthodox economists’ notion that we are all hardwired to a rational calculus of individual costs and benefits. The influential commons theorist Elinor Ostrom proposes a different, more optimistic, notion of the human potential for managing the commons. Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in economics for her seminal 1990 work Governing the Commons.[2] She believes that: “we live in a web of social relations infused with norms and values; we are intrinsically co-operative and as a result collective action is possible and may lead to sustainable and equitable governance practices.”[3] Ostrom does not commit herself to an ambitious political program of replacing state and market with more direct democratic practices. But she opens up the debate about how the commons should be governed rather than just assuming the market abetted by the state can handle the job. For Ostrom, a process of ‘deliberative democracy’ is essential if there is to be proper human stewardship of the commons. Others in the commons movement carry the analysis further and see in the commons the potential to restructure the underlying configuration of power between markets, states and societies.

Democratic Promise

This begins to give some indication of the democratic promise of the commons as a potential cornerstone in working out an alternative to capitalism. It takes on the ascendant neoliberalism of the commons privatizers while avoiding the dysfunctional effects of top-down state planning and centralized public ownership that have undercut previous efforts to build a socialism centered on the state. It moves beyond the sterile debate between an inadequate state and a rapacious market. Instead it explores the idea of a decentralized eco-democracy founded on what in the commons is vital to both human and biosphere survival. It extends democratic decision-making to ensure egalitarian economic outcomes. Here is one example of a commons-based popular initiative from Greece (made vulnerable to privatization pressure because of the debt crisis):

“In the Greek city of Thessaloniki, a coalition of citizens’ groups called Initiative 136 is creating a new organization to compete with Suez [a French water corporation] in the tender for the Rebuilding the alternatives Southern-style acquisition of the shares and the management of Thessaloniki’s Water and Sewerage Company. The dual goal is to prevent privatization and replace the model of state administration that has failed to protect the public character of water resources and infrastructure, and secure genuine democratic control of the city’s water by its citizens. The management would be organized through local co-operatives, with citizen participation. Initiative 136 is an effort to pre-empt privatization before it is implemented, with an attractive concrete alternative in the form of improved public management.”[4]

Multiply such initiatives many times and root them in the plethora of different struggles currently being waged over the commons and you start to get a sense of radical democratic promise. While the term ‘commons’ has many meanings, both spiritual and philosophical, it is explored here mainly as a political project. The core strategy is to design institutional arrangements that move beyond state and market and put the commons back into the service of society as a whole. The underlying principles of such institutions need to be based on a variety of forms of self-organization and collective ownership rights, which is exactly what Initiative 136 in Thessaloniki is attempting to achieve. There are many other examples. The fishers of the Turkish port of Alanya manage their part of the global commons by allocating each fishing boat a clearly prescribed area of the Mediterranean according to the results of a lottery. They then rotate from area to area: from September to January, every day, each boat moves east to the next location. From February to May they move west. All fishers get the same opportunity as the fish stocks migrate. The system is collectively monitored and enforced. Problems are rare – and generally resolved in the local coffee house. As Ostrom notes, “Alanya provides an example of a self-governed, common-property arrangement in which rules have been devised and modified by the participants themselves and also are monitored and enforced by them.”[5] The co-operative self-management of a particular commons is likely to pay more attention to its long-term health and viability. The implications can be far-reaching.:

“…the abiding logic of the commons is not based, as we have seen, on a balancing act between the roles of the state and the market, but on the idea of a polycentrism, decentralization and agreement between those touched by common problems. More co-operation, less competition. More conservation and the dynamics of resilience with regard to resources and their relationship with the environment than erosion, limitless exploitation and unstoppable appropriation.”[6]

New Horizontal Commons Democracy

Other commons-based movements, striving for an alternative ethos, are just getting started. Attempts to create a horizontal commons democracy include the Right to the City movement and other urban initiatives inspired by the French libertarian Marxist Henri Lefebvre. Right to the City has gained traction in South Africa with the Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) shackdwellers’ movement, which is active in a number of cities across the country, and in the German city of Hamburg, where it has inspired a network of squatters, tenants and artists. It has become a rallying point also in U.S. cities such as Miami and Boston, and a source of inspiration in India, where Rajapalaya Lake in central Bangalore has been the focus of a fight to maintain a livable urban commons in very crowded conditions.

Some struggles combine resistance and vision. In Quebec, 2012 witnessed a remarkable movement of students against the commodification of education, which put the besieged notion of free advanced education back on the public agenda. Their struggle, which helped to bring down a provincial government, could act as a template for those trying to recover the educational commons from the pressures of commercialization. In the 1990s there was a successful national fishers’ strike in India that prevented the government of the time from handing over the Indian fishery to big trawler operators. Countless other examples, big and small, dot the daily press but are often just restricted to obscure websites.

Commons battles tend to gain attention when they precipitate or are part of some larger struggle that involves active confrontation with those in power. This is, however, really just the tip of the iceberg. If you examine the specialist literature you will discover that almost everywhere there are attempts to make the self-management of the commons a reality. There is an International Journal of the Commons which acts as a forum for debate about commons issues and case studies of successes and failures. A quick look through the table of contents provides a sense of both the scope of the commons and of initiatives being taken to extend their democratic self-management. Here are but a few of the examples:

  • The commons in a multi-level world
  • The European Union Baltic fishery
  • Irrigation systems in southeastern Spain
  • A new marine commons off the Chilean coast
  • The cockles fishery in coastal Ecuador
  • Commons resource management in southern Namibia
  • Technology-dependent commons
  • Participative action in Kafue Flats in Zambia
  • An environmental response to the globalizing forestry industry
  • Southeast Asia: rewarding the upland poor for saving the commons
  • Self-governance of the global microbial commons
  • Icelandic health records
  • The commons and community development in the eastern Caribbean.[7]

This list provides evidence that the commons is not some obscure issue but one that runs in one way or another through  the lives of most of the world’s people, often on a daily basis. The scope is truly impressive. It also has a lot of complex nuts and bolts to it with which we need to get to grips. But it is a complexity we need to embrace, eschewing simple-minded monocultural solutions in the process. This is an ongoing effort that will involve many.

But it must remain beyond the scope of this essay. Here we are just emphasizing the peril and potential of the commons. It has the potential to become a new legal basis for the foundation of common rights to set against the threat of public-private partnerships. If this does not succeed, then we risk everything, not least our genetic make-up and that of the plants and animals with which we share the earth, being turned into corporate private property. The stakes are high. The commons are connected to our sense of place, to our identities, livelihoods and self-expression – ultimately even to our survival as a species. This is a good place to start envisioning a radical democratic alternative that gives people a fundamental say in their individual and collective futures. As such, recasting our relationship with the commons should take pride of place as we build an alternative to capitalism.

 Excerpted with permission from S.O.S: Alternatives to Capitalism by Richard Swift, Between the Lines, 2014.

Notes:

1. Garrett Hardin, “The tragedy of the commons,” Science 162 (1968).

2. Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

3. Danijela Dolenec, “The commons as a radical democratic project,” br.boell.org Nov 2012.

4. municipalservicesproject.org

5. p2pfoundation.net/Cybernetics_of_the_Commons

6. Joan Subirats, “The commons beyond state and market,” 12 Jul 2012.

7. thecommonsjournal.org

 

“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.” President Barack Obama, May 29, 2014 commencement speech at West Point

“War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men.”,  President Dwight Eisenhower, 1947 commencement speech at West Point

“Politically speaking, tribal nationalism always insists that its own people is surrounded by “a world of enemies”, “one against all”, that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.” Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951

“…An empire is a despotism, and an emperor is a despot, bound by no law or limitation but his own will; it is a stretch of tyranny beyond absolute monarchy. For, although the will of an absolute monarch is law, yet his edicts must be registered by parliaments. Even this formality is not necessary in an empire.” John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd American President

Am I alone in having the uneasy feeling, while listening to Barack Obama’s speeches, that we are witnessing an actor playing the role of an American president and carefully reading the script he has been given? As time goes by, indeed, Barack Obama seems to be morphing more and more into a Democratic George W. Bush. Those who write his speeches seem to have the same warmongering mentality as those who wrote George W. Bush’s or Dick Cheney’s speeches, ten years ago.

That’s probably no accident since Neocons occupy key positions in Barack Obama’s administration as they did under George W. Bush when they pushed the United States into the war in Iraq, and as they have also tried to push the United States toward a military showdown with Iran and as they are now attempting to provoke Russia into a military conflict. How Neocons can infiltrate both Republican and Democratic administrations and be trouble-makers in both administrations is the daily wonder of American politics!

But we know the Neocons’ “Grand Plan”. They have published it. Indeed, this is a plan that has been outlined in many reports published by the (now defunct) Project for a New American Century (PNAC), an organization created in 1997, and whose many founders became prominent members of the Bush-Cheney administration. They have rebranded themselves as the Foreign Policy Initiative and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and have now succeeded in becoming influential within the Obama-Biden administration, especially at the State Department as leftovers of former Secretary Hillary Clinton. They and their allies are the main force behind the disastrous and incoherent U.S. foreign policies being pursued by the United States government both in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe.

Basically, it is a plan that has little to do with the fundamental interests of ordinary Americans, and everything to do with those of some foreign and domestic entities, most prominently the state of Israel because of its influence in American domestic politics and the Sunni state of Saudi Arabia because of its crucial role in influencing the price of oil internationally. It is also a plan that fits in very well with the interests of the military-industrial complex, which needs a permanent war environment to justify huge defense budgets.

Such a plan is based on the old principle of “Divide and Conquer” (or in Latin, « Divide ut Regnes or “Divide et Impera”). This sometimes requires creating political chaos where stability prevails. And stirring the pot is what the Neocons wantto do in order to attain their goals. In the Middle East, they do it by fanning the flames of the old sectarian conflict between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims in order to overthrow unfriendly established governments and to disintegrate countries into smaller and more easily controlled parts, even though the human costs for the local populations are horrific.

For example, even though it may seem absurd for the Obama administration to arm and support fanatical Islamist rebels in Syria while fighting them in Iraq with drones and Marines, such a bizarre policy appears rational in the eyes of the Neocons if it results in Sunnis and Shiites killing each other and if the country of Iraq is broken down into parts.

In Europe, the Neocons have persuaded the clueless Obama administration that provoking a rekindling of the old Cold War and re-igniting tensions between Russia and the West were necessary steps to be taken in order to solidify the U.S.’s influence on the European Union (E.U.) and to establish a reframed and enlarged NATO as an American-controlled offensive military alliance that can sidestep the United Nations, justifying military interventionism abroad.

But, because the neocon plan is often in conflict with long term economic and political American interests at home and abroad, the neocon plan to launch a string of American-sponsored wars in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe may explain why Obama’s current foreign policy appears to be so incoherent and so inconsistent. Let us elaborate.

1- First, consider the chaotic situations in Syria, in Libya, and in Iraq, where well-armed Islamic militias are well positioned to destabilize these countries’ established governments through civil wars that could easily lead to their political disintegration and economic downfall.

However, while permanent chaos in that oil-rich part of the world may serve certain political interests, especially those of Israel whose geopolitical advantage is to weaken surrounding Islamic states and even break them up into smaller entities, and those of Sunni and oil-rich Saudi Arabia whose advantage is to profit from higher oil prices and to weaken the Middle East Shiite states (Iran, Iraq and their ally Syria), such permanent military conflicts hardly serve the interests of American consumers and workers and may threaten the business interests of the large American oil companies operating in the region.

Indeed, higher oil prices are one of the causes behind the current relative economic stagnation in the United States and in Europe, while the possibility that Islamic militias can attack and take control of oil fields in those countries runs counter to the interests of American oil companies.

This partly explains why there are conflicting demands being made on the Obama administration by different political and economic interests, and it has become increasingly difficult to accommodate them all, notwithstanding how hard President Obama tries to do so. Thus, the apparent incoherence and inconsistency in that foreign policy.

Sometimes Barack Obama acts as if he accepts the neocon agenda of destabilizing most Middle East Muslim countries for the benefit of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Witness the U.S. government’s financial and military support of terrorist organizations to provoke “regime change” in Syria as it has done in Libya. Remember that last September, Obama had acquiesced to his neocon advisers’ recommendation to bomb the country of Syria, whose Assad government was deemed too close to Shiite Iran, before realizing that the entire cabal of justifications was a false flag operation.

Sometimes, however, the economic costs of such instability are considered too high and a timid Obama, to the chagrin of his neocon advisers, hesitates to implement fully the Machiavellian neocon plan. President Obama then becomes the target of the neocon media who picture him as weak, “out of touch”, inexperienced and irresolute, thus contributing to his increasing unpopularity.

2- Secondly, consider the new Cold War that the Neocons have succeeded in rekindling in Europe, with their aggressive policy of encircling Russia with missiles and hostile neighboring countries and of engineering a “regime change” in Ukraine. Who profits from these renewed tensions? Certainly not ordinary Americans and ordinary Europeans. The profiteers are the empire builders and the arms traffickers, and all those who like to fish in troubled waters.

Conclusion

It is most unfortunate that President Barack Obama has not been able to establish a coherent and credible American foreign policy of his own, with clear principles and clear objectives, and has had to rely on discredited Neocons for advice. Therefore, he has placed himself and his government at the mercy of various and contradictory influences, sometimes jerking in one direction, sometimes in another direction. That’s called a lack of vision and a lack of leadership.

It may not be too late for Barack Obama to be his own man in his second term and to stop emulating George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. For that, however, he would have to fire all the Neocons in positions of power and policy-making in his administration. If he does not have the guts to do that, he may turn out to be one of the worst American presidents ever, on a par with George W. Bush.

Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is an internationally renowned economist and author, whose last two books are: The Code for Global Ethics, Prometheus Books, 2010; and The New American Empire, Infinity Publishing, 2003.

To read Dr. Tremblay’s blog, please visit: http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.htm

The author can be reached at: [email protected]

US president Barack H. Obama wrote an exclusive article for Haaretz which was titled ‘Peace is the only path to true security for Israel and the Palestinians.’ Of course, the title in itself says what many on both sides of the conflict as well as the rest of the world would want, a lasting peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. But Mr. Obama’s article is of course one-sided. He starts by saying that the children of Sderot want to grow up without living in fear disregarding how Palestinian families have been living in fear of the Israeli government since 1948:

As Air Force One prepared to touch down in the Holy Land last year, I looked out my window and was once again struck by the fact that Israel’s security can be measured in a matter of minutes and miles. I’ve seen what security means to those who live near the Blue Line, to children in Sderot who just want to grow up without fear, to families who’ve lost their homes and everything they have to Hezbollah’s and Hamas’s rockets

Since the beginning of Israel’s occupation, Palestinians have endured numerous human rights violations. From constant bombing campaigns by the US tax-funded Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), humiliating security checkpoints, kidnappings, sniper attacks and the demonization by Western Media outlets, the Palestinian people have been victims of Israeli oppression. Israel has expanded Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands and has taken control of water resources. Massacres such as in the one that occurred in the Palestinian Arab village of Deir Yassin in 1948 where over 100 Palestinian men, women and children were murdered by Israeli paramilitary forces formally known as the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a Jewish terrorist organization (Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s father Benjamin, was a member) and Lehi (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) or the Stern gang. It happened during the civil war that erupted between the Israelis and the Palestinians after the British rule of Palestine had ended.

Millions of Palestinian families have been displaced and exiled. Many were forced to live in neighboring countries including Jordan, Syria and Chile where a Palestinian community currently exists. Palestinians remain incarcerated in Israeli prisons without due process which is why many chose to start a hunger strike this past April. Crimes committed against the Palestinian people are numerous. However, Obama defends his administration for supporting Israel’s so-called defensive onslaught against the Palestinians. Obama mentions the tragic deaths of three Israeli teens and the Palestinian who were abducted and found murdered:

And as a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain endured by the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered in June. I am also heartbroken by the senseless abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose life was stolen from him and his family. At this dangerous moment, all parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution

But then Obama follows-up with a comment on why the United States is committed to Israel’s security:

From Harry Truman through today, the United States has always been Israel’s greatest friend. As I’ve said time and again, neither I nor the United States will ever waver in our commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people, and our support for peace will always remain a bedrock foundation of that commitment

Obama’s article states what is Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s intentions are concerning the Middle East:

Our commitment to Israel’s security also extends to our engagement throughout the Middle East. Last month, under American leadership, the international community successfully removed the last of Bashar al-Assad’s declared chemical weapons from Syria. Eliminating this stockpile reduces the ability of a brutal dictator to use weapons of mass destruction to threaten not just the Syrian people but Syria’s neighbors, including Israel. And we will continue working with our partners in Europe and the Arab world to support the moderate opposition and to press for a political solution that resolves a conflict that is feeding a humanitarian crisis and regional instability.

We are also working to ensure that Iran does not ever possess a nuclear weapon. Through tough international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, we are attempting to peacefully address a major threat to global and regional security, including the security of Israel. We have been clear that any agreement must provide concrete, verifiable assurances that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, and we have consulted closely with Israel throughout this process. As we draw near to the deadline for negotiations, we do not yet know if these talks will succeed, but our bottom line has not changed. We are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and we are keeping every option on the table to accomplish that goal

Obama’s article mentions Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad as the “Brutal dictator” who would use weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) against his own people and his neighbors including Israel. Obama says that his administration would continue to support “moderate opposition” forces. He made that clear when he proposed $500 million to train and arm the Syrian opposition last month in a request to Congress to approve funding for ‘overseas contingency operations’. And do not forget Iran’s nuclear program because according to Obama “we are keeping every option on the table.” Ynet news, a popular news source based in Tel Aviv published an Op-ed in 2012 called ‘Obama’s Anti-Israel Agenda’ by Dan Calic and said:

It’s difficult to imagine relations between Israel and the US getting worse, but should Obama win a second term and not need to worry about being elected again, it’s highly likely his anti-Israel agenda will grow from a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane. To this I say Mr. Obama, you can run, but your attitude can’t hide

Well Mr. Calic, you were wrong. Obama’s article proves he is on board with Israel’s policies giving full support politically and militarily. Washington’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians has failed which is no surprise especially with pre-conditions that would have forced the Palestinians to accept Israel as a “Jewish State” which Obama mentions in his article. Peace is not on the agenda for the Israeli government. It never was. The tragic death of both Israelis and Palestinians is the consequences of the occupation.  A true lasting peace is the only option. Until that dream becomes a reality, the nightmare of unlimited warfare will continue. Obama ends his piece by saying “that is the future the United States remains committed to, as Israel’s first friend, Israel’s oldest friend, and Israel’s strongest friend” for once, I actually believe him.

The Guardian reports:

The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to Facebook’s controversial experiment into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.

Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense’s military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet’s largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.

***

Several of the DoD-funded studies went further than merely monitoring what users were communicating on their own, instead messaging unwitting participants in order to track and study how they responded.

***

The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behaviour (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit.

***

Unveiled in 2011, the SMISC [Social Media in Strategic Communication] program was regarded as a bid by the US military to become better at both detecting and conducting propaganda campaigns on social media.

“Through the program, Darpa seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information.” ["Truthful" as in government-approved? ]

***

Studies which received military funding channeled through IBM included one called “Modeling User Attitude toward Controversial Topics in Online Social Media”, which analysed Twitter users’ opinions on fracking.

***

“As another example, when anti-government messages are spread in social media, government would want to spread counter messages to balance that effort and hence identify people who are more likely to spread such counter messages based on their opinions.”

***

A study at Georgia Tech … concluded: “Breaking news stories and world events – for example, the Arab Spring – are heavily represented in social media, making them susceptible topics for influence attempts via deception.” [We can't tell if the researchers were pro or anti-deception; but given that the U.S. and Britain have used Twitter to intentionally spread falsehoods in other countries, we can take a wild guess.]

***

One of multiple studies looking into how to spread messages on the networks, titled “Who Will Retweet This? Automatically Identifying and Engaging Strangers on Twitter to Spread Information” did just this.

The researchers explained: “Since everyone is potentially an influencer on social media and is capable of spreading information, our work aims to identify and engage the right people at the right time on social media to help propagate information when needed.”

This story can only really be understood with a little context:

  • We noted 6 years ago that the Pentagon is using artificial intelligence programs to try to predict how people will react to propaganda

Postscript:   We explained one aspect of this story – the importance of controlling which stories “go viral” – in February:

The government spends a great deal of manpower and money to monitor which stories, memes and social movements are developing the momentum to actually pose a threat to the status quo.  For example, the Federal Reserve, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies all monitor social media for stories critical of their agencies … or the government in general.   Other governments – and private corporations – do the same thing.

Why?

Because a story gaining momentum ranks high on social media sites.  So it has a high probability of bursting into popular awareness, destroying the secrecy which allows corruption, and becoming a real challenge to the powers-that-be.

“Social proof” is a related concept.  Social proof is the well-known principle stating that people will believe something if most other people believe it. And see this.  In other words, most people have a herd instinct, so if a story ranks highly, more people are likely to believe it and be influenced by it.

That is why vested interests go to great lengths – using computer power and human resources – to monitor social media momentum.   If a story critical of one of these powerful entities is gaining momentum, they will go to great lengths to kill its momentum, and destroy the social proof which comes with alot of upvotes, likes or recommendations in social media.

They may choose to flood social media with comments supporting the entities, using armies of sock puppets, i.e. fake social media identities. See this, this, this, this and this.

Oil and Gas Pipelines: Pushing Ukraine to the Brink

July 10th, 2014 by Mike Whitney

“The unipolar world model has failed. People everywhere have shown their desire to choose their own destiny, preserve their own cultural identity, and oppose the West’s attempts at military, financial, political and ideological domination.”

- Vladimir Putin

“While the human politics of the crisis in Ukraine garner all the headlines, it is the gas politics that in many ways lies at the heart of the conflict.”

Eric Draitser, Waging war against Russia, one pipeline at a time, RT

What does a pipeline in Afghanistan have to do with the crisis in Ukraine?

Everything. It reveals the commercial interests that drive US policy. Just as the War in Afghanistan was largely fought to facilitate the transfer of natural gas from Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea, so too, Washington engineered the bloody coup in Kiev to cut off energy supplies from Russia to Europe to facilitate the US pivot to Asia.

This is why policymakers in Washington are reasonably satisfied with the outcome of the war in Afghanistan despite the fact that none of the stated goals were achieved. Afghanistan is not a functioning democracy with a strong central government, drug trafficking has not been eradicated, women haven’t been liberated, and the infrastructure and school systems are worse than they were before the war. By every objective standard the war was a failure. But, of course, the stated goals were just public relations blather anyway. They don’t mean anything. What matters is gas, namely the vast untapped reserves in Turkmenistan that could be extracted by privately-owned US corporations who would use their authority to control the growth of US competitors or would-be rivals like China. That’s what the war was all about. The gas is going to be transported via a pipeline from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the Arabian sea, eschewing Russian and Iranian territory. The completion of the so called TAPI pipeline will undermine the development of an Iranian pipeline, thus sabotaging the efforts of a US adversary.

The TAPI pipeline illustrates how Washington is aggressively securing the assets it needs to maintain its dominance for the foreseeable future. Now, check this out from The Express Tribune, July 5:

“Officials of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are set to meet in Ashgabat next week to push ahead with a planned transnational gas pipeline connecting the four countries and reach a settlement on the award of the multi-billion-dollar project to US companies.

“The US is pushing the four countries to grant the lucrative pipeline contract to its energy giants. Two US firms – Chevron and ExxonMobil – are in the race to become consortium leaders, win the project and finance the laying of the pipeline,” a senior government official said while talking to The Express Tribune.

Washington has been lobbying for the gas supply project, called Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (Tapi) pipeline, terming it an ideal scheme to tackle energy shortages in Pakistan. On the other side, it pressed Islamabad to shelve the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline because of a nuclear standoff with Tehran…

According to officials, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will lead a delegation at the meeting of the TAPI pipeline steering committee on July 8 in Ashgabat.

…At present, bid documents are being prepared in consultation with the Asian Development Bank, which is playing the role of transaction adviser. The documents will be given to the two companies only for taking part in the tender.

Chevron is lobbying in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan to clinch a deal, backed by the US State Department. However, other companies could also become part of the consortium that will be led either by Chevron or ExxonMobil.” (TAPI pipeline: Officials to finalise contract award in Ashgabat next week, The Express Tribune)

So the pipeline plan is finally moving forward and, as the article notes, “The documents will be given to the two companies only for taking part in the tender.”

Nice, eh? So the State Department applies a little muscle and “Voila”, Chevron and Exxon clinch the deal. How’s that for a free market?

And who do you think is going to protect that 1,000 mile stretch of pipeline through hostile Taliban-controlled Afghanistan?

Why US troops, of course, which is why US military bases are conveniently located up an down the pipeline route. Coincidence?

Not on your life. Operation “Enduring Freedom” is a bigger hoax than the threadbare war on terror.

So let’s not kid ourselves. The war had nothing to do with liberating women or bringing democracy to the unwashed masses. It was all about power politics and geostrategic maneuvering; stealing resources, trouncing potential rivals, and beefing up profits for the voracious oil giants. Who doesn’t know that already? Here’s more background from the Wall Street Journal:

“Earlier this month, President Obama sent a letter to (Turkmenistan) President Berdimuhamedow emphasizing a common interest in helping develop Afghanistan and expressing Mr. Obama’s support for TAPI and his desire for a major U.S. firm to construct it.

…Progress on TAPI will also jump-start many of the other trans-Afghan transport projects—including roads and railroads—that are at the heart of America’s “New Silk Road Strategy” for the Afghan economy.

The White House should understand that if TAPI isn’t built, neither U.S. nor U.N. sanctions will prevent Pakistan from building a pipeline from Iran.” (The Pipeline That Could Keep the Peace in Afghanistan, Wall Street Journal)

Can you see what’s going on? Afghanistan, which is central to Washington’s pivot strategy, is going to be used for military bases, resource extraction and transportation. That’s it. There’s not going to be any reconstruction or nation building. The US doesn’t do that anymore. This is the stripped-down, no-frills, 21st century imperialism. “No nation for you, buddy. Just give us your gas and off we’ll go.” That’s how the system works now. It’s alot like Iraq –the biggest hellhole on earth–where “oil production has surged to its highest level in over 30 years”. (according to the Wall Street Journal) And who’s raking in the profits on that oil windfall?

Why the oil giants, of course. (ExxonMobil, BP and Shell) Maybe that’s why you never read about what a terrible mistake the war was. Because for the people who count, it really wasn’t a mistake at all. In fact, it all worked out pretty well.

Of course, the US will support the appearance of democracy in Kabul, but the government won’t have any real power beyond the capital. It never did anyway. (Locals jokingly called Karzai the “mayor of Kabul”) As for the rest of the country; it will be ruled by warlords as it has been since the invasion in 2001. (Remember the Northern Alliance? Hate to break the news, but they’re all bloodthirsty, misogynist warlords who were reinstated by Rumsfeld and Co.)

This is the new anarchic “Mad Max” template Washington is applying wherever it intervenes. The intention is to dissolve the nation-state in order to remove any obstacle to resource extraction, which is why failed states are popping up wherever the US sticks its big nose. It’s all by design. Chaos is the objective. Simply put: It’s easier to steal whatever one wants when there’s no center of power to resist.

This is why political leaders in Europe are so worried, because they don’t like the idea of sharing a border with Somalia, which is exactly what Ukraine is going to look like when the US is done with it.

In Ukraine, the US is using a divide and conquer strategy to pit the EU against trading partner Moscow. The State Department and CIA helped to topple Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and install a US stooge in Kiev who was ordered to cut off the flow of Russian gas to the EU and lure Putin into a protracted guerilla war in Ukraine. The bigwigs in Washington figured that, with some provocation, Putin would react the same way he did when Georgia invaded South Ossetia in 2006. But, so far, Putin has resisted the temptation to get involved which is why new puppet president Petro Poroshenko has gone all “Jackie Chan” and stepped up the provocations by pummeling east Ukraine mercilessly. It’s just a way of goading Putin into sending in the tanks.

But here’s the odd part: Washington doesn’t have a back-up plan. It’s obvious by the way Poroshenko keeps doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That demonstrates that there’s no Plan B. Either Poroshenko lures Putin across the border and into the conflict, or the neocon plan falls apart, which it will if they can’t demonize Putin as a “dangerous aggressor” who can’t be trusted as a business partner.

So all Putin has to do is sit-tight and he wins, mainly because the EU needs Moscow’s gas. If energy supplies are terminated or drastically reduced, prices will rise, the EU will slide back into recession, and Washington will take the blame. So Washington has a very small window to draw Putin into the fray, which is why we should expect another false flag incident on a much larger scale than the fire in Odessa. Washington is going to have to do something really big and make it look like it was Moscow’s doing. Otherwise, their pivot plan is going to hit a brick wall. Here’s a tidbit readers might have missed in the Sofia News Agency’s novinite site:

“Ukraine’s Parliament adopted .. a bill under which up to 49% of the country’s gas pipeline network could be sold to foreign investors. This could pave the way for US or EU companies, which have eyed Ukrainian gas transportation system over the last months.

…Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was earlier quoted as saying that the bill would allow Kiev to “attract European and American partners to the exploitation and modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation,” in a situation on Ukraine’s energy market he described as “super-critical”. Critics of the bill have repeatedly pointed the West has long been interest in Ukraine’s pipelines, with some seeing in the Ukrainian revolution a means to get access to the system. (Ukraine allowed to sell up to 49% of gas pipeline system, novinite.com)

Boy, you got to hand it to the Obama throng. They really know how to pick their coup-leaders, don’t they? These puppets have only been in office for a couple months and they’re already giving away the farm.

And, such a deal! US corporations will be able to buy up nearly half of a pipeline that moves 60 percent of the gas that flows from Russia to Europe. That’s what you call a tollbooth, my friend; and US companies will be in just the right spot to gouge Moscow for every drop of natural gas that transits those pipelines. And gouge they will too, you can bet on it.

Is that why the State Department cooked up this loony putsch, so their fatcat, freeloading friends could rake in more dough?

This also explains why the Obama crowd is trying to torpedo Russia’s other big pipeline project called Southstream. Southstream is a good deal for Europe and Russia. On the one hand, it would greatly enhance the EU’s energy security, and on the other, it will provide needed revenues for Russia so they can continue to modernize, upgrade their dilapidated infrastructure, and improve standards of living. But “the proposed pipeline (which) would snake about 2,400 kilometers, or roughly 1,500 miles, from southern Russia via the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and ultimately Austria. (and) could handle about 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, enough to allow Russian exports to Europe to largely bypass Ukraine” (New York Times) The proposed pipeline further undermines Washington’s pivot strategy, so Obama, the State Department and powerful US senators (Ron Johnson, John McCain, and Chris Murphy) are doing everything in their power to torpedo the project.

“What gives Vladimir Putin his power and control is his oil and gas reserves and West and Eastern Europe’s dependence on them,” Senator Johnson said in an interview. “We need to break up his stranglehold on energy supplies. We need to bust up that monopoly.” (New York Times)

What a bunch of baloney. Putin doesn’t have a monopoly on gas. Russia only provides 30 percent of the gas the EU uses every year. And Putin isn’t blackmailing anyone either. Countries in the EU can either buy Russian gas or not buy it. It’s up to them. No one has a gun to their heads. And Gazprom’s prices are competitive too, sometimes well-below market rates which has been the case for Ukraine for years, until crackpot politicians started sticking their thumb in Putin’s eye at every opportunity; until they decided that that they didn’t have to pay their bills anymore because, well, because Washington told them not to pay their bills. That’s why.

Ukraine is in the mess it’s in today for one reason, because they decided to follow Washington’s advice and shoot themselves in both feet. Their leaders thought that was a good idea. So now the country is broken, penniless and riven by social unrest. Regrettably, there’s no cure for stupidity.

The neocon geniuses apparently believe that if they sabotage Southstream and nail down 49 percent ownership of Ukraine’s pipeline infrastructure, then the vast majority of Russian gas will have to flow through Ukrainian pipelines. They think that this will give them greater control over Moscow. But there’s a glitch to this plan which analyst Jeffrey Mankoff pointed out in an article titled “Can Ukraine Use Its Gas Pipelines to Threaten Russia?”. Here’s what he said:

“The biggest problem with this approach is a cut in gas supplies creates real risks for the European economy… In fact, Kyiv’s efforts to siphon off Russian gas destined to Europe to offset the impact of a Russian cutoff in January 2009 provide a window onto why manipulating gas supplies is a risky strategy for Ukraine. Moscow responded to the siphoning by halting all gas sales through Ukraine for a couple of weeks, leaving much of eastern and southern Europe literally out in the cold. European leaders reacted angrily, blaming both Moscow and Kyiv for the disruption and demanding that they sort out their problems. While the EU response would likely be somewhat more sympathetic to Ukraine today, Kyiv’s very vulnerability and need for outside financial support makes incurring European anger by manipulating gas supplies very risky.” (Can Ukraine Use Its Gas Pipelines to Threaten Russia, two paragraphs)

The funny thing about gas is that, when you stop paying the bills, they turn the heat off. Is that hard to understand?

So, yes, the State Department crystal-gazers and their corporate-racketeer friends might think they have Putin by the shorthairs by buying up Ukraine’s pipelines, but the guy who owns the gas (Gazprom) is still in the drivers seat. And he’s going to do what’s in the best interests of himself and his shareholders. Someone should explain to John Kerry that that’s just how capitalism works.

Washington’s policy in Ukraine is such a mess, it really makes one wonder about the competence of the people who come up with these wacko ideas. Did the brainiacs who concocted this plan really think they’d be able to set up camp between two major trading partners, turn off the gas, reduce a vital transit country into an Iraq-type basketcase, and start calling the shots for everyone in the region?

It’s crazy.

Europe and Russia are a perfect fit. Europe needs gas to heat its homes and run its machinery. Russia has gas to sell and needs the money to strengthen its economy. It’s a win-win situation. What Europe and Russia don’t need is the United States. In fact, the US is the problem. As long as US meddling persists, there’s going to be social unrest, division, and war. It’s that simple. So the goal should be to undermine Washington’s ability to conduct these destabilizing operations and force US policymakers to mind their own freaking business. That means there should be a concerted effort to abandon the dollar, ditch US Treasuries, jettison the petrodollar system, and force the US to become a responsible citizen that complies with International law.

It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen, mainly because everyone is sick and tired of all the troublemaking.

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].

Detroit Water Shutoffs Hit Families, Ill and Elderly Residents

July 10th, 2014 by World Socialist Web Site

Thousands more Detroit families had their water shut off this week as part of the city administration’s plan to cut service to 150,000 households who are overdue on their water bills. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said he hopes to shut off water service to as many as 3,000 homes per week this summer.

The city’s water rates have been climbing for years and are now about double the national average. Last month, a United Nations agency issued a report denouncing the city’s water shutoffs, stating, “Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.”

World Socialist Web Site reporting team visited a bill payment center Monday, where residents can attempt to get their service reinstated after paying what they owe, plus a $30 fee. We encountered enormous opposition to the shutoffs. Several residents reported that they were shut off with no notice, leaving their families completely unprepared. Others said they lost water service due to mistakes on the part of the water department and hadn’t actually missed a payment, but even after confirming this, were still required to pay the fee to restore service.

Image: Renella

“I’m retired, and I’m sick with cancer,” said Renella.

“That’s why I can’t understand how they can turn off the water on people that are sick like me, who are on a fixed income. Detroit is down to its lowest now as far as income and people working. Look around you! You know there’s something going on when people can’t pay their water bill. We need water to survive. Besides the water, everything here in Detroit is just coming apart. I’ve never seen it like this, and I’m 66 years old. It’s like we’re over in the old country or something.”

Image: Andre Hill

“To shut off someone with no warning is terrible!” said Andre Hill, a welder and father of six whose family’s water was shut off with no notice.

“How can people prepare to deal with not having water, especially with no notice? We are a family of eight. I have four girls, plus my wife. What are they supposed to do, go to the bathroom outside? It is inhumane. They hired outside contractors to do the shutoffs, probably because the regular workers would refuse to do it.”

“I had to call off work to come down here and try to get us turned back on. And as far as I can tell, we don’t even owe any money, all the payments have been made.”

After coming back out of the payment center, Andre said, “I was right, we didn’t owe any money. But they still made me pay $30 to get it back on.”

Andre said he opposed the bankruptcy of Detroit, in particular the private takeover of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“What they did to privatize the museum is the same kind of thing. They want to get as much money as they can from the people. That art belongs to the people of Detroit. A lot of it was donated by people who wanted everyone to be able to see it. You’re not supposed to be able to sell it. If they can sell the art, why would anyone donate more art in the future? It can wind up who knows where.”

“Even if you always try to pay your bills, you can easily find yourself getting cut off,” said Laura, a longtime Detroit resident. “I know someone whose job told them that their last day will be this Friday. There goes their income! Now they’ve got to hurry up and find out how to avoid having their water cut off. My uncle is a retired Detroit police officer. They are cutting his pension check [as part of the bankruptcy]. Now he can’t afford to pay his bills. He could get cut off.”

Image: Anthony

“It’s not fair,” said Anthony, a disabled veteran.

“They’re cutting people off for having $60 or $70 balances. But billionaire business owners like Mike Ilitch don’t pay their bills, and they haven’t had their water cut. I don’t know why they do it, other than the Detroit politicians are crooked. They are so crooked, they steal from anyone. I came out of the military disabled. I get $3,000 a month to live on, and I’m broke at the end of it.”

Leonte compared the current crisis in Detroit to the Great Depression. “This is the worst situation since the 1930s. But you know what? The banks are getting money hand over fist. And [the government] bailed them out. But they wouldn’t bail us out.”

Referring to the housing crisis that led to the financial crash of 2008, Leonte added,

“Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and all those companies, they got found guilty of doing wrong. They get on TV and do their little speeches and that’s that—they’re not held responsible for anything.

“I know a lot of people who have had their water cut off. If they cut you off, you have to pay $30 for coming back out to cut it on. So if you owe two hundred, you have to pay that plus the fee! People can’t pay it. It’s ridiculous!”

Image: Rhonda

“It’s a shame,” said Rhonda,

“We have about 100-200 people in line here. Water should be a human right. You know, you can’t live without water. You have to worry about where you’re going to shower when you go to work. How can you cook your food if you don’t have water to rinse it off, or to wash your pots and pans? You can’t wash your clothes…and there are people being shut off who have children. Before, the water bill used to be every three months. Now it comes every month, and it’s the same [charge as before].”

“My water has been off for four days,” said Carl Thomas, a city sanitation worker. Because of the [fourth of July] holiday [when the payment centers were closed], I couldn’t pay until today. I was given no warning. People can’t live without water. My brother’s water has also been turned off. He is unemployed and trying to figure out how to come up with the money to get it back on.”

“It’s not right,” said Tiffany, a worker at Henry Ford Hospital. “They are letting the big companies [that owe money] stay in service while they’re out here cutting off people for $80. They should give people a chance. Give them some time to pay off their bills, don’t just cut them off.”

Jackson, a landlord, said,

“What is happening today is that people cannot afford these high rates. It used to be that water bills were paid quarterly, every three months. Now you’ve got a bill to keep up with every month. For me, my bill used to figure out to $30 or $40 for every month. Now it’s around $160 a month. People can hardly ever water their grass anymore because you’ve got to pay so much for it. It’s hard on everybody, but the poorest are always the ones that catch hell.”