A top White House official says Washington does not need to apologize to Afghanistan for over a decade of killing and injuring civilians in the war-torn country.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice made the remarks following reports that US President Barack Obama would apologize for the United States’ mistakes.

Earlier, an Afghan presidential spokesman said that as a part of the Washington-Kabul security pact, the U-S would write a letter admitting the errors it made during its war in Afghanistan. But according to Rice, no letter has been drafted and it is off the table.

Meanwhile, a group of Afghan elders known as the Loya Jirga will discuss the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement between the two countries on Thursday. If confirmed, the strategic partnership deal will allow US troops to stay in the country beyond the 2014 planned pullout and grant them immunity from prosecution in Afghanistan.

For more information PressTV speaks with Richard Becker with the ANSWER Coalition.


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They’re Pimps … Selling Out the American People For a Price

The Washington Times reported yesterday that Nuclear Regulatory Commission workers watch porn instead of cracking down on unsafe conditions at nuclear plants.

That’s not an isolated problem …

We noted last year:

Investigators from the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of the regulator’s employees surfed erotic websites, hired prostitutes and accepted gifts from bank executives … instead of actually working to help the economy.

Likewise, senior SEC employees spent up to 8 hours a day surfing porn sites instead of cracking down on financial crimes.

The Minerals Management Service – the regulator charged with overseeing BP and other oil companies to ensure that oil spills don’t occur – was riddled with “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity”, which included “sex with industry contacts”.

The biggest companies own the D.C. politicians.  Indeed, the head of the economics department at George Mason University has pointed out that it is unfair to call politicians “prostitutes”.  They are in fact pimps … selling out the American people for a price.

In Switzerland a petition from 100,000 people, or about 1.25% of the population, creates a public referendum.  By this means, last March, Swiss voters created strict limits on executive pay.

On November 24, the Swiss will vote on whether to take a further step — limiting executive pay to no more than 12 times the lowest salary in the company. Such a maximum wage policy allows the CEO pay increases, but only if workers get at least a twelfth as much.

A movement in the U.S. is asking: If Switzerland can do it, why can’t we?

The Swiss are also set to vote, on a date yet to be set, to create a guaranteed basic income of $2,800 (2,500 Swiss francs) per month for every adult. That’s about $16 per hour for a full-time worker, but it’s guaranteed even for those who can’t find work.

You know what country can afford such a measure even more easily, given its vast supplies of wealth? The United States of America.

Here in the United States, had the minimum wage kept pace with productivity since the 1960s it would now be $21.72 an hour, or $3,722 a month. The Congressional proposal of $10.10 an hour, which President Obama now says he supports, equals $1,751 a month for a fulltime job. The actual U.S. minimum wage of $7.25, which does not apply to all workers, makes $1,242 a month. But only if you can find work.

That’s less than half what the Swiss are voting on, and Swiss workers also have their healthcare paid for, public transportation widely available, quality education and higher education free or affordable, 14 weeks paid parental leave, and a nearly endless list of other advantages provided by the government.

A basic income guarantee, currently practiced in Alaska and once supported by President Richard Nixon and the U.S. House of Representatives, would be far more efficient than targeted support programs, because every individual would receive the exact same check, with no stigma attached to it; and, yes — believe it or not — people who could find work would still work.

Switzerland has a greater percentage of its population made up by immigrants than the United States does. Switzerland has four national languages.  What allows Switzerland to practice democracy so much more effectively?

Two major parts of the answer are obvious. Switzerland doesn’t fight wars, and it doesn’t redistribute its wealth upward creating an overclass of multibillionaires.

Perhaps its time to begin moving our own country in a peaceful, prosperous direction. A growing number of people have decided to try.

Washington didn’t attack, invade and occupy Afghanistan to leave. Permanent occupation is planned.

NBC News headlined “Endless Afghanistan? US-Afghan agreement would keep troops in place and funds flowing, perhaps indefinitely,” saying:

“While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key US-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.”

“The agreement reflects an open-ended military commitment. It involves “thousands of American troops (and) billions of US taxpayer dollars.”

Draft “Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” provisions state in part:

“The Parties acknowledge that continued US military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end.”

America’s Afghan war has nothing to do with defeating Al Qaeda or other nonexistent terrorist threats. More on that below.

NBC News called the agreement “sweeping,” “vague in places (and) highly specific in others.”

It’s dated July 25, 2013. It’s a working draft. Its effective date is January 1, 2015. It extends through 2024 “and beyond.”

It defines everything from types of future US missions to “use of radios and the taxation of American soldiers and contractors.” It includes 28 articles. They’re titled:

Purpose and Scope

Definitions

(Afghan and international) Laws

Defense and Security Cooperation Activities

Developing and Sustaining Afghanistan’s Defense and Security Capabilities

Defense and Security Cooperation Mechanisms

External Aggression

Detention

Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas

Property Ownership

Positioning and Storage of Equipment and Materiel

Movement of Vehicles, Vessels, and Aircraft

Contracting Procedures

Utilities and Communications

Status of Personnel

Bearing of Arms and Wearing of Uniforms

Entry and Exit

Importation and Exportation

Taxation

Driving and Professional Licenses

Motor Vehicles

Service Support Activities

Currency and Exchange

Claims

Annexes

Disputes and Implementation

Joint Commission (to implement the agreement)

Entry into Force, Amendment, and Termination

US and Afghan negotiators reportedly agreed on terms. A traditional Afghan loya jirga (grand assembly) must ratify them. On Thursday, deliberations began.

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai is Washington’s man in Kabul. He’s a convenient US stooge. He’s a Pashtun warlord.

It is well documented that he’s a former CIA asset that he profits enormously from America’s occupation and amassed vast amounts of wealth from elicit drug trafficking.

He’ll step down after April 2014 presidential elections. Another convenient US stooge will replace him.

He agreed to grant US forces immunity from prosecution. He’ll let America discipline its own. It rarely happens for crimes of war or against humanity. US forces repeatedly get away with murder and then some.

Another stumbling block apparently was overcome. A Kerry/Karzai phone call reportedly resolved it.

Terms agreed on supposedly include Obama’s promise to apologize for “mistakes” made throughout the conflict.

Allegedly he’ll do so by letter. Karzai wants it read to 2,500  participating loya jirga elders and officials.

According to Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi, finalizing terms depends on an Obama apology.

“The idea,” he said, is to “mention that there were mistakes made in the conduct of military operations in the past, in the conduct of military operations by United States forces in the last decade, and that Afghans have suffered, and that we understand the pain and therefore we give assurances and make sure those mistakes are not repeated.”

National Security advisor Susan Rice denies an Obama apology is forthcoming. “No such letter has been drafted or delivered,” she said.

“There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan. Quite the contrary. We have sacrificed and supported them in their democratic progress and in tackling the insurgency and Al Qaeda.”

Rice is one of Washington’s worst ever officials. She reflects moral depravity writ large. She relishes imperial spoils.

She’s indifferent to human suffering. She’s a monument to wrong over right. She’s a disgrace and embarrassment to America, her position and humanity. She’s an Obama favorite. They’re partners in crime.

According to an unnamed State Department official, acknowledging civilian casualties is being discussed.

“We will consider (Karzai’s) request for reassurances, including the option of a letter from the administration stating our position,” he said.

If drafted, it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on. So-called “mistakes” repeat with disturbing regularity. Paper promises won’t stop them. Past ones didn’t end ongoing crimes of war and against humanity.

They include night raids on civilian homes, arrests, torture and deaths that follow, drone attacks largely affecting noncombatants, and other abusive practices.

Apologies ring hollow. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed regret for civilian deaths.

So did former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Generals Stanley McCrystal, David Rodriguez and John Allen. Noncombatant killings continue.

The proposed deal includes another empty promise. US troops allegedly will only enter Afghan homes under so-called “exceptional and special” circumstances. Allegedly it’s to save American lives.

US troops don’t give a damn about others. They’re trained to kill. Protecting and preserving life doesn’t matter. Longstanding policy won’t change.

According to retired General David Barno:

So-called counterterrorism raids are “the area where the United States is going to be particularly sensitive to restrictions. Forces in combat, under fire, are going to require a little bit of that flexibility.

In other words, expect no change in US night raid policy. Drone attacks won’t stop. Innocent civilians will suffer most. They’re the main casualties of wars.

Thousands of US forces will remain in Afghanistan indefinitely. Currently around 86,000 NATO troops include 60,000 US ones.

Afghanistan reflects the illusion of a lost cause. After over 12 years of imperial war and occupation, Washington won’t cut its losses and leave. It’s for good reason.

Afghanistan is considered a geopolitical prize. Plans are to stay indefinitely. War won’t end.

At issue is controlling Eurasia’s vast oil, gas and other resources. It’s controlling the world’s largest opium supply.

It floods world markets with heroin. It provides enormous profits for Wall Street. It gives CIA access to billions of dollars in elicit drug money.

Occupied Afghanistan gives America a strategically located land-based aircraft carrier. It’s part of Washington’s plan to encircle Russia and China with bases.

Both nations represent the only challengers to US global dominance. Imperial supremacy depends on neutralizing their alliance.

China is the world’s second largest economy. In a decade or less, it may surpass America. Russia is a formidable military power. It’s the only nation able to challenge America’s military might.

It has enormous oil and gas resources. China needs access to them. Both nations benefit strategically by allying.

Doing so weakens America’s longterm position. The new great game pits Washington against a Sino/Russian alliance. The fullness of time will tell which side prevails.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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

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

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/permanent-us-afghanistan-occupation/

Pact Provides for Permanent US Occupation of Afghanistan

November 22nd, 2013 by Bill Van Auken

A draft agreement reached late Wednesday night between Washington and the puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai calls for as many as 15,000 foreign troops, the vast majority of them American, to continue occupying Afghanistan through 2024 and beyond.

The deal would also leave the Pentagon in control of nine major bases spread across eight provinces. While these bases are to be formally ceded to Afghanistan next year, they would effectively remain in US hands.

They include Bagram Airbase, north of the capital, the largest US facility, Kandahar and Shorab airbase in the south, Shindand Airbase in Herat province near the western border with Iran, the Jalalabad and Gardez airbases near the eastern border with Pakistan, as well as facilities at Kabul International Airport, Herat International Airport and Mazar-i-Sharif Airport in the north near the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

While the ostensible purpose of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is to leave behind a “residual” US-led force to train, advise and provide logistical support to the Afghan security forces, as well as conduct counterterrorism operations, the deal would consolidate Washington’s longstanding strategic aim of establishing a permanent military foothold in a strategic region that borders China, Iran and the oil-rich Caspian Basin. This was what the Afghan war—prepared well in advance of the September 11, 2001 attacks—has been about from its onset.

While on the eve of the 2012 US election, President Barack Obama insisted that his administration was “bringing our troops home from Afghanistan,” and was committed to a timetable that would “have them all out of there by 2014,” this new agreement essentially commits Washington to unending military intervention in the impoverished country.

A UN mandate allowing the deployment of US and allied troops in Afghanistan expires at the end of 2014. The new deal, which would take effect on January 1, 2014, calls for continuing the US military presence to “2024 and beyond.”

Karzai made a public appeal to support the agreement to the nearly 3,000 Afghan clan leaders and dignitaries assembled in a Loya Jirga (Pashto for grand assembly) he had convened in Kabul. He urged acceptance of the pact on the grounds that it would bring stability to Afghanistan.

The Afghan president said that the deal would keep between 10,000 and 15,000 occupation troops in Afghanistan, while committing the US government “to seek funds on a yearly basis to support the training, equipping, advising and sustaining” of hundreds of thousands of Afghan troops and police.

At the same time, Karzai sought to strike a nationalist pose, stating at one point, “I don’t trust the US, and the US doesn’t trust me.”

In discussions with US officials, Karzai had demanded that Obama issue a statement acknowledging and apologizing for “mistakes” over the past decade that had led to the deaths of Afghan civilians.

A letter from Obama released in Kabul on Thursday—and brandished by Karzai before the Loya Jirga—failed to do either. Instead, it praised US troops for their “enormous sacrifices” and vowed that in future US forces would not enter Afghan homes “except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of US nationals.”

While the Karzai regime had called for an outright ban on US troops engaging in any of the “night raids” against Afghan homes that have provoked intense popular anger, Obama’s letter essentially affirms that they will continue the practice as the Pentagon sees fit.

Similarly, the text of the draft agreement, which was dated “November 2013,” states that “unless mutually agreed, United States forces shall not conduct combat operations in Afghanistan,” which means that US troops will continue fighting in Afghanistan after 2014.

The letter went on to say that the Pentagon would “continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and in their daily lives.”

This “respect” has found expression in bombings and drone missile attacks on civilian targets, massacres and the disappearance and murder of suspected insurgents over the past dozen years. The war has seen a 23 percent increase in civilian casualties during the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. The proposed agreement ensures that this carnage will continue.

The other clause within the deal that is widely opposed in Afghanistan grants US troops full immunity for any crimes carried out on Afghan soil, preventing either Afghan courts or international war crime tribunals from exercising jurisdiction. The failure of the Iraqi government to accept similar terms led to the scrapping of plans to keep thousands of US troops in that country.

Karzai told the Loya Jirga that he had opposed both the continued right of US troops to enter Afghan homes and detain Afghans as well as their blanket immunity, but that insisting on either condition would have meant the agreement’s abrogation.

“I said to the US that issue is out of the government’s authority and that the Afghan people have the authority” to accept or reject these provisions, through the Loya Jirga, he said.

Karzai’s speech provoked consternation in Washington, because of his vow to put off formal signing of any agreement until after an April 5 election that is to choose his successor. The US had called for a swift ratification of the deal in order to facilitate military planning and to prevent the agreement from becoming an issue in the Afghan election.

The White House responded swiftly to Karzai’s remarks, issuing a statement Thursday afternoon calling for the agreement to be signed before the end of the year.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest warned that a delay in finalizing the deal until April “would prevent the United States and our allies from being able to plan for a post-2014 presence.”

Karzai’s nationalist posturing notwithstanding, there is little prospect that his regime would survive without the continued presence of foreign troops and the $6 billion in annual aid promised to Kabul.

If such support “dries up, then they can’t survive,” General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a meeting of top US CEOs in Washington Tuesday. While the regime could continue without the “ubiquitous presence of US military forces,” he added, “they can’t live without any.”

The Loya Jirga, which is being held under a security lockdown in Kabul, is to meet for another three days before arriving at a consensus. Karzai has claimed that this body, which he has hand picked, has the ultimate decision on the bilateral agreement in order to distance himself from the move to indefinitely extend a foreign occupation that is deeply unpopular among the Afghan people.

In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry gave credence to this pretense, however. At the State Department he declined to discuss the contents of draft agreement, on the grounds that it was now in the hands of the Loya Jirga. “So I think it’s inappropriate for me to comment at all on any of the details,” he said. “It’s up to the people of Afghanistan.”

As fraudulent as the sovereignty of the Loya Jirga is, the Obama administration is not even going through the pretense of obtaining a popular mandate in the United States for continuing a 12-year-old war and occupation for another decade and beyond. It intends to implement the bilateral deal without any debate or vote in Congress, much less approval by the American people, who are in their overwhelming majority opposed to the continued military intervention in Afghanistan.

A report issued Wednesday by the New York City-based liberal think tank Demos is a devastating refutation of the arguments used by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to throw the city of Detroit into bankruptcy.

The Demos report charges that the financial numbers used by Orr and other advocates of bankruptcy were grossly inflated, and that the real causes of Detroit’s cash flow shortfall were parasitic loans and other financial schemes pushed on the city by the banks and other powerful creditors.

Data assembled in the report adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the city of Detroit’s July 19 Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing was not driven by economic necessity but by political considerations.

Taking into account the Demos findings, it is more obvious than ever that Orr filed for Chapter 9 as part of a strategy to use the bankruptcy courts to gut the pensions of 21,000 retired municipal workers, privatize services and sell off public assets, including the artwork of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The aim is to pay off the same financial institutions chiefly responsible for the city’s crisis and, more generally, the economic crisis that erupted in 2008.

US Judge Steven Rhodes is expected to rule soon on whether the city is eligible for bankruptcy.

The entire political and media establishment in Detroit and around the country have repeated without the slightest challenge the claims by Orr and his co-conspirators that the city is in inescapable financial distress, caused above all by unfunded pension obligations and other “legacy costs”. The Demos report shows that the surge in legacy costs used by to justify the filing “was driven heavily by the city’s complex financial deals, not retiree benefits.”

The real causes of the city’s cash flow problems are not the pensions and benefits owed to workers, but the massive decline in revenue that has taken place under conditions of deindustrialization, mass unemployment, the growth of poverty and huge tax giveaways to corporations.

“Contrary to widely held belief, Detroit does not have a spending problem,” the report states. “Since the onset of the Great Recession, the city’s total expenses have actually decreased by $356.3 million… although its financial expenses have gone up.”

Summing up its main conclusions, Demos writes, “The City of Detroit’s bankruptcy was driven by a severe decline in revenues (and, importantly, not an increase in obligations to fund pensions.) Depopulation and long-term unemployment caused Detroit’s property and income tax revenues to plummet. The state of Michigan exacerbated the problems by slashing revenue it shared with the city. The city’s overall expenses have declined over the last five years, although its financial expenses have increased. In addition, Wall Street sold risky financial instruments to the city, which now threaten the resolution of this crisis.”

The report points to the disastrous social conditions in the wake of the 2008 crash as a primary factor behind the collapse in city revenue. “The number of employed Detroit residents fell by 53 percent from 2000 to 2012. But half of that decline occurred in the single year of 2008 as the Great Recession took hold. There is one inescapable fact: The most significant proximate cause of the cash flow cliff off of which the city fell was the Great Recession.”

Moreover, Detroit lost hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenue sharing as Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his Democratic predecessor—two-term governor Jennifer Granholm—cut more than $700 million in transfer payments from the state government in Lansing to the city. From 2008 to 2013, as the impact of the crisis hit hardest, annual revenue sharing fell 27 percent, from $249.6 million to $182.8 million.

Although the Democratic Party-aligned think tank mentions it only tangentially, federal aid from the Obama administration—particularly in areas of anti-poverty, public education, Head Start and other programs—has also been slashed precipitously since 2009. In addition, the White House and Congress cut funding to cash-strapped states, which in turn reduced funding to cities.

The city’s revenue stream was also depleted by massive tax concessions to powerful corporations. The more than $20 million per year awards to companies included gifts to DTE Energy, Comerica Bank, Quicken Loans, Compuware, the Farbamn Group and Detroit Medical Center, the report shows.

The report argues that Orr’s frequently cited figure of $18 billion for the city’s deficit is, from a legal standpoint, irrelevant to a municipal bankruptcy, which is based strictly on immediate cash flow considerations and not on speculative estimates of long-term solvency.

“That figure is irrelevant to an analysis of Detroit’s insolvency and bankruptcy filing, highly inflated, and in large part, simply inaccurate,” the report claimed. “In reality, the city needs to address its cash flow shortfall, which the emergency manager pegs at only $198 million, although that number too may be inflated because it is based on extraordinarily aggressive assumptions of the contributions the city needs to make to its pension funds.”

As Demos notes, far from excessive, irresponsible spending on services, Detroit’s fiscal policy in the wake of the 2008 crash was characterized by brutal cuts in operating expenses. “Between FY 2008 and FY 2013, the city drastically cut operating expenses by $419.1 million. This was accomplished in large part by laying off more than 2,350 workers, cutting worker pay, and reducing future healthcare and future benefit accruals for workers… The city reduced salary expenses by 30 percent between FY 2008 and FY 2013. Total operating expenses have been reduced by nearly 38 percent during that same time.”

While city operating expenses expenditures fell sharply, however, debt servicing and other financing costs shot up. The city entered into complex financial arrangements, including interest rate swap agreements, which produced vast sums for Wall Street but amplified the city’s financial woes. By entering these financial arrangements—first started in the mid-2000s under Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick—the city effectively placed large bets that interest rates would continue to rise on its outstanding debt. When the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in the wake of the 2008 crash, the city lost out massively and found itself completely at the mercy of the creditors, who were suddenly able to demand staggering “termination” fees to “unwind” the swap deals. The case of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department illustrates the scale of these loses. For fiscal years 2011 and 2012, the city took on more than $1.16 billion in debt to pay for expenses related to the DWSD. Nearly half of this debt total, $547 million, went to cover “swap termination payments” imposed on the city after its credit was downgraded. Orr is now pushing for the city to accept a proposed $350 million loan from the international finance house Barclays to pay off the debts incurred to Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch and UBS as a result of these swaps. In other words, the debt burden of the city will be exacerbated—and the cuts against the working class made deeper—in order to pay off the criminal and semi-criminal elements that swindled the city into the swaps. “A strong case can be made that the banks that sold these swaps may have breached their ethical, and possibly legal, obligations to the city in executing these deals,” Demos reported.

The so-called “legacy costs,” which are constantly cited by the corporate-owned press in their attempts to portray pensioners and health care recipients as unaffordable burdens on the city finances, include $38.5 million in financial expenses owed to the banks, versus only $24.3 million in benefit liabilities.

The Demos report, while presenting damning evidence of the conspiracy behind the Detroit bankruptcy, does not challenge the basic political framework of the assault on the working class. It concludes with a series of recommendations for Orr, including proposals for increases in revenue through unspecified means. The think-tank has ties to sections of the Democratic Party as well as the unions, which have opposed the bankruptcy from the standpoint of insisting that the unions should have been brought on board in imposing concessions on the working class and selling off city assets.

While the Demos report was a lead article in the Guardian in the UK, it was ignored by virtually all of the major US media outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post, and barely reported in Detroit itself. The Detroit Free Press criticized the report, saying it shifted the blame to “outsiders,” when the real problem was an “unwillingness to face fiscal realities, a devotion to expensive benefits, excessive pension bonuses” and a failure to make “tough decisions.”

NATO: Proudly Delivering Death Since 1949

November 22nd, 2013 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO

Author:  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
ISBN:  978-0-9852710-2-2
Pages:  411 with complete index

Available to order from Global Research

The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless NATO remains and continues to alarmingly expand eastward, antagonizing Russia and its ex-Soviet allies. China and Iran are also increasingly monitoring NATO’s moves as it comes into more frequent contact with them.

Yugoslavia was a turning point for the Atlantic Alliance and its mandate. The organization moved from the guise of a defensive posture into an offensive pose under the pretexts of humanitarianism. Starting from Yugoslavia, NATO began its journey towards becoming a global military force. From its wars in the Balkans, it began to broaden its international area of operations outside of the Euro-Atlantic zone into the Caucasus, Central Asia, East Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indian Ocean. It has virtually turned the Mediterranean Sea into a NATO lake with the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, while it seeks to do the same to the Black Sea and gain a strategic foothold in the Caspian Sea region. The Gulf Security Initiative between NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council seeks to also dominate the Persian Gulf and to hem in Iran. Israel has become a de facto member of the military organization. At the same time, NATO vessels sail the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. These warships are deployed off the coasts of Somalia, Djibouti, and Yemen as part of NATO’s objectives to create a naval cordon of the seas controlling important strategic waterways and maritime transit routes.

The Atlantic Alliance’s ultimate aim is to fix and fasten the American Empire. NATO has clearly played an important role in complementing the US strategy for dominating Eurasia. This includes the encirclement of Russia, China, Iran, and their allies with a military ring subservient to Washington. The global missile shield project, the militarization of Japan, the insurgencies in Libya and Syria, the threats against Iran, and the formation of a NATO-like military alliance in the Asia-Pacific region are components of this colossal geopolitical project. NATO’s globalization, however, is bringing together a new series of Eurasian counter-alliances with global linkages that stretch as far as Latin America. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have been formed by Russia, China, and their allies as shields against the US and NATO and as a means to challenge them. As the globalization of NATO unfolds the risks of nuclear war become more and more serious with the Atlantic Alliance headed towards a collision course with Russia, China, and Iran that could ignite World War III.

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REVIEWS

“The Globalization of NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is simply magnificent, erudite and devoid of the ethnocentrism to which one has become so accustomed from Western authors. The book deals with what doubtless are the most important and relevant issues of the day for all those committed to saving life and protecting Mother Earth from rampant human irresponsibility and crime. There is no other book that, at this particular time, I would most heartily endorse. I think Africans, Near Eastern peoples, Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Asians and Europeans generally and all the progressive Latin American countries of today will find a much needed reinforcement and support for their peaceful ideals in this excellent must-read book.”
MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMANN, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua (1979-1990) and President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2008-2009): Managua, Nicaragua.

“We are far away from the principles and objectives for which the United Nations was created and the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal stipulating that some state actions can be considered crimes against peace. Nazemroaya’s book, in addition to reminding us that the role of the United Nations has been confiscated by NATO, elaborates the danger that the North Atlantic Treaty represents to world peace.”
JOSÉ L. GÓMEZ DEL PRADO, Chairman of the United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries (2005-2011): Ferney-Voltaire, France.

“Through carefully documented research, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya analyzes the historical and geopolitical evolution of NATO from the Cold War to the post 9/11 US- led “Global War on Terrorism.” This book is a must read for those committed to reversing the tide of war and imperial conquest by the world’s foremost military machine.”
MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG): Montréal, Canada.

“A very timely book. Yes, US-led NATO is globalizing, like the US-led finance economy. No doubt also for it to protect the latter, the “free market.” It is a classical case of overstretch to help save the crumbling US Empire and Western influence in general, by countries most of whom are bankrupt by their own economic mismanagement. All their interventions share two characteristics. The conflicts could have been solved with a little patience and creativity, but NATO does not want solutions. It uses conflicts as raw material it can process into interventions to tell the world that it is the strongest in military terms. And, with the help of the mainstream media, it sees Hitler everywhere, in a Milosevic, a bin Laden, a Hussein, a Qaddafi, in Assad, insensitive to the enormous differences between all these cases. I hope this book will be read by very, very many who can turn this morbid fascination with violence into constructive conflict resolution.”
JOHAN GALTUNG, Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies and Sociology at the University of Oslo and Founder of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO), the Galtung- Institut, and the Transcend Network: Oslo, Norway.

“Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya’s prolific writings give us a comprehensive understanding of the character of the military thrust and it’s all out, no holds barred STRATEGIC plans and moves to invade, occupy and plunder the resources of nations, inflicting unprecedented barbaric acts on civilian populations. He is one of the prescient thinkers and writers of contemporary times who deserves to be read and acted upon by people with a conscience and concern for humanity’s future.”
VISHNU BHAGWAT, Admiral and Chief of the Naval Staff of India (1996-1998): Mumbai, India.

“This is a book really necessary to understanding the role of NATO within the frame of long-term US strategy. The Globalization of NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya not only provides an articulate analysis on the Atlantic Alliance: it is the best modern text devoted to the hegemonic alliance. With this book Nazemroaya reconfirms his ability as a brilliant geopolitical analyst.”
-TIBERIO GRAZIANI, President of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences/L’Istituto di Alti Studi in Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliarie (IsAG): Rome, Italy.

“Nazemroaya is an unbelievable prolific writer. What has often amazed many is his almost nonstop writing on extremely important issues for the contemporary world and his analysis about the globalization of NATO. What amazes many of us in other parts of the world are his seemingly limitless depth, breadth and the thoroughness of his knowledge that has been repeatedly appearing in his work. We are deeply indebted to Nazemroaya’s humble, tireless and invaluable contributions through his fearless, insightful and powerful writings.”
KIYUL CHUNG, Editor-in-Chief of The 4th Media and Visiting Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University: Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

“The Journalists’ Press Club in Mexico is grateful and privileged to know a man who respects the written word and used it in an ethical way without another interest other than showing the reality about the other side of power in the world. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya gives voice to the “voiceless.” He can see the other side of the moon, the side without lights.”
CELESE SÁENZ DE MIERA, Mexican Broadcaster and Secretary-General of the Mexican Press Club: Federal District of Mexico City, Mexico.

“With his very well documented analysis, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya has conducted a remarkable decryption of the strategies implemented by NATO – in the interests of the United States, the European Union and Israel – to expand its military grip on the world, ensure its control over energy resources and transit routes, and encircling the countries likely to be a barrier or a threat to its goals, whether it be Iran, Russia or China. Nazemroaya’s work is essential reading for those that want to understand what is being played out right now on the map in all the world’s trouble spots; Libya and Africa; Syria and the Middle East; the Persian Gulf and Eurasia.”
SILVIA CATTORI, Swiss political analyst and journalist: Geneva, Switzerland.


The Globalization of NATO

Author:  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
ISBN:  978-0-9852710-2-2
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages:  411 with complete index

Price: $22.95

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Fidel Castro Reflects on John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy

November 22nd, 2013 by Fidel Castro Ruz

First published in May 2009

I confess that many times I have meditated on the dramatic story of John F. Kennedy. It was my fate to live through the era when he was the greatest and most dangerous adversary of the Revolution. It was something that didn’t play a part in his calculations. He saw himself as the representative of a new generation of Americans who were confronting the old-style, dirty politics of men of the sort of Nixon whom he had defeated with a tremendous display of political talent.

He had behind him his history as a combatant in the Pacific and of his adroit pen.

Because he was over-confident, he was dragged into the Bay of Pigs adventure by his predecessors, since he had no doubts about the experience and professional capacity of all those men. His failure was bitter and unexpected, a scant three months after his inauguration. Even though he was on the point of attacking the Island with his country’s powerful and sophisticated weaponry, on that occasion he didn’t do what Nixon would have done: use the fighter-bombers and land the Marines. Rivers of blood would have flowed in our Homeland where hundreds of thousands of combatants were ready to die. He controlled himself and came up with a categorical phrase that is hard to forget: “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”

His life continued to be dramatic, like a shadow that accompanied him at all times. On the strength of wounded pride, he again succumbed to the idea of invading us. This brought on the October [Missile] Crisis and the most serious risks of thermonuclear warfare that the world has ever known until the present day. He emerged from this test as an authority thanks to the mistakes of his chief adversary. He seriously wanted to talk with Cuba and that’s what he decided to do. He sent Jean Daniel to talk with me and return to Washington. His mission was being carried out at that moment when the news of President Kennedy’s assassination arrived. His death and the strange way in which it was orchestrated and carried out, was truly sad.

Later I met close family members who visited Cuba. I never mentioned the unpleasant aspects of his policy against our country, nor did I refer at all to the attempts to eliminate me. I met his son when he was an adult, who had been a young child when his father had been the president of the United States. We got together as friends. His own brother Robert was also assassinated, multiplying the drama shadowing that family.

At the distance of so many years, information arrived about a gesture that impressed me.

These days, while so much was being said about the lengthy and unfair blockade of Cuba in the upper echelons of the continent’s countries, I read a news item in Mexico’s La Jornada: “At the end of 1963, the then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sought to overturn the ban on travel to Cuba and today his daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, wrote that President Barack Obama ought to take this into account and support legislative initiatives that would allow all Americans to travel to the island.

“In official documents declassified by the National Security Archive research centre it is recorded that on December 12, 1963, less than one month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sent a communication to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, urging the removal of regulations prohibiting Americans from traveling to Cuba.

“Robert Kennedy claimed that the prohibition violated American freedoms. According to the document, he affirmed that the current restrictions on travel are inconsistent with traditional American freedoms.

“That position was unsuccessful inside the Lyndon B. Johnson administration and the State Department decided that to suspend the restrictions would be perceived as a softening of the Cuban policy and that they were part of the joint effort made by the United States and other American republics to isolate Cuba.

“In an editorial article by Kathleen Kennedy printed today in The Washington Post, Robert’s daughter expresses her wish that her father’s position be adopted by the Barack Obama government, and that this should be the position promoted by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. while the Obama government weighs the next step it will take with Cuba, one that should be pushing for allowing more than just Cuban-Americans to travel freely to the island and dealing with the rights of all Americans, most of whom are not free to go.

“Kathleen Kennedy writes that just as Obama found out at the summit meeting last week-end, Latin American leaders have adopted a coordinated message on Cuba: the time is here to normalize relations with Havana. By keeping on trying to isolate Cuba, they essentially told Obama, Washington has only succeeded in isolating itself.

“Thus, the niece of the president who attempted to invade and overthrow the Cuban Revolutionary government and impose the blockade, adds her voice now to the ever-growing chorus in favor of reversing these policies which were put in place half a century ago.”

A worthy article by Kathleen Kennedy!

Fidel Castro Ruz

April 24, 2009

The Day John Kennedy Died

November 22nd, 2013 by James F. Tracy

When I first heard Lou Reed’s “The Day John Kennedy Died” while a sophomore at college, it momentarily bridged an otherwise broad, taken-for granted generational divide between my parents and I.

“I dreamed I was the president of these United States,” Reed began with his trademark awkwardness.

I dreamed I replaced ignorance, stupidity and hate.
I dreamed the perfect union and a perfect law, undenied
And most of all I dreamed I forgot the day John Kennedy died

Indeed, for a majority of Americans John Kennedy symbolized the intersection of national history and personal biography. This is evident, for example, in the “Where were you when you heard the news?” stories they guardedly shared. Those at once distant yet intimate junctures suggest something much larger—the possibilities Kennedy signified on a level transcending the personal means and desires of common people and yet determining their fate—particularly civil rights, economics, and foreign policy.

There is a strong likelihood that Kennedy’s guiding mission in the last months of his life involved the prospect of a world order subject to personal introspection on the significance of peace versus a dangerous and wasteful arms race and continued flirtation with nuclear catastrophe.

At the same time, much like Martin Luther King Jr. and his brother Robert came to realize several years later, John Kennedy understood in the last months of his life how the forces arrayed against him were far greater than he could overcome. To this day such forces remain unseen and hence, for a broad swath of the US public incessantly coaxed by its media minders, are ushered to the realm of the unspeakable.

Months after the world’ narrow escape from the Cuban missile crisis President Kennedy laid down his challenge to the military industrial complex by proposing the possibility of world peace in the famous speech to American University’s 1963 graduating class. “The nonviolent theme of the American University Address,” author James W. Douglas observes, “is that self-examination is the beginning of peace. Kennedy was proposing to the American University graduates (and the national audience behind them) that they unite this inner journey of peace with an outward journey that could transform the Cold War landscape.”

The discourse was a signal moment in Kennedy’s presidency that precipitated the achievement of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It was also significant in terms of world public opinion, being broadcast widely in the Soviet Union. Perhaps unsurprisingly the address received little fanfare in the American press, for it “was considered treasonous by forces in his own government.” Nevertheless, as Douglas notes, the wish and intent of the speech, the

call for an end to the Cold War, five and a one half months before his assassination, anticipates Dr. King’s courage in his April 4, 1967, Riverside Church address calling for an end to the Vietnam War, exactly one year before his assassination. Each of those transforming speeches was a prophetic statement provoking the reward a prophet traditionally receives. John Kennedy’s American University address was to his death in Dallas as Martin Luther King’s Riverside Church address was to his death in Memphis.[1]

Kennedy’s violent mediated demise traumatized an entire nation, constituting a form of mass coercion that—much like 9/11—disciplined the body politic into acceptance of the military-industrial complex’s ever-expanding psychic and material tyranny.

Like our parents and grandparents before us, the American people have been continually shocked and disciplined away from considering the prospects of peace and toward fulfillment of priorities that run counter to their own interests, and for which they (we) exercise no meaningful input.

Much as Kennedy’s brief time as president increasingly suggested the crystallization of a popular will toward peace and higher purpose, his public execution on November 22, 1963 demonstrated a fierce existential negation of such desires. Those aspirations become more and more remote as the possibilities for the broader public to recollect and apprehend the historical record are discouraged, lost, or otherwise rendered meaningless.

Public suspicion over the actual circumstances surrounding JFK’s killing was at one point difficult to subdue. Following President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974 and subsequent Congressional investigations into the US intelligence community thru the early 2000s, an overwhelming majority of the US public (75 to 80 percent) recognized serious flaws in the Warren Commission and mainstream media’s strongly imposed conspiracy theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin.[2] Today, however, only 50 to 60 percent question the bizarre account,[3] suggesting an increasingly depoliticized and ahistorical populace cultivated by mass public schooling and corporate media.

Those conscious of JFK’s assassination yet too young to recollect it firsthand may have encountered it in a multitude of vicarious ways. This was perhaps even more so the case in Irish-Catholic households. I once told my father that he reminded me of Ted Kennedy. I didn’t need to tell him why. Both were largely overshadowed yet also defined by their older brothers’ achievements—and tragedies. I recall my father often suggesting how he wished I could have known his older brothers, one of whom was killed in an auto accident at 31, and another from a heart attack at 50. Unlike dad, the wayward upstart of the three, each attended the best prep schools and universities and were destined for greatness—the former as an attorney and the latter a physician with political ambitions and boundless enthusiasm for the Kennedys. “You were short-changed,” my father would say, distantly. Like a host of other larger-than-life figures I never personally knew, his brothers were warmly resurrected in stories he would tell.

While going through dad’s personal effects several years ago, often imagining him beside me, I found a copy of Kenneth O’Donnell’s Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, along with several complete copies of the Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, dated November 23, 1963 and June 6, 1968. Implicit in the magic and promise eclipsed by loss was the intimate experience of biography and history, and the growing realization that we’ve all been short-changed.

Forgetting the day John Kennedy died requires an enduring awareness that the country and popular will JFK symbolized and envisioned 50 years ago was effectively vetoed by an unelected force, and the cascade of subsequent overlooked and unresolved deep events have allowed that America to be replaced by today’s war on terror, growing police state, and drive toward global corporate governance.

Notes

[1] James W. Douglas, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008, 36, 46.

[2] Darren K. Carlson, “Most Americans Believe Oswald Conspired with Others to Kill JFK,” Gallup News Service, April 11, 2001.

[3] Art Swift, “Majority in U.S. Still Believe JFK Killed in a Conspiracy,” Gallup.com, November 15, 2013; Jim Williams, “Conspiracy Theory Poll Results,” Public Policy Polling, April 2, 2013.

 On September 11th, 2001, the world changed and the endless war on terror was unleashed across the globe.  First Afghanistan was invaded, and then Saddam Hussein and Iraq were also mysteriously implicated in 9/11 as the public were sold the case for the invasion of another oil rich nation. 

Twelve years on from 9/11, more than one million innocent lives have been claimed, and the so called global war on terror has reached into every corner of the planet. 

The NSA has taken 9/11 as a necessity to implement a global communications vacuum cleaner, attempting to hoover up and analyse every single piece of human electronic communication on the planet, using this data to identify human rights activists and trying to put in jail anyone who attempts to expose this.  President Bush rolled out the Patriot Act within days of 9/11 which allows the US government to do just about anything it likes, all in the name of counter terrorism and National Security. 

This has since been followed by President Obama quietly sneaking through the NDAA (National Defence Authorisation Act) on New Year’s Eve 2011 which allows him to legally assassinate or imprison for life anyone he wants to without any evidence required at all, a power that he has already exercised.  Add to this also the fact that we now have hundreds of human-less military drones criss-crossing our skies killing innocent women and children in their hundreds, with no accountability, as the US military supposedly tries to nullify individuals who the NSA, through their communications hoovering activities, have deemed to be potential terrorist suspects.  All of this is justified by our authorities on the back of 9/11 because it is needed to keep us all safe.

 But have we been given a true picture about the global war on terror, and in particular, have we been given the true picture and the true facts about the key event that was the catalyst for the war on terror, namely 9/11?  The public relies heavily on the mainstream media as its means of finding out information about the world and for forming its opinions about global political events.  So are we getting the information that we should be from these corporate media networks?  Or are these media networks being overly influenced in their content and political messaging by powerful corporate agendas which may be profiting heavily from the very same military activities that are being justified by those corporate media networks?  This is certainly a very worthy point of discussion it its own right, but surely one media network in particular would be immune from these kinds of potential corporate or political influences .         

The BBC is a long standing bastion of truth, honesty, and integrity of British society.  Unlike other mainstream corporate media networks, the BBC is funded by the British public through the TV licensing fees, and is accountable to the British public through its unique Royal Charter, which requires it to be impartial and accurate in its reporting.  If it does happen to make an accidental error in its reporting, then it is required to publicly correct that error.  As such, it is seen by the public as a much loved and trusted part of British society, so much so that the public have given it the nickname of ‘Auntie’.

How can it be then, that on the vital issue of the on-going global war on terror, and the event that sparked this war, namely 9/11, the BBC is guilty beyond question of deliberately and actively supporting the cover up of irrefutable evidence which would help bring the true perpetrators of 9/11 to justice and most likely bring an immediate end to the global war on terror as we know it.  

So overwhelming is the evidence against the BBC on this issue that it has recently been challenged in a British court of law.  It lost, and yet the vast majority of the public would have absolutely no idea about this.  It has also been demonstrated conclusively and repeatedly all around the world that if the BBC would simply show the public the damning evidence that it is deliberately withholding, the vast majority of the public would instantly understand and believe that they have been lied to about 9/11 on a truly grand scale and that what really happened on that day is in fact very different to what we have been told, as the judge in the courtroom in Sussex, South-East England, quickly realised when he saw this evidence in February 2013.

However uncomfortable it may be, the unpalatable facts of the matter are that the BBC has been very deliberately complicit in the cover up of one of the greatest crimes in history, and that this cover up has allowed the deaths of more than one million innocent people to occur.  This includes over 600 needless deaths of British service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The BBC has the blood of these people on their hands because it could and should have ended the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and it could have ended the global war on terror overnight if it had just done its job and presented the now officially acknowledged facts and evidence of 9/11 to the public.  But instead of doing this it has chosen to bury the evidence, wage a campaign of twisted and distorted information, and to actively smear and discredit the thousands of professional experts from all around the world who have tried to bring this evidence forward, not to mention hundreds of the BBC’s fee paying public who have tried in vain to get the BBC to show this evidence so that the public can simply make up their own minds.

To begin looking at the key points of evidence that are so damning against the BBC, a good place to start is back in 2007.  An organisation called ‘Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth’ (AE911Truth) www.ae911truth.org had formed the year before.  This organisation  has now swelled to more than 2,000 professional architects and engineers from all over the world, as well as more than 17,000 other members of the public. 

The professional experts within AE911Truth, including leading experts in the demolition of high rise towers, were claiming that they had substantial scientific evidence proving that it was physically impossible for the three towers which collapsed on September 11 to have collapsed in the manner told to us in the official story of 9/11  ie. that the burning jet fuel from the airliners caused the Twin Towers to be weakened and to eventually collapse, and for office fires in WTC Building 7 to have caused it to weaken and collapse.  No high rise building in history has ever collapsed as a result of fire, either before 9/11 or since, but we are told that on that day, three towers all defied the basic laws of physics and collapsed totally, and in highly dramatic fashion, as a result of fire.  For those who are not aware of the collapse of WTC Building 7, the third tower to collapse on 9/11, it was a 47 story skyscraper next to the Twin Towers which housed the IRS, NSA, CIA, and was the emergency response centre for New York City.  It was not hit by a plane, but at 5.20pm on September 11th it collapsed totally, in perfect symmetry, into its own footprint in less than seven seconds.

 While AE911Truth provided a lengthy list of powerful scientific evidence about the collapse of the three towers, http://911expertsspeakout.org/the_trailer.html the one issue that was absolutely central to their claims was that WTC Building 7 had collapsed at free fall acceleration, and the Twin Towers had collapsed at very close to free fall acceleration.  It is well understood by professional architects, engineers, and demolition experts that the only way a building can collapse at free fall acceleration is through controlled demolition. 

There is no other rational possibility.  Free fall acceleration means that the building is falling at the same rate as a block of concrete dropped off the top of the building which falls unimpeded through thin air.  If that same block of concrete had been sitting on the roof of WTC Building 7 when it collapsed, then it would have fallen at exactly the same speed as the block of concrete dropped off the side of the building.  Not only were AE911Truth claiming that WTC Building 7 collapsed at free fall acceleration, but the building also clearly fell in absolutely perfect symmetry, neatly into its own footprint, as can be seen in the various angles of video footage of the collapse.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvx904dAw0o    

This means that when the building collapsed, there was absolutely zero resistance from the massive steel framework throughout the entire building.  Therefore every single one of the 84 huge vertical steel columns throughout the building, as well as all the thousands of cross connections of the horizontal steel beams, all would have had to have been completely severed within approximately one tenth of a second of each other.   According to the thousands of technical experts, this can only occur through well-timed explosives placed at key points throughout the building, as is seen in a standard controlled demolition of a building.  It is physically impossible for office fires to have achieved this.

So with this evidence, and much more, the scientists and technical experts at AE911Truth began presenting this information to as many people as they possibly could from 2006 onwards.  What then was the response of the BBC?  In 2007, in response to this growing tide of information coming forwards about controlled demolition and free fall of WTC Building 7, the BBC ran a documentary called ‘The Truth Behind the Third Tower’ (WTC Building 7).  In that documentary the BBC specifically addressed the claims of these so called ‘conspiracy theorists’ that WTC Building 7 had collapsed at free fall acceleration.

Clearly the BBC understood very well what the implications were of these claims of free fall acceleration, namely that free fall equates to controlled demolition, and that therefore this was an issue of critical importance that needed to be covered.  In their documentary, the BBC went to great lengths to attempt to demonstrate through their own analysis that WTC Building 7 had not actually achieved free fall acceleration, as claimed by the professional experts, and that therefore this was not evidence that could be used to contradict the official version of events on 9/11.  The message from the BBC was very clear.  The conspiracy theorists (thousands of professional architects, engineers, and demolition experts) were wrong, and there was nothing of any substance there to cast any doubt on the official story that WTC Building 7 collapsed from office fires.

If we then move the clock forward one year to 2008, this is where the BBC’s deliberate deceit of the public about 9/11 becomes very clearly exposed.  NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) were the official investigators into the collapse of the three towers.  Like the BBC, NIST had been strongly rejecting the claims of AE911Truth about WTC Building 7 collapsing at free fall acceleration.  However, in 2008, through the tireless and irrefutably scientific efforts of these individuals in AE911Truth, NIST was finally required to officially acknowledge that free fall had in fact occurred in WTC Building 7 for at least 2.25 seconds, or approximately one third of its descent.

See the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, NIST

NCSTAR 1A, page 48, which states:  “A more detailed analysis of the descent of the north face found . . . (2) a freefall descent over approximately eight stories at gravitational acceleration for approximately 2.25 s. . . . .”

This was an absolute bombshell admission by NIST, and it should have been the biggest media story of the century.  Even though NIST only conceded free fall for one third of the collapse of WTC Building 7, any amount of free fall can only occur through expertly executed controlled demolition using carefully placed and perfectly timed explosives.  Without saying the actual words, NIST’s announcement was essentially an announcement of controlled demolition of WTC Building 7, and therefore an announcement that there must have been some level of inside involvement with at least some of the events of 9/11.

With this incredible announcement by NIST, the BBC not only had a moral and legal obligation to inform the public, but through its own Royal Charter, and section 3.4.26 of its own Editorial Guidelines, the BBC had an absolutely clear obligation to correct the error that it had made about free fall in its 2007 documentary. 

That error in 2007 was on an issue of monumental political importance. To refuse to correct that error was a blatant breach of public trust and a blatant breach of its Royal Charter and its contract with the British public on an issue of huge global importance.  Five years later the BBC has still refused to correct that error and has still not informed the public that it has now been acknowledged by the official investigators themselves that WTC Building 7 collapsed at free fall acceleration for at least a significant part of its descent.

In 2011, a group of UK citizens officially challenged the BBC on its refusal to correct its error in 2007 about free fall and its refusal to inform the public about the true evidence that was available.  The response from the BBC’s ECU (Editorial Complaints Unit) was; 

 ‘I appreciate the concerns you have raised about the programme which was broadcast in 2007.  However, I regret to say that your point of concern is not one which I am able to investigate.  The remit of the ECU is confined to considering whether there was a serious breach of editorial standards in content published or broadcast by the BBC’

  So the BBC’S Editorial Complaints Unit did not consider that the potential cover up by the BBC of evidence proving controlled demolition of WTC Building 7 was an issue serious enough to warrant investigation.

As a continuation of this formal challenge to the BBC by the public, the support of professional experts was sought.  Four individuals of the highest possible level of professional expertise and credibility in the world were sought to provide evidence to the BBC challenging its coverage of 9/11 evidence.   These four experts included Richard Gage, founder and CEO of AE911Truth, Dwain Deets, former NASA Director of Aerospace Projects and a NASA award winner, Erik Lawyer, founder of ‘Fire Fighters for 9/11 Truth’, an organisation made up of numerous fire fighters on the front-line of 9/11 who dispute the official version of events of 9/11, and Jake Jacobs, a 30 year US veteran pilot of Boeing airliners. 

These individuals all submitted extensive and detailed information and evidence that showed the official version of events of 9/11 to be impossible, including evidence strongly supporting the vitally important issue of free fall of WTC Building 7.  They all asked that the BBC do its job and show this evidence to the public.  In addition to these four experts, more than 500 members of the public wrote to every member of the BBC Trust and asked that the BBC show this evidence to the public.  The only response that the BBC provided was to ask the coordinators of this public action to ask the public to stop e-mailing these letters to the BBC Trustees because the high number of e-mails was blocking up the inboxes of the trustees.

So the evidence of a deliberate cover up by the BBC on the critical issue of the free fall of WTC Building 7 is quite clear.  However, the BBC’s cover up is far more extensive and damning than just the issue of free fall of WTC Building 7.  As stated earlier, according to the thousands of architects, engineers, and demolition experts, the basic laws of physics mean that for WTC Building 7 to collapse in perfect symmetry, and at free fall acceleration, then the entire steel framework of the building had to have been taken out simultaneously within one tenth of a second. 

This would require that some kind of well-placed and well-timed explosives being used throughout the building, as is done in a standard controlled demolition of a large building.  So, is there any evidence available to support the possible use of explosives throughout the building, and if so, what has been the BBC’s approach to that evidence? 

Once again the facts are devastating for the BBC.  Over the course of the last 5 years since NIST’s bombshell announcement of free fall, the BBC has run a number of additional documentaries looking at the so called ‘conspiracy theories’ about 9/11.  While continuing to ignore the issue of confirmed free fall of WTC Building 7, the BBC has repeatedly reported to the public that there is no evidence to support the claims of the so called ‘conspiracy theorists’ that there were explosives used to bring down the three towers.  This is exactly the same line that NIST has also tried to maintain.  Why then is there a lengthy list of absolutely incontrovertible evidence and eye-witness accounts which clearly shows that what the BBC and NIST are saying about this is complete nonsense and that explosions were clearly going off throughout all three towers?

 Firstly, there are 118 documented eye-witness accounts from first responder fire fighters and police officers stating that they either saw or heard explosions going off in all three towers.  Some of these eye-witness accounts state that the explosions were occurring deep in the basement levels and ground floor levels, not just high up near where the fires were burning.  Some of these eye-witness accounts even had explosions occurring in the basement levels before the first plane struck the tower.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tH1Xdcssw4A.

In addition, in the BBC documentary ‘The Conspiracy Files: 9/11 – The Third Tower’, about the collapse of WTC Building 7, the BBC edits out the sound of explosions just as the tower is about to collapse, and edits out the piece where the emergency response workers are clearly heard to say “move it back, the building is about to blow up”.  Why would the BBC edit out those critical pieces of information when running a documentary that is trying to determine if there is any legitimacy to the claims that WTC Building 7 was brought down with explosives?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5UzMjzk8bo (forward to 54.35 minutes).

These 118 eye-witness accounts were initially suppressed by the government, however in 2009 they were forced to be released through the freedom of information act.  These eye-witness accounts are the most reliable and credible sources that could possibly be referred to.  Why has the BBC not made any reference to these in their documentaries dealing with this issue?  Instead, the BBC has ridiculed and discredited those people attempting to bring this evidence forwards?

Secondly, there are numerous eye-witness accounts and video footage showing that there was liquid molten steel all through the towers, including deep in the basements.  The temperatures required to turn steel beams into molten liquid are massive.  Approximately 2500 degrees centigrade.  The maximum temperature that jet fuel fires can reach is only around 350 degrees centigrade, and in normal office fires the atmospheric temperature will reach around 1000 degrees centigrade and the actual steel beams will only reach around 650 degrees centigrade.

 http://911research.wtc7.net/mirrors/guardian2/fire/cardington.htm .

This is precisely why no high rise tower has ever collapsed from fire in history, other than supposedly occurring three times on September 11th.  The temperatures from fire cannot come even close to seriously compromising the steel framework of a high rise tower, let alone turning it into molten liquid.  Thermal imaging of the three collapsed towers by NASA using satellites showed that these impossibly high temperatures of thousands of degrees centigrade were indeed present deep underground in the basement levels of the collapsed towers for fully three months after 9/11, which severely hampered the clean-up efforts of the fire fighters.

NIST meanwhile has point blank stated that there is absolutely no evidence of molten steel or these very high temperatures, and has stated that there is no evidence whatsoever for explosives being used. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5UzMjzk8bo (forward to 49.07 min).  However, when asked by AE911Truth what steps they had taken to investigate for explosives, they admitted that they had not even investigated for this.  According to Erik Lawyer, founder of ‘Fire Fighters for 9/11 Truth’, there are very clear legal procedures which required NIST to investigate for evidence of explosives. 

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 921 states very clearly that the possibility of explosives should have been thoroughly investigated.  According to Mr Lawyer, WTC Building 7 met all the definitions for ‘High Order Damage’ which legally requires NIST to test for the use ‘exotic accelerants’, and in this particular case should have required investigation into the possible use of ‘thermite mixtures’.  NIST’s approach to the issue of evidence of explosives and evidence of molten steel can only be described as outright lying in the face of all the abundant and obvious evidence to the contrary. 

At best, NIST’s approach has been gross negligence, and at worst, has been a deliberate criminal cover up.  So once again, why has the BBC not provided this incredible information to the public in its documentary programmes, and why has it not asked some very searching questions about NIST’s clearly fraudulent approach to investigating and reporting these events.  Instead of this, the BBC has ridiculed and discredited those experts bringing this incontrovertible evidence forwards.

If the molten steel described here required temperatures of 2500 degrees, then where did this kind of extreme heat energy come from if the fires could not produce this?  According to the experts at AE911Truth, there had to have been some kind of high tech ‘incendiary’ involved.  One substance which could potentially do this to steel beams is military grade nano-thermite, a substance produced at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.  So, once again we ask the question, is there any evidence of nano-thermite in the three towers, and if so, what has been the BBC’s approach to this evidence?  Once again the facts are damning for the BBC.  A team of scientists, led by Niels Harrit, Professor of Chemistry at Copenhagen University, analysed dust samples from the three towers.  What they found was evidence that was precisely consistent with that of military grade nano-thermite.  The results of their studies were published in the peer reviewed scientific journal ‘The Open Chemical Physics Journal’. 

“Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe- {The Open Chemical Physic s Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31)

http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tocpj/articles/V002/7TOCPJ.htm               

What was the approach of the BBC to these amazing and very disturbing findings?  Rather than ignore the evidence as they had done with the issue of free fall, they conducted a lengthy interview with Professor Harrit as part of one of their 9/11 documentaries.  The only reasonable way to describe that interview by the BBC’s Michael Rudin was that it was a deliberate and pre-meditated effort to publicly discredit Professor Harrit and his evidence, rather than to impartially explore and discuss the range of compelling scientific evidence which he and his team of scientists were attempting to bring forward.  Remember, the BBC’s own Editorial Guidelines requires the BBC to take an impartial and accurate approach to these issues.  Clearly this did not happen in this interview with Professor Harrit, which can be cross verified through Professor Harrit taking the unusual precaution of videoing Mr Rudin during the entire time he was present for the interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF334x-xWz8

All the various points of evidence described here have been presented to the BBC in detail by the four experts described earlier, by Professor Harrit and his team of scientists, by the experts at AE911Truth, and by hundreds of members of the public.  The BBC’s response to this has been to either ignore these requests and withhold the evidence from the public entirely, or to attempt to twist and discredit those individuals attempting to highlight this evidence.  To demonstrate just how brazenly biased the BBC’s approach has been with regards the issue of 9/11, here are several quotes from the host of one of the BBC’s documentaries about 9/11 shown in 2011, ‘9/11: Conspiracy Road Show’.  When reading these quotes, it must be remembered that the BBC’s Royal Charter and Editorial Guidelines requires the BBC to take an approach which is impartial and does not support one side of an issue over another:

 “Unbelievably there are many people who doubt the conclusions of the original investigation”

“I’m taking five of them to America on an extraordinary journey to see if I can change their minds.”

Personally I’m as certain as certain can be that the attacks were ordered by Osama bin Laden.” 

The participants on the documentary are “nice people but incredibly cynical, child-like, and gullible” 

         you would think that a science graduate would be more rational”.

Compare these statements above, made by the host of a BBC documentary about 9/11, with all the clearly laid out, officially acknowledged, overwhelming and obvious contradictory evidence, as presented by world experts and eye-witness fire fighters who were on the front-line of 9/11.  When we do this, then the approach that the BBC has taken to actively hide and discredit this evidence, and to discredit those bringing it forward, is not only a massive breach of its operating requirements, it is nothing short of deliberate criminal complicity with the true perpetrators of 9/11.

This is why in February 2013, British documentary maker Tony Rooke went to court with the BBC over its refusal to show this evidence in what he deemed to be a criminal act by the BBC.  He felt that the BBC’s cover up of this evidence was supporting the true terrorists of 9/11 to get away with their crime.  He refused to pay his TV licence fee on the basis of Section 15, Article 3 of the UK Terrorism Act. 

This states that it is a crime to provide monetary support to any organisation that engages in or supports terrorist activity.  In the opinion of Mr Rooke, by the BBC covering up the evidence described here about 9/11, they have been aiding and supporting the true perpetrators of 9/11 to escape justice, and that this is allowing a false version of 9/11 to continue to be used to justify further terrorist activity that is still ongoing today.  Therefore, in Mr Rooke’s opinion, to provide funds to the BBC through his TV licence fees would in effect be funding an organisation that is supporting terrorist activity, and under Section 15, Article 3 of the Terrorism Act, he would be committing a serious crime if he did this.

Mr Rooke was charged with the crime of withholding his TV licence fees, and in February 2013 the BBC took Mr Rooke to court.  However, once the judge saw the evidence presented by Mr Rooke and his team of experts against the BBC, he had no option but to discharge the conviction.  That decision in effect meant that the judge felt that Mr Rooke had reasonable cause to withhold his TV licence fees from the BBC on the basis of the evidence shown about 9/11 and the BBC’s role in covering up that evidence.  A quite monumental legal outcome. 

That particular court case received virtually no coverage in the mainstream media, despite the fact that the courtroom was packed beyond capacity, with another 100 people from across the UK standing outside the courtroom in support of Mr Rooke.  In addition, there were numerous independent journalists present from all across the UK and from across Europe such was the understanding of the level of importance that this court case represented by those who were aware of the true facts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bHQPaAkIl0I

 The BBC is certainly not the only guilty media network here.  All other mainstream media networks have played a part in this cover up.  But the trusted BBC’s selling out of its own people in such a blatantly criminal manner is a particularly disturbing realisation.  The evidence about 9/11 presented here has been extremely widely covered around the world by independent and alternative media outlets on the internet, which has helped greatly to raise awareness by a rapidly growing number of people. 

French and Italian mainstream news networks have begun giving this evidence some quite significant coverage in recent times, and in September 2013, the very large global news network ‘Russia Today’ provided what is probably the most hard hitting and most widely seen mainstream media report on the evidence.  This is the first time that a major news network has openly stated that the available evidence contradicts the official story of 9/11, and that other acts of terrorism and the war on terror are being orchestrated by the US government.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ugCIjzHptA&feature=player_detailpage

 As one final point of evidence of the BBC’s complicit role with the events of 9/11, the BBC reported the collapse of WTC Building 7 on live TV more than 20 minutes before the building actually collapsed.  As BBC reporter Jane Standley reported that WTC Building 7 had collapsed, the actual building could still be seen standing intact over her left shoulder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltP2t9nq9fI.

Obviously the timing of this report by the BBC went badly astray somewhere.  Someone clearly knew that WTC Building 7 was planned to be taken down and that information was passed on to the BBC, albeit with some rather serious timing errors.  This means that the BBC had advance knowledge of a terrorist crime.  Has it ever attempted to investigate who gave them that advanced information, and have they reported that to the authorities or to the public?  Once again the BBC’s total complicity with maintaining the façade of the official story of 9/11 is clear to see.

So the final question that must be asked is, what would be the potential impact on the public if the BBC did in fact do its job and provide the public masses with all this evidence?  To help us to answer this important question, we can look at what the audience reaction has been when AE911Truth has presented this evidence in dozens of presentations across nearly every state of the US, as well as in dozens of other countries around the world.  At each presentation, before the evidence is presented, AE911Truth will canvass the audience to see how many believe the official story of 9/11, how many don’t believe it, and how many are uncertain. 

They then repeat this exercise after the evidence has been presented.  At most presentations there will be at least a significant number in the audience who either believe the official story or are not certain.  However, once the evidence has been presented, virtually 100% of the audience at every presentation no longer believes the official story of 9/11, and a large majority believe that the three towers came down through controlled, explosive demolition.

This is a very important point.  It strongly suggests that if the BBC actually did its job and showed this evidence to the public, then the vast majority of the population would instantly no longer believe the official story of 9/11. There would very likely be a huge public outcry, and calls for an investigation to look into the potential that 9/11 was in fact a ‘false flag’ inside operation. 

There also would very likely be huge public scepticism about the legitimacy of the global war on terror that has killed so many innocent people, has allowed the extreme changes to our legislation, and given our government officials and intelligence agencies extreme levels of legal power that are unprecedented in human history.  It should be noted here that the NSA and government response to the recent massive NSA leaks provided by Edward Snowden, has been to repeatedly warn the public of the great danger that these leaks pose in potentially allowing another 9/11 to be committed.  The point here is that the official version of 9/11 is allowing governments and their agencies the ongoing power to do just about anything they like, including spying on every single person on the planet, and legally killing innocent people, all in the name of supposedly keeping us all safe from another 9/11.     

 As Benjamin Franklin once famously said,  “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.  Or perhaps an even more poignant quote from Thomas Jefferson, “The exact level of tyranny that you’re going to live under, is the level of tyranny you put up with.

So with those wise words from the founding fathers ringing in our ears, have we reached a point where the public is no longer prepared to accept this level of tyranny and deceit?  The BBC, affectionately referred to by the public as ‘Auntie’, has had its true nature brutally exposed by 9/11.  It has been exposed by the heroic, brilliant, and fiercely determined people who have refused to have the truth of these crimes covered up, despite the genuine threat to their well-being and to their professional careers. 

How many people in Britain would still refer to the BBC as ‘Auntie’ and continue to hand over their money to her if they knew that ‘Auntie’ had deliberately helped to cover up the crime of the century, and had been deliberately complicit with the criminal events that have led to the bloodshed and deaths of more than a million innocent people over the last 12 years?  It is very difficult for the true perpetrators of 9/11 to be held to account until the BBC and other mainstream media networks are prepared to report the true facts to the public, because public opinion is so strongly influenced by the information that they receive from the mainstream media. 

So, is it time that ‘Auntie’ was held to account for her complicit role with these crimes against humanity and held to account for the blood that she has on her hands?

By the mid-1960s most college towns had some nearby liberated zone where you could cruise and drink and dream, and along the way find out about what was shaking in the “outside world.”

For most Orangemen, the innocently sexist nickname for Syracuse University students, the place was Marshall Street, a commercial strip a few hundred feet off campus, where you could find coffee and company and “underground,” experimental, downright radical books and periodicals of every kind.

Building on a tradition that stretched back to nineteenth century literary social criticism, early twentieth century investigative journalism, utopian community newspapers, and early radical magazines like The Masses, the modern American alternative press had emerged in mid-50s New York with The Village Voice and Dissent. Within a few years, Paul Krassner launched the irreverent Realist,publishing “diabolical dialogues” that mixed fantasy and reality.

But a truly counter-cultural underground press movement would not fully blossom until the middle of the 1960s on the West Coast, and then quickly spread back across the country. After the LA Free Press, which provided a passionate voice for “the other side” – specifically youth, leftists, gays, and disaffected locals – came the Berkeley Barb, San Francisco Oracle (and later Bay Guardian), and New York’s East Village Other.

What distinguished the underground press and “new journalism” writing from their predecessors was a combination of style, focus, and values. Abandoning what looked like the pretense of “objectivity,” most alternative writers embraced advocacy or adopted a more intimate and personal prose style, concerned yet sometimes cynical, detailed and still selective. Many of the publications even looked different, merging print and avant-garde graphics in ways that the mainstream media found unprofessional and alienating to their “mass” audiences.

Max Scherr started the Berkeley Barb in 1965 to coincide with a Vietnam Day demonstration to stop troop trains. Visually uneven, sometimes shrill but always provocative, it soon reached a circulation of 90,000. The next year saw an explosion of underground papers. The San Francisco Oracle took full advantage of offset printing, the emerging photographic plate technology, to further fuse print and graphics in presenting articles on LSD, orientalia, and peace. In New York, The East Village Other adopted a more conventional layout style, but offered everything from quasi-academic pieces on Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey to underground comics and local coverage of knife fights in the city’s crime-scarred tenements.

With newspapers popping up across the country, notably Detroit’s Fifth Estate and Lansing’s The Paper, a clearinghouse for articles and ads called Underground Press Service was also established, starting with half a dozen members but reaching 200 papers and a potential audience of more than a million readers within a few years. That was followed by Liberation News Service, which sent out packages three times a week to about 360 counter-cultural and political outlets.

The psychedelic and “Marxist” wings of this nascent media movement ultimately fractured. But for a glittering moment, as activists and “hippies” looked for ways to “do your own thing” and “change the world” at the same time, there was The Rag out of Austin, perhaps the first “movement” paper – anarchist-structured and strongly anti-sexist, and The Rat, a political alternative to the East Village Other, and The Bird, with its catalog approach to tracking and backing political causes, not to mention Space City, started before a Houston anti-war demo, featuring a rotating staff and strong identification with Black and Chicano militants, and The Berkeley Tribe, born out of sectarian-inspired strikes against The Barb.

Devouring any new publication that came along, I was increasingly excited by the transformation underway in journalistic and fiction writing. Both were providing increased space for imagination, advocacy and speculation. Just as fiction drifted away from social realism, “new journalists” were breaking with the reporting of isolated events, and starting to consider context and broader social impacts. Adopting some techniques of realism, they were developing devices that gave their writings an immediacy and emotional power missing in both objective reporting and surrealist fiction.

Subjectivity, which had been common and acceptable during the nineteenth century era of “partisan” press and the turn-of-the-century “yellow journalism” period, returned under the banners of “advocacy” and the “non-fiction novel.” According to Tom Wolfe, a move from news reporting to this field led naturally to the discovery “that the basic reporting unit is no longer the datum, the piece of information, but the scene, since most of the sophisticated strategies of prose depend upon scenes.” The old rules no longer apply when a journalist takes this leap, said Wolfe, “it is completely a test of his personality.”

Reporters were turning from the exclusively “objective” concerns for verification, specificity and readability that dominated conventional journalism to the uniqueness of each experience and the writer’s impressions and intentions in becoming a witness. The presentation ranged from the polemic to the dramatic, as pioneers pondered their subjects in various aspects and relations.

Certainly, this social revolution didn’t significantly alter the way the “mainstream” press dealt with events. It did, however, expand the range of permissible expression for reporters, paralleling trends in documentary film making, where the subjective point of view has since become a powerful audio-visual tool, as well as in non-fiction writing.

In the ’60s, only a few authors dared to bring their personal experiences into consideration when writing about politics, sociology, and psychology. By the ’80s such “testimonial” touches were commonplace; in certain fields, notable pop psychology, they virtually became a requirement.

At the same moment, speculative fiction – an outgrowth of science fiction and fantasy – moved from the margins to the mainstream. The merging of surrealism and sci fi had begun with writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula LeGuin, Samuel Delany, Harlan Ellison, Romain Gary and others who explored current and potential realities. Since then, this has attained the status of a highly popular genre, often affirming the view that the arithmetically predictable model of the world and universe is only one of many possibilities.

Greg Guma has been a writer, editor, historian, activist and progressive manager for over four decades. His latest book, Dons of Time, is a sci-fi look at the control of history as power.

Nuclear-armed states don’t want Iran in their club

Over the weekend of November 9, the progress of multi-national talks with Iran abruptly paused after France surprised the other participants by raising public  objections to a treaty text that remains secret. So now we have a possibly important moment in a long cycle of fearful futility that seemed almost broken.

This could be the moment when the intransigent few destroyed hope for bringing Iran, the world’s most significant, scapegoated pariah nation, back into what passes for the international community, preferring to indulge their lust for war in all its unpredictable uselessness.

Or, more hopefully, this moment is only a pause, a slowing of the mutually desired normalization of Iran’s presence in a world that already accepts states with much worse and more dangerous patterns of behavior. One thinks first of the United States and the destructive effect years of American actions continue to have on three of Iran’s closest neighbors, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The geopolitical venue for these ongoing talks in Geneva is a group variously known in diplomatic lingo as the P5+1 or, especially in Europe, the E3+3.  This group formed in June 2006, when the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who all have nuclear weapons (United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, United States) and Germany joined to negotiate with Iran primarily over Iran’s nuclear development activities.  From 2006 to 2010, the Security Council has tried to control Iran by adopting six resolutions that imposed economic sanctions on Iran, the results of which haven’t much satisfied anyone.

Supposedly the focus on Iran is intended to keep Iranians from developing nuclear weapons, which they don’t have and have declared unequivocally that they aren’t developing. For reasons rooted more in fear than fact, other governments choose to believe in a threat for which there is little persuasive evidence (an echo of the phantom certainty that Saddam Hussein had WMDs).

Why isn’t calling Iran part of the “axis of evil” proof enough?

In February 2013, with a new, more activist U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, reaching out to Iran, the current round of talks began that month in Kazakhstan and continued at other sites before moving to Geneva in October. For most of the year, the effort was largely pro forma. For more than a decade, rational progress had seemed impossible under U.S. President Bush (2001-2009) who called Iran part of an “axis of evil,” as well under Iranian President Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) who said the U.S. had attacked itself on 9/11.

With the election this year of a new Iranian president, Hassan Rohani, who took office on August 4, rational, substantive dialogue again seemed at least a remote possibility, despite hardline opponents of accommodation in both the U.S. and Israel, and their allies, as well as Iran.  In spite of resistance, it took only three months until the world was hearing optimistic reports of an agreement about to be reached in Geneva, even though the terms of that agreement were closely held.

And then the French broke the spell, as well as some of the secrecy, when foreign minister Laurent Fabius went public with demands that Iran stop certain activities, some of which are completely legal under international law.  South Carolina’s Republican Senator Lindsay Graham went on CNN to gloat, “Thank God for France!”  Juan Cole’s Informed Comment elaborated on this intervention, concluding:

“One thing France must keep in mind is that hawks in Washington actively want a war with Iran, and that if there is no agreement now, that war will be on the front burner if a Republican comes to power in 2017. Since the French opposed the Iraq War and have been traumatized by their participation in Afghanistan, presumably they don’t want to give the American Right such a luscious opportunity, which won’t in the end benefit French interests in the Middle East. [French President] Hollande may think he is standing up for France, but he might actually just be making himself subordinate to South Carolina and American arms dealers.”

Lindsay Graham represents a broad segment of the American right that openly longs for making war on Iran without being able to explain why any better than former vice president Dick Cheney did recently on a Sunday chat show when he more or less hoped that diplomacy would fail and “resort to military force” would become inevitable.

What makes continued negotiation a “failure”? 

Echoing Cheney obliquely are American media like the New York Times. In coverage of the November 9 break in the talks, the Times had a headline that began “TALKS WITH IRAN FAIL…” which conveys a false impression of collapse that is echoed in the lede:

“Marathon talks between major powers and Iran failed on Sunday to produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program, puncturing days of feverish anticipation and underscoring how hard it will be to forge a lasting solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

In the next sentence, while calling the weekend talks “a last-ditch bargaining session,” the Times grudgingly managed to report that the talks would resume in ten days “albeit at a lower level.”  The remainder of the lengthy report maintained the gloomy undertone while reminding readers that Israel had already bombed nuclear reactors in Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007) and seemed ready to bomb something in Iran any time it felt the need. The suggested target was the heavy-water reactor that Iran has long had under construction (and is still a year or more from completion) near the city of Arak.  The Times explained that Israel should attack Arak soon, before it was loaded with nuclear fuel, after which blowing it up would risk an environmental disaster. The Times did not mention that the heavy-water reactor is legal under international law, specifically the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (ratified by Iran and the U.S. in 1970).

The only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East is Israel

The only state in the Middle East that has not signed the non-proliferation treaty is Israel, which is widely assumed to have a nuclear weapons arsenal of 75 or more warheads. Israel consistently refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty, even after proliferation has been achieved, arguing that the treaty is contrary to Israel’s security interests. Israel’s nuclear weapons development was made possible in part by a nuclear reactor provided by France. Officially, Israel has said its nuclear program is “designed exclusively for peaceful purposes.” But as a former chairman of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission observed, “There is no distinction between nuclear energy for peaceful purposes or warlike ones.”

In September at the United Nations, Iranian President Rohani called on Israel to sign the non-proliferation treaty, a call that the 120 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement have been making for years, to no avail. Addressing the UN General Assembly, Rohani also called for worldwide nuclear disarmament (as reported in Haaretz):

“Hours ahead of a planned meeting between Iran and major powers on Thursday [September 26], Iranian President Hassan Rohani told the General Assembly that use of nuclear weapons is a ‘crime against humanity’ and called on Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“In a rare direct reference, Rohani said that ‘Israel, the only non-party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty in this region, should join thereto without any further delay,’ according to AFP….

“Rohani said ‘the world has waited too long for nuclear disarmament,’ Al Jazeera cited him as saying, claiming that states with nuclear capabilities should take responsibility for phasing out nuclear weapons….”

Allowing open inspections is a sign of good faith

Rohani also referred to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear inspection agency with which Iran has had an uneasy relationship for years, saying that “all nuclear activities in the region should be subject to the IAEA comprehensive safeguards.” The IAEA, charged with enforcing the non-proliferation treaty, signed a new Joint Statement on Framework for Cooperation with Iran on November 11 under which the parties agreed “to strengthen their cooperation and dialogue aimed at ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme through the resolution of all outstanding issues that have not already been resolved by the IAEA.”

Rohani’s call for IAEA inspection of “all nuclear activities in the region” clearly includes Israel which has never allowed the IAEA to inspect anything, and has no obligation to do so as a non-signer of the non-proliferation treaty. As long as Israel can sustain mortal fear of Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons, it’s own nuclear arsenal is safe from serious international pressure. In this regard, Israel is a rogue state, so it’s little wonder that Israel, and Israel’s supporters, especially in the United States, appear committed to blocking any deal with Iran other than substantial Iranian surrender to Israeli demands.

Whatever the shortcomings of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA, that agency has made numerous inspections and reports over the years none of which have demonstrated more than the potential for developing nuclear weapons that any nation with nuclear power has. This has been true for 60 years, since the Eisenhower administration in 1953 decided the Atoms for Peace program was a good idea and started handing out nuclear reactors to developing countries that included Pakistan and Iran. And for the next 25 years, the U.S. also supplied weapons-grade Uranium as fuel for these reactors, since the U.S. weapons program created a surplus of the stuff that had to go somewhere.

Nuclear non-proliferation is also form of restraint of trade

It wasn’t until 1968 that the non-proliferation treaty was first signed, by which time Britain, France, and the Soviet Union all had nuclear weapons and India was close. Pakistan was also committed by then to developing its own deterrence to the Indian bomb, an arms race summarized by Jeremy Bernstein in the New York Review of Books for November 21. Bernstein, a noted American physicist, writes that India’s first successful test in 1974 was due in great part to Canada, which provided a heavy water reactor that could run on low level natural Uranium, but which produced plenty of fissile Plutonium for a bomb.

The Iranian heavy water reactor  near Arak was the focus of one of the French objections to the proposed treaty.  In August the IAEA that Iran had not reporter adequately on the reactor since 2006, which left the agency unable to say whether Iran had the capability of diverting Plutonium from the reactor for use in nuclear weapons. The November 11 Joint Statement from IAEA and Iran promises to resolve this issue, but does not set out a timetable for doing so.  In a blogpost the same day, Bernstein outlined the basis for serious concern about this reactor (once running reliably, it could likely produce enough Plutonium for one or two bombs a year) and concluded:

“By going ahead with a heavy water reactor, Iran seems to be saying it is determined to have the capacity to produce plutonium—and leave open a path to making a bomb. But it is very difficult to read the real intentions of the Iranians. Perhaps the fact that real negotiations have begun offers some hope that a tragedy can be avoided.”

“Real negotiations” is exactly the process Israel is determined to avoid. As news of a possible treaty signing broke, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted with unmitigated opposition and a veiled threat of military response: “This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it…. Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and to defend the security of its people.”

“What is being proposed now is a deal in which Iran retains all of that capacity [to build a nuclear weapon}….  Not one centrifuge is dismantled; not one. Iran gets to keep tons of low enriched uranium,” Netanyahu said a few days later, without acknowledging that those terms are well within what’s allowed by the non-proliferation treaty.

The question is not what is familiar or easy, but what is worth the risk

In a global perspective, as well as a regional perspective, bringing Iran inside the tent of détente matters, which is why increasing international comity has so many enemies operating from a national or personal perspective. Israel has much to fear from a quiescent Iran that can no longer be easily demonized, for then there will be fewer distractions from Israeli offenses to human rights standards.  While Iran is hardly a paragon of democracy, it remains a far more democratic state than Saudi Arabia or Qatar or Kuwait, all of whose brutal governments the U.S. has supported, just as it once supported the brutal Iranian police state under the CIA-anointed Shah. The U.S. even went to war to restore Kuwaiti plutocracy.

For the moment, the congressional impulse to destroy any possibility of useful negotiation by imposing more sanctions on Iran is held in check by a handful of committee chairs in the Senate. But the pressure will build and the center has no strong tradition of holding.

With Kerry as Secretary of State, the United States appears, for the moment, prepared to play a more neutral and positive role in the Middle East than it has perhaps ever. Whether Kerry will maintain his current course and, more importantly, whether the president will support a policy that is more even-handed than reflexive genuflection to Israeli interests remains to be seen. It won’t be easy.

There is no compelling reason not to give Iran time to work its way into the world’s confidence. That would serve the common good, if not the special interests of fundamentalist ideologues on all sides. Soon enough we’ll learn who is willing to abandon the familiar risk of imminent war for the unfamiliar promise of imminent peace.

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a protege of Treasury Secretaries Rubin and Summers, has received his reward for continuing the Rubin-Summers-Paulson policy of supporting the “banks too big to fail” at the expense of the economy and American people. For his service to the handful of gigantic banks, whose existence attests to the fact that the Anti-Trust Act is a dead-letter law, Geithner has been appointed president and managing director of the private equity firm, Warburg Pincus and is on his way to his fortune.
A Warburg in-law financed Woodrow Wilson’s presidential campaign. Part of the reward was Wilson’s appointment of Paul Warburg to the first Federal Reserve Board. The symbiotic relationship between presidents and bankers has continued ever since. The same small clique continues to wield financial power.Geithner’s career is illustrative. In the 1980s, Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates. In the mid to late 1990s, Geithner served as a deputy assistant Treasury secretary. Under Rubin and Summers he moved up to undersecretary of the Treasury.From the Treasury he went to the Council on Foreign Relations and from there to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). From there he was appointed president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he worked to make banks more profitable by allowing higher ratios of debt to capital, thus contributing to the financial crisis.

Geithner arranged the sale of the failed Wall Street firm of Bear Stearns, helped with the taxpayer bailout of AIG, and rejected saving Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy in order to create the crisis atmosphere needed to more fully subordinate US economic policy to the needs of the few large banks.

Rubin, a 26-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, was rewarded by Citibank for his service to the banks while Treasury Secretary with a $50 million compensation package in 2008 and $126,000,000 between 1999 and 2009.

When a person becomes a Treasury official it is made clear that the choice is between serving the banks and becoming rich or trying to serve the public and becoming poor. Few make the latter choice.

As MIchael Hudson has informed us, the goal of the financial sector has always been to convert all income, from corporate profits to government tax revenues, to the service of debt. From the bankers standpoint, the more debt the richer the bankers. Rubin, Summers, Paulson, Geithner, and now banker Treasury Secretary Jack Lew faithfully serve this goal.

The Federal Reserve describes its policy of Quantitative Easing — the creation of new money with which the Fed purchases Treasury debt and mortgage backed securities — as a low interest rate policy in order to stimulate employment and economic growth. Economists and the financial media have parroted this cover story.

In contrast, I have exposed QE as a scheme for pumping profits into the banks and boosting their balance sheets. The real purpose of QE is to drive up the prices of the debt-related derivatives on the banks’ books, thus keeping the banks with solvent balance sheets.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal (“Confessions of a Quantitative Easer,” November 11, 2013), Andrew Huszar confirms my explanation to be the correct one. Huszar is the Federal Reserve official who implemented the policy of QE. He resigned when he realized that the real purposes of QE was to drive up the prices of the banks’ holdings of debt instruments, to provide the banks with trillions of dollars at zero cost with which to lend and speculate, and to provide the banks with “fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions.” (See: www.paulcraigroberts.org)

This vast con game remains unrecognized by Congress and the public. At the IMF Research Conference on November 8, 2013, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers presented a plan to expand the con game.

Summers says that it is not enough merely to give the banks interest free money. More should be done for the banks. Instead of being paid interest on their bank deposits, people should be penalized for keeping their money in banks instead of spending it.

To sell this new rip-off scheme, Summers has conjured up an explanation based on the crude and discredited Keynesianism of the 1940s that explained the Great Depression as a problem caused by too much savings. Instead of spending their money, people hoarded it, thus causing aggregate demand and employment to fall.

Summers says that today the problem of too much saving has reappeared. The centerpiece of his argument is “the natural interest rate,” defined as the interest rate at which full employment is established by the equality of saving with investment. If people save more than investors invest, the saved money will not find its way back into the economy, and output and employment will fall.

Summers notes that despite a zero real rate of interest, there is still substantial unemployment. In other words, not even a zero rate of interest can reduce saving to the level of investment, thus frustrating a full employment recovery. Summers concludes that the natural rate of interest has become negative and is stuck below zero.

How to fix this? The way to fix it, Summers says, is to charge people for saving money. To avoid the charges, people would spend the money, thus reducing savings to the level of investment and restoring full employment.

Summers acknowledges that the problem with his solution is that people would take their money out of banks and hoard it in cash holdings. In other words, the cash form of money provides consumers with a freedom to save that holds down consumption and prevents full employment.

Summers has a fix for this: eliminate the freedom by imposing a cashless society where the only money is electronic. As electronic money cannot be hoarded except in bank deposits, penalties can be imposed that force unproductive savings into consumption.

Summers’ scheme, of course, is a harebrained one. With governments running huge deficits, who would purchase bonds at negative interest rates? How would pension and retirement funds operate? Would they also be subject to an annual percentage confiscation?

We know that the response of consumers to the long term decline in real median family income, to the loss of jobs from labor arbitrage across national borders (jobs offshoring), to rising homelessness, to cuts in the social safety net, to the transformation of their full time jobs to part time jobs (employers’ response to Obamacare), has been to reduce their savings rate. Indeed, few have any savings at all. The US personal saving rate is currently 2 percentage points, about 30%, below the long term average. Retired people, unable to earn any interest on their savings from the Fed’s zero interest rate policy, are being forced to draw down their savings in order to pay their bills.

Moreover, it is unclear whether the savings rate is an accurate measure or merely a residual of other calculations. With so many people having to draw down their savings, I wouldn’t be surprised if an accurate measure showed the personal savings rate to be negative.

But for Summers, the plight of the consumer is not the problem. The problem is the profits of the banks. Summers has the solution, and the establishment, including Paul Krugman, is applauding it. Once the economy officially turns down again, watch out.

Aung San Suu Kyi: Complicity With Tyranny

November 22nd, 2013 by Guy Horton

Aung San Suu Kyi is the international face of Burma and a global icon of courage, endurance and moral authority. But as Guy Horton reports from Burma, she is now actively colluding with the Burmese military’s violent campaigns against minority ethnic and religious groups.

The sound of the Secretary General of the United Nations welcoming a ceasefire on the radio was punctuated by the sound of heavy mortar shells. There was nowhere to run.

One morning in January this year I stood near the front line between the Kachin Independence and Burma armies. The former was defending some of the last remnants of its territory. The latter was inflicting a massive attack consisting of tens of thousands of troops, supported by helicopter gunships and jet fighter bombers under the direction of the Supreme Command.

It was a systematic onslaught. The sound of the Secretary General of the United Nations welcoming a ceasefire on the radio was punctuated by the sound of heavy mortar shells. There was nowhere to run. The Chinese border, a row of bamboos 400 yards away, was closed.

Two young boys behind me were preparing to defend their home made bunker with toy Kalishnikovs. On the wall sat an eight year old boy whose mother had been shot dead in her kitchen while he watched from the edge of a sugar cane field. He looked as though his eyes had been blown out. An old man wept uncontrollably after describing his daughter being bayoneted to death in front of him.

The people doing this were the Burmese army. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi actively disregards all this and refuses to visit Kachin State. It does not fit the narrative: democratic transition and the fairy tale democracy princess miraculously released from bondage.

I am not Kachin or Burmese. I am English. I am a Winston Churchill Fellow, sometime member of the Royal Geographical Society and Royal Society of Arts, and member of the Front Line Club. I have a BA and MA from Cambridge and post graduate qualifications from London University and Oxford Brookes. I can quote Chaucer for breakfast. I am as English as the Cotswolds, or a Windsor Park Oak tree, or a song thrush singing its heart out on a blustery February morning.

I therefore take exception to being shelled by an army now being aided by the British government on the recommendation of the world’s democracy and human rights icon – Aung San Suu Kyi. I take further exception to the naivety, or cynicism, of The Elders, the Carter Centre, the Myanmar Peace Centre and Uncle Tom Cobley and all calling for ‘peace’, without the essential preconditions of a real peace in this multi-ethnic, multi-religious country: a democratic and federal Constitution.

Questions must now be asked about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s position – because what she is saying and doing seems to transcend mere evasiveness. It includes, amongst other things: apparent denial of ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Rakhine State; implicitly blaming Muslims for the violence because “global Muslim power is very great”; through her silence in the face of atrocity, passively condoning Buddhist hate speech; equation of the suffering of Buddhists with that of Muslims; sustained disregard of the violations inflicted on the Christian Kachin; encouragement of military collaboration between the British and the Bamar army that is responsible for repeated and multiple crimes against humanity; and condoning the army’s actions by sharing the podium with the generals on March 27, ‘Union Day’.

Her easiveness has now degenerated into complicity with the military-controlled government and its ‘Burmanisation’ policies, to shoehorn the multiple ethnicities of Burma into a single national identity. This does not appear to be naivety. It appears to be a deliberately chosen political policy. She appears to be doing the one thing no responsible politician in a volatile, multi-racial society should do: playing the race card to gain votes.

Such criticism is expressed with the greatest reluctance and deepest sadness. Aung San Suu Kyi has shown such noble grace and indefatigable courage under pressure that she has deserved and needed unqualified support. Through the long years of the world’s indifference, I and others supported her without reservation, even while organisations like the International Crisis Group produced cleverly nuanced misrepresentations implying she was inflexible, stubborn, and irrelevant.

When her husband and I tried to arrange meetings in her support, he would resignedly lament that we would be lucky to get five people to turn up. And he was right. When I asked the bookshops in Oxford to place her work prominently in the store windows no one knew who this woman with an unpronounceable name was, or could be bothered to find out. Even the Oxford Town Council, her home town, had to be prodded into recognising and honouring her with the Freedom of the City Award.

In short, it appeared the candle of hope was being quietly snuffed out no matter how hard we worked to keep the flame burning. But now, in entirely new circumstances, candid questions must be asked. We are now no longer dealing with a vulnerable woman under house arrest, but with a freed global icon who may become Burma’s next President, or Vice-President. The situation demands objective scrutiny and searching questions, not cult-like obsequiousness.

Why, 23 years after the 1990 election, has she not followed in her father’s footsteps and appointed a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, shadow cabinet? Remember: a Christian Karen and a Muslim Cabinet Minister died with Aung San when he was assassinated.

Why has a set of policies for a shadow government not been drawn up?

Why did her NLD party boycott the 2010 elections and then stand in the 2012 by-elections, thus providing an apparently legitimate democratic fig leaf for the illegitimate military controlled government and the whole grotesquely rigged political transition?

Why did she take an oath of allegiance to a Constitution which legitimises the illegitimate military controlled government?

Why does she unrealistically promise hopes of reform when the military and its civilian thugs effectively control the Parliament?

Why does she want to stand for President? And so provide the military with apparent democratic legitimacy without any real transition to a federal democracy?

Why did she sit on the podium showing solidarity with the Generals at their annual military parade of March 27? Just after they had launched the biggest military assault on an ethnic people since the Second World War? An attack that caused thousands of deaths, including those of young conscripted Burmese soldiers forced to carry out human wave attacks?

Why did she endorse the Letpadaung land grab by the Chinese Wanbao mining company, and a Burmese military holding company? And in so doing, confirm the Constitution’s denial of the right of the people of Burma to securely own property?

How were the results of the 1990 election allowed to be annulled when the combined votes for democratic parties approximately exceeded 80 percent? when this was a political disaster for which there are few parallels in modern history?

Why does she travel the World? Yet refuse to visit Rakhine and Kachin States where some 250,000 people have been terrorised out of their homes since her release and the ‘democratic transition’ began?

“To stay neutral between an aggressor and a victim is to side with the aggressor”, she is reported to have said. Her comments, equating Buddhist with Muslim suffering while disregarding that of the Christian Kachin, appear to do just that.

In so doing she has become alarmingly close to being the military controlled government’s complicit apologist. A single visit by Aung San Suu Kyi, accompanied by the world’s media, to an internally displaced Rohingya or Kachin camp could have transformed perceptions of modern Burma around the world.

We need to stand back and see Burma’s ‘peace in our time’ in a wider historical and geographical context. Governments may be making the same mistake they made in places like Iraq and Indo-China: implementing policies based on an inadequate understanding of the cultures and dynamics of the peoples of those regions.

Diem and Chalabi did not represent Vietnam or Iraq. Aung San Suu Kyi – born from the Bamar elite, educated in a Methodist English school in Rangoon until the age of fifteen, and who then lived abroad until the age of 44 – should not be the single prism through which the world sees Burma.

The global media’s infatuation with Aung San Suu Kyi, and its wilful misrepresentation and endorsement of Burma’s fatally flawed political process, has done incalculable harm to hopes of a genuine democracy ever being realised.

With Aung San Suu Kyi and much of the ethnic Burman ‘opposition’ co-opted by the military controlled government, the other ethnic peoples face a ghastly choice: to be coerced into signing ‘peace agreements’ that will turn them into impoverished wage slaves on their own land in the service of Bamar or foreign crony capitalists; or continue to resist, and risk annihilation.

Could this ‘peace’ possibly be precisely what Aung San Suu Kyi wants? She has always been first and foremost her idealised Father’s daughter; and the army has always beem the “soft spot” she “cannot help” but identify with. She once asked of the violently displaced Letpadaung farmers, forced to give up their land for a giant copper mine: “Why do they want their mountain?” One day they, and all the people of Burma, will offer the resounding  reply: “Because it’s ours!”

Guy Horton, known as “The man who uncovered the truth about Burma”, has worked in Burma and its border zones since 1998. From 2002-2005 he researched the violations inflicted on the eastern ethnic peoples, receiving funding from the Netherlands government. His 2005 report Dying Alive and supporting video footage received worldwide coverage and contributed to the submission of Burma to the UN Security Council in January 2007. As result of the report, the UN Committee on the Prevention of Genocide carried out an investigation and placed Burma Myanmar on the Genocide Alert list.

Since 2005, Guy has focused on establishing a coalition of governments, funders, institutions and leading international lawyers with the aim of getting the violations objectively and authoritatively investigated and analysed so that impunity can be addressed. He is a Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Unversity of London and has been affiliated to the Irish Centre for Human Rights investigating the plight of the Rohingya people in western Burma.

Fifty years ago, on November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Conspiracy theorists still debate the identity or identities of the assailant or assailants and Texas continues to give America its right-wing politicians, its narrow religious extremists and its punitive culture of guns, death sentences, oil billionaires and political power-brokers.

 Fifty years ago, I attended Catholic High School as a sophomore. As I sat bored in history class, a nun in the hallway gently tapped on the outside glass of the classroom door. Our teacher, a tall lank priest and academic, opened it for a moment. They exchanged whispers. He then returned to his lectern, looked at us coldly and said: “The President has been shot in Dallas”. Seemingly unmoved, he perfunctorily continued teaching history. We sat frozen in shock.

Within fifteen minutes, the general alarm bells usually reserved for fire drills sounded in the hallways. We stood from our seats, filed out the classroom and joined the line of students walking in single file toward the auditorium. Silence was broken sporadically by worried students asking nuns standing erect as sentinels: “Is he alive?” The sisters didn’t respond. So we “knew”.

 Hush filled the auditorium. Four-hundred students sat in apprehension. Monsignor S., the principal and a former military chaplain, stood on stage and addressed the assembly. His sentences weaved around the story of America and its past history as if to delay his duty of breaking the truth to us. He mentioned our nation’s founders, its constitution and political structure, then turned his story toward the time of the Civil War and reminded us of President Lincoln. Suddenly, with no reference to President Kennedy yet, he uttered the word “assassination”. Rapt silence was overcome by a collective gasp. Spotted and muffled crying was heard. He didn’t need to continue but did, leading us into prayers for the soul of the president and for the nation. Our minds were paralyzed and our hearts plummeted. We were told to go home.

Mine was an urban high school and trips home on the city bus were down a busy three mile avenue lined with commercial stores. No one was on the streets. Stores were closed. The flag atop the eight-story department store flew at half-mast flailing in the wintry wind. No one spoke in the overcrowded bus filled with teenagers heading home. We huddled together in a funeral cortege drifting toward an uncertain future.

My mother, a seamstress in a “sweat shop”, arrived home early also. The bosses closed the factory mid-afternoon. She rushed through the front door out of breath. Still wearing her overcoat, she implored, “Did you hear?”

Huntley-Brinkley reported live and non-stop from Washington and New York on NBC. All television networks ceased normal programming for the next three days. The city newspaper issued a special edition at 5pm on that darkened late Friday afternoon. A hearse that seemed as white as a corpse received the president’s coffin in early nightfall in Washington. Jacqueline Kennedy’s hand was grasped by Robert Kennedy; the Kennedy children surrounded them as they descended stoically from the stilled plane that carried the dead leader. Joe Kennedy, Jack’s father and mentor whose medical condition was delicate, lay unaware in Hyannis Port; he was not immediately told the news about his son. Rose Kennedy sought solace in her faith and priest. The world seemed to weep in unison. On this day I knew I would never be the same again. Nor would my world.

 The year JFK was elected president in November 1960 I became politically aware. I just turned thirteen, was raised by two women and a man who were devoutly religious, Democrats, seamstresses and members of the garment union; he an oil truck driver for Esso. In eighth grade, I ventured independently to study the structure of our government when JFK appointed his cabinet members by early 1961. Who are these men, what are their backgrounds, what does each cabinet member do? I watched each live afternoon broadcast of President Kennedy’s news conferences; watched NET broadcasts (predecessor of PBS) of Firing Line (William F. Buckley) along with Alan Watts explaining Zen Buddhism. I didn’t understand Buckley, Norman Mailer, Alan Watts or Pauline Hendricks at the UN, but was spellbound by the subjects. I was too young to know politics and its devious routes and alleys. I was too sheltered to understand the power of big money; too naive to fathom the contradictions in America society; too hurt, pained, disillusioned and angered that a symbol for America’s and my own positive, progressive future was struck down instantly.

Where is the spirit of JFK today? What became of his politics and constituencies? The nation changed diametrically over the past fifty years. It has become a country swelled with money-centered interests inflating both political parties that together seek to spare no one a dime. The creed is selfishness. The religious temples are investment houses manipulating markets. CEO Lloyd Blankfeld of Goldman Sachs said of himself that he is only “doing God’s work”. In such a world, NRA rallies suitably substitute for “love-ins” and Woodstock. College students are wooed by Libertarianism, not by Tom Hayden or the Port Huron Statement. Today, people are held contemptible who fail to defend the superiority of materialism, consumerism, the assets of millionaires and billionaires, open greed, endless wars, even social disintegration when championed in the names of God, country, the Constitution and free market economy. The new beatitude preached from the halls of Congress and local political pulpits is, “Let them eat straw!”

 Yes, JFK is long dead! RFK is dead! MLK is dead! The Great Society is dead! It is Gatsby who lives now! It is Wall Street that lives now! It is austerity reserved for the many! It is racism disguised in political extremism that lives! Economic servitude and debt-slavery live! Wars abound! The wealthy are richer; the rest poorer! The cities are in rubble! The young have no guiding forces but those proffered by neoliberal propagandists and billionaire opportunists. Houses of religion have become political wards of the right-wing. The Democrats are synonymous with Republicans in setting national agendas that accelerate the concentration of wealth into private, corporate and banker hands while maliciously appropriating more from the dwindling coffers of the common person using the guise of a specious rationale called fiscal responsibility. The elderly and sick must not be a burden on society. Everyone should work long hours for less pay until they drop. We must rid ourselves of the false sentiment of being a “Brother’s Keeper” and from participating in any false social role laid down by irrelevant moralists. The law today is not one designed in a fiat Heaven, it is one dictated by markets and profitability. Caesar must triumph. Render unto Him!

Someone once said more people have died in the name of God than in any other name. This deadly convulsion persists. Added to it is death in the name of, and for the sake of money: death from hopelessness rooted in poverty; from lack of food and medical care; from loss of employment and home. Life itself is a commodity whose worth is measured by someone else’s profit. And what profit a man to lose his money but gain his soul? No profit! Be reasonable. Render!

 So it was just fifty years ago I woke from gunshots fired in Dallas and rose from a sixteen-year dream that portrayed life in a different America with a different set of beliefs, ideals and illusions. I woke to a shattering notion of the nation, of raw violence, of how the world actually works and what people will do to each other to gain power and wealth.

 JFK is dead! Assassinated, they say, like Lincoln and Gandhi before him and others soon to follow. It is Gatsby who lives now and thrives, I am told. Yet, I don’t know Gatsby. I know JFK. A distant small voice asks:

            Will Jack be back soon?

            Will he ever come back?

            To whom shall the torch be passed?

            Where is the new generation?

            From where will they arise?

 In America, I say, once the tribulation from worshiping the idols of money and power are struck down by their own falsities. It will not be the Orient who receives the torch, it will be America again. But the winds of internal destruction must first destroy what has attempted to destroy the nation. The destroyers who pretend to be protectors, rationalists, pragmatists and defenders of liberty will end by destroying themselves, stripped of their duplicities. That time begins in the present and for the immediate future.

* * *

 I remember John Kennedy on that day in November because many of us do not forget, nor will forget. I remember poetry read by Robert Frost years earlier at the inaugural. Frost once wrote, “I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep”.

In due time, miles ahead, the torch will pass to a new generation in this country; promises will be kept.

Until that day, the spirit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy will never sleep.

 Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive currently living in New England. He is author of nine books on practical spirituality collectively titled, The Cerithous Material.

Global Warming and The Philippines Haiyan Typhoon

November 22nd, 2013 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Haiyan (Yolanda), the strongest tropical typhoon ever recorded has occurred in the Philippines with devastating consequences for an entire nation, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths. An estimated 615,000 people have been displaced. Up to 4.3 million people have been affected, according to government sources.

The tragedy in the Philippines has become a talking point at the Warsaw international venue on Climate Change under UN auspices. The plight of  typhoon Haiyan has casually been assigned without evidence to the impacts of global warming.

Trail of destruction: Those who escaped the awesome power of Haiyan now face a grim battle to rebuild their lives among the sprawling wreckages

While there is no scientific evidence that Super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) was the consequence of global warming,  the opening statements at the Warsaw Summit have hinted in no uncertain terms to a verified causal relationship. U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive director Christiana Figueres, stated (without evidence) that the typhoon was part of the “sobering reality” of global warming. (quoted in Did Climate Change Cause Supertyphoon Haiyan? | TIME.com, November 11, 2013).

In turn, Philippines Representative to the UN Climate Change Venue Mr. Yeb Sano in  his address to the opening session stated:

“Typhoons such as Yolanda (Haiyan) and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action. Warsaw must deliver on enhancing ambition and should muster the political will to address climate change.” (UN News Center, November 11, 2013)

In a bitter irony, the tragedy in the Philippines has contributed to reinforcing a consensus which indirectly feeds the pockets of corporations lobbying for a new deal on carbon trade. Cap and Trade is a multibillion dollar bonanza which is supported by the global warming consensus.  According to UNFCC head Figueres:

“We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards low-carbon development,… We must launch the construction of a mechanism that helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of climate change.”

Known and  documented, cap and trade markets are manipulated. What is at stake is the trade in carbon derivatives which is controlled by powerful financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase. (See Copenhagen’s Hidden Agenda: The Multibillion Trade in Carbon Derivatives, Global Research, December 8, 2009). In 2008, Simon Linnett, Executive Vice-Chairman of Rothschild’s acknowledged the nature of this multibillion dollar business:

As a banker, I also welcome the fact that the ‘cap-and-trade’ system is becoming the dominant methodology for CO2 control. Unlike taxation, or plain regulation, cap-and-trade offers the greatest scope for private sector involvement and innovation.” (Telegraph, January 31, 2008)

Cap and trade packaged into derivative products feeds on the global warming consensus. Without, this multibillion dollar trade would fall flat.

The humanitarian crisis resulting from the Haiyan typhoon has been exacerbated by the lack of infrastructure and social services, not to mention the absence of a coherent housing policy. Those most affected by the typhoon are living in poverty in make-shift homes.

The global warming consensus serves as a smokescreen. It diverts attention from the real causes of poverty and social devastation.

A reduction of CO2 emissions as suggested Mr. Yeb Sano in  his address to the opening session of the Warsaw Climate summit will not resolve the plight of an impoverished population.

In the Philippines, the social impacts of natural disasters are invariably exacerbated by a macro-economic policy framework imposed by Manila’s external creditors.

What is at stake is the deadly thrust of neoliberal economic reforms. For more than 25 years, since the demise of the Marcos dictatorship,  the IMF’s “economic medicine” under the helm of the Washington Consensus  has prevailed, largely serving the interests corporations and financial institutions.

The government of Benigno Aquino has embarked upon a renewed wave of austerity measures which involves sweeping privatization and the curtailment of social programs. In turn, a large chunk of the State budget has been redirected to the Military which is collaborating with the Pentagon under Obama’s “Asia Pivot”. This program –which serves the interests of Washington at the expense of the Philippines population–  also includes  a 1.7 billion dollars purchase of  advanced weapons systems.

Video: West Architect of Terrorism in Syria

November 22nd, 2013 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Press TV has conducted an interview with Michel Chossudovsky, Center for Research on Globalization, Montreal, about the issue of the Western proxy war in Syria and the fresh advances being made by the army of the Syrian government in its fight against insurgents backed by the West, Israel and some Persian Gulf states.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview, which appears on video after a short Press TV interview with retired Lebanese army general, Hisham Jaber.

Press TV: How do you see the situation in Syria? Which side has the upper hand?

Chossudovsky: It appears from the reports that the insurgency has been defeated. This is something we’ve known for quite some time. It’s been a progressive and continuous process.

And we should emphasize that this insurgency is a US-NATO-Israeli-sponsored terrorist operation, which is being defeated.

And we should understand that this is a proxy entity of the Western military alliance recruited by NATO and its allies including of course Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

We have an opposition and an insurgency, which is largely a Western construct – it’s a fake opposition and the military arm of this entity are the terrorists, which are supported covertly by Western intelligence, supplied and financed.

So the question we have to ask ourselves now, which is of course very crucial: Do we need a peace plan or do we need peace?

Because in essence Syria has achieved the goal of laying the grounds for peace through the defeat of these terrorists.

Press TV: With regards to the plan to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons… Belgium, France and Albania were chosen as host countries.

Firstly, is there any significance as to why these countries; and secondly, what are the side effects of chemical weapons destruction for these host countries?

Chossudovsky: With regards to the chemical weapons issue pertaining to Syria, this has been, on the part of the United States and its allies, a means to diverting attention from the real conflict.

It has been used as a mechanism also to divert attention from the fact that the weapons of mass destruction are held essentially by the Western military alliance and its ally, Israel, which threatens the entire region.

At the same time, putting aside the chemical weapons issue, we must establish the record of what has happened.

This has been a criminal undertaking of unleashing terrorists against a sovereign State.

We must declare an unconditional moratorium on support to these mercenary forces, [though] the Western military alliance will attempt to rebuild them.

We have to raise the issue of war reparations because essentially this is a criminal war and those responsible for that war must pay reparations. Incidentally the United States has in fact destroyed several countries in the post-World War Two period, starting with Korea, Vietnam, and of course Afghanistan and Iraq; they‘ve never paid war reparations.

But here we have a situation where the war criminals should be exposed and indicted under international humanitarian law.

The actors of this undertaking are not the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists; these are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. The architects are in Brussels, Washington, London, Ankara, Tel Aviv, Doha and Riyadh.

The recent history of Cambodia is little known, greatly disputed, and grim. The first liberation movement against French colonialism and its local puppets was disarmed as part of the 1954 Geneva accords on Indochina. The resulting regime of King Sihanouk in pre-modern peasant Cambodia was neutral in the United States war against Vietnam, but after U.S.-backed Lon Nol deposed Sihanouk in March 1970, President Nixon launched massive raids on what he termed “sanctuaries” in Cambodia. The bomb tonnage has been estimated at twice what had been dropped on North Vietnam, and the loss of Cambodian lives at half a million—more than five percent of the total population. U.S. Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey, who visited Cambodia in 1975, described the wreckage as “greater evil than we have done to any country in the world.”*

Pen Sovann, Prime Minister of Cambodia in 1981 after the ouster of the Khmer Rouge regime and who is today seventy-seven years old, played a central role in Cambodian left politics of the 1970s and ‘80s. This short biographic sketch of Pen Sovann, who consented to a lengthy interview with the author and is quoted often in the following paragraphs, depicts a political history from a left perspective that is openly hostile both to the Khmer Rouge and the present rulers of Cambodia. We present it as an interesting contribution to a history on which no final judgments are yet possible. —The Editors

Pen Sovann’s political history stretches across much of the worst and most violent moments of modern Cambodian history and yet now he is hardly remembered by this generation. His picture was in every classroom across the country until one day “it just wasn’t there,” as Somaly, a former propagandist for the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, who was just a teenager in 1979, remembered.

Pen Sovann was born in Chan Teap Village on April 15, 1936, the year the first Khmer-language newspaper Nagaravatta started publishing. His family were simple subsistence farmers who worked the land year after year and were not educated much beyond the simple standards of the times. Although by no means well off, the Pen family was able to provide for themselves, seven children and both parents, without fear of starvation or going into debt, by the hard work of planting and harvesting rice. The family was atypical of most rural Cambodian families. All members of the family would contribute during harvest and planting. The children would be assigned different tasks throughout the year such as watching the cows, feeding the chickens, gathering wood, collecting fruit, catching fish or crabs, sewing clothes, and taking goods to the market. But all that ended on the day Pen Sovann’s father was seized by the French to work as a coolie, building bridges and dikes, staking out telegraph and telephone poles, and cutting timber. His absence from the family crippled them. Sovann said, “It was very hard on my mother. Very hard.” The first fires of hatred towards colonialism were kindled in the family once starvation began.

In March 1945, when the Japanese invaded Cambodia, leaving a skeleton staff of French in administration, Pen Sovann was himself seized by “the fascists,” as he called them, and forced to “manage and care take of cows.” The Japanese were “cruel,” and he was “angry, hurt and disappointed by the French but much more so by the Japanese,” who turned rice fields into cash crops.1 Once the Second World War ended in the Pacific on August 14, 1945, the French returned and a new spark of anti-colonial sentiment began to take shape in Sovann’s heart. He witnessed the renewed destruction of “the rights of the working poor, whose lives and liberty became even more restricted and controlled. They forced some to be coolies, some to be soldiers, and ground people down to their will.”

In his home Ta Keo province, Sovann said, “The French…knew that there was resistance by the working poor against the colonizers and their government, and that even when they were farming, they were hiding mines and other traps in areas frequented by French patrols, and so they would shoot indiscriminately at the farmers in frustration.”

Throughout the 1940s, a movement against the French, and against Khmer “puppets” of the French, became active. The movement was known as the Khmer Issarak (“Independent Khmer”), and in the early 1950s Prince Sihanouk began referring to all Issaraks as the Khmer Viet Minh, which was a title claimed only by guerillas along the Vietnamese border. The Issarak platform of operations centered on armed resistance to French rule, total national independence, and strong nationalism, although in the very beginning they focused mainly on anti-French propaganda in the then-Thai-controlled provinces of Siem Reap and Battambang. From the onset, there was strong Thai support for the movement, and in August 1946 the Issarak launched an attack on the city of Siem Reap from the Thai-controlled countryside, killing many French soldiers and occupying the ancient temples in the area before retreating a week later. Diplomatic pressure from the United States, coupled with Thai desire to be admitted into the newly founded United Nations, brought about the return of the two Thai-held provinces to the French. Yet support for the Issaraks by the Thai continued until the end of the 1940s.

The movement quickly grew nationwide throughout the post-world war years and became affiliated with a similar movement in both Laos and Vietnam. Throughout Eastern Cambodia, the Issarak were active in staging a heated guerrilla war against the French, often directly alongside their Vietnamese compatriots. One of Pen Sovann’s neighbors at that time was Ek Chhoeun. During the later rise of the Khmer Rouge and subsequent civil war (1968–1975), this man was known as “Ta Mok the butcher” and had a fierce reputation for ruthlessness and blood thirst. Ek Chhoeun was a high-ranking Issarak leader in Takeo province in the mid–1940s and was well known in the area for his involvement with the Issaraks, as well as for his outspoken anti-colonial sentiment. By 1950, at the age of fourteen, Pen Sovann readily joined the Issarak movement and was attached to Ek Chhoeun’s command. “I was trained in weaponry and a variety of political methods to resist and remove the French colonial administration from the country. Also to overthrow the influence the king had in village life and the oppression that went hand in hand from that.” Most of the armaments used by the Issarak were seized from the French. The greatest fear Sovann had throughout that period was for the safety and well-being of his family from reprisals. He stated that “once my whole family was put into prison, I had nothing more to be afraid of.” Even though his family was locked inside the French fortress in Takeo, he still made contact with them through a cousin—a soldier who happened to be stationed at the fortress.2

By 1949, direct French control over much of the administration of the Cambodian political structure had been relinquished to members of the royal government. Although still not declared an independent country, many of the daily decisions were made by Cambodians, with the French advising. This in turn began to hinder the growth of the Issarak movement, and created openings in a few Issarak units to French manipulation aimed at getting them to attack the Viet Minh, whom the French saw as a much more dangerous enemy. They were willing to supply and support these former enemies of their regime if they could be turned on “national” grounds against the primary enemies of the French. Although French support for the Issaraks was not all-encompassing, a small number of units did defect, and take up arms against their former Vietnamese comrades.

In April 1950, the First National Congress of the Khmer Resistance was held, and it voted to establish the United Issarak Front (UIF) and a proto-government called the Provisional People’s Liberation.3 The Central Committee was led by Son Ngoc Minh, considered one of the two key founders of Khmer Marxism, and three deputies including the well known Khmer Marxist Tou Samouth. Even though French influence was beginning to decline, the Indochinese Communist Party, Viet Minh, and the Khmer Issaraks continued to wage war against the “puppet” governments of Laos, South Vietnam, and Cambodia, all three of which were still effectively part of the French Empire up until and beyond the disbanding of the Indochinese Communist Party in February 1951. The Khmer membership of the Indochinese Communist Party formed the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party on June 28, 1951, led jointly by Son Ngoc Minh and Tou Samouth, and maintained a close relationship with both their Lao and Vietnamese counterparts. During that same month the Vietnamese Volunteer Army in Kampuchea began to fight alongside the United Issarak Front under a unified command. At the time the Indochinese Communist Party split into the Vietnam Worker’s Party, Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, and Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party, the first literature distributed focused on anti-colonialism. Sovann still remembers the first time he read Karl Marx: “It was June 1951,” he said, “and it was about the class struggle of the poor against the rich.”

Even with large shifts in political structure and the formation of new parties, the war against “the colonizers” continued unabated. The less than complete independence awarded Cambodia by the French on November 9, 1953, was disregarded, and the revolutionaries fought on until the Geneva Conference convened in May 1954 to settle the conflicts raging in Indochina. Even though the combined forces of the United Issarak Front and Vietnamese Volunteer Army in Kampuchea controlled and laid claim to more than one-third of the entire nation’s countryside, the UIF representatives Keo Moni and Mey Pho were strikingly excluded from the Conference. When a request was made by officials from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to include representatives of the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Issaraks, the head of the Cambodian delegation, Sam Sary, assertively claimed that the Issaraks did not constitute a government and was quoted as saying that they were “foreigners who are being manipulated by a foreign bloc.” The terms of the Indochina settlement stated that all Viet Minh forces would withdraw from Laos and Cambodia. However, the United Issarak Front were not granted regroupment zones as were their Vietnamese and Laotian partners, and instead were ordered immediately to disarm and prepare to take part in the national elections of 1955. This left a bitter feeling of resentment and disappointment towards the Vietnamese in the hearts of some Khmer revolutionaries—in particular those revolutionaries returning from France, such as Saloth Sar, Ieng Sary, and Noun Chea.

Ek Chhoun’s forces demobilized on July 27 and “buried their weapons, in event that the struggle would continue.” The Geneva Agreement stated that all Viet Minh had to be withdrawn within ninety days following July 23, and the demobilization of the Khmer Issarak took place at such a frenzied pace that it was nearly completed before the International Supervisory Commission began properly to function. A little over one thousand Khmer joined the departing Viet Minh and headed north with them to Hanoi to pursue further education in politics and revolution. Many of these left Cambodia due to fears of government reprisals and the belief that the revolution was unfinished. After 1970, many returned to fight for the revolution with the Khmer Rouge, as did Pen Sovann, who also left with the Viet Minh in 1954, and all but fifty-seven of these would survive the civil war and Pol Pot’s genocidal purges.4 On recollecting that time, Sovann stated, “My motivation [in leaving] was realizing that my country was still poor and exploited. So, I wanted to come back with an understanding and knowledge of how to change and rebuild the country.”

While the “Hanoi 1,000,” as the Khmer who joined the Viet Minh were known, were receiving military, political, ideological, and economic training, the radical movement back home was going through their own “era of political struggle,” as certain Asian scholars have called it. This era lasted from the conclusion of the Geneva Accords in 1954 to the peasant insurrection in Samlaut, Battambang in April 1967, which can be seen as one of the first acts of the soon raging civil war. Throughout the early 1950s before “independence” in 1953, many new political parties were formed, vying for power within the political freedom permitted by the French and hoping to repeat their success at winning assembly seats in the national elections of 1951 just as they had in 1947 and ‘48. These parties were: the Democrats, a party hated mutually by the French and Sihanouk for their populist platform, emphasis on independence, and seemingly large following among the educated and intellectuals; the Liberals, a party with no national program and an eagerness to collect French subventions; the Victorious Northeast, a party ruled by the overlord of Siem Reap province, Dap Chhuoun; and the Renovation Party, a monarchist party founded in 1947 as a counter to the “radical” ideas of the Democrats, which included Lon Nol, the president of the Khmer Republic from 1970 to 1975. There were also many other small parties involved in electioneering for the 1951 elections, but no parties except those mentioned won any seats in the national assembly.

For those involved in the revolutionary struggle, the elections were a show put on by the French for progressive window-dressing. It was not until the demobilization of the Issarak and the exit of most Viet Minh units in 1954 that a truly revolutionary party was created, legitimately, as a counter to the elitist and monarchist parties. It was called the Ganapak Pracheachon, the People’s Party, and members would later constitute a distinct group of people targeted and purged under Pol Pot in the 1970s. Although many individuals of the movement had gone underground, many also chose to conduct the political struggle within the framework of a newly independent Cambodia. By 1955 and the approaching national elections—a requirement of the Geneva Accords—Prince Sihanouk’s influence over the political structure was deeply threatened by a Democrat Party that had become strongly anti-royalist and anti-American with the influx of young members throughout 1953 and 1954. It was during this time of political change that many of the French-educated students began returning to Cambodia, including Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot), who “was involved with the movement in a way, but he did not work together with the regular anti-French movement. He chose a different methodology, which was the one he received through his time in France, and so when he returned he came to fight and implement that particular ideology on Khmer soil.”5

Pen Sovann’s education at that time, through affiliation with the Indochina Communist Party, the United Issaraks, and the Khmer People’s Revolutionary party, was much more centered on classical Marxism-Leninism as well as anti-colonial and anti-bourgeois studies. In meeting someone such as Saloth Sar, who had just returned from the complicated political arena of Europe, it would have been noticeable that his political education differed widely from Sovann’s own. “My first impression of Saloth Sar, when I met him in 1950, was that he was an easy-going, humble, friendly Cambodian with good morals. But when he became a staunch Maoist years later, he changed from a rabbit to a tiger.”

Fearing a loss of political power, Prince Sihanouk decided to circumvent the entire electoral process in 1955, and used his monarchist privileges to call for a referendum among the Cambodian people. The referendum gave the Cambodian voters the choice of voting for the King, “if you love him,” and voting against the King, “if you don’t love him.” Once all the votes were tallied up, there were 925,667 votes notched for the King and a near-insignificant 1,834 against. The results empowered Sihanouk to tackle his political opponents and within hours he had ordered the arrest of many editors of Cambodian newspapers. Those arrested had questioned his claim to have single-handedly won independence in 1953, as opposed to the much more realistic independence won through the Geneva Accords of 1954. The arrests were a precursor to the much wider purges to come after Sihanouk abdicated the throne and his “Buddhist socialism,” Sangkum Reastr Niyum, evolved into a strong political force. By the time Pen Sovann formally joined the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party on July 27, 1958, much of the left-wing had been physically liquidated at the behest of Prince Sihanouk, and the remaining members fled either deep into the jungles or to Vietnam. Quite a few of those who survived to see the creation of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in January 1979 claimed that Sihanouk was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths nationwide.

The difficulties in the revolutionary movement, after the elections of 1955, centered on how to conduct their struggle and survive, and the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party was decimated by the end of 1950s, leaving only Tou Samouth in the highest levels of the party. A secret party congress was held in Phnom Penh, at the train station, on September 30, 1960. Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) and Ieng Sary used the weakness of the surviving party to infiltrate the central committee, alongside Nuon Chea, who became deputy to Tou Samouth. This was a dramatic change in party membership, and further, the name of the party was changed to the Khmer Workers’ Party. The party veterans and the French-educated (later Khmer Rouge) members differed widely on perceptions of the current political state. The veterans tended towards a view of Sihanouk’s neutrality and anti-imperialist stance as positive for the struggle of socialism in Indochina, whereas the Pol Pot clique were aggressively opposed to Sihanouk’s regime in toto. Tou Samouth, Secretary-General of the Khmer Workers’ Party, disappeared in 1962, leaving a power vacuum which Pol Pot filled with those close to him.6 By 1972, Son Ngoc Minh, one of the last original revolutionaries who helped found both the United Issarak Front (1950) and the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (1951), died in Beijing, China, while undergoing medical treatment for high blood pressure at Ieng Sary’s insistance.7 The deaths of Minh and Samouth removed the “last true internationalist Marxists from leadership, leaving a group of ultra-nationalist, extreme Maoist, racists to seize control of the party under the guise of revolutionary politics,” in the view of William Morrison, a longtime resident of Cambodia and political commentator. These extremists would later terrorize the entire nation with their talk of the great “Angkorian past.” The world would come to know them as the Khmer Rouge, a term most likely coined by Prince Sihanouk when speaking of the two major political forces opposing him in the 1960s. (The other was the Blue Khmer, the right-wing equivalent to the “Red” leftists.)

While the era of “political struggle” was ending and fading into that of “armed struggle,” Pen Sovann had risen to the rank of major in the North Vietnamese Army and spent many years in military school and studying politics. By the time the peasant rebellions of 1967–1968 occurred, Sovann and many of his comrades in Vietnam, and within the Khmer Worker’s Party, opposed the political line of the more extremist elements of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge supported, and some of their opponents claim stirred up, the peasants to a premature rebellion in Samlaut that was later brutally suppressed by the Cambodian government, which had been requisitioning rice from them to the point of starvation. This opposition was never forgotten by the Pol Pot loyalists who would later purge anyone they could without incurring the notice, displeasure, and wrath of the Vietnamese. Someone like Sovann could not be purged at that point, due to his rank and connections to Hanoi. However, by 1973 the Khmer Rouge would purge anyone they chose, believing the “armed struggle” was solely in their hands and not jointly shared with the Vietnamese.

Although the Khmer Workers’ Party—later changed again in 1966 to the Communist Party of Kampuchea—maintained the façade of brotherhood with their Vietnamese counterparts up until full-scale war erupted in late 1977, there were many instances of violence between the two, often initiated by the Khmer Rouge.8 Throughout the 1960s there had been much support from the Vietnamese with military training, supply routes, and arms transportation. By the time the civil war kicked off nationwide in 1968, with the Communist Party of Kampuchea declaring the era of “armed struggle,” there seemed to be a solid bond of fraternity between the two parties.9In February 1970, Cambodian government forces began shelling North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front camps and bases in the country. The Vietnamese leadership was very confused by this due to Sihanouk’s agreement to allow them sanctuary. Unbeknownst to the Vietnamese, he had also reopened a diplomatic channel to the United States and had ordered local supporters of the Vietnamese killed beginning in 1968. Once the Cambodian government began openly attacking Vietnamese units in the east in 1970, the Vietnamese eventually responded in full force and by the end of 1970 had four North Vietnamese combat divisions in the country. While the war raged on inside Vietnam and also in Cambodia, the political war reached a climax with the coup d’état of March 1970 that firmly put Lon Nol in power and deposed Sihanouk. The Prince was enraged at the audacity of his appointed Prime Minister and immediately went into an alliance with the Khmer Rouge, who he had been ordering killed at every opportunity, and released his famous radio broadcast appealing to “his people” to take up arms against the Lon Nol government and join the Khmer Rouge.

One day before the broadcast, Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong held a lengthy meeting with Sihanouk and gave his backing for the Prince’s desire to call for armed struggle.10 The Prince’s longstanding popularity with many of the peasants quickly brought in hundreds of recruits which were formed into the Vietnamese-trained-and-armed army known as the Khmer Rumdo, or Liberation Khmers. By late 1972, much of the initial Vietnamese aid, in the form of combat soldiers, was recalled back to Vietnam, leaving the Khmer Rouge and Khmer Rumdo to operate on their own. The Khmer Rouge also used that opportunity to disarm many of the Khmer Rumdo, purge Khmer returnees from Vietnam, and hold anti-Vietnamese demonstrations. When Khieu Samphan was asked by a North Vietnamese diplomat about the disarmament and killings, he replied that it was “a CIA plot.” By that point Lon Nol’s military force had been shattered by the North Vietnamese, and much of the countryside surrounding the cities was in the hands of insurgent armies.

Pen Sovann stated that it was in “1970 when I returned to Cambodia that the Khmer Rouge leadership recruited me to work in radio which was broadcast out of Hanoi.” He worked under Chan Si, later his successor in the People’s Republic, and Khieu Thirith, the wife of Ieng Sary, in the Khmer Rouge’s Ministry of Information in charge of the Voice of the United National Front of Kampuchea.11 Because Sovann was working under the orders of the core leadership of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, he was forced to broadcast messages, appeals, and complete tasks he struggled with. “Their ideas were forced on me against my will. And they were against the cultural norms, as well! For example, not allowing the monks to fast as part of their Buddhist calling, forcing people to eat together in groups, and not calling your mother and father ‘mother’ or ‘father,’ but having to call them ‘friend mother’ or ‘friend father’. Ridiculous! Or husbands and wives calling each other ‘friend older brother’ or ‘friend younger sister.’ Those things do not fit with Khmer customs, and the things that were not according to Khmer custom, the real heart of the Khmer, I was against!” When asked if he ever openly criticized the party leaders he said, “Yes, openly. Openly! I pointed in the face of Ieng Sary and Ieng Tharith. At three o’clock in the afternoon on December 22nd, 1972, I said, ‘both of you are being treacherous to your nation!’”12Sovann knew at this time he could never return to Cambodia while the Khmer Rouge were in control of the party and it is fortunate that he was safe in Hanoi where the radio station was broadcast.

In 1974 Sovann formally broke ties with the regime he had worked for since 1970, and resigned from his position in the Ministry of Information. Through his continued involvement in writing and information sharing between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese, he was kept abreast of all developments in the conflict, even through the period of “the year zero” (1975–1978). When asked if, due to his well-placed position regarding information, he knew of the plan to empty the cities upon Khmer Rouge seizure of power he replied in the affirmative and stated, “I was angry at Ieng Sary and Ieng Tharith, and those with them. When they came [to Hanoi], I stood against them both personally, as a Khmer, and politically.”13

Relations quickly soured on the ground between the Khmer Rouge and their Vietnamese comrades almost immediately after Phnom Penh was taken in early April 1975.14 Fighting broke out between pro-Vietnamese Khmer units and Khmer Rouge, even while the capital was being secured, but it was not until approximately a year after the war had ended that the large-scale slaughter of those who had disagreed with or opposed Pol Pot began. When the premier of a newly unified Vietnam queried Pol Pot, during a visit of his to Hanoi, about the border raids and rumors of Vietnamese killed, he replied: “the soldiers don’t know what they are doing,” implying that it was a simple misunderstanding and not part of their party line. The clashes continued until large-scale border raids by Khmer Rouge into Vietnam began, and hundreds of civilians were butchered. Sovann said that, since his resignation in 1974, he had been trying to convince the Vietnamese party leadership that “the Khmer Rouge were killing their own people and that one day Pol Pot would invade Vietnam. It wasn’t until 1977 that they believed me and asked me to select people in the border areas who were dissatisfied with the Khmer Rouge and were willing to go to Hanoi for training.”

Savonn said it was difficult for him to recruit Khmer to fight Khmer. “For me, it was really hard. Heng Samrin and Hun Sen were Khmer Rouge soldiers. Chea Sim was in the Khmer Rouge organization. All the ones who were involved in the infighting of 1978 were Khmer Rouge.”15

Pen Sovann was a founding leader of the Kampuchean United Front for Salvation on November 25, 1978. On January 1, 1979, the United Front, along with divisions of the People’s Army of Vietnam, invaded Democratic Kampuchea and freed the people from what the Front’s President Heng Samrin called a “neo-slavery regime that has nothing to do with socialism.” The liberation of the country from the “Pol Pot–Ieng Sary clique”—as the Khmer Rouge were called during the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, from 1979 to 1989—was concluded by January 7, now a national holiday. Most of the remaining Khmer Rouge soldiers were pushed deep into the jungle along the Thai border. Pen Sovann served as General Secretary of the Kampuchean Revolutionary People’s Party from January 5, 1979, until December 1, 1981, and Prime Minister from June 1981 until December 5, 1981 (which oddly enough was four days after he had been arrested and sent to Vietnam).16Although expressing gratitude to the Vietnamese for their cooperation and help, he consistently attempted to keep Le Duc Tho, the chief Vietnamese advisor to the new government of the People’s Republic, to his promise not to interfere in the internal affairs of Cambodia. Sovann says that Duc Tho’s promise was almost immediately broken and was a cause of tension between the two.

Later, Le Duc Tho visited the USSR and upon his return, Sovann was imprisoned in Ha Dong prison near Hanoi until 1988, after which he was kept under house arrest until 1992 when he was permitted to return to Cambodia.17 Between 1981 and 1984, many of Sovann’s comrades who had left with him in 1954 to train in Vietnam were also purged or imprisoned by the People’s Party. One individual that many believe was poisoned was Chan Si, one of Sovann’s longest and most trusted comrades, who had succeeded him as Prime Minster from 1981 to 1984.18

Knowing that Sovann is reported to have told other interviewers about his disbelief in communism by 1981, I questioned him at some length about Marx, Marxism, and the Khmer Marxist Tou Samouth. “I can still say that he (Marx) analyzed history correctly, but the ones who used it as a means for seizing power used it destructively. Their methods were wrong 180 degrees around.” As for Tou Samouth, Sovann said, “What he knew and spoke of in his speeches was correct. For the working class, he spoke what was true: that we want to come out from under the oppression of the rich is an undeniable truth. But those who attempt to implement their version of socialism practice it incorrectly. Most importantly, if the leadership uses it (Marxism) properly, then they will have the support of the people. If they are not following it, the people know it.”19

Today Pen Sovann is still involved in politics and has lent his support to many different opposition parties since his return in 1992. He has retained his solid personal relationship with two of the three leaders, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin, of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, who both thanked him on his return to Cambodia in 1992 for helping to establish them in politics and for all his contributions made to the Khmer people. When asked a few final questions about his future in politics, his goals, and what he wants future generations to remember, Sovann said, “Well, I’m getting older. But my goals are to see the leadership changed and power given over to the people. The people need real actual rights. These are my only desires.”

Sources

The research for this biography has principally come from interviews with survivors, former Khmer Rouge and People’s Republic of Kampuchea soldiers, Pen Sovann himself, as well as the following books:

Chanda, Nayan, Brother Enemy (New York: Macmillan, 1988)

Chandler, David P., Brother Number One (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2000)

Chandler, David P., The Tragedy of Cambodian History (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 1994)

Kiernan, Ben, How Pol Pot Came to Power (London: Verso, 1985)

Kiernan, Ben and Chanthou Boua, eds., Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea, 1942–1981 (London: Zed Books, 1982)

Slocomb, Margaret, The People’s Republic of Kampuchea 1979–1989 (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2003)

Vickery, Michael, Cambodia 1975–1982 (Boston: South End Press, 1984)

Footnotes

  1. * Carey McWilliams, Education of Carey McWilliams (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), 290.

Notes

  1. Sovann told the author, “the Japanese planted many Kapok tree farms and created oil-bearing tree plantations.”
  2. “We would go with a small platoon of soldiers to the area of the fortress. If any French were met on the way, they were engaged. If no resistance was encountered and we were able to get close enough without being spotted, a signal was given and my cousin would know to meet them at our prearranged location. We did this simply to get letters into the fortress.”
  3. During the Congress, Sovann was “acting as a bodyguard for important revolutionary figures in the independence struggle, and served as a messenger and secretary.” The minutes of the meeting were given to him “to hold, print out and distribute to all the provinces.”
  4. Sovann stated to the author that, “the people in Sihanouk’s government were the same ones as in the French-controlled government. They used their power in the same ways: to oppress the farmers and the poor just like governments do now in the twenty-first century.”
  5. Sovann claimed that Pol Pot returned to Cambodia from France with an ideology, focused solely on the role of the peasantry, that in time seemed to those involved in the anti-colonial struggle as akin to what later was frequently termed Maoism.
  6. When Sovann was asked about Tou Samouth’s death he replied, “I know what happened to him, and the exact day he died, and how they tricked him. Pol Pot was responsible. Once he died there was infighting and killing for power.” This assertion is much in dispute.
  7. Sovann claimed that Ieng Sary had a direct hand in Son Ngoc Minh’s death in China while he was undergoing medical care and this was the final blow to remove the “old guard” from the party and allow Pol Pot and his follower’s full control.
  8. According to a September 1970 U.S. Central Intelligence Agency report, Khmer Rouge troops fired on Vietnamese forces from behind while the Vietnamese were engaging a Lon Nol unit in Kompong Thom.
  9. Documents and communiqués in the Vietnamese party reveal a strong displeasure that the leadership of the Cambodian party was in the hands of “Maoists” and warranted “keeping a careful watch.”
  10. A few days after that fateful broadcast was made, Vietcong units moved into Eastern Cambodia playing the recorded message in villages and distributing leaflets of Sihanouk’s appeal.
  11. When asked about what his main tasks were at time Sovann replied, “I founded the Ranaksey radio station, led the whole radio project, and wrote radio programs. I also wrote the music for the radio station: songs such as “Victory in Kompong Thom,” which became a widely sung song and is still remembered today by old people.”
  12. The “violations of cultural norms” that Sovann protested against were not formally the party line at the time he led the radio project.
  13. “They produced those documents in 1974, which is why I started to decry them. Their policy was the ‘10/0’ policy for victory. That meant not having rich or poor, no religion, no customs, no money, no people, and no cities. That is what they meant by ‘10/0.’ To be involved in 10/0 was to be in agreement with their politics. 10/0 really just meant that there isn’t anything of the old ways! No religion, no morals, no customs…. No meetings, no markets…. Before the Khmer Rouge actually took power all of this was written up in documents.”
  14. Both political parties maintained formal relations up until 1977.
  15. Sovann said, “It was hard to know the condition of their heart. So how could the people fight against them? But, truthfully, the people were angry because the leaders had killed so many of their children, grandchildren and relatives. All of those men were seen as the ones who had been killing their countrymen, so I was afraid the people would come against me as well, so I used transparency and good morals in my politics to win over the hearts of people. They people were angry! The military had killed so many of their countrymen!”
  16. Sovann claims that his arrest was due to his “strong stance about Khmer self-reliance” and the fact that this was an irritation to Le Duc Tho.
  17. Sovann told the Cambodia Daily in 1997 that he holds two party leaders at that time, Hun Sen and Say Phouthang, responsible for his imprisonment.
  18. Chen Si died in Moscow, and when asked about the considerable controversy surrounding Chan Si’s death Sovann stated, “I know all about that matter! I know the hour, the day, the month, the year, and everything, but I cannot speak about it right now! I need to consider the safety of my family.”
  19. “The power they (current governments) use these days, is used differently than what was promoted before about the poor rising against the rich. The poor don’t use force these days. They are all poor alike, not unified politically. And the rich oppress them.”

STOP REPRESSION IN SOUTH KOREA!

Democracy in South Korea is under attack. The ruling Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye and the National Intelligence Service have launched a witch hunt to purge progressive voices from the political process.

On August 28, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), formerly known as the Korean CIA, raided the offices and homes of the Unified Progressive Party, which holds six seats in South Korea’s National Assembly. Three members were arrested during the raids, and lawmaker Lee Seok-ki was later stripped of immunity and placed under arrest.

The NIS charged that members of the Unified Progressive Party were plotting rebellion, aiming to take up arms against the government in the event of war with North Korea. The sole evidence for these outlandish claims was a transcript said to be taken from a surreptitious filming by an informer of two meetings held by the Unified Progressive Party in May.

Those arrested say that the NIS fabricated the words that it attributed to them, and an internal investigation by the Unified Progressive Party affirmed that the transcript excerpts the NIS leaked to the press did not correspond to what participants in the meetings heard being said.

The NIS, like its predecessor, the KCIA, has a long history of inventing and manipulating evidence in order to achieve its political aims. In the last Korean election, it manipulated a transcript from former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun’s meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The changes made it appear that Roh intended to turn over South Korean territorial waters to the north. The intent was to paint the liberal and left opposition parties as disloyal and provide a boost to the campaigns of candidates belonging to the ruling party.

The NIS is once again fabricating evidence, this time in order to remove the Unified Progressive Party from the national scene. Lee-Seok-ki and others face the prospect of imprisonment, and the NIS is considering adding the charge of aiding the enemy, which carries with it a potential death penalty.

The Unified Progressive Party spearheaded the ever-growing national protests against abuses by the NIS. Outrage has been mounting over interference by the NIS in the electoral process, and harassment and investigations against individuals for their politics, such as opponents of the Korean Free Trade Agreement. Protests increased in size and militancy, spreading throughout the nation.

The National Security Law, a remnant from the Japanese colonial period and the anti-communist Syngman Rhee regime in the years following the Second World War, is still in effect, and essentially makes it a crime to express thoughts that can be construed as “pro-North” or “pro-communist.” When liberally interpreted, it has often been used to suppress dissent.

The National Security Law is the weapon of choice for the NIS. Clearly, the attack on the party aims to crush the calls to reform the NIS and provide bogus justification for its continued involvement in domestic affairs.

The ruling Saenuri Party is calling for Lee Seok-ki to be removed from office, even though he has yet to be tried, let alone convicted. The Ministry of Justice has created a taskforce to look into responding to petitions by conservative groups to file a request with the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Unified Progressive Party.

The South Korean people suffered under many years of dictatorship and military rule. They won a hard-fought victory to bring democracy to their nation. The McCarthyist tactics of the Saenuri Party and the NIS threaten to undo that achievement. They cannot be allowed to destroy South Korea’s democracy.

We, the undersigned, demand the Park Geun-hye administration-

 •Free Lee Seok-ki and other members of the Unified Progressive Party arrested under false charges.

•Free members of the Beomminryeon unification organization, arrested in a raid by the NIS in June.

•Halt the effort to remove Lee Seok-ki from office.

•Stop the move to dissolve the Unified Progressive Party.

•Abolish the National Security Law, instrument of repression.

•Ban the National Intelligence Service from engaging in domestic surveillance and investigation of citizens.

•Bring to justice those in the NIS who were responsible for interfering in the last election and in fabricating evidence.

Christine Ahn, Board Member, Korea Policy Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii
James V. Albertini, President, Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action, Ola’a (Kurtistown), Hawaii
David K. Armiak, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsins
Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition, Washington, DC
William Blum, Author, “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else,” Washington, DC
Nile Bowie, International Movement for a Just World, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Steven Brion-Meisels, Ph.D., Board of Directors, Massachusetts Peace Action, Boston MA
Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston MA
Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa; Editor and Director, Center for Research on Globalization, Montreal Canada
SaeHee Chun, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, Fairfax, Virginia
Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr., Co-Director, Center for Process Studies, Claremont Lincoln University, Claremont, CA
Jane Cutter, Website Editor, Party for Socialism and Liberation
Suzanne Majo De Kuyper, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Gregory Elich, Jasenovac Research Institute and Korea Policy Institute, Columbus, Ohio
Pejmann Fallah, Columbus Ohio
Henri Feron, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (PRC)
Bernice Fischer, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Peninsula Chapter, Palo Alto, CA
Bill Fletcher, Labor activist and journalist, Washington D.C.
Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center, New York NY
Margaret Flowers, MD, PopularResistance.org, Baltimore, MD
Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Joy Lee Powell Gebhard, Washington, DC
Mike Gimbel, Retired Executive Board member, Local 375, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Paul Gottinger, Editor, The White Rose Reader, Madison, WI

  • Rev. S. Michael Hahm, New York NY
  1. Herbert J. Hoffman, Veterans for Peace, Albuquerque, NM
  2. Christine Hong, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
  3. Joon Ki Hyun, Los Angeles, CA
  4. Ron Jacobs, Writer, Burlington VT
  5. Milina Jovanovic, Sunnyvale, CA
  6. June Kelly, People Against War Network, Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland
  7. Daniel Kim, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, New York City, NY
  8. Haeyoung Kim, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  9. Sang Eui Kim, Los Angeles California
  10. Soobok Kim, Closter, NJ
  11. David Laibman, Science & Society, New York, NY
  12. Judith Leblanc, Peace Action, Silver Spring, Maryland
  13. Ramsay Liem, Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation, Brookline, MA and Berkeley, CA
  14. Louise Morris, Edgehill United Methodist Church (Former missionary to South Korea), Nashville, TN
  15. Sean Mulligan, Johns Creek, Georgia
  16. Michael Munk, Portland OR
  17. Leah Obias, Damayan Migrant Workers Association, New York, NY
  18. Andrew S. Park, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Ethics, United Theological Seminary, Dayton Korean American United Methodist Church, Dayton OH
  19. Andrew Kisik Park, Boston, MA
  20. Tim Shorrock, Author, “Spies for Hire – The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing,” Washington, D.C.
  21. Jack A. Smith, Editor, Activist Newsletter, Hudson Valley, New York
  22. Mark Stansbery, Community Organizing Center, Columbus, Ohio
  23. Dr. Harold Sunoo, Los Angeles, CA
  24. JT Takagi, National Campaign to End the Korean War, New York, NY
  25. Walter Trkla, Kamloops British Columbia, Canada
  26. Chela Vazquez, Oakland CA
  27. Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, United States
  28. Helena Wong, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, New York, NY
  29. Renie Wong Lindley, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Honolulu, HI
  30. Rev. Kil Sang Yoon, Director, Korea Project, Center for Process Studies, Claremont Lincoln University, Claremont, CA
  31. Kevin Zeese, JD, PopularResistance.org, Baltimore, MD

The Kennedy Assassination, November 22, 1963: 50 Years Later

November 21st, 2013 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

November 22, 2013, is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The true story of JFK’s murder has never been officially admitted, although the conclusion that JFK was murdered by a plot involving the Secret Service, the CIA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been well established by years of research, such as that provided by James W. Douglass in his book, JFK And The Unspeakable, published by Simon & Schuster in 2008.  Ignore Douglass’ interest in the Trappist monk Thomas Merton and Merton’s prediction and focus on the heavily documented research that Douglass provides.

Or just turn to the contemporary films, taken by tourists watching JFK’s motorcade that are available on YouTube, which show clearly the Secret Service pulled from President Kennedy’s limo just prior to his assassination, and the Zapruder film that shows the killing shot to have come from President Kennedy’s right front, blowing off the back of his head, not from the rear as postulated in the Warren Commission Report, which would have pushed his head forward, not rearward. 

I am not going to write about the assassination to the extent that the massive information permits. Those who want to know already know. Those who cannot face the music will never be able to confront the facts regardless of what I or anyone else writes or reveals.

To briefly review, the facts are conclusive that JFK was on terrible terms with the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. He had refused to support the CIA organized Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.  He had rejected the Joint Chiefs’ “Operation Northwoods,” a plan to commit  real and faked acts of violence against Americans, blame Castro and use the false flag events to bring regime change to Cuba.  He had rejected the Joint Chiefs case that the Soviet Union should be attacked while the US held the advantage and before the Soviets could develop delivery systems for nuclear weapons. He had indicated that after his reelection he was going to pull US troops out of Vietnam and that he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces. He had aroused suspicion by working behind the scenes with Khrushchev to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, leading to claims that he was “soft on communism.”  The CIA and Joint Chiefs’ belief that JFK was an unreliable ally in the war against communism spread into the Secret Service.

It has been established that the original autopsy of JFK’s fatal head wound was discarded and a faked one substituted in order to support the official story that Oswald shot JFK from behind. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and President Johnson knew that Oswald was the CIA’s patsy, but they also understood, as did members of the Warren Commission, that to let the true story out would cause Americans to lose confidence in their own government at the height of the Cold War.

Robert Kennedy knew what had happened. He was on his way to being elected president and to holding the plotters accountable for the murder of his brother when the CIA assassinated him. A distinguished journalist, who was standing behind Robert Kennedy at the time of his assassination, told me that the killing shots came from behind past his ear.  He submitted his report to the FBI and was never contacted.

Acoustic experts have conclusively demonstrated that more shots were fired than can be accounted for by Sirhan Sirhan’s pistol and that the sounds indicate two different calibers of firearms.  

I never cease to be amazed by the gullibility of Americans, who know nothing about either event, but who confidently dismiss the factual evidence provided by experts and historians on the basis of their naive belief that “the government wouldn’t lie about such important events” or “someone would have talked.”  What good would it do if someone talked when the gullible won’t believe hard evidence?

Secret Service pulled from JFK’s limo

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/11/james-huang/must-watch-video/

Zapruder film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufvmHYqfdbU (Preview

James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, Simon & Schuster, 2008

Operation Northwoods: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

A New Flu Season of Pain, Profit and Politics

November 21st, 2013 by Dr. Gary Null

 According to all official health reports, we are now fully in flu season.  It is that time of year when public health officials, physicians pediatricians and pharmacists warn that everyone over 6 months of age should protect themselves and get vaccinated. Most Americans, believing the government’s propaganda about the safety and benefits of the flu vaccine, are joining the inoculation lines without pausing to consider the accuracy and legitimacy of health officials’ and pediatrician claims.

 The official government figure for the annual number of deaths caused by influenza infection remains at 36,000. Why this figure has not changed during the course of a decade is anyone’s guess. However,  there can between 150 and 200 different infectious pathogens—adenovirus, rhinovirus, parainfluenza, the very common coronavirus and, of course, pneumonia—that produce flu-like symptoms.  For example, how many people have heard of bocavirus, which is responsible for bronchitis and pneumonia in young children, or metapneumovirus, responsible for more than 5 percent of all flu-related illnesses? This is true during every flu season and it will be no different for the 2013-2014 season.  

 If we take the combined figure of flu and pneumonia deaths for the period of 2001, and add a bit of spin to the figures, we are left believing that 62,034 people died from influenza. The actual figures determined by Peter Doshi, then at Harvard University, are 61,777 died from pneumonia and only 257 from flu. Even more amazing, among those 257 cases only 18 were confirmed positive for influenza.

A CBS Investigative Report, published in October 2012, exemplifies the unreliable and perhaps intentionally deceptive misinformation campaign steered by the US government health agencies every flu season . After the CDC refused to honor CBS’s Freedom of Information request to receive flu infection data by individual state, the network undertook an independent investigation across all fifty states to get their infectious disease statistics. The final report contradicts dramatically the CDC’s public relations blitz. For example, in California, among the approximate 13,000 flu-like cases, 86 percent tested negative for any flu strain. In Florida, out of 8,853 cases, 83 percent were negative. In Georgia and Alaska, only 2.4 percent and 1 percent respectively tested positive for flu virus among all reported flu-like cases. If the infection-rate ratios obtained by CBS are accurate, the CDC’s figures are significantly reduced and flu season severity is overstated dramatically.

In addition to false advertising by the government and America media, over recent years, we have witnessed an increase in “scientific” studies framed as commercials and public relations spin to promote vaccine efficacy. A highly flawed medical trial conducted by a vaccine maker has a greater chance of being published in a prestigious medical journal than scientifically sound research conducted by an independent scientist or university without conflict of interests with government and private industries.  When we question why this is  the case, the deduction is that such research is more often than not promotional spin to support the financial interests of the corporate party. This is particularly true of industry and government-funded vaccine trials with the sole intention to influence the nation’s health policy makers and physicians, and to relieve doubts concerning vaccine efficacy and safety.  The nation’s health agencies then rely upon these fabrications to convince the healthcare community and citizens about the importance of vaccination and the dangers of contracting an infectious disease.  And this scenario is particularly flagrant in studies promoting flu vaccine propaganda.

There is a single question that needs to be answered: what is the actual gold standard proof to claim that the flu vaccine is efficacious for any given individual?  The question whether or not the flu vaccine is safe becomes secondary if the vaccine’s efficacy is negligible or useless. In that case, there would be no convincing scientific rationale for administering the vaccine in the first place. During the past four years, since the hype and subsequent fizzle of the 2008 H1N1 scare, we have done an extensive review of the scientific literature and analysis of flu vaccination, and the results are startling.

In an interview with Dr. Thomas Jefferson, coordinator for the Cochrane Vaccine Field in Rome, Italy, he stated that in 2009 he conducted a thorough review of 217 published studies on flu vaccines and found only 5% reliable. In other words, 95% of published flu vaccine studies are flawed and their conclusions should be dismissed. This is not a great surprise; even CDC officials were  forced to confess that “influenza vaccines are still among the least effective immunizing agents available, and this seems to be particularly true for elderly recipients.”[1] Dr. Anthony Morris, a distinguished virologist and a former Chief Vaccine Office at the FDA, found “there is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza.’ Dr. Morris stated, “The producers of these vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.”[2]

In 2006, Dr. Peter Doshi  published a devastating study in the British Medical Journal that systematically unveils the flawed predictive science used to publicize our health agencies’ influenza statistics and mortality rates. His analysis shook up enough health authorities to warrant twelve scientists from the CDC and National Institutes of Health to unsuccessfully challenge him. Now at John Hopkins, Doshi continues his analysis of a century’s worth of influenza mortality statistics and government manipulation of influenza data, such as the annual figure of 36,000 influenza deaths we hear and read repeatedly.[3] Although this magical number was for all practical purposes alchemically conjured via mathematical modeling back in 2003, it continues to be the most holy number in the CDC’s PR vocabulary every flu season. Doshi draws the conclusion, published in the American Journal of Public Health, that commercial interests are playing the role of science in both industry and government.[4]

When we review the FDA’s and CDC’s flawed methodology for promulgating the myth that 36,000 Americans die annually from flu infections, we will see that over 90 percent of these mortalities are a result of pneumonia and other infections, not the influenza virus. On the CDC’s website, the agency makes reference that deaths caused by influenza and pneumonia are grouped together

In a more recent 2013 report published in the British Medical Journal, Doshi had this to say about flu vaccinations: “The vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.” He notes that a study published by an Australian team found that “one in every 110 children under the age of five had convulsions following vaccinations in 2009 for HINI influenza.”[5]  Separate independent studies conducted in the UK, Finland and Sweden concur that the flu vaccine directly contributed to the rise in cases of narcolepsy following receipt of GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine. The conclusion is that the vaccine triggered an immune reaction against the children’s sleep center cells.[6]

Perhaps the vaccine industry’s single and most vital error to determine whether flu vaccines are effective lies in its unsound belief that measuring antibodies following vaccination is indicative of protection from flu infection. Therefore studies are strictly designed to quantify antibody levels and not to discover whether the vaccine actually prevenst disease.  This primitive and biologic-denying creed is a major reason why more voices in the scientific community acknowledge that the entire premise of the flu vaccine is based upon junk science. As a result, one of the very few double blind placebo controlled trials on Sanofi Pasteur’s Vaxigrip influenza vaccine, utilizing a genuine placebo (saline solution), noted a 5.5 times higher rate in respiratory infections caused by non-influenza viruses in the vaccinated group compared to the unvaccinated.[7]

Pregnant Women and the Flu Vaccine

The CDC’s website states, “if you are pregnant, a flu shot is your best protection against serious illness from the flu. A flu shot can protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and even the baby after birth.”  Is there any scientific truth to this claim?[8]  We would expect that if this were true, then we would find this mentioned on the flu vaccine package inserts. But we don’t. For example, for the HINI vaccine inserts, we find “It is not known whether these vaccines can cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women or can affect reproduction capacity.”

Surprisingly few vaccine studies have been performed on pregnant women. And none of them according to Dr. Jefferson are “high quality.” While some extremely poor trials have been conducted, the CDC’s National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease research into the potential dangers and risks of the flu vaccine to both mom and fetus is negligible. After evaluating all flu vaccine studies on pregnant women, and finding them “artificial” in the way they were designed and carried out, Dr. Jefferson concludes that “I would be very very cautious about vaccinating unborn babies.”[9]

The New York Times published an article touting the CDC myth of flu vaccine safety for pregnant women. The Times quoted Dr. Jay Butler, CDC’s chief of the swine flu vaccine task force to relieve fears about flu vaccine adverse effects, especially to pregnant women. Dr. Butler said, “There are about 2,400 miscarriages a day in the US. You’ll see things that would have happened anyway. But the vaccine doesn’t cause miscarriages. It also doesn’t cause auto accidents, but they happen.”[10] Not very reassuring to expectant mothers across the country, especially since none of the approved H1N1 vaccines used at that time had undergone rigorous clinical safety trials on pregnant women or the potential adverse effects of mercury-laced vaccines and other ingredients, such as spermacide, detergent and cosmetics, on the developing fetus.

In 2012, the National Coalition of Organized Women received documents with statistics based upon the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) covering the 2009 and 2010 flu season. The CDC’s own vaccine injury data collection revealed a 4,250% increase in fetal deaths after the flu shot. The VAERS statistics were confirmed later by Dr. Gary Goldman and published in the Human and Environmental Toxicology Journal showing that the HINI swine flu vaccine did in fact cause a 4,250% rise in spontaneous abortions.

The CDC has refused to provide further information under a Freedom of Information Act filing until after a three year period, a direct violation of  FIOA law. When confronted and queried about the rise in fetal deaths among vaccinated pregnant mothers, the CDC’s Dr. Shimabkuru confirmed the agency knew of this increase.[11]

A study appearing in the journal Vaccine provides a strong warning against administering the flu vaccine to pregnant woman.[12] The study observed a rise in inflammation in pregnant woman that relates directly to preeclampsia and leading to premature births. Commenting upon this study, Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo, wrote this should be expected given the “highly inflammatory, neurotoxic and immunotoxic” ingredients found in flu vaccines. A list of flu vaccine ingredients includes:[13]

·         Ethyl Mercury (thimerosal): a powerful neurotoxin implicated in autism, seizures, mental retardation, dyslexia

·         Aluminum compounds: a known neurotoxin that has been associated with brain damage, dementia, Alzheimers and convulsions

·         Ammonium Sulfate:  commonly used in pesticide preparations and attributed to respiratory toxicity;

·         Beta-Propiolactdone: a hazardous chemical associated with lymphomas in animals;

·         Formaldehyde: an embalming chemical and known human carcinogen, neurotoxin, and genetic disruptor;

·         Monosodium Glutamate: a preservative known to adversely affect learning, behavior and reproduction

·         Oxtoxinol-9:  a vaginal spermicide;

·         Phenol:  an immune inhibitor that has been known to be highly toxic to the  cardiovascular, nervous, reproductive and respiratory systems and once employed by the Nazis in the concentration camps

·         Polysorbate 80: associated with anaphylactic shock and a classified carcinogen in animals

If the dangers of the toxic chemical ingredients found in flu vaccines is not enough, there is also the high health risks associated with the cellular medium pharmaceutical companies use to prepare the influenza virus. Commonly, chicken embryos have been the standard medium for growing flu strains. In her book, Fear of the Invisible, medical investigative journalist Janine Roberts reproduces documents from closed CDC meetings to discuss problems associated with vaccine manufacturing.[14]  The meeting was called to raise alarm and review the degree of genetic contamination found in vaccine preparations that rely on chicken embryo and other animal tissue medium, including the flu vaccine. The transcripts conclude that due to the primitive methodology to filtrate vaccine preparations, the end result injected into people can contain numerous known and unknown genetic and protein residues and contaminants.

During one meeting, Dr. Andrew Lewis, then head of the DNA Virus Laboratory in the Division of Viral Products confirmed that “All the egg-based vaccines are contaminated…. These fertilized chicken eggs are susceptible to a wide variety of viruses.” Among these viruses are Avian Leuokosis Virus (associated with leukemia cancer in birds) and Equine Arteritis Virus (associated with arthritic conditions in horses).

Dr. Conroy of the World Health Organization stated that the arthritis virus is found in all fertilized chicken eggs. Other active biologic ingredients include prions (tiny proteins responsible for incurable diseases and neurological disorders in both humans and animals) and oncogenes (a gene that turns normal cells cancerous).  One attendee, Dr. Goldberg,  stated,

“There are countless thousands of undiscovered viruses, proteins and similar particles. We have only identified a very small part of the microbial world—and we can only test for those we have identified. Thus the vaccine cultures could contain many unknown particles.”

Because of the known dangers and high level of genetic contamination of all flu vaccines developed from chicken embryos, other mediums are being sought to replace them. Novartis’ Flucelvax employs dog kidney cells, and a more recent flu vaccine approved by the FDA in 2013 utilizes a cell line from the armyworm Spodoptere frugiperda.  But no known research has been conducted to our knowledge on the risks to the body’s immune system from these new genetic cell lines.

Children and the Flu Vaccine

When the CDC launched the new swine flu vaccines in 2009, it recommended vaccination of children as young as 6 months. All FDA-approved intramuscular flu vaccines comprise an inactivated virus. So is there any evidence that inactivated viral influenza vaccines are effective in very young children?  Our own analysis and review has not uncovered any convincing scientific evidence.  However, some of the most damning evidence was reported in two studies performed by Dr. Tom Jefferson at the Cochrane Group and published in The Lancet and the prestigious Cochrane Database Systems Review. 

The first study was a systematic review of the effects of influenza vaccine in healthy children.[15] The second was a review of all available published and unpublished safety evidence available regarding the flu vaccine.[16] The authors of the study had also contacted the lead scientists or research groups for all the efficacy and safety trials under review in order to gain access to additional unpublished data the corporations may possess. The conclusions are shocking.

The only safety study found for an inactivated flu vaccine was conducted in 1976. And that single study enrolled only 35 children aged 12-28 months.  Every other subsequent inactivated flu vaccine study enrolled only children 3 years and older.   Therefore, upon what medical basis should the flu vaccine be administered to six month old children? There is none.

In a review of 51 studies involving over 294,000 children, there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 years of age, flu vaccine effectiveness was 33 percent of the time preventing flu. [17]

Dr. Jefferson told Reuters,

“Immunization of very young children is not lent support by our findings. We recorded no convincing evidence that vaccines can reduce mortality, [hospital] admissions, serious complications and community transmission of influenza. In young children below the age of 2, we could find no evidence that the vaccine was different from a placebo.”[18]

A live flu virus vaccine is available via nasal administration. As for this vaccine, no safety studies have been performed on children under 22 months. Of course a vaccine with an flu active virus can make the recipient potentially contagious.  National Vaccine Information Prevention founder and president Barbara Lo Fisher concurs: “The live virus activated vaccine has the ability to spread flu.”[19] Medimmune, the sole manufacturer of the live flu nasal vaccine, repeatedly refused to give unpublished data to Dr. Jefferson without executive clearance. This was also true for some vaccine makers working with inactive viruses.

Mercury, in the form of thimerosal, continues to be used in infant influenza vaccines. An important peer-reviewed study appearing in the June 2009 issue of Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry discovered a causal relationship between the amounts of mercury found in infant flu vaccines when administered to monkeys, and cellular toxicity resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired oxidative reduction activity and degeneration and death in neuronal and fetal cells.[20] These are all indicative signs found in some ASD. But health officials prefer to ignore such results. For the future health of American children, the study’s findings arrived at a bad time when a Harvard study reported that autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) had increased to 1 in 91 people compared to the earlier 1 in 150 estimate.

The Elderly and the Flu Vaccine

Is there any benefit for senior citizens to receive the flu vaccine?  To date, there is in fact no credible data to support the marketing campaign to push flu vaccination upon the elder population. Rather there is strong scientific data to suggest that seniors avoid it all costs. For the 2013 flu season, Fluzone is the preferred vaccine being marketed to seniors. This “high dose” vaccine contains more viral antigens compared to the normal vaccine given to younger adults. Thee results of Fluzone’s own safety trial documents 7.4%  of elderly volunteers experience serious adverse events and 23 persons in the trial died following administration of the vaccine. All total there were 249 serious adverse incidences out of 3,833 participants enrolled in the study.[21]  A common excuse we hear from the CDC and FDA when a vaccine has been associated with serious health consequences is that the problem is not the vaccine, but other unidentified health risk factors in the victims. This type of defense and blatant denial is found repeatedly on our federal health agencies own websites.  

In 64 studies that looked at a total of 66,000 healthy adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6 percent and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day. There was no change in the number of hospitalizations compared to the non-vaccinated.” [22]  So if this is true of healthy adults, what about the flu vaccine’s efficacy among the elderly who are frequently immuno-comprised from other illnesses?

The flu vaccine has been shown to be less effective among seniors over 65 years of age than other age groups.  Nevertheless, the over-65 population remains a primary target  for federal vaccination campaigns. There have been many studies conducted in nursing homes to determine how effective flu vaccines are in preventing infection. Average effectiveness results, which means measuring only the dose required to stimulate an adequate immune response, are in the low to mid twenty percent range (21-27 percent). Another set of four studies indicates the flu vaccine was 0, 2, 8 and 9 percent effective.[23] Yet despite these dismal results, the CDC still wishes us to believe that vaccinating elderly citizens is “50-60% effective in preventing hospitalization and pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing death.[24]

 Government health projections confirm, and the CDC has been forced to acknowledge, that elderly people, with or without the flu shot, show less than a one percent rate of being hospitalized for pneumonia and influenza.  That means that 99 percent of elderly people manage to weather the storm.[25]  In an even more shocking study, the CDC had to admit that last year’s flu vaccine was 91% ineffective for seniors citizens.[26]  However this has not discouraged government officials from marketing the flu vaccine upon senior citizens and professional geriatric medical associations and healthcare facilities.

An important Dutch study was conducted in a large home for the elderly. In spite of two thirds of the residents having been vaccinated, the flu infected 49% of them, including bacterial and pneumonia infections, and 10% died. The critical observation found in the study was that 50% of those vaccinated got the disease whereas 48% of non-vaccinated people were infected.  The results of this study again reveal the uselessness of the flu vaccine.[27]

Heart and cardiovascular disease risks increase during natural aging and is a leading cause of death among the elderly. It has recently been discovered in a study published in the International Journal of Medicine that the flu vaccine contributes to cardiovascular inflammation thereby increasing the risk of heart attack. The study found that the flu vaccine induced platelet activity, elevated C Reactive Protein, and reduced heart rate variability—all indicated in adverse cardiovascular events.[28]

Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the US and affects over five million people. The disease is growing rapidly and today one in three seniors die from it or another form of dementia at a cost of $203 billion in 2013 and an expected increase to $1.2 trillion by 2050.[29]  With the federal health agencies aggressive pursuit to vaccinate senior citizens with the flu vaccine, is there any evidence that over vaccination is contributing to the Alzheimer surge?

Dr. Hugh Fudenburg, a leading immunologist and founding director of Neuro Immuno Therapeutic Research Foundation, is one of the most quoted immnogeneticists of our times, with over 850 papers in peer-reviewed publications.  After years of immunological study, he discovered that individuals who had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980, the chances of acquiring Alzheimer’s Disease were ten times or 1000% higher than those who had only one or two vaccinations during that same time period.[30]   The reasoning is the accumulate amount of mercury and aluminum in the body after successive annual flu shots.

Asthma and the Flu Vaccine

Vaccine opponents claim that one of the adverse effects of vaccination is the onset of asthmatic conditions.  A great way to counter this attack is to make the claim that flu vaccination will reduce asthmatic attacks brought on by flu infection among those children who are most susceptible to them. In fact, this is what the vaccine industry claims.

A study by Dr. Herman Bueving at the Department of Family Practice at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, conducted one of the few randomized, double-blind placebo studies found in vaccine literature. The two-year study enrolled 696 asthmatic children, half vaccinated and the rest administered a placebo. The study found there was no difference between the incidence and severity of asthmatic attacks between the two groups. This Dutch study exposes another CDC deception and strengthens the case against flu vaccine’s ineffectiveness.[31]

In fact, in children with asthma, inactivated flu vaccine did not prevent influenza related hospitalizations in children. The database shows that children who received the flu vaccine were at a higher risk of hospitalization than children who did not receive the vaccine. In a separate study involving 400 children with asthma receiving a flu vaccine and 400 who were not immunized, there was no difference in the number of clinic and emergency room visits and hospitalizations between the two groups.[32]

Concealing Research Data

If the influenza vaccine is effective and safe, and corporations have strong evidence to prove this, then why is so much data held by vaccine makers concealed from government drug regulatory agencies, the scientific community and the public?

Independent vaccine investigators and scientists, with no vested interest in the vaccine industrial complex, and who wish to preserve high standards of scientific integrity, face hostile resistance and find themselves hamstrung to gain access to necessary scientific and clinical trial data from the vaccine industrial complex and their guardians in government health services. This has hindered proper vaccine evaluation.

Federal agencies do not regulate what a corporation does or does not do with its clinical data on vaccine efficacy and safety. All that is required from vaccine makers is the necessary documentation required for FDA submission in order to gain approval and registration. All other data is sealed in a proprietary vault off-limits to the scientific community unless a company provides access willingly. This in itself is a violation of the highest ethics of medical science, which by definition should be a quest for discovering and confirming medical facts and by sharing information publicly so scientists can further their knowledge to find the best solutions for tackling our health problems.

Dr. Jefferson states,

“We believe all unpublished trial safety data should be readily accessible to both the regulatory bodies and the scientific community on request. Our evidence gives rise to a concern that lack of access to unreported data prevents published data being put into context and hinders full and independent review. This cannot be good for public confidence in these vaccines.”[33]

A scientific study was reported on CTV, Canada’s largest private television network, on September 23, 2009.  The study, conducted in three Canadian provinces—British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec—by Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, raised serious concerns over the potential efficacy of the flu vaccine based upon new data showing that a person vaccinated with last year’s seasonal vaccine is more susceptible to contract the H1N1 virus.[34]

More recently, an animal study conducted by the Center for Biologics and Evaluation and the National Animal Disease Center discovered that young piglets vaccinated with one flu strain (H1N2) not only failed to protect the animals but in fact protected and enhanced the proliferation of another flu strain (H1N1) in the lungs thereby causing pneumonia and respiratory illness.[35]

Flu Vaccine Safety

Over the decades I have interviewed many of the world’s most knowledgeable vaccine scientists, researchers, physicians and vaccine attorneys working with children who are damaged victims from vaccination. Among the questions I routinely ask, is whether or not there is any evidence that vaccine makers conduct randomized double-blind placebo studies to determine efficacy and safety. Throughout true science, this protocol has served as the gold standard, and never has anyone in the medical community, nor any source in our own research, found evidence for randomized double-blind placebo studies ever being conducted in vaccine trials by the CDC, NIAID and the corporate drug industry.

 The use of placebos used in vaccination trials is exceedingly important. In standard scientific methodology a placebo should be a very inert substance, such as water, saline or a sugar substance, in order to accurately determine the tested substance’s effects on human biology. According to Australian vaccine historian Dr. Viera Scheibner, vaccine trials do not employ an inert placebo.  Instead, what is substituted for an actuaql placebo is “the vaccine with all the adjuvants and preservatives, certainly not inert substances, minus those viruses and bacteria.”

According to Scheibner, “that is why when they compare the trial children who were given the lot and those who were given placebo, they have the same rate of reaction.”[36]  This means that all vaccine efficacy and safety trials using a non-inert placebo are fundamentally flawed by design at the starting gate.  Flawed methodology inevitably results in flawed data.  Yet that is the guiding principle the vaccine industrial complex relies upon, and our federal health officials and professional medical associations, such as the American Pediatric Association, are all too ready to approve and promote outrageously bad science.

If there is no compelling scientific evidence that flu vaccines are effective and have a high degree of certainty of protecting us from flu infection, then it is criminal to suggest that the vaccine should be made mandatory.

Flu Vaccine Mandates

The recent push to mandate flu vaccines for American healthcare workers is not the first time mandatory flu vaccines have been tried.  During the 1980s, Japan had mandatory flu vaccination for school children. Two large scale studies enrolled children from four cities with vaccination rates up to 90 percent discovered there was no difference in the incidence of flu infection. As a result, in 1987, Japanese health authorities ruled that flu vaccination was ineffective and was no more than a serious liability if it were to continue. The mandatory policy was quickly overturned. By 1989, the number of Japanese taking the flu vaccine dropped to 20 percent. A follow up study at that time found that there was statistically insignificant change in influenza infection rates compared to when the vaccine was mandatory.[37] 

 In recent years fictitious literature masquerading as sound science has become the norm for aggressive national campaigns to increase flu vaccination rates. Often these studies either remain unpublished or are reinvented for publication well after the fact. CDC funded research is especially culprit in promoting vaccine fraud. Once the public learns to distinguish fact from fiction in the government and major media endeavors to vaccinate every American against influenza, the greater the realization that the Bernay-like advertising blitzkrieg has no scientific basis and is intended increase financial interests of the vaccine industrial complex and insurers.

Hygiene is More Effective than the Flu Vaccine

In a curious twist of fate, corporations, far removed from drug and vaccine development, but obligated to test and market their own products, conduct studies that contradict the dogma of the pharmaceutical industrial complex.  Procter and Gamble have conducted numerous studies on their common household products such as soap and liquid detergents. One such study was a randomized, placebo study of 611 hundred households, in 36 separate neighborhoods, in Karachi, Pakistan to determine whether frequent use of a common hand soap, an antibacterial (promotional) soap and a placebo soap would reduce the rate of lung infections due to pneumonia among children.

Proctor and Gambles’ results are quite startling with a fifty percent lower incidence of pneumonia infections among children under five with the plain and antibacterial soaps compared to placebo. There was also a 53 percent reduction in diarrhea and a 34 percent decrease in incidences of impetigo. Compare this with the efficacy of the flu vaccine and it is evident that soap and hygiene is a far more effective and less dangerous means for preventing the spread of communicable infections.

The truth of the CDC’s and the Department of Health and Human Services’ statistics claiming serious illness and death due to influenza infection is complicated by another simple medical fact.  “Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms (fever, headache, aches and pains, cough and runny nose).”  When it comes to identifying the infecting virus for any case displaying flu-like systems, only PCR is sound and reliable. According to a Cochrane Summary of this issue, unless reliable, and more costly, diagnostic testing is performed, “doctors cannot tell the two illnesses apart.”  The summary continues, “At best, vaccines might be effective against only Influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses.”[38]  For all other strains and flu-like viruses, the flu vaccine is utterly inadequate.

While this may appear to be an irrelevant example, it compliments Dr. Jefferson’s research at the Cochrane group. His conclusion about the flu vaccine is,

“People should ask whether it’s worth investing these trillions of dollars and euros in these vaccines.. What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth. The best strategy to prevent illness is to wash your hands.”[39] [40] 

And if you are among those who hold Dr. Jefferson suspect, then even the FDA’s and CDC’s 1999 directive to manufacturers to remove mercury from vaccines recommends that the safest and most effective way to prevent flu infections is frequent hand washing and a healthy lifestyle.[41]

Conclusion

The good news is that throughout developed nations, citizens are increasingly educating themselves about the dangers of vaccines, not just to protect their children, but themselves. Annually, the percentage of people refusing flu vaccination increases. Towards the end of the 2012-2013 flu season, the Washington Post reported only 36% of Americans were vaccinated.[42] It would be expected that the majority of those vaccinated were children because they more frequently visit pediatric physicians for regular checkups and have vaccines forced upon them.  A 2011 survey conducted by the Rand Corporation found that about 50% of adults said they “don’t need” the flu vaccine or they “don’t believe in it.”[43]

 A 65% non-vaccination rate worries US health officials greatly. But health officials are not only feeling the pressure from parents and informed citizens questioning vaccine safety and efficacy but also from doctors and scientists. Late in 2012, a group of scientists in the UK demanded that British health ministers make the truth about the flu vaccine public. The scientists, some expert in immunology, demanded the government be held accountable for “wasting taxpayer money” on a vaccine that is not only unnecessary but essentially useless.[44]

 Private vaccine and pharmaceutical companies have no expense for marketing and distributing influenza vaccines to doctors and health care facilities. Rather the US government purchases the flu vaccine outright from vaccine makers and then the government is required to promote, advertise and sell them. Government holds the debt. Because the pharmaceutical industry already received its money, it is the government’s responsibility, with taxpayer money,  to sell the vaccines by whatever means at its disposal. This is another reason why people of all ages and parents need be better educated to see past the barrage of junk science and the publicity of misinformation originating in the federal health agencies.

Notes

[1] Kidder D, Scmitz R. Measures of costs and morbidity in the analysis of vaccine effectiveness based on Medicare claims. In Hannoun C, et al. Eds. Options for the Control of Influenza 11. Amsterdam: Excerpts Medica, 1993; 127-33.

[2] Patrick, Jay. “Flu Vaccines ‘Worthless’ Says Eminent FDA Virologist.”

[3] Doshi, Peter. “Viral Marketing: The Selling of the Flu Vaccine.” Harpers Magazine. March. 2006

[4] “MIT grad student’s study challenges notions of pandemic flu” MIT Tech Talk. April 16, 2008

[5] Hubbard SB. “Johns Hopkins Scientist Slams Flu Vaccine.” Vaccine Information Network, May 16, 2013.

[6] “Glaxo’s Swine Flu Shot Linked to Narcolepsy in UK Kids.”  Bloomberg, February 26, 2013.

[7] Cowling B, Fang V, Nishiura H, Chan KH, Ng S, Chiu S. “Increased risk of noninfluenza respiratory virus infections associated with receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine.” Clinical Infectious Diseases.  DOI: 10.1093.

[8]  Pregnant Women Need a Flu Shot  http://www.cdc.gov/features/pregnancyandflu/

[9]  Interview with Dr. Tom Jefferson, “The Gary Null Show” Progressive Radio Network, January 8, 2012  www.prn.fm

[10] McNeil, Donald. “Don’t blame flu shots for all ills, officials say” New York Times. September 28, 2009

[11] Dannemann E. “4,250% increase in fetal death reports covered up by the CDC” http://vaccineliberationarmy.com/2012/12/09/4250-increase-in-fetal-death-reports-covered-up-by-cdc-untested-h1n1-vaccine/

[13] Luther D.  “Five Reasons Why I’ll Never Get a Flu Shot” Activist Post, January 12, 2013.  www.activistpost.com/2013/01/5-reasons-why-ill-never-get-flu-shot.html

[14] Roberts, Janine. Fear of the Invisible: How Scared Should We Be of Viruses and Vaccines, HIV and AIDS Impact Investigative Media Productions: Bristol UK, 2009

[15] Jefferson T, Smith S, Demicheli V, Harnden A, Rivetti A. Assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza in healthy children: systemic review. The Lancet 2005; 365: 773-780.

[16] Smith S, Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Harnden T. Matheson N, Di Pietrontonj C.  Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev.  2004. 3:CD004879.

[17] Tenpenny, Sherri.  “The Truth about Flu Shots”.  Idaho Observer, June 1, 2009.

[18] Reaney, Patricia. “No Evidence Flu Shots Work for Under-2s: Study. Reuters, September 22, 2005;  Jefferson, Tom. “Safety of influenza vaccines in children.”  The Lancet, 2005. 366:803-804.

[19] Dupre, Deborah. “The Big Lie: H1N1 Coincidences, Contradictions and Conspiring.” The Philadelphia Examiner. August 27, 2009.

[20] Geier D, King P, Geier M. “Mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired oxidative-reduction activity, degeneration, and death in human neuronal and fetal cells induced by low level exposure to thimerosal and other metal compounds.” Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry. Volume 91, Issue 4, June 2009.

[21] “Twenty Tree Seniors Died After Receiving This year’s Flu Shot Sold by Pharmacists”  Health Impact News, November 6, 2013.

[22] Tenpenny, Sherri.  “The Truth about Flu Shots”.  Idaho Observer, June 1, 2009.

[23] Severyn, Kristine. “Flu Shots: Do They Really Work?” www.vran.org

[24] Prevention and control of influenza: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices 9 ACIP. MMWR 4/21/95; 44 (rr-3). 

[25] Flu prevention campaign underway. Health Care Financing Administration press office. HHS News, 1016/95. US Department of Health and Human Services. 

Dowdle WR. Influenza Immunoprophylaxis after 30 years experience. In Nayak DP, ed. Genetic Variation Among Influenza Viruses. New York: Academic Press, 1981: 525-34.

[26] Centers for Disease Control.  “Interim Adjusted Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness” February 2013   http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6207a2.htm?s_cid=mm6207a2_w

[27] Beyer WEP et al. “Influenza-epdiemie in een verpleeghuis door een virus dat niet in het vaccine was opgenomen. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1993; 137/39: 1973-7.

[28] Lanza G, Barone L, Scalone G, Pitocco D, Sgueglia G, Mollo R, Nerla R. “Inflammation related effects of adjuvant influenza A vaccination on platelet activation and cardiac autonomic function.”  J Intern Med. 2010 Sept 1. Epub 2011 Sept 20.

[31] Neustaeder, Randal.  The Vaccine Guide. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, 2005.

[32] 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Sociey, May 15-20, 2009 (quoted in , Sherri.  “The Truth about Flu Shots”.  Idaho Observer, June 1, 2009)

[33] Jefferson T, Smith S, Demicheli V, Harnden A, Rivetti A. Assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza in healthy children: systemic review. The Lancet 2005; 365: 773-780.

[34] CTV News Staff. “Unpublished Study Raises Questions About Flu Shot.” CTV.ca September 23, 2009.

[35] “Vaccine Induced Anti-HA2 Antibodies promote virus fusion and enhance influenza virus respiratory disease”  Sci Transl Med 28 Aug 2013: Vol 5, Issue 200, p 200ra114

[36] Interview with Dr. Viera Scheibner. Broadcast WPFW, Washington DC. September 21, 2009.  Archived at http://garynull.org

[39] Rosenthal, Elisabeth. “Two studies question the effectiveness of flu vaccines.” New York Times, September 21, 2005.

[40] Stein, Rob. “Studies question flu vaccines” The Washington Post, reprinted in the Seattle Times, September 25, 2005.

[41] Paraphrased from reference in “Influenza : The Disease and the Vaccine.” Vaccine Risk Awareness Network. www.vran.org

[42] “Why 64.8 percent of Americans didn’t get a flu shot.” Washington Post, January 12, 2013

[43] Rand Corporation. “Seasonal Flu Vaccination: Why Don’t More Americans Get it?”  http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9572/index1.html

[44] “Scientists urge ministers: tell truth on over-hyped flu vaccine.”  The Independent. November 14, 2014.

 

Outsourcing the NSA’s Dirty Deeds In An Attempt to Create Plausible Deniability

Torture doesn’t work to produce actionable intelligence. Indeed, it harms our national security and creates more terrorists.

Because torture is blatantly illegal, the Bush and Obama administrations have tried to hide America’s torture by shipping prisoners to foreign countries … so they can torture them for us.

Similarly, mass spying by the NSA and other agencies doesn’t prevent terror attacks … but actuallyinterferes with our ability to stop them.

Because mass spying on Americans is blatantly illegal (and see this), the Bush and Obama administrations have tried to hide America’s Big Brother act by shipping Americans’ most confidential, sensitive information to foreign countries like Israel (and here), the UK and other countries … so they can “unmask” the information and give it back to the NSA.

In other words, the NSA is subverting the legal prohibition against mass spying on Americans by shipping data overseas … and then having our allies give it back to us.

The list of countries which are doing this for the NSA are almost certainly as follows:

Postscript: Unfortunately, the American elite aren’t particularly concerned with protecting the basic rights – let alone the sovereignty – of the American people.

9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics

November 21st, 2013 by Prof Peter Dale Scott

The Deep State and 9/11

The unthinkable – that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians – has become not only thinkable but commonplace in the last century. A seminal example was in French Algeria, where dissident elements of the French armed forces, resisting General de Gaulle’s plans for Algerian independence, organized as the Secret Army Organization and bombed civilians indiscriminately, with targets including hospitals and schools.1 Critics like Alexander Litvinenko, who was subsequently murdered in London in November 2006, have charged that the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings around Moscow, attributed to Chechen separatists, were in fact the work of the Russian secret service (FSB).2

Similar attacks in Turkey have given rise to the notion there of an extra-legal “deep state” – a combination of forces, ranging from former members of the CIA-organized Gladio organization, to “a vast matrix of security and intelligence officials, ultranationalist members of the Turkish underworld and renegade former members of the [Kurdish separatist] PKK.”3 The deep state, financed in part by Turkey’s substantial heroin traffic, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians, in incidents such as the lethal bomb attack in November 2005 on a bookshop in Semdinli. This attack, initially attributed to the Kurdish separatist PKK, turned out to have been committed by members of Turkey’s paramilitary police intelligence service, together with a former PKK member turned informer.4 On April 23, 2008, the former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was ordered to stand trial for his role in this dirty war during the 1990s.5

In my book The Road to 9/11, I have argued that there has existed, at least since World War Two if not earlier, an analogous American deep state, also combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld.6 I also pointed to recent decades of collaboration between the U.S. deep state and al-Qaeda, a terrorist underworld whose drug-trafficking activities have been played down in the 9/11 Commission Report and the mainstream U.S. media.7

Still to be explained is the suppressed anomalous fact that al-Qaeda’s top trainer on airplane hijackings, Ali Mohamed, was simultaneously a double-agent reporting to the FBI, and almost certainly still maintained a connection to the CIA which had used him as an agent and helped bring him to this country in the 1980s.8 It is not disputed that Ali Mohamed organized the Embassy bombing in Kenya; and that he did so after the RCMP, who had detained him in Vancouver in the presence of another known terrorist, released Mohamed on instructions from the FBI.9

From this historic background of collaboration, I would offer a hypothesis for further investigation: that the American deep state is somehow implicated with al-Qaeda in the atrocity of 9/11; and that this helps explain the conspicuous involvement of the CIA and other U.S. agencies in the ensuing cover-up.

Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish-American who was formerly an FBI translator, has publicly linked both al-Qaeda and American officials to the Turkish heroin trafficking that underlies the Turkish deep state. Although she has been prevented from speaking directly by an extraordinary court order,10 her allegations have been summarized by Daniel Ellsberg:

Al Qaeda, she’s been saying to congress, according to these interviews, is financed 95% by drug money – drug traffic to which the US government shows a blind eye, has been ignoring, because it very heavily involves allies and assets of ours – such as Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan – all the ‘Stans – in a drug traffic where the opium originates in Afghanistan, is processed in Turkey, and delivered to Europe where it furnishes 96% of Europe’s heroin, by Albanians, either in Albania or Kosovo – Albanian Muslims in Kosovo – basically the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army which we backed heavily in that episode at the end of the century….Sibel says that suitcases of cash have been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, at his home, near Chicago, from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.11

In 2005 Sibel Edmonds’ charges were partly aired in Vanity Fair. There it was revealed that she had had access to FBI wiretaps of conversations among members of the American-Turkish Council (ATC), about bribing elected US officials, and about “what sounded like references to large-scale drug shipments and other crimes.”12

9/11: Not a Coup d’Etat, but One of a Series of American Deep Events

 

In 2003 Italian journalist Maurizio Blondet published a book entitled 11 settembre: colpo di stato (September 11th: A Coup d’Etat, [Milan, Effedieffe, 2002]).13 Over the years the view of 9/11 as a “coup d’état” has been endorsed by a number of observers, including Gore Vidal.14 In May 2008 a Google search for “coup d’état + 9/11″ yielded 297,000 hits. One of the most recent hits, from Ed Encho, has suggested that the heart of the coup may have been the introduction on 9/11, without debate or even notice, of so-called “Continuity of Government” (COG) orders – secret orders still unknown but with constitutional implications.15 Unquestionably, as the 9/11 Commission Report states, COG, the fruit of two decades of secret Cheney-Rumsfeld collaboration, was implemented on 9/11.16 As we shall see, it is not clear just what this implied, either then or today. But journalists have claimed that earlier versions of COG plans involved suspension of the constitution.17

However to call 9/11 a coup d’état exaggerates the difference between the current weakened condition of the public state, and the prior state of affairs that has been building for years, indeed for decades, towards just such a dénouement. For half a century the constitution and laws of the open or public state have been first evaded, then eroded, then increasingly challenged and subverted, by the forces of the deep state. I wish to suggest that this erosion has been achieved in part through a series of important deep events in post-war American history – events aspects of which (it is clear from the outset) will be ignored or suppressed in the mainstream media.

Recent history has seen a number of such events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that are so inexplicable by the public notions of American politics that most Americans tend not even to think of them. Instead most accept the official surface explanations for them, even if they suspect these are not true. Or if others say they believe that “Oswald acted alone,” they may do so in the same comforting but irrational state of mind that believes God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.

Thus on the one hand we must see that America has reached a condition where traditional civil rights are flagrantly restricted as never before – as when former Attorney General Gonzalez told a shocked congressional committee that “There is no expressed grant of habeas corpus in the Constitution.”18 At the same time, we must see that 9/11, as an unexplained or deep event nudging us away from constitutional normalcy and into an unnecessary permanent state of war, is not unprecedented. It is one of a series of similar unexplained events, all of which have had similar results, reaching back to the second Tonkin Gulf incident, the Kennedy assassination, even the misremembered outset of the Korean War.

The simulated “surprise” of the Bush administration to the 9/11 attack is indeed analogous to the simulated “surprise” of the Truman administration to the outbreak of war in Korea on June 25, 1950. The historian Bruce Cumings, in a volume of 957 pages, has recalled the curious behavior in previous weeks of high levels in Washington:

The CIA predicts, on June 14, a capability for invasion [of South Korea] at any time. No one disputes that. Five days later, it predicts an impending invasion. . . . Now, Corson … says that the June 14 report leaked out to “informed circles,” and thus “it was feared that administration critics in Congress might publicly raise the issue. In consequence, a White House decision of sorts was made to brief Congress that all was well in Korea.” . . . Would it not be the expectation that Congress would be told that all was not well in Korea? That is, unless a surprised and outraged Congress is one’s goal.19

In his exhaustive analysis of the war’s origins, Cumings sees this U.S. deception by high level officials as a response to manipulated events, which in turn were the response to the threat of an imminent expulsion of the Chinese Nationalist KMT from Taiwan, together with a peaceful reunification of Korea. The details are complex, but of relevance to 9/11, not least because of the involvement of the opium-financed KMT:

By late June, [U.S. Secretary of State Dean] Acheson and Truman were the only high officials still balking at a defense of the ROC [the "Republic of China," the KMT Chinese Nationalist remnant on Taiwan]….Sir John Pratt, an Englishman with four decades of experience in the China consular service and the Far Eastern Office, wrote the following in 1951: “The Peking Government planned to liberate Formosa on July 15 and, in the middle of June, news reached the State Department that the Syngman Rhee government in South Korea was disintegrating. The politicians on both sides of the thirty-eighth parallel were preparing a plan to throw Syngman Rhee out of office and set up a unified government for all Korea.”….Thus the only way out, for Chiang [Kai-shek, the KMT leader], was for Rhee to attack the North, which ultimately made Acheson yield and defend Nationalist China [on Taiwan].20

Meanwhile, in South Korea,

an Australian embassy representative sent in daily reports in late June, saying that “patrols were going in from the South to the North, endeavouring to attract the North back in pursuit. Plimsoll warned that this could lead to war and it was clear that there was some degree of American involvement as well.” [According to former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam,] “The evidence was sufficiently strong for the Australian Prime Minister to authorize a cable to Washington urging that no encouragement be given to the South Korean government.”21

Cumings also notes the warning in late April from an American diplomat, Robert Strong, that “desperate measures may be attempted by [the Chinese] Nationalist Government to involve [U.S.] in [a] shooting war as [a] means of saving its own skin.”22 In chapters too complex to summarize here, he chronicles the intrigues of a number of Chiang’s backers, including the China Lobby in Washington, General Claire Chennault and his then nearly defunct airline CAT (later Air America), former OSS chief General William Donovan, and in Japan General MacArthur and his intelligence chief Charles Willoughby. He notes the visit of two of Chiang’s generals to Seoul, one of them on a U.S. military plane from MacArthur’s headquarters. And he concludes that “Chiang may have found …on the Korean peninsula, the provocation of a war that saved his regime [on Taiwan] for two more decades:”

Anyone who has read this text closely to this point, and does not believe that Willoughby, Chiang, [Chiang’s emissary to Seoul, General] Wu Tieh Cheng, Yi Pōm-sōk, [Syngman] Rhee, Kim Sōk-won, Tiger Kim, and their ilk were capable of a conspiracy to provoke a war, cannot be convinced by any evidence.

He adds that anti-conspiratorialist Americans “are prey to what might be called the fallacy of insufficient cynicism” — a charge that may be revived, if it can ever be shown that 9/11 also was “a conspiracy to provoke a war.”23

 

9/11, Tonkin Gulf, and the JFK Assassination

 

In 1964 Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, in response to Secretary of Defense McNamara’s assurances that there was “unequivocal proof” of a second “unprovoked attack” on U.S. destroyers. Today we know not only that there was no such second attack, but that the combined harassments of CIA-controlled PT boats and US destroyers in North Vietnamese waters were so provocative as to invite one. George Ball, who at the time was an Undersecretary of State, later commented in a 1977 BBC radio interview that

Many of the people who were associated with the war were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing. The sending of a destroyer up the Tonkin Gulf was primarily for provocation. … There was a feeling that if the destroyer got into some trouble, that it would provide the provocation we needed.24

The Tonkin Gulf deep event presents a number of similarities to the Korean deep event in 1950. Tonkin Gulf also can be analyzed into three different phases: the deception of Congress by high level officials, preceded by provocative intrigues in Asia, and reinforced by deceptive manipulation of reports inside the NSA. (All three phases can also be discerned in the provocative maneuvers in 1968 of the U.S.S. Pueblo, in an incident or deep event that did not lead, as some clearly wished, to a military response against North Korea.)25

We now know from a recently declassified in-house NSA history that on August 4, 1964, NSA possessed 122 pieces of SIGINT (signals intelligence) which taken together indicated clearly that there was no second North Vietnamese attack on August 4: “Hanoi’s navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on 2 August.” But of these 122 pieces, the White House was supplied with only fifteen – “only SIGINT that supported the claim that the communists had attacked the two destroyers.”26

Meanwhile, over at CIA, “By the afternoon of Aug. 4, the CIA’s expert analyst on North Vietnam … had concluded that probably no one had fired on the U.S. ships. He included a paragraph to that effect in the item he wrote for the Current Intelligence Bulletin, which would be wired to the White House and other key agencies and appear in print the next morning. And then something unique happened. The Director of the Office of Current Intelligence, a very senior officer …, descended into the bowels of the agency to order the paragraph deleted. He explained: `We’re not going to tell LBJ that now. He has already decided to bomb North Vietnam’”27

The parallel events in NSA and CIA illustrate how a shared bureaucratic mindset, or propensity for military escalation, can generate synergistic responses in diverse milieus, without there having necessarily been any conspiratorial collusion between the two agencies.

Of more than passing interest is the fact that the CIA in the 1960s still had senior officers who believed that sooner or later a showdown with the Chinese Communists was inevitable, and had renewed General Chennault’s old proposal for a large-scale landing by Chiang on the Chinese mainland.28 This seems to explain a series of manipulative escalatory moves in Laos, shortly before the Tonkin Gulf incidents, with a similar momentum towards expanding the U.S. war beyond South Vietnam. In 1963-64 one notes again, as in 1950, the intriguing of local KMT elements, in this case forces directly involved in the opium traffic.29

As for 9/11, the paradox between surface tranquility and alarming warnings is as evident as it was in 1950. Even the 9/11 Commission Report acknowledges that in the summer of 2001 “the system was blinking red” for an al-Qaeda attack. Its record amply refutes Condoleezza Rice’s claim in May 2002 that “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would … try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.”30 Yet in the midst of this crisis the CIA in August 2001 was flagrantly withholding crucial evidence from the FBI that, if shared, would have assisted the FBI in its current efforts to locate one of the alleged hijackers, Khaled al-Mihdar. This withholding provoked an FBI agent to predict at that time, accurately, that “someday someone will die.”31

As I describe in the forthcoming expanded reissue of my book The War Conspiracy, this culpable withholding of crucial evidence from the FBI by the CIA closely parallels the CIA’s withholding from the FBI of important information about Lee Harvey Oswald in October 1963. Former FBI Director Clarence Kelley in his memoir later complained that this withholding was the major reason why Oswald was not put under surveillance on November 22, 1963.32 Without these withholdings, in other words,

neither the Kennedy assassination nor 9/11 could have unfolded in the manner in which they did.

And without understanding the details, we can safely conclude that operations of the CIA – the deep state — were somehow implicated, whether innocently or conspiratorially, in the background of both the JFK assassination and 9/11. With respect to the CIA’s withholding of information from the FBI about Oswald, even a former CIA officer, Jane Roman, has agreed that this indicates “some sort of [CIA] operational interest in Oswald’s file.”33 Lawrence Wright, commenting in The New Yorker about the CIA’s analogous withholding of information about al-Mihdar, has reached the similar conclusion that “The CIA may also have been protecting an overseas operation and was afraid that the F.B.I. would expose it.”34

In short, from this perspective, 9/11 is not wholly without precedent in U.S. history. It should be seen not as a unique departure from orderly constitutional government – a coup d’état – but as yet another unexplained deep event of the sort that has continued to erode the American constitutional system of open politics and civil liberties.

 

9/11: Not Just Another Deep Event, But a Constitutional Deep Event

 

It is however a deep event of a new and unprecedented order. Deep events related to political control of this country are far more frequent than most of us like to recognize. Since the conspicuous assassinations of the 1960s and early 1970s – all deep events — at least six politicians have also died in single-plane crashes. Although many of these crashes were probably accidental, it is striking that only one Republican has died in this fashion, as opposed to five Democrats.35 Official accounts of the deaths of three of these Democrats – Senator Paul Wellstone, and Congressmen Hale Boggs and Nick Begich, have been challenged, as has the very suspicious “accidental” death in a 1970 single-plane crash of UAW labor leader Walter Reuther.36

Of these deep events, some – notably the JFK assassination — stand out as having had structural impact on American political society. America’s three major wars since World War Two – Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq – have all been preceded by deep events that have cumulatively contributed to America’s current war-based economy. Looked at in this way, 9/11 falls into a sequence in which it is preceded by the Second Tonkin Gulf Incident and by the intrigues and lies in June 1950 concerning Korea.

But of all these deep events, 9/11 can be seen as the first to have had not only structural but constitutional implications. For with the introduction of COG before 10:00 AM on September 11, 2001, the status of the U.S. constitution in American society has changed, in ways that still prevail. What COG means in practice is still largely unknown to us. It is clear though that in abridging habeas corpus and the Fourth Amendment, the innovations after COG and 9/11 made the U.S. constitutional situation more like the situation in Britain, where written statutes are explicitly restricted supplemented by an undefined royal prerogative: a collection of powers belonging to the Sovereign which have no statutory basis.37

Abuse of the British royal prerogative was one of the explicit grievances which ultimately led to the American Revolution. Then as now it was linked to imperial arrangements for standing armies to wage war. It could be said that in America today, the powers needed for imposing U.S. global dominance in the world have again come to restrict the scope of the constitutional public state.

The extent to which presidential power is limited by congressional statute has been and will be continuously and extensively debated. It is clear however that the George W. Bush administration has revived the extreme or monarchical view expressed, for the first time in American political history, by former president Richard Nixon: that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”38

Jack Goldsmith, a former Assistant Attorney General in George W. Bush’s Justice Department, has reported that, inside the White House, Cheney’s legal advisor David Addington frequently argued that “the Constitution empowers the President to exercise prerogative powers to do what is necessary in an emergency to save the country.”39 Goldsmith concluded that “The presidency in the age of terrorism – the Terror Presidency – suffers from many of the vices of [Nixon’s] Imperial Presidency.”40

Cheney, supported by Addington, made clear in his Iran-Contra Minority Report of 1987 his belief that “the Chief Executive will on occasion feel duty bound to assert monarchical notions of prerogative that will permit him to exceed the law.” Cheney supported this claim by pointing to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, which Jefferson, without using the word “prerogative,” justified by “the laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of serving our country when in danger.”41 But the Cheney-Addington defense of an on-going prerogative in an on-going war on terror has far more in common with 17th-century British monarchical legal theory, than with Jefferson’s single resort to such action, after a lifetime of attacking the notion of prerogative power.42

As part of the case for an unrestrained or monarchical view of executive power, we have seen the contention that the President may disregard or marginalize treaty obligations prohibiting torture. Before COG was declared on September 11, 2001, a network of laws, developed through checks and balances by all three branches of federal government, prohibited torture. “It was not to last.”43

In keeping with Cheney’s COG planning in the 1980s, the Bush administration has made similar inroads on habeas corpus, a right conferred by Magna Carta, reaffirmed by the English parliament in a statute of 1679, and mentioned in the U.S. constitution. Nevertheless, in defining the constitutional crisis we now face, it is important to see that it is not an unprecedented and anomalous event, but rooted in developments over decades.

 

9/11, Deep Events, and the Global Dominance Mindset in American Society

 

The continuity of past deep events is part of the problem facing those who wish to understand and correct what underlies them. For the mainstream U.S. media (as we now clearly see them) have become so implicated in past protective lies about Korea, Tonkin Gulf, and the JFK assassination that they, as well as the government, have now a demonstrated interest in preventing the truth about any of these events from coming out.44

This means that the current threat to constitutional rights does not derive from the deep state alone. As I have written elsewhere, the problem is a global dominance mindset that prevails not only inside the Washington Beltway but also in the mainstream media and even in the universities, one which has come to accept recent inroads on constitutional liberties, and stigmatizes, or at least responds with silence to, those who are alarmed by them.45 Just as acceptance of bureaucratic groupthink is a necessary condition for advancement within the state, so acceptance of this mindset’s notions of decorum has increasingly become a condition for participation in mainstream public life.

In saying this, I mean something more narrow than the pervasive “business-defined consensus” which Gabriel Kolko once asserted was “a central reality,” underlying how “a ruling class makes its policies operate.”46 I would agree that, at least since the Reagan era, the mindset I am describing has become more and more clearly identified with the mentality of an overworld determined to protect its privileges and even enlarge them at the expense of the rest of society.

But the mindset I mean is narrower in focus – originally concerned with defending and now increasingly concerned with enlarging America’s dominance in the world, in an era of finite and increasingly scarcer resources. And it is also, increasingly, less a consensus than an arena of serious division and debate.

It is clear that the mindset is not monolithic. There have been recurring notable dissents within it, such as when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed in the New York Times that the Bush administration, in defiance of the FISA Act, was engaged in warrantless electronic surveillance of telephone calls inside the United States.47 But on other issues, notably the Iraq War, the Times has conspicuously failed to play the judicious critical role that it did with respect to the U.S. war in Vietnam. In general, as Kristina Borjesson reports in her devastating book, “Investigative reporting is dwindling…because it is expensive, attracts lawsuits, and can be hostile to the corporate interests and/or government connections of a news division’s parent company.”48 And as to critical thinking about 9/11, as before about the Kennedy assassination, the Post has predictably gone out of its way to depict the 9/11 truth movement as a “cacophonous and free-range…bunch of conspiracists.”49

According to a survey of Lexis Nexis, the New York Times did not report Attorney General Gonzalez’ newsworthy claim that “There is no expressed grant of habeas corpus in the Constitution.” (The Washington Post reported it, without comment, in a story of 197 words.)50 And on the question of torture even a liberal Harvard University professor, Michael Ignatieff, has argued in a University Press book from an even-handed starting point – “A democracy is committed to both the security of the majority and the rights of the individual” — to an alarming defense of “coercive questioning.”51

In this state of affairs, I shall argue, the Internet provides an opportunity for opposition, of potentially immense political importance.

 

Deep Events as Intrigues within the Global Dominance Consensus

 

Many critics of American foreign policy on the left tend to stress its substantial coherence over time, from the War-Peace Studies for post-war planning of the Council on Foreign Relations in the 1940s, to Defense Secretary Charles Wilson’s plans in the 1950s for a “permanent war economy,” to Clinton’s declaration to the United Nations in 1993 that the U.S. will act “multilaterally when possible, but unilaterally when necessary.”52

This view of America’s policies has persuaded some, notably Alexander Cockburn, to lament the displacement of coherent Marxist analysis by the “fundamental idiocy” and “foolishness” of “9/11 conspiracism.”53 But it is quite possible to acknowledge both that there are ongoing continuities in American policy and also important, hidden, and recurring internal divisions, which have given rise to America’s structural deep events. These events have always involved friction between Wall Street and the Council on Foreign Relations, on the one hand, and the increasingly powerful oil- and military-dominated economic centers of the Midwest and the Texas Sunbelt on the other.

At the time that General MacArthur, drawing on his Midwest and Texas support, threatened to challenge Truman and the State Department, the opposition was seen as one between the traditional Europe-Firsters of the Northeast and new-wealth Asia-Firsters. In the 1952 election, the foreign policy debate was between Democratic “containment” and Republican “rollback.” Bruce Cumings, following Franz Schurmann, wrote later of the split, even within the CIA, between “Wall Street internationalism” on the one hand and “cowboy-style expansionism” on the other.54

Many have followed Michael Klare in defining the conflict as one, even within the Council on Foreign Relations, between “traders” and warrior “Prussians.”55 Since the rise to eminence of the so-called “Vulcans” – notably Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz, backed by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) – the struggle has frequently been described as a struggle between the multilateralists of the status quo and the unilateralists seeking indisputable American hegemony.56

Underlying every one of the deep events I have mentioned, and others such as the U-2 incident, can be seen this contest between traderly (multilateralist) and warriorly (unilateralist) approaches to the maintenance of U.S. global dominance. For decades the warriorly faction was clearly a minority; but it was also an activist and well-funded minority, in marked contrast to the relatively passive and disorganized traderly majority. Hence the warriorly preference for war, thanks to ample funding from the military-industrial complex and also to a series of deep events, was able time after time to prevail.

The 1970s can be seen as a turning-point, when a minority CFR faction, led by Paul Nitze, united with corporate executives from the military-industrial complex like David Packard and pro-Zionist future neocons like Richard Perle to forge a succession of militant political coalitions, such as the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD). Cheney and Rumsfeld, then in the Ford White House, participated in this onslaught on the multilateral foreign policy of Henry Kissinger.57 In the late 1990s Cheney and Rumsfeld, even while secretly refining the COG provisions put into force on 9/11, also participated openly in the successor organization to the CPD, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

From his office interfacing between CIA and the U.S. Air Force, Col. L. Fletcher Prouty deduced that there was a single Secret Team, within the CIA but not confined to it, responsible for not only the Tonkin Gulf incidents (timed to enable already planned military action against North Vietnam) but other deep events, such as the U-2 incident of 1960 (which in Prouty’s opinion was planned and timed to frustrate the projected summit conference between Eisenhower and Khrushchev) and even the assassination of President Kennedy (after which the Secret Team “moved to take over the whole direction of the war and to dominate the activity of the United States of America”).58

In language applicable to both Korea in 1950 and Tonkin Gulf in 1964, Prouty argued that CIA actions followed a pattern of actions which “went completely out of control in Southeast Asia:”

The clandestine operator… prepares the stage by launching a very minor and very secret, provocative attack of a kind that is bound to bring open reprisal. These secret attacks, which may have been made by third parties or by stateless mercenaries whose materials were supplied secretly by the CIA, will undoubtedly create reaction which in turn is observed in the United States…. It is not a new game. [but] it was raised to a high state of art under Walt Rostow and McGeorge Bundy against North Vietnam, to set the pattern for the Gulf of Tonkin attacks.59

I mention Prouty’s thesis here in order to record my partial dissent from it. In my view his notion of a “team” localizes what I call the global dominance mindset too narrowly in a restricted group who are not only like-minded but in conspiratorial communication over a long term. He exhibits the kind of conspiratorialist mentality once criticized by G. William Domhoff:

We all have a tremendous tendency to want to get caught up in believing that there’s some secret evil cause for all of the obvious ills of the world …. [Conspiracy theories] encourage a belief that if we get rid of a few bad people, everything will be well in the world.60

My own position is still that which I articulated years ago in response to Domhoff:

I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to `a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.61

Quoting what I had written, Michael Parenti added, “In sum, national security state conspiracies [or what I would call deep events] are components of our political structure, not deviations from it.”62

The outcome of the deep events I have mentioned so far has been chiefly a series of victories for the warriors.63 But there have been other structural deep events, notably Watergate in 1972-74 and Iran-Contra in 1986-87, which can be interpreted, if not as victories for the traders, at least as temporary setbacks for the warriors. In The Road to 9/11 I have tried to show that Cheney and Rumsfeld, while in the Ford White House, bitterly resented the setback represented by the post-Watergate reforms, and immediately set in motion a series of moves to reverse them. I argue there that the climax of these moves was the imposition after 9/11 of their long-planned provisions for COG, formulated under their supervision since the early 1980s.

Thus since World War Two the warriorly position, initially that of a marginal but conspiratorial minority, has moved since the Reagan and Bush presidencies into a more and more central position. This is well symbolized by the rise in influence since 1981 of the Council for National Policy, originally funded by Texas oil billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt and explicitly designed to offset the influence of the Council on Foreign Relations.64 Comparing the 1950s with the present decade, it is striking how much the status of the State Department has declined vis-à-vis the Pentagon. With the accelerated militarization of the U.S. economy, the question arises whether a more traderly foreign policy can ever again prevail.

And since 9/11, especially with the institution of unknown COG procedures, some have talked of the overall subversion of democracy, by a new Imperial Presidency in the Bush White House.65

9/11, the Threat to Constitutional Rights, and Congress

 

A skeptic might observe that there is still a Congress, with constitutional powers to review and restrict what the executive does. And it is true that a joint congressional committee, in 2002, did investigate CIA and FBI activities before and after 9/11.66 The powers of Congress have been weakened, however. A crucial section of this report, dealing precisely with the CIA’s and Saudi government’s relationship to the alleged hijacker al-Mihdar, was classified and withheld by the administration. When some of the explosive information was leaked to Newsweek, the committee members and staff (rather than the Saudi government) became the focus of a criminal leak investigation by the FBI.67 The chairman, Senator Bob Graham

thought the leak investigation was an obvious effort by the administration to intimidate Congress. And if that was the intention, it worked. Members of the joint committee and their staffs were frightened into silence about the investigation.68

It would appear that the election of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress has done little to change this state of affairs. Warrantless electronic surveillance (which the President has referred to as a COG provision)69 was endorsed by the new 110th Congress in the Protect America Act of 2007, an act which restricted FISA Court supervision as the President had wished. This same 110th Congress failed to undo the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which (as Robert Parry wrote in the Baltimore Chronicle) “effectively eliminated habeas corpus for non-citizens, including legal resident aliens.”70

Just as alarmingly, Congress has shown little or no desire to challenge, or even question, the over-arching assumptions of the war on terror. We are still in a proclaimed national emergency that was first proclaimed by President Bush on September 14, 2001.71 As the Washington Times wrote on September 18, 2001, “Simply by proclaiming a national emergency on Friday, President Bush activated some 500 dormant legal provisions, including those allowing him to impose censorship and martial law.” The Washington Times was referring to presidential Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001, “Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks.” The state of emergency that was subsequently declared on September 23, 2001, by Executive Order 13224, was again formally extended by the president on September 20, 2007.72

 

COG, NSPD-51, and the Challenge to Congressional Checks and Balances

 

The constitutional implications of this state of emergency were aggravated by the President’s “National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive” (NSPD)-51, of May 9, 2007, which decreed (without even a press release) that

When the president determines a catastrophic emergency has occurred, the president can take over all government functions and direct all private sector activities to ensure we will emerge from the emergency with an “enduring constitutional government.”73

The Directive, without explicitly saying so, appeared to override the post-Watergate statutory provisions for congressional regulation enacted in 1977 by the National Emergencies Act.74

Among major newspapers, only the Washington Post reported NSPD-51 at all, noting that the “directive formalizes a shift of authority away from the Department of Homeland Security to the White House.”75 It added that

After the 2001 attacks, Bush assigned about 100 senior civilian managers to rotate secretly to locations outside of Washington for weeks or months at a time to ensure the nation’s survival, a shadow government that evolved based on long-standing “continuity of operations plans.”

However the Post failed to note that these continuity of operations (COG) plans, which reportedly involve suspension of the Constitution and possibly Congress, were secret — the fruit of secret planning over two decades by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, even during periods of time when neither of the two men held a government position.76

After urging from constituents, including many members of the 911truth movement, Congressman Peter deFazio did attempt to see the Continuity of Government (COG) plans in the classified Appendices of NSPD-51. Both he, and eventually the entire House Committee on Homeland Security, were denied the opportunity to see these appendices, on the grounds that the Committee did not possess the requisite clearances. This should have been a line in the sand for Congress to assert its constitutional rights and duties. As I have reported elsewhere,

The story, ignored by the mainstream press, involved more than the usual tussle between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government. What was at stake was a contest between Congress’s constitutional powers of oversight, and a set of policy plans that could be used to suspend or modify the constitution.77

But it appears that the current Congress will do nothing to support Congressman deFazio’s efforts at congressional oversight of COG.

 

Congress and the On-Going Cover-Up of 9/11

 

Furthermore, the 110th Congress took no action to ensure that all government agencies will collaborate with the National Archives, in fulfillment of the 9/11 Commission’s commitment to release its supporting records to the public in 2009.78 A law to ensure this is badly needed.

The FBI has been declassifying documents cooperatively with respect to this commitment, and recently the CIA has begun to cooperate as well.79 But some federal agencies, notably the FAA and Pentagon, are not collaborating with the 9/11 Commission’s commitment at all. It may take a law to get them to do so. Both the FAA and the Pentagon declined to release important records to the 9/11 Commission, despite its statutory powers, until required to do so by judicial subpoena.80 But the law which created the 9/11 Commission in 2002 made no legal determination for the future of its records.81

This is a matter of concern, because 9/11 has clearly initiated a major readjustment of our traditional constitutional balances and civil rights. I submit that a vigorous defense of the constitutional traditions of this country requires vigorous pressure for the release of the 9/11 Commission’s records, so that we can begin to resolve the mysteries of how this constitutional crisis arose.

In short, we are living in an on-going state of emergency whose exact limits are unknown, on the basis of a controversial deep event – 9/11 — that is still largely a mystery. Without endorsing the notion that a coup d’état has occurred, I would categorically assert that a radically hegemonic mindset, located primarily in Vice-President Cheney’s office, is currently using 9/11, the war on terror, and secret COG rules to assert prerogative limitations on the checks and balances of the U.S. constitution, without any significant challenge from a compliant Congress and media.

 

9/11, the Public, and Internet Politics

 

This raises the question whether the public, about to vote in the 2008 election, can exercise the constitutional restraints that Congress and the media have failed to supply. The answer, I submit, lies in what I would call Internet Politics, the mobilization of nationwide pressures on candidates in the next election through internet coordination.

There is I believe a latent majority of Americans who could agree to ask all candidates to

a) review and revise the Military Commissions Act of 2006, to unequivocally restore habeas corpus, within the limitations of the U.S. Constitution, Article One, Section 9;

b) unequivocally outlaw torture;

c) review and restrict the provisions for warrantless electronic surveillance in the Protect America Act of 2007.

d) vote for The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (H.R. 3835), which addresses these and other issues. This bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul on October 15, 2007, and is supported by both the Republican American Freedom Agenda, and the Democratic American Freedom Campaign.82

Those in the 911truth movement could ask candidates to take two further steps

d) insist on the right of the Homeland Security Committees in Congress to review the COG appendices to National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD)-51;

e) support a law to force all government agencies to collaborate with the National Archives, in fulfillment of the 9/11 Commission’s commitment to release its supporting records to the public in 2009.83

But social thought is socially fashioned. For it to be effective it must be mobilized, and become more than a chorus of bloggers croaking from our backwater lilypads in the blogomarsh. Clearly it would take a strenuous concerted effort to create or persuade a movement, such as MoveOn, to take on all these issues.

Is it possible that some organization can be persuaded to accept this challenge, and take the first steps in mobilizing such a force?

 NOTES

1 In the single month of March 1962, the OAS set off an average of 120 bombs per day (“The Generals’ Putsch,” http://countrystudies.us/algeria/34.htm).

2 BBC News, November 24, 2006: “Alexander Litvinenko wrote a book in which he alleged Federal Security Service (FSB) agents in Russia coordinated the 1999 apartment block bombings in the country that killed more than 300 people.”

3 Gareth Jenkins, “Susurluk and the Legacy of Turkey’s Dirty War,” Terrorism Monitor, May 1, 2008,
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2374142.

4 Nicholas Birch, Irish Times, November 26, 2005,

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/world/2005/1126/1908792893FR26TURKEY.html.
Former Turkish president and prime minister Suleyman Demirel later commented on this incident that “It is fundamental principle that there is one state. In our country there are two….There is one deep state and one other state ….The state that should be real is the spare one, the one that should be spare is the real one.” (Jon Gorvett, “Turkey’s `Deep State’ Surfaces in Former President’s Words, Deeds in Kurdish Town,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2006, http://www.washington-report.org/archives/Jan_Feb_2006/0601037.html ).

5 Jenkins, “Susurluk and the Legacy of Turkey’s Dirty War.” A Google search on June 7, 2008, for “Semdinli + PKK” in major world English-language publications yielded 157 results. Of these just two were from the United States. Of these one (Washington Times, December 6, 2005) did not mention the deep state’s involvement in the incident at all. The other (Newsweek, November 28, 2005) defined the deep state without mentioning its underworld involvement. A similar search for “deep state” revealed the same paucity of coverage in the U.S. media.

6 Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007), 4-7, 14-17, etc.

7 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 121-22, 124-27, 163-69.

8 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 139-42, 150-60, etc.; Peter Lance, Triple Cross: How bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets, and the FBI –and Why Patrick Fitzgerald Failed to Stop Him (New York: Regan/HarperCollins, 2006).

9 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 153; citing Toronto Globe and Mail, November 22, 2001. It is no accident that the mainstream U.S. press have been silent, not just concerning this important fact, but also about the two books recording it: Peter Lance’s Triple Cross and my own The Road to 9/11. Triple Cross finally got mentioned by name in the New York Times, but only because its publisher, Judith Regan, was dismissed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (New York Times, December 19, 2006).

10 On October 18, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the State Secrets Privilege in order to prevent disclosure of the nature of Edmonds’ work on the grounds that it would endanger national security.

11 Daniel Ellsberg with Kris Welch, KPFA, 8/26/06,
http://wotisitgood4.blogspot.com/2006/10/ellsberg-hastert-got-suitcases-of-al.html.

12 Vanity Fair, September 2005. According to the ATC web site, “As one of the leading business associations in the United States, the American-Turkish Council (ATC) is dedicated to effectively strengthening U.S.-Turkish relations through the promotion of commercial, defense, technology, and cultural relations. Its diverse membership includes Fortune 500, U.S. and Turkish companies, multinationals, nonprofit organizations, and individuals with an interest in U.S.-Turkish relations.” It is thus comparable to the American Security Council, whose activities in 1963 are discussed in Scott, Deep Politics, e.g. 292.

Edmonds has been partially corroborated by Huseyin Baybasin, another Turkish heroin kingpin now in jail in Holland, in his book Trial by Fire: “I handled the drugs which came through the channel of the Turkish Consulate in England.” But as he adds: “I was with the Mafia but I was carrying this out with the same Mafia group in which the rulers of Turkey were part.” Baybasin claimed he was assisted by Turkish officers working for NATO in Belgium (“The Susurluk Legacy,” By Adrian Gatton, Druglink Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006, http://adriangatton.com/archive/1990_01_01_archive.html).

13 Also in 2003 former government consultant Chalmers Johnson declared, in an interview, that what happened in Florida after the 2000 election was a “coup d’état” (Critical Asian Studies, 35, no. 2 [2003], 303). In the same year Bill Moyers, a veteran of the Johnson White House, wrote of the G.W. Bush to realign government as “the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime” (Text of speech to the Take Back America conference sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future, June 4, 2003, Washington, DC,
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0610-11.htm).

14 Interview with Alex Jones, November 2, 2006, http://jonesreport.com/articles/021106_vidal.html.

15 Ed Encho, “9/11: Cover For a Coup D’Etat?” OpEdNews, May 27, 2008,

http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/diarypage.php?did=7521.

16 9/11 Commission Report, 38, 326; Scott, Road to 9/11, 228-29.

17 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 183-87; citing Ross Gelbspan, Break-ins, Death Threats, and the FBI: The Covert War against the Central America Movement (Boston: South End Press, 1991), 184; Alfonso Chardy, Miami Herald, July 5, 1987.

18 Robert Parry, “Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus,” Baltimore Chronicle, January 19, 2007, http://baltimorechronicle.com/2007/011907Parry.shtml.

19 Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, Vol II, 611, 613; quoting William R. Corson, The Armies of Ignorance: The Rise of the American Intelligence Empire (New York: Dial, 1977), 315–21; whole passage quoted in Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 61. Cumings quotes further from Dean Rusk’s testimony to Congress on June 20: ‘‘We see no present indication that the people across the border have any intention of fighting a major war for that purpose’’ (taking over South Korea). He notes that General Ridgway later said he “was shocked” by Dean Rusk’s reassuring testimony.

20 Cumings, Origins, II, 600-01. My selective quotations cannot do justice to the complexity of Cumings’ book, which presents three different possible explanations for the outbreak of the war. Cumings depicts a contest for the future of the peninsula — and also Taiwan — in which local leaders on both sides were looking for support from their respective megapowers.

21 Cumings, Origins, II, 547; citing Gavin McCormack, Cold War/Hot War (Sydney: Hale and Iremonger, 1983), 97; E. Gough Whitlam, A Pacific Community (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1981), 57-58.

22 Cumings, Origins, II, 527.

23 Cumings, Origins, II, 600, 601. Yi Pōm-sōk was a pro-Chiang advocate in Seoul of attacking North Korea. Kim Sōk-won was a Korean commander who had previously attacked North Korea. Tiger Kim was a Korean veteran of the Japanese army close to Rhee, and a war criminal.

24 James Bamford, Body of Secrets (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 301. William Bundy has taken issue with this judgment, arguing that escalating the war north “didn’t fit in with our plans at all” (Robert McNamara, “The Tonkin Gulf Resolution,” in Andrew Jon Rotter, Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Vietnam War Anthology [New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991], 83). But Ball was correct in reporting that bombing fit in with some people’s plans.

25 Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008), 178-215.

26 Robert J. Hanyok, “Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4 August 1964,” Cryptologic Quarterly, declassified in National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 132,
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/relea00012.pdf.

27 Ray McGovern, “CIA, Iran & the Gulf of Tonkin,” ConsortiumNews, January 12, 2008, http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/011108a.html.

28 Scott, War Conspiracy (2008), 132, cf. 67; citing Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967), 318, 314.

29 Scott, War Conspiracy (2008), 88, 93-103.

30 “National Security Advisor Holds Press Briefing,” White House Website, May 16, 2002,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020516-13.html.
We now know that on 9/11 there were a number of war games and exercises, including an exercise at the National Reconnaissance Office near Dulles Airport, testing responses “if a plane were to strike a building.” (Scott, Road to 9/11, 215-16; Evening Standard [London], August 22, 2002; Boston Globe, September 11, 2002,
http://www.boston.com/news/packages/sept11/anniversary/wire_stories/0903_plane_exercise.htm ).

31 9/11 Commission Report, 259, 271; Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf, 2006), 352-54 (FBI agent). After 9/11 another FBI agent was even more bitter: “They [CIA] didn’t want the bureau meddling in their business – that’s why they didn’t tell the FBI…. And that’s why September 11 happened. That is why it happened….They have blood on their hands. They have three thousand deaths on their hands” (James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies [New York: Doubleday, 2004], 224).

32 Clarence M. Kelley, Kelley: The Story of an FBI Director (Kansas City: Andrews, McMeel, & Parker, 1987), 268; quoted in Scott, The War Conspiracy (2008), 389.

33 Jefferson Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA (Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas, 2008), 196-98; discussion in Scott, The War Conspiracy (2008), 387-88.

34 Lawrence Wright, “The Agent,” New Yorker, July 10 and 17, 2006, 68; discussion in Scott, The War Conspiracy (2008), 388-89.

35 Republican Senators Heinz and Tower also died in plane crashes, but after collisions between two aircraft. Conservative Democrat Larry McDonald died when the civilian airliner KAL 007 was shot down by Soviet interceptors in September 1983.

36 Michael Parenti, Dirty Truths (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996), 201, 206: “In the years before the fatal crash there had been assassination attempts against Walter and Victor [Reuther]. (Victor believes the attempt against him was intended as a message to Walter.) In each of these instances, state and federal law-enforcement agencies showed themselves at best lackadaisical in their investigative efforts, suggesting the possibility of official collusion or at least tolerance for the criminal deeds. … Third, like the suspicious near-crash that occurred the previous year, the fatal crash also involved a faulty altimeter in a small plane. It is a remarkable coincidence that Reuther would have been in two planes with the exact same malfunctioning in that brief time frame….In a follow-up interview with us, Victor further noted: `Animosity from government had been present for some time [before the fatal crash]. It was not only Walter’s stand on Vietnam and Cambodia that angered Nixon, but also I had exposed some CIA elements inside labor, and this was also associated with Walter …. There is a fine line between the mob and the CIA There is a lot of crossover. Throughout the entire history of labor relations there is a sordid history of industry in league with Hoover and the mafia .. . . You need to check into right-wing corporate groups and their links to the national security system.’ Checking into such things is no easy task. The FBI still refuses to turn over nearly 200 pages of documents regarding Reuther’s death, including the copious correspondence between field offices and Hoover. And many of the released documents-some of them forty years old-are totally inked out. It is hard to fathom what national security concern is involved or why the FBI and CIA still keep so many secrets about Walter Reuther’s life and death.”

37 See discussion in Jack N. Rakove, “Taking the Prerogative out of the Presidency: An Originalist Perspective,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 37.1, 85–100; Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. and Aziz Z. Huq, Unchecked and Unbalanced, Presidential Power in a Time of Terror (New York: Rodale, 2007), 153-58

38 Interview with David Frost, aired May 11, 1977; in Schwarz and Huq, Unchecked and Unbalanced, 159; Robert D. Sloane, “The Scope of Executive Power in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction,” Boston University Law Review 88:341,
http://www.bu.edu/law/central/jd/organizations/journals/bulr/documents/SLOANE.pdf, 346.

39 Jack Goldsmith, The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment inside the Bush Administration (New York : W.W. Norton, 2007), 82.

40 Goldsmith, The Terror Presidency, 183

41 Minority Report, Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, 100th Congress. 1st Session, H. Rept No 100-433, S. Rept No. 100-216, p. 465.

42 Schwarz and Huq, Unchecked and Unbalanced, 174.

43 Schwarz and Huq, Unchecked and Unbalanced, 72; cf. Sloane, “The Scope of Executive Power,” 347.

44 Cf. the investigative journalist and media critic Philip Weiss, “When Black Becomes White,” in Kristina Borjesson, Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002), 186: “The mainstream media’s response [to theories of the Kennedy assassination] has been a dull one – to solemnly and stoically report the government’s assertions, over and over.”

45 Scott, War Conspiracy, 10, 383, 395.

46 Gabriel Kolko, The Roots of American Foreign Policy (Boston: Beacon, 1969), xii-xiii.

47 James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. “Spying Program Snared U.S. Calls”, New York Times, December 21, 2005.

48 Borjesson, Into the Buzzsaw, 13. Even former George W. Bush spokesman Scott McClellan has referred to the media in his book as “complicit enablers” of Bush administration war propaganda (Scott McClellan, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception [New York: Public Affairs, 2008], 70, 125).

49 Washington Post, September 8, 2006. Cf. BBC, “Paranoia paradise,” April 4, 2002,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1909378.stm. \
The common tactic of such essays is to focus on absurdly eccentric beliefs, and try to pass them off as representative of all those criticizing received anti-conspiratorial opinion.

50 Washington Post, January 23, 2007. However on May 4, 2008, the Post discussed the remark in a favorable review of former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards’ book Reclaiming Conservatism: How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost — And How It Can Find Its Way Back.

 

51 Michael Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004), 8.

52 E.g. Paul L. Atwood, “War and Empire Are and Always Have Been the American Way of Life,” Global Policy Forum, February 2006,
http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/history/2006/022006history.htm.

53 Alexander Cockburn, “The Age of Irrationality: The 9/11 Conspiracists and the Decline of the American Left,” CounterPunch, November 28, 2006,
http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11282006.html.

54 Cumings, Origins, II, 123; cf. 13-14; Herbert Franz Schurmann, The Logic of World Power: An

Inquiry into the Origins, Currents, and Contradictions of World Politics(New York: Random House, 1974).

55 Michael Klare, Beyond the “Vietnam Syndrome” (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies, 1981).

56 E.g. Robert Wright, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Slate, October 11, 2001,

http://www.slate.com/id/117170/  .

57 Scott, Road to 9/11, 57-61, etc. Cf. Jerry Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1983).

58 L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World (1997), http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/.

59 Prouty, The Secret Team (1997), Chapter II.

60 G. William Domhoff, in Jonathan Vankin, Conspiracies, Cover-Ups, and Crimes: Political Manipulation and Mind Control in America (New York: Paragon House, 1991), 125-26.

61 Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 11.

62 Michael Parenti, Dirty Truths (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996),

63 This has been doubted in the case of the JFK assassination, notably by Chomsky. For my latest contribution to this old argument, see Scott, War Conspiracy (2008).

64 Scott, War Conspiracy (2008), 14; Michael Standaert, Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire (Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press, 2006), 112-14.

65 Charlie Savage, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy (New York: Little Brown, 2007), 51. Strangely, Savage does not mention COG by name, but he refers to the decade of COG planning in the 1980s as evidence for his case that a “cabal of zealots” has been planning for “the return of the imperial presidency” ever since Cheney and Rumsfeld lost their posts in the Ford Administration.

66 U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.

67 See “The Saudi Money Trail,” Newsweek, December 2, 2002.

68 Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (New York: Twelve/Hachette, 2008), 54-55.

69 “Addressing the nation from the Oval Office in 2005 after the first disclosures of the NSA’s warrantless electronic surveillance became public, Bush insisted that the spying program in question was reviewed `every 45 days’ as part of planning to assess threats to `the continuity of our government’”
(Christopher Ketcham, “The Last Round-Up,” Radaronline, May 15, 2008,
http://circleof13.blogspot.com/2008/05/last-roundup.html).

Cf. President’s Radio Address, December 15, 2005,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051217.html :
“The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland.”

70 Parry, “Gonzales Questions Habeas Corpus,” Baltimore Chronicle, January 19, 2007.

71 9/11 Commission Report, 38, 326; Scott, The Road to 9/11, 228-29.

72 White House Notice of September 20, 2007,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/09/20070920-9.html.

73 Jerome Corsi, “Bush makes power grab,” WorldNetDaily, May 23, 2007, \
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55824.

74Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, “National Emergency Powers,” updated August 30, 2007, pp. 10ss,
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/98-505.pdf.

75 Washington Post, May 10, 2007.

76 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 183-87; citing James Mann, “The Armageddon Plan,” Atlantic Monthly (March 2004), http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200403/mann; James Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 138–45; James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 70-74. Cf. Peter Dale Scott, “Congress, the Bush Adminstration and Continuity of Government Planning: The Showdown”, Counterpunch, March 31, 2008, http://www.counterpunch.org/scott03312008.html.

77 Peter Dale Scott, “Congress, the Bush Adminstration and Continuity of Government Planning: The Showdown”, Counterpunch, March 31, 2008, http://www.counterpunch.org/scott03312008.html.

78 Kean and Hamilton, Without Precedent, 312, cf. 9/11 Commission, Media Advisory, August 20, 2004, which set a date of January 9, 2009.

79 The National Archives started a pilot project for the declassification of Commission records. According to their interim report, dated June 22, 2007, they have made progress with the Commission’s internal files. However the following excerpt shows that of other agencies, only the FBI was cooperating in 2007:

FBI Decisions:

Declassified: 98 documents (241 pages)

Declassified, but needs referral elsewhere: 31 documents (132 pages)

Sanitized: 100 documents (400 pages)

Sanitized and needs referral elsewhere: 170 documents (1,067 pages)

Withheld in full: 4 documents (15 pages)

The CIA, the agency with the second highest number of pages in this pilot, has indicated that they have “made no decision regarding how and when it will apply any resources to this request.”

Other than FBI, we have received no official response from the other referral agencies (“Update on the Declassification of the Records of the 9/11 Commission,” June 22, 2007, http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/meetings/06-22-07-tilley.pdf.)

The CIA subsequently resolved to review relevant records.

80 John Farmer, ” ‘United 93’: The Real Picture,” Washington Post, April 30, 2006. Cf. Kean and Hamilton, Without Precedent, 87: “The staff front office suggested that the NORAD situation bordered on willful concealment.”

81 Public Law 107-306, Nov. 27, 2002, Title VI, Section 610.

82 Amerrican Freedom Agenda, http://www.americanfreedomagenda.org; American Freedom Campaign,
http://www.americanfreedomcampaign.org.

83 Kean and Hamilton, Without Precedent, 312, cf. 9/11 Commission, Media Advisory, August 20, 2004, which set a date of January 9, 2009.


Peter Dale Scott,
a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher
. He is the author of the forthcoming book (reissued and much enlarged) The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War, due in August 2008. It can be pre-ordered from the Mary Ferrell Foundation Press at http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/MFF_Store. Scott’s website is http://www.peterdalescott.net.

NRDC’s Dale Bryk provides the only voice of skepticism on CNN’s nuclear roundtable following the network’s airing of pro-nuke documentary Pandora’s Promise.

CNN aired the pro-nuclear power filmPandora’s Promise on November 7. The film was little more than propaganda (FAIR Action Alert, 10/25/13), brooking virtually no dissent from the views of the film’s seven principal “stars”–one-time anti-nuclear environmentalists who now say the planet can only be saved from the ravages of fossil fuels by a rapid, large-scale investment in new, supposedly fail-safe “fast reactors.”

In advance of the airing, FAIR and RootsAction presented CNN with a petition signed by over 27,000 activists, demanding the news network present a more balanced discussion of the issue. How did CNN respond? By compounding the bias with a post-show roundtable,Nuclear Power: The Fallout From Fear, that featured a panel just as slanted as its title.

Moderated by CNN‘s Anderson Cooper, the panel was stacked three to one in favor of the film’s premise. Dale Bryk of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the lone anti-nuclear voice, was outnumbered by the film’s director, Robert Stone, climate scientist James Hansen and former nuclear plant operator Michael Friedlander. During the panel, Bryk had her remarks ridiculed as “silly” by Hansen and “delusional” by Stone, with no objection from Cooper, who seemed at times to play the role of a fourth pro-nuclear panelist. At one point he confronted Bryk on the role of renewables by parroting the film’s line that “alternative solutions like solar, wind…will never be a real solution.”

At another point, Cooper asked the filmmaker a leading question that suggested nuclear power has been remarkably safe: “Can you point to how many people have died from–I mean, Three Mile Island, nobody died. Emergency procedures there worked, correct?”

Cooper’s language could have come straight from any number of past corporate media whitewashings of nuclear power dangers. For instance, NBC‘s 1993 broadcast What Happened? (3/16/93) concluded that “the system worked” at Three Mile Island–that aside from some “communications” issues, people near the Pennsylvania plant were happily living their lives years after the 1979 partial meltdown there (Extra!7/1/93).

NRDC's Dale Bryk provides the only voice of skepticism on CNN's nuclear roundtable following the network's airing of pro-nuke documentary Pandora's Promise.Three Mile Island had resulted in only a “a minor release” of radiation, agreed Stone, adding that, in the US, “not a single death has occurred from commercial nuclear power in the entire 50-year history.”

Later, Stone said of the Fukushima accident: “Nobody has died, nobody has gotten sick, and according to the best science in the World Health Organization, nobody ever will.” What WHO (2/28/13) actually says is that “the estimated risk for specific cancers in certain subsets of the population in Fukushima Prefecture has increased,” and that one-third of the emergency workers at the plant have an increased cancer risk.

When FAIR asked epidemiologist Steven Wing of the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health to comment on Stone’s claims, he acknowledged that no deaths had resulted immediately from acute radiation poisoning at Three Mile Island or Fukushima, but that longer-term cancers caused by radiation were a different story:

The cancers from the TMI accident were measured through a survey of hospital records which showed that leukemia incidence was 6.9 times higher during 1981-85 in the area most affected by radioactive plumes compared to the least affected areas. In Fukushima, the cancers will occur in the future and can be estimated based on people’s radiation doses and the knowledge that there is no threshold below which radiation doesn’t cause cancer. This is the same way we estimate cancers from smoking, asbestos or other carcinogens.

Wing added that even nuclear power plants running under normal conditions are not necessarily safe:

For routinely operating reactors, excess childhood cancer has been demonstrated in several European studies, although no comparable study has been conducted in the USA.

The role of renewables in planning a cleaner and safer energy future was disparaged by everyone on the panel except NRDC’s Bryk. The same was true of virtually everyone who appeared in the film for more than a few moments. (The few dissenting voices heard in the film–e.g., Helen Caldicott, Ralph Nader–were little more than props, providing brief soundbites stating supposed myths, which were then ridiculed at length by the film’s principal players.)

Such a position can only be sustained by excluding leading authorities on renewables, like electrical and nuclear engineer Arjun Makhijani,  the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, who says:

A zero-CO2 US economy can be achieved within the next 30 to 50 years without the use of nuclear power. The US renewable energy resource base is vast and practically untapped. Available wind energy resources in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states equal about 2.5 times the entire electricity production of the United States. Given that we can satisfy our electricity needs by harnessing only 40 percent of the wind energy resources in these 12 states, it is extremely likely that we will be able to do away with CO2.

Edwin Lyman, a physicist and senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, says that the kind of reactor touted in Pandora’s Promise isn’t the fail-safe technology flogged in the film, and isn’t fully designed or ready for commercial use. No one like Lyman appears in the film, and CNN didn’t include him in the panel either; they did permit him a column on CNN.com (11/7/13), where he charges Stone with promoting “numerous half-truths and less-than-half-truths”:

Like the story of Pandora itself, the tale of the integral fast reactor (IFR)–or at least the version presented in the movie–is more myth than reality. In the final assessment, the concept’s drawbacks greatly outweighed its advantages. The government had sound reasons to stanch the flow of taxpayer dollars to a costly, flawed project that also was undermining US efforts to reduce the risks of nuclear terrorism and proliferation around the world.

Lyman pointed out that the fast reactor, even when fully developed, would produce more nuclear waste, not less, as claimed in the film. “Stone did not include anyone in the film who could have provided a more balanced and realistic assessment” of the fast reactor, Lyman said–which could be said of CNN‘s discussion of nuclear power in general.

Considering the bias of CNN‘s documentary, it’s unsurprising to find that two of its chief funders are billionaire boosters of nuclear energy. Virgin’s Richard Branson, who with US nuclear industry officials proposed a meeting with President Obama and then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu to lobby for IFR nuclear technology, is listed as the film’s executive producer. Branson claimed at the time not to have any direct financial interest in nuclear power.

The film’s other billionaire funder, Microsoft founder Paul Allen, is an investor in “advanced nuclear technologies,” according to the website of his venture capital firm, Vulcan Inc.

The U.S. Army’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment on patrol in Maiwand District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan (Photo: Reuters/Andrew Burton)Days before the so-called bi-lateral security agreement heads to an Afghan council of elders and political leaders for a final decision, the U.S. is attempting to force through a stipulation that would allow U.S. troops to continue raiding Afghan homes, in addition to measures giving U.S. troops and contractors immunity from Afghan law and extending U.S. military presence far beyond Obama’s 2014 pullout date.

“If you reduce the amount of occupation forces but keep them there forever, then the occupation continues and the war on people’s everyday lives is not actually over — no matter what the US government or mainstream media tells us.” –Kimber Heinz, WRL

Critics charge that the U.S. is giving itself the green light for open-ended occupation at the expense of the Afghan people. “Occupation is not defined by how many occupiers are policing someplace,” said Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League in an interview with Common Dreams. “If you reduce the amount of occupation forces but keep them there forever, then the occupation continues and the war on people’s everyday lives is not actually over — no matter what the US government or mainstream media tells us.”

The U.S. is pushing for the right to enter Afghan homes over the initial objection of Afghan negotiators. The New York Times reports that President Hamid Karzai’s spokesperson, Aimal Faizi, announced Tuesday that Karzai would allow U.S. home raids in “extraordinary circumstances.” He said this was in exchange for an agreement from President Obama to issue a letter apologizing for mistakes in Afghanistan.

This latest development follows attempts on the part of U.S. negotiators to ram through immunity for U.S. troops and independent contractors from Afghan law. According to The Washington Post, the U.S. appears to have succeeded in including this immunity in a previously-circulated draft of the agreement.

The accord will head on Thursday to Afghanistan’s loya jirga, a gathering of 3,000 elders and political leaders who will spend days deliberating over whether to accept the agreement. An Afghan official told The New York Times that Karzai is willing to try to convince the loya jirga to accept this immunity.

The issue of immunity for U.S. troops has long been a point of contention for the Afghan people, who have faced a staggering civilian death toll, as well as a spate of high-profile massacres, including the 2012 Panjwai massacre, in which 16 Afghan civilians were gunned down and killed, and 6 wounded by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. “Immunity is just another extension of occupation,” Suraia Sahar of Afghans United for Justice previously toldCommon Dreams.

A draft text of the agreement dated July 25th, 2013, does not specify how many U.S. troops will be allowed to remain in Afghanistan, likely giving the U.S. unilateral power to determine this number. Furthermore, the document does not prohibit the U.S. from using Afghan territory to launch drone strikes against nearby Pakistan, The Washington Post points out.

The U.S. has framed the raids and continued troop presence as part of an ongoing special operations force to hunt down “terrorist” cells. “The Parties acknowledge that continued US military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end,” the July 25th draft agreement states.

Yet critics charge that this is just occupation by another name. “The ‘counter-insurgency’ and paramilitary tactics employed in Afghanistan that require fewer ground forces are also being developed for use by armed forces and militarized police units all over the world, including in the U.S., making resistance to the U.S.’s latest strategy for global dominance imperative,” said Heinz.

The US breaks its promises so quick with Pakistan it’s scarcely worth mentioning them in the first place. Just hours after a promise not to launch any more drone strikes against Pakistan for the duration of their peace talks with the Taliban, a US drone pounded a religious school in Hangu.

The attack killed eight people, including three teachers and five students. A number of others were wounded in the attack, and drones continued to loom overhead after the attack.

It’s noteworthy for a lot of reasons, and not just that it broke yet another promise. Hangu is not in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where US drone strikes have almost exclusively hit, but is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah (KP) Province. Hitting a proper province is much more controversial within Pakistan, and a major backlash is expected on a national level.

But that may pale in comparison to the backlash on a provincial level, as the KP Province is ruled by Pakistani Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI), an anti-drone party ruled by Imran Khan which had threatened to blockade the NATO supply route through its province into occupied Afghanistan if the drone strikes didn’t end. They gave an initial deadline of November 20… the day of the latest attack, so it will likely be interpreted locally as timed explicitly to spite them.

The deadline had been moved back to November 23 but the attack is almost certain to spark an enormous response, and will oblige the PTI to at least attempt such a blockade to retain its credibility. It will also add to pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been facing growing criticism for his inability to stop the strikes, a key promise of his campaign.

Asia Pivot Declared, US Army Eyes Africa

November 21st, 2013 by Andrei Akulov

U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Africa in June-July was widely seen as evidence of the White House’s broader foreign policy objectives which have included an expansion of U.S. military operations across Africa. With the forces leaving Afghanistan, the Army is looking for new missions around the world.«As we reduce the rotational requirement to combat areas, we can use these forces to great effect in Africa», Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the head of the Africa Command, told Congress this year… Washington has publicly proclaimed a «pivot to Asia,» a «rebalancing» of its military resources eastward, however, the Pentagon is increasingly engaged in shadowy operations elsewhere, for instance, in Africa. Officials call it «light footprint» or «small footprint» saying the military is engaged in small-scale operations there. But picking up odds and ends and piecing them together gives ground to conjecture that the continent is seen as the battlefield of tomorrow.

The «pivot» toward Asia-Pacific substantiated by the putative threat posed by a rising China will justify the need and expenditure to have strong Navy and Air Force. Large-scale Army commitment is hard to imagine in the Asia –Pacific region but expanding the «global war on terrorism» into the heart of Africa allows this service to have a pivot of its own. With combat boots on the ground, the formally declared purpose is to provide training. At that, the strike capabilities are on the rise and upgrading African militaries will no doubt foster opportunities to sell US-manufactured weapons, a benefit for U.S. defense industry.

Expanding presence

The Pentagon has begun expanding its main base on the continent and investing in air facilities, flight services and telecommunications as the U.S. military deepens its footprint in the region. Base construction, security cooperation engagements, training exercises, advisory deployments, special operations missions and a growing logistics network – all signs are there to provide undeniable evidence of expansion. The troops strength is estimated to be around 5 thousand. The forces are scattered across the continent in the places like Djibouti, the Central African Republic and now – Niger. There formal reason is countering extremists, the informal is obvious – boosting US clout as China’s presence is on the rise.

According to the Washington Post, over the past two years, the Pentagon has become embroiled in conflicts in Libya, Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic. Meantime, the Air Force is setting up a fourth African drone base, while Navy warships are increasing their missions along the coastlines of East and West Africa.

In a written statement provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the commander of Africa Command, estimated that the U.S. military needs to increase its intelligence-gathering and spying missions in Africa by nearly 15-fold. «I believe additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are necessary to protect American interests and assist our close allies and partners», he wrote in the statement, which was released during his confirmation hearing in February. «The recent crises in North Africa demonstrate the volatility of the African security environment». Rodriguez said the Africa Command needs additional drones, other surveillance aircraft and more satellite imagery adding that it currently receives only half of its «stated need» for North Africa and only 7 percent of its total «requirements» for the entire continent.

United States Army, Africa (USARAF) is part of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), a unified combatant command with headquarters in Caserna Elderle, Vicenza, Italy. It had been called SETAF – South European Task Force – till December 2008. The change of name marked the end of the airborne chapter of the unit’s history and the beginning of its new role as the Army component of AFRICOM. The Army is supported by U.S. warships combating piracy off both East and West Africa, which have become increasingly frequent visitors to local ports. The Navy maintains a forward operating location—manned mostly by Seabees, Civil Affairs personnel, and force-protection troops – known as Camp Gilbert in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Since 2004, US troops have been stationed at a Kenyan naval base known as Camp Simba at Manda Bay.

Infrastructure

Camp Lemonnier is situated in Djibouti, a tiny country in the Horn of Africa, a sleepy backwater on the coast of the Gulf of Aden sandwiched between northern Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. A former French Foreign Legion base, the facility hosts US Special Forces, strike jets and armed unmanned aerial vehicles. It houses about 4,000 U.S. military personnel (instructors and several hundred SOF) and civilian contractors. The base has provided a staging post for occasional special forces deployments and drone and air attacks. According to the LA. Times, Camp Lemonnier is going through by far the most significant expansion. In September defense officials awarded $200 million in contracts to revamp the base’s power plants and build a multistory operations center, aircraft hangar, living quarters, gym and other facilities on a sun-scorched 20-acre site next to the tiny country’s only international airport (with which it shares a runway). The projects are part of $1.2 billion plan over the next 25 years to transform Camp Lemonnier from a makeshift installation into an enduring 600-acre base. As the L.A. Timesreports, «the base has quietly evolved into what Pentagon planning documents call «the backbone» of covert missions across Africa and the Arabian Peninsula». 

There are surveillance and special operations outposts in Entebbe, Uganda and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Last year, an airfield was revitalized in South Sudan for Special Operations Command, Africa. This February the US announced the establishment of a new drone facility in Niger. More recently, the New York Times noted that the deployment of one Predator drone to Niger had expanded to encompass daily flights by one of two larger, more advanced Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, supported by 120 Air Force personnel. Additionally, the US has flown drones out of the Seychelles Islands and Ethiopia’s Arba Minch Airport. All told, according to Sam Cooks, a liaison officer with the Defense Logistics Agency, the US military now has 29 agreements to use international airports in Africa asrefueling centers. The Pentagon has run a regional air campaign using drones and manned aircraft out of airports and bases across the continent including Camp Lemonnier, Arba Minch airport in Ethiopia, Niamey in Niger, and the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, while private contractor-operated surveillance aircraft have flown missions out of Entebbe, Uganda. Recently, Foreign Policy has reported on the existence of a possible drone base in Lamu, Kenya. ‎The US has built a sophisticated logistics system, officially known as the AFRICOM Surface Distribution Network. It connects posts in Manda Bay, Garissa, and Mombasa in Kenya, Kampala and Entebbe in Uganda, Dire Dawa in Ethiopia, Ghana’s Tema and Senegal’s Dakar, as well as crucial port facilities used by the Navy’s CTF-53 (Commander, Task Force 53) in Djibouti. The US maintains 10 marine gas and oil bunker locations in eight African nations, according to the Defense Logistics Agency.

Moving stand-by forces nearer

This October the U.S. deployed 200 Marines to the Naval Air Station at Sigonella, Sicily, which will eventually have a force of 1,000 Marines with the main focus on Libya only 100 miles away, actually a short hop across the Mediterranean. It proves that the US operations in Africa are growing switching from drone strikes against al-Qaida to pinpoint raids by small Special Forces teams, as seen in Somalia and Libya Oct. 5. These raids reflect a U.S. move away from the kind of risk-averse operations the Americans have been mounting with missile-firing drones to on-the-groundraids against high-value targets.

The Marines moved to Italy from Spain last month are the vanguard of a larger force dubbed Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response. It was established after the Sept.11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. According to U.S. security specialist David Vine, the Pentagon has spent around $2 billion – and that’s just construction costs – «shifting its European center of gravity south from Germany» and transforming Italy «into a launching pad for future wars in Africa, the Middle East and beyond.» Vine estimates there are now totally 13,000 U.S. troops in Italy at Sigonella and some 50 other facilities like Vicenza, a former Italian air force base near Venice, with the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (airborne), a rapid response force.

Intensive training programs launched

Thousands of soldiers are now gearing up for missions in Africa at Fort Riley, Kansas. According to the New York Times (11), the Army is implementing a program drawing on troops from a 3,500-member brigade of the First Infantry Division to conduct more than 100 missions in Africa over the next year. The missions range from a two-man sniper team in Burundi to 350 soldiers conducting airborne and humanitarian exercises in South Africa. According to the source, the brigade has also sent a 150-member rapid-response force to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to protect embassies in emergencies, a direct reply to the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, which killed four Americans. Africa Command is the test case for this new Army program of regionally aligned brigades that will eventually extend to all of the Pentagon’s commands worldwide, including in Europe and Latin America next year. These forces will be told in advance that their deployments will focus on parts of the world that do not have Army troops assigned to them now — creating a system in which officers and enlisted personnel would develop regional expertise, the New York Times reports.

* * *

Critics in Africa complain Washington’s approach to the continent has become increasingly militarized. Counter-terrorism policies live on the edge of international law: SOF raids and drone strikes raise questions about the international legality of such operations and their long-term impact. In some cases U.S. military engagements in Africa have already caused further instability rather than reducing the risks for international peace and security. The divided and poorly controlled Libya is an example. The extremist groups the US is supposed to fight thrive in weak and poorly governed countries, which badly need institution building, good governance and job creation. Building up well-trained and accountable African militaries is only part of the solution. The lessons learned from Somalia, Libya, Mali, the CAR and many others, like the ongoing low-intensity war against Boco Harum in Nigeria, are all important to be learnt. Besides, stiff competition for strategic resources is the specific feature of the situation in Africa. So it’s not only about fighting terrorist groups. The mission of US military is to drive rivals out of the continent or at least to limit their access to the resources and political clout. No matter all the talks going on about the times of budget constraints and sequester, the US military enhances its capability to provide global presence and carry out missions in faraway corners of the globe like Africa.

This year, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, saw Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald cast a sweeping spotlight over pervasive, illegal “deep state” spying on US citizens and allies.

Widespread public awareness of these “state crimes against democracy” is a game-changer for re-opening the past as well as the present.

To honor President Kennedy, the 9/11 Consensus Panel today highlights a scholarly work that meticulously exposes the Warren Commission’s cover-up of his state-crime murder.

Oliver Stone wrote that James W. Douglass’ “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters”

“is the best account I have read of this tragedy…it deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it.”

Jim Douglass, whose work with the “unspeakable” helps us to grasp the ruthless nature of the deep state, writes:

“Dallas laid the foundation for 9/11. If you understand JFK’s murder, you understand it all – including the obvious truth that buildings don’t just fall down the way the U.S. government said they did. The JFK story is a lens of truth through which we can see our world and how to change it.”

JFK scholar Craig Ciccone compares the events:

“The more I delved into 9/11, the sicker I became. The similarities between both cases – from the actual events to the “official” investigations – are frightening.  Like the JFK case, 9/11 boasts the unapologetic ignoring of the laws of physics and aerodynamics; the destruction of evidence; countless attempts to make the evidence fit a predetermined story; undeniable conflicts of interest of the investigating body; and the preposterous handling of the eye- and ear-witnesses.”

Similarly, Dr. David Ray Griffin’s scholarship shows that 38 years later, the deep state either permitted 9/11 to happen, or caused it to happen.

The 9/11 Commission Report (described by Harper’s Magazine as a “whitewash,” defrauding the nation) contrived a cover-up that has been soundly refuted by many peer-reviewed engineering, physics, and chemistry studies.

2013 also saw the release of Massimo Mazzucco’s expansive landmark documentary, replete with 9/11 witness testimonies, now joining the engineering classic, “Experts Speak Out.”

The peer-reviewed evidence of the 23-member 9/11 Consensus Panel is available in Dutch, Spanish, Italian, French, and English.

Axis of Evil: France, Israel, Saudi Arabia

November 21st, 2013 by Margaret Kimberley

There seems always to be some combination of imperialists and Zionists available to sabotage any normalization of relations with Iran. This time, it’s the French, Israelis and Saudis, allowing the U.S. to play the role of frustrated peace-seeker. “The Saudis and the French are equal opportunity crooks,” but in terms of threats to peace in the region, nobody is more warlike than Israel.

Iran has never invaded or occupied another nation, it hasn’t killed civilians with drones, it never had any colonies, nor did it enslave millions of people or keep a huge portion of its population behind bars. Its political system is run by a class of conservative clerics and can’t be called democratic in the classic sense. Then again, the same can be said for countries who only choose leadership from among those given a stamp of approval by the wealthiest 1%. Despite these attributes, Iran is demonized by forces in the West who want that nation to exist only as a vassal state.

Because Iran refuses to give up its nuclear power capabilities western nations have exacted crippling sanctions which have impoverished its people and deprived them of food and medicine. This country is a target of imperialism and Zionism and literally cannot win, no matter how much it bows down to the wishes of western powers.

The United States is also in a no win situation with Israel, its alleged ally. Israel gets the lion share of American foreign aid and pledges of fealty from politicians at every level of government. In return for this largesse Israel routinely gives American presidents marching orders about what it does and does not want.

Right now Israel wants Iran to be completely destroyed as a political and economic force. Sanctions are never harsh enough and threats are never bellicose enough to please America’s “greatest ally.” President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are now like the school wimp who gets tired of being beaten up for his lunch money and they want to change the game, if only a tiny bit.

So it was inevitable that recent talks between Iran, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China were doomed to be scuttled by Israel. Like his predecessors, Obama is punished by Jerusalem no matter how deftly he toes the line, especially because other states can be counted on to do Netanyahu’s bidding.

France has joined with Israel and with Saudi Arabia in quashing the true Arab spring, deciding who does and does not stay in power in Syria or Libya and finally in scuttling any chance for a nuclear power agreement with Iran. The Saudis and the French are equal opportunity crooks. The Saudis will give the French the right to build nuclear power plants there, the French sell the Saudis armaments and voila, a deal between two devils.

Israel and its most hard line American friends have been trying to push the United States into attacking Iran for many years. George W. Bush was stopped in 2007 when his own National Intelligence Estimate inconveniently reported that Iran had no nuclear weapons capability. Obama in his shrewdness concluded that it would be too difficult. He has not given up on American imperial design but there is a point beyond which the United States will not go. When Vladimir Putin stepped up to Obama and put an end to talk of attacking Syria, the US tacitly admitted that it wasn’t attacking Iran either.

Of course NATO nations, Russia and China all have nuclear weapons and so does Israel. The treachery is all the more despicable because Iran shouldn’t be forced into negotiations in the first place. As a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty it has the right to develop nuclear energy and in fact it has the right to develop nuclear weapons, something its arch-enemy Israel has already done. But rights are only for people and governments who have the power to exercise them.

At the eleventh hour the French threw a monkey wrench into the agreement. Like a good little supplicant, Secretary of State John Kerry denied what was true to anyone who was paying attention and instead blamed the Iranians who are in fact the most eager for a deal.

The Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif was driven to complain on twitter. Apparently diplomatic circles are not unlike feuds between gossiping teenagers.

“No amount of spinning can change what happened within 5+1 in Geneva from 6PM Thursday to 545 PM Saturday. But it can further erode confidence”

“Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of US draft Thursday night? and publicly commented against it Friday morning?”

These talks will resume once again but will remain a farce. Not only are Israel and its fellow criminals eager to keep any agreement from taking place but they have enlisted the help of congressional accomplices like John McCain who have vowed to increase the disastrous sanctions.

Obama and Kerry don’t deserve any sympathy because they are in their own league of wrong doing. It is the people of Iran and of the whole world who are suffering. Imperialism and Zionism are true threats to peace in the world and the government of the United States is in the thrall of both.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. 

Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

Going on five years into the Obama regime, it is clear that Wall Street is immune from prosecution, no matter the savagery of the economic crime. Attorney General Eric Holder “has ruthlessly maneuvered every case against the oligarchs into his own jurisdictional arena, in order to protect the banksters from aggressive prosecution.” JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon is a far bigger bandit than Lucky Luciano.

Imagine if Charles “Lucky” Luciano and his “Commission” representing the five reigning New York Mafia families plus the Chicago mob had been immune from law enforcement meddling in their activities, from the establishment of the “Syndicate” in 1931 to the present day. By now, Luciano’s gangster heirs would be the unchallenged rulers of economic and political life in the United States and, by imperial extension, the entire capitalist world.

JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon is the man Lucky Luciano dreamed of becoming. A friend and golfing partner of President Obama, Dimon sits at the top of the ruling financial pyramid whose “commissioners” include the heads of Bank of America, CitiGroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Their syndicate owns the cops, prosecutors, judges and major political parties and is, therefore, immune from criminal prosecution: the true “Untouchables,” too big to jail. So big, it will require a revolution to dislodge them from hegemonic power.

The latest Obama administration “settlement” of JP Morgan’s ongoing criminal enterprise amounts to a $13 billion fine, a mere speed bump in the unbroken spree of lawlessness that “helped create a financial storm that devastated millions of Americans,” in the words of Associate Attorney General Tony West. Although it is “the largest penalty in history,” Dimon and his fellow banksters are also the richest criminals in history – the most powerful cartel of all time – who can easily afford the levy. The bursting of their housing securities bubble may have wrecked much of the global economy in 2008, but Dimon and his boys made out like pure bandits in the aftermath, consolidating their positions at the center of a dying system. JP Morgan emerged as the biggest U.S. bank in terms of assets, a gleaming tower standing amid the ruins it created. Such is the logic of late stage finance capitalism: catastrophe becomes “creative destruction,” which begets greater economic monopoly, resulting in unchallengeable political supremacy, which makes Dimon too big to jail, whether he’s actually a friend of Obama, or not.

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the $13 billion fine will have any measurable impact on JP Morgan’s business plan. So far, the Obama administration has assessed a total of $28 billion in penalties against the Dimon mob, with no discernible effect. This time around, however, Obama’s prosecutors have imposed the equivalent of mandatory community service on the corporate malefactor, as an alternative to actual justice. Part of the $4 billion set aside to help struggling homeowners will go towards knocking down abandoned or foreclosed homes in the urban neighborhoods laid waste by JP Morgan and its cohorts in the racially-targeted subprime mortgage frenzy. That’s like compelling the Mafia to do upkeep on the cemeteries where its victims are buried, in lieu of prison terms or execution.

Yet, Justice Department mouthpiece Tony West claims the eyesore clearance penalty will “rectify” some of the harm done to “areas hardest hit by the financial crisis.” But, of course, it doesn’t even come close. Whole communities have been wounded beyond repair. Black wealth took its deepest dive in history, with reverberations that will impact future generations. Many thousands of people have died from the social trauma inflicted by Jamie Dimon and his syndicate – and that’s just in the United States. Globally, millions have perished due to the actions for which the settlement is supposed to atone.

Back in the Spring, the Huffington Post noted that Attorney General Eric Holder was attempting to retract his famous admission that banks like JP Morgan are too big to jail. Holder’s original statement, in March, was:

“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”

Two months later, in May, Holder amended his remarks, to say:

“Let me make something real clear right away. I made a statement I guess in a Senate hearing that I think has been misconstrued. I said it was difficult at times to bring cases against large financial institutions because [of] the potential consequences that they would have on the financial system. But let me make it very clear that there is no bank, there’s no institution, there’s no individual who cannot be investigated and prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice…. Let me be very, very, very clear. Banks are not too big to jail. If we find a bank or a financial institution that has done something wrong, if we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, those cases will be brought.”

Clearly, Holder was lying, second time around. If there were ever a serial financial gangster, it’s Dimon. There are no better candidates for racketeering prosecution on the face of the Earth than the Big Six banks and their executives: the pinnacle of the ruling class.

However, it is wrong to deride Holder and Obama as merely timid in the face of Wall Street’s awesomely destructive power. Rather, they are instruments of finance capital’s hegemony. Holder has ruthlessly maneuvered every caseagainst the oligarchs into his own jurisdictional arena, in order to protect the banksters from aggressive prosecution by wayward state officials. Holder’s “settlements” are designed to insulate the banks from the rule of law, since, at this stage of systemic decay, the Lords of Capital can no longer function within existing legal constraints. The public sphere must be privatized; the urban centers, like Detroit, must be disenfranchised; the financial cartel must be allowed to absorb an ever greater proportion of the real economy into its derivatives casino; wealth must flow from the bottom to the top, without pause; and a planetary corporate code must be established through “free trade” treaties that supersede the sovereign laws of nations. All of the Obama administration’s marching orders flow from these imperatives.

Obama and Holder are guardians of the emerging new order, which does not yet have a legal code – and may well prefer to forgo such niceties, entirely. In the meantime, corporate Democrats and Republicans will give lip service to the law while the Mafia of Money runs the show.

And, you can take that to the bank.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].

Remembering Jack Kennedy

November 21st, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Killing Kennedy mattered. It changed America’s direction. Things might have been different had he lived.

November 22, 1963 remains a stain on America’s legacy. It was Friday. A light rain fell.

Kennedy spent the night at the Texas Hotel. A platform was set up outside. He came out. He made some brief remarks.

“There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” he said. “I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.”

He addressed “the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership.”

His motorcade traveled to Carswell Air Force Base. He took a 13 minute flight to Dallas. Rain ended.

The plastic bubble atop his car was left off. Lyndon and Mrs. Johnson accompanied him in a separate car.

The procession headed downtown. It wound through Dallas en route to the Trade Mart. Kennedy was scheduled to speak at a luncheon.

Crowds along the route waved. His car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza. It was around 12:30PM. The procession passed the Texas School Book Depository.

Gunfire was heard. Kennedy was struck. His car sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. It was a few minutes away. It was too late. He was given his last rites. Around 1PM, he was pronounced dead.

The New York Times headlined in bold type across the top of its front page: “KENNEDY IS KILLED BY SNIPER AS HE RIDES IN CAR TO DALLAS; JOHNSON SWOWN IN ON PLANE”

“Gov. Connally Shot; Mrs. Kennedy Safe”

“President is Struck Down by a Rifle Shot From Building on Motorcade Route – Johnson, Riding Behind, Is Unhurt”

Less than an hour earlier, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. He was a convenient patsy. He had nothing to do with killing Kennedy.

He alone remains officially blamed. The Big Lie persists. Lots of evidence refutes it.

Plato once said:

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school.”

“And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.”

On November 29, 1963, Lyndon Johnson established the Warren Commission. On September 24, 1964, it delivered its 888-page report.

Three days later, it released it publicly. It pronounced a bald-faced lie. It said Oswald acted alone.

It later published 26 volumes of supporting documents. They included testimonies or depositions of 552 witnesses.

Its distortions included over 3,100 exhibits. It went all out to conceal truth and full disclosure.

All records are in the National Archives. Included are unpublished reports. They’re sealed until 2039.

They’re no longer applicable under the 1966 Freedom of Information Act and 1992 JFK Records Act.

Nothing released ahead will change the official story. The Big Lie persists. It remain etched in stone. It’s for others to challenge it.

The Commission’s job was suppressing truth. It was coverup. It was stacked with insiders. They included:

  • Chief Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren
  • Senator Richard Russell (D. GA)
  • Senator John Sherman Cooper (R. KY)
  • Representative Hale Boggs (D. LA)
  • Representative Gerald Ford (R. MI)
  • former CIA director Allen Dulles, and
  • former WW II Assistant Secretary of War/World Bank president/prominent presidential advisor John J. McCloy.

Testimonies were taken in secret. Sanitized versions were published.

Peter Dale Scott coined the phrase “deep politics.” It means “in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so.”

Scott noted “the ability of the government to establish a guilty party or parties immediately, and the press and media consumption of that product to the exclusion of all other possibilities.”

The Warren Commission’s mandate was “to validate what was already decided by the FBI on the day in question.”

“In Oswald’s case, FBI and CIA documents described him as five feet, ten inches, weighing 165 pounds.”

“But it contradicted the actual height and weight of the man picked up and charged being slightly shorter and weighing 140 pounds.”

“It appears someone had already decided who was going to be charged before the police found Oswald in the Texas Theater.”

He was named within 15 minutes from when Kennedy was shot. It was impossible to know that soon. The official story was bogus.

Jim Marrs book titled, “Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy” discussed a Cartha DeLoach memo. He was FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s close aide.

He said then Congressman Gerald Ford may have been the bureau’s Warren Commission informant. He had close CIA ties.

It was later learned he reported to Hoover. He did so secretly. He admitted instructing the Commission to move Kennedy’s back wound up several inches. A lower location disproved the single gunman theory.

A subsequent Commission report was titled “A Presidential Legacy and the Warren Commission.”

It said the investigation put “certain classified and potentially damaging operations in danger of being exposed.”

The CIA hid or “destroy(ed) some information, which can easily be misinterpreted as collusion in JFK’s assassination.”

Family spokeswoman, Penny Circle, said Ford approved the text. Before his death, he publicly said the CIA destroyed or hid critical secrets related to the killing.

He suggested a “conspiracy.” He barely stopped short of admitting one. Commission conclusions were rubbish. They hid dirty truths. They were too disturbing to reveal.

Jim Fetzer has done extensive research on Kennedy’s assassination. He said the following:

“The weapon Oswald is alleged to have used cannot have fired the bullets that killed JFK.”

“The ‘magic bullet’ theory is provably untrue and was not even anatomically possible.”

“JFK was hit four times – in the throat from in front, in the back from behind, and in the head from in front and behind.”

“X-rays were altered. A brain was substituted, and photos and films were faked to conceal the true causes of his death.”

Fetzer cited “more than 15 indications of Secret Service complicity in setting JFK up for the hit.”

“Two agents assigned to the limousine were left behind at Love Field. The flat-bed truck for reporters that should have preceded the limo was cancelled.”

“The motorcycle escort was cut down to four and was instructed not to ride ahead of the rear wheels.”

“Open windows were not covered. The manhole covers were not welded, and the crowd was allowed to spill into the street.”

“…Vehicles were in the wrong order, with (Kennedy’s) Lincoln first, when it should have been in the middle.”

“This was such a blatant violation of protocol that any security expert would have detected it.”

The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) destroyed the Presidential Protection Records. It did so to eliminate important evidence.

Kennedy’s route was changed days before he arrived. Included was a strictly prohibited 90 degree turn.

After gunfire struck him, driver William Greer pulled to the left. He stopped the vehicle.

“At Parkland Hospital, (Secret Service) agents got a bucket of water and a sponge, and washed brains and blood from the crime scene.”

Kennedy’s “limousine was taken back to Ford. (It) was stripped to bare metal and rebuilt.”

Doing so destroyed important evidence. It included the windshield. It had “a through-and-through bullet hole.”

Kennedy was shot from in front and behind. He was struck four times.

The Warren Commission claimed he was hit twice. The Commission claimed the bullet striking Kennedy in the back passed through his neck, then exited from his throat.

It struck Governor Connally. It shattered a rib. It damaged his right wrist. It embedded itself in his left thigh.

Fetzer called this explanation “a most unlikely scenario that is known as the ‘magic bullet’ theory.”

To make it remotely plausible, Commission member (then Congressman) Gerald Ford “had the description of the wound to the back changed from ‘his uppermost back.’ ”

The weapon Oswald was accused of firing couldn’t have killed Kennedy. His death certificate and autopsy said high-velocity bullets above 2,600 fps killed him.

Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle had a muzzle velocity of 2,000 fps.

Even with a more powerful weapon, “the shots themselves were highly improbable,” said Fetzer.

“(T)he simple expedient of locating where the bullet hit JFK’s back is enough to establish the existence of a conspiracy has not inhibited those who want to obfuscate the facts.”

Pseudo-documentaries air on TV. They obscure what happened. They hide vital truths.

They stick to the long ago discredited lone gunman explanation. “Authentic evidence, once separated from (fabrications), refutes it,” said Fetzer.

“The demise of the ‘magic bullet’ (theory) alone establishes conspiracy.”

“Creating a false photographic record of the assassination was crucial to the cover-up.”

“As much thought was given to concealing the truth from the public as was given to executing the assassination itself.”

“By removing some events and adding others, the home movie known as the Zapruder film became the backbone of the cover-up.”

“As long as it was taken to be authentic, it would be impossible to reconstruct the crime.”

Much has been written about Kennedy. James Douglas contributed some of the best. His book titled “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” debunked mainstream myths and much more.

He showed how Kennedy threatened the military-industrial complex. He had to go. “(T)he CIA’s fiingerprints (were) all over the crime and the events leading up to it,” said Douglas.

The lone gunman theory long ago lost credibility. A state-sponsored coup eliminated Kennedy. He changed during his time in office. He evolved from cold warrior to peacemaker.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco chastened him. He refused authorizing another attempt to remove Castro.

He supported Palestinian rights. He opposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program. He offended energy giants. He wanted the oil depletion allowance cut or eliminated.

RFK waged war on organized crime. JFK’s first executive order expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He was a gradualist on civil rights. He believed integration was morally right.

He favored Federal Reserve reform. His Executive Order 11110 authorized replacing Federal Reserve notes with silver certificates if the occasion arose to do so.

It’s believed he ordered Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon to begin issuing United States notes. Perhaps he had in mind replacing Federal Reserve ones altogether. He was assassinated to soon to know.

He deplored the CIA. He fired director Allen Dulles and his deputy General Charles Cabell.

He once said he wanted to “splinter the (agency) into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” It was reason enough to kill him.

He increasingly opposed imperial wars. Initially, he sent troops and advisors to Southeast Asia. He opposed sending more to Laos.

He told his Geneva Conference representative, Averell Harriman:

“Do you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”

He opposed deploying nuclear weapons in Berlin. He was against using them in Southeast Asia.

He once called Pentagon generals “crazy” for suggesting it. He refused to attack or invade Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis. He said he “never had the slightest intension of doing so.”

He urged abolishing all nuclear weapons. He knew using them is lunacy. He favored general and complete disarmament.

He opposed Pax Americana enforced dominance. He signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty with Soviet Russia.

Weeks before his assassination, he signed National Security Memorandum 263. It called for removing 1,000 US forces from Vietnam by yearend. He wanted them all out by December 1965.

He underwent a spiritual transformation. It bears repeating. He switched from cold warrior to peacemaker.

He was at odds with Pentagon commanders, CIA, most congressional members, and nearly all his advisors.

He understood his vulnerability. He paid with his life. He was favored to win reelection. Imagine if he had two full terms.

Imagine a new direction. Imagine deploring war. Imagine turning swords into plowshares.

Imagine a world at peace. Imagine nuclear disarmament. Imagine ending the Cold War a generation earlier.

In June 1956, he addressed Harvard’s commencement. He was Massachusetts junior senator at the time.

He ended by quoting an English mother. She wrote the Provost of Harrow saying: “Don’t teach my boy poetry. He is going to stand for Parliament.”

“Well, perhaps she was right,” said Kennedy. “But if more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place in which to live on this commencement day of 1956.”

Killing JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X “decapitat(ed) America’s left,” said Fetzer. In the 1970s, the nation began shifting right. Progressive charismatic leaders were gone.

None exist today. Their absence is sorely missed. It lets America get away with murder and then some.

Dark forces run things. War on humanity persists. Peacemakers aren’t around to stop it. Survival hangs in the balance.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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

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

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

 

Decolla da Dubai la «cannoniera volante» italiana

November 21st, 2013 by Manlio Dinucci

Sorvolando il parlamento, l’Aeronautica militare italiana ha deciso di procurarsi un nuovo sistema d’arma: la cannoniera volante. Ha firmato a tal fine un contratto con Alenia Aermacchi (gruppo Finmeccanica). Non in Italia, ma il 18 novembre scorso al salone aeronautico di Dubai. Non è dato sapere per ora quale sarà la spesa, ma è certo che comporterà un altro salasso di denaro pubblico. Il contratto prevede la trasformazione di sei C-27J Spartan, velivoli da trasporto tattico in dotazione all’Aeronautica militare, in C-27J Praetorian. Che cosa significa la trasformazione del C-27J da spartano in pretoriano? Che questo aereo da trasporto militare diverrà uno dei più micidiali aerei da attacco. Sul modello della cannoniera volante AC-130 che gli Usa hanno impiegato, in versioni via via potenziate, in tutte le guerre dal Vietnam alla Libia.

L’ultima versione di cannoniera volante Usa, la AC-130U Spooky, è armata di una mitragliatrice Gatling da 25mm a sei canne, capace di sparare 1.800 colpi al minuto con proiettili a uranio impoverito; un cannone Bofors da 40mm, capace di sparare 100 colpi al minuto; un obice da 105mm, capace di sparare 6-10 colpi al minuto. Tramite un complesso sistema elettronico, dotato di radar e sensori all’infrarosso, l’equipaggio individua e segue i bersagli in movimento, tipo veicoli e gruppi di persone, mentre l’aereo volteggia su di loro come un uccello da preda. Apre quindi il fuoco simultaneamente su due bersagli, distanti anche un km l’uno dall’altro, investendoli con un impressionante volume di fuoco che non lascia scampo.
La cannoniera volante, capace di volare in ogni condizione atmosferica, è particolarmente adatta per azioni notturne ed è quindi uno dei sistemi d’arma preferiti dalle forze speciali.

Anche il C-27J Praetorian sarà destinato alle forze speciali italiane, soprattutto per azioni notturne di commandos. La cannoniera volante italiana sarà più piccola di quella statunitense, ma non per questo meno micidiale.
L’aereo, che Alenia Aermacchi sviluppa con la collaborazione della statunitense Atk, sarà tecnologicamente più avanzato e più versatile dell’AC-130U Spooky. Lo conferma il fatto che anche le forze speciali Usa hanno recentemente deciso di utilizzare il C-27J come piattaforma per le loro operazioni. La sperimentazione del C-27J Praetorian, fa sapere l’Aeronautica militare, è già in corso e il velivolo potrà essere certificato nei primi mesi del 2014. Lo sviluppo della configurazione Praetorian prevede un sistema di comando, controllo e comunicazione di tipo C3/ISR, sviluppato dalla Selex ES (Finmeccanica), ed apparati di fuoco aria-suolo imbarcati (mitragliatrice e cannone a tiro rapido), utili a «soddisfare un largo spettro di missioni, in particolare i requisiti del comando operativo forze speciali».

In una prima fase, da attuarsi entro marzo 2014, Alenia Aermacchi svilupperà un prototipo, da valutare poi entro l’anno prossimo in «contesti operativi» (ossia in teatri bellici reali), mentre nella seconda fase si concentrerà sull’industrializzazione della piattaforma così configurata. Nei confronti del C-27J Praetorian, fanno sapere gli addetti ai lavori, vi è interesse di diversi potenziali acquirenti esteri, «da cui potrebbero derivare benefici per il sistema Italia». Il sistema che ha sostituito all’articolo 11 della Costituzione lo slogan, ispirato al noto film, «finché c’è guerra c’è speranza».

Manlio Dinucci

Timothy Geithner Moves from US Treasury to Wall Street

November 21st, 2013 by Barry Grey

The Wall Street private equity company Warburg Pincus announced November 16 that Timothy Geithner, treasury secretary under President Obama from 2009 until last January, will join the firm as president and managing director beginning March 1, 2014.

With this move, Geithner joins the legions of bank regulators and officials who have leveraged their insider status while in government to land positions in private finance paying millions in salaries and bonuses.

Last July, Robert Khuzami, enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2009 to January of 2013, joined the elite corporate law firm Kirkland & Ellis as a partner. Prior to taking the SEC post, Khuzami was a top lawyer at Deutsche Bank.

In May, the private equity firm KKR & Co. hired David Petraeus, the former commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and Central Intelligence Agency chief. Former Vice President Dan Quayle and former Treasury Secretary John Snow work for Cerberus Capital Management LP.

The New York Times reported on November 12 that the last six SEC enforcement chiefs have moved on to lucrative jobs at major corporations and big banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Stephen Cutler, chief counsel at JPMorgan, headed up the enforcement division at the SEC earlier in the decade.

In Geithner’s case, the progression is from a Wall Street insider in the public sector to a Wall Street operative on the private side—or, to put it differently, from a trusted agent of the financial aristocracy to a bona fide member of the club.

Prior to becoming Obama’s treasury secretary in 2009, Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for six years. That was the period when Wall Street made hundreds of billions of dollars by turning the US housing market into a Ponzi scheme, on the basis of high-risk sub-prime mortgages and toxic mortgage-backed securities. As head of the New York Fed, Geithner played a key role in facilitating the inflation of the housing and credit bubble, with all of the associated fraudulent practices. The bubble burst in September 2008, ushering in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Together with Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Geithner engineered the initial $700 billion bailout of the banks (in the form of the Troubled Asset Relief Program—TARP) and the rescue, with public funds, of insurance giant American International Group (AIG). Subsequent investigations have revealed that as part of the bailout, Geithner, along with Paulson and Bernanke, secretly used over $62 billion in taxpayer funds to cover, dollar for dollar, the losses of the major Wall Street banks on credit default swaps that AIG was unable to honor.

This was the man Obama chose to become his treasury secretary, sending an unmistakable signal to the American financial aristocracy that his administration’s number one priority would be protecting and expanding the wealth of the rich and the super-rich.

During his confirmation, it was disclosed that Geithner had failed to pay $35,000 in Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes from 2001 through 2004. That did not prevent him from sailing through the confirmation process.

As treasury secretary, Geithner expanded the bailout of the banks and finance houses. He announced a new plan to underwrite the profits of Wall Street in March of 2009. That plan, together with his defense of AIG bonuses and opposition to legislation to limit the pay of bailed-out firms’ executives, sparked a stock market rally that has continued ever since, propelling the Dow to record heights and more than doubling its value.

At the same time, Geithner played a key role in the forced bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler in the spring of 2009, imposing tens of thousands of layoffs and slashing the wages of all newly hired workers by 50 percent. The attack on wages and benefits at GM and Chrysler was the signal for a nationwide wage-cutting assault on workers.

When the Libor-rigging scandal erupted in 2012, it was revealed that as early as 2007 Geithner knew that London-based Barclays Bank was submitting false information to the Libor board, which sets the benchmark interest rate for the world economy. Though such manipulation compromised the global rate to which hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial contracts are tied, Geithner merely wrote to the Bank of England suggesting changes in the Libor rate-setting mechanism, but made no public statement and did not notify US regulatory agencies.

In a July 2012 interview with the Daily Ticker blog, the former special inspector general for TARP, Neil Barofsky, denounced Geithner for covering up the Libor conspiracy. “[Geithner] heard this information and looked the other way,” Barofsky said. “Geithner and other regulators should be held accountable, they should be fired across the board. …I hope to see people in handcuffs.”

Barofsky went on to say: “It was shocking how much control the big banks had over their own bailout and how they often would dictate terms of some TARP programs and the overwhelming deference shown by Treasury officials to the banks. I saw no differences in these core issues between the Bush and Obama administrations.”

Geithner’s new home, Warburg Pincus, like most private equity firms, makes money by buying companies on credit, cutting costs and jobs and stripping assets, and selling off the downsized firms for a profit. It bought the eye-care firm Bausch & Lomb in 2007 and sold it this year after eliminating hundreds of jobs.

By taking a job with a private equity company rather than a bank, Geithner stands to make an even greater fortune. As the Financial Times wrote on Monday: “The private equity business model, taking 20 percent of the upside from investments in addition to an array of fees, has made executives at these firms vastly richer than their counterparts at banks.”

Andrew Ross Sorkin, the financial columnist and editor of the “Dealbook” section of the New York Times, was quick to defend Geithner against charges of spinning the revolving door between government and Wall Street for his personal enrichment. In a column published Tuesday entitled “Hard to See a Sellout in Geithner’s Job Choice,” Sorkin wrote sympathetically: “Mr. Geithner, up until now, has hardly been in the big money leagues. He was paid $191,300 as the treasury secretary after taking a pay cut from his role as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which paid him $411,200.”

That Sorkin considers salaries of $200,000 to $400,000 to be modest illuminates the elite social layers for which he and the Times speak.

The US Military and the Philippines

November 21st, 2013 by Bill Van Auken

In a brief statement last week on the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines, President Barack Obama declared it a “heartbreaking reminder of how fragile life is.”

As the head of a government that has visited death and destruction upon impoverished peoples from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Libya, Yemen and Syria, the US president hardly needed to wait for nature’s fury to be visited upon the Philippine people for such a reminder.

The US military, the principal instrument for carrying out this carnage—inflicting 100 times the number of deaths caused by Typhoon Haiyan during the last dozen years of aggressive wars waged by Washington—is now being promoted as the indispensable Good Samaritan in the Philippines.

Some 50 US warships and military aircraft and 13,000 American sailors, airmen and marines have been brought into the relief effort, led by the naval battle group of the nuclear-powered super-carrier, the USS George Washington, along with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

“We will be present as long as we are needed—no longer than required,” Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler, the commander of the US military operations in the Philippines, said on Monday.

The people of the Philippines have ample reasons, rooted in both their country’s tragic history and its present geo-strategic position, to treat such promises with extreme skepticism.

There is perhaps no more egregious example of the US military overstaying its welcome than in the Philippines. It was there, at the end of the 19th century, that US imperialism first cut its teeth, becoming a colonial power by means of military conquest and savage repression.

In testifying before the US Senate Tuesday on relief operations in the Philippines, a State Department official cited the “close historic ties” between the two countries. Neither government officials nor the media, however, show any inclination to examine these “ties” in any detail, for the obvious reason that it would serve only to expose a historic crime.

The US military’s first appearance in the Philippines came in the form of a navy squadron commanded by Commodore George Dewey, who sailed into Manila harbor on May 1, 1898 and within hours sank the entire Pacific fleet of Spain, which had ruled the territory as a colony for the previous 300 years.

Brought back from exile aboard Dewey’s warship was Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of a nationalist movement that had been fighting to end Spanish colonialism for three years before the US armada arrived. US forces were able to take Manila only because it was surrounded on land by these independence fighters. Washington posed as their ally and the liberator of the Philippines just long enough to secure control of a territory it coveted as a market, a source of cheap labor and raw materials, and a base for the projection of US power in the Pacific, particularly toward China.

It then turned savagely against the Filipinos and signed a treaty with Spain paying it $20 million for a land the Spanish no longer controlled. The Filipinos, who had proclaimed an independent republic, the first to be formed in Asia as the result of an anti-colonial rebellion, were excluded from these negotiations.

What followed was the imposition of a US colonial regime and over a decade of bloody counterinsurgency operations that would claim at least several hundred thousand Filipino lives. In 1901, Gen. Franklin Bell, who commanded US forces in Luzon, the island group that included Manila and roughly half the country’s population, told the New York Times that there alone some 600,000 had been killed in military operations or died from disease.

As another American general put it, “It may be necessary to kill half the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present semi-barbarous state affords.”

Mark Twain, the most prominent and passionate opponent of the US war in the Philippines, defied the “support our troops” rhetoric of the day, denouncing the US military for massacres that left “not even a baby alive to cry for its dead mother.” The celebrated American author referred to US occupation forces as “Christian butchers” and “uniformed assassins.”

The Philippines campaign was among the first counterinsurgency operations waged by the US military, and it introduced all of the atrocities that would later be visited upon Vietnamese, Afghans and Iraqis, from massacres, to torture, to “re-concentration” camps.

US colonial rule continued until the end of World War II, after which Washington backed a series of semi-colonial governments, including the hated martial regime of Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country for two decades. Until 1991, the Pentagon maintained control of the massive Subic Bay naval base and Clarkson Air Force base, which played crucial roles in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

This is no mere ancient history when it comes to the plight of the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. The widespread poverty, social inequality, inadequate housing and government corruption that are the legacy of colonial and neo-colonial oppression played at least as great a role as the blind forces of nature in inflicting so much death and destruction.

Nor are US designs on the Philippines a matter of a bygone era. Reuters news agency noted Wednesday: “As US ships deliver food, water and medicine, they are also delivering goodwill that could ease the way for the United States to strengthen its often-controversial military presence in one of Southeast Asia’s most strategic countries.”

If the US military first came to the Philippines as the instrument of a rising imperialist power seeking to secure new markets in Asia, it now returns as the spearhead of a waning one, determined to encircle and contain a rising regional and global rival, China.

The Philippines is strategically crucial to the Obama administration’s so-called “pivot” to Asia. Its government, having closed the giant US military bases in 1992, has since allowed US special operations troops to return for training and for carrying out joint operations and has hosted visits by 72 US warships and submarines at Subic Bay during the first six months of this year alone. Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing to secure US rights to bases for ships, planes, supplies and troops.

Naval base construction is proceeding at Oyster Bay on the island province of Palawan. Officials are referring to the facility as a “mini-Subic,” and plans have been reported for stationing both US warships and Marines there. Situated on the country’s western-most island, it is in close proximity to the Spratly Islands, the site of a provocative territorial confrontation between Manila and China egged on by the United States.

Thus, the “humanitarian” operation of the US military in the Philippines is inextricably bound up with war plans that could well drag the country into a global conflagration.

The predatory calculations of the US ruling class aside, there exist among the masses of American working people genuine feelings of sympathy and solidarity with the workers of the Philippines. The deep ties are expressed most concretely in the estimated presence of 4 million Filipino-Americans in the United States.

The catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan only underscores the necessity of a united struggle to sweep away the conditions of poverty and inequality in both countries, along with the capitalist profit system that has created them.

 The CIA and FBI Hid Information from the Warren Commission

Preface: Some “conspiracy theories” are true, and some are false. Each must be judged on its own merits.

A solid majority of Americans have always believed that John F. Kennedy’s assassination involved a conspiracy.

But now that view is starting to be discussed by mainstream power players.

Current Secretary of State John Kerry said recently:

To this day, I have serious doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I certainly have doubts that he was motivated by himself.

Watergate reporter Bob Woodward long ago became a mainstream, establishment journalist.

But Woodward – and long-time CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer – agree that the CIA and FBI refused to give information to the Warren Commission, and so that Commission was in the dark as to what might actually have happened:

To view video click here

And CBS News reports:

It has long been known that the Warren Commission, the blue ribbon panel of public officials appointed by former President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, was flawed in ways that led to generations of conspiracy theories about what happened on Nov. 22, 1963. A forthcoming book from former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon digs into exactly what the commission got wrong, both by intentional concealment, or, in Shenon’s view, extensive attempts by both the CIA and FBI to withhold just how much they knew about Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the weeks and months before he killed the president.

“In many ways, this book is an account of my discovery of how much of the truth about the Kennedy assassination has still not been told, and how much of the evidence about the president’s murder was covered up or destroyed – shredded, incinerated, or erased – before it could reach the commission,” Shenon writes in the prologue to A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination, which draws its title from the first sentence of the commission’s report. “Senior officials at both the CIA and the FBI hid information from the panel, apparently in hopes of concealing just how much they had known about Lee Harvey Oswald and the threat that he posed.”

In fact – as the Washington Post reports – official investigators have long said there was a conspiracy and a cover up:

The Church Committee, a Senate-led investigation in 1976 into the CIA and FBI, concluded that the 888-page Warren Report may have been insufficiently thorough and suppressed key evidence, giving legs to the persistent belief that a cover-up was involved.

By 1979, the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations determined that the assassination was “probably” the result of a conspiracy. Indeed, four years after that report, public perceptions of a conspiracy hit their peak at 80 percent.

(Similarly, it is well-documented that the 9/11 Commission was deceived by the U.S. military and other branches of the government. No wonder even the Commissioners themselves are calling for a new investigation.)

While the data about the ever-increasing random shootings is important, it doesn’t mean spit unless someone in a position of power is willing to seriously question what is causing the violent behavior. A beginning point might be to ask if there is a common denominator among the shooters.

By Kelly Patricia O’Meara

The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, recently announced that the rate of mass shootings in the U.S. is increasing. Although the information could hardly come as a surprise to most Americans, what is interesting is that the nation’s top cop provided no clues as to what may be causing this severe increase in deadly violent acts.

As Holder reported, the annual number of mass-shooting incidents in the U.S. has tripled since 2009 and, remarkably, the average number of shootings has increased from 5 per year before 2009 to 15 per year since.

While the data about the ever-increasing random shootings is important, it doesn’t mean spit unless someone in a position of power is willing to seriously question what is causing the violent behavior. A beginning point might be to ask if there is a common denominator among the shooters.

For instance, at the same time that mass-shootings have increased in the U.S., so has the use of prescription psychiatric drugs.  If one considers this list of well-publicized shootings between 1999 and 2013, it is clearly evident that the majority of these shooters were either taking, or strongly suspected of taking, mind-altering psychiatric drugs.

The data that reinforce the psychiatric drugs and violence connection is overwhelming.

  • A PLOS One study, based on FDA adverse event drug data, authored by Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen and Curt D. Furberg, found that “acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event associated with a relatively small group of drugs.” Verenicline (Chantix) and antidepressants with serotonergic effects were the most strongly and consistently implicated drugs.
  • Psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs to children in one third of all visits, which is three times higher than during the 1990′s, and nearly 90 percent of those prescriptions written between 2005 and 2009 were prescribed for something other than what the Food and Drug Administration approved them for.  Antipsychotics have been described as a chemical lobotomy because of their ability to disable normal brain function.
  • Emergency Room visits involving nonmedical use of Central Nervous System Stimulants (CNS) among adults aged 18-34 increased from 5,605 in 2005 to 22,949 in 2011.  CNS drugs include prescription ADHD drugs.
  • According to IMS Health, there has been a 22% increase in the number of Americans on psychiatric drugs since 2002, with over 77 million people currently taking them—that’s one in four Americans.
  • A total of 8.2 million children under 18 are taking psychiatric drugs in the U.S.
  • There are over 40 million Americans taking antidepressants – a 15% increase since 2002. Of these, 2 million are children under 18.
  • Since 2002, the number of Americans on ADHD drugs has gone up by 94% with over 10 million currently taking them.
  • According to the CDC, 11 percent of school-age children have been diagnosed with ADHD and there are now 4.7 million children under 18 in the U.S. taking ADHD drugs, per IMS Health.
  • The total number of Americans on antipsychotics has increased by 40% since 2002.
  • All antidepressants carry the FDA’s “Black Box” warning, alerting the public that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and young adults. A “Black Box” warning is the FDA’s most serious prescription drug warning.
  • Finally, the US military has seen an increase in the number of suicides, with a record 349 in 2012, far exceeding the number of American combat deaths.  According to the Military Times, at least one in six service members (17%) is on some form of psychiatric drug.
  • According to the Defense Logistics Agency, between 2001 and 2009, the overall use of psychiatric drugs increased by 76%. During the same time, antidepressant use increased 40%.

Of course, these data are just a small sample of the publicly available information that law enforcement, and lawmakers, could utilize in an effort to understand what may be causing the increased number of shootings.

But despite these overwhelming data, to date, there still has been no investigation by state or federal lawmakers, or law enforcement agencies, into the possibility that the increased use of mind-altering psychiatric drugs may be the common thread in the increased violent behavior.

Until this issue is addressed the mass shootings will continue to increase, the carnage will continue and the hypocritical and hollow words of sympathy and condolence will fall from the mouths of those who had the power to make a difference but not the courage to simply ask a question.

Kelly Patricia O’Meara is an award winning former investigative reporter for the Washington Times, Insight Magazine, penning dozens of articles exposing the fraud of psychiatric diagnosis and the dangers of the psychiatric drugs  She is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills that Kill. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer to four Members of Congress.

Osama Bin Laden’s Obituary Notice

November 21st, 2013 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

A Funeral Notice for Osama bin Laden was published on December 26, 2001, in the Egyptian newspaper al-Ward. An English translation is provided below. Anyone fluent in Arabic is invited to verify or correct the translation. This item was sent to me from a reader abroad.

Also below are is a CNN interview with its medical correspondent who examines the last non-faked video of bin Laden and concludes that bin Laden is seriously ill.

There is also below a 2002 report that Israeli intelligence has concluded that bin Laden is dead.

I cannot attest to the correctness of any of these reports, but it is unclear why there would be so much disinformation from such varied sources about bin Laden’s condition or what purpose is served.

You can use this information to evaluate the Obama regime’s unsubstantiated claim that Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in Pakistan a decade later.

Try to identify a single event that the US government has not lied about. Weapons of mass destruction? Iranian nukes? Assad’s chemical attack? Spying on Americans? 9/11? The assassination of President John F. Kennedy? The unemployment rate?

Osama Bin Laden is dead since December 26, 2001. Translation of Funeral Article in Egyptian Paper

Osama Bin Laden is dead since December 26, 2001. Translation of Funeral Article in Egyptian Paper al-Wafd

The original article:

Translation of Funeral Article in Egyptian Paper:

al-Wafd, Wednesday, December 26, 2001 Vol 15 No 4633
News of Bin Laden’s Death and Funeral 10 days ago
Islamabad -

A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa’da organization, stating that binLaden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death.

The official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to The Observer of Pakistan that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to burial in Tora Bora 10 days ago. He mentioned that 30 of al-Qa’da fighters attended the burial as well as members of his family and some friends from the Taleban.

In the farewell ceremony to his final rest guns were fired in the air. The official stated that it is difficult to pinpoint the burial location of bin Laden because according to the Wahhabi tradition no mark is left by the grave. He stressed that it is unlikely that the American forces would ever uncover any traces of bin Laden.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Bin Laden would need help if on dialysis

(CNN) 1-21-02

–Speculation about the whereabouts and
health of Osama bin Laden picked up over
the weekend when Pakistan’s president, Gen.
Pervez Musharraf, said he thought bin Laden
had likely died of kidney failure.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta
spoke Monday with CNN’s Paula Zahn about bin
Laden’s appearance in recently released
videotapes and the possibility that the accused
terrorist leader was undergoing kidney treatment.

ZAHN: For a point of reference, I’d like for you
to analyze pictures of Osama bin Laden that
apparently were taken prior to September 11.

Describe to us the color and the tone of his skin,
and then I want you to contrast that with pictures
we know to have been taken much later.

GUPTA: You can look [at pictures from a
December 2001 video] and notice that he has
what some doctors refer to as sort of a frosting
over of his features — his sort of grayness of
beard, his paleness of skin, very gaunt sort of
features. A lot of times people associate this with
chronic illness. Doctors can certainly look at that
and determine some clinical features.

But even more than that, it’s sometimes possible
to differentiate the specific type of disease or
illness that he may be suffering from. The sort of
frosting of the appearance is something that
people a lot of times associate with chronic
kidney failure, renal failure, certainly someone
who is requiring dialysis would have that.

He’s also not moving his arms. I looked at this
tape all the way through its entire length. He never
moved his left arm at all. The reason that might
be important is because people who have had a
stroke — and certainly people are at increased risk
of stroke if they also have kidney failure — he
may have had a stroke and therefore is not
moving his left side. And in the rest of the
videotape, he does move his right side a little bit
more than he does his left. So those are some of
the things that are sort of “of note” here in this
more recent videotape.

ZAHN: I think we need to remind the viewers
once again that the president of Pakistan talked
about [bin Laden] importing two dialysis
machines into Afghanistan. Of course, no one
other than the president of Pakistan right now is
confirming that [bin Laden] in fact needed
dialysis.

GUPTA: That’s right. And again, renal dialysis –
talking about hemodialysis — is something that
really is reserved for patients in end-stage renal
failure. That means their kidneys have just
completely shut down.

The most common cause of something like that
would be something like diabetes and
hypertension. Once that’s happened, if you’re
separated from your dialysis machine — and
incidentally, dialysis machines require electricity,
they’re going to require clean water, they’re going
to require a sterile setting — infection is a huge
risk with that. If you don’t have all those things
and a functioning dialysis machine, it’s unlikely
that you’d survive beyond several days or a week at
the most.

ZAHN: If he had all these things you’re talking
about to keep the dialysis machine running, how
much help does he need around him to administer
the treatment?

GUPTA: You certainly need someone who really
knows how to run that dialysis machine. You
have to have someone who’s actually assessing
his blood, Osama bin Laden’s blood, to see what
particular dialysate he would need, and to be able
to change his dialysate as needed. So you’d need a
kidney specialist, a technician — quite a few
people around him.

Israeli intelligence: Bin Laden is dead, heir has been chosen

SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Wednesday, October 16, 2002

TEL AVIV  Osama Bin Laden appears to be dead but his colleagues have decided that Al Qaida and its insurgency campaign against the United States will continue, Israeli intelligence sources said.

Al Qaida terrorists have launched a new campaign of economic warfare and are targeting shipping in the Middle East, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

The Israeli sources said Israel and the United States assess that Bin Laden probably died in the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan in December. They said the emergence of new messages by Bin Laden are probably fabrications, Middle East Newsline reported.

But Bin Laden’s heir has been chosen and his colleagues have decided to resume Al Qaida’s offensive against the United States and Western allies, the sources said.

They said the organization regards the United States as the main target followed by Israel. “In this case, it doesn’t matter whether Bin Laden is alive or not,” a senior Israeli intelligence source said. “The organization goes on with help from key people.”

The sources said Al Qaida has already determined Bin Laden’s heir. They said the heir has not been identified, but is probably not Bin Laden’s son, Saad. Saad is said to be in his 20s and ranked within the top 20 members of Al Qaida.

Earlier this week, Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, was said to have released a videotape in which he claims that the Al Qaida leader is alive and functioning. Bin Laden’s voice was not heard on the tape.

A senior Bush administration economic official said last week that another major Al Qaida attack anywhere in the world could have devastating economic repercussions.

The FBI warned last week that Al Qaida may be preparing for a major attack. The warning followed the release of an audio tape featuring the voice of Zawahiri.

Bombings in Bali aimed at tourists, an attack on U.S. soldiers training in Kuwait and the bombing of a French tanker in Yemen are signs of the new campaign, Geostrategy-Direct.com reported in its Oct. 22 edition.

The first attack was carried out last week with the Al Qaida terrorist attack on the French tanker Limburg, a 157,000-ton ultra large crude oil carrier, that was bombed as it picked up a pilot before mooring at the Yemeni port of al Shihr.

One crew member was killed and others were injured in the blast.

According to intelligence officials, a small boat approached at high speed from the starboard side of the ship and detonated a large explosive device.

A week earlier, the Office of Naval Intelligence issued an alert to ships in the Middle East to be alert for Al Qaida terrorist attacks.

Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Proponents of Peace, Proponents of War

November 21st, 2013 by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

The third round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 is well under way in Geneva.  Both proponents of peace, and of war, are looking to the outcome of these negotiations with abated breath.   Hope and fear abound, an understanding of the demands and expectations is a good indicator of the direction these talks are likely to take.   Moreover,  the key to the potential of these talks is to review why Iran’s nuclear program is the subject of these negotiations in the first place.

  The Road to Sanctions – and Talks

At the onset of the 1979 revolution, Iran abandoned its nuclear power program.  However, the considerable damage to Iran’s infrastructure during the Iran-Iraq war, and the demand by the growing population prompted the Iranian government to revisit and resume its quest for nuclear power.  It announced these intentions in 1982.    Thereon, the United States made every attempt to stop Iran – unsuccessfully (see details HERE).

In 2002, Israel provided the means to place further obstacles in Iran’s path.  It provided the MEK terrorist group a report indicating Iran had undertaken clandestine activities[i].  Iran came under scrutiny for building nuclear sites  (which it was entitled to as an NPT member).  In 2003, as an act of goodwill, Iran voluntary suspended its enrichment program for two years and allowed intrusive inspections in order to alleviate concerns over its peaceful nuclear program (The Iran-EU Agreement).

To understand what pursued, it is imperative to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)  to which Iran is a signatory.  The main pillars of the NPT are non-proliferation (Articles I & II), disarmament (Article VI), and peaceful uses of nuclear energy (Articles III and IV).   While Article IV reiterates the “inalienable right” of member states to research, develop, and use nuclear energy for non-weapons purposes, Article III demands that non-nuclear-weapon States party to the Treaty “undertake to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”  Iran concluded such and agreement with the IAEA.

There is consensus that Iran has not proliferated. In other words, it has not weaponized or helped another state weaponize, nor has it received or delivered weapons material from or to another state.    This much is indisputable.  Furthermore, in 2005, the IAEA reported that all declared fissile material in Iran had been accounted for, and none had been diverted.

Yet, contrary to its findings, and in direct conflict with the safeguard agreement it had concluded with Iran, specifically Article 19 (the Agency may refer Iran to the UN Security Council if it is “unable to verify that there has been no diversion of nuclear material required to be safeguarded under this agreement, to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices”), the IAEA reported that Iran “had violated Tehran’s IAEA safeguards agreement.”

What led to this decision was a push by the United States.  This was made possible due to the fact that there is no definition of non-compliance.  As the prominent Arms Control Association opines: “Surprisingly, although the IAEA Board of Governors has determined on five occasions that a state was in noncompliance with its NPT safeguards agreement-Iraq (1991), Romania (1992), North Korea (1993), Libya (2004), and Iran (2006)-there remains no established definition of noncompliance.

Noteworthy that the United States contributes about 25% of the total IAEA Technical Cooperation budget.   The lack of definition allowed flexibility to enforce a political motivation.   America’s ability to impose its will was not limited to the IAEA.  As former Assistant Secretary for Non-proliferation and International Security at the U.S. State Department, Stephen G. Rademaker confirmed:  ”The best illustration of this is the two votes India cast against Iran at the IAEA. I am the first person to admit that the votes were coerced.”

Iran’s nuclear dossier was sent to the United Nations Security Council.   Politics and America’s might prevailed at the expense of international treaties – and Iran.   Sanctions — war by other means, were imposed on Iran.  Numerous round of negotiations have only brought harsher sanctions – and progress in Iran’s civilian program.

Current Demands

 According to Western sources, there have been three demands placed on Iran: 1) limiting the 3.5% enriched uranium, 2) suspension of 20% enriched uranium, 3) halting the construction of the Arak heavy water plant.    It has also been reported that Iran is required to ratify the Additional Protocol.     Given that the talks hang on these issues, they must be explored.

Limitations on 3.5% enriched uranium -  Uranium enriched below 5% is strictly used for fuel.   There are several reasons why Iran has ‘drawn a red line’ on its right to enrich uranium:

Bulletin 26Dual Use: Avoiding The Nuclear Precipice of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation  (INESAP) confirms that Iran’s share in the French uranium enrichment plant –Eurodif , and France’s refusal to supply Iran with [its own] enriched uranium for use in its power plants, which according to them, justifies Iran’s desire to exercise her inalienable right under Article IV of the NPT to enrich uranium indigenously versus importing from any other country.

As important, if not of more concern to the Tehran, is the undeniable fact that prior to the Iranian revolution the United States had signed National Security Decision Memorandums  (NSDM) that demanded of Iran to be a hub for enriching and distributing uranium to profit the United States (see full article HERE).

Furthermore, given the rising demand and cost of uranium, Iran is being asked not to enrich its indigenous uranium, and instead be exploited in the same manner that Africans have been exploited with regard to their resources.  As  explained by Halifa Sallah: “So they getting the raw materials from Africa at very cheap prices and they were processing and selling it back to us at more expensive prices.”    In the same vein, Iran is being asked to import its fuel needs at a higher cost to benefit the potential providers.

Suspension of 20% Enrichment –  20% enriched uranium is used to produce medical isotopes.   In a 1999 report by the Department of Energy two important issues stand out — a coming shortage in medical isotopes, and a promise of new treatments such as ‘ isotopes for cancer therapy and pain control’.

There are simply not enough medical isotopes to meet demand.    It is important to note that Iran uses LEU (low enriched uranium) of under 20% to produce medical isotopes.  In sharp contrast, the United States supplies weapon-grade uranium (HEU, 90-percent 235U) to the Canadian radioisotope producers.  Not only are there inherent dangers (and legal hurdles) in transporting weapons grade material, but also the conversion of HEU to LEU is a feat in itself.

Demanding a stop to the production of medical isotopes in the face of growing demand and shortage reflects the callous nature of the demands being placed on Tehran.

The Arak Heavy Water Plant – The media, egged on by Western countries, has been quick to refer to Arak heavy water plant as a ‘plutonium plant for making bombs’.   This is patently false.

Any reactor fueled by uranium can be used to produce Plutonium, including light water reactors. According to World Nuclear Association “Plutonium, both that routinely made in power reactors and that from dismantled nuclear weapons, is a valuable energy source when integrated into the nuclear fuel cycle.”  Reactor grade plutonium is a by-product of typical used fuel from a nuclear reactor. Weapons grade plutonium is recovered from uranium fuel that has been irradiated 2-3 months in a plutonium production reactor. 

It is worth mentioning here that Japan, a close American ally, has more plutonium than any other non-weapons state, with enough plutonium stored in Japan to build 1,000 weapons.   In fact, the United States circumvented laws to provide Japan with plutonium.

Arak is a heavy water reactor (HWR) of the type highly recommended by the IAEA.  A 2002 IAEA publication encouraged the use of heavy water reactors stating: “HWR technology offers fuel flexibility, low operating costs and a high level of safety, and therefore represents an important option for countries considering nuclear power programmes. “    Contrary to NPT commitments, the Treaty is being used as a political tool ‘doling out’ assistance to chosen allies, while depriving others.

  Geneva 3

The current negotiations are said to be a ‘beginning’ in which Iran has to meet the above demands in exchange for ‘some easing of sanctions’, and with ‘all options on the table’.   This cowboy diplomacy has been in the making for years.

  In 2007, while still a junior senator, Barack Obama had “crippling sanctions” in mind for the Iranian people when he introduced S. 1430 in 2007.   His commitment caught the attention of AIPAC’s president and a major donor to his campaign: Lee Rosenberg.     In 2008, during his presidential run, he addressed AIPAC:

“Our willingness to pursue diplomacy will make it easier to join our cause.   If Iran fails to change course when presented with this choice by the United States it will be clear to the people of Iran and to the world that the Iranian regime is the author of its own isolation and that will strengthen our hand with Russia and China as we insist on stronger sanctions in the Security Council.”

 But Mr. Obama’s vision is as limited as his knowledge of Iranians.  During the Iran-Iraq war,  isolated, disarrayed, and reeling from a revolution, Iran repelled not only Iraq’s attacks, but all its backers including America, European and Arab states.  Today, Iran is in a much stronger position not only by virtue of its defense forces, its determination and accomplishments, but also due to its relations with the outside world.  Iran has the full backing of the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM)120 countries as well as powerful allies including  Russia. 

These negotiations present a unique opportunity – not for the United States, but for the revival of international law and treaties – and the rejection if imperialism.   Let us hope that the opportunity is not plundered.

 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] Connie Bruck, “A reporter at large: Exiles; How Iran’s expatriates are gaming the nuclear threat”.  The New Yorker, March 6, 2006

Below is more documentation putting the lie to the media coverage (and the perpetual cover-up) of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. The powers-that-be desperately want as many of us viewers as possible to believe the easily disprovable Big Lie Theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone crazed assassin of the president on November 22, 1963.

Last week I watched three of PBS’s JFK retrospectives, including Frontline’s  “Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?” and the fraudulent pseudoscientific “ballistics special” on NOVA [proudly underwritten by David Koch!]. I also caught some specials on NBC, CBS and ABC, and I was uniformly frustrated (predictably) at the consistency of the propaganda that is being orchestrated to lead us comfortably numb sheeple to nod our heads and agree that the official theories about the assassination were correct. None of the compelling evidence that I list below was allowed to be shown.

During some of the retrospectives that I watched there usually was some denegration of the true patriots who have resisted the brain-washing and independently examined the evidence disproving the official story. These dissenters (who haven’t yet lost the ability to think critically) were just dismissed as “conspiracy theorists”.

The following are some of the important items that disprove the official story line and that were never mentioned on any of the JFK retrospectives that I watched.

1) JFK’s brain or parts of his skull were thrown backwards (out of a large exit wound in the back of the skull) onto the trunk of the limo – which is the reason why Jackie was famously seen on the film footage turning around and reaching backwards. The Secret Service guy testified frequently that Jackie was not reaching for him, but for fragments of JFK’s brain. Again this is more evidence that one of the two head shots that killed JFK came from the front.

Below is the link to the statement of secret service agent Clint Hill (from 1975) saying that Jackie wasn’t reaching out to him, but rather she was reaching to retrieve a chunk of JFK’s brain. (Apparently, according to other interviews that Hill has given, he has also been spouting the easily refutable official story about Oswald being the lone shooter and that there were only 3 audible shots – which contradicts many witnesses who heard up to 6 shots. Hill knows what happens to whistleblowers who tell unwelcome truths that expose government conspiracies.)

Watch this video: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfrHqqzC3Sw

2) Also proving that there was at least one shooter in front of the motorcade, the surgical resident at Parkland Hospital, (Dr Ronald Jones) who was one of the several Parkland Hospital surgeons who attended JFK (all of whom, incidentally, also testified about the existence of the small entrance bullet wound in JFK’s throat), gave testimony on last Sunday’s Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer about the tiny “1/4 inch” entry wound in JFK’s throat (trauma surgeons know that entry wounds are small, and exit wounds are large – like the large blow-out wound at JFK’s right occipital area of the skull, also proving a shot coming from in front of the motorcade).

That small entry wound proves the conspiracy theory (now a “conspiracy fact”) that there was more than one shooter and therefore discredits the Warren Commission’s conclusions about a “lone crazed gunman” and therefore “no conspiracy”.

Check out minute 4 at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50159338n.

By the way, any good journalist would have asked Dr Jones about the significance of the tiny entrance wound in the front of the neck, but of course Scheiffer is no longer a good journalist. Rather, he is just an average millionaire talking head/anchor man, a mouthpiece of officialdom and a mouthpiece for the powerful multinational mega-corporate owners of the mainstream media who want us to not ask questions, not to rock their boat, to not panic and to not start thinking critically about what we are told to believe. Whomever pays the piper, calls the tune.

3) Thirdly, it is important for citizens who should be exposed to the non-corporate side of the story to consult some of Jim Fetzer’s powerful documented evidence that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK and a conspiracy to cover up the evidence which would have led honest investigators to find and name the conspirators. Indeed much of the available evidence presented in Fetzer’s writings about the assassination may not even have involved Oswald (except as a patsy).

Read some of that evidence at http://www.und.edu/org/jfkconference/UNDchapter30.pdf.

It is useful to read what Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren said about the sealed documents that his commission examined. Apparently 50 years of secrecy protecting the identity of the many co-conspirators isn’t long enough. Arlen Specter, George H. W. Bush, the families of Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford and other commission members don’t want to risk being humiliated with the evidence of being involved in the murder or the cover-up.

Now -deceased FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who considered himself above the law, perjured himself in front of the Commission (Warren Commission member congressman Hale Boggs said that Hoover “lied his eyes out”); and Hoover’s loyal FBI “family“, even now, will probably do anything to prevent the release of information exposing Hoover’s involvement in the assassination. (Interestingly, Hoover, a homosexual and a cross-dresser, has no known offspring that would care about the besmirching of his legacy.) Others who want to have the past forgotten forever are the guilty or complicit members of Kennedy’s Secret Service, his Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA who are still alive and prosecutable if their involvement were to be revealed.

Current information says that more than a thousand sealed documents with secret information that only commission members and/or its investigators have seen are due to be released in 2017. Previously the sealed documents were not to be opened until 2039.

For more check out: http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-warren-commission

Earl Warren said:

“There will come a time when testimony taken by the Commission will be made public. But it might not be in your lifetime. There may be some things that would involve security. This would be preserved but not made public.” — Earl Warren

And listen to some 1968 quotes and warnings from comedian and JFK assassination expert Mort Sahl, who was black-listed after JFK’s death when he came out publically disputing the Warren Commission’s “lone assassin” theory:

“Once the neo-fascists became bold enough to slay the President on the street, they showed their hand. They showed how arrogant they had become.”—Mort Sahl

“(America) has to hang on through a period of the military and the CIA who have a blank check trying to sell fascism. If she can hang on long enough, Americans may yet live in the country in which they were born. And that is the country structured by Tom Paine and Tom Jefferson.” – Mort Sahl

“(Fascism in America) started with the death of Roosevelt. They moved in and they negated every treaty we made with every world leader who didn’t fit the fascist/militarist mold.”—Mort Sahl

For more of the transcript of a 1968 interview with Sahl, go to: http://www.assassinationscience.com/AnHistoricalPerspective-MortSahl.html

America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) – the public relations arm of the oil and gas fracking industry – has released its 2012 Internal Revenue Services (IRS) 990 form, and it’s rich with eye-opening revelations, some of which we report here for the first time.

Incorporated as American Natural Gas Alliance, Inc., ANGA received $76.7 million from its dues-paying members for fiscal year 2012. Not strictly a lobbying force alone at the state-level and federal-level, ANGA has pumped millions of dollars into public relations and advertising efforts around the country and hundreds of thousands more into other influence-peddling avenues.

The Nation Magazine‘s Lee Fang revealed in a recent piece that ANGA gave $1 million in funding to “Truthland,” a pro-fracking film released to fend off Josh Fox’s “Gasland: Part II.”

On its website, “Truthland” says it is a project of both industry front group Energy in Depth and the trade association, Independent Petroleum Association of America. The “Truthland” website was originally registered in Chesapeake Energy’s office, Little Sis revealed.

Fang also revealed ANGA gave $25,000 to “ASGK Strategies, a political consulting firm founded by White House advisor David Axelrod,” as well as “$864,673 to Edventures Partners, an education curriculum company that has partnered with ANGA to produce classroom materials that promote the use of natural gas.”

 


David Axelrod; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In his piece, Fang also points out ANGA has given millions of dollars to Democratic Party-affiliated PR firms, perhaps unsurprising given its new CEO is Martin “Marty” Durbin, nephew of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the U.S. Senate’s Majority Whip.

“The 990 shows that ANGA paid the Glover Park Group over $2.9 million for ‘research/advertising’ and Dewey Square Group $738,957 for ‘grassroots communications.,’” wrote Fang. “Both firms are run by mostly former Clinton administration officials.” ANGA donated another $6,500 to Dewey Square for general operational support.

Donations to Media Outlets

ANGA also gave big to media outlets, a DeSmog review of the 990 reveals. It doled out $165,000 to The Texas Tribune, $100,000 to Bloomberg Businessweek, $50,000 to National Journal and another $25,000 to the Environmental Media Association, co-founded by Norman Lear, also the co-founder of the liberal group People for the American Way.

Departing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – owner and namesake of Bloomberg Businessweek – is also a major financial supporter of fracking, giving $6 million to the Environmental Defense Fund in August 2012 to promote “responsible regulation” in 14 states. He also gave money to EDF’s recently-published controversial fracking climate study.


Michael Bloomberg; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

ANGA also recently became a founding partner of MSNBC.com‘s newly launched website, on whose platform it will regularly publish “native advertisements,” sometimes also referred to as “branded content.”

Bipartisanship, Attacks on Renewables, Money to Green Group

One thing is crystal clear in ANGA’s 990 forms: they “buypartisan.” That is, they donate money to both sides of the political aisle, although the bulk of the dollars flows to the right.

ANGA donated $25,000 to the Democratic Attorneys General Association, while giving nine times as much to the Republican Governors Association to the tune of $225,000. It then tossed another $200,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee, throwing $25,000 more to Third Way, a think-tank of sorts of the corporate Blue Dog Democrats.

Not content with its vast market share of the U.S. utilities market, ANGA gave $100,000 to the “Care for Michigan Coalition,” an industry-funded nonprofit created to defeat Michigan’s Proposal 3 in the November 2012 elections. Proposal 3 would have mandated 25-percent of Michigan’s energy portfolio come from renewable energy sources by 2025, known by energy policy wonks as 25×25.

Other major Care for Michigan Coalition donors included Warren Buffett’s BNSF (whose trains carry vast amounts of frac sand and oil fracked from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale), DTE Energy, CMS Energy and the Michigan Manufacturers’ Association.

Warren Buffett and President Barack Obama; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ANGA didn’t limit its patronage to sworn enemies of renewable energy, though. It also handed $30,000 to the Texas League of Conservation Voters.

Donations to “Other ALECs” 

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is by far the most powerful and famous corporate-funded nonprofit that companies and trade associations donate money to, receiving an equal voice and a vote on model legislation passed at its annual meetings. Yet, it’s not the only registered nonprofit incorporated to “educate” elected officials, serving as lobbying forum for corporations.

Enter the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which I categorized as one of the “Other ALECs” in an investigative series published for TruthOut. ANGA donated $50,000 to NCSL during fiscal year 2012, according to its 990 form, giving another $41,000 to the National Association of Counties and $10,000 to the National League of Cities.

Public Citizen explained in a November 2012 report that lobbyists are increasingly using seemingly innocent state-level and local-level trade associations for politicians’ annual meetings as lobbying venues.

“There is no doubt that corporate sponsors are getting what they pay for: the ears of decision makers whose decisions will have a direct impact on their bottom lines,” Public Citizen wrote in “Access for Sale: A Report on Corporate Funding of Associations of State and Local Government Officials.”

Not to be outdone, ANGA will be sworn in as a dues-paying member of ALEC at its States and Nation Policy Summit set to take place December 4-6 in Washington, DC, according to a memorandum sent out to its members on October 30, 2013.

“He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules”

If ANGA’s latest 990 forms prove anything, it’s the “golden rule.” Just not the one you’re taught as a kid. That is, when it comes to money in politics, “He who has the gold makes the rules.”

Yet, another proverb also comes to mind: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

I have been involved with left-wing politics in one guise or another pretty much my entire life and I have to admit to getting an awful lot of stuff wrong, largely because rather than thinking things through properly for myself, I listened to the ‘authority’, to those who allegedly know best.

Contrary to popular belief, I’ve gotten more radical as I’ve gotten older and as just as willing to consider new ideas, new approaches, perhaps due to my 19th century ‘liberal’ arts education that encouraged us to explore wherever our fancy took us, (though it has to be said that much depended on the quality/interest/encouragement of the lecturers we had and a pretty motley but interesting crew it was).

All of this by way of a run-in to this Mother Agnes Mariam affair that once again reveals the bankrupt nature of left political activity in this country (and elsewhere in the ‘developed’ world).

If I remember correctly, Mother Agnes came to our attention back in September when she blew the lid on the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, incurring the wrath of the Western media as she contradicted the story then being peddled, that it was Assad wot did it.

The International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights (ISTEAMS) has just published a comprehensive report on the chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta. The document is called The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. With video clips and the evidence provided by witnesses to support the conclusions, the report has been submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council and spread among foreign diplomats.

The author is ISTEAMS President and International Coordinator Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross (el-Salib), the Mother Superior of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated (Syria). A fearless faithful, she has been collecting the evidence related to bloody events in the conflict zone since the very start of Syrian rebellion: the militants running rampant, the staged fakes and instances of one-sided highlighting of the events in Syria by Western media… ‘East Ghouta: False Flag Chemical Attack‘ By Nikolai MALISHEVSKI | 28.09.2013, Strategic Culture Foundation

So Stop the War have organised (yet another) conference and Mother Agnes got invited (and as it turns out, the only person speaking who had actually experienced Syria first-hand!) and a couple of rogues, Jeremy Scahill activist journalist and Owen Jones of the Independent newspaper, refused to attend if Mother Agnes was on the platform, on the grounds that Mother Agnes was an apologist for ‘mass murderer’ Assad. No proof was offered for this opinion, nor has any emerged since then as far as I know that Mother Agnes is an ‘apologist’ for the Assad regime. In any case, isn’t Owens the pot calling the kettle black?

Owen Jones…is a paid-up member of a UK…[Labour]…party that played a lead role in no less than genocide; in an act of military and economic aggression on Iraq totally against International Law, not to mention morality. He sits beside these politicians and pleads with leftist thinkers to join them and Òchange them from withinÓ. — ‘Owen Jones & Mother Agnes. A lesson on conciliatory ÒleftistsÓ’ By Phil Greaves

In any case Mother Agnes disinvited herself from the affair but the smell left by Scahill and Jones remains. Frankly, I think it’s outrageous that two people and one of them an employee of the corporate press, and the other a US journalist/writer, can dictate who should and should not appear at a public meeting organised by the left in the shape of the Stop the War Coalition!

I mean like what kind of threat is it if these two buffoons didn’t pitch? Who is likely to miss their presence? And shame on STW for caving in on this, once again revealing the bankrupt and utterly dishonest nature of the ‘left’.

I know I keep banging on about this but once more into the breach…when is the left here (and elsewhere) going to jettison its imperialist baggage? What does it take? Why is it that we are always, I mean always telling the rest of the world what to do?

Therein lies the imperialist core at the heart of the left, more commonly known as the ‘White Man’s Burden’. Apparently running the planet and its people is hard to give up even for those who claim to be anti-imperialist.

Mother Agnes’ biggest ‘sin’ was calling the ‘rebels’ murderers and exposing the Ghouta gas attack, and after all it was the ‘rebels’ that torched her monastery so perhaps she’s biased. But by the same token and in spite of this she has mediated meetings with all sides in the conflict even those she condemns as murderers. And what if she does support Assad? So what? What if she thinks Assad is preferable to mass murder? She’s not alone in thinking that in Syria.

What these sniveling ‘lefties’ want is everybody, everywhere toeing the Western lefty line. It’s all or nothing apparently. Essentially the Western left is saying, ‘What we need is a real revolutionary running Syria not Assad the phony anti-imperialist and until he comes along, we support bombing you into democracy’.

Now Assad’s credentials may or may not be up to the mark, this is not the point. It’s the idea that we, that is the miniscule Western left decides on the fates of others. It’s outrageous!

So it’s alright to rain bombs on Syria, Libya or wherever, if the pres ain’t Che Guevara, seems to be the cry of many on the left. More chickenshit opportunism. But this attitude has a pedigree, it didn’t just happen. For as long as other countries have been having revolutions, we have been dismantling them in our critiques and more shamefully, in our actions, like effectively censoring Mother Agnes because two men objected.

Surely the lesson here is for us to keep our noses out of other country’s business and doing something about our own fucked up situation instead. Lost in shuffle are the fate of millions while we debate whether or not to support a country that’s getting hammered by the Empire, whether by proxy or direct intervention. I’m ashamed to be part of a left that even entertains these backward and reactionary views, never mind acting on them. What a sorry state of affairs.

A German MP who recently met with NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Moscow is to meet with ISC head Sir Malcolm Rifkind in London today and has asked the UK Security Agencies to release any information they have gathered on him while spying in Germany.

Hans-Christian Ströbele, a Green party MP and the longest serving member of the parliamentary committee responsible for oversight of the German intelligence services, spoke at a hearing in the UK Parliament yesterday at the invitation of Tom Watson MP. Mr Ströbele discussed recent revelations that the British have been spying on German chancellor Angela Merkel and that RAF Croughton in Lincolnshire has been used to relay data collected from Germany to the US. The British airbase has recently been at the centre of controversy over its role in facilitating CIA drone strikes in Yemen.

Mr Ströbele, who noted in Parliament that espionage of any sort is illegal in Germany – whether against friend or foe – will today meet with the head of the Intelligence and Security Committee Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Yesterday Mr Ströbele made written requests – known as subject access requests – to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ asking that they reveal any information they have gathered about him to which he is entitled under the Data Protection Act of 1998. The request asks for information “including but not limited to, any information either of a professional or personal nature that you may have obtained through surveillance conducted in Berlin by either the British intelligence services and/or the US.”

The hearing was chaired by Julian Huppert MP, a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, and had cross party attendance from both houses.

Despite limited scrutiny of their actions, the UK’s intelligence services are embroiled in increasing controversy over their role in various counter-terrorism operations. Recent revelations in The Mail on Sunday showed that data that passed through RAF Croughton was potentially used in illegal targeted killings carried out in Yemen by the US drone programme.

The legal charity Reprieve is also currently in court against the UK government on behalf of Noor Khan, a Pakistani man whose father was killed in a 2011 drone strike. Mr Khan is suing the UK for GCHQ’s role in providing intelligence to the US.

Clare Algar, Reprieve’s Executive Director, said: “From rendering a heavily pregnant woman to Gaddafi’s torture chambers, to providing intelligence that lets the CIA kill innocent civilians in drone strikes, parts of the UK’s security services have been running amok in the name of counter-terrorism for years now. And yet still the Government refuses to engage in any real scrutiny over their actions. MP Ströbele has given a stark warning to us all – David Cameron must heed this and start putting in place some proper oversight and accountability for the services’ actions.”  

Hans-Christian Ströbele said: “The British do not worry about what their security services are doing because they do not have the same history that we do in Germany. Maybe if Mr Cameron was – or discovered he was – being spied on he would start to worry and implement some proper oversight of the intelligence agencies.

This article was originally published by WhoWhatWhy.

I regret to inform you…”

Late last May, Reniya Manukyan, the widow of Ibragim Todashev, publicly disputed a claim by the FBI that her dead husband was a murderer. Two months later, Manukyan received a letter from her bank informing her that her personal account was being cancelled. She had a month to withdraw her money.

Her “offense”?  Neither the bank nor the FBI will say.

Manukyan was widowed May 22 by seven bullets fired into Todashev under suspicious circumstances by an FBI agent while he was being held and interrogated in his Florida apartment by several agents and Massachusetts State Police troopers.

The FBI subsequently claimed Todashev, along with alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had slain three drug dealers in a grisly 2011 murder in Waltham, Mass.

IbragimTodashev and ReniyaManukyan

Ibragim Todashev and Reniya Manukyan (right)

But Manukyan provided an alibi for her dead spouse: bank records of purchases he had made in Atlanta on Sept. 11, 2011, the day of the killing.

After she revealed publicly that she had those records, Manukyan received a bizarre communication from her Atlanta bank. The message, mailed on August 28, 2013, informed her bluntly that her account was being cancelled. No reason was given.

In a “Dear Client” letter, SunTrust banking officer June Mansonhing wrote:

I regret to inform you that SunTrust is no longer able to provide the financial services you require. As a result, we ask that you immediately close your accounts.SunTrust continuously reviews its products, markets and client relationships to ensure that we are able to provide the best possible client service while also meeting our corporate business objectives. There are circumstances where the company will identify a specific account relationship that no longer meets these criteria. In the best interest of our clients and SunTrust, the company will request that those accounts be closed.

Your deposit accounts with Sun Trust are governed by the Rules and Regulations for Deposit Accounts, a copy of which was provided to you at account opening.  As stated in the Rules and Regulations for Deposit Accounts, “We may at any time in our discretion, refuse to open an Account, refuse any deposit, limit the amount which may be deposited, return all or any part of a deposit or close the Account without advance notice to the Depositor.”

In accordance with these Rules and Regulations, and as a result of a recent account review, we find it necessary to discontinue our banking relationship.  We must ask that you close the below listed Sun Trust accounts by 09/30/2013.  If you do not close the accounts by this date, we will close them for you, and either hold the proceeds until we hear from you or we may mail you a check for any collected balance.  If any account is overdrawn, the overdrawn amount is a debt owed to Sun Trust and we require payment of any such debt by the aforementioned date.  You will be responsible for all items, along with any associated fees, that are presented against the accounts after closure.

Specifically, we require that you close the following account:

XXXXXXXXXX Reniya A. Manukyan or Ibragim Todashev

If you have a Sun Trust Check Card, it will become inactive within 10 days of the date of this letter.  Further, all related depositor account services you may have, including Online Banking, Bill Pay and Overdraft Protection will also be discontinued at the time your account is closed.  In addition, to prepare your account for closing, you may be prohibited from making any deposits into your accounts other than cash after 10 days from the date of this letter.  In preparation for your account closing, you should begin immediately to make other arrangements for any automated credits to, or debits from, your accounts.

We have appreciated the opportunity to have served you up to this point and regret that we will not be in a position to continue to provide you with these banking services.  The decision has been reviewed by Sun Trust senior management, and it is final.  If I can offer any assistance in closing your accounts, you are welcome to call me at 404-813-1844.

Sincerely,

June Mansonhing

Banking Officer

An Attempt to Block Evidence?

SunTrust’s Mansonhing refused to answer questions when WhoWhatWhy called her for an explanation. She said she couldn’t talk about client accounts. She hung up when she was asked to explain the company’s general policy about terminating accounts and whether the bank had received a request from the FBI to close any account. She did not answer when we called back.

Likewise, the FBI did not return several calls requesting information about whether it had sought to have Manukyan’s account closed.

The SunTrust action raises questions about whether the FBI, which has been harassing and even deporting potential witnesses who knew Todashev, might be trying to block evidence favorable to Todashev and perhaps to Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers –one dead and the other alive –who are accused in the April 19 Boston Marathon Bombing. (For more, see Feds Accused of Harassing Boston Bomber Friends, and Friends of Friends.)

Suspicious Pattern Emerges

The account cancellation appears to be part of a larger pattern of canceling bank accounts of Islamic immigrants and even American citizens with Arab or Islamic-sounding names.

“This is happening all around the country,” said Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney with the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington, D.C. “We don’t know what is behind it, but there have been occasions where we’ve seen law enforcement to be part of the context — maybe someone is visited by the FBI and then there is a bank account cancellation. But it’s really a black box to us because bank customers don’t get to see why an account is being closed.”

Abbas said the FBI “doesn’t have the authority” to order a bank to close an account of someone who has not committed a crime. But the Bureau can apply subtle pressure.

If the Bureau called a bank and asked questions about a customer with an Arab or Islamic-sounding name, Abbas said, “That might be all a bank supervisor would need to decide to close that person’s account.”

Homeland Security Grant Tainted” by Muslim Recipient?

A particularly egregious example concerns Sofian Zakkout, a Palestinian-American who lives in Miami.

Zakkout, who emigrated to the U.S. from Gaza in 1977 and who was naturalized decades ago, would seem to be a model citizen. Director of the American Muslim Association of North America, he also runs a local emergency relief organization which helped out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

SofianZakkout

Sofian Zakkout

Zakkout and his relief organization recently received a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to install security cameras in mosques, churches and other locations in the Miami area. Given its name — American Muslims for Emergency Relief (AMER) — it was almost certainly thoroughly vetted by Homeland Security before any grant was approved.

Needing a place to deposit the federal grant money, Zakkout said he went to a local branch of Chase Bank. He showed his U.S. identification, completed an application and was given two accounts — one personal and one for his organization, AMER.

He received a box of checks and his first statement. But a letter soon arrived, returning his deposited money. A note accompanying the bank check read, “We have to terminate your accounts.”

He said angrily, “They kicked me out for no reason!”

Islamic Advocacy Group Mulls Lawsuit

Seeking redress, Zakkout went to the local office of CAIR, which is “exploring filing a lawsuit,” according to CAIR-Florida attorney Nezar Hamze.

“This is an American citizen who was asked intensively by the bank about his nationality, about what he planned to do with the money and where it came from,”Hamze said.

Hamze is also familiar with the case of Reniya Manukyan, widow of the slain Ibragim Todashev. Hamze said that if the intent of closing her bank account was to deny her online access to her late husband’s alibi, it won’t work: She has paper copies of all the relevant records, as well.

How Widespread?

MuslimsNotWantedNo one knows how many denial-of-banking incidents there are nationwide, but a CAIR office in Michigan reports that dozens of members of the state’s Islamic community have had their accounts shut down without explanation.

In a related incident, a Muslim bank employee in Ohio has sued PNC bank in federal court in Cleveland, charging his employer with ethnic/religious bias after he was fired for complaining to superiors about what he said was overt anti-Muslim discrimination at four bank branches in northeastern Ohio and in neighboring Pennsylvania.

Seeking answers, CAIR’s Abbas said that his organization has contacted the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which oversees federal banks and issues relating to bias against customers. Banks are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or sex in lending or providing banking services; and the Comptroller’s Office is tasked with supervising those rules. As stated on the OCC website:

“Ensuring fair access and equal treatment to national bank customers is a fundamental part of the OCC’s mission. OCC bank examiners evaluate compliance with consumer laws and regulations, and the agency takes enforcement actions when necessary.”

When contacted by WhoWhatWhy, an official at the Comptroller’s office said, “We are aware of the situation and are looking into it.”

Where New JFK Evidence Points

November 20th, 2013 by Jim DiEugenio

President John F. Kennedy in the motorcade through Dallas shortly before his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. (Photo credit: Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News)

Media specials are on tap for the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s murder, but none will explore the troubling new evidence that has been declassified in recent years – and that undercuts the Official Story of the Lone Gunman.

In late 1991, film director Oliver Stone released JFK, his film about the investigation of the murder of President John F. Kennedy by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. To say the film was controversial does not begin to describe the furor which surrounded its reception. Six months before the film was in theaters, stories began to appear in large newspapers criticizing a film no one had seen yet.

When the film was finally shown, there was an interesting dichotomy. Whereas most of the film critics liked it, editorials and news stories about the movie attacked it. One critic actually lost her job over a positive review of the film.

But the film did two things relevant to the state of the evidence in the matter of President Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. At the end of his film, Stone had shown a title card saying that the files of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) had been classified until the year 2029.

Embarrassed – and faced with public outrage – Congress held hearings. Many people testified including Stone, and the last chief counsel of the HSCA, Robert Blakey. As a result, the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was created, tasked with finding and releasing all documents held by public and private entities in America concerning the murder of President Kennedy. Eventually, two million pages of classified files were open to the public.

The second thing the film did was arouse the curiosity of many people who were not aware of the evidentiary problems that had haunted the Kennedy case for nearly 30 years. Stone’s film was the first time in over a decade that millions of Americans had been exposed to things like the Zapruder film, Oswald’s odd relationships with the FBI and CIA, his associations with right-wingers in Dallas and New Orleans, the investigative failings of the Warren Commission, the problems with the autopsy of President Kennedy, and much, much more.

These new people who were drawn into the case had fresh perspectives to offer and new insights. Between the newly declassified documents and this new generation of writers, the information base about both Kennedy and his murder grew exponentially in a relatively short time.

But this week’s 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination will be marked almost entirely by television specials that will be silent about this new and plentiful information, which alters the calculus of the Kennedy case. That is because, despite the uproar created by Stone’s film, the defenders of the Warren Commission’s narrative circled the wagons and protected the Establishment’s preferred solution to the assassination – that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Why Oswald?

There always was an attractiveness to the Oswald-did-it storyline. It is the simplest explanation, a lone gunman acting out of some personal grievance, ideological fixation or psychological imbalance. No need to explore evidence of a larger conspiracy. No need to integrate Kennedy’s murder into the historic developments that his presidency represented.

Thus, many influential people – from officials involved in the original investigation defending their judgments to a later generation of authors burnishing their reputations for probity – have fought fiercely to defend the Oswald-acted-alone narrative. They have done so despite nagging evidentiary problems, such as the “magic bullet theory,” which attributed the multiple wounds to Kennedy’s neck and Texas Gov. John Connally’s chest, wrist and thigh to a single bullet found almost unscathed on a gurney at Parkland Hospital, and those troubling images from the Zapruder film showing Kennedy’s head being knocked backward by the fatal shot, although Oswald was behind him at the Texas Bookstore Depository.

Most importantly, Gerald Posner’s book, Case Closed, which was published before the ARRB was even set up, was used to close the door on further inquiry by pronouncing Oswald guilty again. Yet, Posner’s book did not include any of the intriguing documents the ARRB declassified. Neither did it include the results of the ARRB special investigation into the medical evidence launched by chief counsel Jeremy Gunn.

After Posner’s book, there seemed to be something of an informal agreement by the gatekeepers in the media. There would be no programs dedicated to airing the discoveries of the ARRB, despite the fact that the ARRB had unprecedented powers to declassify documents and compel testimony. Because of these combination of factors, the American public was given little exposure to the ARRB material and the revolutionary work of new authors on the Kennedy case, the most infamous American homicide of the Twentieth Century.

Besides the Oswald-acted-alone solution, there have been other proposed narratives that accept the idea of conspiracy but don’t directly challenge the institutions of the state. These scenarios acknowledge the likelihood of other conspirators but point the finger at the Mafia or Fidel Castro or some other enemies of America.

But much of the new evidence tends to bolster the narrative advanced by Garrison and by Stone’s movie: that the assassination must have involved elements of the U.S. intelligence community working with right-wing operatives who considered Kennedy soft on communism and that a cover-up was put in place by key government figures to prevent an unraveling of these powerful institutions and the erosion of public trust in the authorities.

Who Was Oswald?

Let us begin with the figure of Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald had been portrayed by the Warren Commission as a lonely, communist sociopath. Although there was never any clear motive put forth by the Warren Commission as to why the alleged assassin killed JFK, it was intimated that it was the net result of the frustrations in his life caused by financial problems, ideological intent, and marital troubles. This is still what most current defenders of the Commission say today.

But one of the most surprising things that the ARRB disclosed was the volume of files on Oswald held by both the CIA and FBI – after both agencies had long denied that they had much paper on Oswald. But it was not just the volume of documents, but it was the unexpected direction they pointed.

One of the most curious aspects of Oswald’s strange and contradictory life was his military service. One of the things that shocked New Orleans DA Jim Garrison was the fact that, while in the Marines, Oswald took a Russian test. As Garrison writes in his book, the Commission tried to explain this away by stating that he got more questions wrong than right.

But it’s obvious that Oswald stuck with learning Russian because when a friend of his arranged a meeting with Rosaleen Quinn, she commented afterwards that Oswald spoke excellent Russian. And Quinn had been privately tutored in advance of a State Department exam. (James DiEugenio,Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, p. 131)

After acquiring fluency in Russian, Oswald then applied for a hardship discharge in order to leave the service early. Even though he had just a few months left to serve, his request was granted – and in only 10 days. The HSCA interviewed a person on the board who granted the discharge. Colonel B. J. Kozak testified that it normally took from three to six months to secure such a release. (HSCA interview of Kozak of Aug. 2, 1978)

After Oswald returned from Russia – receiving surprisingly little trouble despite his defection – he became friendly with the White Russian community in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He then went to New Orleans in the summer of 1963. Numerous witnesses had testified to seeing him with former FBI agent Guy Banister or at Banister’s office at 544 Camp Street.

But in the files declassified by the ARRB there is even more evidence in this regard. In the declassified files of the Church Committee, there is testimony by two federal immigration agents that they were following David Ferrie in 1963 because of his association with Cubans in the country illegally. Wendell Roache and Ron Smith of the Immigration and Naturalization Service stated that they traced Ferrie to Banister’s office at 544 Camp Street, and Oswald was there. (DiEugenio, p. 113)

Further, at least one of the pro-Castro flyers that Oswald was passing out that summer was stamped with the 544 Camp Street address. According to Banister’s secretary Delphine Roberts, Banister was aware that Oswald had committed this faux pas, and he was upset about it. The rightwing zealot complained that, “How is it going to look for him to have the same address as me!” (HSCA interview with Roberts, July 6, 1978)

The natural question arises: What would an alleged communist like Oswald be doing using the conservative Banister’s office as an address, and also working out of that office? In that regard, one of the most compelling revelations to emerge from the ARRB is that both the FBI and the CIA were running counter-intelligence operations against the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) in 1963. This included using electronic surveillance, penetration agents, and agents provocateur against the New York-based organization.

CIA Mystery 

In one of the CIA’s declassified files on this subject, it was discovered that the men running this counter-intelligence effort at CIA were David Phillips and Jim McCord. (Newman, pgs. 236-41) Phillips’s name in this regard is especially fascinating because of his reported meeting with Oswald in August of 1963 at the Southland Center in Dallas by the militant Cuban exile Antonio Veciana.

At that time, according to the Warren Commission, Oswald was about a month away from leaving for Mexico. In addition to not telling the reader about Phillips, McCord and the CIA counter-intelligence program against the FPCC, the Warren Report also did not reveal a memorandum sent from the CIA to the FBI on Sept. 16, 1963, saying the CIA was “giving some consideration to countering the activities” of the FPCC “in foreign countries. … CIA is also giving some thought to planting deceptive information which might embarrass the Committee in areas where it does have some support.”

Oswald had just embarrassed the FPCC by his tactics in New Orleans. First, by getting into a fight with an anti-Castro activist, being arrested, jailed, and then pleading guilty in court. He then took part in a debate where he was exposed as a former Soviet defector. As author Jim Douglass asks: Did this memo refer to Oswald now going to Mexico? (Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, p. 179)

One of the notable achievements of the ARRB was the fact that it declassified the HSCA’s Mexico City Report, which clearly suggests that there was an imposter masquerading as Oswald at both the Cuban consulate and Russian embassy, the places where Oswald was supposed to have visited while he was supposed to be there.

The report states that the CIA could produce no pictures of Oswald either entering or leaving either place, although the Agency had multiple cameras facing each doorway. Further, there is a table in the report which shows that the surveillance tapes the Agency says it had of Oswald in both places could not be of Oswald because the man the CIA had on the tapes spoke broken Russian and fluent Spanish. (Lopez Report, p. 130) However, witnesses said Oswald spoke fluent Russian and broken Spanish.

When one of the tapes of Oswald was sent to Dallas after Kennedy’s assassination and listened to by the FBI agents interviewing Oswald, the agents said the voice was not Oswald’s. When FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was alerted to this, he relayed the information to President Johnson. (FBI Memorandum from Hoover to James Rowley, Nov. 23, 1963)

The FBI Mystery

There are two more declassified connections by the FBI to this important episode. First, a FLASH warning that the FBI had put on Oswald’s file, after his defection to the Soviet Union, was taken off while Oswald was in Mexico. Further, it was removed at about the time the Bureau got information that Oswald was allegedly meeting a KGB agent named Valery Kostikov.

This is important, because as both authors John Newman and Jim Douglass note, if the FLASH notice had been in place, it is probable that Oswald would have been placed on the Security Index. That list would have been turned over to the Secret Service, and Oswald would likely have been picked up or surveilled for Kennedy’s upcoming trip to Dallas.

Secondly, in a declassified memo discovered by Newman, Hoover had scribbled a handwritten note in the marginalia of a memo. In speaking of cooperation between the CIA and the FBI, the Director wrote that he was doubtful about such endeavors because he could not forget “the false story re Oswald’s trip to Mexico” as an example of their double-dealing. Within six weeks of Kennedy’s murder, Hoover thought that the CIA was, at the very least, not being forthcoming about Oswald’s activities in Mexico City.

Hoover was not alone in this suspicion about a CIA connection to Oswald. At a talk at the Cyril Wecht Symposium in Pittsburgh last month, Dan Hardway, an HSCA investigator who specialized on exploring a possible relationship between Oswald and the CIA, said the House panel prepared two indictments for perjury based on the obstruction of the Mexico City investigation. One was for Phillips; the other was for Anne Goodpasture, who controlled the tape and photo production in Mexico City.

Hardway has revealed that when he and another HSCA investigator were getting very close to exposing the skullduggery in Mexico City and who was responsible for it, the CIA moved a man name George Johannides into position as a liaison man over them.

As journalist Jefferson Morley has revealed, the CIA lied to Robert Blakey about the appointment of Johannides. The Agency told Blakely that his new liaison had no connection to the Kennedy case, when, in 1963, Johannides was the Chief of the Psychological Warfare Branch at JM/WAVE, the CIA’s huge Miami station. One of his specific functions was to monitor and supply the anti-Castro Cuban exile group, Cuban Student Directorate, or DRE, which was in contact with Oswald that summer. Carlos Bringuier, the man who got into a physical altercation with Oswald on a city street in New Orleans, was a member of the local branch of the DRE.

Angleton’s Connection

A similar maneuver occurred during the Warren Commission investigation, when the original CIA liaison to the Warren Commission, John Whitten, was replaced by James Angleton, the CIA’s counter-intelligence chief whose office handled (or mishandled) the original reporting about Oswald’s defection to the Soviet Union.

When reports came in about Oswald entering the American embassy in Moscow and asking to renounce his citizenship, the information went to the various intelligence repositories in Washington. The FBI issued a FLASH warning to be placed on Oswald if he tried to reenter the country under a false name. After all, the possibility existed that the KGB could have turned him into a spy.

However, at the CIA, the information about Oswald was not acted on immediately or with the normal protocol. A routine 201 form, which catalogues anyone of interest to the Agency, was not filled out on Oswald at that time. Nor did the information go to the Soviet Russia division. Instead, the Oswald notice was funneled to James Angleton’s super-secret, CI/SIG unit, a protective agency that was supposed to be on guard against penetration agents but has been connected to some of the CIA’s most convoluted deep-cover operations, sometimes called “the wilderness of mirrors.” (John Newman, Oswald and the CIA, p. 27)

Besides Angleton’s influence over what CIA files would be made available to the Warren Commission, one of its seven members was former CIA Director Allen Dulles, whom President Kennedy had replaced as director after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961.

So, it is clear today that the idea the CIA had no intelligence interest in Oswald in the months leading up to Kennedy’s murder has been disproven. In fact, Newman uncovered a CIA memo in the Soviet Russia division which reads, “It was partly out of curiosity to learn if Oswald’s wife would actually accompany him to our country, partly out of interest in Oswald’s own experiences in the USSR, that we showed operational intelligence interest in the Harvey [Oswald] Story.”

The Autopsy Mystery

Another one of the myths circulated by the Warren Commission was that they did not have the actual autopsy exhibits because the Kennedy family would not allow them to access the material. This was a pretense exposed by the declassification of the Commission’s Jan. 21, 1964 executive session hearing. In that transcript, Commissioner John McCloy asked Chief Counsel Lee Rankin if they had the raw materials of the autopsy, and Rankin replied that they did.

In a transcript from the next session on Jan. 27, Rankin talked about actually seeing an autopsy picture and wondering how the bullet could exit Kennedy’s throat from an entrance point that low in the back. Rankin’s puzzlement about the back wound segues neatly into one piece of information that the ARRB did manage to get into the mainstream U.S. media, namely that Commissioner Gerald Ford changed the draft of the Warren Report to move the location of this back wound that so puzzled Rankin up into Kennedy’s neck.

This all too revealing alteration was exposed when Rankin’s son donated an earlier draft of the Warren Report to the ARRB. As Commission historian Gerald McKnight notes in his book Breach of Trust, this revision brought the back wound into “line with the Commission’s no-conspiracy conclusion, repositioning it to make it consistent with what came to be called, the single-bullet theory.” (McKnight, pgs. 171-172)

With the knowledge today that the Commission secretly did have the autopsy photos, this act seems even worse. Because, later on, when the photos were finally revealed to the public, it is clear that the wound was in the back, and not in Kennedy’s neck. Ford appears to have done this simply to make the Commission’s official verdict more palatable to the public, because if the shot was fired from over 60 feet up, from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, how could the bullet hit Kennedy in the back and exit at a higher point if it only went through soft tissue?

We now know that this questionable proposition was not even credible inside the Commission itself. The Commission was presented with evidence of three shells being recovered from the so-called sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. So, to make Oswald the lone assassin, only three bullets had to be responsible for all the wounds to all the victims in Dealey Plaza.

The Commission said bystander James Tague, standing on Commerce Street, was hit by a missed shot, and one shot fatally wounded Kennedy by striking him in the head. Which left one shot to do the rest of the damage. And it was quite a lot of damage: seven wounds and two smashed bones in Kennedy and Governor Connally who was sitting in the limousine in front of the President. Those seven wounds with one shot represent the trajectory of what has come to be known as the Magic Bullet.

Rolling Russell 

When the Warren Commission verdict was formally announced in the fall of 1964, one of the reasons it appeared authoritative was that it was presented as being unanimous. Seven storied public figures had agreed on each and every aspect of the case against Oswald. Today we know that this was not true.

The best evidence demonstrating its falsity is the Commission’s treatment of Sen. Richard Russell, D-Georgia. For a master’s thesis produced under McKnight’s guidance in 2002, Dani E. Biancolli went through the Russell archive at the University of Georgia.

Almost from the beginning, Russell had problems with the way the Commission was doing business. For instance, Russell was puzzled that the FBI report did not allow for the single-bullet theory. It stated that two separate shots hit Kennedy and one hit Connally. If that is not confusing enough, when the CIA analyzed the Zapruder film, they decided there were two assassins. (McKnight, p. 6)

Russell was not satisfied by the hastily assembled FBI report. He also objected to the fact that Hoover was leaking its findings to the press, making it difficult for the Commission to maintain its independence in the face of public perceptions. Being an experienced trial lawyer, he also began to notice that the Commission was not notifying him when important witnesses would be testifying, e.g. Oswald’s brother, Robert. (Biancolli, p. 46)

Russell also noted that the CIA was giving certain members of the Commission more information than others. Troubled by the overall proceedings, Russell wrote a memo to himself which began with the phrase, “Something strange is happening.” He then noted that the Commission was only going to consider Oswald as the assassin. To lawyer Russell, this was “an untenable position.” (ibid, p. 47) Russell was so disturbed by the way the Commission was progressing that he actually composed a letter of resignation to President Lyndon Johnson.

Russell took the step of drafting an official dissent to the Warren Report. And he wanted the report to contain his reservations about the Magic Bullet. (ibid, p. 63) Aware of this, the more active members of the Commission – Gerald Ford, Allen Dulles, John McCloy and chief counsel Lee Rankin – tricked Russell. They had discontinued their dealings with their stenography service prior to the final meeting where Russell was to present his dissent. But they did have a secretary in the room to create the pretense that a full transcript was being recorded. (ibid, p. 65) No such thing occurred.

Russell was so effective in his presentation at this meeting that he was joined in the effort by Sen. John Sherman Cooper, R-Kentucky, and to a lesser extent by Rep. Hale Boggs, D-Louisiana. But Russell’s eloquent dissent was not recorded in the transcript. In fact, there really is no transcript of this Sept. 18, 1964 meeting. (ibid, pgs. 63-64) With no transcript available, none of Russell’s objections made it into the Warren Report. Thus, the false veneer of a unanimous Commission was maintained.

Further showing how compromised the Warren Commission was, it is clear today that the Commission demanded little respect from the intelligence agencies supplying it with information. For instance, as ARRB employee Doug Horne discovered, Commission counsel Arlen Specter requested the Secret Service produce any tapes of the Nov. 22 press conference by the doctors at Parkland Hospital. Even though they had a recording, the Secret Service failed to turn it over to the Commission. Perhaps because during the interview, Dr. Malcolm Perry said three times that the wound to Kennedy’s throat was one of entrance. If that were true, Oswald could not have caused it.

The CIA also sent the Commission very limited information about Oswald’s alleged trip to Mexico City. For instance, the CIA did not send any information to the Commission about any of the phone taps they had at the Cuban or Russian embassies. And there is no evidence that the Commission ever knew who did the translation for the intercepts of incoming phone calls.

Further, the Commission never interviewed Silvia Duran, the receptionist at the Cuban consulate, the person who had the most contact with Oswald. Because of these failings, the information in the Warren Report about Oswald in Mexico City, which many people today see as crucial, is so skimpy as to be almost useless.

Hesitant Investigators

As the Russell incident indicates, it’s clear today that the Warren Commission was a reluctant investigative body from the start. This began with the technique President Johnson used to get Earl Warren to serve as chairman, something Warren did not want to do. LBJ told Warren that because of Oswald’s visits to the Russian and Cuban consulates, there was a danger of nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union and Cuba and the possible deaths of 40 million Americans in a matter of minutes.

Johnson later said Warren teared up at this suggestion, and Warren mentioned Johnson’s warning at his first staff meeting. The danger of a freewheeling investigation clearly had an impact on many of the investigators who came to see their job as tamping down suspicions of a larger conspiracy, rather than following the facts wherever they might lead. When Wesley Liebeler met with witness Sylvia Odio in Dallas, he told her that they had orders from Warren that if they came across any evidence of conspiracy they were to shove it under the rug. (Odio interview with Church Committee, Jan. 16, 1976)

What makes this so regrettable today is that there is no audio or photographic evidence that Oswald was at either the Russian or Cuban offices in Mexico City. The descriptions of a short, blonde man suggest an imposter. Hoover also felt that the CIA had given him a cover story. This declassified evidence in the Lopez Report leaves the question: Was the specter of a nuclear war used as a pretext to stop any real investigation?

Another crucial piece of evidence that was revived by the ARRB was this: There appears to have been an unsuccessful attempt to kill Kennedy in Chicago just three weeks before the successful one in Dallas. In November 1975, journalist Edwin Black wrote a long and detailed essay on this aborted plot for the Chicago Independent, a paper with a small and local circulation. Soon, this milestone essay was more or less forgotten, but the HSCA secured a copy of it.

Because of its recirculation, other writers have done more work on the subject.  One of the most disturbing aspects of the Chicago attempt is that the outline of the plot is eerily similar to what happened in Dallas, down to the apparent fall guy. Three men who appeared to be Cubans were going to kill Kennedy in a rifle ambush as he exited off a freeway ramp in front of a tall building.

The man who was supposed to be accused of the crime was Thomas Vallee. Like Oswald, Valle was a former Marine who was stationed at a U-2 base in Japan. Vallee supposedly was resentful toward Kennedy because of the Bay of Pigs disaster. Curiously, the codename of the FBI informant who tipped off the Secret Service was “Lee.” The existence of a prior assassination plot with parallels to Kennedy’s killing in Dallas would seem to be relevant if one were exploring a wider conspiracy, but there was not one word about this episode in the Warren Report.

Medical Evidence

Some of the most startling new evidence in the JFK case from the declassified files relates to the ARRB’s medical investigation and from new doctors who have entered the JFK field. For instance, Dr. Gary Aguilar has collated the interviews done by HSCA investigators Andy Purdy and Mark Flanagan about the wounds to President Kennedy as seen by the witnesses at Bethesda Medical Center, the hospital where Kennedy’s autopsy was done after his body was returned to Washington.

The HSCA report said there was a discrepancy between what the medical staffers at Parkland Hospital in Dallas saw and what the staffers at Bethesda saw. Witnesses at the former, where Kennedy was rushed after the shooting, said they saw a large, avulsive hole in the rear of Kennedy’s skull. This would strongly indicate a shot from the front. Yet the HSCA Report said that the witnesses at Bethesda did not see this wound.

It turns out this was false. When Aguilar went through all the declassified reports from the Bethesda witnesses, they agreed that there was a large avulsive hole in the rear of Kennedy’s skull. Aguilar has a table of over 40 witnesses in two locations who are now on the record as saying they saw this wound. The odds of that many trained medical personnel being wrong are, needless to say, very high. Yet, it remains unclear who at the HSCA was responsible for the deception.

As contradictory to the single-gunman theory as the ARRB-revealed medical evidence seems to be, the present state of the ballistics evidence is probably moreso. Broadly speaking, this consists of the ammunition, the rifle, and the crime scene.

Let us begin with new revelations about the so-called Magic Bullet. When Gary Aguilar was going through the declassified FBI files pertaining to the identification of that exhibit – formally called CE 399 – he was puzzled by the lack of actual FBI field reports in the file, so-called “302” reports on witness interviews.

What initially spurred his interest in this matter was the 1967 interview that author Josiah Thompson conducted with O. P. Wright, the security director at Parkland Hospital. When Thompson showed Wright a photo of CE 399, he denied that it was the bullet he gave to the Secret Service. CE 399 is a round-nosed, military jacketed, copper-coated bullet. Wright said he turned over a lead-colored, sharp-nosed, hunting round. (Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, p. 175)

Yet, in the declassified file, Aguilar could find no 302 where anything like Wright’s definitive response to Thompson was recorded. Or a 302 in which Wright said that CE 399 resembled the bullet he found the day of the assassination. Yet, the FBI was supposed to have shown CE 399 to Wright to confirm the identification of the Magic Bullet as what was turned over at Parkland Hospital. But there was only a summary memorandum confirming that ID.

Though the ARRB told Aguilar that they had exhausted that particular FBI file, there was a clue for further inquiry. In the summary memo, the FBI agent who supposedly showed the exhibit to Wright was identified as Bardwell Odum. In November 2001, Aguilar and Thompson visited the retired agent who told his interviewers that he never took any bullet around to show to any Parkland witnesses – and since he knew Wright well, he would have recalled the interview.

Further, if that event had happened, Odum would have had to file a 302. Aguilar had studied the report file in sequential order and none were missing, indicating that Odum never filed a 302 presumably because he never showed the bullet to Wright.

The FBI’s Fiddling

But why would the FBI have fiddled with the evidence relating to the chain of custody for the Magic Bullet? One obvious answer would be that FBI Director Hoover understood how important it was to remove any doubts that Oswald was the lone gunman.

After the declassification process was complete, researcher John Hunt petitioned the National Archives to examine the FBI’s own data in order to determine if CE 399 actually arrived at FBI headquarters when the Bureau said it did and if it was carried there by agent Elmer Lee Todd as Hoover said it was. As basic to an investigation as trail of evidence is, this was not done by either the Warren Commission or the HSCA.

In a handwritten receipt, Todd noted he got the bullet at the White House from James Rowley of the Secret Service at 8:50 p.m. Hunt then reviewed the work of Robert Frazier who was the technician who booked and analyzed firearms evidence on the JFK case that day. In Frazier’s chronicle, entitled appropriately enough, “History of Evidence,” Frazier wrote that he received the bullet from Todd at 7:30 p.m. In another document entitled “Laboratory Work Sheet,” Frazier wrote this again and described the exhibit as “Bullet from Stretcher.”

The obvious problem was: How could Todd have given CE 399 to Frazier at the FBI lab before he got it from Rowley at the White House? Assuming the contemporaneous documentary record is correct, either the FBI switched the bullet or there was more than one bullet. Either alternative would vitiate the Commission’s conclusion about Oswald as the lone gunman.

In Thompson’s book he writes that both Todd and Frazier marked the bullet with their initials; this was based on a two-page FBI document inside a Justice Department Report. The FBI needed Todd’s initials on the bullet because the initials of the man who gave the bullet to Rowley, Secret Service agent Richard Johnsen, are not on CE 399. And neither are Rowley’s. Todd’s initials had to be there to give the chain of possession any validity at all.

Hunt discovered that Todd’s initials are not on CE 399, which would mean that the forensic value of the Magic Bullet was worthless. (Hunt’s articles can be read herehttp://www.jfklancer.com/hunt/mystery.html, and herehttp://www.jfklancer.com/hunt/phantom.htm).

Miscarriage of Justice

This essay could be twice as long as it is. And it could touch on many other different fields: the efforts of the FBI and CIA to electronically monitor Jim Garrison’s office; the FBI concealment of Guy Banister’s address of 544 Camp Street from the Warren Commission; the witnesses who saw Oswald, Clay Shaw and David Ferrie in the hamlets of Clinton and Jackson; the testimony of Victoria Adams that Oswald was not running down the Depository stairs from the sixth floor after the shooting; the work by Josiah Thompson and Dave Wimp which demonstrates there is no forward movement by Kennedy at frames 312-313 of the Zapruder film, which shows Kennedy going only one way, back and to the left.

These revelations, based largely on the documentary record released by the ARRB, have revolutionized what the evidence tells us about Kennedy’s assassination. Based on these documents and other discoveries, the Warren Commission is revealed as a miscarriage of justice and its report a distortion of history, perhaps justified in the minds of some participants as needed to protect the country from the repercussions of a no-holds-barred investigation.

While President Johnson may have raised the specter of a nuclear conflagration in 1963, the later motives for the continuing cover-up – and the intensity of the attacks on anyone who has questioned the official version – can best be explained by the institutional self-interests of the government agencies that would be implicated in the cover-up or the actual crime.

Along with fierce resistance from the CIA and the FBI, there was the close-minded response to the new evidence from the gatekeepers of the major U.S. news media. Ridiculing authors and investigators who challenged the Warren Commission’s findings became something of a litmus test for measuring a journalist’s fitness to get a good-paying job in the mainstream press.

But this arrogant behavior by these powerful governmental and media institutions – their contempt for an intellectually unconstrained evaluation of the JFK evidence – has proved costly in terms of public trust. Polls reveal that the decline in America’s faith in government began in 1964, the year the Warren Report was issued. As the ARRB’s former counsel Jeremy Gunn said in a speech at Stanford, with what the ARRB discovered, he would much rather be defending Oswald than prosecuting him.

Despite this new evidence, there are many programs being broadcast this month about both President Kennedy and his murder, e.g. Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy. Not a single one will present anywhere near a representative selection of the new evidentiary discoveries made by the ARRB. Yet, this information is crucial to understanding where the United States finds itself today, a country awash in excessive secrecy and growing public distrust.

Another one of the declassified files – the records of the Sec/Def meeting of May 1963 – revealed that Oliver Stone was correct in another facet of his movie. President Kennedy was planning to withdraw from Vietnam, a decision that – if not reversed by President Johnson – might have dramatically changed the course of U.S. history.

In the face of this continuing denial of a full accounting of Kennedy’s assassination on the 50thanniversary, the public should ask two simple questions: What really happened to President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza? And why the unending resistance from the news media to present the new evidence to the American people?

Jim DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.

Massive Pentagon Waste, Fraud and Grand Theft

November 20th, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Longstanding Pentagon operations reflect a black hole of unaccountability. Reuters published a two-part report. In July, it discussed the Defense Department’s “payroll quagmire.”

It’s bureaucracy is stifling. It’s “unyielding,” said Reuters. Active duty and retired military personal are routinely cheated. Pay errors are widespread.

Correcting “or just explaining them can test even the most persistent soldiers.” Weeks or months pass without resolution.

Some personnel are cheated on pay. Others are penalized for overpayments. Their earnings are “drastically cut” unfairly. Precise figures are impossible to calculate.

At issue is “the Defense Department’s jury-rigged network of mostly incompatible computer systems for payroll and accounting, many of them decades old, long obsolete, and unable to communicate with each other,” said Reuters.

“The Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) still uses a half-century-old computer language that is largely unable to communicate with the equally outmoded personnel management systems employed by each of the military services.”

A December 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed unaccountable accounting. No way exists to assure correct amounts are paid. Errors can’t be tracked.

Pentagon accounting reflects epic failure. Nothing is done “to keep track of its money,” said Reuters.

US law requires annual audits of all federal agencies. The Pentagon alone never complied. It’s accounting is in too disarray to do so. It remains unaccountable.

In May 2012, then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said:

“DOD, I’m sorry to say, is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”

It bears repeating. It’s a black hole of unaccountability. It literally wastes trillions of dollars.

It uses about 2,200 error-prone computer systems. Billions of dollars are spent operating them. They manage finances, human resources, logistics, property, and weapons acquisitions. According to former Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England:

“There are thousands and thousands of systems. I’m not sure anybody knows how many there are” or how many are in use.

The Pentagon is the world’s largest property owner. It has more than 5,000 sites in 41 countries.

It’s the world’s largest polluter. It’s exempt from environmental regulations and wildlife treaties.

It poisons the earth. Its desecration is virtually unreported. It’s responsible for genocide and ecocide.

It’s destroying the planet’s ability to sustain life. It spends trillions of dollars doing so.

On November 18, Reuters headlined ”Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste.”

Since 1996, DOD was never held accountable for $8.5 trillion. On September 10, 2001, then Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said:

“According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” At issue is massive waste, fraud and abuse.

Sweetheart deals, bribes and kickbacks are commonplace. So is routine over-billing. Unaccountability is standard practice.

Jeff St. Clair’s book titled “Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror” exposed massive corruption and warprofiteering.

DOD has a virtual blank check. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Bechtel, Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, Blackwater USA (now ACADEMI), and other Pentagon favorites cash in hugely.

They do it at taxpayers’ expense. They sacrifice peace, equity and justice in the process.

From White House and Pentagon war rooms to warprofiteer board rooms, “Grand Theft Pentagon” explains America’s out-of-control imperial agenda. War on humanity reflects it.

Trillions of dollars are spent waging it. According to Reuters, DFAS fudged accounts reflect standard practice.

“Former military service officials say record-keeping at the operational level throughout the services is rife with made-up numbers to cover lost or missing information.”

Warnings are systematically ignored. According to GOA’s December 2011 report:

Unaccountable accounting “without documentation (masks) much larger problems.”

DOD “chronic(ally) fail(s) to keep track of its money – how much it has, how much it pays out, and how much is wasted or stolen,” said Reuters.

It’s entire record keeping system is dysfunctional. Nothing effective is done to fix it.

Pay errors reflect a small portion of huge sums “annually disappear(ing) into (DOD’s) vast bureaucracy.”

“(T)he Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies.”

It spends huge amounts on more of what’s not needed. It amassed a half trillion dollar plus backlog of unaudited vendor contracts.

How much is spent for goods and services isn’t known. Operations are rife with waste and fraud. Abuses go undiscovered for years. Accountability is entirely lacking.

DOD can’t “tally its accounts,” said Reuters. Congressional 2009 legislation requires annual DOD audits by 2017. Reuters said DOD won’t meet its deadline.

“The main reason is rooted in the Pentagon’s continuing reliance on a tangle of thousands of disparate, obsolete, largely incompatible accounting and business-management systems.”

Many date from the 1970s. They use outmoded computer languages on old mainframes.

They use antiquated file systems. It’s nearly impossible to search for data. What’s gotten is “corrupted and erroneous.” According to a former defense official:

“It’s like if every electrical socket in the Pentagon had a different shape and voltage.”

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates called DOD operations “an amalgam of fiefdoms without centralized mechanisms to allocate resources, track expenditures, and measure results.”

“My staff and I learned that it was nearly impossible to get accurate information and answers to questions such as ‘How much money did you spend’ and ‘How many people do you have?’ ”

Tens of billions of dollars were spent upgrading systems. Many new ones failed. They were scrapped altogether. Doing so compounded waste.

DOD’s mess is its own making. Unaccountability lets massive waste, fraud and abuse persist. According to Reuters:

“The secretary of defense’s office and the heads of the military and DFAS have for years knowingly signed off on false entries.”

Congress largely ignores abusive practices. A single DFAS Columbus, Ohio office “made at least $1.59 trillion – yes, trillion – in errors in financial reports for the Air Force in 2009,” said Reuters.

“Those amounts far exceeded the Air Force’s total budget for that year” and then some.

Dysfunctional Pentagon accounting is reflected in Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) operations.

It buys, stores and ships Pentagon supplies. They range from aircraft parts to uniform zippers. “It has way too much stuff,” said Reuters.

It pays way too much for it. According to DLA  process and planning directorate head Sonya Gish, no system tracks whether vast quantities of supplies received are put in correct bins.

Failure to do so makes inventorying them impossible. Nothing is done to track or estimate employee theft losses.

In 2004, the Pentagon was mandated to begin using a modern labeling system. Doing so would enable knowing what supplies are available in what amounts for what service branch.

“To date,” said Reuters, “DLA ignored the directive.” Deputy distribution director William Budden said doing so would exceed benefits. DLA’s existing systems are adequate, he claimed. Evidence shows otherwise.

Many obsolete weapons and munitions remain in inventory. Ammunition manager Keith Byers said they sit year after year because “it’s cheaper for the military to store (them).”

“What’s counterproductive is that what you’re looking at (are) stocks that are going to be destroyed eventually anyway.”

Older headline-grabbing reports focused on $600 toilet seats and $7,600 coffee makers, etc. They’re minor compared to countless billions wasted, stolen or otherwise disappeared.

Many billions more were wasted on dysfunctional computer systems. In the last decade alone, DOD spent trillions of dollars for goods and services. According to Reuters:

“How much of that money is wasted in overpayments to contractors, or was never spent and never remitted to the Treasury, is a mystery.”

“Spotty monitoring of contracts is one reason Pentagon personnel and contractors are able to siphon off taxpayer dollars through fraud and theft – amounting to billions of dollars in losses, according to numerous GAO reports.”

“In many cases, perpetrators were caught only after outside law-enforcement agencies stumbled onto them, or outsiders brought them to the attention of prosecutors.”

A footnote in the Navy’s 2012 financial report “acknowledge(d) that it has a material internal control weakness in that it does not reconcile its” numbers with the Treasury’s.

It claims it’s working to correct the problem. It’s longstanding. It persists.

Congressional budget debates largely ignore massive Pentagon waste, fraud and abuse. Lip service at most is paid to it.

Advancing America’s imperium matters most. Pedal-to-the-metal unaudited spending continues out-of-control.

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

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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

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

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

http://www.dailycensored.com/massive-pentagon-waste-fraud-grand-theft/

The death toll in the central Philippines continues to mount in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. The current official count of the Philippine government National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) was 4,881 dead as of noon, November 18. This number will continue to increase sharply, as mass casualties in more remote areas begin to be processed.

An estimated 2 million people are homeless, while a total of 11 million are reported to have been affected by the damage. Vast portions of the islands of Samar and Leyte have been laid waste by the storm, and the city of Tacloban is in ruins.

The islands are in the grip of an immense humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands are without access to food, potable water, medicine, or sanitation. Roads throughout the islands remain impassible, and entire communities are completely isolated.

Washington has deployed a massive military force to the region. The nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, with 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft, is in the Leyte Gulf, along with its strike group of two guided-missile cruisers, two guided-missile destroyers, a cargo ship, an oceanographic survey ship and a submarine tender. These are to be joined by 3 amphibious warfare ships and 2 littoral combat ships. Some 850 US troops are on the ground in Leyte and are to be joined by an additional 1,000 US Marines in the next two days.

Joint Task Force 505, under the command of Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, has set up headquarters for the US forces in Camp Aguinaldo, the military headquarters of the Philippine Army.

While this build-up is referred to as “providing assistance,” it is clear that the US military is just not “assisting” their Philippine counterparts, but commanding them. US forces are operating the air traffic control tower at the Tacloban airport, controlling which flights are allowed to land and take off there.

“We are controlling 250 ops (operations) per day,” U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Clinton Dykes told the US military publication Stars and Stripes on November 15. The number of operations has increased significantly since then.

The Philippine military is being deployed as armed crowd control in the city of Tacloban, implementing a de facto system of martial law, with an 8 pm–6 am curfew. The hundreds of armed military and police patrolling streets are further supplemented by the armed private guards who defend the homes and property of the wealthy.

The chapel and museum in Tacloban constructed by, and dedicated to, Imelda Marcos still stand. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, as tens of thousands desperately sought shelter, armed guards threatened to kill anyone who attempted to enter the locked museum, whose 21 rooms housed countless treasures including Ming dynasty vases and gifts from Mao Zedong.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) announced on Tuesday that 5 million workers, roughly a quarter of all those employed in the Philippines, have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The United Nations World Food Program stated that, as of November 19, around 600,000 residents of the Eastern Visayas region had not yet received aid packages.

Reports from volunteer workers surfaced in social media over the past two days, revealing that one of the reasons for the Philippine government’s delayed delivery of food supplies was that international aid packages containing bottled water, canned goods and powdered milk were being individually opened and repackaged with labels from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Other aid packages were labeled with the names of individual local politicians; many bags went out labeled as being from the Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The population in Tacloban is now being subjected to a “food for work” program. The distribution of food aid to the residents of Tacloban has been made contingent upon their completing a certain amount of unpaid work for the city.

What aid has been made available to the Eastern Visayas by the Philippine government is allocated on the basis of the National Disaster Relief Law. The portion of the emergency disaster relief budget allocated to any particular local government unit (LGU), such as a town or city, is based on a percentage of the LGU’s revenue.

Thus, a wealthy city will automatically have greater aid allocated to it, while a poorer town or city will receive a significantly smaller amount.

No money had been set aside to prepare for natural disasters. In 2011, President Aquino vetoed the allocation of any funds for so-called “pre-disaster preparations,” including the construction and stocking of evacuation centers. Aquino declared at the time that any allocated funds should be used for “actual calamities and not for the preparation of relocation sites/facilities, and training personnel engaged in direct disaster.”

With its massive deployment of armed force, Washington is seizing the opportunity afforded it by the catastrophe to stage an immense photo op. It is using the devastation in the central Philippines to demonstrate the capacity of its armed forces in the region and to open the door for its military build-up throughout the region directed against China.

The irrationality of capitalism is laid starkly bare by the fact that in order for aid to be delivered to a humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people, it is the military that is deployed, as rescue operations and infrastructure are absent. Despite the construction of huge numbers of cargo ships in the region, warships are the only vessels made available to deliver food aid, and amphibious assault vessels carry basic medical supplies.

On Tuesday, the US Justice Department announced a long-awaited official settlement with JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest US bank, on an array of charges by state and federal agencies related to the bank’s sale of toxic mortgage-backed securities, which contributed to the 2008 financial crash.

US Attorney General Eric Holder touted the agreement, which includes $9 billion in fines and $4 billion in consumer relief, as a major victory for the public over the banks. “The size and scope of this resolution should send a clear signal that the Justice Department’s financial fraud investigations are far from over,” said Holder, adding, “No firm, no matter how profitable, is above the law, and the passage of time is no shield from accountability.”

In reality, the settlement falls far short of holding JPMorgan accountable for its fraudulent sale of mortgage-backed assets, which netted the bank tens of billions of dollars in profits while exacerbating the sub-prime mortgage crash that led to over ten million foreclosures in the US and a global economic downturn that thrust many millions more into unemployment and poverty.

Holder himself, in an interview broadcast Tuesday by NBC News, said that, in his opinion, JPMorgan’s actions played a direct role in the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yet in return for the settlement, the bank is released from a raft of lawsuits by the Justice Department, state attorneys general and three federal agencies.

The settlement’s statement of facts asserts that “employees of JPMorgan… received information that, in certain instances, loans that did not comply with underwriting guidelines were included in the RMBS [residential mortgage-backed securities] sold and marketed to investors; however, JPMorgan… did not disclose this to securitization investors.”

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, head of the Obama administration’s mortgage fraud task force, said the company “acknowledged it made serious, material misrepresentations to the public—including the investing public—about numerous RMBS transactions.”

While JPMorgan endorsed as factual the government’s claim that it knowingly sold defective mortgage-backed bonds to investors in violation of securities laws, the settlement does not include a direct admission of criminal wrongdoing by the bank. In months of closed-door negotiations between bank executives, including CEO Jamie Dimon, and top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, the bank resisted making such an acknowledgment of guilt, which would have opened it up to a wave of private lawsuits. In the end, the Obama administration complied with the bank’s wishes.

The Justice Department said it was continuing a criminal investigation of JPMorgan’s mortgage bond business, but there has as yet been no criminal indictment of Dimon or any other leading JPMorgan official.

This is in keeping with the administration’s policy of shielding the Wall Street elite from prosecution for its criminal actions both before, during and after the financial crash of September 2008. Not a single top banker has been criminally charged, let alone convicted and jailed, despite detailed exposures of illegal actions made public two years ago by a special investigatory commission into the financial crisis and, in a separate report, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The settlement, hailed by the Obama administration and the media as a “breakthrough” in government policing of the banks, is nothing of the kind. The headline figure of $13 billion is deliberately deceptive. Only $9 billion of the total is in cash, the rest taking the form of relief to troubled homeowners, partly through reductions in mortgage principals and partly through the lowering of interest payments. It is likely that JPMorgan was already planning to offer much of this $4 billion in relief for business reasons.

Moreover, according to Reuters, $11 billion of the total penalty is tax deductible. The news agency quoted Gregg Polsky, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, as saying the bank’s fine would effectively be reduced by $4 billion. The total cost to the bank for settling virtually all outstanding civil suits stemming from its fraudulent mortgage business prior to the crash will thus be about a third of its reported $21 billion profit for 2012.

The deal worked out mutually between the US government and JPMorgan is calibrated to include a fine large enough to give the appearance of a sharp rebuke, while insuring the bank’s continued viability and profitability. JPMorgan has, moreover, already set aside $28 billion to settle the large number of lawsuits and investigations into its activities.

The very fact that top Justice Department officials have spent months cajoling Dimon to agree to a such a deal highlights the immense power wielded by Wall Street over the government and the entire political establishment. The victims of predatory loans sold by JPMorgan or packaged into securities sold by the bank, who were then unable to meet their mortgage payments, were accorded no such consideration before they were thrown onto the street and had their homes seized.

Following the Justice Department announcement on Tuesday, Dimon said in a statement: “We are pleased to have concluded this extensive agreement with the president’s RMBS Working Group and to have resolved the civil claims of the Department of Justice and others.”

The blanket settlement releases JPMorgan from civil investigations by the Department of Justice and the state attorneys general of California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York, as well as civil litigation by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

The company’s stock jumped by 0.74 percent following the announcement, even as other financial stocks closed lower for the day.

Multiple probes into the fraudulent sale of mortgage bonds constitute only one area of JPMorgan’s activities that are currently under investigation. In September, the bank agreed to pay close to $1 billion to settle charges that it lied to investors and government regulators and committed accounting fraud to conceal $6.2 billion in losses in derivatives bets last year. A 300-page report on the so-called “London Whale” scandal issued last March by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations concluded that the bank sought “to hide hundreds of millions of dollars of losses,” and that top executives, including Dimon himself, knowingly misinformed the public and investors.

According to the New York Times, the bank is currently being investigated by “at least eight federal agencies, a state regulator and two European nations.”

The actions under examination include the bank’s participation in the Libor-rigging scandal, allegations that JPMorgan facilitated Bernard Madoff’s multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, accusations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it manipulated energy prices, allegations that it bribed Chinese officials, and the bank’s participation in the so-called robo-signing scandal, in which the employees of major mortgage lenders claimed to have reviewed foreclosure documents with which they were totally unfamiliar.



TRIBUNAL HEARING AGAINST ISRAEL AND YARON BEGINS

KUALA LUMPUR, 20 November 2013 – The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal (KLWCT) commenced hearing of genocide and war crimes charges against the State of Israel and Amos Yaron, a retired Israeli army general today.

In the prosecution’s opening statement by Prof Gurdial S. Nijar, he stated that this trial is significant as it charges a nation that thumbs its nose at UN resolutions; decisions of the ICJ and shakes our confidence in the meaning of civilisation.

Prof Gurdial stated, that the prosecution intends to give incontrovertible proof of the incredible crimes conceived since 1945 and which still continues until today. He stressed in his statement that for the Palestinians, it is a continuing tragic saga of huge proportions. What they term as Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ which started in 1948 with their forced dispossession and eviction from their homeland is a history of the present: an on-going dispossession, dislocation, massacres, ethnic cleansing and all else. In short, the continuity of the trauma is not just the result of 1948 but an on-going process, and continuing into the present and linked to current Israeli policies and practices. 

He further added that it will show a gruesome tapestry of sustained acts of ethnic cleansing, followed where necessary by killings, arrests, imprisonment without trial, torture, denial of adequate food, quantum of water, usurpation of lands, incessant bombardment including by phosphoric bombs, which tear out the insides of human bodies upon contact and the siege and imprisonment of an entire nation and peoples: who are then subject to daily humiliation and impossible conditions of life. Such acts of evil represent a continuation of previous such acts. And they have not ceased since. They have further intensified and metamorphosed into acts so grave as to fall within the ambit of the Genocide Convention.

He further stressed that taken cumulatively they show the establishment beyond doubt of the crime of genocide; a pattern of a clear intent to kill, injure and create impossible conditions of life designed to destroy the Palestinian populace, its spirit and determination to survive as a people, as a nation.

The prosecution’s first witness, Chahira Abouardini, a Palestinian refugee living in Camp Shatila, Beirut, Lebanon related the events that took place at Camp Shatila in September 1982 in what is now known as the infamous Sabra & Shatila massacre.

“On September 16, 1982, at dusk around 5 pm, we heard shooting and screaming all around the place, especially at the entrance of the camp. We did not know what was happening outside. Inside the camp there were only civilians and they were running all over the place. We didn’t realise that a massacre was going on,” said the 55-year-old mother of three, who lost her 17-year-old sister and father on that fateful day. They were shot by the Lebanese Phalangist militia.

She further stated that on the following morning of September 17, 1982, the soldiers entered her home and shot her husband, brother and cousin dead in front of her and the children. She related that militiamen entered homes and shot everyone including children and animals.

On the way to the stadium where they were herded towards, she saw her cousin’s daughter who was pregnant lying dead. She said, “The murderers had opened her body and taken out her baby and put the baby on her. The child was dead as well. She was lying on the street.”

She added, “Along the street there were a lot of dead bodies. Hundreds of bodies were strewn all over. We climbed a hill to the stadium. At the nearest houses, I could see bodies of children. Between the houses, which had been half destroyed, there were bodies of men, and also women and children and animals.”

She stated that in the 36 hours, up to 3500 to 5,000 people from Shatila and Sabra had been massacred. There are also people unaccounted for who had disappeared. She stressed that the Phalangist militia were assisted by the Israelis.  She said, “We were handed to the Israeli forces. The Israelis had used them to go into our houses, because these soldiers knew the place, and could speak Lebanese. The Israelis were afraid to go in themselves.”

The prosecution’s second witness of the day was Lebanese national Bayan al-Hout who resides in Beirut. Ms Bayan, author of the book Sabra and Shatila September 1982 that covers the history of the massacre, which took place over three days in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in September 1982, was a Professor at the Lebanese University at the time of the massacre.

Bayan had interviewed survivors and set up an oral history project immediately after the massacre to preserve testimonies, which eventually resulted in the book, which is the most comprehensive, authoritative account of what had happened and who was responsible. She confirms that the massacre that was committed against the Palestinian refugees was carried out by the Lebanese militias, aided and supervised by the Israeli Army.

Earlier in the day, several preliminary objections were raised by the amicus curiae Mr Jason Kay and Ms Larissa Cadd that:

1. The tribunal has no temporal jurisdiction for acts committed before the creation of the tribunal in the subject matter of the charges before the tribunal.

2. The State of Israel enjoys immunity from prosecution.

3. Duplicity and uncertainty of charges against both accused and delay as abuse of process since the charges are being brought for acts that occurred 30 to 67 years ago.

The Tribunal after hearing submissions, in a unanimous decision, dismissed the preliminary objections stating that the objections had little merit. It was decided as follows:

1. Jurisdiction governed by the KLWCC Charter that does not provide a time frame and is similar to the Nuremberg Tribunal, which had no time limit prescribed. This trial is not criminalising what was not criminal before. The KL Charter empowers the Tribunal to take cognisance and to adjudicate on such crimes.

2. On the issue of immunity from criminal prosecution the Tribunal referred to the decision of the Genocide Convention 1948 in the ICJ Case: Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia & Montenegro), Judgment, I.C.J.

Where the court ruled that:

“ Thus if an organ of the State, or a person or group whose acts are legally attributable to the State, commits any of the acts proscribed by Article III of the Convention, the international responsibility of that State is incurred.”

3. On the duplicity, uncertainty and abuse of process objection, the Charter and its Rules are silent on the rule against duplicity in charges and does not apply in international tribunals. The particulars contained in the charges were facts to be proven by the prosecution in the proceedings. And the lapse of time in filing these charges does not prejudice the accused as such charges can be filed at any time.

The judges of the Tribunal are headed by retired Malaysian Federal Court judge Tan Sri Dato Lamin bin Haji Mohd Yunus Lamin, who also served as an ad litem judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Republic of Yugoslavia. The other judges in the Tribunal include notable names such as Tunku Sofiah Jewa, practising lawyer and author of numerous publications on International Law, Prof Salleh Buang, former Federal Counsel in the Attorney-General Chambers and prominent author, and Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, prominent academic and professor of law, Dato’ Saari Yusof, former Appeal Court judge, Mr John Philpot, a senior litigation lawyer from Canada and Tunku Intan Mainura from the Faculty of Law, UiTM and a specialist in international law.

The Tribunal will adjudicate and evaluate the evidence presented as in any court of law. The judges of the Tribunal must be satisfied that the charges are proven beyond reasonable doubt and deliver a reasoned judgement.

In the event the tribunal convicts any of the accused, the only sanction is that the name of the guilty will be entered in the Commission’s Register of War Criminals and publicised worldwide. The tribunal is a tribunal of conscience and a peoples’ initiative.

The prosecution for the trial is led by Prof Gurdial S Nijar, prominent law professor and author of several law publications and Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman, senior barrister, and assisted by a team of lawyers.

The trial, which is open to the public, is being held from November 20 to 25, 2013 at the premises of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) at 88, Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur.

School for Spies: A Guide to the U.S. Spy Network

November 20th, 2013 by Global Research News

school4spies

17: number of different agencies in the U.S. spy network

$75 billion: estimated amount of money funding those 17 agencies

They are (number of personnel and budgets are generally classified):

The CIA (formed 1947), Langley, Va. Number of employees: classified
The National Security Agency (NSA), 1952, Fort Meade, Md., no. of employees: classified
Defense Intelligence Agency, 1971, Washington D.C., more than 16,500 employees
The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Washington D.C., around 215 employees
The Air Force ISR — Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, 1947, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Employees: classified
FBI’s National Security Branch, 2005, Washington D.C. Formed after 9/11
Army Intelligence and Security Command, 1977, Fort Belvoir, Va.
The Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 1977, Washington, D.C.
Coast Guard Intelligence, 1915, Washington, D.C.
Office of Intelligence and Analysis, 2004, Washington D.C.
Drug Enforcement Administration, 1973, El Paso, Texas
Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, reorganized in 2002, Washington D.C.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, renamed in 2003 , Fort Belvoir, Va. (formerly the Defense Mapping Agency, 1972)
The National Reconnaissance Office, 1961, Washington D.C.
Office of Naval Intelligence, 1882, Washington D.C.
DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, 2002, Washington D.C.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), 2004, Washington, D.C.

Wait, there’s more:

1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are working on intelligence, counter-terrorism, or homeland security in the U.S.

WOW: Just the NSA alone is contracting with more than 250 companies on intelligence work, including big names like Northrop Grumman and SAIC.

Need a job? So… you want to be a spy?

4 possible spy activities:

Surveillance – If you station a spy to another civilization’s city, he will establish a surveillance network in the city, besides giving you vision of the city territory within two tiles, and the ability to enter its city screen.
Technology theft – While in another civilization’s city, your spy will also engage in stealing their technology.
City-State manipulation – Stationing a spy in a City-State will set him to rig the local elections which occur regularly every 12 turns. If he’s successful, the new City-State government will be more friendly to your civilization, and less friendly to others,
Counter-intelligence – Stationing a spy in one of your own cities will have him doing counter-intelligence work. Whenever there is an enemy spy acting there, your spy will have a chance to discover and kill him.

How to be a good secret agent: Learn to read lips very well before hand.

Always stay calm and act natural.
If the shit hits the fan find a way out.
Keep your friends close , but keep your enemies closer.
Use the element of surprise.
Control your emotions.
Try not to tell anyone that you are a secret agent.
Buy formal occasion clothes.
Trust only your teammates.

Warnings:

This is not like James Bond.Real secret agents lose their lives daily
Remember to maintain S.A, or Situation awareness.
Your self awareness and ego MUST be under control.
You must be aware of relevant laws and not do anything illegal, or you may be in big trouble with the police.

Tools of the trade:

Small bag
Notebook
Pens
Disguise
Binoculars
Sunglasses
Sticky tape
Communication device (phone)
Water bottle
Weapons
Skill
Experience in martial arts of defense

Movin’ On Up

You start as a recruit
Agent
Special Agent

First 2 Rules an Applicant (for the National Clandestine Service of the CIA)?

Don’t tell anyone you are applying for a job.
Refrain from telling anyone you are even thinking of applying.

Employment with the NCS offers several career paths

Core Collectors/Operations Officers usually work overseas recruiting and handling foreign sources of human intelligence.
Core Collectors/Collection Management Officers also spend the majority of their careers working abroad. They manage the collection of human intelligence and evaluate and disseminate it to the US foreign policy community and intelligence community analysts.
Staff Operations Officers are the liaisons between NCS stateside headquarters and overseas field officers. They spend most of their time in Washington, DC, but may have temporary overseas assignments. They are experts in either a specific region or a transnational target, for example terrorism or crime.
Specialized Skills Officers work either at DC headquarters or overseas. They utilize their experience in the military or their language, technical or media skills to conduct or support CIaA operations. Job titles that fall under this category include targeting officer, language officer, paramilitary officer, programs and plans officer and information resource officer.

Job Qualifications

Core collectors enter through either the Professional Trainee Program or the Clandestine Service Program,
To go directly into the Clandestine Service Program, the candidate must have several years of work or military experience.
Those who do not will enter through the Professional Trainee Program before moving into the Clandestine Service Program.
Headquarters employees, such as staff operations officers and specialized skills officers, participate in the Headquarters Based Trainee Program.
All job applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0.
Proficiency in a foreign language is required for those who are training to become core collectors.
Have a demonstrated interest in international affairs.

College Courses to take

International business,
finance,
International relations
economics,
physical science or nuclear, biological or chemical engineering

Necessary Personality Qualities

Spying is stressful. Can you cope with it?
Good judgment,
ability to multitask and manage time well,
strong written and oral communication skills and
Problem-solving ability. A willingness to continuously learn is also important. Since assignments often require one to be part of a team, the ability to work with others is imperative.

Pros and Cons of being a spy

Pro: intrigue
Pro: Instrumental in fighting terror
Con: Keeps identity hidden from others
Con: Might have to kill innocents, betray people, lie
Con: No public recognition for a job well done

The friendly Spy Club:

The exclusive “No Spy” Club: 5 English-speaking countries who share virtually all intelligence — and pledge not to practice their craft on one another (We think):

Canada
Australia
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

Hall of Infamy (and where they went to school): They spied, until caught

Cambridge University: Anthony Blunt, recruited the infamous Cambridge 3 Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby

George Washington University: Aldrich Ames

Johns Hopkins U., Harvard Law: Alger Hiss

Harvard: Theodore Alvin Hall

City College of New York: Julius Rosenberg

Columbia University: Whitaker Chambers.

Northwestern: Robert Hanssen

Good guy spies (fictional), and where they went to school:

James Bond went to the University of Geneva

Jason Bourne (real name David Webb) was a teacher in New Hampshire

Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible): University of Pennsylvania

Jack Ryan: Boston College

school4spies-thumb

Sources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Secret-Agent

http://www.spymuseum.com

http://careerplanning.about.com/od/exploringoccupations/a/be-a-spy.htm

CIA Clandestine Service

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2013/10/an-exclusive-club-the-five-countries-that-dont-spy-on-each-other.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5#the-national-security-agency-was-once-so-secretive-it-was-jokingly-called-no-such-agency-2

The eruption of the Syrian conflict early in 2011 heralded the demise of Turkey ’s officially pronounced strategy of “Zero Problems with Neighbors,” but more importantly, it revealed a “hidden agenda” in Turkish foreign policy under the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

  What Sreeram Chaulia, the Dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs in India ’s Sonipat, described as a “creeping hidden agenda” (http://rt.com on Sept. 15, 2013) is covered up ideologically as “Islamist.”

But in a more in-depth insight it is unfolding as neo-Ottomanism that is pragmatically using “Islamization,” both of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy internally and Turkey ’s foreign policy regionally, as a tool to revive the Ottoman Empire that once was.

Invoking his country’s former imperial grandeur, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotoglu had written: “As in the sixteenth century … we will once again make the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, together with Turkey , the center of world politics in the future. That is the goal of Turkish foreign policy and we will achieve it.” (Emphasis added)

Quoted by Hillel Fradkin and Lewis Libby, writing in last March/April edition of www.worldaffairsjournal.org, the goal of Erdogan’s AKP ruling party for 2023, as proclaimed by its recent Fourth General Congress, is: “A great nation, a great power.” Erdogan urged the youth of Turkey to look not only to 2023, but to 2071 as well when Turkey “will reach the level of our Ottoman and Seljuk ancestors by the year 2071” as he said in December last year.

“2071 will mark one thousand years since the Battle of Manzikert,” when the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire and heralded the advent of the Ottoman one, according to Fradkin and Libby.

Some six months ago, Davotoglu felt so confident and optimistic to assess that “it was now finally possible to revise the order imposed” by the British – French Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 to divide the Arab legacy of the Ottoman Empire between them.

Davotoglu knows very well that Pan-Arabs have been ever since struggling unsuccessfully so far to unite as a nation and discard the legacy of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, but not to recur to the Ottoman status quo ante, but he knows as well that Islamist political movements like the Muslim Brotherhood International (MBI) and the Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) were originally founded in Egypt and Palestine respectively in response to the collapse of the Ottoman Islamic caliphate.

However, Erdogan’s Islamist credentials cannot be excluded as simply a sham; his background, his practices in office since 2002 as well as his regional policies since the eruption of the Syrian conflict less than three years ago all reveal that he does believe in his version of Islam per se as the right tool to pursue his Ottoman not so-“hidden agenda.”

Erdogan obviously is seeking to recruit Muslims as merely “soldiers” who will fight not for Islam per se, but for his neo-Ottomanism ambitions. Early enough in December 1997, he was given a 10-month prison sentence for voicing a poem that read: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers;” the poem was considered a violation of Kemalism by the secular judiciary.

Deceiving ‘Window of Opportunity ’

However, Erdogan’s Machiavellianism finds no contradiction between his Islamist outreach and his promotion of the “Turkish model,” which sells what is termed as the “moderate” Sunni Islam within the context of Ataturk’s secular and liberal state as both an alternative to the conservative tribal-religious states in the Arabian Peninsula and to the sectarian rival of the conservative Shiite theocracy in Iran.

He perceived in the latest US withdrawal of focus from the Middle East towards the Pacific Ocean a resulting regional power vacuum providing him with an historic window of opportunity to fill the perceived vacuum.

“Weakening of Europe and the US’ waning influence in the Middle East” were seen by the leadership of Erdogan’s ruling party “as a new chance to establish Turkey as an influential player in the region,” Günter Seufert wrote in the German Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) on last October 14.

The US and Israel , in earnest to recruit Turkey against Iran , nurtured Erdogan’s illusion of regional leadership. He deluded himself with the unrealistic belief that Turkey could stand up to and sidestep the rising stars of the emerging Russian international polar, the emerging Iranian regional polar and the traditional regional players of Egypt and Saudi Arabia , let alone Iraq and Syria should they survive their current internal strife.

For sure, his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood International (MBI) and his thinly veiled Machiavellian logistical support of al-Qaeda – linked terrorist organizations are not and will not be a counter balance.

He first focused his Arab outreach on promoting the “Turkish model,” especially during the early months of the so-called “Arab Spring,” as the example he hoped will be followed by the revolting masses, which would have positioned him in the place of the regional mentor and leader.

But while the eruption of the Syrian conflict compelled him to reveal his Islamist “hidden agenda” and his alliance with the MBI, the removal of MBI last July from power in Egypt with all its geopolitical weight, supported by the other regional Arab heavy weight of Saudi Arabia, took him off guard and dispelled his ambitions for regional leadership, but more importantly revealed more his neo-Ottoman “hidden agenda” and pushed him to drop all the secular and liberal pretensions of his “Turkish model” rhetoric.

‘Arab Idol’ No More 

Erdogan and his foreign policy engineer Davotoglu tried as well to exploit the Arab and Muslim adoption of the Palestine Question as the central item on their foreign policy agendas.

Since Erdogan’s encounter with the Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Economic Summit in Davos in January 2009, the Israeli attack on the Turkish humanitarian aid boat to Gaza, Mavi Marmara, the next year and Turkey’s courting of the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas,” the de facto rulers of the Israeli besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip, at the same time Gaza was targeted by the Israeli Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 then targeted again in the Israeli Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Turkey’s premier became the Arab idol who was invited to attend Arab Leage summit and ministerial meetings.

However, in interviews with ResearchTurkey, CNN Turk and other media outlets, Abdullatif Sener, a founder of Erdogan’s AKP party who served as deputy prime minister and minister of finance in successive AKP governments for about seven years before he broke out with Erdogan in 2008, highlighted Erdogan’s Machiavellianism and questioned the sincerity and credibility of his Islamic, Palestinian and Arab public posturing.

“Erdogan acts without considering religion even at some basic issues but he hands down sharp religious messages … I consider the AK Party not as an Islamic party but as a party which collect votes by using Islamic discourses,” Sener said, adding that, “the role in Middle East was assigned to him” and “the strongest logistic support” to Islamists who have “been carrying out terrorist activities” in Syria “is provided by Turkey” of Erdogan.

In an interview with CNN Turk, Sener dropped a bombshell when he pointed out that the AKP’s spat with Israel was “controlled.” During the diplomatic boycott of Israel many tenders were granted to Israeli companies and Turkey has agreed to grant partner status to Israel in NATO: “If the concern of the AKP is to confront Israel then why do they serve to the benefit of Israel ?” In another interview he said that the NATO radar systems installed in Malatya are there to protect Israel against Iran .

Sener argued that the biggest winner of the collapse of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad would be Israel because it will weaken Lebanon ’s Hizbullah and Iran , yet Erdogan’s Turkey is the most ardent supporter of a regime change in Syria , he said.

Erdogan’s Syrian policy was the death knell to his strategy of “Zero Problems with Neighbors;” the bloody terrorist swamp of the Syrian conflict has drowned it in its quicksand.

Liz Sly’s story in the Washington Post on this November 17 highlighted how his Syrian policies “have gone awry” and counterproductive by “putting al-Qaeda on NATO’s (Turkish) borders for the first time.”

With his MBI alliance, he alienated Egypt , Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in addition to the other Arab heavy weights of Syria , Iraq and Algeria and was left with “zero friends” in the region.

According to Günter Seufert, Turkey ’s overall foreign policy, not only with regards to Syria , “has hit the brick wall” because the leadership of Erdogan’s ruling party “has viewed global political shifts through an ideologically (i.e. Islamist) tinted lens.”

Backpedaling too late

Now it seems Erdogan’s “ Turkey is already carefully backpedaling” on its foreign policy,” said Seufert. It “wants to reconnect” with Iran and “ Washington ’s request to end support for radical groups in Syria did not fall on deaf Turkish ears.”

“Reconnecting” with Iran and its Iraqi ruling sectarian brethren will alienate further the Saudis who could not tolerate similar reconnection by their historical and strategic US ally and who were already furious over Erdogan’s alliance with the Qatari financed and US sponsored Muslim Brotherhood and did not hesitate to publicly risk a rift with their US ally over the removal of the MBI from power in Egypt five months ago.

Within this context came Davotoglu’s recent visit to Baghdad , which “highlighted the need for great cooperation between Turkey and Iraq against the Sunni-Shiite conflict,” according to www.turkishweekly.net on this November 13. Moreover, he “personally” wanted “to spend the month of Muharram every year in (the Iraqi Shiite holy places of) Karbala and Najaf with our (Shiite) brothers there.”

Within the same “backpedaling” context came Erdogan’s playing the host last week to the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Massoud Barzani, not in Ankara , but in Diyarbakir , which Turkish Kurds cherish as their capital in the same way Iraqi Kurds cherish Kirkuk .

However, on the same day of Barzani’s visit Erdogan ruled out the possibility of granting Turkish Kurds their universal right of self-determination when he announced “Islamic brotherhood” as the solution for the Kurdish ethnic conflict in Turkey , while his deputy, Bulent Arinc, announced that “a general amnesty” for Kurdish detainees “is not on today’s agenda.” Three days earlier, on this November 15, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, “Turkey cannot permit (the) fait accompli” of declaring a Kurdish provisional self-rule along its southern borders in Syria which his prime minister’s counterproductive policies created together with an al-Qaeda-dominated northeastern strip of Syrian land.

Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism charged by his Islamist sectarian ideology as a tool has backfired to alienate both Sunni and Shiite regional environment, the Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, Emirati, Saudi and Lebanese Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Israelis and Iranians as well as Turkish and regional liberals and secularists. His foreign policy is in shambles with a heavy economic price as shown by the recent 13.2% devaluation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar.

“Backpedaling” might be too late to get Erdogan and his party through the upcoming local elections next March and the presidential elections which will follow in August next year.

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

Fifty Years Later, Kennedy Shooting Less Certain than Lincoln Conspiracy

50th anniversary commemorations of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will include a tickets-only memorial at the scene of the crime, Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, Texas.  No doubt there will also be celebrations in some places, just as there were in the aftermath of the November 22, 1963, killing.

Whatever events are held, whether formal or impromptu, they will all have one thing in common: no one knows the full story of what happened.    The official version put out by the Warren Commission, is long since discredited, but independent investigations have yet to present a coherent alternative narrative.

That there is such a narrative is certain, since that would be the event as it happened.  One reason we don’t know what happened is that our government has kept assassination-related material secret – protecting national security secrets say secrecy defenders.  Others say stonewalling.

Polling in April 2013 suggests a waning interest in the Kennedy assassination, since only 59% of Americans now believe the official version is false.  That number is considerably lower than a 2003 Gallup poll in which 75% of Americans said the Kennedy killing was a conspiracy.

In 1978, the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations’ lengthy inquiry concluded that JFK “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”   The official version holds that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and fired only three shots.  The House Committee produced evidence that at least four shots were fired.   While coming to the inevitable, evidence-based conclusion that a conspiracy killed Kennedy, the committee did not reach a conclusion as to who was part of the conspiracy.

We Know It Was a Conspiracy, But Not Who Were The Conspirators 

Myriad books have been published arguing various versions of events, but for the most part the big money from publishers has gone to writers (Gerald Posner, Vincent Bugliosi).  But other, conspiracy-centered writers (Mark Lane, Jim Marrs, Anthony Summers) have far out-sold the official version

That’s perhaps to be expected when the majority of Americans have believed for almost 50 years that their government is lying to them about the Kennedy assassination, just as the government has lied about so many other important things, such as the Viet-Nam war, and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and assassination by drone.

A couple of Hollywood movies are in the works, both based on books: “Legacy of Secrecy” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro (the Mafia did it) and  “Parkland” with Colin Hanks and Paul Giamatti (Oswald did it alone).   Academy Award winner Erroll Morris is working on a documentary of the assassination (he hasn’t said who did it).

From the start, other suspects have included the CIA (because Kennedy wanted to get out of Viet-Nam), Castro (because the CIA was trying to assassinate him), and the KGB (because they’re Russian or something).

Another popular suspect has long been Lyndon Johnson, who was Kennedy’s Vice President at the time, when there were rumors that Kennedy was going to replace him on the 1964 presidential ticket.   Johnson is the most obvious first choice, at least based on the traditional analysis of means, motive, and opportunity.

Texas attorney Barr McClellan put the case against LBJ pretty strongly in his 2003 book, “Blood, Money & Power.”   McClellan was one of LBJ’s personal lawyers, but his book did not get wide notice in the mainstream media at the time – when his son, Scott McClellan was serving as White House Press Secretary for President Bush.

“Blood, Money & Power” Did Not Appear on 2003 Bestseller Lists 

The New York Times referred to McClellan’s book dismissively in early 2004:  “It is the most serious of public accusations, but it is so serious that serious people dismiss it as nuts. “

The only reason the Times brought it up then was that Barr McClellan had repeated his accusation on a History Channel program about the Kennedy assassination, “The Guilty Men.”  The Times was reporting on serious, and eventually effective pushback against the program by “Bill Moyers and other powerful men who worked for President Johnson,” as the Times put it.

Early in May 2013, the same charge against LBJ was lodged by Roger Stone, in early publicity for his book, “The Man Who Killed Kennedy – The Case Against LBJ,” due out in the fall.   The publisher, Skyhorse Publishing in Manhattan, begins its description of the book this way:

“Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of great ambition and enormous greed, both of which, in 1963, would threaten to destroy him. In the end, President Johnson would use power from his personal connections in Texas and from the underworld and from the government to escape an untimely end in politics and to seize even greater power. President Johnson, the thirty-sixth president of the United States, was the driving force behind a conspiracy to murder President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.” 

Skyhorse started publishing in 2006.  In 2011, the company issued a paperback edition of Barr McClellan’s “Blood, Money & Power.  Skyhorse has some 2,000 titles in print, including “Guns Across the Border” (about Operation Fast and Furious), “Hit List” by Richard Belzer (about mysterious deaths of JFK assassination witnesses), “Shooter’s Bible,” and “Big Breasts & Wide Hips” (a novel).

Roger Stone Hinted at Running for Governor of Florida as a Libertarian

As described on Huffington Post,

“Roger Stone is a legendary American Republican political consultant who has played a key role in the election of Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan to George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Long a an outspoken libertarian Republican Stone stunned the political world when he announced he would leave the GOP over it’s lurch to the far-right on social issues and join the Libertarian Party. The Libertarians will be on the ballot in all 50 states.”

Roger Stone (along with Karl Rove) worked for the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), Richard Nixon’s 1972 campaign committee.  Reportedly, Stone has a tattoo of Nixon on his back.

According to Stone, when Nixon was in the House, Johnson told him to hire Jack Ruby, which Nixon did.  In 1963, Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas police department.

Richard Nixon was in Dallas on business for his client Pepsi Cola at the time of the assassination, leaving Dallas on the morning of November 22.

There was a fingerprint on the rifle found in the “sniper’s nest” in the Texas School Depository on November 22, 1963, that did not belong to Lee Harvey Oswald.  That fingerprint belong to an associate of the vice president, a convicted murderer named  Malcolm (Mac) Wallace, according to Barr McClellan and others.

According to LBJ biographer Robert Caro:

“In attaining this influence, [LBJ]  displayed a genius for discerning a path to power, an utter ruthlessness in destroying obstacles in that path, and a seemingly bottomless capacity for deceit, deception and betrayal in moving along it.”

“JFK Assassination 50th Anniversary” is the name of a facebook page dedicated to encouraging a grassroots letter writing campaign to get the U.S. to release all its information relating to the 1963 assassination.  Started in August 2012, this page had 286 “likes” as of late May 2013.

The JFK Assassination and 9/11: the Designated Suspects in Both Cases

November 20th, 2013 by Prof Peter Dale Scott

Global Research recently published my essay entitled  9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics  In this article, I argue that 9/11 should be analyzed as a deep event (an event not fully aired or understood because of its intelligence connections) and above all as one of a series of deep events which from time to time have frustrated peace initiatives or become pretexts for war.

In support of this overall thesis I pointed to features of 9/11 which recalled similar deep events: the still not fully understood outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the JFK assassination, and the so-called Second Tonkin Gulf Incident of 1964 (an alleged attack on U.S. destroyers which we now know never happened).

The similarities between these deep events which have disturbed American history since World War Two suggest that they are not just a sequence of unrelated external accidents, but at least in part the product of some on-going deep indigenous force not yet adequately understood.

In this series of deep events, perhaps the most striking similarities are between the JFK assassination (henceforward referred to as “JFK”) and 9/11. Earlier talks and articles I have delivered on this topic are developed even further in my forthcoming much expanded reissue of my early book, The War Conspiracy. As The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War, it is due to be published by the Mary Ferrell Foundation Press in August 2008.

The following essay is the concluding section of the new book, and has never hitherto been published.]

I wish to summarize again the first striking similarity between 11/22/63 and of 9/11/01: the dubious detective work on those two days. Less than fifteen minutes after the President’s assassination, the height and weight of Kennedy’s alleged killer was posted.1 Before the last of the hijacked planes crashed on 9/11, the FBI told Richard Clarke that they had a list of alleged hijackers.2

In the case of Oswald, within fifteen minutes of the assassination and long before Oswald was picked up in the Texas Theater, Inspector Sawyer of the Dallas police put out on the police radio network, and possibly other networks, a description of the killer – “About 30, 5’10″, 165 pounds.”3 As noted, this height and weight exactly matched the measurements attributed to Lee Harvey Oswald in Oswald’s FBI file, and also in CIA documents about him.4

The announced height and weight were however different from Oswald’s actual measurements, as recorded by the Dallas police after his arrest: 5’9 1/2″, 131 pounds.5 More importantly, there is no credible source for the posted measurements from any witness in Dallas. (The witness said to have spotted him, Howard Brennan, failed to identify Oswald in a line-up.)6 This leaves the possibility that the measurements were taken from existing files on Oswald, rather than from any observations in Dallas on November 22. If so, someone with access to those files may have already designated Oswald as the culprit, before there was any evidence to connect him to the crime.

A similar situation pertains to the alleged hijackers on 9/11. For example, shortly afterwards men in Saudi Arabia complained that “the hijackers’ `personal details’” released by the FBI — “including name, place, date of birth and occupation — matched their own.”7 One of them, Saeed al-Ghamdi, claimed further that an alleged photograph shown on CNN (of an alleged Flight 93 hijacker with the same name) was in fact a photograph of himself. He speculated “that CNN had probably got the picture from the Flight Safety flying school he attended in Florida.”8

If the above information is accurate, then the details posted by the FBI and CNN about the alleged hijackers cannot have derived from the events of 9/11, with which the survivors in Saudi Arabia would appear to have been uninvolved. Once again this leaves the strong possibility that the details were taken from existing files, rather than from empirical observations on September 11.9

And some of the hijackers, like Lee Harvey Oswald, may have been in CIA files for a special reason: because the CIA had an operational interest in them.

 Internal CIA Evidence of Operational Interest in Oswald and the Hijackers

I have speculated that Oswald, like the al-Qaeda trainer Ali Mohamed, might have been a double agent reporting to the FBI about the terrorist group (Alpha 66) with which some law enforcement officers associated him.

I would like now to discuss more unequivocal evidence, from internal CIA records, about an operational CIA interest in first Oswald and later two of the alleged al-Qaeda hijackers, Nawaz al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdar. In 2001 as in 1963 the CIA inexplicably withheld information about the subjects from the FBI, which ought categorically to have received it. The anomalies are extreme.

This is now easy to show in the case of Oswald. On October 10, 1963, six

weeks before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, CIA Headquarters sent out two messages about Oswald, a teletype to the FBI, State, and Navy, and a cable to the chief of the CIA’s Mexico City station. Both messages contained false and mutually contradictory statements, and also withheld known facts of great potential importance.10 The teletype to the FBI withheld the obviously significant information that Oswald had reportedly met in Mexico City with a Soviet Vice-Consul, Valeriy Kostikov, who was believed by CIA officers to be an officer of the KGB.11

One CIA officer, Jane Roman, helped draft both messages. In 1995 she was confronted by two interviewers with irrefutable evidence that she had signed off on erroneous information about Oswald in the CIA cable to Mexico City. After much questioning, she finally admitted, “I’m signing off on something I know isn’t true.” One of the interviewers, John Newman, then asked her, “‘Is this indicative of some sort of operational interest in Oswald’s file?’ ‘Yes,’ Roman replied. ‘To me it’s indicative of a keen interest in Oswald held very closely on the need-to-know basis.’” She later repeated, “I would think there was definitely some operational reason to withhold it [the information at CIA headquarters on Oswald], if it was not sheer administrative error, when you see all the people who signed off on it.”12

Other CIA officers withheld important information from the FBI in January 2000, with respect to Khalid al-Mihdar, who would later be identified as one of the al-Qaeda hijackers on September 11, 2001. The NSA overheard on a Yemeni telephone about a meeting in Malaysia which al-Mihdar would attend, along with Tewfiq bin Attash, the mastermind of the fatal attack on the USS Cole.13 It notified the CIA but not the FBI. In consequence

[Khalid al-Mihdar’s] Saudi passport – which contained a visa for travel to the United States – was photocopied [in Qatar] and forwarded to CIA headquarters. The information was not shared with FBI headquarters until August 2001. An FBI agent detailed to the Bin Ladin unit at the CIA attempted to share this information with colleagues at FBI Headquarters. A CIA desk officer instructed him not to send the cable with this information. Several hours later, this same desk officer drafted a cable distributed solely within CIA alleging that the visa documents had been shared with the FBI.14

Lawrence Wright, reviewing this and other significant anomalies, reported in The Looming Tower the belief among FBI agents following bin Laden “that the agency was protecting Mihdar and [his companion, the alleged 9/11 hijacker Nawaz al-] Hazmi because it hoped to recruit them,” or alternatively that “the CIA was running a joint venture with Saudi intelligence” using al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi.15 Wright himself speculated in a companion essay he wrote for The New Yorker that “The CIA may also have been protecting an overseas operation and was afraid that the F.B.I. would expose it.”16

The Consequences of the CIA’s Withholding of Evidence

As just noted, the CIA, in its teletype to the FBI of October 10, 1963, withheld the information that Oswald had reportedly met with a KGB officer, Valeriy Kostikov. Former FBI Director Clarence Kelley in his memoir later complained that this failure to inform the FBI was the major reason why Oswald was not put under surveillance on November 22, 1963.17 In other words, the withholding enabled Oswald to play whatever role he played on that fateful day, even if it was only to become a designated patsy.

FBI officials are even more bitter about the consequences of the withholding of information about al-Mihdar:

They didn’t want the bureau meddling in their business – that’s why they didn’t tell the FBI….They purposely hid from the FBI, purposely refused to tell the bureau that they were following a man in Malaysia who had a visa to come to America….And that’s why September 11 happened. That is why it happened….They have blood on their hands. They have three thousand deaths on their hands.18

But the CIA withheld information from the FBI about bin Attash (already the subject of a criminal investigation) as well, even when asked by an FBI agent, Ali Soufan, about bin Attash and the Malaysia meeting. According to Wright,

The agency did not respond to his clearly stated request. The fact that the CIA withheld information about the mastermind of the Cole bombing and the meeting in Malaysia, when directly asked by the FBI, amounted to obstruction of justice in the death of the seventeen American sailors.”19

In late August 2001, only days before 9/11, FBI agent Steve Bongardt, complaining about the CIA’s withholding of information about al-Mihdar, correctly predicted in an angry email to the CIA’s bin Laden unit that “someday someone will die.”20

The CIA’s Dishonest Efforts to Cover-Up

From the moment Congress, in the 1970s, began to evince an interest in the Kennedy assassination, former CIA officer David Phillips became a vigorous defender of the CIA’s performance. With respect to false information about Oswald in CIA cables both to and from Mexico City (where Phillips was in charge of Cuban affairs for the CIA station), Phillips’s first response was to dismiss Oswald as “a blip” of no interest.21

A similar defense of the CIA’s failure to act on al-Mihdar was offered to the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 by the Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, Cofer Black: “I think that month we watchlisted about 150 people.”22 The same defense was offered by Dale Watson, the FBI’s former counterterrorism chief:

There were a lot of red flags prior to 9/11….So it’s a mass of information and it’s a sea of threats, and it’s like working against a maze. If you know where the end point of a maze is, it’s certainly easier to work your way back to the starting point than trying to go through the maze and sort out all the red flags.23

The problem with this excuse is that both Oswald and al-Mihdar were singled out for special CIA attention, not left floating in a sea of red flags. The cable to Mexico City which Jane Roman signed off on was not handled routinely, it was sent for signature to the CIA’s Assistant Deputy Director for Plans, Thomas Karamessines. And in the case of al-Mihdar in Malaysia, back in 2000

CIA leaders were so convinced about the potential significance of the al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia, they not only set up surveillance of it, but provided regular updates to the FBI director [Louis Freeh], the head of the CIA [George Tenet], and the national security advisor [Samuel Berger].24

That Freeh and Berger were being notified at the top about the Malaysia meeting (at the same time that the regular FBI bureaucracy was being cut out) is confirmed in accounts by Terry McDermott and Philip Shenon.25

CIA officials testified falsely to congressional committees with respect to both Oswald and al-Mihdar. James Angleton was asked by the staff of the House Select Committee on Assassinations about a memoir written by the CIA’s station chief in Mexico City, Win Scott, and later personally retrieved for the Agency after Scott’s death by Angleton himself. Angleton testified that Scott’s “manuscript was fictional and did not include a chapter on Oswald.” In fact, according to Jefferson Morley, “The only surviving manuscript is clearly nonfictional and does have a chapter on Oswald.”26

Both George Tenet and Cofer Black testified before the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 that the FBI had been granted access to the information linking al-Mihdar and Tewfiq bin Attash (alias Khallad), the mastermind of the Cole bombing. The 9/11 Commission, after a lengthy review of the matter, concluded “this was not the case.”27

The CIA, Oswald, and Al-Mihdar: Suppression of Vital Records

That the CIA regards its relationship to the suspects Oswald and al-Mihdar as sensitive is further illustrated by its suppression of vital evidence with respect to both. Although in the 1990s all government agencies were required by law to submit their Oswald-related documents to the Assassination Records Review Board, the CIA has been vigorously resisting pressure to do this in the case of former CIA officer George Joannides. In 1963 Joannides was the case officer for AMSPELL, the CIA’s operation in support of the Cuban exile group DRE (Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil). In August 1963 the DRE was in contact with Oswald and participated with him in a radio broadcast which was later distributed with CIA help throughout Latin America.28

According to Jefferson Morley, “four decades after the fact, the most important AMSPELL records are missing from CIA archives – perhaps intentionally.” Monthly reports on DRE activities were filed by CIA case officers Ross Crozier and William Kent, and these records were declassified by the ARRB for the periods September 1960-November 1962 and after May 1964.

But the board was unable to locate any monthly AMSPELL reports from December 1962 to April 1964. There was a seventeen-month gap in the AMSPELL records, which coincided exactly with the period in which George Joannides handled the group.29

With respect to 9/11, all that is known about suppression so far has to do with the public record. Here it is striking that the Report of the Joint Inquiry by Congress into 9/11 has one glaring redaction of twenty-eight pages, dealing with “sources of foreign support for some of the September 11th hijackers while they were in the United States.” Press reports have specified that this refers to Saudi money which reached al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi in 2000 while they were in San Diego. According to committee cochair Senator Bob Graham,

The draft contained a twenty-eight page passage that detailed evidence that Saudis in the United States – Saudi government “spies,” Graham called them – had provided financial and logistical support to [al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi] while they lived in Southern California.30

Similarly the 9/11 Commission failed to deal with the information on an FBI “hijacker timeline” that al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi were met at the airport on their first arrival in the United States by Omar al-Bayoumi, the transmitter of the Saudi funds, whom Graham claimed was obviously “a low-ranking Saudi intelligence agent.”31 The FBI findings were leaked in an early story in Newsweek:

At the airport, they were swept up by a gregarious fellow Saudi, Omar al-Bayoumi, who had been living in the United States for several years. Al-Bayoumi drove the two men to San Diego, threw a welcoming party and arranged for the visitors to get an apartment next to his. He guaranteed the lease, and plunked down $1,550 in cash to cover the first two months’ rent.32

One month later, “In January 2003, Graham and the other members of the committee were …the focus of a criminal investigation by the FBI into whether someone on the panel had leaked classified information.”33

The 9/11 Commission avoided this sensitive area. It cited the FBI Chronology a total of 52 times in its footnotes, for example at 493n55, concerning al-Mihdar’s travel from Yemen to the Malaysian meeting. But it suppressed the FBI’s report that al-Bayoumi met al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi on their arrival; and it substituted what Shenon calls an “improbable tale” supplied by al-Bayoumi himself: namely, that he had run into the two men two weeks later by accident “at a halal food restaurant” near Los Angeles.34

It is clear that two members of the 9/11 Commission staff who redacted this part of the report – Dietrich Snell and Philip Zelikow – were concerned to tone down what junior staffers considered to be “explosive material” on the Saudis.35 Shenon tells how this section of the 9/11 report was rewritten by Snell and Zelikow, until the text “removed all of the most serious allegations against the Saudis.”36

But Snell and Zelikow may have been protecting the CIA as well as the Saudis. We have already noted how Lawrence Wright, looking at the extraordinary CIA record on withholding information about al-Mihdar and al-Hazmi, concluded, “It is also possible, as some FBI investigators suspect, the CIA was running a joint venture with Saudi intelligence.”37

Conclusion

It is clear, as everyone who has studied these matters closely and impartially concurs, that there have been cover-ups of the CIA’s relationships to first Oswald and later al-Mihdar – cover-ups which in both cases have not yet been adequately resolved.

A reasonable conclusion from the available evidence is that the cover-ups were in order to conceal prior CIA operational interest in the designated subjects, just as in the case of Ali Mohamed in the early 1990s. It could of course be a coincidence that people of operational interest to the CIA became designated subjects in the deep events of JFK and 9/11. Another, more disturbing possibility is that those responsible for these events knew of the CIA’s operational interest, and exploited it in such a way as to ensure that the government would be embarrassed into covering up what really happened on those days.

A lot of books about 9/11, including my own, have focused on the roles played by Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld on that day. But it is clear that 9/11 involved a USG connection to at least one figure (Ali Mohamed) so sensitive that it had been covered up from the time of the Nosair murder in 1990 and the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. It is probable that Oswald’s covert USG connections also dated back to the time of his strange release from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1959, enabling him to travel to the Soviet Union.38

In short there is a substratum of covert operations underlying both events that antedates the presidencies in which they occurred. Thus one should not expect the cover-up of 9/11 in the G.W. Bush administration to dissipate simply because the Democrats take over the White House, just as the Johnson administration’s cover-up of the Kennedy assassination did not dissipate with the election of Richard Nixon.39

This is said not out of despair, but out of belief in the ultimate resilience and good sense of the American people. The analysis in this book is that America’s involvement in two disastrous wars – first Vietnam and later Iraq – was not an outcome of the people’s will, but rather in large part because of deep events that were used to manipulate that will. Thus this analysis is not an attack on America, but on that manipulative mindset that has twice succeeded in maneuvering America into war.

This dominant mindset is not restricted to intelligence agencies, though it is largely rooted there. Over time it has spread into other parts of government, and has also corrupted large sections of the media and even universities. That the mindset is widespread does not however make it either omnipotent or invincible.

It is important to identify the dominant mindset clearly, if we are ever going to displace it. It is important also to recognize that the dark topics discussed in this book are not representative of America as a whole. In the half century since the CIA’s first adventures in Burma and Laos, America has continued to be, as in the two centuries before it, a source of life-enhancing innovations, such as the computer and the internet.

As Amy Chua has written in her book Day of Empire,

If America can rediscover the path that has been the secret to its success since its founding and avoid the temptations of empire building, it could remain the world’s hyperpower in the decades to come – not a hyperpower of coercion and military force, but a hyperpower of opportunity, dynamism, and moral force.40

I have tried to suggest in this book that the key to this rediscovery is the identification and displacement of the manipulative forces that have maneuvered America, almost unsuspectingly, into two unnecessary and disastrous wars.

If there is any merit to my analysis, then, to isolate those forces, we must press for the truth about both the Kennedy assassination and 9/11.

NOTES

1 Transcript of Dallas Police Channel Two, 12:44 PM; cf. Channel One 12:45 PM,

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dpdtapes/; Warren Report 5, 17 Warren Commission Hearings 397, 23 Warren Commission Hearings 916.

2 Clarke, Against All Enemies, 13-14. The list of 19 names, accepted without question by the 9/11 Commission Report, was given by the FBI to the press on September 14, 2001 (Daily Telegraph, September 15, 2001,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/15/whunt15.xml).

3 Transcript of Dallas Police Channel Two, 12:44 PM; cf. Channel One 12:45 PM,

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/dpdtapes/; Warren Report 5, 17 Warren Commission Hearings 397.

4 E.g. Dallas FBI Report from John Fain, May 12, 1960, 17 Warren Commission Hearings 704, NARA #157-10006-10213 (“Height: 5’10″ Weight: 165 lbs.” [inaccurate description supplied by Marguerite Oswald]); CIA HQ Cable DIR 74830 to Mexico City, 10 Oct 1963, NARA #104-10015-10048, reproduced in John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995), 512 (“five feet ten inches, one hundred sixty five pounds”).

5 Fingerprint card dated “11-25-63,” 17 Warren Commission Hearings 308.

6 Warren Report 5, 144; Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact (Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2006), 10-13, 78n. After seeing Oswald twice on television, Brennan picked out Oswald in a second lineup (Warren Report, 143).

7 Daily Telegraph, September 23, 2001,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml.

Cf. Guardian, September 21 2001,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/21/afghanistan.september112 :” Abdulaziz

Al-Omari has also come forward to say he was not on the flight from Boston that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Centre. An electrical engineer who works in Saudi Arabia, Mr Al-Omari said he was a student in Denver during the mid-1990s, and that his passport and other papers were stolen in a burglary in the US five years ago. … `The name is my name and the birth date is the same as mine,’ he told Asharq al-Aswat, a London-based Arabic newspaper. `But I am not the one who bombed the World Trade Centre in New York.’”

8 Daily Telegraph, September 23, 2001,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml.

9 On October 4, 2001, the FBI issued a press release showing what appeared to be photos from surveillance videotape of two hijackers, Mohammed Atta and Abdulaziz Al-Omari, entering Portland Jetport on the morning of September 11, 2001 (FBI Press Release, October 4, 2001,

http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/100401picts.htm ). If valid, these would constitute evidence from the event itself. However the photos are anomalous, in that they show two time superimposed stamps, one showing 5:45, the other showing 5:53. The photos are not cited as evidence in the 9/11 Commission Report. On July 22, 2004, the date of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, CNN aired what they said was surveillance videotape of two hijackers, Majed Moqed and Khalid al-Mihdar. entering “at one of the security screening points at Dulles International” (CNN, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/22/lad.04.html ). The authenticity of the videotape has been challenged, however, because it lacks the time and date and location identification normally burned into a surveillance video image (Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall, 9/11 Revealed: The Unanswered Questions [New York: Carroll and Graf, 2005], 117-19).

10 I have argued that the conflicting messages were part of a so-called “marked card” or “barium meal” test to determine if and where leaks of sensitive information were occurring. This was a familiar technique, and was the responsibility of the CI/SIG or Counterintelligence Special Intelligence Group which drafted the two cables. See Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics II: The New Revelations in U.S. Government Files,1994-1999 (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2007), 17-18, 92; also Peter Dale Scott, “Oswald and the Hunt for Popov’s Mole,” The Fourth Decade, III, 3 (March 1996), 3;

www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?absPageId=519798.

11 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics II, 30-33.

12 Jefferson Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA (Lawrence, KA: University Press of Kansas, 2008), 196-98. See Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics II, 30-33.

13 Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf, 2006), 310.

14 9/11 Commission Report, 502n44.

15 Wright, The Looming Tower, 312, 313.

16 Lawrence Wright, “The Agent,” New Yorker, July 10 and 17, 2006, 68.

17 Clarence M. Kelley, Kelley: The Story of an FBI Director (Kansas City: Andrews, McMeel, & Parker, 1987), 268.

18 James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 224.

19 Wright, The Looming Tower, 329. In his New Yorker story (p. 70), Wright wrote that “By withholding the picture of Khallad [bin Attash]…the C.I.A. may in effect have allowed the September 11th plot to proceed.”

20 9/11 Commission Report, 271; Wright, The Looming Tower, 353-54.

21 David Atlee Phillips, Nightwatch, 139; quoted in Morley, Our Man in Mexico, 184. Morley observes that in the 1970s Phillips offered a total of “four not entirely consistent versions of the story of Oswald’s visit to Mexico City.”

22 J. Cofer Black testimony before 9/11 Congressional Joint Inquiry, 107th Cong., 2nd Sess., July 24, 2003.

23 Dale Watson testimony before Joint Inquiry, 107th Cong., 2nd Sess., September 26, 2002.

24 Amy B. Zegart, Flying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11(Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2007), 117.

25 Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers: The Hijackers: Who They Were, Why TheyDid It (New York: HarperCollins, 20050, 294n45; Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (New York: Twelve/Hachette, 2008), 141.

26 Morley, Our Man in Mexico, 7, 294.

27 9/11 Commission Report, 267.

28 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 81-86; Morley, Our Man in Mexico, 170-77.

29 Morley, Our Man in Mexico, 177.

30 Shenon, The Commission, 50-51.

31 Larisa Alexandrovna, “FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report,” RawStory, February 28, 2008, http://rawstory.com/news/2008/FBI_documents_contradict_Sept._11_Commission_0228.html (met at the airport); Shenon, The Commission, 52 (al-Bayoumi). Al-Bayoumi “apparently did work for Dallah Avco, an aviation-services company with extensive contracts with the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation, headed by Prince Sultan, the father of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar” (“The Saudi Money Trail,” Newsweek, December 2, 2002, http://www.newsweek.com/id/66665).

32 “The Saudi Money Trail,” Newsweek, December 2, 2002. The FBI “hijacker timeline” was released by the FBI on February 4, 2008. See Larisa Alexandrovna, “FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report, Rawstory.com, February 28, 2008,

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/FBI_documents_contradict_Sept._11_Commission_0228.html.

33 Shenon, The Commission, 54.

34 9/11 Commission Report, 217; Shenon, The Commission, 52-53.

35 Shenon, The Commission, 398.

36 Shenon, The Commission, 398.

37 Wright, The Looming Tower, 313. Looking at the same evidence, Christopher Ketcham has raised an alternative possibility, that “the CIA may have subcontracted to Mossad, given that the agency was both prohibited by law from conducting intelligence operations on U.S. soil, and lacked a pool of competent Arabic-fluent field officers. In such a scenario, the CIA would either have worked actively with the Israelis or quietly abetted an independent operation on U.S. soil…. When in the spring of 2002 the scenario of CIA’s domestic subcontracting to foreign intelligence

was posed to the veteran CIA/NSA intelligence operative, with whom I spoke extensively, the operative didn’t reject it out of hand” (Christopher Ketcham, “Cheering Movers and Art Student Spies: What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?” CounterPunch, February 7, 2007,

http://www.conspiracyplanet.com/channel.cfm?channelid=73&contentid=4253&page=2 ).

38 Oswald requested a dependency discharge from the Marines in August 1959, “on the ground that his mother needed his support” (Warren Report, 688). Accordingly Marine Lt. A.G. Ayers, Jr. signed a document for Oswald’s release to inactive duty on September 11, 1959 (19 WH 679, cf. 17 WH 762) “by reason of hardship (19 WH 678). However Lt. Ayers should have known that Oswald had no intention of staying in Texas to support his mother; he had already, on September 4, 1959, signed an affidavit in support of Oswald’s passport application “to attend the College of A. Schweitzer, Chur, Switzerland and the Univ of Turku, Turku, Finland” (22 WH 77-79). (It is a sign of some covert intrigue that the language of instruction at the University of Turku was Finnish, a language Oswald did not know.)

39 A significant symptom of this enduring substratum has been the Bush Administration’s protection of Samuel Berger, Clinton’s national security advisor. Berger pleaded guilty in April 2005 to having stolen 9/11 documents from the National Archives (Shenon, The Commission, 414). A condition of his plea bargain was to submit to a Justice Department polygraph test, to determine what documents had been stolen. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a long-time critic of CIA operations in Afghanistan, revealed to the House in February 2008 that he had written to the Bush Justice Department, demanding that it administer the polygraph test, and that the Justice Department had rejected his demand (Congressional Record, February 26, 2008, House, pp. H1065-H1072). We have already seen that Berger when in office was receiving regular reports from the CIA about the presence of al-Mihdar and al-Hamzi at the Kuala Lumpur meeting (Zegart, Flying Blind, 117). It is possible that these were the reports he was stealing from the Archives, and that the Justice Department refusal to administer the polygraph test is part of a cover-up to protect the CIA’s relationship to the two Saudis.

40 Amy Chua, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 342.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of  The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War, 2008. This previously unpublished essay is the concluding section of the new book, which can be ordered from the Mary Ferrell Foundation Press by clicking here at http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/MFF_Store. His website is http://www.peterdalescott.net.

 

Internationalization of the Yuan, Crumble of the Dollar, Crisis of the European Monetary System

November 20th, 2013 by Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)

“It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood.” These words of Edgar Allan Poe (1) apply perfectly to the slow process of global dislocation now in progress, where seemingly innocuous events – like the “rain” – combine to undermine the foundations of an international system that is dying, hence the “blood.” If the process is slow, if the events seem trivial, it is paradoxically because the crisis is the first truly global systemic crisis, one much deeper than the one in 1929, affecting all countries and overwhelming the heart of the system.

Whereas 1929 was the adolescent crisis of a new world power, the US, we now experience the last days of an incurable, and incurable that had been the world’s sole superpower since 1945. But the whole organization of the world was built around the US, and it is no one’s interests for it to collapse before a complete decoupling. So it is for everyone to safeguard the usual appearances while ensuring a smooth transition, which explains the slow crash in progress.

It’s a little like the parent who sneaks out of the nursery, hoping to avoid waking the baby and starting up the bawling again, but the baby is the dollar, and the parents are unworthy, for they are abandoning it altogether.

China is the master of this art, but we can see that all other countries are moving away from the US, in a more or less subtle fashion, like Saudi Arabia for example. (2) For the EU, one of the last Americanist bastions outside the US itself, the task is more difficult. Our team anticipates that the European elections of 2014, along with the inevitable rise of extreme right-wing and euroskeptic forces, will lead to an implosion of the current EU framework, with the possibility for Euroland to fill in the place. We analyze in detail the case of Europe in this issue.

The rapid internationalization of the Yuan, causing a decline in the central role of the dollar; the loss of Saudi support, a key part of the petrodollar edifice; and the loss of the Americanist bastion of the EU, replaced by a Euroland relying on the Euro, are all threats to the three remaining essential pillars of American power, which will disappear in 2014, precipitating considerable global upheaval.

The US is betting that the potential barrier (3) between the status quo and the world thereafter is too painful to go through, and that countries, despite all of the benefits that would accrue in the new organization of the world, will not cross that Rubicon. One example is China, with its mountains of dollars in reserve which would not be worth much if it moves too pointedly; another is Saudi Arabia, which would lose a good customer and assured security if it let go of the US. But these are neither more nor less than cold calculations of costs and benefits, and for a number of stakeholders the benefits will exceed the costs. According to LEAP/E2020, the American wager has already been lost.

Layout of the full article:

1. IN THE WEST, NOTHING NEW
2. THE IMPOSSIBLE US RECOVERY
3. EVERYTHING IS REBOUNDING ON THE US
4. SAUDI ARABIA: THE OPENING OF A CLOSED NATION
5. INTERNATIONALISATION OF THE YUAN
6. EAST/WEST FRACTURE
7. 2014: RESOLUTION OF THE NORTH KOREAN QUESTION BY THE BRICS
8. EUROPE IS DEAD, LONG LIVE EUROPE
9. EUROPE, BEFORE AND AFTER
10. THE EMERGENCE OF COUNTER-SYSTEMS

This public announcement contains excerpts from sections 1, 2 and 8

IN THE WEST, NOTHING NEW (4)

The markets can rest easy, as Janet Yellen, who will succeed Ben Bernanke at the Fed in January, suggested that she wants to continue the quantitative easing program of her predecessor (QE3). (5) That said, she has little choice, for the illusion that the US is still upright is maintained by this program, which artificially boosts the real estate and financial markets, and keeps US government financing costs low.But the markets alone celebrate the news. Foreign countries wonder when the bubble exported by the Fed will cease, how it will end, and how to wean the US from QE, and if they have not sufficiently decoupled, what will be the repercussions for them. Civil society already knows that the “benefits” of QE never come to pass, (6) rather as if an entire New Deal per year (7) was absorbed by the markets and never benefited the population itself.And the real economy asks when interest rates will go back to a normal value, so that investors are encouraged to fund real projects with non-zero earnings once again.As for the Fed, then, nothing new. Nothing new, either, when it comes to the problems of the country, which are gathering and worsening. One hears of hunger in the mainstream press, (8) of crime rates steadily rising for two years, (9) exploding drug use, (10) and despite budget cuts forcing prisons to release prisoners, (11) there are more prisoners in the US than engineers or secondary school teachers (see the figure below). Despite encouraging official statistics, mass unemployment persists (12), infrastructure is sacrificed, (13) scientific research lacks proper funding (14), etc.

[...]

Number of prisoners, engineers, nurses, secondary school teachers, etc., in the US. Source : Huffington Post.Number of prisoners, engineers, nurses, secondary school teachers, etc., in the US. Source : Huffington Post.

THE IMPOSSIBLE US RECOVERY

The problems of the US cannot be solved within the country’s existing framework, due to a dilemma: if the economy recovers, the Fed will end its program of support, but the markets will panic, as seen back in September, which will end the come-back…More generally, if an ounce of real US growth showed its face, the mountains of dollars printed by the Fed and exported to emerging countries would return to enjoy the windfall, causing high inflation and nipping the recovery in the bud. (22) These “oscillations” between hope and despair will continue until the crisis is confronted with the tools of the world after, or until a shock causes a catastrophe. For it is not the QE that will save the economy, since its best result is the sort of artificial life that supports zombie economies and inflated asset bubbles.[...]

EUROPE IS DEAD, LONG LIVE EUROPE (39)

Conflict resolution, trade, finance…we can see a widening gap with the West. Nevertheless, with the image of the new Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, the latter can get into step with the world, depending on its ability to cut the cord with the US, after the 2014 elections that will serve as a catalyst.The rise of the far-right and of euroskeptic parties, the democratic deficit, the power of lobbies and the weakness of citizens, the centralization in Brussels, the bureaucracy and technocracy…the European Union is dying. (40) According to our team, the 2014 elections will set the current framework ablaze, and will initiate a re-politicization of the EU, initiating a major debate on the future of Europe. This questioning has already begun, with for example the Greens establishing joint candidates throughout EU territory, (41) thereby starting a “real” European election process, or the socialist parties that are pushing Martin Schulz as a serious candidate to head the Commission. (42)But according to LEAP/E2020, this overhaul, if successful, will take a lot of time, and the real deadline for a democratic EU will be 2019. We will analyze in detail the fate of Europe in the Telescope section.This dying European Union is a Europe inspired by, and infiltrated by, US interests. It is a Europe reduced to a vast common market which constantly expands. It is a Europe that lays down before Monsanto, (43) leaving the field open to the American multinational. The sock-puppet of Anglo-Saxon politics, that third American crutch, is collapsing. But the decisions dictated by the American cousin are becoming costly and difficult. (44) Another example is Turkish EU accession, pushed by an American agenda and not by EU or Turkish citizens (45). Already in difficulty, it will be permanently cast off after the far-right invests the European Parliament in 2014.But the continent will not wait for 2019 to reorganize, and questions remain about the form Europe will take. Meanwhile, as we will see in the Telescope section, Euroland has the ability to build a political project that will fill the void left by the EU.
[...]Notes:

1 Taken from “Silence”, 1837.

2 Something inconceivable before.

3 In physics, this refers to a barrier that a particle cannot cross until it has sufficient energy.

4 Title of a novel by Erich Maria Remarque (1929).

5 Source : Business Insider, 13/11/2013.

6 See the edifying piece « Confessions of a Quantitative Easer » (Wall Street Journal, 11/11/2013).

7 New Deal spending is estimated at $50 billion in total between 1933 and 1940 (source: Forbes. With inflation, this represents approximately 850 to 900 billion current dollars (cf. US inflation calculator, while the Fed injects 1.02 trillion per year, more in one year than in the New Deal. See also Answers.com.
It should be noted though that QE3 represents 6% of GDP, while at the time of the New Deal 50 billion dollars represented 50% of GDP, which, when spread over 8 years, is also 6% per year.

8 « America’s new hunger crisis », MSNBC (30/10/2013). See also Reuters, 12/09/2013.

9 Source : Time, 24/10/2013.

10 Source : Bloomberg, 13/11/2013.

11 Source : par exemple CBS, 27/02/2013.

12 Sources : CNS News (22/10/2013), ZeroHedge (08/11/2013).

13 Source : Business Insider, 01/11/2013.

14 Sources : ThinkProgress (30/08/2013), The Tech (07/05/2013), etc. Even the prestigious MIT is affected: Boston Globe, 20/05/2013.

[...]

22 On this subject, see this analysis by Andy Xie, Caixin (05/11/2013).

[...]

39 In reference to the phrase “le roi est mort, vive le roi!” pronounced first with the succession of Charles VI in 1422. Source : Wikipédia.

40 It is interesting to note that all the “unions” (EU, UK, US) are all in grave peril; in particular, the choice of name reflects principles of governance suited to our times, where a decentralized network of governance becomes necessary to manage large regional blocs.

41 Source : EUObserver, 11/11/2013.

42 Source : Huffington Post, 10/10/2013.

43 Source : Die Zeit, 06/11/2013.

44 Thus, Monsanto corn mentioned above ought to be blocked by many countries.

45 Only 20% of Europeans and 44% of Turks think integration of Turkey would be “a good thing” (source: Hurriyet, 19/09/2013). While Hillary Clinton said in November 2010: « the United States [...] support the membership of Turkey inside the EU. [...] We don’t have a vote, but if we were a member, we would be strongly in favor of it. »

LEAP/E2020

http://www.leap2020.eu/GEAB-N-79-is-available-2014-Internationalization-of-the-Yuan-the-opening-of-Saudi-Arabia-the-implosion-of-the-EU-and_a15012.html

By Terence P. Jeffrey,

Between Oct. 1, 2013, the first day of fiscal 2014, and Nov. 14—which was less than a month after Congress agreed to temporarily suspend the legal limit on the federal debt—the Treasury was forced to issue more than $1 trillion in new debt.

During that time, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, the Treasury issued $1,014,215,000,000 in new bills, notes, bonds and other securities.

The government needed this $1,014,215,000,000 to cover government obligations and expenses that exceeded the $255,080,000,000 it raked in through tax revenues during the same six-week period.

Where did that combined $1,014,215,000,000 in newly borrowed money and $255,080,000,000 in new tax revenues go?

The lion’s share went to payoff maturing securities the Treasury had sold before and had now come due.

In total, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, the Treasury needed to redeem $879,734,000,000 in maturing debt during the first six weeks of the fiscal 2014.

After that, the government’s biggest expenses were $98.853 billion in Social Security benefits, $77.704 billion in Medicare expenses, $35.304 billion to Defense Department vendors, $34.623 billion for Medicaid, $20.537 billion for the salaries for federal workers (who have now been compensated for the time they missed during the partial shutdown), $20.155 billion for the Department of Education, $13.060 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (which includes the food stamp program), $11.152 billion in Health and Human Services Department grants, $10.648 billion for Housing and Urban Development Department programs, and $9.172 billion to buy insurance for federal employees over and above the $20.537 billion they were paid in salaries.

The Treasury also had $67.234 billion cash on hand at the close of business on Nov. 14–but that was down $21.152 billion from $88.386 billion cash on hand the Treasury had when the fiscal year started Oct. 1.

So, in addition to the $1,014,215,000,000 in new borrowing the Treasury undertook in the first six week of fiscal 2014, it also drew down its cash by $21.152 billion.

When Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew appeared in the Senate Finance Committee on Oct. 10 and called for Congress to increase the legal limit on the federal debt, he lamented that people do not understand that the Treasury needs to constantly borrow new money to meet ongoing expenses and pay off the tremendous volume of old debt that must be redeemed.

“Every week we roll over approximately $100 billion in U.S. bills,” Lew testified. “If U.S. bondholders decided that they wanted to be repaid rather than continuing to roll over their investments, we could unexpectedly dissipate our entire cash balance.”

“There is no plan other than raising the debt limit that permits us to meet all of our obligations,” Lew said later in that hearing.

“Let me start by saying what I think should be obvious: that if we don’t have enough cash to pay all our bills, we will be failing to meet our obligations, and under any scenario we will be defaulting on obligations,” said Lew.

“Let me remind everyone,” he said, “principal on the debt is not something we pay out of our cash flow of revenues. Principal on the debt is something that is a function of the markets rolling over.”

Lew’s description of the way the government handles its now-$17-trillion-plus debt mirrors the Securities and Exchange Commission’s definition of a Ponzi scheme.

“A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission’s definition.

“With little or no legitimate earnings, the schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue,” said the SEC. “Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out.”

To keep the government in cash during fiscal 2013, which ended on Sept. 30, the Treasury had to sell $8,323,949,000,000 in new debt. The government’s single larget expense in fiscal 2013 was paying off $7,546,726,000,000 in debt that matured during the year.

Copyright CNSNews.com -2013

Economic Stagnation Haunts America

November 20th, 2013 by Jack A. Smith

As though the erosion of American democracy, the weakening of civil liberties, inequality, joblessness, indifference to global warming, a penchant for wars and the healthcare mess were not enough, now we have this:

 “ What if the [economic] world we’ve been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions [in the U.S.] are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?”

 This question was asked by the liberal Keynesian economist Paul Krugman in his New York Times column Nov. 18. He went on:

“You might imagine that speculations along these lines are the province of a radical fringe. And they are indeed radical; but fringe, not so much. A number of economists have been flirting with such thoughts for a while. And now they’ve moved into the mainstream. In fact, the case for ‘secular stagnation’ — a persistent state in which a depressed economy is the norm, with episodes of full employment few and far between — was made forcefully recently at the most ultra respectable of venues, the IMF’s big annual research conference. And the person making that case was none other than Larry Summers. Yes, that Larry Summers [the former Treasury Secretary]….

“Summers began with a point that should be obvious but is often missed: The financial crisis that started the Great Recession is now far behind us. Indeed, by most measures it ended more than four years ago. Yet our economy remains depressed.

“He then made a related point: Before the crisis we had a huge housing and debt bubble. Yet even with this huge bubble boosting spending, the overall economy was only so-so — the job market was O.K. but not great, and the boom was never powerful enough to produce significant inflationary pressure.

“Mr. Summers went on to draw a remarkable moral: We have, he suggested, an economy whose normal condition is one of inadequate demand — of at least mild depression — and which only gets anywhere close to full employment when it is being buoyed by bubbles….

 “The evidence suggests that we have become an economy whose normal state is one of mild depression, whose brief episodes of prosperity occur only thanks to bubbles and unsustainable borrowing….Economic reality is what it is. And what that reality appears to be right now is one in which depression rules will apply for a very long time.”

 [Editor: A bubble has been described as “trade in high volumes at prices that are considerably at variance with intrinsic values." Such values describe the real value of a company not its possibly inflated stock value.]

 Some respected economists, mostly Marxists, have been convinced for some time that stagnation has become a more or less permanent feature of capitalist economies in the U.S. and Europe. John Bellamy Foster, the leftist author and editor of Monthly Review, declared recently:

 “People commonly see what happened in 2007 and 2008 when the bubble burst as a financial crisis and nothing more. But the real problem is a tendency towards economic stagnation in the mature economies, and the long-term slowdown in the rate of growth.

 “Our argument is that financialization, the series of financial bubbles that we’ve had over a period of decades, has been the main thing lifting the economy. I think this is fairly well understood now, but it wasn’t understood so well five or six years ago. And while financial expansion has been lifting the economy, financial bubbles always have their limits.

 “As the bubbles burst the government of course tries to act as the lender of last resort, pouring in liquidity and loans, to get the financial system going again. But it’s not able to deal with the underlying problem which is stagnation, and this time we’re stuck; they can’t get the financial system really going again, and we’re faced with a problem of economic stagnation that’s surfaced as a result.

“We call this the ‘stagnation-financialization trap’ because the financialization is the answer to stagnation but it creates bigger, more complex problems, and eventually the two problems together get us into a condition where we really can’t move forward.”

Recognition of capitalist stagnation may have “moved into the mainstream” in the U.S., but Washington certainly does not seem to have a solution other than soldiering on as long as profits are generated for business, Wall Street, and the 1%. Foster argues, “socialism is the only answer.”

Notes

— Foster’s comments are from a recent interview titled “Crisis of Capitalism and Social Democracy,” at http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2013/foster290513.html.

 — A video of Lawrence Summer’s speech at the IMF Economic Forum Nov. 8 is at http://equitablegrowth.org/2013/11/16/759/this-mornings-must-watch-larry-summers-on-the-danger-of-a-japan-like-generation-of-secular-stagnation-here-in-the-north-atlantic

 

This article by the late Tanya Rheinart, Professor  at Tel Aviv University was first published by Global Research on 22 December 2001. 

It outlines in no uncertain terms the project of the government of Israel to destroy the Palestinian Authority and get rid of its leaders including Yasser Arafat, who was assassinated on an order issued by the Israeli Cabinet in 2003.

“We will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat.”

In September 2003, Israel’s government passed a law to get rid of Arafat. Israel’s cabinet for political security affairs declared it “a decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace.”

Yasser Arafat

As outlined in Reinhart’s 2001 article, the assassination of  Yasser Arafat was long in the making. It was part of a broader military and intelligence agenda to destroy the Palestinian Authority.

What recent news reports fail to mention is that the extra-judicial assassination had not only been ordered by the Israeli cabinet in 2003, it was subsequently approved by the US which vetoed a United Nations Security Resolution condemning the 2003 Israeli Cabinet decision to “get rid of Arafat”.

This important article by Tanya Reinhart provides the historical background pertaining to the 2004 assassination of Arafat which had been ordered by the Israeli Cabinet.  

Michel Chossudovsky, Editor, Global Research, November 19, 2013


Evil Unleashed: Israel’s move to destroy the Palestinian Authority is a calculated plan, long in the making

by Professor Tanya Reinhart

December 2001

In mainstream political discourse, Israel’s recent atrocities are described as ‘retaliatory acts’ – answering the last wave of terror attacks on Israeli civilians. But in fact, this ‘retaliation’ had been carefully prepared long before.

Already in October 2000, at the outset of the Palestinian uprising, military circles were ready with detailed operative plans to topple Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. This was before the Palestinian terror attacks started. (The first attack on Israeli civilians was on November 3, 2000, in a market in Jerusalem). A document prepared by the security services, at the request of then PM Barak, stated on October 15, 2000 that “Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state [of Israel] and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence”. (Details of the document were published in Ma’ariv, July 6, 2001.) The operative plan, known as ‘Fields of Thorns’ had been prepared back in 1996, and was then updated during the Intifada. (Amir Oren, Ha’aretz, Nov. 23, 2001). The plan includes everything that Israel has been executing lately, and more.(1)

The political echelon for its part (Barak’s circles), worked on preparing public opinion to the toppling of Arafat. On November 20, 2000, Nahman Shai, then public-affairs coordinator of the Barak Government, released in a meeting with the press, a 60 page document titled “Palestinian Authority non-compliance…A record of bad faith and misconduct”, The document, informally referred to as the “White Book”, was prepared by Barak’s aid, Danny Yatom.(2) According to the “White Book”, Arafat’s present crime – “orchestrating the Intifada”, is just the last in a long chain of proofs that he has never deserted the “option of violence and ‘struggle’”. “As early as Arafat’s own speech on the White House lawn, on September 13, 1993, there were indications that for him, the D.O.P. [declaration of principles] did not necessarily signify an end to the conflict. He did not, at any point, relinquish his uniform, symbolic of his status as a revolutionary commander” (Section 2). This uniform, incidentally, is the only ‘indication’ that the report cites, of Arafat’s hidden intentions, on that occasion.

A large section of the document is devoted to establishing Arafat’s “ambivalence and compliance” regarding terror. “In March 1997 there was once again more than a hint of a ‘Green Light’ from Arafat to the Hamas, prior to the bombing in Tel Aviv… This is implicit in the statement made by a Hamas-affiliated member of Arafat’s Cabinet, Imad Faluji, to an American paper (Miami Herald, April 5, 1997).” No further hints are provided regarding how this links Arafat to that bombing, but this is the “green light to terror” theme which the Military Intelligence (Ama”n) has been promoting since 1997, when its anti-Oslo line was consolidated. This theme was since repeated again and again by military circles, and eventually became the mantra of Israeli propaganda – Arafat is still a terrorist and is personally responsible for the acts of all groups, from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to Hizbollah.

The ‘Foreign Report’ (Jane’s information) of July 12, 2001 disclosed that the Israeli army (under Sharon’s government) has updated its plans for an “all-out assault to smash the Palestinian authority, force out leader Yasser Arafat and kill or detain its army”. The blueprint, titled “The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces”, was presented to the Israeli government by chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, on July 8. The assault would be launched, at the government’s discretion, after a big suicide bomb attack in Israel, causing widespread deaths and injuries, citing the bloodshed as justification.

Many in Israel suspect that the assassination of the Hamas terrorist Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, just when the Hamas was respecting for two months its agreement with Arafat not to attack inside Israel, was designed to create the appropriate ‘bloodshed justification’, at the eve of Sharon’s visit to the US. (Alex Fishman – senior security correspondent of ‘Yediot’ – noted that “whoever decided upon the liquidation of Abu Hanoud knew in advance that would be the price. The subject was extensively discussed both by Israel’s military echelon and its political one, before it was decided to carry out the liquidation” (Yediot Aharonot, Nov. 25, 2001)).

Israel’s moves to destroy the PA, thus, cannot be viewed as a spontaneous ‘act of retaliation’. It is a calculated plan, long in the making. The execution requires, first, weakening the resistance of the Palestinians, which Israel has been doing systematically since October 2000, through killing, bombarding of infrastructure, imprisoning people in their hometowns, and bringing them close to starvation. All this, while waiting for the international conditions to ‘ripen’ for the more ‘advanced’ steps of the plan.

Now the conditions seem to have ‘ripened’. In the power-drunk political atmosphere in the US, anything goes. If at first it seemed that the US will try to keep the Arab world on its side by some tokens of persuasion, as it did during the Gulf war, it is now clear that they couldn’t care less. US policy is no longer based on building coalitions or investing in persuasion, but on sheer force. The smashing ‘victory’ in Afghanistan has sent a clear message to the Third-World that nothing can stop the US from targeting any nation for annihilation. They seem to believe that the most sophisticated weapons of the twenty-first century, combined with total absence of any considerations of moral principles, international law, or public opinion, can sustain them as the sole rulers of the world forever. From now on, fear should be the sufficient condition for obedience.

The US hawks, who push to expand the war to Iraq and further, view Israel as an asset – There are few regimes in the world like Israel, so eager to risk the life of their citizens for some new regional war. As Prof. Alain Joxe, head of the French CIRPES (peace and strategic studies) has put it in Le Monde, “the American leadership is presently shaped by dangerous right wing Southern extremists, who seek to use Israel as an offensive tool to destabilize the whole Middle East area” (December 17, 2001). The same hawks are also talking about expanding the future war zone to targets on Israel’s agenda, like Hizbollah and Syria.

Under these circumstances, Sharon got his green light in Washington. As the Israeli media keeps raving, “Bush is fed up with this character [Arafat]“, “Powell said that Arafat must stop with his lies” (Barnea and Schiffer, ‘Yediot’, December 7, 2001). As Arafat hides in his Bunker, Israeli F-16 bombers plough the sky, and Israel’s brutality is generating, every day, new desperate human bombs, the US, accompanied for a while by the European union, keep urging Arafat to “act”.

But what is the rationale behind Israel’s systematic drive to eliminate the Palestinian Authority and undo the Oslo arrangements? It certainly cannot be based on ‘disappointment’ with Arafat’s performance, as is commonly claimed. The fact of the matter is that from the perspective of Israel’s interests in maintaining the occupation, Arafat did fulfill Israel’s expectations all these last years.

As far as Israeli security goes, there is nothing further from the truth then the fake accusations in the “White Book”, or subsequent Israeli propaganda. To take just one example, in 1997 – the year mentioned in the “White Book” as an instance of Arafat’s “green light to terror” – a ‘security agreement’ was signed between Israel and the Palestinian authority, under the auspices of the head of the Tel Aviv station of the CIA, Stan Muskovitz. The agreement commits the PA to take active care of the security of Israel – to fight “the terrorists, the terrorist base, and the environmental conditions leading to support of terror” in cooperation with Israel, including “mutual exchange of information, ideas, and military cooperation” (clause 1). [Translated from the Hebrew text, Ha'aretz December 12, 1997]. Arafat’s security services carried out this job faithfully, with assassinations of Hamas terrorists (disguised as ‘accidents’), and arrests of Hamas political leaders.(3)

Ample information was published in the Israeli media regarding these activities, and ‘security sources’ were full of praises for Arafat’s achievements. E.g. Ami Ayalon, then head of the Israeli secret service (Shab”ak), announced, in the government meeting on April 5, 1998 that “Arafat is doing his job – he is fighting terror and puts all his weight against the Hamas” (Ha’aretz, April 6, 1998). The rate of success of the Israeli security services in containing terror was never higher than that of Arafat; in fact, much lower.

In left and critical circles, one can hardly find compassion for Arafat’s personal fate (as opposed to the tragedy of the Palestinian people). As David Hirst writes in The Guardian, when Arafat returned to the occupied territories, in 1994,

“he came as collaborator as much as liberator. For the Israelis, security – theirs, not the Palestinians’ – was the be-all and end-all of Oslo. His job was to supply it on their behalf. But he could only sustain the collaborator’s role if he won the political quid pro quo which, through a series of ‘interim agreements’ leading to ‘final status’, was supposedly to come his way. He never could. . . [Along the road], he acquiesced in accumulating concessions that only widened the gulf between what he was actually achieving and what he assured his people he would achieve, by this method, in the end. He was Mr. Palestine still, with a charisma and historical legitimacy all his own. But he was proving to be grievously wanting in that other great and complementary task, building his state-in-the-making. Economic misery, corruption, abuse of human rights, the creation of a vast apparatus of repression – all these flowed, wholly or in part, from the Authority over which he presided.” (Hirst, “Arafat’s last stand?” The Guardian, December 14, 2001).

But from the perspective of the Israeli occupation, all this means that the Oslo plan was, essentially, successful. Arafat did manage, through harsh means of oppression, to contain the frustration of his people, and guarantee the safety of the settlers, as Israel continued undisturbed to build new settlements and appropriate more Palestinian land. The oppressive machinery, the various security forces of Arafat, were formed and trained in collaboration with Israel. Much energy and resources were put into building this complex Oslo apparatus. It is often admitted that the Israeli security forces cannot manage to prevent terror any better than Arafat can. Why, then, was the military and political echelon so determined to destroy all this already in October 2000, even before the terror waves started? Answering this requires some look at the history.

Right from the start of the ‘Oslo process’, in September 1993, two conceptions were competing in the Israeli political and military system. The one, led by Yosi Beilin, was striving to implement some version of the Alon plan, which the Labor party has been advocating for years. The original plan consisted of annexation of about 35% of the territories to Israel, and either Jordanian-rule, or some form of self-rule for the rest – the land on which the Palestinians actually live. In the eyes of its proponents, this plan represented a necessary compromise, compared to the alternatives of either giving up the territories altogether, or eternal blood-shed (as we witness today). It appeared that Rabin was willing to follow this line, at least at the start, and that in return for Arafat’s commitment to control the frustration of his people and guarantee the security of Israel, he would allow the PA to run the enclaves in which the Palestinians still reside, in some form of self-rule, which may even be called a Palestinian ‘state’.

But the other pole objected even to that much. This was mostly visible in military circles, whose most vocal spokesman in the early years of Oslo was then Chief of Staff, Ehud Barak. Another center of opposition was, of course, Sharon and the extreme right-wing, who were against the Oslo process from the start. This affinity between the military circles and Sharon is hardly surprising. Sharon – the last of the leaders of the ’1948 generation’, was a legendary figure in the army, and many of the generals were his disciples, like Barak. As Amir Oren wrote, “Barak’s deep and abiding admiration for Ariel Sharon’s military insights is another indication of his views; Barak and Sharon both belong to a line of political generals that started with Moshe Dayan” (Ha’aretz, January 8, 1999).

This breed of generals was raised on the myth of redemption of the land. A glimpse into this worldview is offered in Sharon’s interview with Ari Shavit (Ha’aretz, weekend supplement, April 13, 2001). Everything is entangled into one romantic framework: the fields, the blossom of the orchards, the plough and the wars. The heart of this ideology is the sanctity of the land. In a 1976 interview, Moshe Dayan, who was the defense minister in 1967, explained what led, then, to the decision to attack Syria. In the collective Israeli consciousness of the period, Syria was conceived as a serious threat to the security of Israel, and a constant initiator of aggression towards the residents of northern Israel. But according to Dayan, this is “bull-shit” – Syria was not a threat to Israel before 67:

“Just drop it. . .I know how at least 80% of all the incidents with Syria started. We were sending a tractor to the demilitarized zone and we knew that the Syrians would shoot.” According to Dayan (who at a time of the interview confessed some regrets), what led Israel to provoke Syria this way was the greediness for the land – the idea that it is possible “to grab a piece of land and keep it, until the enemy will get tired and give it to us” (Yediot Aharonot, April 27 1997)

At the eve of Oslo, the majority of the Israeli society was tired of wars. In their eyes, the fights over land and resources were over. Most Israelis believe that the 1948 Independence War, with its horrible consequences for the Palestinians, was necessary to establish a state for the Jews, haunted by the memory of the Holocaust. But now that they have a state, they long to just live normally with whatever they have. However, the ideology of the redemption of land has never died out in the army, or in the circles of the ‘political generals’, who switched from the army to the government. In their eyes, Sharon’s alternative of fighting the Palestinians to the bitter end and imposing new regional orders – as he tried in Lebanon in 1982 – may have failed because of the weakness of the spoiled Israeli society. But given the new war-philosophy established in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan, they believe that with the massive superiority of the Israeli air force, it may still be possible to win this battle in the future.

While Sharon’s party was in the opposition at the time of Oslo, Barak, as Chief of Staff, participated in the negotiations and played a crucial role in shaping the agreements, and Israel’s attitude to the Palestinian Authority.

I quote from an article I wrote in February 1994, because it reflects what anybody who read carefully the Israeli media could see at the time:

 ”From the start, it has been possible to identify two conceptions that underlie the Oslo process. One is that this will enable to reduce the cost of the occupation, using a Palestinian patronage regime, with Arafat as the senior cop responsible for the security of Israel. The other is that the process should lead to the collapse of Arafat and the PLO. The humiliation of Arafat, and the amplification of his surrender, will gradually lead to loss of popular support. Consequently, the PLO will collapse, or enter power conflicts. Thus, the Palestinian society will lose its secular leadership and institutions. In the power driven mind of those eager to maintain the Israeli occupation, the collapse of the secular leadership is interpreted as an achievement, because it would take a long while for the Palestinian people to get organized again, and, in any case, it is easier to justify even the worst acts of oppression, when the enemy is a fanatic Muslim organization. Most likely, the conflict between the two competing conceptions is not settled yet, but at the moment, the second seems more dominant: In order to carry out the first, Arafat’s status should have been strengthened, with at least some achievements that could generate support of the Palestinians, rather then Israel’s policy of constant humiliation and breach of promises.”(4)

Nevertheless, the scenario of the collapse of the PA did not materialize. The Palestinian society resorted once more to their marvelous strategy of ‘zumud’ – sticking to the land and sustaining the pressure. Right from the start, the Hamas political leadership, and others, were warning that Israel is trying to push the Palestinians into a civil war, in which the nation slaughters itself. All fragments of the society cooperated to prevent this danger, and calm conflicts as soon as they were deteriorating to arms. They also managed, despite the tyranny of Arafat’s rule, to build an impressive amount of institutions and infrastructure. The PA does not consist only of the corrupt rulers and the various security forces. The elected Palestinian council, which operates under endless restrictions, is still a representative political framework, some basis for democratic institutions in the future. For those whose goal is the destruction of the Palestinian identity and the eventual redemption of their land, Oslo was a failure.

In 1999, the army got back to power, through the ‘political generals’ – first Barak, and then Sharon. (They collaborated in the last elections to guarantee that no other, civil, candidate will be allowed to run.) The road opened to correct what they view as the grave mistake of Oslo. In order to get there, it was first necessary to convince the spoiled Israeli society that the Palestinians are not willing to live in peace and are threatening our mere existence. Sharon alone could not have possibly achieved that, but Barak did succeed, with his ‘generous offer’ fraud. After a year of horrible terror attacks, combined with massive propaganda and lies, Sharon and the army feel that nothing can stop them from turning to full execution.

Why is it so urgent for them to topple Arafat? Shabtai Shavit, former head of the Security Service (‘Mossad’), who is not bound by restraints posed on official sources, explains this openly: “In the thirty something years that he [Arafat] leads, he managed to reach real achievements in the political and international sphere… He got the Nobel peace prize, and in a single phone call, he can obtain a meeting with every leader in the world. There is nobody in the Palestinian gallery that can enter his shoes in this context of international status. If they [the Palestinians] will lose this gain, for us, this is a huge achievement. The Palestinian issue will get off the international agenda.” (interview in Yediot’s Weekend Supplement, December 7, 2001).

Their immediate goal is to get the Palestinians off the international agenda, so slaughter, starvation, forced evacuation and ‘migration’ can continue undisturbed, leading, possibly, to the final realization of Sharon’s long standing vision, embodied in the military plans. The immediate goal of anybody concerned with the future of the world, ahould be to halt this process of evil unleashed. As Alain Joxe concluded his article in Le Monde:

“It is time for the Western public opinion to take over and to compel the governments to take a moral and political stand facing the foreseen disaster, namely a situation of permanent war against the Arab and Muslim people and states – the realization of the double phantasy of Bin Laden and Sharon.” (December 17, 2001).

Notes

(1) For the details of this operative plan, see Anthony Cordesman, “Peace and War: Israel versus the Palestinians A second Intifada?” Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) December 2000, and it summary in Shraga Eilam, “Peace With Violence or Transfer”, ‘Between The Lines’, December 2000.

(2) The document can be found in:

(3) For a survey on some of the PA’s assassinations of Hamas terrorists, see my article “The A-Sherif affair”, ‘Yediot Aharonot’, April 14, 1998,

The original URL of this article is:
http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RHE112A.html

The forensic tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat’s corpse by a team of Swiss scientists exhibit high levels of radioactive polonium-210.  The exhumation of his body was implemented in November 2012. The samples revealed “levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than usual in Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his bodily fluids.”

These developments raise the broader issue which the media has failed to address: Who was behind the assassination of Yasser Arafat?

The assassination of Yasser Arafat had been on the drawing board since 1996 under “Operation Fields of Thorns”.

According to an October 2000 document “prepared by the [Israeli] security services, at the request of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, stated that ‘Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state [of Israel] and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence’”. (quoted in Tanya Reinhart, Evil Unleashed, Israel’s move to destroy the Palestinian Authority is a calculated plan, long in the making, Global Research, December 2001. Details of the document were published in Ma’ariv, July 6, 2001.).

In August 2003, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz declared “all out war” on the militants whom he vowed “marked for death.”

“In mid September, Israel’s government passed a law to get rid of Arafat. Israel’s cabinet for political security affairs declared it “a decision to remove Arafat as an obstacle to peace.” Mofaz threatened; “we will choose the right way and the right time to kill Arafat.” Palestinian Minister Saeb Erekat told CNN he thought Arafat was the next target. CNN asked Sharon spokesman Ra’anan Gissan if the vote meant expulsion of Arafat. Gissan clarified; “It doesn’t mean that. The Cabinet has today resolved to remove this obstacle. The time, the method, the ways by which this will take place will be decided separately, and the security services will monitor the situation and make the recommendation about proper action.” (See Trish Shuh, Road Map for a Decease Plan,  www.mehrnews.com November 9 2005)

The assassination of Arafat was part of the 2001 Dagan Plan.

In all likelihood, it was carried out by Israeli Intelligence.

It was intended to destroy the Palestinian Authority, foment divisions within Fatah as well as between Fatah and Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas is a Palestinian quisling. He was installed as leader of Fatah, with the approval of Israel and the US, which finance the Palestinian Authority’s paramilitary and security forces.

The above text was written in January 2009 as part of the following article:

The Invasion of Gaza: “Operation Cast Lead”, Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda
– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2009-01-04

The Fallout from Fukushima in the Global Nuclear Industry

November 19th, 2013 by Arnie Gundersen

Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.com joins us to discuss the fallout from Fukushima in the global nuclear industry.

Arnie brings his 39 years of experience in the nuclear industry to bear to give his assessment of what the nuclear crisis means for an industry that has long controlled the “regulators” who are supposedly watching over it.

What is the future of nuclear power, and have the nuclear priesthood been defrocked? Find out in this important GRTV Feature Interview, which was originally aired in October 2011.


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It isn’t exactly the towering 20-foot wall that runs like a scar through significant parts of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Imagine instead the sort of metal police barricades you see at protests. These are unevenly lined up like so many crooked teeth on the Dominican Republic’s side of the river that acts as its border with Haiti. Like dazed versions of U.S. Border Patrol agents, the armed Dominican border guards sit at their assigned posts, staring at the opposite shore.  There, on Haitian territory, children splash in the water and women wash clothes on rocks.

One of those CESFRONT (Specialized Border Security Corps) guards, carrying an assault rifle, is walking six young Haitian men back to the main base in Dajabon, which is painted desert camouflage as if it were in a Middle Eastern war zone.

If the scene looks like a five-and-dime version of what happens on the U.S. southern border, that’s because it is. The enforcement model the Dominican Republic uses to police its boundary with Haiti is an import from the United States.

CESFRONT itself is, in fact, an outgrowth of a U.S. effort to promote “strong borders” abroad as part of its Global War on Terror.  So U.S. Consul-General Michael Schimmel told a group from the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic in the Dominican Republic back in 2008, according to an internal report written by the law students along with the Dominican immigrant solidarity organization Solidaridad Fronteriza. The U.S. military, he added, was training the Dominican border patrol in “professionalism.”

Schimmel was explaining an overlooked manifestation of U.S. imperial policy in the post-9/11 era.  Militarized borders are becoming ever more common throughout the world, especially in areas of U.S. influence.

CESFRONT’s Dajabon commander is Colonel Juan de Jesus Cruz, a stout, Napoleonic figure with a booming voice. Watching the colonel interact with those detained Haitian teenagers was my first brush with how Washington’s “strong borders” abroad policy plays out on the ground. The CESFRONT base in Dajabon is located near the Massacre River that divides the two countries.  Its name is a grim reminder of a time in 1937 when Dominican forces slaughtered an estimated 20,000 Haitians in what has been called the “twentieth century’s least-remembered act of genocide.” That act ensured the imposition of a 227-mile boundary between the two countries that share the same island.

As rain falls and the sky growls, Cruz points to the drenched young Haitians and says a single word, “ilegales,” his index finger hovering in the air.  The word “illegals” doesn’t settle well with one of the teenagers, who glares at the colonel and replies defiantly, “We have come because of hunger.”

His claim is corroborated by every report about conditions in Haiti, but the colonel responds, “You have resources there,” with the spirit of a man who relishes a debate.

The teenager, who will undoubtedly soon be expelled from the Dominican Republic like so many other Haitians (including, these days, people of Haitian descent bornin the country), gives the colonel a withering look.  He’s clearly boiling inside. “There’s hunger in Haiti. There’s poverty in Haiti. There is no way the colonel could not see that,” he tells Cruz. “You are right on the border.”

This tense, uneasy, and commonplace interaction is one of countless numbers of similar moments spanning continents from Latin America and Africa to the Middle East and Asia. On one side, a man in a uniform with a gun and the authority to detain, deport, or sometimes even kill; on the other, people with the most fundamental of unmet needs and without the proper documentation to cross an international boundary. Such people, uprooted, in flight, in pain, in desperate straits, are today ever more commonly dismissed, if they’re lucky, as the equivalent of criminals, or if they aren’t so lucky, labeled “terrorists” and treated accordingly.

In a seminal article “Where’s the U.S. Border?,” Michael Flynn, founder of the Global Detention Project, described the expansion of U.S. “border enforcement” to the planet in the context of the Global War on Terror as essentially a new way of defining national sovereignty.  “U.S. border control efforts,” he argued, “have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis in recent years as the United States has attempted to implement practices aimed at stopping migrants long before they reach U.S. shores.”

In this way, borders are, in a sense, being both built up and torn down.  Just as with the drones that, from Pakistan to Somalia, the White House sends across national boundaries to execute those it has identified as our enemies, so with border patrolling: definitions of U.S. national “sovereignty,” including where our own borders end and where our version of “national” defense stretches are becoming ever more malleable.  As Flynn wrote, although “the U.S. border has been hardened in a number of ways — most dramatically by building actual walls — it is misleading to think that the country’s efforts stop there. Rather the U.S. border in an age dominated by a global war on terrorism and the effects of economic globalization has become a flexible point of contention.”

In other words, “hard” as actual U.S. borders are becoming, what might be called our global, or perhaps even virtual, borders are growing ever more pliable and ever more expansive — extending not only to places like the Dominican Republic, but to the edges of our vast military-surveillance grid, into cyberspace, and via spinning satellites and other spying systems, into space itself.

Back in 2004, a single sentence in the 9/11 commission report caught this changing mood succinctly: “9/11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests ‘over there’ should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against Americans ‘over here.’ In this same sense the American homeland is the planet.”

New World Border

Washington’s response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake provides one example of how quickly a mobile U.S. border and associated fears of massive immigration or unrest can be brought into play.

In the first days after that disaster, a U.S. Air Force cargo plane circled parts of the island for five hours repeatedly broadcasting in Creole the prerecorded voice of Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States.

“Listen, don’t rush [to the United States] on boats to leave the country,” he said. “If you do that, we’ll all have even worse problems. Because I’ll be honest with you: if you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that’s not at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came from.”

That disembodied voice from the heavens was addressing Haitians still stunned in the wake of an earthquake that had killed up to 316,000 people and left an additional one million homeless. State Department Deputy Spokesman Gordon Duguid explained the daily flights to CNN this way: “We are sending public service messages… to save lives.” Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quickly dispatched 16 Coast Guard cutters to patrol Haitian waters, blocking people from leaving their devastated island. DHS authorities also cleared space in a 600-bed immigration detention center in Miami, and at the for-profitGuantanamo Bay Migrations Operation Center (run by the GEO Group) at the infamous U.S. base in Cuba.

In other words, the U.S. border is no longer static and “homeland security” no longer stays in the homeland: it’s mobile, it’s rapid, and it’s international.

Maybe this is why, last March, when I asked the young salesmen from L-3 Communications, a surveillance technology company, at the Border Security Expo in Phoenix if they were worried about the sequester — Congress’s across-the-board budget cuts that have taken dollars away from the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security — one of them simply shrugged. “There’s the international market,” he said as if this were almost too obvious to mention.

He was standing in front of a black globular glass eye of a camera they were peddling to security types.  It was draped with desert camouflage, as if we were out in the Arizona borderlands, while all around us you could feel the energy, the synergy, of an emerging border-industrial complex.  Everywhere you looked government officials, Border Patrol types, and the representatives of private industry were meeting and dealing in front of hundreds of booths under the high ceilings of the convention center.

On the internationalization of border security, he wasn’t exaggerating. At least 14 other countries ranging from Israel to Russia were present, their representatives browsing products ranging from miniature drones to Glock handguns. And behind the bustle of that event lay estimates that the global market for homeland security and emergency management will reach $544 billion annually by 2018. “The threat of cross-border terrorism, cyber-crime, piracy, drug trade, human trafficking, internal dissent, separatist movements has been a driving factor for the homeland security market,” the market research company MarketsandMarkets reported, based on a study of high-profit security markets in North America, Europe, and Asia.

This booming business thrives off the creation of new border patrols globally. The Dominican Republic’s CESFRONT, for instance, did not exist before 2006. That year, according to Dominican Today, a group of “U.S. experts” reported that there were “a series of weaknesses that will lead to all kinds of illicit activities” on the Haitian-Dominican border. The U.S. team recommended that “there should be helicopters deployed in the region and [that] there be a creation of a Border Guard.” A month after their report appeared, that country, by Dominican presidential decree, had its own border patrol.

By 2009, the new force had already received training, funding, and resources from a number of U.S. agencies, including the Border Patrol itself. Somehow, it seems that what the U.S. consulate calls “strong borders” between the Dominican Republic and the hemisphere’s poorest country has become an integral part of a terror-obsessed world.

When I met with Colonel Orlando Jerez, a CESFRONT commander, in the border guard agency’s headquarters in the Dominican capital Santo Domingo, I noticed that on his desk he had a U.S. Border Patrol model car, a replica of the one that agency sponsored on the NASCAR circuit from 2006 to 2008 in an attempt to recruit new agents. Along the side of the shiny box that held it was this mission statement: “We are the guardians of the nation’s borders, we are America’s frontlines.”

When I asked Jerez whether CESFRONT had a relationship with our Border Patrol, he replied without a second’s hesitation, “Of course, they have an office in the U.S. embassy.”

Jerez is not alone. Washington’s global boundary-building, its promotion of those strong borders, and its urge to preempt “terrorism against American interests ‘over there,’” as the 9/11 commission report put it, are spreading fast. For example, the Central American Regional Security Initiative, a $496 million U.S. counter-drug plan launched in 2008, identifies “border security deficiencies” among Central American countries as a key problem to be dealt with ASAP. So the U.S. Border Patrol has gone to Guatemala and Honduras to help train new units of border guards.

As in Central America, border patrolling’s most vibrant markets are in places that Washington sees as far too chaotic, yet where its economic and political interests reside. For six years now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has sent its agents, clad in brown jumpsuits, to Iraq’s borderlands to assist that government in the creation of a force to police its “porous” borders (where chaos has indeed been endemic since the 2003 U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of the country). U.S. boundary-building efforts began there in 2004 with an operation labeled“Phantom Linebacker” in which 15,000 border guards were trained to patrol in — as the name of the operation indicates — the spirit of American football.

In 2012, agent Adrian Long told Frontline, the CBP’s in-house magazine, that his agency trains Iraqis “in Border Patrol techniques like cutting sign, doing drags, setting up checkpoints and patrols.” Long was repeating the same lingo so often heard on the U.S.-Mexican border, where agents “cut sign” to track people by their trail marks and do “drags” to smooth out dirt roads so they can more easily see the footprints of any “border intruders.” In Afghanistan, Border Patrol agents are similarly training forces to police that country’s 3,436 miles of frontiers. In 2012, during one training session, an Afghan policeman even turned his gun on two CBP agents in an “insider attack,” killing them and seriously injuring a third.

Around soccer’s World Cup, which South Africa hosted in 2010, CBP assisted that government in creating a Customs and Border Control Unit tasked with “securing South Africa’s borders while facilitating the movement of goods and people,” according to CBP’s Africa and Middle East branch country manager for South Africa Tasha Reid Hippolyte. South Africa has even brought its military special forces into the border patrolling process. Near the Zimbabwean border, its militarized guards were using a triple barrier of razor wire and electric fencing that can be set to offer shocks ranging from mild to deadly in their efforts to stop border crossers. Such equipment had not been used in that country since the apartheid-era.

In many cases, the U.S. is also training border forces in the use of sophisticated surveillance systems, drones, and the construction of fences and barriers of various kinds, largely in attempts to clamp down on the movement of people between poorer and richer countries.  More than 15,000 foreign participants in more than 100 countries have taken part in CBP training sessions since October 2002. It is little wonder, then, that an L-3 Communications sales rep would shrug off the constraints of a shrinking domestic national security budget.

Meanwhile, U.S. borders are functionally being stretched in all sorts of complex ways, even across the waters.  As Michael Schmidt wrote in the New York Timesin 2012, for example, “An ocean away from the United States, travelers flying out of the international airport here on the west coast of Ireland are confronting one of the newest lines of defense in the war on terrorism: the United States border.” There, at Shannon International Airport, Department of Homeland Security officials set up the equivalent of a prescreening border checkpoint for air travelers.

Whether it is in your airports or, as in Haiti’s case, in the international waters around your country, the U.S. border is on its way to scrutinize you, to make sure that you are not a threat to the “homeland.” If you don’t meet Washington’s criteria for whatever reason, you will be stopped, forcibly if necessary, from entering the United States, or even in many cases from travelling anywhere at all.

CBP attachés are now detailed to U.S. embassies in Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa, Italy, and Canada, among many other countries. According to an agency publication, Customs and Border Protection Today, they have been tasked with the mission of keeping “terrorists and their weapons from our shores,” as well as providing technical assistance, “fostering secure trade practices, and strengthening border authority principles.” The anonymous writer then typically, if floridly, describes “our country’s border” as “the armor of the body politic; it protects the systems and infrastructures that function within. Knives pierce armor and can jeopardize the body — so we sheath them; keep them at bay; and demand accountability from those who use them.”

As CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner put it in 2004, the U.S. is “extending our zone of security, where we can do so, beyond our physical borders — so that American borders are the last line of defense, not the first line of defense.”

Perhaps this is why few here batted an eye when, in 2012, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security Alan Bersin flatly declared, “The Guatemalan border with Chiapas is now our southern border.”

On the Edge of Empire

As dusk falls and the rainstorm ends, I walk along the river’s edge where those Dominican border patrol agents are still sitting, staring into Haiti. Considering that U.S. forces occupied the Dominican Republic and Haiti numerous times in the previous century, it’s easy to imagine why Washington’s border chieftains consider this sad, impoverished spot part of our “backyard.” Not far from where I’m walking is the Codevi industrial free trade zone that straddles the border.  There, Haitian workers churn out jeans mainly for Levi Strauss and the North American market, earning less than three dollars a day.

I approach one of the CESFRONT guards in his desert camouflage uniform.  He’s sitting with his assault rifle between his legs. He looks beyond bored — no surprise since being suspicious of people who happen to be on the other side of a border can be deadly tedious work.

Diaz, as his name patch identifies him, tells me that his shift, which runs from 6 p.m. to midnight, is normally eventless because Haitians rarely cross here. When I explain where I’m from, he wants to know what the U.S.-Mexico border looks like. I tell him about the fencing, the sensors, the cameras, and the agents everywhere you look. I ask if he has ever met agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.

“Of course!” he says in Spanish, “there have been training sessions.”

Then I ask if terrorists are crossing this border, which is the reason the U.S. consulate in Santo Domingo gives for supporting the creation of CESFRONT.

Diaz looks at me as if I’m nuts before offering an emphatic “No!”

No surprise there either.  CESFRONT, like similar outfits proliferating globally, isn’t really about terrorism. It’s all about Haiti, one of the poorest countries on the planet. It is a response to fears of the mass movement of desperate, often hungry, people in the U.S. sphere of dominance. It is the manifestation of a new vision of global geopolitics in which human beings in need are to be corralled, their free movement criminalized, and their labor exploited.

With this in mind, the experimental border control technologies being tested along the U.S.-Mexican boundary line and the border-industrial complex that has grown up around it are heading abroad in a major way.  If Congress finally passes a new multi-billion dollar border-policing package, its effects will be felt not only along U.S. borders, but also at the edges of its empire.

Todd Miller, a TomDispatch regular, has researched and written about U.S.-Mexican border issues for more than 10 years. He has worked on both sides of the border for BorderLinks in Tucson, Arizona, and Witness for Peace in Oaxaca, Mexico. He now writes on border and immigration issues for NACLA Report on the Americas and its blog “Border Wars,” among other places. His first book, Border Patrol Nation, will be published in spring 2014 for the Open Media Series of City Lights Books.

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